Reconciliation of What Must Be With What One Wants Isn’t Easy
The night passed quietly. Zacharion and Yearling let Sihaya sleep through the night, deciding that a full night of sleep was warranted under the circumstances. The following morning, the three decided to stay for the day where they were, as the weather did not seem promising for travel, and took the opportunity to rest. As Yearling took up the task of hunting and foraging, Zacharion took Sihaya to the water’s edge.
“This journey will not be short, Sihaya. You shall not return home soon, but instead you are with me now for the years it will take to complete this task.”
“Years?” Sihaya said, curious, “How many?”
“Enough for us to pass out of childhood.” He said, “So a few years at least. Yearling will likely merit a new name by the time we are done, and we shall be as he is now.”
“Why so long a time?”
Zacharion sighed. He felt the need to address this now, while the time was right. “Because we are to travel to the lands of the Sons of Ken, where there awaits us a young girl who is the New Moon, about our age. Once there, we—rather, I—must prove my worth as the New Sun in order for she and I to fulfill our destinies together.”
Sihaya’s face betrayed her incomprehension.
“We are to be married, but not as Man and Wife. Rather, we are to be the means by which Sun and Moon renew their marriage- and, by doing so, Man renews his connection to the Universe and thus sustains the renewal that began with Ilker and the Witch of the Wastes generations ago.”
“You’re going to marry a girl you’ve never seen, years from now, after proving to her—and, I think, to her father—that not only are you who you say you are, but that this is not like the marriage my parents have?”
Zacharion nodded, hooking a worm on his fishing pole and casting again.
“How is this so?”
“The universe, as Ilker taught to me, and as the Witch confirmed, is a living thing. It seeks to make sense of itself, as we seek meaning in our lives, and because both we and it are living things that seek meaning we use the same principles to pursue this end.”
“I think I know now how many of Holy Ilker’s companions felt. I don’t follow you.”
“Ilker became the Sun. The Witch became the Moon. As Sun and Moon, they married and did what marriage requires, but as Ilker and the Witch they were mere companions—fond ones, but not married—and thus lived otherwise as ordinary men and women do. Ilker had women he loved, and the Witch had men she adored, and neither of these interfered with their being Sun and Moon for we free peoples for their day.”
The concept of a sacred persona slowed seeped into Sihaya’s mind, and her face showed it.
“Your parents, for example, are both King and Queen as well as Zebulon and Keela. They are both of these things, yet not at the same time, for some things require King and Queen to accomplish while others require Zebulon and Keela. These names are just that, names, things we put upon ideas of who or what we are, and yet we are none of them; we can change our names, and thus our identities, as we change our clothes and behaviors.”
Now Zacharion saw that he hit upon a way to get Sihaya to understand the idea of identity as a malleable thing.
“Kings and queens act, dress and carry on like they do because the role that royalty plays is as much a performance of a sacred drama—a ritualized reflection of how reality truly works, albeit a very imperfect one—as it is anything else, and I say that this ritual aspect is the most important part of that role. Kings and queens act as priests before the universe, representing their peoples and standing in for them in all things, which is why there is a well-known connection between the quality of the monarch and the quality of the realm. The flawed realm of your parents reflected the flaws of your parents, flaws now being purged, thankfully, as you are no longer around to hold them back from their duties.”
“So,” she said, “if this you say is true, then you and this girl will be standing in for Sun and Moon as Holy Ilker and the Witch did?”
“Yes.” Zacharion said, as he pulled in another fish.
“And when you two become Sun and Moon, Sun and Moon will renew their marriage and do as married people do, including children?”
Zacharion nodded. “Indeed we shall. The child born of the old marriage, the Twilight Son, will find us and do his part to see this come to pass.”
“But, even though it will be you and she kissing and so on, it’s really Sun and Moon?”
“It shall be so, and when Sun and Moon are done with us then she shall be herself and I myself- ready and able to live and love as we like until Sun and Moon need us again.”
“This is all very weird, Zacharion, but you haven’t been wrong yet and Ilker chose you to succeed him, so I believe you and trust you. I still love you, and I want to be your wife- and you king of Solland. If you can be the Sun, the King and Zacharion then I can be Queen, Sun’s Consort and Sihaya; this girl may be the Moon, and the Sun’s wife, but she shall not be your wife otherwise.”
Zacharion nodded, and he felt a bit of worry grip his shoulders, because this did not bode well for the future.