In the Unicorn and the Serpent the Morgan’s pagan society still has touches of magic. I wanted a fantasy, but not to heavy with the elements. Yes there is a glimpse of a unicorn. Morgan meets a dragon briefly, she also encounters little people. One who happens to be a blood relative. The story can be chalked up as a fantasy story. But it is also a romance and mystery.
It is a story of a young woman who has to believe in herself to save her people. This story started off as 12 pages and turned into this great tale. Morgan has become of favorite to me in so many ways. As we grapple with our own lives, what we have to overcome to be what we need to become.
I thought this book fit in well with the Lucky Leprechaun Hop. Check out my original post.
The appearance of a unicorn means a great change is coming.
Princess Morgan, wild and fiery, heir to her father’s throne, can best any man with a sword. Now grown she is fearful of being Queen. But when visitors from a different kingdom show up Morgan is faced with great changes as their easy life is turned upside down.
If scared away there is a Serpent nearby. The serpent means a great sadness.
One other change occurs as mysteries unravel themselves to her. Morgan’s own feelings towards one of her guards. Faced with loss, love and some touches of magic Morgan has to become the Queen she is meant to be or succumb to a life worse than death-servitude.
“I think we are lost Wind Dancer,” Morgan said as she petted her horse’s nose. “I am sorry. I was not thinking. Father is going to be angry.”
Her horse snorted. “See even you agree.”
She looked around the snow-covered forest. She saw a road leading out towards the mountains. The winter landscape made everything look foreign to her. She stopped, listening, hoping she was close to the river, but heard nothing.
“We can go to the mountains and find the main path to the castle. There must be a few.” She looked at Wind Dancer uncertainly. “It is the only idea I have. We can turn around, but we could be riding farther into the forest since I am off on my direction.”
Her horse snorted. “I know. It is cold just standing about waiting for something big and nasty to find us.” She got back onto Wind Dancer and started to guide her towards the mountains. Something in the back of her head said it might be the safest way to get back home.
Just as she thought of that, the sky opened. Slush poured on her, coating her and the horse, freezing her to the bone. She needed to get them out of the bad weather. The closer to the mountains they got, the darker the forest became. Thunder flashed above them, upsetting Wind Dancer.
She stopped the shivering horse to calm her, and noticed a light some yards away. She hoped for a forester’s house as they rode towards the light. As they got close, she knew it was not a forester’s house, but it might have been one once before. She slid off Wind Dancer and pulled her knife out.
She went to the empty hole that was once the door. “Hello,” she called in.
No reply came, so she led Wind Dancer inside. The main room was bare, but the stone floor was covered in hay. Wind Dancer went over to it and started eating. She felt bad; she had forgotten to see if she had eaten before she took her from the stable. Watching her horse eat made her own stomach grumble. She had not eaten since earlier that morning, and she too was hungry. But she doubted she would enjoy the hay as her horse did.
She noticed the glow she had seen came from one of the other rooms. She went to the doorway, knife in hand and looked into the room. She dropped the knife and stared into the room. A fire burned in the middle and a group of little people were either sitting or dancing around the glow.
A little man turned familiar emerald green eyes on her and smiled as he removed his small pipe. “She is here,” he said with a gruff voice.
All the others stopped and turned to look at her. “Come in, dear,” the man said, getting to his feet. He walked over to her. “Some of you take care of her horse and dry her. No need for the animal to be sick.”
He led her to the fire; the warmth felt so good. He pulled her down onto the log to sit. As soon as she did, small hands took her soaked cloak off and placed a dry, thick fur around her. The smell of roasted meat made her stomach growl. The small man must have heard, for he clapped his hands and another little person brought her a plate of food.
She ate hungrily as a cup of the sweetest barley was passed to her. After she had her fill, she felt better and finally looked around at all the little eyes staring at her. Their green color a little darker than hers and her fathers, but not by much.
“Who are you?” she finally asked.
“You know who we are. Agnes has many tales about us,” the man said. His bald little head shone in the firelight. Most of them either had grey hair or no hair at all. They wore brown frocks over darker brown breeches. Their feet wrapped in hides or leather.
“But they were tales.”
They laughed normal, human laughter. “Agnes told old tales,” the man said. “She has kept us here on the human plain, even though our time has passed many years ago. Some of us still believe the time will return when we lived peacefully with your kind, but I fear it is too late for us.”
“You forgot to introduce yourself to her,” a man sitting across from them said.
He jumped to his feet. “How rude of me. I am Patty, my human name anyway.” He bowed to her. “We know who you are. Your birth had been a huge celebration,” he said as a sad look passed over his face.
“You know me?”
“Of course. We make it a habit to look after kin.”
“Kin,” she said, shocked again. “You mean we are related?”
Patty stared at her with those eyes. “You find that unusual?”
She thought about it and shook her head. “I guess not.”
“You are a child of our own queen. She fell for a human. How unlikely it had been. She gave up her immortality for this love and the child she bore.”
“She was our cousin,” the other man said.
“So we are cousins?” she asked.
“We are blood. No matter what,” Patty said. “We have been watching over you. We were told that your life could change a great many things. A change is about to happen; she has mentioned it.”
“The unicorn. She has told us. She told us that the dragon is stirring. He has not stirred for many years. She said our time has passed, and we shall watch to see what is to happen before we leave.”
“Where do you go?”
He smiled at her. “We go where everyone else goes when they die.”
A tear slid down her cheek as she thought of Agnes. “But you are immortal, at least Agnes said so.”
“We choose to go to the other realm. Where the ancestors and gods walk and live happily. We are only sad that it had to come at this time. Men do not want to believe in us and our kind anymore; even the stories are getting mixed up. Minds are clouded.”
“But mine is not. We believe in the stories. We hold festivals.”
He patted her hand. “It is not enough. We grow old and tired here. We must hide, before, we had great villages like yours and others. But now, time has changed.”
“I hate changes,” she said grumpily. “Why must change occur?”
He shrugged. “The world is always changing, and we must change and adapt to it. It has always been this way, and will continue to go on. If you fight it, you lose. The best way is to except change and use it.”
“Agnes said something like that to me once,” she said, staring into the fire.
“Your grandmother was very wise, and in time, you too will be as wise.”
“Go on, give it to her, the night is falling,” the other man said.
Patty reached into his pocket and pulled out a green stone. “This is the Laim Nair, but to make it easy, it is a wishing stone. It will help you only once and when you are in great need.”
She took it from his hand and held it up, looking at it in the firelight. “It is very beautiful.” Weariness fell over her, and suddenly she felt very tired.
“It was the barley. You shall be safe here. Nothing should harm you. In the morning, you must go to the mountains. Keep a good eye out for wolves; they can be pesky buggers.”
She could not keep her eyes open. Sliding from the log, she rolled into a ball beside the fire and fell fast asleep. The little men covered her and all sat around watching her sleep.
“She looks like your sister,” the man said on the other side of the fire.
Patty looked down at Morgan. “That she does. Our ancestors be blessed.” He stroked her auburn hair. “At least when we are gone, a little of us will always be alive.”
“And what of the boy?”
Patty stared at his cousin. “She will know the truth soon enough. Not from us, though. That is not for us to tell her.”