The Prince and the Unicorn
It has been a year since his mother died. A whole long year. No matter how hard he tried to move from her death, he just could not. Here he was the forest outside Katolis castle. He had just managed to run away from there under the cover of the darkness of the night when everyone else is sleeping.Everything was going well for Callum today at first. As well as it could for one who is still in mourning. His step-father had managed to persuade him to come with him and his now one-year-old brother on a picnic. While not much, at least he managed to make his baby brother happy with the stuffed magical creature toys that the family picked up from the Banther lodge by holding them up, telling them which one is which and making them go and up while pretending to be any magical creature toy he was holding. This made Ezran laugh and even reach out for the stuffed toys which Callum happily give while telling him to be careful which Ezran was surprisingly was as he hugged them. By the time the royal family came back to the castle, Callum felt much happier than he had been for some time. He even played with Ezran even more in his bedroom.However, his happiness was soon dashed shortly afterwards when Callum decided to get some jelly tarts for Ezran and himself from the kitchen, knowing he inherited their mother's sweet tooth. But, just as Callum was running down the hall, he overheard two castle servants talking about him, saying that it's only a matter of time before King Harrow kick Callum out of the castle now that Sarai is gone for a year, saying he was only here to make her happy. Devastated and feeling his heart swelled up with sadness once again, he ran back to his room in tears and laid in his bed with his face on a pillow, crying. Ezran, sensing his brother's distress, tried to help Callum, but there was nothing he could do about. That afternoon, already still saddened by his mother's death and now compounded by the words of the castle servants he had overheard, Callum decided to run away.Once nightfall came, after making sure everyone is asleep, Callum packed some clothes and food in a bag and carefully snuck out of the castle until he made it into the forest where he was now, running as fast as he could.However, after some time, the young prince soon became hopelessly lost and found some shelter in a hollow tree when he felt cold. Yet, he couldn't help but look at the stars in the night sky."What am I doing?" he asked to himself, "I have ran away and I'm lost. What will Harrow say when he found out I ran away?"It was then he saw a flock of sparrows came flying in towards him. No, these are not ordinary sparrows, they're Yosuzume, night sparrows. They are usually harmless unless you have a evil heart and soul, but whenever they appear which is rarely, they would bring people good luck and help you out, according to some people."Huh?" Callum said, confused as the birds flew around him. "Night sparrows? Were you following me or did you just appear?" The birds flew up to some low branches and pointed their beaks towards a cave. Callum just looked at it for a bit, before deciding to go in there, knowing it must be dark but at least it would be warm."Thank you, night sparrows." Callum said as he went inside the cave and sure enough, it was warm. It made Callum feel like he's wrapped in a warm blanket and this made him feel drowsy and soon enough, he was asleep after walking deep into the cave.After a few hours, a sound that sounded like singing appeared. This stirred the prince from his slumber, wondering what the sound was. Seeing that it's coming from further into the cave, he cautiously approached the sound, following it to an entrance that let him see that it's now daytime and lead to another patch of forest that felt like it was timeless and out there. Callum was amazed by the sight of it, taking in everything around him. He gaped happily at it and fell on the grass. Oh, he wished that his little brother, mother and Harrow were here to see this. They would be amazed by the sight of this like he was right now. The thought, however, made him feel sad again and he remembered that he had run away. Feeling depressed, he slumped off and sat in a rock, wondering what now. He came across this place and he only did so because he ran away. For a while, he just sat on the rock, thinking of his family and how they would react when they find out he was gone.Then, he saw something that looks like his mother. "Mother?" Callum asked in confusion, then became excited."Mother!" Callum exclaimed and giggled happily. Then, he jumped off the rock and ran towards what he assumed to be his mother. "Mother, it's you! Wait, mother! Wait!" However, the thing became smaller as he comes nearer and he soon realized it was just his shadow made bigger by the rising sun when he was at a distance and his eyes playing tricks on him. Once again, reality hits him hard and he sank into a deep sadness as he reminded that his mother is gone and walked off into the forest with his memories from a year ago as his only companion.When he first told of the death of his mother, all he can think about was her, had hardly noticed his hunger and more or less forgotten the words his step-father had given him. