I watch the scarlet petals falling from the great trees outside my window; the fragile stems hold tight in the autumn breeze, then succumb to its strength and let go. Oh, how I wish my heart could let go...

It was so long ago, a million lifetimes, maybe more, yet I cannot forget your face gazing up at me in the tower. It was the first time I saw that beautiful face: only a quick glimpse in the evening sun before important matters swept you into the castle walls.

It was business, a simple alliance formed between two heavenly bodies. We were soldiers of the same army, equals in the eyes of the Queen. It was never meant to turn out this way. We had never bargained love.

I had shut my heart long ago, the fires of my heart guarding fiercely my delicate passions. Few ever came close to breaking that barrier, among them my spirit guardians, my princess. Even now I wonder how you ever persisted so undyingly. My flamed-tongue and strong will have pushed away many suitors. At a time, it seemed like they had given up trying to tame the Flame Princess. Then there was you.

I step through the opened rice-screen door of the temple I inhabit. The unusually warm October wind pulls at strands of my hair. For a moment I stop, not moving, not thinking, simply existing. The cool wood beams of the deck feel smooth and awkward against the bare skin of my feet. This is October in Tokyo, a month I wish we could spend together. Autumn reminds me of you.

This sudden cold wind: so much like one dusting a lunar landscape millennia ago. That cruel wind of fate I blame for your absence. If it had not come, if the ominous thunderclouds pursuing the horizon had stalled, then maybe you'd be with me today. If that hellish creature had not broken loose from years of bondage, you never would have strayed, but Beryl was more than any of us could have expected.

When news came of your betrayal I believed my ears to be deceiving. How could a love so strong break loose so soon? Believing my Queen to be false I sought comfort in the flames, but they only repeated the black truth. I fell to the floor of the sacred room and wept. I wept for your leaving me that fall day; I wept for my inability to stop you from going; I wept for the lies fed into your heart that made you turn away. I cried in anguish for the betrayal of my soul mate. An untearable silk was torn unmendable; a heart unbreakable was broken.

My duty to protect my princess called me to be strong. A Senshi's heart cannot be consumed in its own affairs. But, oh, how I hurt. How much it pained me to fight against you even the most knowledgeable will never know. No woman should know that pain.

Drifting leaves collide in a whirlwind of crimson and flaxen: fire and bloodshed in the falling leaves. Still I can hear the swords clinging, the attacks bellowed. Friend and foe sacrificed about me.

What did you think? What did you feel in our last fight? Rage? Anguish? Anything at all? Even then, just before the blow of your sword struck me down, I could not find myself angry with you. In a way I loved you more then than ever before. I wanted you back so badly that if striving till death was the only path, I would take it.

Oh, how glad I am that I took that path.

With the cold steel of your sword through my heart I felt a release. I felt some ancient incantation broken. The void obscurity covering those intense blue eyes fell away as did the hatred inhabiting your mind. You had fulfilled Beryl's purpose, to slay the Moon's Guardians, and she needed you no longer. The curse was broken. If only it had happened sooner.

Black strands of my hair soaked in the blood flowing from my wound. Each breath was a torture to take with the weapon lodged in my lungs. Ebony darkness slowly crept in as I battled to stay alive. Then I felt it. The unbearable pain in my chest was made less by a simple caress of your hand upon my cheek. At that point I knew you had returned to me. The price of death had bought back my love, if only for a few moments before my debt was due.

The salt of your tears mixed with my blood to form muddy pools in the earth. I wanted to brush the tears from your eyes. I wanted to tell you that I loved you even after all that had happened. The words could not escape my weathered lungs.

As I felt myself slipping from that world all I could hear was your diminishing voice calling, "I love you." What sweet last words to hear before you are consumed by death. Likewise, I am cursed in that I could never reply.

And now, a thousand lifetimes later, I stand barefooted in an autumn day thinking of you. Never has a thing left such a mark on my soul. A scar so deep it has lived through the passing of millennia. A love such as this is found seldom if found at all. One must never let such a precious thing go.

And so, even if the price again is death, I will wait for you. Awaiting the brilliance of a blue moon is as waiting for my love to return. Although it may be but a brief fragment of eternity, the years of patience are a small price to pay. Perhaps the maturing years might strengthen our souls that when once again we meet, our romance will be infinitely sweeter.

For now I have the vision of those azure eyes and the echo of those sacred final words.

I love you.

[ the orchids ]