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Mar 26 2018

Portrait By TeraS

A short time ago my Eternal and I shared our anniversary together. As part of that, a dear friend had something created for us, which will be shared after this story that was inspired by their gift, a …

 

Portrait
By TeraS

 

The hallway, being that it was located in the Realm’s Palace, was as grandiose as he’d expected: a place where, all things considered, a glimpse of the past was offered to the curious. It was a mixture of art gallery and functional space; alcoves along the way held art of the monarchs of the past.

A lone figure walked this place, his brown eyes scanning about him, a drawing pad held under one arm, brown hair a bit disheveled. He wasn’t exactly aimless in his action, but rather thoughtfully considering the challenge that faced him. Nibbling on the tip of a mechanical pencil in one moment, rubbing his fingers against his chin thoughtfully the next.

He could plainly see the power held by each ruler, their strength of will seemingly etched into the canvases that bore their likenesses, from the first that was known as succubi and incubi through to the pair who brought into this world a monarch who wasn’t anything like them—nor would she ever want to be. He paused at the empty place which had been carved out upon the beginning of her Realm, considering the window across the way which bore sunlight to bathe the spot in warmth. Recalling the other artists, their own passions directing them to the creations they had brought, he found himself troubled at the task that lay before him, and his own past reminded him of that time.

It all began with a knock at his door. It had been an interruption—somewhat troubling as he’d been in the midst of a session, his subject posed across the way from him. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”

Her response was an arched eyebrow and a smile which, as a whole, should have told him that something was going on. She always did seem to know. Angels where like that, especially this one.

Opening the oak door, the figure that had called to his attention was cloaked in black, his chin the only part of his features that escaped the cloak around him: ‘Good afternoon.”

He nodded. He knew this man well, having dealt with him in the past, or rather having made deals with him to both of their benefits, among others: “Legion, what brings you here?”

Lips on the edge of shadow twitched in reply: “I would ask … for a favour.”

This surprised him; an indulgence needed was a rare thing: “What is the favour?”

The request found him travelling to a place called The Realm and encountering for the first time someone he knew well, but had only known through his art. A woman he well knew, one who loved his talent, calling him her most favourite of artists. A source of many pieces of art that bore seduction and fantasy, but at the same time, he knew very well that her wish was to inspire him, to offer her thoughts and support. But she’d never asked of him something like the one called Legion asked of him, and, when she found out what brought him to her Realm, the answer was what he had expected from her: a demurring comment about how such a thing was not needed, that she was sure he had better things to do.

It turned out that, while the Queen of the Realm was set in her ways, not wanting to be a bother, she really could not overcome his own desire to see that the favour asked of him came to fruition. After all, that alcove was bare, and, if he was honest with himself, discovering that such a thing had never been made pushed on him, favour or not. Still looking at the space waiting for him, the sound of heels clicking on the floor announced her arrival long enough that he was able to turn his pad to a new page and begin sketching.

The wild mane of ebon hair was striking, of course—a reflection of her personality, the heat of her love, the wild passions of her being. If not the most difficult thing to draw, nonetheless, the unkempt mane was, in a way, as much of a trademark as her so-green eyes, red horns and tail. A flash of red marked the long jacket that flowed around her form, her cleavage held in the bandeau top of legends, her slim black pants and ankle boots completing her look.

This was Tera, the Queen of the Realm being herself. Not the Queen, not a being of love or lust, passion or desire, but simply a woman—if “simply” could ever be applied to her—making her way towards someone she cared about. He noted, pencil still filling in the art on the page, that her attention was focused on him and not the art around her. As she came to stand with him, arching an eyebrow, he continued sketching as they spoke.

She sipped her Diet Coke: “Anything that’s useful?”

Tapping the nub against the page he explained: “I can see what I’m not going to do.”

Setting the can onto the window sill beside them, Tera asked: “How so, Jorge?”

Looking at the Queen, whether she liked that moniker or not, in the light of the window, his answer was telling: “This isn’t about you being a warrior, even if the idea of drawing you in a chainmail bikini is very tempting.”

