Once upon a time, in the village of Inglewood Hamlet, there was magic afoot.
This was nothing new. The village was vast and there were a great many magical things that took place on a daily basis. The witches often got together to talk about new spells and talk about cures they had created for various ailments. Shape shifters and skin walkers often got in trouble for impersonating other people. There were also Scribes, the most magical of all beings. The magic that they created with their words would often fill the cobblestone streets with wonders of renown.
However, none of this helped the Unicorn.
He wandered the grasslands that surrounded the small kingdom of Inglewood Hamlet and would look up at the castle walls. He would wonder what went on within the walls and what kind of magic the King and Queen could make. This would make the Unicorn sad.
Almost every person, animal or being in Inglewood Hamlet could do something in the way of magic. The Unicorn’s great shame was that he couldn’t produce any kind of magic. His human often rubbed his nose when he got like this to calm him down.
“Cheer up!” Candice said. “It’s not all that bad.” She said soothingly.
The Unicorn looked at her lovingly. She had hair that was a beautiful purple hue that fell past her shoulders that reminded the Unicorn of the lavender that grew in the garden that Candice grew. When the wind blew, the Unicorn could smell lavender and it would make him think of her. She also had wonderful blue eyes that made the Unicorn think of the sky when the sun was rising, and the world was full of colour.
Candice had found him when he was just a young foal, barley able to walk. He had been wandering the forest alone and she had brought him home, knowing that he was hers. Now he was a Unicorn three moons old. He was full grown and had shed the brown coat and the small horn that he had been born with. He now stood tall and brilliantly white, his horn long and tinted in golds and oranges and reds. It looked like he had been touched by fire.
The Unicorn let out a sigh. “It’s just that most Unicorn’s have powers before now. Some have the ability to heal others, some can fly and carry their human long distances. There are others that are so strong, they can defend a whole town! I have heard tales where the Unicorn was able to do magic and create wonders!”
“Silly Unicorn.” Candice said, smiling at him. “Don’t you know that you are made of magic? You don’t have to do anything. You can simply be the wonder that you are.”
The Unicorn hung his head. “You don’t understand. Having a magical power is part of being a Unicorn. Did you know that some can sing and calm others or see the future? I’ve heard tell of a Unicorn that could see through the sands of time. A Unicorn always discovers its secret power by it’s second year, when it’s true horn begins to grow in.”
The Unicorn stuck its hoof at the ground in frustration. “I don’t have anything special powers.” He said sulkily.
“Of course you do.” Candice said. “You help children believe in magic and you are filled with so much love that when people are around you, they can’t help but remember their lost loves or think on the one they truly love!” She patted him softly. “Love is the greatest magic that there is.”
The Unicorn snorted. “Candice, all Unicorns can do that.”
“Are you sure? I think that’s pretty special.”
“It is special, but not to me. It’s like you said, Unicorn’s are made of magic. Mortals can’t help but think of the person they love most when they are around us. Magic is joy, so they think of what brings them the most happiness.”
“That’s doesn’t happen to me.”
“Yeah, well, you already live with your true love.” The Unicorn observed.
A particularly strong gust of wind blew around them and the Unicorn could smell the lavender, but also lilacs and roses. It was a heady scent. The wind must have come from far away because Candice only grew lavender. He loved the scent of the lavender that Candice grew for the witches spells, but the scent of roses always made him sneeze.
He let out a loud sneeze, turning his head away so that he did not sneeze on Candice. He sneezed three more time and was unprepared for when he let out a little bit of flatulence. He was so shocked that he let out three more small flatulence’s!
The Unicorn was so shocked that he tried to splutter an apology to Candice, but when he looked at her closely, she was looking at him with wonder, not disdain. “I’m sorry Candice! I really am. It won’t happen again!”
“I certainly hope it does. Look!”
She went behind him and when she returned her palms were filled with glitter. Her face was filled with joy when she looked up at him. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” She asked.
“About what? My…flatulence problem?” He could feel the blush reddening his fur.
“No,” she said, “This! Do you realise what this is?”
The Unicorn blushed deeper. “I’m sorry, Candice. I’ll clean it up, I promise.”
“Silly Unicorn, do you not know what this is?” She asked. “Why, it’s magic in its purest form! Watch!”
She spotted a flower that had shrivelled on the ground in front of her. She let a little of the magic sparkling dust fall onto the shriveled flower and the Unicorn’s eyes widened when the flower began to grow healthy once more. It even managed to re-root itself right where Candice had spotted it. In a matter of seconds, it was a beautiful lilac blossom again.