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move from his mother's death, even though Harrow, Soren and Claudia have tried to make him feel better.One example of this is when Claudia had tried to give a peach she was given too after she, Soren and some other kids fight over a single peach that was the only one left in a tree. Claudia had climbed up the tree and plucked off the fruit. However, once she climbed down and was about to eat it, Soren appeared behind the tree and tried to snatch the peach from Claudia, only for her to still hold onto it. Then, more kids came and a fight over the peach ensured as all the kids jumped over and grabbed each other by either the legs or arms to get the fruit. It landed back at Claudia when she snatched away from one of the kids and tried to walk away victorious with the peach. But, Soren and the other kids followed and each of them grabbed the peach from the other as they fell down in a pile of hay with Soren getting his hands on it. Then, the peach got snatched by a horse, causing him to fall into the hay last and he, Claudia and the other kids watched and moaned miserably as the horse eat the peach in front of them. Thankfully, a woman with a whole basket of peaches came by and each gave them a peach, making them happy, and they happily went back to the festival they were at. All of them except for Claudia as she saw Callum sitting all alone, looking miserable. Feeling sorry for him and knowing why he is sad, she came over to him and tried to give him her peach. Unfortunately, he barely acknowledged her and her peach and she became miserable too.For a whole year, Callum was in denial.Eventually, he came to the shade of a large tree where the wind slow and steady, shaking the leaves in the branches above. Feeling too sad to go on any further, he laid down on the grass below on the trunk of the tree where he preceded to curl into a ball and shed some more tears for a little bit more. Just then, when he had close his eyes, the sound he heard last night appeared again, this time closer. Callum sat up. He had forgotten all about the sound and is now trying to find where is it coming from. Then, he saw the source of the sound. Coming towards him was one of the most beautiful magically creatures ever: a unicorn. It was a horselike creature, dark purple in color with several spots that resemble stars, a mane, tail and hooves silver white in color that shimmered like stardust, eyes of the deepest blue that sparkled like sapphires, and a star mark and long, slim and twisted horn on its forehead. Callum couldn't believe the creature before him. He has only heard stories of them at first and now he is seeing one now. Suddenly, everything began to make sense on why the forest patch he is in now felt timeless and out there. He was in a Unicorn's domain, one of many places where Unicorns had lived in after they were convince to go into hiding by humans that they helped after dark mages appear as their horns were the most valuable and sought-out prize for them. Now, when one had entered into such a place and meet any unicorns that lives there, they have to promise them to never tell any about it and their encounter with said unicorns in order to keep them safe from dark mages."Little human, what brings you here to my domain?" the unicorn said in a otherworldly, yet gentle voice, coming in beside him. Callum didn't respond. He was so awe at the sight of the unicorn that he forgotten about his sadness, but then he went into tears once again."Why do you weep? What is it that makes you sad?" the unicorn asked again. Another thing about unicorns is they are gentle and compassionate and are sympathic of humans and willing to help them, unlike the elves and dragons who are arrogant, look down on humans as lesser beings and didn't bother to help them. Because of this, humans given kindness and help by the magical horned creatures protected them from dark mages whenever they can and ultimately convinced them to go into hiding until dark magic is no more or banned, and only approach only humans with good hearts and souls and genuinely need their help."It's not fair. They say it was a matter before my step-father will kick me out because she was gone and I was only here to make her happy." Callum said while he sobbed."Who's gone? And who said you will kicked out by this Harrow?""Mother." Callum sobbed, "She went into Xadia a year ago to get the heart of a magma titan to feed both Katolis and Duren, even though she hated dark magic and was against from the start. Then, Thunder, the dragon king, came when the expedition party was exiting Xadia with what they wanted and he killed my mother along with the queens of Duren. I was so sad when I heard of her death by Thunder and couldn't stop thinking about her for a year. Then, just when I was finally starting to feel better yesterday, I heard two castle servants say I'll kicked out by King Harrow, my step-father, because she was gone and I was only there to make her happy. So, I ran away, got lost, and ended up here."Callum broke down into even more tears. The unicorn did not spoke and continued to listen to the human boy before her."Why did she die? Harrow was saddened by her death, too, despite giving me some words about life. Is it my punishment for not being born into royalty? What will Harrow do when he found out I ran away?""Oh, it's not your fault. It's not your mother's fault. Now, you listen to old Asteria." the unicorn, Asteria, said. Callum listened and didn't dare to interrupt as she continued. "It is nobody's fault that they do what they must no matter how questionable. The dragon king, who you call Thunder for example, was just doing whenever he must to keep his subjects, but even he did some questionable things in his reign. Same goes with this King Harrow, your mother and these queens of Duren you spoke off. Life is never truly black and white, as everyone can do both good and bad, and life moves on. I'm sure your mother wanted you and Harrow to move on from her death as there's no point in being stuck in the past and to mourn the death of those you love forever.""But what will we do? We missed her so much and my brother will