There are little bits of story that have been jumping up and down, demanding to be told, and I suppose that this is as good a time as any to give those thoughts a chance to roam free in a …
One of the quieter, more serene parts of the Realm is set quite a fair distance from the Palace, the Library or, for that matter, the tall silvery spires that make up the downtown core of the Realm proper. It is a place of rolling green hills, not quite the same shade of oh-so-green eyes that a certain red-tail is known for. Still, the green is lush and radiant, with winds that pass over the grasslands making the tall stalks wave about, for the most part, occasionally turning the blades of green into strange and yet beautiful patterns to contemplate.
From afar, the green seems unbroken, endless, uniform in its appearance. But, from time to time, if one is paying attention, there is a glimpse of red among the green. On occasion that flash of red darts from place to place, a skittish thing, whatever it might be. It seems to come closer, towards the viewer, then turn and bolt off once more into the pasture, leaving a wake behind like that of a boat passing through water.
The beauty of the pasture called out to a particular few in the Realm, but it was the red, that mysterious flash that appeared from time to time that attracted Tera to the pasture. She and the red had a relationship, in a way, if not quite an understanding. That relationship had been forged in fire, a fight for the freedom of the red that was never meant to be. Some might go and chase the red, rush after it in the belief that they would chase it down, bring it to heel, to submit to the one seeking. Some didn’t quite understand what the red feared, had been through, what it had lost and why.
Tera did. She’d been there. But, even so, the red didn’t always trust. The brunette had learned patience: the art of standing on the edge of the pasture, waiting for the red to come closer, to see her, to feel that it was safe to appear. She’d also learned that it was wise to bring an offering, if not a treat. Thus, the Queen of the Realm stood in the midst of a pasture of green, holding in one hand an offering for the red to consider.
It always was a surprise when the grass parted and Tera would find herself being examined by a pair of deeply black eyes. Her own green ones would look back, open and accepting that she wasn’t the one to decide if the moment was to continue or if it would come to an end. Her breath held, her tail stilled as she waited for the choice to be made. There was no rushing the red when she was in a mood—much like Tera herself, truth be told.
Tera easily saw her quarry now, the one she’d come to know in their flight from what had been to how things were now.
The one she called Night.
Time passed slowly, then Night let out a sharp snort before turning away as if she had made a decision.
Tera called after, softly: “Come on, Night … Don’t you trust me after all we’ve been through together?”
The reply was a nudge with a wet nose before the carrot vanished from Tera’s hand, being enjoyed as Night’s shiny black eyes regarded her as she cautiously brushed a hand lightly over her host’s flank. Her long sigh didn’t mask her memories as she remembered finding Night, setting her free, being chased through worlds until they’d managed to come home to the Realm.
The Queen didn’t expect any thanks for what she’d done, but was surprised when Night flexed her wings in the midst of relishing her treat and neighed lightly. She’d finished the small delight, but didn’t run away, seemingly content to allow the contact offered. Unlike so many winged horses, Night wasn’t what the legends spoke of them to be. Her mane was a black deeper than the darkest of evenings, as was her tail. But it was clear she was not as she was meant to be, the red that painted her coat marking her as cursed to some, to others something far worse. Some said she was now a Hell Horse; the licks of fire around her hooves threatened to burn the pasture with their heat, or so it would seem to those that didn’t understand what she was and what she wasn’t.
Tera didn’t see Night as what others claimed. She saw the creature harmed by no fault of her own. Being shunned by her own kind, not wanted, not being able to join with the herds of winged horses roaming the universes—a fate that the succubi found she understood better than most could, she thought.
Their moment together passed. Night shook herself before turning back towards the pasture, the solitary home she’d found in the Realm. Tera watched her disappear into the thick grass, once more a shadow in the colour of life, dwelling within, waiting.
The Queen of the Realm turned away, starting on her own path towards home, thinking about her Night and what the future might bring, a bit of sadness for not having seen Night in the air, but still glad that she’d had a moment with her equine friend.
On the edge of the pasture, a snap of a twig made Tera look behind her to find Night staring with her black eyes. The moment held as a wide pair of black wings drew wide, sweeping towards the ground. For a moment, just the slimmest of instants, a lost winged horse took to the air before returning to the ground.
Wet eyes brought accompanied a whisper: “Thank you.”
As the red vanished into the green, a little bit of hope grew that this pasture would behold the most wondrous of things …
… a rebirth.