The first couple of years were of course the hardest. There were so many things to talk about! Not just the weather, the food or the lessons; not just the way silence made him feel. No. Wordplay, jokes he’d thought of, political and social controversies, what he was working on, what they were building together. Everything! He suffered, but the way out was open, and so he endured.

He took to writing, putting on paper what he couldn’t give voice to. Stories, anecdotes, letters piled upon letters, poems, drinking songs, erotic plays… the whole world poured through his pen. For three decades he wrote in his little cell, and considered himself the luckiest of men.

And then his pen slowed, and faltered, and fell still. The head of his order came to him and sat with him and the years passed in silence. Like his shadow, always there, matching him breath for breath, slow heartbeat for slow heartbeat. After so long, he was dry of curiosity. He accepted this, as he accepted all things, now. In time he would discover the answer, or he would not.