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post #11 of (permalink) Old 02-18-13, 06:00 AM
Bloody Mary
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My mind went into weird, weird places when writing "Grace". And so, this month's entry of mine is set in an original universe.

***

A Princess's Steed

904 words without title

A princess’s steed was meant to be a graceful being. When it ran, it should appear to glide above the ground, its horseshoes chiming like little silver bells. It was supposed to be white, with a mane like a waterfall. It should gaze upon others with wise blue eyes that carried the eternal sorrow and joy of an immortal. In short, it was meant to be a creature out of a fairytale, one that involved rainbows and alabaster castles.

The only thing the monster in the courtyard had going for it in “princess’s steed” department was a graceful horn sprouting from its forehead. Other than that, it would not look out of place under a knight—and the kind of knight that wore slightly rusty armour and possibly a few heads tied to his saddle. The unicorn was huge, towering over most horses. Its limbs were far from slender. It had yellow eyes that held the same malice that could be seen in that of an old billy-goat. And it was chestnut.

“This is Grace, milady,” the Master of the Stables said.

Princess Rose Sapphira swallowed nervously as she regarded the beast. Of course, she was quite aware what was expected of her—at least one Princess of the Royal House of Callimirea needed to mount a warunicorn at some point. After all, who else would be the best general, if not the Queen’s sister? Rose had managed to evade this duty ever since she was eight, and realized that a warunicorn could, and would, eat small woodland creatures if pressed, annoyed or if it wanted to show off. Alas, it seemed that happy days of finding excuses have ended—Rose was given the choice of either being wed to Duke Norton or to tame a unicorn. Given the alternative, she decided that terrifying monstrous horses with sharp implements of death on their forehead were a preferable alternative.

With this in mind the young woman steeled herself and took a step forward. Then Grace gave her a look and bared a set of large yellow teeth. Rose yelped, and fainted.

***
“This is Grace, milady,” the Master of the Stables said.

Princess Dahlia Diamanda was not afraid. She had never been one to shy away from danger and new experiences. Though still young, she considered herself a worldly woman, and was quite certain that common superstitions did not apply to her.

And so, unlike the eldest princess, she grinned confidently as she marched towards the unicorn. The mare gave her an evil look, but Dahlia ignored it. Clearly, no one had broken Grace yet and she would have to do it herself. But it didn’t matter. Dahlia knew how to deal with unruly animals.

“Do be careful, milday,” the Master of the Stables said. “Grace can be very temperamental.”

“I’ve dealt with unruly horses before,” Dahlia replied, shrugging. She wanted to add more, but never got a chance. The unicorn turned around briskly and pain blossomed in the Princess’s hand, as large yellow teeth closed on it.

***

“This is Grace, milady,” the Master of the Stables said.

Princess Liliane Rubinia blinked. Then she said, “Oh.”

She was a little thing, with silver blonde hair and wide blue eyes. Unlike her sisters, she was still too young to truly understand what meeting Grace meant. With the failures of the other two, the threat of dynastic conflict was growing, and if she were to be rejected as well…

The girl stood on her spot, watching the mare with a transfixed expression. It did not appear like she intended to move from her spot this century.

The Master of the Stables coughed and gave the child an expectant look.

Grace snorted, sounding like some sort dwarven device on the verge of exploding.

Behind Liliane, her chaperone fainted, hitting the ground with a dull thud.

“She comes from a very fine line of warunicorns, milady,” the Master continued. “Your grandaunt Azlea rode her grandsire—Tiny—during the war with the Amazons of Zalenia.”

The Princess said, “Oh.”

Grace started kicking the ground.

“Perhaps you’d like to ride her?” the Master suggested, waving the stable boys over surreptitiously.

He had expected many reactions: fainting, running away in terror or freezing on the spot. What he had not expected was the high girlish squeal of delight and the mad dash towards what was one of the most potent weapons in animal form used by men (or women, to be precise.)

“I have a unicorn!” the Princess yelled, and glued herself to the animal’s leg.

Grace snorted again. Then she looked down, trying to maneuver her neck so that she could see the child. Finally, in a fit of rather disturbing intelligence the mare raised her leg and the glare of one of her malicious yellow eyes met the innocent blue of Liliane’s. The child smiled.

The unicorn put her leg down and looked up. For a creature that seemed to default to malice and fury, her expression appeared to be very thoughtful. Then she raised her leg again, eliciting a “Wheee!” from the Princess and sniffed on her hair.

What happened next made the Master of Stables wonder if perhaps unicorns didn’t have some hidden cat ancestry. Grace’s expression could only be compared to a feline around catnip. She sniffed on Liliane’s hair again blissfully and neighed softly.

Apparently the tales were true. Unicorns did get high on virgins.

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