Unicorn Moon - Part 1 of 3
 By T W I   •   6th Jun 2012   •   4,211 views   •   12 comments
Unicorn Moon

Though the night was cold, the unicorn stood proudly on the hill overlooking the village below. The wind was chilly so high up and it whipped the unicorn’s mane and tail, dark as the night itself, back and forth like so many banners in the breeze. There were many little hollows and thickets in which the beast could have taken refuge from the cold night, but it distained such shelter, instead keeping up its endless vigil upon the hill until the first rays of dawn were visible, just above the sea. Then it turned, slowly, deliberately, and regally cantered down the hill, the sound of his massive hooves muted by the turf, wet with morning’s dew.

The sea, restless and always shifting, splashed upon the beach with a force that would have struck any passerby as angry. But no one was out this early, and the water eventually receded, high tide over. The water level would remain low until twilight, when the sea began to reclaim the still-damp beach, to cover it the whole night long.

Shama’s two moons had almost disappeared now, swallowed by the quickly rising sun. The unicorn touched its indigo horn to the ground in reverence as almost simultaneously, the two slivers in the sky disappeared as the sun shot over the horizon, enveloping everything in its radiance.

In the village, called Ner, one of Shama’s many little communities, the people were just beginning to stir. They left their homes and went about the day’s work with gusto. Fishing boats were launched and children played in the sand. All this, the unicorn watched impassively, a shock of dark mane blowing in the breeze.

Presently he heard a voice drifting towards him from the direction of the village of Ner. “Pendant,” it called, “Pendant you are early. I rose with the dawn and left as soon as I could, yet you seem to have beaten me to our rendezvous place yet again.”

The unicorn, Pendant was his name, turned his noble head to regard the girl solemnly. He was standing a little ways off from the village in a little clump of aspen trees, waiting as he always did, every morning, for the girl that would always come from the direction of the sea to meet him.

Now, she crested a rise and he could see her clearly, her auburn locks tussled by the salty breeze, her green eyes shining. He trotted towards her and they met half way, her slender hands lavishing caresses upon his painted coat. She laughed aloud when he snorted in mock fear, dancing away from her. She twined her fingers in his mane, slipping onto his broad back. He pranced and tossed his head, but was careful not to dislodge his slim rider. Not that he had to worry, for she was skilled in the lore of horses. She ran a hand along his side, tracing the indigo markings there, a stark contrast to the rest of his white pelt.

“Come, let us be off,” she laughed.

And they were off. Her chestnut tresses blew behind her, her blue skirt billowing like the sea. Pendant raced across the grassy hills, the sound of the sea in their ears. Though the waves splashed invitingly across the sun-warmed beach, they did not stray near it but kept to the grassy hills, sweet and juicy with sea salt

The sun was high in the sky when they returned. Pendant stopped a little distance off from the village to let the girl dismount and she did so regretfully, letting a lingering hand intertwine with his thick black mane. She looked into the unicorn’s liquid eyes before turning away with a final farewell wave of her hand. The unicorn watched her go until she was out of sight and even then, he stood, staring at the village where she had vanished among crowded houses.

Eventually he turned and left, retreating towards the forest in the distance. The village was but a speck along the shimmering line of the sea when he reached it, pausing at the forest’s leafy edge before silently entering.

It was almost nightfall when he emerged from the forest a silently as he had come. Twigs and leaves clung to his mane and tail, and his eyelids were still heavy with sleep as he made his way towards the hill where he had kept watch on the night before. He was glad of the forest’s thick foliage, effectively blocking out most of the sun’s light and enabling him to sleep, for he would not rest tonight. Just like every other night that he could remember in the past, he mounted the hill to keep his vigil over Ner.

His ears pricked as they were met by the soft tread of footsteps. It was the girl, hurrying towards him, barely visible in the fading light. She kept silent until she reached him, looking up at her friend with soft green eyes.

“I couldn’t sleep Pendant, so I slipped out to see you. Father is late returning from fishing and I cannot help but worry. He still has almost an hour before they issue forth, but I just...well I guess I just needed some company.”

The unicorn nuzzled her shoulder reassuringly with his silky muzzle. She looked up at him with a smile.

“The Kelpies won’t get us tonight,” she murmured. “Not tonight, not ever.”

He snorted and tossed his mane defiantly. That brought a laugh from her, pealing into the night. They both stared past the village and at the sea, a seemingly passive silver line illuminated in the moonlight. Time passed, both of them oblivious to its motion. Finally, the girl rose with a yawn. Night fell as the sun gradually slipped behind the sea, finally disappearing entirely.

“I think I'll head home now,” she said, casting an anxious glance at Pendant.

“You’ll be alright, won’t you?” Then she laughed at her own words, shaking her head. “Of course you will. Goodnight Pendant, I’ll see you at sunrise.”

Then she was off, skipping away towards her cottage. Pendant watched her go, his large eyes following her lithe form as she made her way between the village houses. Instead of disappearing around a corner as she usually did, however, she suddenly froze. Pendant’s eyes narrowed and he craned his neck for a better view. Though he could not hear the cry that tore from her lips, he could see her rigid form suddenly spring into action as she began to run. He tensed, striding anxiously to the very edge of the hill. He appeared to want to descend the hill, his hooves poised at its very edge. A shaft of moonlight enveloped the hill, as it did every night, and he began to pace within its boundaries, but never straying from the silvery light.

Down below, the girl had reached the outskirts of the village and was now racing across the beach, legs flashing. She reached the water edge and hesitated.
Pendant whinnied urgently, tossing his head in frustration, his indigo horn catching the light. He squealed again, calling out to the girl at the seaside. She was too far away to hear him, his cries drowned out by the crashing waves. Even if she had, his warning would not have prevented her action, for even as Pendant’s scream rent the air, she had plunged into the waves.
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