The smirk of a Queen is quite an experience: “You know, I think there’s one somewhere.”

Putting the last line of his sketch down, the sketchbook was closed and he considered her: “But that’s not you, is it, Tera?” Her reply was a tilt of her head downwards before waiting for him to continue. “Have you ever noticed that all of the art here shows the protectors of this Realm? They are in battle, or seated on thrones, in the midst of overcoming some kind of threat.”

“That is … part of things, isn’t it?”

“Yes, a part, but there’s more. I’ve also noticed that their companions, or lovers, or Eternals are beside them and not with them.”

The look of surprise that she gave made him smile now. She’d never noticed.

Taking the moment into his hands, the pencil went behind one ear and he brushed his right hand over her red sleeve: “You aren’t like them, Tera. For that matter, you’ll never be like them. You care, your passion is in seeing that dreams come true. You don’t ask for anything, I know that, but this is something that’s not about the Queen. It’s not about the King, either.”

“So what is it about, then?”

Footfalls began to sound in the hallway as a door opened. They were clearly that of a man. He knew who it was; she just knew.

He soon came into view, a hand brushing through his short brown hair, warm green eyes regarding his Eternal and a man he respected not just for his talent, but more so for being someone that they thought of as family. The red of his tail and horns matched her own, the red shirt and black dress pants being about as dressed up as anyone would really see him much of the time. He was the King of the Realm, though, like his Eternal, he was far happier with being called by his own name.

The artist nodded: “Good to see you, Keith.”

“Hello, Jorge. Has she been good?”

Tera’s pout was in jest: “When am I not good?”

His reply was meant to tease: “You want me to list them all?”

She winked: “It’s simply a question of good at what.”

The artist watched as two lovers—two Eternals before all else—embraced each other, their tails twining. How to put that passion onto canvas? How to express the love shared, the hopes held, the look that said they were in love … eternally.

Musing out loud he wondered: “Eternal …”

Still holding her Eternal’s hand, Tera’s attention was drawn towards his thoughts: “Eternal?”

Keith smiled: “Eternal.”

He nodded: “Eternal.”

He’d found over the years that the subjects of his art didn’t really enjoy being posed. There were the complaints about this clothing choice or that they couldn’t hold their place much longer, wanting a break, a pause in the moment of art, a delay in creating the art that came from his fingers.

The place was simple to find: the balcony where Tera and Keith had first been seen together by the Realm, not as monarchs, but as lovers, eternally. The blue skies and glowing clouds that bracketed the pose were simple, but reflected the eternal boundless breath of their passion. They’d wanted to look casual, suggesting that what they wore wouldn’t matter, not really. His reply that he wasn’t going to made Tera pout and Keith just shake his head. But his idea, and what that would look like, silenced any question about it.

He’d gathered his materials and settled in at the aisle, pencil in hand, ready to create. In the moment between him checking his paints and looking back to the window, the scene had changed. He drew in the moment, committing it to his thoughts, the only one to see this moment, to know the passion, the love, the need that the two shared.

“Hold still.”

She was every bit the Eternal flame of passion, but that wasn’t what mattered. Her gaze was into his eyes, her hands clasped behind his collar. His own where placed on her waist, as if they were in the midst of their eternal dance. Their bodies melded together, lips almost touching, but there was something far more present.

Two long red tails arced in the foreground, the tips entwined, making the shape of a heart. The world around them didn’t matter, the time spent in being posed didn’t matter. Only one thing did and the artist knew this well.

He couldn’t help but smile when Tera replied: “Take your time” … and chuckled when Keith added: “We have all the time in Eternity.”

Sometime later, a figure draped in black appeared in the Palace hall that held art of the guardians of the Realm. He passed by the rulers of old, the moments of the past, towards a new work, recently installed, and the artist regarding his work. He approached the artist, pausing beside him. The portrait bathed in light which only bore a small part of the passions his friends had. A portrait of two Eternals together, tails entwined, and always so.

The artist wondered: “I’m still not sure I managed what you wanted.”

Legion smiled: “I am … eternally … sure.”

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