There was a man in the garden. For all the noxious miracles the doctors plied, Lysandra could not sleep and thus was left starring out her window into the dusk-lit grounds. It was dull existence, but one that’d been her lot since they’d spited her with a bed shaped prison. If not for the bright of the moon, she wouldn’t have caught the shine off the elegant sword at his belt.
Fair haired and sharply featured, Lysandra could not say he looked out of place, only that she did not know him. She pushed the now cloyingly warm coverlet off herself. The hem of her nightgown rustled against her bare ankles as she slipped from the bed onto the cold floorboards. She walked to the window and pressed her fingers against the glass.
The blue coat he wore was strange and entirely out of fashion, and Lysandra could not picture his hat outside a costume ball. Her mouth twitched at the curious site. More than his dress, his manner set him apart. The stranger strolled, almost as if bored, through her family’s gardens.
Lysandra pushed open the window to lean out into the night air. Even as the cold burned her throat, she did not gasp or cough. Lysandra found herself grinning into the darkening sky. She could breathe. It was lovely, the whole sapphire colored night, the fragrant air wafting from the blooms, even the stranger walking in them.
Her bedroom door opened with a loud creak behind her. “Lady?” Her maid’s voice broke the silence.
“Ada, there is a man in the garden.” Lysandra did not turn from her vantage.
“Lady?!” Ada’s voice rose in pitch.
“Oh come off it, I cannot stay in bed my whole life. Didn’t you hear me, there is a–” Ceramic hit the floorboards, interrupting her. Lysandra whirled. A broken washbasin covered her floor. Ada was whimpering at the bedside, bent over and shaking the pale figure beneath the coverlet.
Blood stained the pristine lace of the pillow, a brilliant red color trailing from the dead girl’s mouth. Ada screamed for help. The man in the garden looked up towards the window.