It was a small village. Quaint homes dotted the landscapes, from small farmers huts to country cottages. The center of the village was bustling and moving with preparations for the upcoming Festival of Moons, which only happened when the two moons were in a solar eclipse. This did not happen very often, so it was a big event for the people of Meier. The festival would take place in two weeks time, and there was still much to do.

The village wasn't really associated with any of the three kingdoms, it lay on the outskirts of the first kingdom of Renault, and on the border of the third kingdom of Caere. Neither one of the kingdoms claimed it officially, so Meier was on its own most of the time. Now and then a traveler happened upon them, but nothing big. They had no idea of the warring between Caere and Ruane. Renault refused to get involved, concluding the best tactic was to stay out of it completely. Therefore, the people celebrated their festival in their own way, with merchants, few visitors, minstrels, and performers all trying to make a little money in the cheer of the event. This year would be no different from festivals in the past, or so the citizens thought innocently as they went about their daily duties. Children ran through the cobblestone streets, while mothers bustled about trying to buy their wares in order make dinner. The men laughed and joked at work, some driving carts or manning shops, and some whistling about as they delivered messages about the town.

Amina McCallister smiled happily as she folded the cloths she had just finished washing. Her slender fingers pressed gently on the cloth, then picked them up and stacked them neatly in a small chest. Startling green eyes surveyed the small, but snug room she was in. She casually flicked a strand of her curly red hair over her shoulder as she stood in the center of her wooden home. The chest rested at the foot of a single bed, which was a deep rosewood with roses carved at the headboard. A simple sewn sheet covered it, along with a handmade and well worn quilt. On the bed lay a pillow, and a small doll rested on the quilt propped by the pillow. Amina's eyes flickered to the left of the bed, where there stood a rosewood table, upon which lay scattered papers and a quill. Next to the table was a window that overlooked the street, where she could watch the children play. The draperies were drawn back, and the room was filled with warm sunlight, which Amina drank in deeply.

A loud rattle shook the house, and Amina was jolted out of her reverie by a grinning face in her window. She nearly shrieked until she could see that, upon closer inspection, it was her friend Aden. Amina grinned, and went over to the window and threw the latch and opened it.

"Aden! You gave me quite a fright." She said, somewhat scoldingly, as he bowed his head and tried to look ashamed. Thick locks of raven black fell onto his rosy cheeks that were flushed from running as he lifted his head and smiled at her.

"So sorry Amina. Come outside, it's a lovely day. I want to show you something." He said eagerly, grabbing her hand and giving it a tug. Amina resisted slightly and pulled her hand free, which tingled from his touch.

"Won't Destiny get angry that you are with me?" Amina asked shrewdly. Everyone knew about Aden and Destiny. Aden's father was rich, the richest man in the village. His home was not just a cottage, but a large two story building that housed many fine things that so many people of the village could not afford. Destiny's mother and father saw this, and being a bit wealthy themselves, arranged an engagement with Aden's father. Aden did not like this one bit, but until he could support himself and leave his arrogant and controlling father, he would deal with being engaged to Destiny for the time being. There was nothing Aden ached to do more than to be able to break free of his bindings and make his own choices, but this he was not allowed. Amina and Aden were best friends ever since they both could remember, and were extremely close.

"I don't care what Destiny thinks." Aden said boldly. Destiny knew as well as everyone else he did not lover her, and he never would. This she did not care about. All that the lucid, blonde Destiny cared about was the money she would be coming into.

"All right then. Let me go through the door. It won't do to have me crawl through the window." Amina said, looking around her. Aden tugged on her hand.

"Come on Amina, come through the window. It takes to long for you to go through the door." He said, his bright blue eyes gleaming. Amina sighed and put her head through the window, pulling herself out, then loosing her grip and tumbling to the ground below. She gave Aden a dirty look, who happened to be laughing hysterically at her.

"Oh, come on. What did you want to show me?" She asked as she picked herself up off the ground and proceeded to dust herself off. Aden's eyes brightened and he grabbed her hand and began to run off towards the south, where Braegon Wood was. Braegon Wood separated the two kingdoms of Caere and Renault, and was usually not traveled for it was thought to house many monstrous things. It always seemed to immediately darken as you entered, the thick canopy of trees blocking out the warm sunlight, making the forest a bit chilly.

