Broken Sky

A Unicorn Chronicles work of Fanfiction by music4evah.

{Please thank Aria Breuer, who beta'd this for me.}

warning: major spoilers for the last book if you haven't read it


i.

They were so beautiful.

Through the darkness, the confusion, the constant buzzing and tingling, the forgetfulness, that one thought of awe and purity would rise into Fallon's mind unhindered. And he knew it was all just as well that such a thought would. But sometimes, he couldn't remember why.

He loved to look at them, especially during the times of his greatest confusion. Fallon would wonder what exactly he had lost at that large tree that made him hurt so much. The pain wasn't like sitting on a rock uncomfortably, or like a stick jutting into your skin, pressing just hard enough to make you wince. No, the pain was like a giant pushing down on his muscled chest. It made him feel as if he were drowning, drowning in memories that might not have even been his. The pain constricted his lungs and he couldn't breathe, and some nights as he stared up at the leaves he felt like his heart was blowing in the gentle breeze with them, especially in the fall when they started to look like blood...

And then he would remember that he had lost something, and that was why he waited here. When was it coming back? It had to come back. If it didn't, he would never remember it again, and he had to remember it.

Some nights he thought he could recall more memories than others. He would see a face— a face he knew. The face was beautiful, but different from him somehow. Why was that strange? Ah, well, it didn't matter anyway, because now he could see the thing he had lost. Yes, this was it, he was certain! It was so light, and it was happy to see him, and he nearly cried because everything was perfect again.

And nothing could change that, could it?

But then in the middle of the night it would disappear, and he would discover his one, lonely friend chattering abstractly in his ear. The little beastie would be shivering and looking up at him with big, sorrowful eyes, knowing it was never coming back, yet too hopeful to say so out loud.

And Fallon would roar, crushed that true happiness had slipped away from him again. His poor friend would shriek in protest and fear, but he wasn't angry at the Squijum. If he was angry at anyone, it was himself, because he had lost it, he was the one to blame. He knew he could have done something long ago {if only he had stopped him} that would have prevented his... his... whatever it was from leaving him. Now it was as far away as the stars, and he could only try to call them down with his desperate cries.

Then suddenly, it was there to comfort him, so white in the night that it appeared to be glowing. Fallon would be entranced once again, caught up in the beauty of his creation, this perfect unicorn.

Because it was his— wasn't it?


ii.

The cavern was dark. This particular room didn't really need any light, though— the horns lining the weathered walls were enough to cast dim silver shadows. Each sat alone on a separate pedestal of stone. All of them gave a peculiar white glow, as if the spirits of the unicorns who had once born them so heroically still lingered.

One could stay in the chamber for a long time without realizing it, Lightfoot thought. It was so easy to look at a horn and never want to turn away, for it seemed as if each one held its own story. And they did, as every unicorn would have fallen uniquely in the Last Battle. Each life had been different, and every outsider could take their time wondering jut what it was. Ironic that such stories would never be told to the Chronicle Keeper who housed them... But Lightfoot knew them all.

And yet one horn still captured his attention. That single object was the sole reason the unicorn prince lingered in Grimwold's underground home. It was strange how it still seemed to carry that sense of pride and authority, even without his uncle's stern face to accompany it. He could imagine Moonheart standing there, giving him a glare of annoyance. "What are you still doing here?" he would demand. "You fool, don't you understand that there are things to be done? Luster does not halt simply because Beloved has been defeated!" And Lightfoot knew he was being foolish, too.

So why did he still feel that his duty was to mourn?

He thought back to what Cara had told him after the ceremony. Many had dispersed quickly once it was done, but just as many had stayed, like him, gazing at the beautiful display. The few humans gathered with them spoke quietly, paying their respects as unicorns reminisced over friends and family. Lightfoot had been standing in front of Moonheart's horn sullenly when Cara nudged him gently.

After a moment, a soft thought came. "He cared about you, you know."

Lightfoot glanced at her, unsure of what to say. "... Well, he didn't act like it."

"No," Cara agreed. "But he only ever meant the best for you." She pictured her conversation with Moonheart, sharing the memory with Lightfoot for a moment. "He was very similar to you when you were younger."

He turned away. "Yes. Yes, I know."

Cara gave him a pointed look. "Lightfoot, it does no good to be angry with him. He would have made his peace with you if given the chance! It's not fair to him to—"

"I'm not angry at him!" Lightfoot interrupted, a wave of emotion rushing from him. Several unicorns looked over at them, unsettled by the sudden disturbance.

Surprised as well, Cara took a few steps back. Lightfoot's feelings had been such a tangle of frustration and despair that she could hardly pick out any distinct thoughts. It was so confusing, and Cara was amazed that he didn't explode from the pain.

"I..." She tried to convey only sympathy. "I understand." When he didn't respond, she slowly walked away, leaving him alone again.

Lightfoot knew she didn't understand. How could anyone understand when he wasn't even sure for himself? And now he still stood there, wondering how this loss could have penetrated his heart so deeply.

