A very short thought today on the Tale … There are, of course pitchforks in the Realm. They exist physically of course, but then there is…
It is common knowledge that the symbol of the reigning monarch of the Realm is a pitchfork. What is not so common knowledge, however, is that there are, in fact, three pitchforks that Tera holds claim to: one of place, one of understanding, and the last of love.
The first is the one displayed in the Realm’s castle, in a place which can be seen to all who enter the throne room of the Realm. There is a long, mystic case which hovers in mid-air just to the left of the throne where Tera would, if she really wanted to, hold court. The case is ethereal, a shimmering, multi-layered web of magic and power that both protects this treasure and holds it for all to see. It is a long, taller than Tera herself, golden pitchfork, the pitchfork that Tera’s mother, known only as The Queen, held in her time. It is meant to be used in certain formal ceremonies where Tera, as much as she doesn’t like it, has to appear “regal”—and, if you know Tera, you would be seeing her using finger quotes at the word regal.
But it is also one of Tera’s most treasured gifts, left to her by her mother upon her passing. When it comes time for her to hold it in her hands, to act formally as Queen of the Realm, Tera always pauses before it. She thinks about the battles that her mother fought while holding it. She sees, through the golden shimmer that surrounds the truth of the pitchfork, the notches, carefully spaced along the shaft. She runs a finger over each of them, remembering the battle that each represents. She pauses as her fingertip brushes into each groove, and she recalls the souls that were involved in each one. She then recalls the words of her mother: that, while it is a thing of battle, of purpose, of control, it is also a reflection of the strength needed to rule. Tera understands that point of view, why it was and why it is so. When she holds it in her hand, she can feel echoes of her mother’s soul in the metal, the troubling times which went on, seemingly forever. She also feels the joy when her mother announced to the Royal Court that she was expecting the birth of Tera, how that moment gave her mother the reason to continue.
This then, is the first, the pitchfork that marked the past times, the fight for who they now were and the Realm they all now shared.
The second is one of bronze. It is sleek, almost as large as the golden one, still quite a bit taller than Tera herself. It is heavier, made for larger hands, meant not for someone like Tera or her mother. It rests in another case in the same room, next to the golden one. It, too, is meant to be seen, to be appreciated for what truths it holds, in the same way as the first. Not as damaged as the first, it has far fewer markings. It was once held by Tera’s father, known simply as the King.
Like its golden counterpart, it has seen many battles, but the difference in its markings reflects the purpose of the King. This pitchfork is meant to be held by an Eternal, one who knows, in ways that no one else can, the holder of the golden pitchfork. Thus, there are but five marks on the shaft, each representing a moment that the King, and he alone, understood and remembered.
Tera herself rarely holds this pitchfork, for it is not meant for her, but for her own Eternal, for times when the Realm’s King must appear alongside the Queen. When he does so, he feels the pain in each moment its five markings represent. He hears the thoughts of its bearer when each was made and the echoes of the soul that came before. But there is an identical mark, in the same place as on the golden one, which tells of the joy felt when he knew that there was a future, her name being Tera, giving him a reason to continue onwards.
The last pitchfork, the silver one, is the one that Tera keeps close to her always. It is exactly the right size, shape, and balance for her and her alone. There are no marks in the metal, no flaws to show that it was meant for battle, has seen battle, or even been considered for that purpose (that isn’t to say that it hasn’t seen battle, just that its marks don’t show … or don’t show to anyone but her and Keith). It does not rest in a case; it quite literally lives with Tera and can be plucked out of thin air in an instant. It has been used to defend and to attack, but it also has been used to drive a point home, to act as an arbiter of justice, and more. Some have felt the prod of its tines and known the force held within it.
This last pitchfork is the most important one to Tera because it was given by her Eternal. Where he found it is a mystery that not even Tera herself has been able to solve. The only answer he has ever given is that it … just is.
When Tera holds it, one would think that she knows of the love he has for her, that he will be with her, hold her, defend and do all of the things that one that is an Eternal, the King of the Incubi and the Realm, would do. But that is not the truth. Tera knows all of those things because Keith is her Eternal, and they know in the connection between their souls always what that truth is.
The truth is that the silver pitchfork, while it is perfect for Tera in all ways, is meant for the future, for the promise to be from the promise made and the promise now kept. It is not meant to be put away, to be examined now and again; it is meant to be a reminder of the struggle every day to keep what they have, to remain as they are, to be all they can be in the face of what all others might think of them. Tera holds it with a light touch, the same as she has over her Realm. It shines as do those of the Realm in all they have created, experienced, and shared. It has a dangerous purpose, meant as a warning to those of ill will. It has a sensuality which reflects Tera’s own. It holds all that Tera has within herself, all that she is or could be.
As her Eternal has said … it just is.
But it is more. There is the pitchfork that Keith calls the silent fourth: never seen, never known, never told of. The fourth is in every way identical to the one which Tera holds. It is the equal of it, no better or worse, no more powerful or less so. It is Keith’s own, the twin of Tera’s in every way. They are the pitchforks forged from the love they have for each other.
Perhaps that is the best symbolism of all …