Somewhere in Maryland and Oberon is drowning an old man in a pool.

Titania, proud Titania, stands beneath the trees watching them in silence. Oberon stoops to the water with the grace and heft of a weeping willow, his long slender arms effortlessly hold the old man’s head beneath the water. Churn of froth as the old man struggles, his black robes heavy and leaden, his eyes wide and rolling white in the the murk of the pond.

He grows still, and Oberon lifts him up by his hair, stares curiously and dispassionately at the slack muscles of his face, shrugs and holds him again under water. Better safe than not.

When he stands he towers, one tree among many, twelve feet or more, long-boned and solid. “Hail, King of the Air,” says Titania, and he moves to greet her without surprise. He is seldom surprised. “The work is done well,” she adds, face veiled in a wreath of smoke.

“Done well or done ill,” says Oberon, “it is done.”

In the uncertain half-light of twilight the court moves to dispose of the body of John Roberts. A flurry of wings, the soft paddling of feet, a small splash. When the light shifts the hollow is empty, the surface of the pool serene and untouched.