Unicorns are short, p.1

Unicorns are Short, page 1

 part  #1 of  Federal Witch Series

 

Unicorns are Short
 


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Unicorns are Short


  Legal Stuff

  Copyright © 2017 All Chaos Press, All Rights Reserved.

  Reproduction of any kind is strictly prohibited unless written permission granted by the editor of the anthology and the individual author.

  The stories included in this anthology are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  The individual stories are covered under the copyright of the originating writer. The presence of their creative work in the anthology is by permission of each author.

  The Federal Witch World is the intellectual property of TS Paul and is used in this document with the permission of the author.

  Love’s Sacrifice, Copyright © 2017 T S Paul, All Rights Reserved

  Darkness in the Garden, Copyright © 2017 T S Paul, All Rights Reserved

  What’s Pizza, Copyright © 2017 T S Paul, All Rights Reserved

  Fergus Dreams, Copyright © 2017 T S Paul, All Rights Reserved

  Dancing with Stars, Copyright © 2017 T S Paul, All Rights Reserved

  Dedications

  Special thanks to my wife Heather who keeps me grounded and to Merlin the Cat. We are his minions.

  Table of Contents

  Unicorns are Short

  Love’s Sacrifice

  Darkness in the Garden

  What’s Pizza?

  Fergus Dreams

  Dancing with Stars

  Author Notes

  Acknowledgments

  Author - T.S. Paul

  Unicorns are Short

  Fergus the Unicorn is an intriguing and amusing companion to Agatha Blackmore, the main character in the Federal Witch World of TS Paul. While the main books in the series provide much of what the readers know about his life with his witch, the short stories scattered through various anthologies and cookbooks provide more. These tales offer snapshots of his life before he came to live with Agatha, and fill in some of the time gaps with which the author loves to tease his loyal readers.

  The stories in this collection are gathered from those other books and placed in a rough chronological order. They help to fill out the larger story of the Unicorn that refuses to believe that height has anything to do with importance. His large heart, immense sense of snarky humor, and his understated bravery prove that size does not matter!

  Love’s Sacrifice

  by TS Paul

  I was born into a herd of Unicorns in the great state of Montana. Not that I knew I was in Montana or even what it meant. Unicorns are pretty smart. We are born with knowledge that is passed on from those that came before us. A human scientist might say it’s in our genes. If we even talked to scientists or even talked for that matter. As I was saying, smart. My parents named me Fergus after my Great-Uncle Fergus. He jumped the fence and ran around the neighboring town for a week before they caught him. Mom said he used to tell stories about how he tore down clotheslines and chased the ducks. Whatever any of that is. Our Sages said later that Fergus was the name of the King. Kings are supposed to be virile. Why else would they chase maidens all the time? Or was that Dragons? Dragons are our enemies. Maybe it is Kings. Whatever. It is what I wanted. Be the King and get lots of chicks.

  “Fergus! What are you doing? Put that phantom mare back!”

  “But Mom!”

  “No buts mister! When you are older, you’ll understand! Now leave her be.” My mother was strict but fair most of the time.

  The mare in question looked more like a mannequin than a real Unicorn. The head looked real enough, but the back end was all torn and scratched. It seemed like a herd of cats got a hold of it. I couldn’t see what the big deal was all about. All I knew was that it made an excellent practice dummy for my imaginary horn battles.

  “Dragon’s beware because King Fergus is coming for you!” I yelled and dodged at the fake mare. I stabbed at the thing only to be stopped by a much larger horn.

  “Fergus. I believe that your mother told you to leave Charlene alone. Drag her back to the barn where you found her please.” Mother had called in the big guns. Father was one of the largest stallions in the entire herd. He had been King once. That is what Mother told me anyway. A younger, much faster, stallion beat him in combat a few years ago. Now he told war stories and protected the young from predators and stray humans.

  Unicorns aren’t dumb. We, like many of the paranormal species, have our own schools, language, and traditions. Just because we don’t talk in human tones doesn’t make us stupid. This was a Unicorn Ranch. Humans captured our people from the wild and helped us to raise families to make more of us. Sometimes a member of the herd went away and never came back. I was always told that he or she made the ‘sacrifice’ for the herd. No one ever explained what that was to me. Only that when I was older I would understand. It was one of the many mysteries of the herd.

  What mom called the phantom mare lived in one of the unused stalls in the barn. Only humans came here, or that was what I was told by the oldsters. Humans scared me. Only through dragging and pushing was I able to return ‘Charlene’ to her stall. As I worked, I constantly looked over my shoulder at my father. He stood by and made sure that everything I touched was returned to its proper place.

  “Dad, why do we do what the humans want? Aren’t we stronger and faster than them?”

  “That may be, but we made a pact with them many thousand moons ago. They would protect us from Dragons and other terrors while we agreed to serve them. Many of our brethren give their lives in the great sacrifice to keep all of us safe.” He bowed his head and said a prayer to Epona the Goddess of horses and Unicorns.

  “Have you ever seen a Dragon?”

  “No Unicorn has, not in centuries. The humans have lived up to their bargain.”

