The late autumnal sun slanted down into the abbey grounds, illuminating everything in brilliant golden red. The dusty sandstone walls flared with majestic light, and the golden leaves in the overgrown orchard glowed like warm embers. The infusing light fell, too, in the southwest corner of the abbey, and shed light on the massive, tangled form of the Late Rose. Gathered before the Rose, seven small figures stood, silent and somber, as the light illuminated the petals of the last blossom.
The Late Rose was dying.
As the figures looked on, the flower shifted almost imperceptibly, and fell from its withered stem. The foremost figure, a strong-bodied young mouse with a sword at his hip, reached forward tenderly and caught it as it approached the ground. He turned to face his companions, sorrow in his eyes and his voice.
"The Late Rose has passed."
Before him, his companions made for a melancholy group: an a