The Night of The Screaming Unicorn
The Lich's True Form Revealed
Quaraun opened his eyes. The sun was shining over head. For a moment he forgot where he was, until he turned over and saw a tiny little black Shetland pony, with claws instead of hooves, long fangs, and a silver horn, laying, curled on its side, peacefully sleeping beside him. It was a tiny little horse, no bigger then a Golden Retriever. Quaraun sat up and looked around. He groaned from the sharp pain in his neck and groin. He would not quickly forget last night's encounter. Or was it last night? The pain in his side was gone. Quaraun checked his ribs. The wound was healed. He wondered how many nights had passed since he'd arrived. A single night in the Realm of Fae could have been decades in Earth time.
Quaraun looked around him. He was not in the oubliette any more. He was outside, in the blueberry plains at the edge of the forest, back near the fallen tree where he had started. The forest was not nearly as dense as it had been before, nor the fog as thick, nor the ruins as tall and menacing. Everything looked smaller, less frightening, less spooky, more natural, more real.
Quaraun looked back down at the Faerie.
“BoomFuzzy,” Quaraun whispered as he stared down at the sleeping Faerie Horse.
Upon BoomFuzzy's death, the Elven candy maker's body had melted away, as one illusion after another faded, all of his many forms dissolving and melding together, until at last the true beast had been revealed. A tiny black pony, no bigger then a goat, is what BoomFuzzy had actually been. An evil marsh Unicorn, from the heaths of Scotland, that had followed the Moon Elf to the deserts of the Di'Jinn in Persia. His whole life, everywhere he went, Quaraun had been followed by a small herd of black ponies, lead by one shaggy, raggedy, scraggly, greying haired old pony with long sharp fangs, talons instead of hooves, silver eyes blinded by age, and a gleaming spiralling silver horn on it's head.
Quaraun had seen the pony dozens of times throughout his life time. The evil Unicorn had followed him for centuries. Several times Quaraun had tried to catch it, but it always ran away. Timid, skittish, the little black Unicorn had liked to run up behind the Elf, then run away laughing hysterically. In his childhood, Quaraun had grown to think of the Unicorn as his friend. Then one day, the Unicorn came to play, no more. Weeks passed and Quaraun had feared the Unicorn dead. After several months, one day while running errands for the Di'Jinn, Quaraun found himself in a desert marketplace, passing a tent, in which he had heard the mournful cries of a horse being beaten. Inside the tent, he had found his little black Unicorn, crippled and maimed. His horn sawed off, his legs broken, shackled in Faerie Iron, and blood pouring from his gasping mouth.
To capture a Phooka was a difficult task, but this band of Chaos Demons, the Ghoul’s men, had set a trap, a virgin locked in a cage made of Faerie Iron, and once they got the pony inside, he was powerless to break free. The evil Unicorn had been tortured and was close to death. A Unicorn's power lay in it's horn. Without his horn, the horse was unable to morph, unable to fight, unable to cast illusions. Quaraun had wasted no time in rescuing the injured pony and setting it free, back out into the desert of the Di'Jinn, but from that day forth, the pony never stopped following him. Every day the pony now stayed outside the temple of the Di'Jinn and waited for the little Elfling to come out and play.
The Thullid, did not understand the Elf's need for companionship. They did not understand, the friendship between the young Elf boy and his horse. And one day, when he went to meet his pony by the river, Quaraun found the Di'Jinn waiting.
The ponies fled in terror but few escaped the wrath of the Di'Jinn and the black Unicorn watched in terror as the Thullids slaughtered his Phookan army.
The young Elf stood over the dead ponies in tears.
With the herd of ponies dead, the Thullids turned upon the little black Unicorn, that led the herd, but didn't live long enough to kill him.
“You'll not kill my Unicorn!”
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They were the last words the Thullids heard.
