Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
The Trap Nineteen
The unicorn who joined them was one of the most beautiful of her kind Darya had ever seen. Her hide was white as breaking foam in moonlight with a green mane and tail which resembled strands of kelp. He would have taken her for one of the Each Uisge – albeit an especially fair one – were it not for her iridescent pearl horn. He stared at her in awe; water affinity unicorns were rare among non-renegades.
“We’re not so common among renegades either,” she responded to his unspoken thought. “Though Ystelyan’s lands do hold the largest herd.” She lay down beside him. “Now I suppose you’ll want to check that I really am what I say.”
“I-I do,” Darya said. He could feel that she was a speaker and not a dragon or goblin, and even were that some kind of deception, she couldn’t hide her eyes. They certainly weren’t dragon green and he was fairly certain that goblins didn’t come with eyes that looked like pearls . Still, in the circumstances it paid to be sure. They might have figured some way to disguise one kind of speaker as another.
He shifted slightly and touched the centre of his forehead to the tip of her horn. A sense of compassion and confidence shot through him, along with a certain sharp honesty that made his stomach clench with an unexpected guilt for all the times he’d lied or told half-truths in his life. He jerked back in shock and heard her soft neighing chuckle.
“Well?” she said.
Darya shook his head to clear it, the guilt melted away as suddenly as it had come . “You’re a unicorn alright.”
“I know I am,” she agreed serenely, then looked over at Rilletta. “You wish me to vouch for your truthfulness, Lady Rilletta?”
“What’s your name?” Darya asked before Rilletta could reply.
“Me?” the unicorn said. “I’m Aquia.”
Darya inclined his head. “I’m Darya. I’m honoured to meet you.”
“Thank you.” The unicorn looked back Rilletta. “Lady Rilletta?”
She gave a soft smile. “Yes, Aquia, that’s why you’re here. Would you vouch for me that I will never knowingly lie to him and that Ystelyan wishes to help him and his heart friend? And if he will come with us and speak with Ystelyan, no harm will befall him. And if he does not agree to join us after speaking with Yst, we will grant him safe passage back to this place and still do all we can to ensure he reaches his heart friend in time.”
“Lady Rilletta speaks the truth,” Aquia said. “And Ystelyan told me the same thing before he sent me here and spoke the truth also. Please believe me, not all dragons are evil. Think about it. Think of their numbers: even with the warriors’ help, you would have been overrun by now if they were.”
Darya sat back on his heels and considered that. He didn’t want to admit that the unicorn had a point, but she did. And it wasn’t one he could easily put out of his mind, now it was in it.
After a moment he rose to his feet. “Very well. With those assurances I will come and speak with your master.” He clutched at his knife. “But I will not be disarmed.”
Rilletta gave him a long look. “Very well. But if you attack anyone, all promises of safe-conduct are void.”
“I won’t attack anyone unless they attack me first,” he said.
“Then we’re fine.” She turned away and opened a gate. “Let us go.”
A/N: Keep an eye out Thursday evening for the post announcing the start of the Dragon Wars Saga Presale!
BTW I don’t put news posts in the story feed so if you’re subbed to the Dragon Wars rss it won’t show up there.