still grow up without a mother's love." Callum said."Then you will always miss her. She maybe be gone physically, but she will always be with both of you as long as you remember her, the love she has for you and the wisdom and words she had given you. As long as you cherish everything she had given, you will never be apart and you are still a part of each other.""You sure?""I'm sure and I'm sure your pain will heal in time." Asteria said, then she got up. "Now, come on. Your step-father might come here to look for you.""You sure about this, but what if lord Viren is with him? He's our kingdom's high mage and a dark mage. He's also the one that came up with the plan to use the heart of a magma titan. There's no doubt what he'll do if he finds you." Callum said, scared."Then, I'll keep myself hidden. Me and my kind were told to go into hiding until dark magic is no more or banned so long ago." Asteria said, "Now, get on my back. We're going to find your step-father.""Okay." Callum said. He climbed onto Asteria's back and the two rode off."Mind telling me your name before we part?" Asteria asked."Sure. It's Callum." Callum said.Some time later, Asteria's word became tried as King Harrow and a few of his guards, but Viren is no where in sight, ran through the forest, with a trio of hunting dogs with them. Asteria and Callum watched them from above, hidden from sight."I feel a sense of timelessness here." Harrow said."You do, sire?" one of the guards asked."Yes. It's the feeling many felt when they enter a unicorn's domain, along with a sense of being out there." Harrow said."Unicorn?" another guard asked."Yes. They are rare, so only a few had see them as they only approached those with a pure heart and soul after dark mages tried to hunt them for their horns and kill three of their kind, forcing those the creatures helped to convince them to go into hiding as a reward for the kindness the unicorns have gave them while the elves and dragons did not. As long as they remain hidden from dark mages, the unicorns will be safe.""Are you sure we'll find Prince Callum here?" yet another guard asked."Yes, I'm sure we will. The dogs led us here for a reason. They have picked his scent here and as long as the dogs continue to pick it up, we'll find Callum." Harrow said. Then, after a few minutes of searching heard a boy's voice call for the king."Harrow!"The search party turned to see Callum emerged from some bushes, running towards them."Callum! There you are." Harrow said, coming off his horse as Callum approached him. "I went through all the trouble to find you after I found your bed empty and figured you must've ran away. Where did you think you were going when you ended up here?"Callum was silent for a moment. Then, he spoke, "Because you don't want me anymore.""What?" Harrow asked, dumbfounded."I'm sorry. I know you only kept me to make mother happy. But, now she's gone and you don't need me." Callum said, breaking down in tears again. "So, I did indeed ran away last night, thinking it'll be better this way. So, please throw me out and spare me the pain."Feel his heart tightened at the boy's crying, he picked up the boy in his arms. "Shh, you're alright, Callum." the king, rubbing Callum's back in circle to calm him down."I know how much you miss your mother, but I will never get rid of you." Harrow said. "Why would you think something like that?""I heard two of the caste servants talking about me and that you'll get rid of me." Callum sniffled.Harrow sighed at this. How many times does he have to tell people this? Callum is his son and that they shouldn't talk wrong about him like that. There are some people who think it's okay to do something like that when it is not. He even put to an end to some gossip by some maids that said the same thing shortly after Ezran was born when he overheard before Callum can hear it."Callum, look at me." Harrow said, lifting up the boy's chin to look at him. "You are my son, and I love you as much as your brother. I promise I will never kick you out." he promised."You mean it?" Callum asked. "Like really mean it?""Yes, I mean it." Harrow said, putting Callum on his horse. "Now, let's go home. Ezran is waiting for us." Callum nodded and Harrow went up on the sandle on his horse."Did you by the way managed to meet a Unicorn that lives here and made you promise to not tell anyone about it and this place? We ae in a Unicorn's domain after all, and don't worry, none of us will tell anyone. Right?"The guards nodded, so did Callum. "Yes, I did met one and she had helped out with I was going through a bit and gave me some words of advice.""Interesting. It's so rare to meet such creatures." Harrow said, then turned towards the forest."Stay where you are, noble creature. Stay in your domain and keep yourself and any creature that lives here safe and protected from any dark mage and good luck to you, for you and your kind had gave us humans hope that one day, humans, elves and dragons will be friends one day." Harrow said to the forest. Then, the group went off towards Katolis castle now with Callum in tow."Good luck to you too, King Harrow of Katolis, for I sense something terrible will happen between you and King Avizandum." Asteria said, looking on as the humans exit her domain, knowing they will keep both her and her home a secret, before heading back into the forest.Nine years later, Callum still remembered his encounter with Asteria and her words of advice, although it has become vague, and kept it a secret. He had hoped he would meet her again like she said. What little did he knew the Unicorns will play a big part in the adventures he'll soon have with his brother and pet glow toad, Bait, and his future elven girlfriend, Rayla.