The Unicorn watched as every last Di'Jinn withered away and died in horrific agony, their body's bursting into flames, and reduced to ash, under the wrath of their beloved pink Jellyfish living in the body of a very lonely Moon Elf. The Thullids had underestimated the powers of the Jelly-brained Elf, as much as they had underestimated his love for the little black Unicorn.
All life in the desert was gone, save a small Elf wearing pink Thullid silks and a tiny black Unicorn, no bigger then a goat. The dazed and confused Elf turned around and walked out of the desert, and walked clear across the planet, making his way back home to the Moon Elf village of the Deep North, while the Phooka gathered up what little remained of his army and trailed along behind.
Years passed as the pink robed wizard priest, walked across the planet and everywhere Quaraun went, rumours gathered, of the Moon Elf Necromancer in Thullid clothes, and the bodies he left behind in every village he visited. In the years it took for him to walk back home, he had gained a reputation for being the single most feared being to ever exist: more feared then the Thullids, more feared then the Lich Lords, more feared then the Elf Eater himself.
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And worse, was the new rumours – that where the pink Necromancer walked, the Elf Eater followed. In every city, every town, every hamlet, every village – as the pink Necromancer left, the fierce Phookan King entered, hours after the Moon's Elf's passing. King Gwallmaiic, King of the Faeries, the Elf Eater of Pepper Valley, evillest of all evils, was never far behind the pink Necromancer.
And so, Quaraun's reputation grew, as fear crept into the hearts of every being on the planet, terrified, not of the timid Moon Elf, but of the fierce blood thirsty Phooka that shadowed his every move.
And then it stopped.
Quaraun had returned home, and days after his arrival, a gingerbread house fell from the sky. BoomFuzzy's candy shop. The strange little Elf, with soulless black eyes, turned silver with age, sharp fangs, and demonic claws. Quaraun knew immediately BoomFuzzy was a Phooka, shifted into Elf form. He knew it was his Unicorn, now taking a physical form which allowed the two to be lovers. For 30 years the two lived together and would have lived happily ever after, had Quaraun's father not thought to break up the union. The devastated Moon Elf found his beloved BoomFuzzy dying in a pool of blood, too late to save him, from a Lich making ritual. As the spell took the life from BoomFuzzy's body, Quaraun had watched the illusion slip away, and the little black unicorn, die in horrific agony.
And with that his life long friend was gone.
A Lich rose up in his place. An evil Lich, unlike any Lich before it. A Lich that slaughtered millions and had no memory of the life he'd lived with the Elf.
For two hundred years, the poor devastated Elf studied everything he could find onLiches, travelling to the ends of the earth to gather up any knowledge he could of Phookas, Unicorns, and Liches, searching desperately for a way to undo the Lich spell and restore the life back to his one true love.
One day, he took one of the Lich's phylacteries, made a golem out of ice, and cast a piece of BoomFuzzy's soul into it. The little ice pony galloped off, leaving the Elf to think he had failed once again, but unbeknownst to him, this time something worked, and the Lich was reverted back into a physical flesh and blood body, once again able to touch and feel and eat and sleep and live again. Thus King Gwallmaiic, turned BoomFuzzy, turned Unicorn, was now a Lich living within a physical body, once again alive and now reunited with his dearly beloved Moon Elf.
Quaraun looked down at the sleeping pony, laying beside him. There was no question, this was BoomFuzzy. He could not explain it, but he knew it was true. BoomFuzzy was back. Alive again. And a Lich. BoomFuzzy was now a Lich. An evil, horrible Lich that had slaughtered millions. It tore at Quaraun's heart, his love for BoomFuzzy and the knowing that this was also the most feared, bloodiest monster to ever live.
Unicorn was sound asleep. The Phooka was totally unmorphed now, lost in a deep, relaxed, restful sleep. The illusions were gone. He couldn't maintain them in his sleep. The trickster Fae beside him, was vastly changed from the monstrous beast he had seen last night, or whatever night it had been. While the claws and fangs remained, the rest of the Phooka's features looked far more frail now. And old. Very old. Incredibly old beyond belief. Quaraun suddenly realized that this Faerie horse was truly ancient, perhaps thousands of years old.
