Son of Alidus and Nimue. (©SunBlind)
The moon reflected its pale light upon the ocean's waters as the unicorns gathered near the shore. White, ghost-like figures, they drew themselves into a circle, a lone mare standing in the center looking out towards the sea. Not a sound could be heard, even the wind seemed expectant as it listened closely. Finally the circle was complete, and the lone unicorn lowered her head in homage to the moon and stars that filled the night's sky. At last the wind could contain itself no more and blew manes and tails playfully.
The filly closed her eyes a moment as if listening to the words of the wind, or perhaps that of an inner voice, the others did not know. For Rhadia was the storyteller, the one who tells of the past, and sometimes, of the future. The one who knows the story of every unicorn on the Island, the one destined to remind the mortal world of that which they once knew.
The unicorns had gathered to hear the tale of one whose story was yet untold. Once again, the wind impatient, encouraged Rhadia to tell the story so that he may carry it to all those who would listen, those who could hear the music of the wind.
Rhadia waited a moment longer, as if laughing at the wind who could no longer wait. And so the story began on a clear and moonlight night.
"Everyone has a story to be told, a song to be sung," she began as she always did. "Now is the time for all to know the story of this one. Once he is known to us, we shall be able to know ourselves for we are all a part of each other." The wind blew strong as if trying to tear her words away. The ocean joined the game, crashing noisily on the beach, wave washing up to the unicorns' hooves. But Rhadia's clear strong voice was unaffected and her words drew the listeners in until they were aware of little else. The wind and the water calmed.
"Tonight we shall learn of Alywyn, my mate. To know his story we must go back to a time before he was, when only his father Alidus and his mother Nimue galloped upon the sands. From their love came a clutch of twenty eggs, a joyous moment, for not often is a unicorn born to this world.
"Both Alidus and Nimue knew that they could not keep their cherished eggs forever, that they must be taken to other hidden fields and glades so that magic could be returned to all the places in the world where it had been once before. To wait for the time when unicorns could run free and dragons fill the air. A time when the mortals no longer hunt us with their greed for power. For this we wait on Unicorn Island.
"Not sure of where to send their precious eggs, Alidus and Nimue chose to create a search. Mortals and other realm Keepers would be invited to find the eggs. The protective parents made the search long and difficult, spanning both their worlds, so that only the most worthy would find a unicorn egg. Those, they decided, would take the best care of their young ones in the years to come.
"And so the search began and so it continued for days. The days grew to weeks and the weeks to months. Many who searched returned empty-handed. Others went to Alidus and Nimue for help, but the unicorns remained silent among the pleas for help.
"The longer the search took, the more the parents willed no one to find their cherished eggs. Unbeknownst to the other, each stole away an egg of their own in the hopes of being permitted the joy of at least one of their foals. And so two eggs were separated from the clutch and hidden well for fear that if another herd member found them they would be forced to part with them.
"The search, having spanned many days and nights, had taken so long that eggs began to hatch. Many of those that had been found began to rock in their warm nests around the world. Quickly the herd gathered to cast a spell on those not yet discovered, so that they would not enter the world before their time. Both Alidus and Nimue, knowing that their own eggs may be hatching at that very moment, alone, were bound to remain with the herds or expose their secrets. As the spell was cast upon the hidden clutch of remaining eggs, both parents added to the spell in the hopes of including their two as well.
"Perhaps due to the influence of the rest of the herd, or to the difficulty of such magic that would try to delay life, their efforts were in vain. Rather than protect their own eggs, others that had been found stopped their rockings as if their occupants had suddenly thought they might like to remain in the warm darkness of their shells a while longer. But neither Alidus nor Nimue knew this, and thinking their foals safe, remained a while with the herd to discuss the joys felt over those who had joined the world that day.
"This joy was not felt by all members of the herd, for, hidden in the shadows of the forest lay the newest member of the herd, afraid and confused in a world in which he had discovered he was alone.
"For many and hour, little Alywyn lay in the grass beneath the shadow of a great tree. Afraid, he dared not leave its presence although hunger had begun to pain him. The tree though incapable of words, whispered comfort to the little lost one. But Alywyn did not listen, did that hear that he should wait just a bit longer. When a squirrel came noisily chattering down a nearby tree, Alywyn bolted. His new legs, long and gangly caused him many a fall in the woods. Finally tired, bruised and weak, Alywyn stopped in a small clearing believing he was alone.
"But he was not. Though well out of sight, there watched a young creature who shared the colt's fate. Mayla lay in awe of the unicorn, she had never seen a creature so white and magical. She remained still and thus hidden from the horned one's searching eyes.
"Now, on a distant part of the Island, Alidus was at last able to slip away from the rest. By now it was dark and the trees were whispering of strange events in the forest that night. Alidus, able to speak with animals, could only get vague feelings from plants. The night was starting to cloud over and often Alidus was deprived of the moon's comforting light. But having traveled this path many time, the stallion never faltered in his step. Once in sight of the old tree, Alidus could see the vague form of the egg in the shadows. The plants had been muttering about something lost, but it was not the egg.
"Now the tree chosen to protect the precious egg was an ancient oak, some believe that it was as old as time itself. Or perhaps as old as the beginnings of magic, which we know to be much older than time. Over the centuries, the oak had seen many things and grown very wise. He had seen many a coming and passing of the immortal unicorns, who they themselves were timeless. It always brought great joy to the old tree when a new unicorn came to the world. And it always wept at the passing of such a creature as well.
