The heat from the afternoon sun hung like a heavy blanket, that was both intense and suffocating. None of this affected myself or the other inhabitants of the castle, but the town of Volterra itself had grown quiet with most of the humans enjoying their afternoon siesta.

The towns longest established cobbler had not gone home for lunch this day, but instead was snoring quietly as he reclined in his rocker. Protected from the sun's glare by the immense stone wall of his small store, the 'Open' sign that hung from his door turned over to read 'Closed'. Over the years I had sketced the small man many times and like most of my portraits I favoured him in charcoal... today was no exception.

"I think thats your best one so far Carmen", Charmion announced over my shoulder. It would be some years still before she would change her name to Chelsea and I smiled gratefully at her compliment. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your company dear friend?" This was in fact my usual greeting for Charmion and I was rewarded with the sound of her delicate laugh as it tinkled like a bell around the walls of my chambers. "Eleazar will not return until tomorrow and I hoped the time would pass more quickly for you, if you had company". When I searched her face, I was met with her ever present smile, "Mine to be exact", she beamed. I could not help but laugh. "Well then, how can I refuse?" "You simply can't", she smiled and winked in return.

I knew she had noted my darkening eyes but kept her concerns to herself. The family though seeming to be warm and caring and the castle though beautiful and captivating did not hold any appeal for me without Eleazar's presence. More disturbingly of recent times, even when Eleazar was home... all I wanted was for us to be away from here. I remained simply because of Eleazar and nothing more. Yet still she remained my friend and as my friend overlooked my increasing absences from 'the turrett room'. Instead we would spend many long hours talking and enjoying the maze and vast gardens located on the castle grounds.

Of course I dared not breathe a word to Charmion about my hopes of leaving. So... when Aro actually granted us with permission to leave, it was with great haste that Eleazar and I made our departure. Although I scribbled a quick goodbye to my friend and left behind the charcoal of our favourite cobbler for her, she will never truly know how much I valued our friendship or the pain I felt when I was unable to say goodbye. To this day it is my one regret.

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