"Right this way." He said happily, and pulled her right into the woods. She looked around fearfully and shivered slightly as she entered, the cool darkness descending ominously upon her. She tightened her grip on his hand and he squeezed it reassuringly. He led her through a complex system of paths, until Amina had lost count and was beginning to fear they would get lost and never find their way out. Then, just as suddenly as they had entered, Aden stopped. Amina smacked into him and bounced off. Recovering, she moved to stand beside him. What she saw made her gasp in awe.

It was a lake, bathed in sunlight. The water sparkled a deep blue, and the wind blowing softly made the water ripple gently in the breeze. The trees seemed to move aside from the lake, letting it shimmer and shine as though it were a star, all by itself in the night, the only glimmer of hope in a sky covered in darkness. A few snow white boulders bordered the edge of the lake, and the sandy shore was dotted with small pink shells. Where would they have come from? Amine was wondering about the entire being of the lake, when there was a sudden movement in the trees a couple feet away, beyond the boulders and green shrubbery. Aden jerked Amina down behind another boulder.

"Look." He whispered, and she peered from behind it, and what she saw was such a delight to the eyes that she would never again be able to replicate the sight.

It was a unicorn. Its strong sturdy muscles rippled beneath its skin, flowing gently as it strode proudly to the line of the lake. The fur was a shimmering white, and the mane silver. A single golden horn was in the middle of its forehead, and it gleamed in the light of the lake as the unicorn dipped its head to drink deeply. The creature was one of such goodness and beauty, that Amina felt unworthy, and rather frumpy in her working dress. The divine light that seemed to shine from the creature emanated throughout the whole clearing, seemingly lighting up the whole forest.

"How beautiful." Amina said, smoothing her hair and began to stand. Aden frantically grabbed at her arm, but she brushed him off and stepped from behind the boulder. Timid feet brought her a few steps closer to the unicorn, and suddenly halted when it lifted its mighty head and shook. Amina blinked and smiled. She was not afraid, this was a creature of goodness and light. She edged closer to the unicorn, her hand outstretched until her fingers were inches from its mane. It stared at her, an age old wisdom residing in its eyes. It did not move when her hand touched the mane, nor did it move when she ran her hand down its neck and back. The fur was like touching the softest fabric, and almost as sheer as a moonbeam. The unicorn leaned his head down and nuzzled against her arm. She smiled in childlike delight and motioned Aden over to her. Aden stood cautiously, and moved over to stand next to her, timidly reaching out his own hand to touch the fur of the unicorn. Amina's hand drifted unconsciously into Aden's the both of the sharing in the sweet aura of the moment with something so beautiful it made all the cares of the world go away, even for just one instant.

"We should go." Aden whispered softly to her, squeezing her hand and bringing Amina back to reality. Amina nodded sadly and dropped her hand, letting Aden lead her away from the beautiful creature.

As they walked away and back into the dreariness of the dark forest, Amina looked at Aden.

"Thank you for sharing that with me. How did you find that lovely place?" Amina asked self consciously as she casually pulled her hand from his own. Aden looked down at her, thoughtful.

"Well, I come into the forest a lot. I suppose it is one of the few places that I can be alone and find solace. I was wandering one day, and I just happened upon that little clearing. It was like a beacon of hope shining through. So I stopped and sat for a while, and I suppose I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up, the sun was beginning to fall, and I could see the first moonbeams of the silver moon. It was then I first saw the unicorn, he had come out to drink, like today." Aden said, folding his arms over his broad chest as he walked.

"I see. What a lovely creature. I thought they only existed in myth. But….I don't think I'll tell anyone…it seems as though it should be kept between us. If that clearing were overcome with people, I doubt the unicorn would come back. Lets keep it between us, Aden." Amina said, stopping him and looking up at him with her stunning green eyes.

"Yes. I think that you're right, Amina." He said softly, staring into her eyes with his own orbs of deep blue. As he stared into his eyes, strange things began to stir inside him. He shook them off inwardly, he was staring at his best friend. Not to mention, he was betrothed to someone else. But Amina? HE could never be with her anyhow…she lived alone and didn't have much money. His father would never approve, What was he thinking? Aden slapped himself mentally. It was no use trying to think about it. He started to turn away, but something flared in her green eyes that he had never seen before, and that flare stopped him from turning. He took a step towards her and cupped her chin in his hand.

"I never before noticed what beautiful eyes you have Amina. Never be afraid to look anyone in the face." He said softly as her fingers traced her jaw line, touching the creamy and smooth skin of her face. Aden's other arm wrapped around her waist, and gently pulled the smaller girl into his arms and tenderly lay his own trembling lips upon her own.