A long time ago…long before my birth, or that of my father's, the land belonged to the gods. Then, the water flowed without restraint, the fire burned only in the hearths of those who were cold and were in need of warmth. The air was a playful thing- a breeze that would toy with your hair and carry the laughter of a child; the earth was warm and full of life… or so a very wise man once told me.

In those days, there lived a nightingale who could sing more beautifully than any other creature in the world. Every night, the few people that were blessed enough to hear his song wept with joy at the sheer beauty of his voice. But even though the bird had such a lovely voice, he was very ugly and had led his life in solitude.

One night, as the nightingale was searching for a place to land, a glimmer of porcelain white caught his eye. Intrigued, the nightingale flew down to the object, for to him it appeared to be the very reflection of the moon. He landed in the thorns, but he was mindless of the damage that they could do to him, so caught up was he in the beauty of the object.

And then, the nightingale began to sing. Upon hearing the song, the white thing fluttered, and the nightingale flew over to it. Close enough now, the nightingale peeked down through the branches and the thorns and was rewarded by the sight of a flawless white rose.

The nightingale was struck by her beauty, and so every night, he would sing of his love to her. The rose's petals would tremble with longing, but she refused to open up to him. "The gods have forbidden our love!" She would cry, for they had. Still, the nightingale would continue to sing.

Every night he would return to her, and would sing to her from sunset to sunrise. Every song he sang was more beautiful that the last, and every night, the rose's petals would tremble violently with her love for the nightingale. Yet still, she refused to open for him, for she knew that were her petals to bloom, she would soon die.

One night, after many weeks of the nightingale's tireless singing, the moon shone bright and full down on the little rosebud. When the nightingale began to sing, her petals trembled so violently with their urge to open that the nightingale feared she would burst. The nightingale hastened to fly down to her; to wrap his wings around her as if to protect her from herself. In his rush to do so, however, one of her thorns became embedded in his chest and pierced his heart.

"You have bled for me!" the rose cried, and her love for him was even greater than it was before. In fact, it became so great that the rose bloomed for him, no longer caring that she would die.

The next morning, the nightingale took his final breath and fell to the ground beside his beloved rose. The rose wilted and withered, as she knew she would, but she no longer cared. Her petals fell to the ground beside the nightingale that she had loved, despite his ugliness and the life he had led before her.

A single seed, however, landed amongst their remains, and a tiny green stalk began to grow. For from the forbidden, perfect love of the nightingale and the white rose, the most beautiful creature in the world had been birthed. From the love that they shared, the blood red rose that the gods had never intended to know was born.

You may wonder why I tell you this tale, for what the legend of the red rose, the Varedha, have anything to do with you?

Much more than you now understand, my dear. Much more…