“How did that happen?” The Unicorn asked.
“How do you think, silly?” Candice asked with glee. She had taken out a small bag and had placed the glitter into the bag. The wind took some small grains of the shiny material and wherever it fell, new flowers bloomed.
“Why are you putting my flatulence’s in a bag?” the Unicorn said with confusion.
“I’m going to take it to the witches.” Candice said with a gentle pat on his snout. “They can use this in their spells. One of them told me the other day that they had run out of sparkle magic and without a supply, they wouldn’t be able to do their most powerful spells.”
The Unicorn let out another snort, this one mixed with laughter. He knew that more of his flatulence had flown into the air because Candice had gotten out another bag from the pocket of her dress. “I don’t believe you.” He said.
“It’s true! Here, let’s go down to the village square and I’ll show you.” She said, putting the glitter into the second cloth bag. It shone even through the cloth.
“Well, all right.” The Unicorn said, letting Candice mount and seat herself on his back. “Why are you collecting a second bag?” He asked. “Why didn’t you just leave my flatulence’s there?”
“I’m going to give it to the Scribes.” Candice said, holding on to the Unicorn gently as he cantered down to the village square. “Their magic comes from within, but sometimes, their pens need help when they are unable to tell a story. They evoke powerful magic, just like the witches. These sparkles will be most beneficial to them.”
She sounded so happy that the Unicorn didn’t bother uttering a reply. When they got to the village, they went right away to one of the coven houses of the Witches. The Unicorn knew that this was the coven of the hills. They lived in amongst the hills that formed one of the borders of Inglewood Hamlet. They were skilled at breeding livestock and wonderful gardeners and they grew some of the most exotic fruits and vegetables.
When the Unicorn stopped, Candice got off and knocked on the front door of the one of the houses grouped along the border. It had been marked with a horn of plenty, so the Unicorn knew that this was where the leader of the coven lived. There was the sound of bells from behind the door and a woman came out. She was dressed in a thick purple cloak with gorgeous silver fasteners. There were moons and stars embroidered within the fabric. She had dark hair cut short and a beautiful smile made her face shine.
She bowed her head when she saw Candice. “Good morning Lady Candice! To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?”
Candice embraced the woman. “Lauren, it’s so good to see you!” Candice gave the woman a small curtsey. “I have something for you, Lauren! You’re going to be so happy!” Candice pulled out the two bags of sparkles and held them out to Lauren.
Looking at the bags, Lauren approached them with reverence. “Where did you get this? It’s powerful magic! We haven’t had any sparkles or glitter in so very long. This is worth a large fortune! It’s such powerful magic!”
“It was a gift from my Unicorn.” Candice said looking at him with a smile.
“Is that so?” Lauren said softly. She came towards the Unicorn and looked up at him. Then she surprised the Unicorn when she bowed her heads towards him with one hand held over her heart. The Unicorn knew that this was how the witches greeted very important people.
“Dear Unicorn. Thank you for this gift. You have no idea how much this will help us and what this means to us. You have my gratitude for this gift.” The Unicorn lowered his head out of respect and was surprised when Lauren kissed him. Soft warmth bloomed from the magic in that kiss.
Lauren turned to Candice. “There is too much here for our use. A few sprinkles of this magic will do us for months. I will take what I need and you should go see the southern coven. They are having difficulties with creatures from the badlands. Tell Shaheen I sent you.” Lauren took out a small cloth bag and took what she needed. As they rode towards the south border of Inglewood Hamlet, Lauren bowed to them.
As rode toward the southern border, the Unicorn was feeling unsettled. “I don’t understand it. How could she treat my flatulence’s with such reverence?”
Candice stroked his head between his ears as they rode. “You’ve proved that sometimes even the most common thing can contain magic,” Candice said. The Unicorn snorted in embarrassment and more sparkles erupted into the air. Flowers bloomed into the air where the glitter had fallen. The Unicorn sighed but felt better when Candice ran her fingers through his mane to calm him down.
They arrived at the southern border and the difference from the coven of the hills. The coven of the badlands was a small grouping of houses made not of wood but of rock and stone, the better able to stand against the sandstorms that would rise up in the badlands from time to time. Candice got off of the Unicorn and approached a door marked with a pentagram that had been etched within the stone, each point marked with a different gemstone.
