Then it cleared: farther down the hallway, a door had opened on a flourish of sunlight. Into the light stepped a youth, white and gold, a celestial apparition—the Earl of Southampton. His face was beardless still, the eyes pale blue and with the lashless look of redheads. His auburn tresses, artfully curled, fell almost to his elbows. He was six feet tall and lovely as a waterfall, as pretty as a flowering tree. White silk, white velvet, cloth of gold. A gold filigree earring in one ear. Emilia knew him from her days of attendance on the Queen: an uncanny, androgynous youth with the despotic pout of the beautiful, who can never be sufficiently loved.