Sorting out his emotions wasn't easy. There was anger, yes, that much was obvious. But who was it directed at? Not Moonheart— no, there was only sorrow and regret there. {Why hadn't he made an effort to make things different?} Beloved was a possibility. This was all her fault, anyway. Yes, he was angry at Beloved, but he always had been. Yet somehow, his hatred towards her seemed so empty now. No, he was really just frustrated with himself. His selfishness, his stubbornness, the way he just had to rebel.

Moonheart's death made Lightfoot consider his life and the meaning of it for the first time in a long while. The sky was dark when he finally emerged to see it again.


iii.

What she wouldn't give to have hands. To have arms, elbows, and fingers, even a thumb! To be able to embrace a loved one again, to pick a flower, to wave to a friend. The simplest movements haunted her dreams. And the full realization of what Cara had done would hit her every time she missed it.

It was hard, learning to become a unicorn. She couldn't do half of the things she did before, most of which were second nature to her. On the other hand— er, hoof— she could at least do many more things now than before. She could gallop faster than she had ever been able to run. {Once she mastered using four legs, of course.} And she never had to worry about unclean water again! {Not that she had much lately, as she'd almost always been with a unicorn in Luster before.} Her new eye-sight was amazing. {Even if it was a little bit disconcerting at times.} It was hard to compete with the much more efficient method of communication, plus the deep connection between unicorns. {Although her parents still had to get used to it. They would, though!} And she never had to worry about twisting open that glowing orb {fantastic as it was} because...

Because she didn't have hands.

No, it was because her horn could glow just fine. She loved being a unicorn! Sure, she missed a few things... particularly how she might have hugged her parents after hardly having seen them only her whole life. But hadn't she daydreamed about being a unicorn more times than she could count? Of course she had. That was why she was so happy now. Nothing could bring her down now that she was in her true form! Even if her parents did get a sad, distant look in their eyes every now and then...

But it was all for the best. Yes, being a unicorn had helped her defeat Beloved in the Last Battle. She was proud of being a unicorn! And she was happy. Yes, after all, she was next in line for the throne now, wasn't she? Wasn't that... wasn't that great? It might be a bit daunting now, but she would grow into the responsibility.

And of course she never missed being a human. Well, maybe just a little bit, and only sometimes! Because being a unicorn wasn't bad. It was just... different. Painfully, surprisingly, extremely different.

Especially whenever she missed her hands.


iv.

Waking up from her dream had been the most wonderful and terrifying thing she had ever done. For the first time in years she felt like she could breathe. She was alive again, and Martha just loved to look at everything and see how beautiful Luster was, especially now that she was reunited with her husband and her daughter, who... who was now a unicorn.

Who she had never gotten to raise, she meant. Her precious baby girl had been stolen from her by her own mother! How could she worry about Cara being a unicorn when she hadn't even had the time to mourn being away from her? Fine, so she couldn't really blame her mother {who was also a unicorn}, because Beloved would have trapped her in that scarlet tree anyway. If anything, she should blame herself for falling in love with Ian Hunter in the first place, and she certainly wasn't going to do that.

No, the problem was that Cara— her baby girl— was a unicorn. A unicorn. And she'd hardly had a day to see how much she had grown up and what she was like, and what her favorite color was, and it just wasn't fair! None of this was! Not only was it hard to connect to her daughter after ten-odd years, but try doing that when she's a mythical creature. And when you stand awkwardly in between your daughter and mother, and you aren't quite sure just how human you are...

Sometimes she caught those two sharing a secret look, and a wave of anger— if it was even that; she couldn't tell— would come over her. What were they thinking? What where they feeling? Did they miss being human? Certainly not her mother. Oh, no, you could tell that Amalia Flickerfoot just belonged here. She was meant to be queen and she knew it. And if Cara had any doubts, any longings or fears, she would soon forget it. Unicorns lived a lot longer than humans, anyway. {What about half-unicorns? Did they get side effects? Or did you have to be in that form?}

It was during those times of envy and sorrow that made Martha wish she could change. Because yes, she was jealous. She was jealous that she was the one left behind, the one in the middle who everyone forgot, because oh, look, she was stuck in an enchanted sleep for years on end, and did she have anything to show for it? No! No one would think about her, because she had only been quietly missed by a few people, and the unicorns didn't really know her. Even her family was too proud to reach out to her. Maybe being human {sort of} wasn't that bad after all. Even if she wanted to be a unicorn so badly...

And then the light in her eyes would die slowly as her daydream would fade away. She couldn't be a unicorn, even if it were possible. Her loss was great, yes, and it felt as if some part of her was missing, but she couldn't forget her husband. He would look at her when her mind would wander like this and take her hand gently.

"Martha."

She would turn to stare into his eyes— oh, he took her breath away every time she saw him. She loved this man with all her soul, and wouldn't mind shouting it out to all of Luster. {Because she wasn't on Earth anymore.} In fact, she loved him so much that she had been willing to defy her mother in order to marry him, even though he was a Hunter. And everything had turned out for the best, after all.

