Stories on the edge of familiarity

Hidden in Sealskin (the new beginning, *actual* part 4)

So, herp derp. I accidentally posted part 5 instead of part 4 yesterday so, if you were totally confused, that’s why. My bad. I’ve unpublished yesterday’s post and it’ll go up again next week, possibly also with some bonus stuff by way of apology. Anyways. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

(Note: the copyright notice and its subsequent showing-to-the door of unfun people in part 1 applies here, too.)

Like a horse, but white and with a single horn spiralling from its forehead. The unicorn charged, wild, and most of the men scattered. A few stood their ground, only to cry out and fall from the flash of hooves and the plunge of the horn. The man holding Adren dropped her. She only had a moment or two to prepare before crashing into the ground, but that was enough for energy to surge through her. Praying to all the saints that none of the men were paying attention to her, Adren made herself invisible and crawled to the fence. Half-crouched, she pressed herself against the posts and rocked a little on her heels. She had to get control of herself before she couldn’t hold the invisibility any longer.

Anger and pain flowed through the connection, throb for throb with what Adren could piece together of the unicorn in battle before her. The unicorn. Her dear, mad unicorn. Just this knowledge, small though it was, tamed the chaos around her. It didn’t matter —much as she wanted to know— how long this connection had existed, whether it had been created that day or merely obscured by the dark, or what the exact nature of this connection was. What mattered was that whatever Adren felt, the unicorn received through the connection. Whatever the unicorn felt, Adren received. And, based on what had just happened, whatever Adren felt, the unicorn returned with even greater intensity. If she couldn’t calm her emotions and make sense of her surroundings again… she didn’t want to experience what would happen next.

Adren closed her eyes. Breathed. The unicorn’s rage, its pain gripped her, clawing at her heart and skin.
But it was not hers.

She had to convince herself of that. She had to experience it as truth. The unicorn’s emotions were those of a foreigner in her country, and could not affect her. They remained separate from her own emotions, separate and disconnected.

It helped, allowing Adren to calm to the point where, if she wanted, she could open her eyes without being overwhelmed. Her sensations cleared, returning to at least a semblance of order, and the significant tension in her chest, the result of holding onto invisibility for so long, rose to prominence. It would turn to pain soon, and then her grip would start to falter, if she did not let go and rest from the exertion. But was she safe? She opened her eyes.

Most of the men had fled, and the few who hadn’t lay in the alleyway. Blood stained the cobblestones, and had spattered on the forelegs and flanks of the unicorn, who stood, breathing heavily, eyes in a frantic search of the surroundings. As soon as Adren let herself visible again, the unicorn walked over to her and lowered its head so that its forehead was nearly level with hers. She pressed her face against its and stroked it oh-so-gently under its jaw.

“Thou,” she said, slipping easily into the dialect she was most used to. “I am glad thou’rt here.”

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