Monday, January 01, 1990

Horn of the Unicorn: A Tale of Alyria

Written by Mark Eddy

She wasn't going to make it. He could tell that, just from the way she wasn't moving. But he worked on to spite death. She had been caught, an innocent bystander (if any in this godforsaken tangle known as the Web was truly innocent), when the actions of two opposing gangs higher in the Web had dropped a section of walkway onto her hovel. The rest of her family were either hale or dead, but her right arm was a mangled mess, and her blood was everywhere.

He mentally cursed the fools below, the ones who had some medical knowledge, but shared it only sparingly. The ones who had taught him a mere pittance and then exiled him when he tried to learn more. He knew that the bones needed to lie straight if they were to heal, but he couldn't figure out how to hold them in place when the muscles were so badly torn.

His preoccupation deafened him to the silence of the crowd who had come to witness the tragedy of a family destroyed. He didn't even notice the delicate chime of cloven hoofs lightly tripping behind him, or he may have moved aside. He did notice, though, when the delicately spiraled single horn slid over his shoulder to touch his hands.
“You desire knowledge and skill?” The voice inside his head seemed to resonate with the scent of fresh roses. “Will you use them to help and heal, without rancor, without reservation?”

His helpless rage fell away, quenched by the wild hope that was suddenly rising within him. He felt the Presence in his mind, sifting his soul, looking for steel among the dross, or seeds within the soil, or perhaps merely a spark of humanity that had not been stifled by the pain around him.

“Of course you will. You could do nothing else.” The voice was amused now, almost like lilacs in sunshine. “You are Chosen, to be a healer and a guide. I will show you what you seek, if you are willing to step aside...”

As the voice trailed off meaningfully, he stood, and moved to one side, watching as the horn dipped. Miraculously, nerve and vein and bone and muscle and skin were knit back together. But there was more. He now knew how to do that kind of healing -- the kind that restored the body to wholeness. And he understood that he could heal minds and spirits in the same way, because his were now healed.

“Beware, though.” And now the sadness in the voice was like fallen maple leaves. “You bear a Unicorn's horn, but there are those who bear the Dragons' fire. You will know them, but they will also know you. Walk carefully, my son.” And, as the woman at his feet began to stir, the Unicorn faded into mist and wafted away.

The murmur of the crowd returned, this time in shocked amazement at the miracle they had just witnessed. And old Lucian Mender realized he was now much more than what he had been before.


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