The Unicorn Creed….

30 May

Another release from Scarborough..The Unicorn Creed.



In Song of Sorcery, Book 1 of Songs from the Seashell Archives, hearthwitch Maggie Brown met minstrel Colin Songsmith and a unicorn named Moonshine while saving both her sister and the kingdom. All in a quest’s work for a girl who can magically do anything she can convince her power is housework. To reward Maggie, the king makes her a princess, and therefore a good catch for the local noble bachelors. Only problem is, she doesn’t want to get married. She wants to be with Moonshine, whose Unicorn Creed, as he understands it, forbids him to consort with anyone except a chaste maiden. It’s rather a touchy situation, and so Princess Maggie abandons her crown and with Moonshine, she and Colin set out to see if they can find a loophole in Moonshine’s creed. Of course, in the process they have to try to save the land of Argonia again, this time from a were-man, a revolutionary nymph, a town’s worth of zombies, an ice worm and an evil wizard.



     When Colin Songsmith arrived with the royal party at Fort Iceworm, he scarcely recognized the place. Indeed, he scarcely could see the place, once he and the rest of Their Majesties’ entourage had passed within the huge log gates, for it was crammed ten deep with people everywhere. Even now, in midsummer, when crops needed tending, animals needed herding, and peasants needed supervising, and in spite of Fort Iceworm’s remoteness from Queenston, Argonia’s capital city and center of both population and enterprise, no one wanted to miss the royal christening.
     From all corners of the realm and the known world, the guests had already gathered—kings and statesmen, queens of faery, wazirs and wise men, gypsies, an unusually large number of assorted unattached noblemen, plus other noble people, ignoble people, were-people, half-people and even a few non-people. All had assembled to christen the baby Princess Bronwyn in the hall of her grandfather, Sir William Hood.
     All visible portions of the castle’s structure were layered with silken banners of every color, bearing every crest in the realm, fluttering less with wind than with the comings and goings of the throng. The meadows separating castle and village from the vast forest were strewn with guest pavilions, like huge overblown summer flowers, crimson, azure, golden and green of every shade and tint. From the topmost turret of Sir William’s keep flew the King’s own crest, a rowan leaf on a field of scarlet. Directly below it, as was proper, flew Sir William’s own banner, an iceworm, blue, rampant on a field of white. Enterprising peasants hawked pennants bearing both emblems through the streets. Every cottager and holder for leagues around lodged at least twenty people in his small home, and at all hours elaborately clad servants came and went from the humblest of village dwellings. Never did the smell of cooking food, nor the sound of laughter and song, abate, for the entire week of festivities preceding the christening.
     It was a good thing that His Majesty was so tall. Otherwise Colin, whose duty it was as chief minstrel to always be at the King’s right hand, chronicling his regally witty remarks on the marvelous occasion, could never have found either the King or his right hand. Fortunately, His Highness was descended from frost giants, and was thus of conveniently outstanding stature.
Colin had less luck locating the other person he most wished to find at the christening, his old questing companion, Maggie Brown, Sir William’s bastard daughter and Queen Amberwine’s half sister. He knew where she was well enough, or where she had been, at any rate. It was Maggie’s special talent, her hearthcraft witchery, which kept the entire christening from being a greater domestic disaster than it was. Hers was the power to perform all household tasks in the twinkling of an eye, and wherever she went she cut a swath of fragrant cooking fires, clean rushes, whitewashed walls, clean dishes, hot food, cold drink, emptied chamber pots, fresh linen, kindled torches and tidied beds. It was not an unpleasant trail to follow. Nevertheless, Colin had hoped for a more personal confrontation—a bit of a reunion, as it were—a chance to sing her his new songs, to tell her of his life at the castle, and perhaps to strut for her a bit in the rich apparel the King had given him. But somehow he never seemed to be free of his duties at the same time she was free of hers in the same room. Once he almost collided with her as he was coming in from a party at Sir Oswald’s pavilion, but without looking up she’d brushed past him in a brown blur, automatically mending a small tear and cleaning a wine stain on his sleeve in passing. He was, for once, speechless, and after that had no more opportunities to seek her out, preoccupied as he was with his own duties of observing, chronicling, dancing, singing, entertaining and being entertained by his fellow guests.
     So it happened that, although she was the first person he’d looked for, he never really saw her properly until the actual christening had begun and he took his favored place, slightly behind and to the left of Their Majesties’ makeshift thrones inside the cow yard, which was the only area large enough to hold even the noble part of the assemblage.
     King Roari and his queen, the exquisite Lady Amberwine, were flanked on one side by the most important of the royal guests, and on the other side by a smug and beaming Sir William, an equally proud Granny Brown, Maggie’s irascible witch grandmother, and by Maggie herself. She was still dressed in her brown woolen skirt and tunic and manure-spattered wooden clogs, her apron splotched with a fresh grease stain, neglected in the excitement, her brown eyes darting restlessly around the courtyard, as if looking for tasks that still needed doing. Only her shining otter’s pelt of brown hair was clean and neatly braided, and bespoke personal preparation for the historic moment about to take place.
     As the Mother’s Priestess lifted Princess Bronwyn from Queen Amberwine’s arms, and carried her gently and ceremoniously to the mound of christening mud heaped high upon the white-silk-covered table in front of the throne, Maggie caught Colin’s eye and grinned at him. It was her old grin, and full of relief, though somewhat nervous. He grinned back at her, trying to think how to signal her to wait for him after the ceremony, but then there was no time. The baby had stopped howling in the priestess’s unfamiliar arms, and now gurgled happily as the woman tenderly smeared the small body with the Mother’s life-giving mud.
     The congregation cheered as the last of Bronwyn’s shining pink flesh was blessed with another gooey glob, and the small Princess was borne away into the castle to be bathed before the gifting began.
     Colin thought then he might step over to one side and snag Maggie before she disappeared again. But before he’d taken a pace, King Roari lifted his hand slightly, and the royal herald, standing just to Colin’s right, blew a loud, whinnying blast on his trumpet. Colin winced.
     The King rose majestically—he was very good at being majestic, being so large—and the trumpet-silenced assemblage knelt; not an easy task, since a kneeling person took up more room than a standing one, and the cow yard was already packed.    

About the author:

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the author of 22 solo fantasy and science fiction novels, including the 1989 Nebula award winning fantasy novel, Healer’s War, loosely based on her service as an Army Nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. She has collaborated thus far on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the best selling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series



2 Responses to “The Unicorn Creed….”

  1. chalaedra May 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chalaedra's Weblog and commented:

    Princess Maggie, Colin Songsmith and Moonshine the unicorn have to try to save the land of Argonia again, this time from a were-man, a revolutionary nymph, a town’s worth of zombies, an ice worm and an evil wizard. The Unicorn Creed, Songs from the Seashell Archives, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at:

  2. Marketa May 31, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Another good read by this author.

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