And with that thought, Quaraun suddenly realized that this was his chance to escape. More then escape...the monster, the Lich, was in a deep tranquil sleep, he could easily kill it while it slept. Quaraun had never seen a live Phooka fully unmorphed before, but he knew that in it's true form a Phooka was a Faerie Horse, a water horse from the Realm of Fae, similar to a Kelpie and related to a Unicorn. Quaraun suspected the small, clawed, fanged, horned pony laying asleep beside him, was in fact the Phooka's true form. It felt safe. It's guard was down, Quaraun could kill it while it slept and be free to leave.
Quaraun reached into the little embroidered heart hanging from his belt and pulled out a jewelled obsidian dagger. He put the black bladed dagger to the Faerie's throat about to cut it's head off, but something stopped him.
"Faerie blood," Quaraun muttered to himself. "It's a valuable thing. Very useful. The Phylacteries of the Lich Lords...I need the blood of a Fae for that. The trouble is how to get it. These things must be done properly or the spell won't work."
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Quaraun knelt over the sleeping Faerie for several minutes, thinking what to do and how to best do it.
"The Elf-Eater of Pepper Valley. That's what he specialized in. Killing Faeries, using their blood. He's one of the Lich Lord's now, only Faerie blood can open his phylactery," Quaraun muttered to himself. "Oh my poor BoomFuzzy. What to do with you? I love you. I can't kill you."
Quaraun sat beside the sleeping Phooka, still holding the dagger over it's throat.
"The Obsidian Idol..." Quaraun exclaimed, louder than he had intended.
"What twere that?"
Quaraun glanced back down at the Phooka who was now awake, and staring up at the jewelled dagger in Quaraun's hand.
"Would ya kill me in me sleep?" Asked the Phooka as he sat up, pushing Quaraun's hand aside.
"Is this your true form?"
"Aye. This what I really look like. There be no illusions now."
"You're a horse?"
"No. I is a unicorn. There's a horn on me head. Did ya miss seeing that? I have claws instead of hooves. Fangs instead of teeth. I is a Phooka. Cousin to the Kelpie. A type of unicorn. We Phookas is Swamp Unicorns. We haunt brackish water swamps along the coast. We has black fur instead of white. Long shaggy fur instead of short, smooth and slick. And me horn is silver instead of gold. I is a Phooka. A type of Unicorn."
"Unicorns went extinct."
"I know. I was the last one to die. I tried to hold on, but does ya know how depressing it is to be the last of ya kind? Of corse ya do. Ya be Quaraun the Insane, last of the Moon Elves."
"Why are you letting me see your true form?"
"I had not intended to. I old and weak. It difficult for me to hold me illusions now. I fell asleep. Ya woke up before I did."
Unicorn stared at the knife in Quaraun's hand.
"Can ya not kill me in this form? I too cute and cuddly as a chubby little Shetland Pony? Do I look too sweet and harmless? Here, let me fix that."
The tiny silver horned Shetland Pony melted away, replaced by the fierce looking little wild man, whom had greeted Quuaraun at the tavern.
"This better. Easier to kill a man than a horse?"
Quaraun put his hand down.
"I'm not gonna kill you."
"No? Why not?"
"You didn't hurt me. I was wounded. Quite badly. I thought you'd kill me in my sleep. Why didn't you?"
"No reason too."
"But you eat Elves."
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"Why didn't eat me?"
"Half the fun of killing Elves is the chase. Chased ya for centuries. Could no kill ya once I finally caught ya. There was no sport in it. Ya was badly wounded. I think worse than ya knew. Ya would have died, had ya kept travelling on. Ya would not have made it to Inuvijk, not with that wound ya had. Yis a powerful wizard. Difficult to catch. I knew somet’ing was wrong when I caught ya. Did no realize ya was wounded. Ya should no have hiden the fact ya were wounded. I would no had been so rough with ya had I known. I did no wish to kill ya. I is a Lich. I has eternity of absolutely nothing to do. I is bored. Ya know I is over two thousand years now?"