Except for the fact that Cara and Ivy— Amalia, she meant— were unicorns now. And she wasn't.


v.

"... And the centaurs had quite a bit to say about that, too. Their ambassadors should arrive any day now."

"Is that all?"

Lightfoot noticed her tone. "Yes," he lied.

"Good." She rose to stand on her hooves. "Meeting adjourned."

The numerous unicorns gathered paused for a moment. They could feel how tense the atmosphere was. Something was bothering the Queen, that much was obvious, but she was too skilled at hiding her emotions for any of them to turn the feelings into something comprehensible. But if this much was rippling through enough to unease them, it had to be terrible for Amalia to try to control. And it wasn't that hard to guess that it had something to do with the events surrounding the Last Battle.

Amalia closed her eyes as her council quietly shuffled out of the clearing. Questions swirled around her, but she focused on keeping everything inside of her. She was the Queen of the unicorns—she could not just let them realize how much defeating Beloved had cost and feel how hurt she was to be so responsible for it all. She had been so blind! Why hadn't she done something sooner to prevent so much loss?

With a gentle sigh, she opened her eyes again to gaze at the empty clearing; except it wasn't.

Jacques laid a hand on her shoulder. "My Queen?"

She winced. "What?"

"It does no good to keep your thoughts inside like this. You are straining yourself."

"And what do you suggest I do?" the Queen snapped, letting a burst of anger through her defenses. "Just let everyone know that Luster isn't perfect because Beloved is dead? Should I tell them that I'm still mourning the price we had to pay? They all thought things would change— but I think this world may have changed too much."

Jacques pulled his hand away, staring at her for a moment. When he put it back, his thoughts were soft. "Ivy. No, listen to me— I understand that this is painful for you. You see and feel what the others have lost, and you feel responsible."

"I am responsible."

"You would not blame this destruction on Beloved?"

She turned her head away from him. She knew he didn't really want her to blame everything on Beloved, but Jacques thought blaming herself was worse.

It had been three months since the Last Battle had ended, and the many weeks following Beloved's death had required her attention to be directed towards her subjects and restoring Luster to order. There were judgments to be issued, battlefields to be cleaned up, alliances and treaties to be discussed and countless souls to be comforted. She had felt {and at times could still feel} every unicorns' pain at the loss of their family and friends. She had wept with and for many, but never for herself. How could she when so many looked to her for guidance?

"Doesn't it ever hurt you when those you love are hurt?"

"It always does, Ivy. But time will heal this world."

"And how on Earth will that happen?"

Jacques looked at her sadly and sighed. "I believe you need more time to think on your own." He walked out of the clearing slowly, leaving her alone.

And then she realized what she had thought just a moment before. How stupid of her! Yes, maybe she had lived for a long time on Earth, but she was in Luster now, and she wasn't going back. She couldn't go back. She wouldn't miss it that much anyway, and she certainly wouldn't tolerate any more silly thoughts about it. Oh, but now that she had started, it was hard to stop. She had learned and grown so much there, and had found happiness in her family. But now...

Now everything was different. Cara loved Luster, she knew, but the sudden change was so difficult for her. Martha felt more distant than ever, and Ian... well, she had never exactly been close with him before. It was so strange to see him every day with his wife and daughter, looking for all the world as if everything were perfect.

Why wasn't it? Wasn't Beloved's death supposed to be a good thing? Oh, of course it was. But everyone {including herself} had pictured a much happier world than this when thinking of her defeat. That battle wasn't supposed to cost so much. Unicorns were still torn apart inside, and she couldn't tell why it was so hard to reach out to them sometimes!

All right, yes, she had lived so long as a human on Earth, but it wasn't her fault. And if she'd realized that she was secretly a unicorn, things would have been a lot different.

They just didn't understand how difficult it was, always wandering and never knowing where home really was. Half the time she hadn't even known about Beloved. Everything had been so confusing and frightening. Then, when she had started her own family, life had become a dream. And right when things should have been perfect, her world became a nightmare, contorting into something completely foreign.

Then everything had happened in a rush, and she didn't even know how she had done that... If she hadn't had such a rush of adrenalin, there was no way she could have just led the unicorns to victory, even if she had always been one to precede instead of follow given the choice. And now that things had nearly come to a standstill, she realized that she felt isolated.

Her sky had broken, and she was left wondering where her world had gone.

Quivering, the Queen stopped her thoughts for a moment, forcing them to change direction. You still have friends and a wonderful family who loves you. Stop hating yourself.

Jacques wanted her to realize that there was no going back to change the terrible mistakes of the past, didn't he? Suddenly every moment seemed to be flying away from her too quickly, and she couldn't grasp them to make them stay, to become a part of her and heal the tears in her heart. Instead, she just had to keep going. She had to keep trying, do her best to give everyone the hope that she didn't have.

Luster was far from perfect, and probably never would be. But... maybe it didn't have to be perfect.


in the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see~