A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 2

Zierski proved to be a fair-sized village.  From the looks of things, it was probably big enough to have more than one blacksmith.  She patted Aysi’s neck as they started down the hill.

“Pardon…”

She looked up at the sound of Fadekya’s voice.  “Yes?”

He gestured at Roffe.  “I am uncertain of the reception your companion will receive.  They may mistake him for a wild wolf.”

“Ah.  Right.”  She glanced down at Roffe.  “We should get you pants.”  Roffe rolled his eyes and sneezed.  Just because he could take human form didn’t mean he liked to.  She chuckled as she rummaged through the baskets, eventually settling on a beaded scarf.  The wolf gave her an irritated look, but allowed her to fasten it around his neck.  She looked up at Fadekya.  “Better?”

“Hopefully.”  He slid down from the back of Aysi, then patted the rhinoceros’s neck before giving Veronika a contemplative look.  “You may wish to place your weapons in your pack.  Zierski does not allow strangers to go around armed.”

She scoffed.  “That’s silly.  What if I need to hit something?”

“I believe that is exactly the sort of situation the policy is intended to avoid.”  He gestured at the axe.  “If you wear your weapon, the guards will insist it be peace bonded.  And if the seal on the peace bond is broken, you will be arrested until they can be certain you have not committed any violence within the city.”

Veronika gave him a dubious look before looking down at her axe.  It was clearly a weapon rather than a tool.  Then she looked back up at him.  This was his land and his people, so if he said it was the custom he was probably right.  It just didn’t exactly make sense.  “You’re trying to tell me that nobody in that city is armed?”

“The sheriff and his guardsmen are armed.”  He frowned.  “And there are undoubtedly a few ruffians with concealed weapons on their persons.”

“So, you’re saying I might need my axe.”  She shrugged.  “Good to know.”

“I…”  Fadekya glanced at her as she started walking again.  Then he shrugged and followed.  “Do not think that is what I was implying, no.”

Continue reading A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 2

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A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 1

Her feet made little noise in the ice and snow as she padded lightly up the mountain, Roffe at her heels.  Judging by the marks on the trees, she was in the territory of a girkalon.  Veronika sniffed at one of the marks.  The odor of the bark was acrid.  Fresh then, probably no older than a day or so.

Next to her, Roffe scented the wind.  He sneezed, then sniffed again before glancing up at her.  “Urf?”

“What are you smelling?”

He shook his head and sneezed again before taking the lead.  She followed as he veered slightly westward.  Between the trees ahead she caught a glimpse of firelight.

Veronika emerged to find a dais containing three stone pillars.  The pillars on either side held metal sconces ablaze with flame.  The third pillar had a young man, wrists chained above his head.  He wore nothing but a pair of trousers and a strange glyph painted on his chest.  She frowned.  His head hung and his form was slumped as he shivered in the freezing cold.  “What are you doing out here?”

He made a startled noise at the sound of her voice, and his head came up.  “What are you doing out here?”

She shrugged.  “I asked you first.”  She walked closer.  The dais had been swept clean.  There was a stone altar behind the pillars, containing two baskets filled with various items.  She squinted at the closer of the baskets.  It looked a bit like the handiwork of the river people.

“You should get out of here.”  He shook his head at her.  “The beast will be coming.”

“Why are you chained out here if the beast is coming?”  She raised an eyebrow at him.

“I am chained out here because the beast is coming.”  He straightened, making the chains binding him to the pillar rattle.  She took another look at him.  He was smaller than she was, and standing fully upright the top of his head barely came up to her nose.  His dark hair and the olive tones to his skin marked him as one of the River People.  His lips were blue, and more worrisome was the fact that other parts of his skin were also starting to show signs of exposure.

Roffe made a coughing sound, and lifted his leg on the altar.  She nodded to the wolf.  “This is one of those we feed the monster it doesn’t wipe out our entire village things?”

Continue reading A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 1