"You was never going to hurt me were you?"
"Nay. Just wanted to finish what we started on the Road to Inuvijk, all those years ago."
"You're King Gwallmaiic."
"Aye. Ya got in me head. Strange magic ya used on me when ya did the soul bindy t'ing. I always wondered what would have happened, had I not bitten ya. How far ya would have let me go. I scared ya when I drew blood. We could have been lovers. I would have liked to been ya lover. Ya was so young back then. Where did the time go."
Tears were streaming down Quaraun's checks, as the realization of who this was, finally suck in.
"Aye. I died. And ya blamed yarself for it. It were not ya fault. I is sorry that ya felt it was. I were very badly wounded. I were a ancient Fae. Two thousand years is long time to live. It had been long time since I fought any battles of me own. Gibedon did the fighting for me the last few decades. I had not the strength. He knew that. It were that fight with Gibedon that killed me. He wounded me. Me wound got infected. I would have died, but not quickly. I would have lingered for months in agony. The pain were getting worse. I could no walk no more. I could no take care myself. And nothing took away the pain. I killed meself to end the suffering, Quaraun. I just wanted the pain to stop. Me death was not ya fault. Ya could not have helped me and ya staying would not have stopped me. Ya do'na know how much pain I was in."
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"How are you here now?"
"I is a Lich."
"I've missed you."
"I know. I felt it. We is soul bound. I feel ever t’ings ya feels. Had na reckoned on that. But I could do nothing about it. My body was like a ghost. Incorporeal."
"You've a solid body now."
"I noticed that. I think ya wished for it. Back there on the road, just before the storm. I was sitting here, in me Forest of No Return, and I saw ya reading me map, and talking about killing yaself and wishing we could be together again, before ya died. And here I am. Three hundred years of no body and now I have flesh again. Ya really wanted to be with me, quite a lot, to make this happen."
"Aye. Ha ha! Crazy old half Elf. I pretended to be him for so long. Thirty years. Because ya liked him. Never wore one skin so long."
"Why are you in this form now. King Gwallmaiic. Not BoomFuzzy?”
“Ya loved BoomFuzzy, but ya lusted for Gwallmaiic. Ya would never let BoomFuzzy in ya, because ya held on to the memories of Gwallmaiic. When he raped ya. Ya wanted to feels that again. No matter how much ya loved BoomFuzzy, Gwallmaiic was the one ya wanted inside ya. And besides, this is me natural form."
"I thought the horse was."
"Aye, they both is. I came out of me mother's womb a horse, but like all Phookas I have a Human form I can take as well. This is it. Well, this was it when I were younger. I is altering it right now to look quite a bit younger."
"The old man I saw... the blind man. That's what you look like without illusions?"
"Aye. I is old and blind. And last night, that were the first time I had sex with any one in three hundred years. Ya know who the last person I had sex with before that was?"
"No. You. I never loved Gibedon, Quaraun. I know ya thought I did, but I did not. Yis be the one I loved. Our little encounter on the road to Inuvijk. It felt good being inside of ya. Could no get excited about anyone else after that. Became obsessed with getting back inside of ya. Does ya know where we are?"
"This is the same road. This be the Road to Inuvijk. It wild and overgrown and changed quite a lot in three hundred years, but this is it. Where we is right now. This the spot where King Gwallmaiic raped ya. I knows not, why this where I came to when I died, but it is. I t'inks I was cursed to haunted this place, until ya came back. And here ya is. Ya set me free."
"You don't look like BoomFuzzy."
"BoomFuzzy was an illusion, I made to trick an Elf. You. Him weren't never real."
"He really died."
"Come with me."
"I does not seem to be able to leave this forest. Something binds me here.” The stared at the dagger in the Elf’s hand. “Hard to kill a Lich. But ya be the one wizard what knows how to do it. Is ya gonna to kill me? I will no stop ya."
