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The Spiral Horn
Aaron lived in the small village of Greenwood. Greenwood was a small self contained village that lay at the edge of the mountains. The place had a dirt street that was lined by buildings. Almost all of the things needed by the people were there. They had to rely on no other village for anything. The other villages came to Aaron's father, who was the Blacksmith for the town. His work was renown for many miles and people came from all around to see his work. Dar, the Smith, was disappointed somewhat in his son. He had hoped to have a son that he could pass the business on to. Aaron was a slight young man, that showed no inclination to get any larger.
With his lack of muscles and inclination towards book learning, Dar didn't have the heart to try to make a Blacksmith out of Aaron. That would have been like trying to make a silk purse of a sows ear. It just couldn't be done. Consequently, Dar had taken an apprentice, in the son of a neighbor. The young man, named Tim, was a burley, compact and powerful young man. He reminded Dar of himself, when he was that age. The young man had an aptitude for the business and Dar was happy to teach him.
Aaron loved his father and it hurt him that he couldn't be the kind of man his father wanted. He knew that he loved other things, but would have been willing to try. Fortunately, his father was a wise man and looked else where for his apprentice. Aaron had rapidly passed his school mates in his learning. The teacher in the village school, knew that he was an exceptional student. You would have expected a son of a Blacksmith to be a course, gruff young man, but Aaron was the opposite. He was quiet and showed a respect for most things.
This had gotten him in many fights during school and during play with the other kids. As usually happens, if there is one in the crowd that is mature for his age, then he will be the target of the others. Aaron had friends, but no one in who he confided. These were other youngsters that liked books also and they ate lunch together and studied. It was a completely different crowd than Tim hang around. It really galled Aaron that Tim took up for him and stopped others from harassing him. It would have almost been better for him, if Tim had let him take his licks and get on with it. Then, every time Tim wasn't there, Aaron wouldn't have had to avoid the bullies.
Then, one day, when Tim was working at his father's shop, Aaron had gone back to school, hoping to borrow a new book, that the teacher had just gotten in, when he was trapped by the others.
"Here's the pitiful little runt," one said.
" God, how can his father, the Blacksmith, stand to have such a weakling in his house," another said?
" If he was a real man, he would go into the forest and spend a night out there alone," the first said.
Aaron knew of the thing that the punk was talking about. It seemed that each of the others, had gone into the woods for a whole night, staying until dawn, bringing back a certain flower, that only grew deep in the forest. It was a stupid thing to do, as there were wild animals and other things in the forest. Even the best woodsmen in the village, rarely went there alone. Aaron had no intention in doing something like that, but here he was in a corner again and was tired of this bunch. The only way he could ever get them to leave him alone, was to do it.
"I'll go to the woods," He told him. "I'll prove that just because you're bigger than me, it doesn't take brawn to do that."
"We'll see, the oldest said," You must bring back the flower tomorrow morning or it'll be too bad for you."
As the others left, Aaron regretted that he had gotten mad and opened his mouth. He had prided himself on control and here he was in trouble from what he had said. He went back to the house and gathered the things that he thought that he would need. He was glad that his father was still out back working. He hadn't had to explain what he was going to do. He took his things and started off into the wood, where the flower grew.
Deeper and deeper into the forest he went. He wondered what his father would think, when he didn't come home that night. He figured that he would be punished, when he got back and Dar found out what he had been up to. He knew that it was stupid, but what choice did he have? The path that he had been following, finally ended and Aaron had not yet seen any sigh of the flower. What Aaron didn't know, was that there was a patch of the flower, nearer to the village than he had ever heard of. This was where all the others had found the flower and none of them had ever really spent a night in the wood at all. The bully that had challenged him, had spent the night in the stables and had got up early and picked a flower and returned to the village. Aaron went on.
Finally, he came out of the heavy undergrowth, into a slight clearing. It was already getting dark and Aaron knew that he had to camp for the night. He had brought a blanket and things for a fire. He was worried that a fire might get out of control or attract animals, so he didn't build one. He laid a pile of leaves that he had collected and ate a cold supper. He settled in for the night. His back was to a large tree, as it afforded him some protection.
