Once upon a time, in a land of make belief with flowers and bells and leprechauns and magic frogs with funny little hats lived a majestic herd of unicorns.  The unicorns galloped and gallivanted across mighty plains, splashed through sparkling waterfalls, ate ripe, luscious apples and slept in the cozy arms of meadows with the gentle breathing of a trickling brook nearby.  

    It was in this comfy thicket that Thunderbolt and Star Shine were birthed one clear, sparkling evening.  The minute Thunderbolt took his first steps, a giant clap of thunder echoed through the sky shaking the ground and left Thunderbolt in a heap.  That's why he was named Thunderbolt and his twin sister Star Shine.

    Pegasus, his father, could finally be relieved.  He had vowed never to give up with his mare, Dewmist, until she had borne him a son.  After five daughters he had begun to lose hope so he went to wise old Shamus.  Shamus told him to soak his tense loins in a cool stream before bedding with Dewmist.  Thunderbolt was the crown prince, eventual Lord of the Herd.

    Also birthed that night was Storm Chaser.  Unlike Thunderbolt or Star Shine, she was born from the common breeding stock.  Her father, Dark Sands, was one of Pegasus' most trusted advisors but was not of the royal line.  Storm Chaser was very ambitious though.  With a mane second to none all the common studs sniffed, snorted, and pawed at her. But her deep golden eyes were set on Thunderbolt from the first moment she saw him.  Thunderbolt would have none of her though.  He was of the royal line and could only mount another purebred so she went by, unnoticed.   

    As time passed, Thunderbolt grew in speed and stamina.  His horn stretched to be twelve inches in length and more importantly three inches in width, which when measuring magical powers, is more significant.  Storm Chaser matured as well, developing a thick, silky mane and tail.  Unlike the other common stock, her haunches were firm and her tail high mounted which resembled a spring bubbling out of the ground.  They were still young and unwise in the ways of the world.  Under their parents protective watch however, they were safe. 

    But all was not well in the land of Unicorns.  On the far side of the plains, in a dank, dark castle sat an evil wizard, Balzor, and his black crow, Sir Caw.

    "Sir Caw!!" yelled Balzor.  "I must determine a better way to capture these infernal Unicorns and cut off their horns.  My magic wand is not nearly powerful enough."

      "Caw!!! I think it's the way you wave it...Caw!!!!"

      "Enough of you!!" Balzor yelled as he swatted at Sir Caw.  "Look here, I've created this addictive moss with which I can lure those fools into my snare and capture them.  Without their horns, the unicorns are powerless I will be able to tame them and then ride them, and use them against their own to capture more.  My numbers of unicorns will increase geometrically!! And then I will have all the powers of all the unicorns combined for my wand!" 

      "Caw! Good luck with that"

      So Balzor put his plan into action and more and more Unicorns started disappearing.  Some would come back wild-eyed, bucking and bronking like a wild stallion, not trotting gracefully like a unicorn should. The unicorns began to fear Balzor, but they could do nothing to stop him.  Their numbers grew fewer and fewer until there were only a few left.  Pegasus knew that it was finally time to act.  The only way to stop Balzor from completely ruling their land for all time and to save the unicorn race was to send the young unicorns to the Land Beyond the Sea. 

      "I have no choice Dewmist.  You are long past bearing age, but while I, still viral, have none to lay my seed with.  The only way to save our race is to send Thunderbolt and Storm Chaser away to the Land Beyond the Sea."

      "But their love will be a forbidden and impure love." replied Dewmist.

      "That is why I'm sending Thunderbolt's cousin, Moonhelm. I would rather have an incestuous family than a tainted one.  I am only sending Storm Chaser because her father would have wanted her to live long and carefree."

      So one night, Pegasus put Thunderbolt, Storm Chaser, and Moonhelm into three small boats, tied them together, and pushed them out into the current of the Great Sea.  No Unicorn had ever been to the Land Beyond the Sea and returned so their was much weeping from the few Unicorns left but they knew it was their only hope for future generations. 

      The warm sun and gentle lapping of the waves against the boat woke Thunderbolt.  "This is not the snug thicket where I'm used to sleeping" he thought. "Mom? Dad?" he cried.  No one answered.  The three boats had drifted apart as Unicorns can only tie mediocre knots.  The current carried him quickly past little islands in the sun.  He saw many creatures he had never seen before.  Little elves scurried about the land and strange birds squawked in the sky. 

      Eventually, his boat reached shore and he stumbled onto dry land.  The terrain was much different here.  The sky was darker, the grass browner, and the trees shorter.                 

- Excerpt from "The Last Unicorn" by Kyle Steputis, 1987

Part II - "The Land Beyond the Sea" - Coming Soon!

All written materials Copyright Kyle Steputis, 1987. A special thanks to Unicorn Dreams for the images