Yesterday was my Eternal’s birthday. As some know, over the past year and a bit, things have been … difficult. Most of all for my Eternal, for losing one’s mother is … difficult. But there is a truth to be remembered. For, you see, there’s one thing that he, and I, know for always. It is that I am …
Once on every orbit of a small speck of dust in the cosmos, there arrives a point in time, a specific day, with a specific meaning. It’s a day on which the impossible happened. It’s the day when a mother, being told that she would never have a child, found that she was blessed by Goddess to bring a soul into this world.
It’s the day whose annual arrival delights a certain red-tailed Queen of the Realm. On this day, she can thank Goddess for the gift she’s been given, the joy she has felt from the first moment and every moment thereafter. To know, with certainty, from the first moment their eyes had met, that she’d found her Eternal.
It is, after all, Keith’s birthday and it was something for the Realm to celebrate. The King’s birthday is important after all, certainly for Tera herself, but also for daughters Rianna and Branwyn. One could also note—and there was no means to ignore—that it is every bit as important for a certain silver-tailed mischief maker.
Cassie’s fixation on Keith is legendary, especially the various schemes she’d cooked up to draw, drag, pull and otherwise ensnare him into various compromising positions. Some of which are not, at all, taught to inexperienced Succubi, for their own good. At least, that’s the excuse Cassie uses. The canoe incident made the Realm news when it happened, but that’s another story.
Thus, on a certain birthday morning upon which schemers were scheming, plotters were plotting, that red-tailed leader of the incubi was resting on the back porch of his and Tera’s home. The sun hadn’t risen as yet; there was still some stars in the sky as it turned from deepest night to the edge of morning. It had become a kind of tradition of his, over the years, to be waiting for the dawn on the day of his birth. Positioned nearby, a camera faced where the sun would peek over the horizon, scatter the rays of light over the land and mark the moment when the day actually began.
As Keith waited, his attention was drawn to a small book that showed on its cover the passing of the years. Dog-eared, the pages a little yellowed, each page showed a sunrise, the instant of the sun cresting the horizon, the first spark of light a blaze over the landscape. Many pages showed the same place, at least until they changed. The images marked over time where he’d been on his birthday, what that first instance of the sun was: a marker, as it were, of the passing of one moment and the beginning of the next. Each image was of the sun and the landscape. There were never any people to be seen in the photo. It was strictly what he saw on the first moment of each birthday’s arrival.
Towards the middle of the book, the landscape settled into one familiar setting. A fence to one side, making a good friend. The edge of a red brick wall defining the place they called home. Off in the distance, the spires of the Realm proper could be made out, rays of light being thrown between them on the way to his camera.
That image didn’t change all that much, again, for some time. Perhaps in some small ways here and there, but overall the sun, the sights, the familiarity of it all didn’t waver. The scene was comforting, sure, a beacon of what had been and what would be.
That was, he knew, until he turned to the page which marked, or rather should have marked, one birthday before. There was no image to be found. No sun peeking through trees, no sensation of the warmth, the joy, the wholeness that taking that picture meant to him. It was a year where taking the picture didn’t seem to matter. As he turned the page, not having seen the book for two years, he knew there would be a break in the passage of time, a missing moment, a piece missing that could never be returned.
What he found instead was a picture he hadn’t taken, a moment he hadn’t captured. The sun glowed, nature bloomed. The fence stood strong, a house was still a home. Off in the background the Realm awaited, content to be there. But in the foreground there was a difference.
The sun’s rays cascaded about a mane of ebon hair, a pair of red horns. A long red tail arced up and over a shoulder as so-green eyes looked into the camera. Her knees were drawn to her chest, hands cupping her legs. The smile was the one meant for him and him alone, the one that he’d been drawn to, the one that was called Eternal.
Looking up, he found her resting on their lawn, looking towards him. She didn’t say a word, just waiting. The image wasn’t complete, there was a piece missing. She’d shifted to the side, now putting herself off from the centre of the image, the meaning behind the change clear. She didn’t need to smile and tilt her head, but she did, anyway.
He left the book beside the camera, knowing it was ready. The grass was slightly damp as he settled in beside her, Eternal holding Eternal. The camera was forgotten as fingers entwined, tails arced overhead, the tips touching together.
The sun rose over the horizon, light blessed the scene and the camera triggered.
The page was turned over later that night, a new image added to the many taken before. But from here on, the scene would be a new one. A sun peeking over a horizon, Eternals together, their tails framing the sun, rays of light spreading out over the scene. A reminder that each year at this time, in every way, there was one truth shared between them.
I am Eternally Yours.