Aaron dozed off. He hadn't meant to. He wished to stay up all night to watch for danger, but somewhere along the line, he had drifted off to sleep. He woke suddenly and looked around. There was a light fog that had drifted through the trees. This set up an eerie glow. He couldn't see very far, but there seemed to be a glow in the distance. He had brought a roll of string with him, so he attached it to a limb and moved slowly towards the glow. Aaron rolled out the string, as he went forward. He was so enthralled by what he imagined to be up ahead, he never noticed that the string had run out.
Then, up ahead, was the source of the glow. Aaron couldn't believe his eyes. There, across the clearing was a creature that he had never thought existed. A Unicorn! The creature only looked slightly like a horse. It did have the form, but there were so many differences. Its hooves were split, where a horse had a solid one. The hide and the silken mane had a softness that could almost be seen. There was a spiral horn, that Aaron had only dreamed of, gracing the head of. A long silken tail streamed out >from behind it. The glow that Aaron had been drawn here by, was coming from its horn. At least that was where it was brightest. It fact, the whole of the animal seemed to have a glow about it.
Aaron felt a hurting in his chest and realized that he had been holding his breath. He let it out slowly, not wanting to let the creature hear him. He would have been happy to stay there and watch it forever. Never had he seem anything with the splendor of it. As suddenly as a thought, it was gone. Aaron took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He moved after a while and started searching for his string. He must get back to his things. There was a sense of safety with something familiar.
Aaron was scared! He couldn't find the string! He never remembered the string running out. Now, in the dark he had no chance to find it. He started off in the direction that he thought he had come from and after several minutes, knew that he was lost. Worse yet, all of the things that he had brought with him were gone. He was exhausted, all thoughts of the vision that he had seen were gone now. All he could thing of, was finding a place to rest. He was under several large oaks and there was moss growing thick around it. He sat down there and cried. Why, oh why had he let the bullies taunt him into doing something stupid like this? In an exhausted state, he lay in the moss. No longer caring what was going to happen.
He woke to the sound of music. Strangely enough, he couldn't move. This caused him no fear and he didn't know why. He looked and saw a pair of legs that ended in split hooves and were covered with silky white hair. He looked upward farther and saw the legs attached to the creature of last night. He was bathed in her glow. He realized that it was a she. He looked up at the head and was almost blinded by the light from the spiral horn, on her head. She dipped her head and the wickedly sharp horn was poised at his chest. He averted his eyes from the bright light and waited for death.
Nothing happened for a few moments and Aaron looked back along his body. He was naked as he lay on the ground and had no idea where his clothes had gone. He was totally incapable of emotion at this moment. He watched himself with an almost detached curiosity. The horn pierced his chest and slid through it, into the ground. Aaron watched without emotion and felt no pain. There was a warmth that spread from where his chest was pierced, upward to his head and down into his legs and feet. The mare pulled her horn out of him and the wound where the horn had passed through him, closed as it was withdrawn.
After it was out of him, the mare stepped back and watched Aaron. It was as though she was waiting for something. Aaron looked down at his naked form and saw that things were different. Where the horn had entered his chest, a light downy while hair had started to grow. It spread outward as it progressed up his chest and down to his legs. He felt a tingle on his neck and now, being able to move, felt back there to touch a soft mane.
He felt a pressure on his forehead and felt up there also. A protrusion was pushing outward and he knew that it was his own horn. Ears grew warm and changed. The white hair had moved down to his hands and they started to change, fingers fusing to become a split hoof. His legs shimmered and changed also, his feet also turning into the same type hooves, as his hands now were. He was gaining mass in the chest, shoulders and butt. He tried to get to his feet, but his spine had altered and he was still on all fours. Lastly, his neck stretched and face pushed out, forming a muzzle.
Aaron stood there in the clearing, a new creature. He had experienced the change with an almost startling lack of emotion. He knew he should have been scared, but it never happened. He briefly thought of all he had left behind, but the things of the moment, took precedence. He was hungry and there was his mother? He had no thought for this, as he moved over to her and reached under her for a meal. The mare was happy again. She once more had a colt. She knew that she had found what she had been looking for so long, when she had seen this former human in the forest. Here was someone who was truly good and deserved to wear this form. They were both served by the magic of the moment.
Aaron thought little of this. He had a full stomach and lay at the feet of his mother. He was safe and happy for the first time in a long time. All human memories forgotten, he slept .
The Spiral Horn copyright 1997 by Tekwolf.
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