They meet in the hemlock-dell, plants grown so tall the sky is netted over with their lace.

She wears white, as is her wont; blossom-shadow the only pattern on the cloth. On her dark head the circlet of flowers, deadly-delicate as she looks herself. It is time, hawk, she says. She holds the cup.

The oak is behind him: corded, familiar, hollow as a cloak without a wearer. He knows this dance, the every bitter step. It is older than they are, after all. He knows, too, the hemlock-haze: less warm than wormwood, fine narcotic fingers that close him from the outside in, relieving the lungs of the necessity of breath, the mind of dreaming.

Stalks sough and rattle with their quiet music, hollow in the wind. He drains the hemlock-draught. She smiles, and leaves him there.