As with any fantasy world, there are fantastical creatures in it. Since Sue is an accomplished horsewoman, and I’m sure folks here are interested in equines, I thought I’d share a little about the unicorns of Kanaan. Unicorns are a fun standard, but I didn’t want to do the usual pristine white horse with the flowing mane and the graceful spiral horn. Since they were supposed to be warriors in their own right, I decided to toughen them up. And I wanted them to fly, but wings were too cliché. So, I switched things up a bit. Here’s a description from Mind Over All, where Sachiko, a human, sees one for the first time. Joshua, her fiancé, has been to Kanaan before and made good friends with several unicorns.
“I do well enough if the horse is gentle,” Sachiko said when Josh just shrugged.
“They’re not exactly horses,” Deryl replied as he psychically called to the beasts waiting at the edge of the nearby woods.
While roughly horse-like in form and face, the riding beasts had heavy, thick shoulders and necks, and their broad foreheads bore a rhinoceros-like horn. Their equine legs had folds of skin that attached to the sides. There were three, and when they approached Deryl, they bowed politely in his direction.
Sachiko dropped her stethoscope.
Deryl snickered. For a long time, he’d imagined her reaction when he could finally bring her to Kanaan, but of course, he’d planned on better circumstances. Any circumstances would have been better than this, but with Tasmae asleep where Kanaan could not reach her, and Hope safe, he let his amusement at her reaction lighten his mood. “Don’t worry. They’re gentle.”
Joshua snorted. On his first ride, the unicorn had jumped off a cliff with no warning.
“What…are they?” Sachiko asked.
“Joshua calls them ‘unicorns,’” Deryl teased, but Joshua was wiping Sachiko’s stethoscope with the corner of his shirt to put it away and didn’t bother to reply.
One of the unicorns bumped Joshua on the shoulder, nearly knocking him forward.
“Hey!” Joshua protested, but then did a double take. “Glory?”
The unicorn tossed her head in a nod and blew on his dreadknots. Joshua laughed and jumped to his feet to give the unicorn a hug. “I know. I grew out my hair. Like them, baby? How are you? Have you been good, have you?” He crooned and snuggled against the unicorn as it continued to examine his hair.
Joshua’s sweet talking apparently soothed Sachiko’s apprehensions. In a few minutes, they had their packs on their backs. The largest of the unicorns, a lovely bay with white stockings to match the white fuzz on his horn, kneeled in front of Deryl. He mounted…Here’s the scene from Mind Over Psyche, the second book in the trilogy, where Glory jumped off a cliff with Joshua. This was less than an hour after he and Deryl had arrived, unplanned and unwelcomed, on Kanaan, so to say she took him by surprise is an understatement.
They cleared the grove and paused at the edge of a cliff. Joshua’s hand lowered slowly as he gaped at the magnificent view. He whistled.
A gorge cut through the plateau, but he didn’t think any river had carved it. For one thing, he saw no river or stream, despite the lush vegetation. The cliff walls themselves were craggy and bare, and he spied shadows that made him suspect caves. To his left, the canyon curved sharply; to his right, it opened about a mile away, the cliffs curling away without losing their height. Were they on some gigantic mesa? He turned his body slightly and leaned back, trying to look past the soldiers around him to follow the edge of the land.
He felt his unicorn bunch her muscles, and reflexively grabbed her mane as the animal threw herself over the cliff.
His shout of terror turned to a cry of surprise, then a great whoop of delight as the unicorn shifted her shoulders and in an un-equine feat of double-jointedness, spread her legs sideways from her body. The folds of flesh attached to her legs and side unfurled into great gliding wings. She banked and soared into the canyon, landing just before it curved to the right. Two of the warriors, then Tasmae, landed beside him.
“That was way cool,” he gasped, then said to Tasmae, “but how about some warning next time?”
She glared at him before retaking the lead.You can read more about Glory – and Joshua, Sachiko and of course, Deryl – in the Mind Over trilogy.
By day, Karina is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for TopTenReviews.com. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly, a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and nuns whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.
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Thank you, Karina, for sharing you work with us today. Who wouldn't want a flying unicorn?