Volume 71: Unicorn Dreams
Another creature that exists in the mythology of nearly every universe is the Unicorn. Almost universally (Multiversally) they are considered to be just that, Myths. However, there are some that know the truth.
Unicorns are the very essence of magic. They exist as beings of purity. Moreover, they exist as creatures of rarity. Only a single unicorn exists in each universe. No one really knows how they came to be, even attempting to study them is an exercise in futility. For the few pure of heart that have been able to interact directly with them, they say that they exist born of raw magic. They travel their home universe bringing healing, peace, and good dreams to wherever they visit. They are known to travel to places in need of protection. They are especially known for protecting children and virgins. They help people suffering from mental illness by entering their dreams and slowly helping them cope with trauma there.
All of this being said there are still people who hunt them. Fortunately, this is also usually an exercise in futility. A person could spend multiple lifetimes hunting one and literally never even see one of their heart shaped hoofprints. But just as people will sometimes see one, sometimes someone will kill one.
Killing a Unicorn is unforgivable. The person who does so is instantly cursed. But some are able to overcome or remove this curse and in doing so they insult the universe. They have taken something absolutely pure from it. And from it they will also gain incredible power. Every single part of a unicorn is valuable to the point of being priceless. Their blood, hide, teeth, hooves, tail, and of course, their horn, possesses unmatched power and they can be used in many different applications. Worse than killing a unicorn is capturing one and bleeding it over time. The evilest of people will imprison a unicorn and strip it’s body slowly. Taking it’s hair and blood and slowly shaving down its horn, allowing it to regrow so they can profit from it more and more. A single unicorn tear has enough value to buy an entire world.
Luckily as we mentioned this is rare. Even the most skilled hunters will never be able to catch or kill a unicorn. They are too swift and powerful. Unicorns can teleport at will to any place in their home universe. Given just a few minutes (1d4 mins) a unicorn can teleport to a different universe! They can move at the speed of light along the ground or through the vacuum of space, leaving a long vivid sparkling rainbow trail behind them. And their powers are not simply defensive. They can cast frightful spells powerful enough to destroy vast swaths of land in an instant. If forced into hand to hand combat they wield their horn like a deadly sabre with fantastic speed and their hooves punch with the force of a lightning bolt with similar alacrity.
As mentioned, there is only one unicorn per universe. If a unicorn visits another universe for whatever reason they will not stay long. Two or more Unicorns occupying the same universe will eventually be magnetically drawn to one another and a terrible planet shattering battle will take place. In the end only one unicorn will remain. Unicorns are solitary creatures. Their only social interaction is with the mortals they choose to help or defend, and even then, it is usually fleeting. In some mythologies it is said once every 1000 years that unicorns will gather in massive groups. They call this the Celestial Herd. No one really knows why these meetings take place or what happens there. It is a unicorn hunters wet dream to find one of these celestial herds. So far none have.
Unicorns are effectively immortal. Their average lifespan is an unfathomable 1 billion years or more. When a Unicorns time has come it is said they will take a mate at the celestial herd and produce an heir. This heir will then take over in the universe with the dying unicorn. This unbelievably rare sight of a unicorn with its foal is said to be the rarest sight in all realities. To see such a sight is said to make one weep.
It is in this way unicorns have existed since the beginning of time. But there is a darker side to unicorns. Sometimes a unicorn can be so relentlessly hunted they are forced to flee their home universe permanently. They escape to some other universe. But this forces an engagement with that universe’s unicorn. Normally if such an engagement is forced each unicorn will nobly fight to death with the other, each realizing they possess so much power that to have two of them in the same universe would cause unbalance. But when a Unicorn has been perused relentlessly, or has been grievously injured in such pursuit, when they enter a new universe they may be overcome with fear. If they allow this fear to overtake them, they will run from their fight with the other unicorn. And they will be perused by them.
The longer this pursuit goes on the more twisted by fear the refugee unicorn will become. Their manes and coats will darken and become dingy. Their eyes will become sunken and their hooves will leave a trail of stinking ichor. And eventually they will be a unicorn no more. They will be a Nightmare.
Nightmares live in a state of constant flight. This is because the home universe’s unicorn will never stop its pursuit of this Nightmare. However now the Unicorn will not be able to follow it by attraction anymore. This usually allows the Nightmare to escape indefinitely from its unicorn pursuant. But the Nightmare’s life is now forever changed. Whereas once they were creatures of purity, they have now become creatures of pure fear. And eventually this will turn them to lives of pure evil. A Nightmare will come to hate every living thing around them. They will hunt and kill other animals lapping up their blood for sustenance. Then they will turn to people. They will kill children as easily as adults and feast on their organs. Wherever they go for miles around them people will suffer from terrible nightmares and sleepless nights. They exude an aura of disharmony that will cause anger and fighting in mortals. They revel in this violence and will often stalk a town or village until they have killed themselves to the last child. Any stragglers will be dispatched by the Nightmare.
When a Nightmare has reached its full power, they will start killing in a new way, in dreams. They will enter the dreams of children and virgins first as a preference. They will usually cause them sleepless terror for many weeks and then when they have made them so afraid that they will do anything not to sleep, they will wait patiently until they exhaust themselves. Then they will give them one last horrible dream and at the end they will die, not only in the dream but in real life. By this time the Nightmare has learned to live only on fear and will look emaciated like skin on bones, but truly be more powerful than ever. This is how they will live until they die.
The only thing a Nightmare respects other than its own power is another creature of true evil. They will be drawn to evil wizards and warlocks and witches. If they find one suitably corrupt, they will offer themselves as a steed to this malevolent being. As long as this wicked person can provide them with enough victims to consume the fear of, they will stay with them indefinitely.
Despite all of this it should be obvious that Nightmares are equally rare, if not more rare than unicorns. But all of this changed with the Oblivion. As Universe after universe began to succumb to the Oblivion more and more Unicorns were made to flee. At first this was not a huge problem as the noble unicorns resigned themselves to their deadly duels and balance remained. But as we enter the Panic things have hit a turning point. For some time now Unicorns have begun to be hunted in earnest. Many races have sought them thinking to use their magical body parts to do everything from stopping the Oblivion to halting the Traxting process in the dead. As such many Unicorns across the multiverse have begun to be relentlessly pursued. Along with this, the acceleration of the Oblivion has started causing more and more universes to collapse at an increasing rate leading to even more Unicorns fleeing their home universes. Many of these unicorns enter new universes tired and afraid and sometimes instead of just two unicorns fighting for a single universe it may be 3 or more! Some unicorns may become injured in the ensuing fights and instead of fighting to the death run away. They too become consumed by fear and become Nightmares.
Many Nightmares are beginning to be drawn to the Mega Cities, where many people have chosen to reside because of their own fears. The Nightmares have taken to living on the edges of these Mega Cities and they feed off of and amplify the fear of its people. They have begun entering peoples dreams and causing panic, terror, and unrest. Their auras causing chaos as they skulk invisibly in dark alleys hidden in shadow.
The problem with this is no one want to believe there are Nightmares causing this. The vast majority of people have never even heard of such creatures and believe unicorns to be only myth. As such the problems continue to escalate. The masses have turned to drugs both magical and mundane, psionic and magical treatments, and other elaborate rituals, looking for remedy, but of course none of them work. At least not for very long.
This is the situation currently, but it is bound to escalate. How long it will take someone to notice the true nature of the problem is anyone’s guess. Until then the trepidation being caused by the Nightmares will continue to go unchecked, and escalate the Panic even further…
About the Illustration: Today we see a Trementian and some “Mini Elementals”, an agree Treant, and some cool lil bug guys 😊
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