  “That makes no sense, Dad. Why honor the pact if there are no Dragons?” I ran circles around him.

  His head came up suddenly. I cocked mine to one side to hear better and could hear the high-frequency squeals of humans. They were approaching the barn!

  “We honor what our ancestors laid down. It is the Unicorn way. That’s all you must remember. Now leave this place before they see you.” He urged me out the door and into the paddock. I looked back at him standing in the doorway. His head and horn were very regal looking. It was the very last time I saw my father in this world.

  According to Mother, Dad made the ‘sacrifice’ and was honored by the humans. I wasn’t sure about that, but it didn’t matter to me. Several others about my age soon joined us from another field. I had playmates now. The only one that was my age and size was a stallion named Peter.

  “So where do you think they go?”

  “Are you asking me the ‘Question’ again? Fergus, you promised! They just go. Ask any elder. They all say the same thing. They make the sacrifice, and it’s an honor to be one.”

  “I just want to know. Is it such a crime to want to find things out?” I stared at my new friend.

  “Yes, it is. Listen to the elders. Come on, we’re going to be late.” He motioned with his horn.

  “Where’re we going anyway?” He was racing off toward one of the open pastures.

  He stopped suddenly and pointed with his horn. “Over there. Do you see them?”

  I had to lean through the fence and cocked my head to see better, but off in the distance were what looked to be Unicorn foals like us.

  “Who are those guys?”

  “Not guys. Those are girls! The humans keep them in seclusion until they are old enough to survive. My dad told me they are almost of breeding age.”

  “Breeding? That’s years away for us. Mom said father
wasn’t ready for that until he was three or four.” I stared at my new friend in shock.

  “Maybe that’s why my dad beat him then! Besides, who cares about your Father. He made the sacrifice, his life among us is over.” Peter all, but sneered at me.

  “That doesn’t make it right! Why do you want to mate this early?” I stared at the approaching mares again.

  “Why not? The humans give you exceptional food and your own room over in the barn. Dad said something about meeting someone called Charlene. I think that’s a special honor or something.”

  Unicorn laughter is similar to the sound we make if we have a bug caught in our throat. Usually, we have a friend check to double check just to make sure after any laughter. I tried to not laugh but couldn’t help it. Peter didn’t like my laughter, so I had to live with the bug feeling.

  “Charlene? Charlene is a fake mare that lives in the barn. Someone told your dad a lie. I’ve seen her. She’s not anyone's reward. Trust me.”

  “Why would I believe you? Go spy on the humans or something and leave me alone Fergus.” I stared as Peter, my new friend rejected me.

  “Where did your friend go?”

  The musical tones of the voice shocked me, and I almost fell over turning around. Standing on the other side of the fence was the most beautiful Unicorn I had ever seen in my short life. I stood there with my mouth open for several seconds.

  “Did you swallow a bug or something? Or can you not speak?”

  “Sorry. I … Peter had to go. Something about the barn… or something. Who are you?”

  “Your friend's name is Peter? What’s yours?” Her musical voice gave me chills over my entire body. She was like some kind of magical being.

  “Uh, my name… my name is Fergus. Mom said I was named after a king.” I can’t believe I forgot my own name!

  “Fergus. That sounds like a noble name. My name is Jewel.” She looked over her shoulder and nodded. “Mom is calling me. I will find you to talk to later. Goodbye, Fergus.”

  I watched as the most beautiful Jewel I had ever seen, trot off the field into one of the barns on the far side of the paddock. That was some kind of girl!

  Later, I told my mother about meeting Jewel.

  “That’s nice dear.” She reached over me and ate some of my foal food.

  “But she’s a girl. Peter says his father told him that he was mating early this year!”

  Mom shook her head. “He’s wrong Fergus. The Herd Stallion doesn’t make those decisions. Only the humans do. Most likely your friend will go to meet Charlene in the barn. Only the leader gets to mate without human approval.”

  “But Peter said…”

  “He’s wrong. Tradition will weigh out over herd politics. It’s nice you met a girl, but it may be Charlene for you, my son.”

  “But…” I had to try to get my point across.

  “You and your ‘buts.’ I was a girl once remember? I’m too old for herd politics, but Paul won’t be changing them without the approval of the elders. He’s wrong.” She stepped over to the pile of hay and lay down to sleep.

  I hadn’t thought of Mom as being a girl before.

  Peter and I mended the rift between us. We were the only Unicorns our age around, so we naturally gravitated together.

  “So which one do you like?” Peter and I were watching the females again.

  “I like Jewel. She gives me shivers all over. Have you met her yet?”

  “Which one is she?” Peter pointed with his horn.

  I looked out at the field and the frolicking females. To me, she was the only one out there. “The one in the middle that keeps dancing.”

  “Ah. Nice choice. Maybe one day you can dance with her.” Looking over at Peter I could see him smiling.

  “What are you not telling me?”

  “None of the girls are in season yet. We both have to wait. Dad said he was only joking about picking.”

  I remembered what Mom told me. “Why did he tell you that stuff then?”

  “Because he’s an Ass that way. My Mom told me he likes practical jokes and is extremely devious.”

