Inside the topmost room of the tallest tower of the royal castle of Pietro Minore, a woman, clad in a hooded cloak and face hidden from view, materialized from thin air. It was midnight, and the stars shone brightly across the darkness of the night sky. On any other night, the woman would have found this beautiful. Romantic, even. But no. There was certainly no romance in a war that was raging underneath the same beautiful night sky.
The woman's eyes rested on the manly figure lying on top of a stone surface in the middle of the room; the figure she knew as well as the back of her hand. The man was sleeping peacefully. Too peacefully. If not for the redness of his cheeks due to the harsh coldness of the wind, one could presume that the man was dead, lying on his sepulchre.
The woman approached the sleeping man, her heart racing with each step. So many emotions ran through her: fear, anticipation, hurt, anger among others. But, the woman thought, her emotions and thoughts were of no consequence at the moment. Not when there were more pressing things that needed to be done.
She marveled at the face of the sleeping man, stroking his cheeks with her fingers. He changed a lot and yet not at all. The wrinkles certainly deepened since the last time she saw him, his hair grayer, and his body broader than before. But his soft lips, his nose that reddens at the slightest touch, his eyes that never judge - they were exactly the same as she remembered it.
The hooded woman took a deep breath and slowly, she dipped her head to capture his lips in a long, languid kiss. She flinched at the coldness of his lips, the kiss different from every single one she gave him before. The man did not respond, but as time went on, she felt the warmth return to his lips, slowly bringing back the life into his body. In the middle of the kiss, the woman breathed in relief, realizing that her attempt to wake the man from his cursed sleep was successful.
The woman broke off when she felt the man stirring from his sleep. Her heartbeat quickened again, afraid that she might be found out. The woman quickly waved her hand in the midair, causing it to illuminate, and placed it on top of the man's face, her spell sending him back to a temporary sleep.
Satisfied that the man was back in his slumber, she knelt down to his ear, carressed the man's chest and whispered, "All this time, my love?". Her voice was almost cracking.
She never thought that after all those years, after the that had come between them, the man's love never wavered. Not a single drop of tear was present in her eyes, but deep inside, her heart was weeping. All this time, his love for her was undiminished, and it made her heart clench at the knowledge.
The woman stepped away from the stone pedestal, knowing that her mission was done. However, there was one more thing she must do before she left the tower.
She closed her eyes and with all her strength, she forced her energy out of the body, a blinding ray of light forming into a small butterfly. She held the butterfly, its wings fluttering in midair, afloat her palm. She admired the pure, innocent little creature, her eyes wide with fascination.
The woman slowly leaned her head and kissed the butterfly, little creature fluttering happily in her hand. She smiled, elated at the reaction that she got.
"Oh pure little one", she whispered. The butterfly fluttered again, telling her that it was listening.
"Fly away, my sweet. Away, away from this troubled land. Keep hope alive, even when all is lost. And if the time comes, do what is asked of you. Protect this empire from evil. Take care of my beloved. And most of all...preserve my memories", she implored the butterfly.
The winged creature shone brighter, and without warning, it flew out of the window and away from the castle, the woman's sight never leaving the butterfly. The woman took a deep breath, hoping that the butterfly will be unharmed in its journey to the end of the universe. Silently, she closed her eyes and held her hand in her heart, praying for the butterfly's safety.
And with a gust of wind, the woman vanished from the tower, never to be seen again.