Here goes my submission for this week's contest!
The eyes of healer and unicorn met. And for the first time in her life, and for a brief second, she was afraid.
It had been weeks since she noticed the unicorn wasn't well; there was rage in his eyes, a rage she had never seen before. But never before she was scared. Unicorns were docile and magical creatures, but they were strong enough to cause harm if they wanted to.
It lasted just a moment, thow. The unicorn's expression soothed, and slowly, he walked over the healer, and allowed her hand to rest on his muzzle.
“I can't help you, can I?” She asked, already knowing the answer.
She could feel the energy flowing to the animal... just as well as she could feel it flowing back. Healers bonded easily with the creatures of nature, especially with unicorns, and their healing abilities were normally welcomed. But this wasn't a sickness of the body; something was wrong in the unicorn's mind. And that was something she couldn't heal or even help with... unless she knew the cause. And she was clueless.
Truth be told, she knew something was changing in that part of the splinterlands. Healers, more than most khymians, could feel the energy shifts. But exactly what and how, was something she couldn't explain just yet.
For a few minutes, unicorn and healer stood quietly in the clearing, the clearing the healer visited ever since she was a child, and where she regularly brought her special medicine, a mixture of herbs that the unicorns appreciated. And then, with a small bow, the unicorn stepped back, and trotted into the forest.
And still no ideia what to say to the high council., the healer tought, as she made her way back.
Eriun was more and more intrigued about what was causing the unicorns to act the way they did recently. The reports of unicorns with a violent behaviour were rare, but were increasing, and they were more and more in hiding, rarely being seen near the villages were they used to roam.
She knew she had a special relation with them; her mother had saved one of the oldest unicorns of certain death, and a special bond had been formed... one that she inherited. And although she was one of the youngest healers in the kingdom, she was also the most knowledgeable about the rare animals. For that reason, the high council had demanded an audience with her... and she still didn't had an explanation for them.
Lost in her thoughts, she quickly made her way back to the isolated house in the vicinities of the mountain village, closing the door behind her stronger that usual.
"Feeling nervous, healer?"
The slow evil voice sent shivers down her spine; she raised her staff but a bolt of energy sent her and her staff to the ground.
How could I've been so distracted? She thought.
But it was too late for that.
From the shadows, a priest emerged, together with the banshee that sent her to the ground.
“I hope you don't mind, miss Eriun, but we made ourselves invited, since you didn't replied when we knocked”, continued the priest in a mocking tone.
Although in the ground, the healer regained her posture.
And who might “ourselves” be, by the way?
You make the question... but you know the answer, don't you... healer?
The last word was pronounced with clear disdain.
And right he was. While she didn't understood how on earth could she be so distracted, there was no doubt who they were. The evil eyes, the voice, the feeling of torpor and weakness that invaded her when he spoke... there were no doubt.
Dark eternals... and an undead priest commanding.
A grin appeared on the priest's face, as he continued his speech.
“Well, but more important than the who... is the why. And it seems you have some friends that we want to meet.”
“Friends?” The healer was confused.
“Yes... the four legged kind. With a horn.”
Eriun's heart sank.
The unicorns. They're coming for the unicorns
The priest read the healer's expression.
“Don't worry, we mean them no harm... unless they choose not to join us. You see, my Lord is appreciating the corrupted pegasus so much, that he believes unicorns will be a great aid for us.”
The healer slowly standed and faced the priest.
“You fool. Unicorns are not pegasus. You will never bend them to your will. They are too powerfull for you.”
“That's what we shall see.” And he added, with an evil grin “... and by we, I mean you too.”
A strong blow to the head was the last thing the healer felt, before she passed out.
She woke up shivering, with a throbbing headache. Her hands and feed were tied, a gag in her mouth, and as she gained conscience, she looked around, trying to find out where she was.
In the forest it was, in a clearing not that far from where pegasus used to visit her.
I'm serving as bait, she realized.
She didn't saw any of her kidnappers, but knew they would be near, lurking, waiting for the pegasus that would inevitably appear.
They have to know about the bond, they know they can sense I'm in danger.... but how??
One thing they didn't knew, thow: about the tiny knife she used to carry in her belt. She could use it to free herself. But they watching her for sure... she had to wait for a distraction. Placing the unicorns in danger was the last thing she wanted.
And as her brain raced for a solution, she heard light steps, and a brush in the foliage.
Noooo was the immediate thought. She needed more time, but the time was up.
The unicorn was there, entering the clearing, slowly moving towards her.
She felt the dizziness and the weakness just before the eternals swarmed the clearing, moments after.
“Get him!! Our Lord will rejoice!”
The pegasus didn't seemed surprised, thow. And with a loud neigh, he launched into battle.
Never had Eriun seen a unicorn fighting. And for a brief moment, she couldn't take her eyes of the creature: the animal she knew as docile turned into a war machine, charging relentlessly against his foes. Apart from the banshees, more dark eternals entered the clearing, ones she had never seen before, with the priest in command.
That was the distraction she needed. The unicorn was strong, but they were too many. She had to help.
As fast as she could, she managed to grab the small knife and start to cut the ropes that entangled her. It was a race against time: the eternals were slowly managing to weaken the unicorn, even with his natural healing powers.
With a final effort, she managed to free herself. The pain in her head was still making her dizzy, but if she didn't suceeded, all hope was lost.
Gathering all her strength, she lashed her attack.
The undead priest turned his head in her direction, but a second too late. The energy burst sent him to the ground, unconscious.
She felt stronger as the priest's influence vanished... and so did the unicorn. Eriun fell to her knees, too weak to be able to do anything else. But the loss of the leader's powers and the short desorientation that followed in the dark eternals was enough for the animal. And never had the healer imagined how powerful a unicorn truly was.
His horn seemed to glow with the moonlight, as foe after foe fell to the ground. The rage in his eyes now had a purpose, and he showed no mercy. And a few minutes later, that seemed to last an eternity, only two souls were still breathing.
As the healer stood, the unicorn came close. He had a few injuries, but with his healing ability he would be completely healed by the next day.
And as she touched the animal's muzzle, all became clear. The rage, the agressivness.
They already knew. They sensed the dark forces coming.
She knew now what to say to the council. But even better, she knew khymians had unexpected allies... and ones more powerful than she could have ever imagined.
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