Flowers bloom in yellow, barbed profusion through her narrow streets, and Cadmium chokes on their perfumed brimstone. The sky is made of glass a mile thick and lowering; thronged with faces bubbled deep, fork-bearded prophets with Byzantine eyes and gentle blue women long-lashed as cattle. Terrible license; orgies and murder, weeks of dancing and fasting, and everywhere the damnable roses!

“Sacred heart,” Ganelon cries, and cracks his lips around the prayer. Sharp pieces glitter against the mirror of his coat; he raises trembling hands and tries desperately to grow them back into his skin. Days since he slept, he thinks, hours since he moved. Surely it was bright noon just a second ago? The night sky is black and only fathoms above. He trembles, and speaks— What was it Britomart said? or Bradamante?

Everywhere the flowers run riot. Spring has come, weeks too soon, and the fields and the shops are all abandoned. In the hills fires burn and witches leap, and everywhere the roses, yellow as the devil, yellow as the rye.