Gently, I run my fingers through the silken, pure-white mane for the hundredth time. I murmur softly to the gentle creature, making casual conversation while I tend to its mane. The young unicorn neighs and snorts in reply, and I understand what it tells me from spending so many months with the herd.
After I have finished with the unicorn, I move to the next, gently cleaning the legendary horn with a soft cloth and detangling its elegant mane. I often spend entire afternoons laying with the unicorns and talking with them, or attending their adventures to hunt for food in the forest of twisted trees. Unlike humans, unicorns are not judgmental, and accept everyone who is kind hearted and willing to love, so I find them much better companions than most of the people who visit the Lands.
I notice a black-haired figure across the lake once I've come to the last couple unicorns and I sigh to myself. Vivian has been starting a lot of trouble in the Lands since Irvin had departed, thinking she should take charge of the Qilins. The Qilins, as well as the rest of our group, did not agree with her, and she has been quite sour since, and this has caused many large arguments and displays of power. I've tried to stay out of it, since I am not one for drama, but after Vivian threatened to rip the scales from Westin's dragons I decided that I've had enough.
She hasn't been back since the last incident several days ago, until right now. I watch her carefully, unsure of what she's doing with the flock of phoenixes that surround her. They haven't been cooperating with her either, as a matter of fact, and I'm sure that they sense how power hungry she's becoming. If she keeps it up, her opal will crack and shatter, forever banishing her from the sacred Lands. I've heard it happening before a handful of times, and the poem does in fact say that only those who are worthy may choose to roam in this land.
The unicorns snort in annoyance, sensing her as well. I watch the phoenixes flying around her and walking aimlessly about on the ground. Faintly, I can hear her yelling, but I cannot make out what she is saying. From the way it looks, the phoenixes aren't listening to her like they used to, and I smirk in amusement. One of them swoops close to her, and I see her flail about, still yelling. She grabs at the bird and seems to actually snag its foot, pulling it back down. I gasp in horror as she throws the large bird to the ground, and yell out in anger as she draws her small dagger.
Vivian must have heard me yell, because she freezes mid-stab and looks up. I run towards her, and she finally spots me. She waits for me to approach, letting the bird up and the flock flying away quickly. She glares at me as I sprint over, my long strides helping me cover the distance quickly.
"It tried to take my opal!" She yells to me as I get close.
"So you were going to stab that phoenix? You don't deserve that opal!" I yell back, slowing to a walk to cover the last few yards.
"I do so! I don't know what's wrong with the phoenixes. They've been acting so strangely."
"Yeah? Maybe because you're turning into such a bitch, Vivian. Ever since Irvin left, you've been on some kind of power trip." I stop a few feet away from her and look down at her, my arms crossed. My anger pulses through me. "I will not stand for you harming the very creatures you were chosen to protect. The Lost Lands is their only home. This is the only place they're safe. I can't believe you."
"Oh, shut up, freak. Go whisper to your damn unicorns." She huffs back, waving a hand at me. "Leave me alone, Fletcher."
I step closer to her, leaning in a bit to inspect the opal around her neck. "Hmph, imagine that. Your gem is cracked. I guess we won't be seeing you around much longer."
She looks down and gasps, and I can see her face redden with rage. I shrug casually. "You get what you deserve, Viv. Sorry. We tried to tell you…"
"Shut UP, Fletcher! Don't you tell me-!" She lunges at me, the knife still in her hand. I jerk back and her dagger slices my arm. I gasp and she freezes, glaring at me, before turning and running to the woods.
I watch her retreat, dazed as I stand with my hand over the wound, blood seeping out and dripping over my fingers. After many moments, I sit in the lush blue grass, reliving the past several moments in my mind over and over. I feel a nudge at my shoulder and turn slightly, seeing the unicorn herd surrounding me slowly. Some lay with me, others grazing nearby, and one touches its horn to my cut, healing the wound almost instantly. Quietly, I sit there in silence, thinking over what just happened and waiting for the rest of the Warriors, Rogues, and Guardians to arrive to take care of Vivian.