"Alidus knew the old oak would take gentle care of his foal, but something was wrong. The oak echoed the dismay of the rest of the forest. Just then the moon broke through the overcast sky and shone upon what remained of the egg. The trees and plants redoubled their cries. The egg had hatched but the foal was nowhere to be seen.
"Night had fallen and it was cold and dark. In every shadow lurked a hidden menace, in every sound was cruel laughter at the plight of the young unicorn. Though exhausted, the foal dared not sleep. He began to pace the clearing, another urge driving him, as if he had to walk, and to walk this way. Back and forth his trembling legs carried him until they stopped before a shadowed bush. Not sure why his legs were giving him rest, Alywyn lay down and peered into the leaves. There he saw eyes looking into his own.
"When both creatures had realized that they had been discovered, Alywyn made to bolt and Mayla to cry. 'The horned one is preparing to attack,' she wept with no mother to protect her.
"Alywyn heard the tears and understanding her sadness and fear, lay close to her and offered her comfort. And so the two frightened animals slept together that very long autumn night.
"Morning came, and still they were alone. But the presence of each other gave them courage to face the day. Alywyn could see the Mayla wished to find others of her kind, just as he did. So he set himself to look for them. Perhaps they would care for his as well.
"He felt the strange feelings in his legs again, as if they were moving without his control. They were taking him somewhere. At first he resisted, and they obeyed, but the feeling nagged at him, pushed him. Finally it took all his concentration to force them to travel another path. Seeing Mayla disturbed by his inner struggle, Alywyn allowed his legs to take him where they would.
"They walked for hours. Alywyn began to wonder if they were walking in circles, everything looked the same to him. Suddenly his legs stopped and without great effort, he could not will them to move. Mayla looked worriedly at the young unicorn but could do nothing to help.
"Alywyn felt as if there was something important in this place, but he couldn't even begin to imagine what it was. So he remained, frozen in place as he tried to discover the answer.
"At first it was a slight rustle of the leaves, as if the wind were playing games with one's ears and make one think that they had not heard anything at all. But it came again. Though Alywyn was afraid, he did not move, he could not move. Perhaps this was the special thing his legs had brought him to see.
"And it was. Mayla's mother stepped forwards from the bushes. First she saw the lone unicorn and lowered her head in respect for such a magical creature. Then a movement in the underbrush caught her glance. She leapt joyfully to her baby, licking Mayla's fur and making sure she was well. Alywyn watched the reunion happily, his legs no longer binding him in place, he jumped as high and as gracefully as any deer.
"Alidus, during the night and in the midsts of all those who hoped to find a rare unicorn egg, had begun a search of his own. But as morning came, fear gripped the father's heart as he had yet to find any sign of his beloved foal. But still he did not stop.
"Alywyn watched the mother and daughter play in the fallen leaves of the forest. For a while he joined them, but found that he longed for other like himself. With long, graceful legs to race across the ground, with a white, slender horn to parry, with small, silver hooves with which to kick and buck in joy. That's when he decided to find another like himself. He nuzzled Mayla to say good bye then let his legs carry him forward, unerringly, once more.
"This time he was no longer unsure, this time he walked with purpose. A lone raven flew above him, but he feared it not and soon it had disappeared above the trees. He was determined to find his way home.
"Alidus was drinking from a crystal stream when the raven appeared before him. It eagerly told the stallion of how it had seen the colt and was willing to lead Alidus to him, in return for a strand of his mane. As every raven, this one liked to collect pretty things that glittered in the sunlight. Alidus told the raven that it had always been welcome to any hairs a unicorn had gotten caught on a branch or a rock, but offered it a strand from his long tail. And so the raven led the father towards the son.
"But when they got to where Alywyn had last been seen, he was no longer there. The raven was not able to see where the little one had gone below as it flew over the trees. Alidus felt great loss, and yet he felt as if he were near. Perhaps other creatures had seen his foal, perhaps they could tell him where he had gone. The raven offered to search, and with a thankful heart, the stallion watched the bird fly away.
"As he lowered his eyes, he saw, in the distance something blue-white moving towards him silently. Alidus dared not move as hope filled his very being. At last he could he the mutterings of the colt….
"'Stupid legs, we were here just a moment ago. You're taking me in circles again.'
"And so the little one continued. Alidus raced forward with joy at the sight of his son. Alywyn looked up, startled to see the incoming unicorn apparently intent on attacking him. He prepared to bolt but his legs would not stop moving him towards this angry blur of white horn and hooves.
"But it was not angry, and soon the united family leapt and danced with joy at their discovery.
"And thus Alywyn returned with his father to join the herd on Unicorn Island."
Rhadia, now finished with her story, stepped forward and the circle parted to allow her passage. The wind howled with pleasure as it raced across the ocean to carry a new tale to other lands. The sea washed gently upon the shore as it slept with the story in it's dreams. The moon also appeared to have heard, and as it set to make way for the morning sun, it reflected fantastic forms upon the calm waters.
But Rhadia did not leave the circle created by the herd, she merely waited a moment. Then, for the morning mists at the edge of the woods stepped for a handsome unicorn stallion. The coat glowed a ghostly blue-white in the remaining silver moonlight. His mane and tail fluttered gently with the sea-breeze and sparkled with crystal dew. He moved forward till he had entered the circle and it had closed behind him.
Rhadia moved forward to her mate knowing that he would always be able to find her, no matter what should happen in the future and rested her head upon his neck. Both closed their eyes in a quiet moment as the sun's first rays turned silver coats gold.
Then the herd quietly dispersed and faded into the mists of the peaceful woods.
Parents: Alidus x Nimue
Offspring: Gothien and others.
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