Some of the stories of the Realm are in the past… Never to be told… Or are they?
Tail be Told
My name? Oh that’s not really important.
Call me a shadow, a memory, a ‘once-was’ if you’d like. Think of me as that little voice in the back of your mind that asks the questions you really never want to answer.
Consider me … watching. I’m always … watching.
I know things. I know how things once were. I know how things could have been. I know secrets that have been forgotten or set aside … because.
I can remember the times when things were not what that are today. I can remember the syreen hunting for us, traveling the dimensions and calling out when they found the prey which they sought out for us. I can remember the way it once was.
I recall the fear that the light had for us. I recall the glee the dark had for us. I remember, clearly, how they … used us.
How the world that is now was … darker … more foreboding … more dangerous and … yes, it was evil. Nothing like it is now.
Am I bitter? No. How can I be?
There was a point, a moment, where a choice had to be made. I couldn’t make it; none of us could, really. We were all trapped in our own little mindset believing that what we did was … normal … accepted … as it should be.
I can remember the first time she came to me. I was … feared. None would stand up to me, challenge me, attempt to confront me. None except her. I could have brushed her aside, turned my back on her, just … left.
Two things stopped me.
She was one.
I remember that night clearly. It was after a hunt: we had returned to the Realm and all was well. At least I had thought so. I should have been more aware, more alert, really. The signs were all there: the perplexed haunt in her eyes; the way the corners of her lips were slightly turned downwards. At the very least, I should have noticed how her tail moved. But no … no, I was wrapped up in my own thoughts of what I would do with my part of the hunt, what the Syreen had captured, what I would enslave.
She asked a question … a childish one really, and she should have known better. But she had no fear of me.
“Why are we doing this?”
I gave her the usual answers that, in retrospect, I should have known she would have no part of. I explained, curtly, that that was how things were and they were never going to change.
Really, I should have known better.
“Who decided that?”
At this point I was irritated, and she knew it. Few ever got to that point with me, for everyone knew that doing so usually meant some horrid things would happen. But that never worked with her. Not for the obvious reason, but because of something else. I would figure out that later.
I didn’t answer the question because … I really didn’t know. When she saw that I wasn’t going to answer that one, she posed another.
“Why can’t we decide to be different?”
My answer was simple, at least I thought it was: “Because we can’t. We have horns and tails and we are marked for eternity. Nothing can change that.”
She seemed to ponder that for a time, her fingers tracing lightly over the waist of her corset, seeming to contemplate my words. Then she actually said something that I never expected: “That’s not good enough. Not for any of us.”
I actually threw my hands into the air and my tail swayed in irritation as I ranted about how she could not change the universe to fit her own wants, needs, and desires. I was right in the middle of telling her that she was stupid to have such dreams when she made me choke the words back.
“This is not the world I want for her.”
It was then that I realized it. I was so stupid to have missed the hints, the meaning behind her words. My emotions were caught between thinking I had been played like a fool and wanting to hold her in my arms.
“You weren’t supposed to know. And no one will.”
She told me her plans then, what she intended to do and how it was that she was going to be sure that the future wasn’t going to be the one that the universe expected. She made me promise—and I had no choice but to do so—not to speak a word, to think through all that she had said and, when I had made up my mind, to see her again.
I spent the night looking at the world we had, putting it all into the framework of her worldview, and trying to understand, fully, what it meant to her … to me … to them. I discovered something about myself then, as well: I found that I could accept what I had done in the past—what was done was done. But the choice of the future, of what we would become, of what we would be forced to take on as our pound of flesh for our choice, that was much harder to take.
I did not see her the next day, nor the one after. To be blunt, I was thinking very long and hard about … me. Was there a place for me? Was there a purpose? What was there which would make what we, not just I, would face and live be worth it all?
The next time I saw her, everyone knew her secret. Not the one that she told me, but rather that she was expecting her first. I did not go with all of the rest to fawn over her; that was not how I was. Still, I did see her, and it was when she was alone. She actually was expecting me.
“What do you think?”
I told her what I thought. At some points she looked shocked at what I told her. Really, it was the very first time that I had ever seen her look at me that way, and it gave me pause. Still, I pressed on, I laid everything out and then I told her exactly what I was going to do.
It was simple–at least, I thought so. There was no place for someone like me. There was nothing for me to want to be a part of. I had in my mind that the best thing for me was what I intended to do and without me her plans would proceed without anyone to stop her. I was so self absorbed that I missed her answer as I turned on my heel and left her behind.
I was brooding in a place that I thought only I knew when she came and took my hand and placed it on her expected child. I felt … I can’t describe it even now. There are things we know when we touch a soul. Things that are … unforgettable. This was, and is, the only time in my existence, then or now, that I had that moment.
It wasn’t her soul I touched. It was the one she carried within her. I could not believe that such a soul could exist in our world, but there was no doubt of it. I traced my fingertips over her skin and then she whispered the question that put me on this path: “Will you be hers?”
How do you answer a question when you know what it means more to you than to the one that asks it? The words were hers, but the question was from within. I felt, for the first time, shame. I was ashamed that I would be asked, that I would have to decide. That she would put her in my … well … I would say “hands,” but “tail” is more apt, don’t you think?
As I said in the beginning, my name doesn’t matter. She is the Queen now. You see her, but when she appears with red hair and black tail, know that I am there. You know full well that, as much as she gives of herself, that I am here to protect her, and I will make no mistake about that.
It is not a threat. It is a promise.
Her earliest memory is of me whispering in her thoughts that I am her Tail and the last thing she will know is my name. I owe her that for telling me a secret when I first touched her… first knew her … felt her … saw her.
And, like my name, I will never tell.