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24th January
posted by amber

Here’s a story posted by one of the participants to my on-line writing workshop. Another story suggestion will be posted this Sunday. Please feel free to make comments on Darryl’s story.

The Hunt

“I smell the unicorn.”

Shadia was never wrong. She was born of the Clan Wysderi; who were Keepers of the Woods. From an early age, some of the tribe were chosen for specific abilities. Some were Trackers, able to track creatures even after three weeks of passage, and across the hardest of ground. Others were Talkers, able to communicate by thought.

Even fewer were those that could sense the rarest of the Woodland creatures, usually one was born every other generation. In the Clan Wysderi, one had not been born for five generations; until the birth of Shadia. The instances of these births were becoming fewer and fewer, and many feared that one day, none would be born again. More and more frequently, those that could sense these rare beasts were paid quite highly by Off Worlder’s, to track down these creatures so that they could be either caught and sold as oddities, or dispatched to collect the rare items they possessed. Her Clan counted on the annual migration of the unicorn; the outside shell of their singular horn shed just after mating, and was used for many purposes by the Clan. Once shed, the horn shells deteriorated quickly, and needed to be found as soon as possible. Unicorns were generally creatures of shadow, difficult to find, their secrecy was almost complete. Once a year, however, during the Time of Union, they became visible for only a day, and their sheds fell, male and female, as if on cue.

“Over there,” she whispered, pointing off to the right, using her chin to direct the small group’s attention towards a glade of wide trunked and heavily foliaged trees.

The group followed behind her, trusting her senses, believing in her expertise. They moved slowly, noiselessly through the trees, as if a slight breeze rustled the grasses and shrubs. Suddenly, Shadia stopped, and stood still; the group followed her lead and stopped, standing still beneath the forest giants. One of the members of the group, holding a weapon not commonly seen in the forest of the Wysderi, moved quietly to her side and whispered into her ear.

“What is it?”

Shadia did not answer; she simply stood and looked towards the grove of trees

“Remember what will happen if you do not guide us to the herd,” the man continued.
Her people would die, if she did not lead them to the herd of Unicorn she knew to be just ahead. They were been held as captives by other members of this man’s group, and were to be executed if Shadia did not bring the group to the herd. Once she showed them the herd, they were to open fire and kill as many Unicorn as possible, the horns themselves were invaluable, and carried a great bounty beyond this world.

“Where are they!” demand hissing in his whisper.

Shadia was Clan Wysderi, Keepers of the Woods. She suddenly lifted her head, and issued a high pitched whistle; the Unicorn would understand.

With the whistle, she had saved the Unicorn, but doomed her Clan.

They were Clan Wysderi, they would understand.

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