One of the things that the Succubi Queen is famous for is her pondering. She considers many, many things that most would never expect her to…
And from that comes this little story, such as it is…
The library of the Realm is known for all of the knowledge that it contains. Not just the important things, mind you, such as the wing on seduction, or the one on sexual positions, both of which are required reading for all in the Realm—which explains why it takes centuries for those who become part of the Realm to pass their challenges … But that’s … another story …
No, this story is about one specific book in one specific place in the library which only a few have ever seen, know about, or, more importantly, understand.
No library card would ever give you access to it. No person could tell you exactly where you might find it. It isn’t listed in any card catalog or computer index in all of the universes. But it does exist, and only Tera alone knows where it is.
It stands alone in a room with green carpet and jet-black walls, a single light coming, it seems, out of nowhere illuminates the place where it awaits. Stepping into the room, one encounters perfect silence. You find that you do not wish to do anything to break the silence, to disturb it, for there is the overwhelming feeling that, if you did, something fundamental would change …
The book rests upon an ornate stand like no other you might have ever seen. Two figures kneel underneath the light, their forms shimmering gold, then silver, then mixing the two before returning to gold once more. Look once, and one is male, the other female. Look again, and they are both male or both female. In the next their forms are both and then neither. But while their forms change, one thing does not. Their arms reach above their heads, fingers laced together, palms turned upwards, and there rests … the book.
It is a slim tomb, perhaps only a half-inch thick. The cover is torn on the edges, worn, the title not quite readable—though perhaps a letter or two might be visible upon it should your look long enough to see them. A single piece of string, tied once, holds the book closed as if to keep what dwells within it held away for safekeeping.
And in this place, this odd place, if you could find it, you might see Tera standing there, every now and again … pondering. A finger occasionally tracing over her lips, or a swishing of her tail as she … ponders. Her thoughts might be going over what she had done that day … week … month … year, what she had seen that decade … century … eon, all of the lives that she had met … touched … held.
But all of that comes only after a memory that is as clear and visceral to her as if it had happened only a moment before …
A long time ago, Tera was shown this place and this book by her mother, who was the Queen before her. The words they shared always come back and make her smile, warmly and wistfully, as she remembers her mother’s voice … her smile … her love.
“Something to ponder.”
“Just because, Daughter. You’ll understand why someday.”
“When the time is right, you’ll know.”
Every time that Tera returns to this place, this hidden spot that only she knows of now, that conversation returns to her thoughts as she stands there and … ponders.
What is inside the book? What does it say? Who wrote it? Why?
She reaches out and takes hold of one of the loose ends of the string and pulls on it gently …
Was it time? Would she know the answers at last? Would she finally understand?
You might see her pull on the string and find that the knot did not loosen.
You might see her pull on the string and find the knot unravel and the book open to her.
You might … or rather could … but there is a third possibility.
You would see her release the string in the next moment, deciding that perhaps it wasn’t the right time. Perhaps the point of the book lay not in knowing what was within its pages, but instead in pondering over what might be within them.
She would pat the book’s cover once, with her left hand, then turn and walk from the room. Not knowing the answer but still …
Pondering … for it is not in the reading but in the remembering that this book connects Tera with all that is important.
Pondering … for it is in the pondering that the book most helps Tera.
Pondering … for it is in this connection with those who were queens before her that her mother gave her the greatest gift.
Pondering … for that is what Tera will always do.