  Narrowing my eyes, I just had to ask. “What has he done?”

  Peter was silent, and when he looked at me, I could tell something was wrong.

  “What Peter?”

  “Mom said he tricked your Father into fighting him in clear view of the humans. He is the reason your father was sacrificed.” Brushing past me Peter galloped off the field leaving me alone hidden from view. It was just as well that no one saw my tears. I vowed to watch Paul very carefully after that.

  Unicorns age very slowly when compared to horses or other animals. We need almost twice as many years to come to maturity as the average horse. So, four years instead of two before a Unicorn mates or is ridden. Woe be to the human that tries to ride me.

  “Mom I don’t understand. Why are the girls kept away from us? Why can’t we all play together?”

  She gave me a brush with her horn and gently pushed me away from her. “Politics and safety are the main reasons. The humans only want the best for us. By keeping the sexes separated, there are fewer accidents, and we live much longer than in the wild. If you ask the Elders, they will tell you it’s to prevent a stallion from becoming too possessive. Males must battle each other for supremacy and the right to mate with females. Giving access too early causes death or permanent injury for any potential challengers. Better to wait until you are older, Fergus.”

  “What are you saying?”

  Mom turned her big brown eyes in my direction. With a sad sounding voice, she told me.

  “I’m not sure I can hurt my best friend Peter, Mom. Do I have to?”

  “Herd rules. You must fight the others for the right to mate. If you win your individual battles, the humans may introduce you to Charlene. If you win against the lead Stallion, you get your pick of the females. But to do that you have to beat both Peter and Paul.”

  I was starting to understand why there were so few males in the herd if we had to attack one another.

  “Did you know we had to fight each other?” Peter and I were practicing charging on one of the trees in the far field.

  “Dad told me I would have to.” Peter’s horn was a bit different than mine, it was thinner and less shapely. He sharpened it daily on one of the rocks near the lake.

  “You might have mentioned it to me.” I struck the tree knocking chips of bark off with each swing.

  Peter did the same with his tree. “Dad said that not telling you was an advantage. How did you find out anyway?”

  “My mom, she knows stuff.” I stopped attacking the tree and watched my friend. Unlike my attacks, his were cleaner more to the point.

  Peter stopped his attacks and looked over at me. “She would. As a prime female, she must know lots of stuff about how the herd is run.”

  The look that he gave me worried me. I had not thought about my mother’s status within our small herd before. Was she in danger from Paul?

  “Let’s practice some more.” I motioned to the trees.

  “No. Dad told me to meet him in the south field. I’ll catch up to you later.” Peter galloped off. It seemed that was all I did was watch him go places.

  “Did you know about the fighting?”

  “Of course. We are taught that only the strongest and most powerful male should be allowed to mate with us. Our mothers say it is to make our race stronger. It is why we are here after all.” Jewel nuzzled my nose through the fence. The humans were now allowing the females more contact with us.

  With her touch, all thoughts of battles and betrayal left my brain. It was as if I could feel the blood rushing out of my head and into another unused part of my body. Too strange a sensation.

  “Are you going to fight for me, Fergus? You’re big and strong, aren’t you?” Jewel blinked her brilliant green eyes at me, and more of my bodily functions stopped working. How could one girl do this to me?

  “I don’t want to fight my best friend
.”

  Jewel stopped rubbing her head on mine and looked me in the eye. “Does he want to fight you?”

  “I… I don’t know. His father has been teaching him secret things.”

  “If you don’t fight, we can’t be together.” Jewel ran her horn over my neck making my entire body shake.

  “I’ll try.” I was barely able to think of a thing to say in response.

  Jewel gave my neck another stroke and then pulled away. “There is no try.”

  Once again, I watched another Unicorn gallop away from me. This one was more fun to look at than Peter.

  In our age bracket, there were only two other male Unicorns in the herd. Marion and Albert weren’t as physically fit or athletic as either Peter or I were. When the challenges began, I would have to take them out first to get to Peter. Peter was automatically placed at the top of the rankings due to his being the Stallion’s son. If my father was still around the situation might be reversed.

  With the elders watching as well as a small group of humans I made my first challenge.

  “Marion I challenge you.”

  “Say what? Dude, what have you been smoking?” Marion was of average size for a three-year-old Unicorn, but he spent all of his time up at the barn begging snacks off the human workers and was out of shape.

  Aiming my horn at his flank, I repeated my challenge. “I challenge you. Do you yield?”

  “Fergus, have you been eating the wacky weed in the North field again?” He shied away from me trying to move his very wide unprotected flank.

  I lunged at him drawing first blood and causing my first Unicorn scream.

  “Owww! What did you do a fool thing like that for?” Marion craned his head to see the puncture and long scratch my horn caused.

  “It’s a challenge. Either you yield, or I attack you again.”

  “Why?”

  I stared back at him. “Why what? Why attack you?” The smaller Unicorn nodded.

  “It’s for the females. Only the strongest gets to mate with them.” I motioned towards the watching fillies.

  “Oh. I don’t want any of them. Albert is sort of my mate now. I guess I yield then.”

 
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