"My King Aranion!" The breathless messenger careened into the throne room, panting and holding his chest. The guards on either side of him shifted away nervously, almost as if they would contract something if they came into contact with him. The servant gave no notice, however, and ran up the rich blue and silver-woven carpet to the two quiet presences looking out the huge throne room window.

"King Aranion!" he cried out. "The west gates! They're-"

"Being overtaken at last, which will finally shatter our weak and dismal forces," a weary voice replied. "I know. I can sense it in my horn. We have no choice." his voice was very tired. "I'm going to have give myself up to end this slaughter. I'm afraid that.Vireo has won. Our kingdom is falling apart."

"Sir, you're the King of all Unicorns!" the servant protested. "Surely.is there.any way? Any way at all?"

One of the quiet figures stepped from shadow.

"My dear servant." a female voice said softly. "Both the King and myself know that we've nothing left. Vireo will step into these chambers. And I, the Queen of the Unicorns, Sialia, will greet his breast with my horn." Her white coat rippled in the wind, and her silver mane and tail flashed with the anger in her once soft eyes.

"Yes." The King said, walking next to his mate. His dark blue mane, tail and goatee almost hit the floor in his immortal age. He looked sharply at the small frogman standing next to him.

"Take my son and The Summoner. His magic is all that can save the Prince of all Unicorns. Tell him to cast my son to a safe place, a place where he can live and one day return to reclaim his throne. Tell my son I love him. And take this."

"The King produced from his horn a pendant on a dazzling silver chain. Hanging from it was a tear shaped diamond. Glittering lightly from within was a small shard of sapphire. The King handed it to his servant.

"Take this. Tell The Summoner to throw it into whatever dimension my son may land. Perhaps one day a soul will rise to take the pendant and expose our world to the light, for it will be plunged to blackness in a few moments."

"Yes, milord."

The frog man snatched the pendant and raced out of the room, past the unicorn guards, down the hall, and into the prince's chamber. Curled up in the center of the room was a small unicorn foal, fast asleep. Standing next to him was The Summoner.

"King called me." He grunted.

"Y-yes!" the servant yelped. "He asked that you take this pendant and cast it into whatever dimension the prince lands."

"So be it." The Summoner replied shortly. "I'm taking it from here. Try to find what family you have left and escape with your life."

"I'm going back to the king!" the amphibian said.

The Summoner snorted and stamped one hoof onto the ground. "Fine. It's your death. Not my problem."

He tapped his dimly glowing horn onto the prince's shoulder.

"Sleep." he whispered, and then hoisted the colt onto his back. He turned, walked to the open window, and then looked back at the frogman.

"Maybe you'll see him again. One day."

And with that, The Summoner leaped out, unfurled a pair of fiery wings, and took flight for the distant mountains.

***

It was nightfall by the time The Summoner's hooves touched solid earth again. The mountains were far away from the kingdom, but The Summoner could see the dim glow far away that told him that the king and queen's fates had been sealed, along with their realm. They were to join the earth that they had lived on for their entire lives. On his back, the prince stirred. The Summoner shrugged him off.

"Spell's wearing off. No use to keep him like this." He held his horn to the tiny jewel on the prince's forehead.

"Awake." The prince stirred.

"Summoner?" he asked groggily, and then sprang to his hooves. 'Where's my mom? And dad? Where are they? Where is everyone!?"

The Summoner bowed his head low, but didn't speak.

"Summoner!? Tell me now! Where are my parents!? Where's the kingdom!? Why am I here?"

The Summoner didn't reply, but instead slowly walked over, put his head over the prince's shoulders and drew him close. The prince tried feebly to sort things out in his young mind.

"Why are you acting like this!? Are they."

The prince wrenched away from The Summoner.

"Dead! They're dead!" he broke down on the earth, sobbing dryly. No tears leaked from his eyes. The Summoner walked forward and nosed his neck.

"I'm sorry, kid. They made me leave with you. They never thought about saving themselves. Your parents chose to die with their kingdom rather than leave it. They wanted me to send you to a place where you'll be safe, and one day can reclaim what's yours." He nuzzled the colt's neck. "I'm sorry, kid."

The prince let himself be comforted until he finally stood up on determined legs.

"I'm ready. Where am I going?"

"Don't know," The Summoner said, turning and diverting his eyes. "I'm opening up a random portal so Vireo can't track you. Once you land in whatever world you do, you're going to turn into something. I don't know what, but in that form, you'll mature to your full age. When a person with enough power comes along, you'll reawaken. You have to take this." He held his head down low in front of the colt so he could see the chain and pendant wrapped around his horn. The colt bit the chain and slid it off. The Summoner looked at the colt approvingly.

"You're gonna make it okay, kid."

"You're the only one whose ever called me that." The prince said softly.

"What?"

"I mean, calling me 'kid'. Everyone else has always called me 'Your Highness'. I like 'kid' better."

The Summoner smiled. "Glad to be of service, 'kid'."

The two touched noses briefly. And The Summoner stepped up, and uttered a spell to the night. A shimmering, swirling portal of blues, greens and whites opened. The Summoner looked at the colt and smiled.

"We'll see each other again, Prince Hemion."

"I know, Summoner."

And then the Prince of all Unicorns leaped through the portal and was swallowed in a flash of light.