Chapter 11: The Unicorn

A few weeks passed, the Unicorn slowly acclimated to staying in her fox form. The strange leather piece around her neck pinched but the Unicorn found that by shaking her head a certain way it would release itself slightly. Every so often the Duchess would take her daughter on a ride around the small town, they called it Silva. Often they went though the town, one time as the trio passed the blacksmith’s shop, the place that made the weapons, the Unicorn saw a tall young man with strange red flecks in his dark hair, the carriage had passed by, and the Unicorn didn’t see him again.

A month passed this way, until the Unicorn saw her chance to escape.

“Mum! Princess has run off again!” Lizette whined to her mother and the lady of the Fortress. A white sparrow with a dark patch on its forehead perched on a nearby windowsill. 

“Let’s check the nursery; I’m sure she’s there.” The pair walked off along the passageway, the sparrow lifted off form the sill and circled the fortress and the gardens surrounding it, alighting on the stable roof. 

It had been a month since her capture, and during that time the Unicorn had learned about the people she had some to live with. The Duchess and Lizette were the rulers of the household, occasionally there was a man called the Duke and there were parties, but only occasionally. When he came there was much talk of Court and wars. After the people and their forms for some time she learned that the people wore the skins of other creatures or woven plant fibers to cover their bodies and keep them warm. The coats that the rulers wore were much finer than that of some of the others. The Unicorn didn’t understand it, but it seemed to be a form of status, instead of strength like the forest creatures they used their coats to show who was better. They were strange creatures. Studying their forms and gathering her magic from the gardens around the fortress for the past month made the Unicorn confident that she could shift forms. The sparrow form she chose was easy, a form she knew well, the new human form would be trickier without the power from her forest. 

She coasted into an empty stall in the stables and gathered her strength. She took a deep breath, puffing up her little sparrow body and gathered her strength. She recalled the human form, and exhaled. She felt her body change slowly, lengthening and losing feathers and fur. After an agonizingly long time, panting and sweating from exertion, the Unicorn stood as a human. She held up her hands, pale and thin, much like the rest of her. She was shorter than the walls of the stall, shorter than her original form, but not so small as she had been for a long time. She dug in the hay for a serving girls dress that she had taken from the laundry the day before, slipping the thick woolen garment over her head and tucking her white-blond hair up into the matching cap, she stepped out of the stall. One of the horses shied at her. 

“You forgot the boots dear, all humans wear boots.” The mare snuffled. 

“Oh!” The Unicorn whispered, her own voice sounding unfamiliar to her. She located the boots and slipped the leather casings over her feet. 

“Is that better?” 

“Aye miss, though you seem better suited to be a queen than a scullery maid.”

“The Unicorn nodded, though she didn’t understand. The difference between a queen and a maid didn’t seem to matter much. Thanking the mare, she slipped out of the stables and into the small town.

The End

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