Today’s post in the Tale will be my 1,000th. It isn’t quite three full years of Tale posting as yet, that will happen in November and I’ll have something for that day as well, I expect. But what had been eating at me for a while was what to do with this post. I wanted to write a story for it that took place in The Realm of the Succubi … The world that means a lot to me and which drives so much of my imagination.
That story needed to be something that would fit into the mythos and stories of that world and, I hope, this one does …
To my Eternal, thank you for being here with me. To my Heart, thank you for every word of support you give. To my Brother, thank you for calling me your Sis. To my Son, thank you for trusting in me and helping me to understand that which I needed to see. And, to all of my online family that I think about and hold in my soul every moment of every day …
Love you always and thank you for being there …
The Tales’ Petals
“He loves me … He loves me not … He loves me … He loves me not …”
Those words were spoken by a raven-haired Succubi sitting on her favorite park bench in one of the smaller parks of her Mother’s Realm. Her name was Tera, and, at the time of this story, her world was in a bit of a mess …
… You see, she was in love.
Not just any love, but that one perfect love that when it hits you, you just know it. But there was a problem. A simple problem that always came in moments like this …
… doubt …
… Doubt that was hanging over her head like that one cloud just passing through the skies over her at that moment …
… a cloud that didn’t really want to be the focus of all her doubts …
… doubt that was probably the only thing that could sway the heart and mind of this future Queen of the Succubi from where they wanted to be.
You see, Tera had met someone, someone whom she knew full well wanted to be with her forever, no matter what might be. He didn’t know about her red horns or long red tail. No, what mattered to him was the woman she was, not the other things around her.
He didn’t know that she was a Succubi, didn’t know that someday she would be Queen, mostly because she hadn’t told him what she would be someday, or what she was every day.
His name was Keith, and he was quite human.
As she pulled another petal from the flower she held in her hands, the nursery rhyme continued. One by one, the petals fell to the ground around her, marking the space where the doubts nudged her from time to time.
A blonde Succubi walked along the path that wound from the castle through the park it overlooked, the park where Tera sat. Her handmaidens and assistants were milling and rushing about her, circling her elaborate red and black gown, making quite sure that she was attended to.
For she was the Queen. But she was also Tera’s Mother.
Entering the park, she saw her daughter sitting on the bench and knew, as mothers do, that something was very wrong. With a wave of her hand, she motioned those courting her attention away and focused on her one and only child.
She called out to Tera, “Daughter, why do you fret so?”
Tera looked up, her hands pausing for a moment, and managed a small smile as a blush came to her cheeks, “Oh Mom … I …”
Tera’s Mother, The Queen, closed the space between them and then, after brushing a few petals from the bench, pushed her gown just so, in that regal way she did, taking a place beside her Daughter. With a nod to the flower she asked, “You plucked a wish flower from the garden, didn’t you?”
Tera stroked a finger against the stem: “Yes, Mom, I did.”
Then the Queen, never one to be seen as anything but regal and proper around her subjects, did something almost scandalous: she draped an arm around her daughter’s body and made her lay across the bench, Tera’s head resting upon her mother’s thigh. Moving a few stray locks of raven hair from Tera’s eyes, she remarked, “Wish flowers are special, you know. There are so very few of them that bloom here;that one first appeared from the soil when I became Queen …”
Tera looked up. “Mom, how is it that they call to me? I didn’t mean to be there or to pick it, but … it called to me …”
There was a regal nod of understanding: “As it should be. They choose the one that needs them and only that one can pick them. You did nothing wrong, Tera. It’s part of the circle of life.”
Tera sighed, “Mom … what would you say if I told you I was in love with someone.”
“First, that I was happy that you were in love, and, second, that I want to meet this person, the sooner the better.”
Tera held one petal in her hand and then blew it into the air with the words, “He’s not like us, not what we are.”
“That doesn’t matter a whit, you know. And, even if he isn’t now, he can be when you are married. It’s not that much of a problem.”
“Haven’t told him what I am. He thinks I’m just an ordinary girl in his ordinary world who likes him.”
