The day was sunny as cool spring winds rustled the leaves of the trees that seemed to sparkle with life. Birds had begun teaching their fledglings how to fly as their parents before had taught them. Chipmunks hurried about to feed their ever hungry young; having to compete with squirrels for whatever they could find on the floor of the forest.
A doe stood beside a babbling brook drinking from the cool, refreshing waters as her faun nursed impatiently on its mother’s breast.
New life roamed everywhere as the cold of winter melted from the warmth of the golden sun above.
This was when she appeared. Her hooves sparkling silver and barely crunching the leaves with a touch so soft, it would not have been heard to the human ear. Her features were long and elegant; her hair shown silver flowing down her back as butterflies fluttered all about her horn. She had the features of both horse and human; much like the centaurs of myth except for her horn which was that of a unicorn.
Her belly was swollen with child but still her beauty unmatched. Her mate; a strong stallion supported her. They knew the time was close to the arrival of their foal so he stood a vigilant guard as she lay down to drink from the brook. He found some blackberries and apples to bring to his mate on which she fed to give her the strength to give birth. She lay down in the soft grass and ate and drank from the spring.
They were peaceful until the stallion’s ears perked up at some sudden rustling in the brush in the distance.
He took up a protective stance as he saw the hunters stepping out of the shadow armed with crossbows, nets, rope and chains.
The first hunter threw a lasso which the stallion dodged only to be struck in the flank by an arrow.
Ropes enveloped his arms and seeing he could not hold the assailants off for long; he turned with desperation and whinnied and stamped his hooves to get his mate to flee and save their child.
His body remained between her and the hunters as she struggled to stand and run through the brush; tears flooding her eyes as she heard her mate’s cries of pain and last words of love to her.
An arrow flew by her cheek, leaving a thin line of red mixed with silver. A steep rock ledge forced her to skid to a stop.
Breathing heavily, she looked all around for a way out only to meet the eyes of two angry hunting dogs.
Eyes wide with fear, she continued to back up, tripped over a stone and fell over the side of a waterfall.
Struggling to swim against the raging rapids and trying to keep her head above water, she could feel her child pushing to enter the world. She cried out in vain; hoping someone would help her.
Finally, greatly weakened, she managed to crawl up the riverside. Her breath was heavy and as she looked up she saw the eyes of the one of the hunters. He grabbed her horn and broke it from her head causing her to let out a shriek of pain.
He prepared to shoot and kill her before being struck by what seemed to be a burst of magic.
An old man wearing a long cloak and pointed hat, wielding a staff stepped out of the shadows. He glared at the hunter with such intensity that it scared the human away. This man was a wizard and walked the path of magic with the creatures of myth and lore.
He knelt down beside her and took her face softly in his hands. She looked up at him with such sorrow that he could feel his old heart being torn from his chest.
In all of the fuss she had given birth and slowly pushed her newborn foal towards him. The wizard picked it up gently and wrapped it in his cloak.
He nodded to her with tears in his eyes and stayed beside her as her life slipped away. He used his magic to transform her body into stars that flew up into the sky and then turned to depart to his hut that lay deep in the forest.
Once there, he made a bed for the female foal which whined softly in his arms and laid her down next to the fireplace wrapped in blankets. He warmed some goat’s milk and proceeded to feed her.
As the years went by, the foal grew into a beautiful young mare. Her skin was the color of a pink pearl and her hair was as white as snow. Her horn was slightly curved and her hooves were cloven much like her father’s. She was beautiful.
The old wizard knew what he had to do. He would take her and release her into the forest that her parents had called home so she could start a life all her own.
They walked together laughing and at times the mare would dance around the old wizard in play and hide in the bushes so he could try to find her.
At the edge of the deep forest, the wizard told the mare she had to leave him and go into the forest. She didn’t understand and time and again she tried to go with him only to be stopped by a barrier of magic.
With tears in his eyes, the wizard vanished leaving the mare alone, confused.
She ran back and forth trying to find him only to have her heart sink at the fact that he had actually left her behind.
He had never done that before so she made her way into the forest just as a soft rain began to fall.
A loud clap of thunder scared her so much that she ran through the forest and tripped into the brook. Soak and wet she tried to find a place to hide from the weather; eventually settling in the hollowed out trunk of a tree.
The night was miserable and she felt so alone that silver tears filled her eyes; a deep pain in her heart.
The following morning the sun was shining brightly and warm. The storm clouds from the night before had parted and animals came out once again.
They saw the mare and immediately started running all around her hooves in delight as if they had been expecting her.
She fell to her knees and proceeded to cry. The animals tried desperately to cheer her up but nothing they did could console her.
No one saw the stranger come out of the bushes until he was right above her: A young stallion.
He was deep ashen gray with three horns: two like a deer and a singular one in the middle of his head. His body was strong; like that of a Frisian horse and he knelt beside the mare as if asking what was wrong.
She just looked at him and then back down at the ground.
The stallion got up and trotted off into the bushes and shortly after returned with a beautiful red flower and some crisp, pink apples.
Laying back down next to her, he handed her the apples and proceeded to put the flower in her hair.
She looked at him and smiled as she took the apples and started nibbling on them.
He smiled back and laid next to her until she was finished eating.
He then got up and started prancing around; trying to get her to play with him.
Forgetting her sadness she rose to her feet and started playing with him.
They ran through the forest, caught fish together to eat and rolled around in the soft grass of the meadow in the middle of the forest.
What had begun as something miserable became bliss and she became more and more happy with each passing day.
In the autumn, as the leaves began to change their colors, the stallion began storing food for the upcoming winter and building an extra bed in the same den that his parents had raised him in.
He was going to try and court the mare he had made his friend at the start of the summer.
He found her in her tree trunk that she had lived in since her first miserable night and beckoned her to follow him.
Still groggy from sleep, she rose to her feet and proceeded to follow him.
They passed through to the other side of the forest until they reached his den.
The mare hesitated at first but with a gentle invitation; was coaxed into entering the stallion’s den.
It was warm inside and bigger than she thought. Familiar smells filled the air though she didn’t know why they were familiar.
The stallion walked up to her and laid beside her; his body pressed closely to hers.
She felt herself blush as she looked at his strong arm muscles; something she hadn’t really noticed before that moment.
As if by some unknown force, she leaned in close to him; breathing in his scent deeply.
He stayed still as she explored him; taking his time.
Eventually she leaned in close and his lips met hers in a kiss. Her body pressed into his.
He rubbed her back, shoulders and arms as he kissed her stomach and breasts softly.
Later in the quiet of the night; after courting her lovingly; the stallion mated with his mare.
This short story is currently incomplete and will most likely not be completed but it was a joy to write anyway and I hope enjoyed what you have read! For more short stories, join us at underwoodtales.wordpress.com!