"No," Quaraun placed the dagger back in his bag. “I don't seem to be able to hurt you.”
"Mmmmm." The Phooka nodded. "I thought not. Ya has no got it in ya. Necromancer or no, yis not evil, cruel or heartless. Eating you father that twere justice. Ya kill for love, not hate, or vengeance or malice or greed. That be why I dids no bother to tie ya up again eftah fucking ya. I does nae feel no a real sense of danger from ya. I question that ya've ever actually killed anyone. Rumours is only rumours eftah all. No way to prove them right or wrong.”
“I've killed a lot of people. I'm a monster.”
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“How come dids ya not kill me, eh? Yis a Necromancer. Isn't killing what ya do? Elves is day creatures, Phookas is night creatures. Had ya not started talking to yaself, I probably would slept throughout entire day. Ya could easily has killed me at any time once I twere asleep. Ya thought aboot it. Ya even pulled out weapon, that usit belang to the Elf-Eater of Pepper Valley, I wonder how came by both his map and his dagger, eh? Ya were aboot to slice me throat with it, or perhaps cut out me heart, eh? Faerie hearts is a common ingredient in necromantic rituals, is they not? I know a thing or two aboot Necromancers, remember? Necromancers do that I is told, cut out folks's hearts in their sleep. Ya had a chance to, ya chose not to, how come? And what be this Obsidian Idol?"
“It's...sort of..." Quaraun suddenly changed the subject. "Why didn't you kill me in my sleep?”
"No reason to. Ya never once fought me the whole time ya twere awake. Ya could has ya know. Most powerful wizard in the world, yis. Did'na even think to pull ya Rainbow Wand on me – that could have done some real damage – I has seen ya use it. Ya could has overpowered me easily at any time. Ha ha! Ya just too stupid to remember to use ya magic. Silly brainless Elf. Ya dids the same thing bak when ya got upside doun in a tree. Never once thought to fight bak. I think that is why I so attracted to ya. Yis the most innocent virgin I ever seen.”
“I'm not a virgin any more.”
“Aye. Cured ya of that did'na I? Haha! Always said I would.”
“Does that mean ya gonna eat me now?”
“What? Oh. No. Yis still innocent. Ya poor little mind ain't never gonna grow up. Yis a child in ya head, ya always will be. No matter how old or experienced ya body gets, ya brain just ain't never gonna catch up. Poor thing. Ya really shouldn't be wandering the world alone. Ya need someone to take cares of ya. Yis in desperate need of adult supervision.”
“I'm not stupid.”
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“Aye yis. Ya can'na helps it. Ya twere born that way. JellyFish in ya brain keeps ya that way. Ya always gonna be that way. And I is always gonna be looking out for ya because of it. Just like I always has.”
“Once upon a time, ya dids rescue a little pony from Gypsies and him never did forgot. Ya twere kind to me. No one is ever kind to a Phooka.”
“You're a Unicorn.”
“I is. A Phooka is a type of Unicorn. An evil flesh eating, trickster Unicorn, but I is still a Unicorn none the less.”
“Am I your prisoner?”
“Prisoner? Nay child. I is yous.”
“I do not keep you prisoner.”
“Ya does not know much aboot the Unicorns do ya?”
“What do you mean?”
“When ya saved me life, so many years ahgoo, ya captured me. I twere a prisoner, bound in chains of Faerie Iron, locked in a cage made of lead. Plated with silver. Iron and lead and silver together. I am a Faerie. Iron and lead and silver combined break Fae magic. It forced me bak to me natural state, took away me magic. Made me a horse. A simple, unmagical, horse with a horn. I twere helpless. I could no fight. I could no speak. Even me silver horn vanished. I twere nothing but an ordinary, little pony because of Faerie Iron bonds. And ya saw that. Ya rescued me from them, not knowing I twere a Unicorn, not seeking any reward. Ya rescued me and when I changed back into a unicorn, ya just let me go. Because yis good and kind, with an innocent heart.”
“Any one would have done the same.”