There is a place where, quite simply, no one ever goes … well, almost no one.
That isn’t because it is off limits, out of reach, or even simply guarded so that one couldn’t enter. No, the reason, quite simply, is that there is but one of the Realm that knows about it, but one who knows how to get there, and but one who takes the time needed.
Oh, she could just will herself there, arriving there in an instant, but that isn’t something she has ever really considered doing.
Her travels begin at her front door, where she makes sure to hug her Eternal before she leaves. Not because she will not return; it simply is because that is their way, and it was the thing she did when she first found the place. She walks through the Realm, seeing the comings and goings, occasionally pausing to chat with those around her, because that is part of who she is: she always has the time for others more than herself.
Eventually, she comes to the edge of the forests to the north and looks upwards. There, far off in the distance, are the mountains that mark the edge of the Realm, the clouds enveloping the tops, hiding them from view. They seem so far away, days upon days of travel.
As she did that first time she looked at them, she wonders what is up there, what she could see from there, and, after some reflection, she takes that first step on the path that leads in the direction she wishes to go. Time passes—how much matters little—and she keeps on, stopping here and there to look at the life around her, marvel, and be thankful for all that is there to be seen.
At some point—and even to this very day, she isn’t exactly sure how it happens—the mountains come into view as the path opens up in front of her, the canopy of the forest giving way to the sight of the sheer rock walls of the mountains, the seeming barrier to her and her intentions. Coming to the base of the mountains she remembers how, that first time, she had stared at them, almost willing them to give into her, but of course they didn’t. She remembers what her mother had told her, so long ago, that nothing worth doing is easy.
And it wasn’t.
She could have given up, many times, on her journey. But that thought never occurred to her. She was then, and always, quite the stubborn Queen and, if the world wouldn’t cooperate, then she simply would have to make do.
And so she did.
The sun was setting and the footing was becoming quite dangerous when she finally paused there, somewhere up in the mountains, close to the edge of the clouds, but not quite being there. It was frustrating of course, being so close to her goal and yet so far from it. She found a place to rest, upon a small outcropping, and dangled her legs into space as she looked upward into the clouds. She looked at them for the longest time, wondering what was above, what she might see if she would continue on, to see what the clouds held away from her eyes.
But then, she looked towards her home and Realm. From where she was, she could see everything and everyone there, the flickering lights of the streets, homes, and more. At least, at the time, she thought that it was lights. But she knew better now.
It took some time for her to realize just what she was looking at.
It wasn’t the Realm, the streets, the buildings.
It was the Realm, those she loved, and those that loved her in return.
That was when she realized that what was above her, the “What if …”, wasn’t as important as that which she had, knew, and cherished always. With a smile, she turned back then, making her way back home.
She had returned to that same place many times since then. But each time she brought a piece of the Realm with her: a flower once, a small photograph another time, bits and pieces of the world that she cherished, those she loved. Little by little, she was making a little place there, high above, where she shared this special part of herself, and of her world, with them.
After each time she visited, looked upon the Realm, and felt inside what mattered the most, she left the spot behind, left all of the memories there, to be held among the unyielding stone of the mountains in a place that no one else would ever really know. But, in the times between her visits, it wasn’t quite the same place that she knew. She had taken a small part of herself there, yes, a small part of her family there, a small part of those she loved there, little bits and pieces that meant the world to her. These bits and pieces, however, were really just icons—pieces that pointed to what Tera loved. In the midst of the twilight of the evening, the spirits held in that place took form, looking out over the place they called home as well; but they were different without her love there.
Tera never really understood why it was that there seemed to be light showing her the way down, the way home, the way to where everyone she loved was waiting for her to return. The meaning of the light she saw in all that mattered to her was that her light had shined, given, and lit the way. It was simply her own light begin returned to her.
And in that comes the meaning of one life and one soul, one who brings meaning to so much more …