She knocked upon it and when the door opened, a man stood in front of them. He was of slim build and was wearing a high collared white shirt and a long cream coloured cloak made out of linen. There were suns woven into the fabric. As he walked towards them, a smile broke out on his face.
“Candice, how lovely to see you.” He embraced her. “How can I be of service?” Shaheen asked.
“I am actually here to be of service to you. Lauren bid me to come and give you aid against the creatures of the badlands.”
“I don’t see how you can do that. The creatures have been horrible. They grow restless and we have no way of protecting ourselves. Our magics are spent.” Shaheen said.
“Well then, I have a gift for you.” She held the bag out to him.
Shaheen stared at the bag with wide eyes. He raised a hand to take the bag, almost as if he didn’t believe that it was real. “Where did you get such magic?” He asked. “We could defend ourselves for a year with only a handful of this magic.”
“It’s from my Unicorn. He didn’t want the magic to go to waste.”
Approaching the Unicorn, Shaheen placed a hand at his forehead where his third eye was located and bowed. When he was upright again, Shaheen placed a hand on the Unicorn. A cool breeze seemed to make its way through the Unicorn from the man’s touch.
“I can’t thank you enough for this gift. You’ve made sure that every time night falls, my people will be safe. I can’t take all of this, though. Go and see the college of bards and scribes. They would appreciate some of this magic to help them in their tales. They work a magic beyond what any of us are capable of.”
He bowed to them as they rode away. The Unicorn shook his head. “I don’t understand it.” He said. “How can I be capable of such amazing magic? I’ve never been able to do anything before.”
“You’ve proven that great magic comes from within.” Candice said. “That’s amazing and you should be very proud of yourself.” Candice gave him a little pat between his ears and the Unicorn blushed with happiness.
When they came to the college of bards and scribes, the Unicorn knew it was the right place because a quill and an inkpot had been etched into the front door. Candice slipped off of the Unicorn and knocked on the wooden door. A man answered. He was tall with kind eyes and wore gold spectacles. He wore weatherworn clothes and a scarf that had been painted with birds in bright colours. He smiled at the both of them and gave them a small bow.
“Welcome to where the magic happens!” He held his hand out to Candice and they saw that it was stained with ink. The smell of paper came from him and the Unicorn thought he had never smelled such a wonderful scent. “My name is Bruce! I’m one of the scribes here. I’m working on a very gripping tale right now about a mountain goat that learns to walk and talk like a mortal and pass himself off as a musician! Would you like to hear it?”
“Some other time, fair sir.” Candice said, giving Bruce a brilliant smile. “We came to give you a gift.” She pulled out the last of the glitter. “It’s a present from my Unicorn.”
Bruce looked at the bag, his mouth dropping open. “Surely you jest! That can’t be sparkles?” He asked. He took the bag and when he opened it, his eyes widened. “Oh my goodness! There is enough here for the whole college and more! Think of how much more amazing our stories will be, how beautiful our poems and sonnets?”
When he turned to face the Unicorn, there were tears of happiness in Bruce’s eyes. “Thank you, Unicorn. You have done us an incredible kindness. Would you mind if I offered you my thanks by writing a story about you?”
The Unicorn blushed. “I would be honoured.”
“Consider it done, my friend. I wish you both well on your way!”
As they rode back to Candice’s home, the Unicorn let out a snort sigh. Candice spoke gently into the Unicorn’s ear. “What’s the matter? Aren’t you thrilled to know about the difference that you are making in the lives of others?”
“Oh, I am, but I still don’t know what my magical power is!” The Unicorn said. “I don’t think I will ever know!”
“Silly Unicorn! Haven’t you figured it out yet? It’s your sparkles! Look at the joy and the magic that your gift gave to others.”
“Are you telling me that my magic power is my flatulence’s?” The Unicorn said in shocked. “How can such a thing be possible? How is that a magical power?”
They had arrived home and Candice slid from the Unicorn. Taking his face in both hands, Candice looked at the Unicorn and smiled at him, her eyes full of light. “Don’t you know that sometimes, magic comes from the most unlikely of places?”
The Unicorn started to laugh. As he laughed, he let out several deep belly laughs…and several flatulence’s. Sparkles flew from the Unicorn and covered the land. All throughout the village of Inglewood Hamlet that day, there were tales of magic and might, of impossible things that defied description. Wishes were granted and magic was made and there were many tales told by the bards.
And the Unicorn realized that he did not have to find his magic. It had been within him all along.
So the story goes…