“Mom … you know what the legends say we are, what they say we do … If I reveal myself to him, he might run away, and …”
“… and then you’ll know he’s not the one. If he stays, then you know he is.”
Tera grip on the flower’s stem tightened a bit with the admission, “I don’t know what he’ll do.”
The Queen pondered that for a moment as Tera continued to pluck petal after petal. Then she remarked, “Somehow I think you underestimate who he is and what you mean to him.”
“I hope so. That’s why I’m doing this … hoping that the flower will reveal the answer to me.”
The Queen remained silent for a time watching the petals leave the flower and settle over her gown and the red dress that Tera wore that day. But then, as Tera began on the last row of petals she reached out and held Tera’s hand fast.
“This isn’t how you find out. Stop doing this, Daughter, and go to him and show him who you are. That’s the only right way to do it. This … This is just an excuse for you to hide if he says goodbye. Trust that he will not. Trust in who you are to him.”
Tera still clutched the flower tightly and, in her thoughts, she wanted to continue to find out this way. She had lost her heart to him and, if he said goodbye, she’d never be the same … It was better to learn this way and leave him than for him to leave her.
But, seeing the concern in her mother’s eyes, feeling her assuredness, Tera relinquished the flower. Sitting up, she looked into the distance, “He’s home right now, making dinner for us, waiting to see me again.”
“So? What are you doing here, Miss Chicken?”
Tera couldn’t help but smile: “I take after my mother, you know.”
“No, dearest Daughter, not exactly … You are yourself … and, someday, you will see that. But right now you need to get your question answered. Now go. I’ll look after the flower until you return for it.”
Tera let go of the flower, slowly, her mother taking it from her hand and placing it on the bench beside her, “Go. He’s waiting, as are you. Go there, be truthful, and … see what happens.”
Tera sat up, hugged her mother tightly, and then ran off towards her waiting future.
The Queen picked up the flower and considered it for a time. Then, hesitantly, she touched one of the petals and quietly sang to herself as she tried to pull it free, “Whatever will be, will be … The future’s not ours to see … Que sera, sera …”
To her surprise, the petal came loose, and she stared at it for a time as it rested in the palm of her hand.
She was still looking at it, hours later, as the sun began to set in the sky and she heard Tera’s voice: “Mother, I’d like you to meet someone …”
Looking up, the Queen beheld her daughter, her horns poking out of her hair, her tail wrapped protectively around the waist of a rather ordinary brunette man standing beside her. She placed the flower on the bench and then said, “So, you are the one that has taken my daughter’s heart, are you?”
Tera clutched Keith’s hand a little tighter, the worry in her eyes quite evident from the tone of her Mother’s words.
Keith on the other hand, didn’t flinch as he replied, “Your Majesty, I took nothing from your daughter, but I gave her my soul went we first met, freely, without fear. She has given me my wish, and I will do whatever I must to see that hers comes true.”
The Queen stood up, the flower forgotten for the moment. She took the few steps to stand in front of this young man, whom she knew was her Daughter’s and their kind’s future …
… and asked him a question: “And what is her wish?”
The answer he gave was simple, “That, now that we have found each other, we have each other … eternally.”
“And what of what she is?”
“What she is doesn’t matter as much as who she is.”
“Who is she, then?”
He looked at Tera and then, quite unashamedly, shared a kiss of love with her, before answering, “Whoever she wants to be, I’ll be there for her … horns and all.”
The Queen laughed at that before hugging both of them, her own red tail wrapped quite snugly around them all as she remarked, her own voice overflowing with love, “That is all I need to know.”
Then the three of them walked away from the bench, leaving the flower still there, returning to the castle, where the King awaited them …
But, before they left the park, Tera remembered the flower and returned to the bench to retrieve it … to put it away for another day …
She was surprised to find the flower gone, petals and all vanished from where they had been. She returned to her soon-to-be Eternal and her mother, confused about what had happened …
And, in the garden where the wish flowers grow, the flower stood, in full blossom, awaiting its time once more …
Thank you all that read my words…