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The Problem With Vengeance
Over time, the black husk had cracked, and through the crack you could still see the faint glow emanating from the golden horn of the Unicorn named Ash. And just by looking at that glow, by truly seeing it, you were imbued with this hope, this belief, that this Unicorn would someday be whole again. Someday…
Ash was running for their life. They were being chased by a proud white Alicorn. They hadn’t meant to disturb the Alicorn, but as Ash was wandering through the forest, she came upon the place where the Alicorn was sleeping. Ash stepped on a twig, and the Alicorn woke up. In his fury, the Alicorn had frightened the Unicorn, Ash, and in their fright, Ash had lunged at the Alicorn with their horn, and the Alicorn had not taken that move lightly. Now, the Alicorn was chasing Ash through the Alicorn’s forest home, Ash, worn out and breathing heavily, turned around, lowered their head, and stabbed the Alicorn in the shoulder with their horn. Ash ran...and ran...and ran…
Ash woke up. They had been dreaming about the event that had changed their life. Ash had been a white unicorn, with a gold horn. After their encounter with the Alicorn, however, after using their horn to harm another being, they had undergone a strange transformation, mentally and physically. The act of harming another disturbed them so much, their demeanor changed. Their physical appearance had changed. Their horn had cracked, and grown a black husk that surrounded it. Their coat that had once been a brilliant white had turned blood red. Their hooves were the same black as the shell on their horn. Their mood had changed. They now had evil thoughts. They roamed the land, lonely, and dark. One day, they would find the Alicorn who they had harmed. They were certain that he was alive.
Ash blamed their transformation on the Alicorn and its fiercely proud wrath. If only the Alicorn understood that Ash had meant no harm. Ash didn’t even know the name of the Alicorn, if it even had a name.
Alicorns were known for their paranoid, yet proud demeanor. They acted as if they were old and wise, and better than every other creature that walked or flew on or above the surface of Myodutria. Unicorns, on the other hand, were known for their playful, and kind demeanor. They acted young and naive. They believed that all the creatures of Myodutria were equal.
Ash had harmed the Alicorn five centuries ago. Over the past five centuries, they had roamed Myodutria in search of the Alicorn they felt had wronged them. They had been through villages of strange creatures called humans. They had roamed through forest and over open desert, gone months without food or water. They had even spoken with other Alicorns. But after five years, of no luck, Ash was becoming frustrated. They began setting fire to all the villages they passed through, using the magic of their horn, and felt glee when they heard the screams of the villagers…
Ash had been travelling through this particular forest for nearly a week. Fortunately, there was enough food in the forest to feed an army. There were fifteen different types of berry bush in the forest, and they were all edible. There were fruit trees, although some of the fruits were poisonous, so Ash stayed away from the trees most of the time. Something about this forest felt familiar, Ash thought. Something about this particular part of the forest. Strangely, they couldn’t remember when or why they had been to this forest. Ash realized that they may have been going around and around in circles this whole time. Ash dismissed the disheartening thought. Ash came upon a stream. Something about this forest really did seem familiar. They knew that they had been to this forest before. Ash knew that it was not the forest where they had met the Alicorn, but they knew, they just knew, that they had been here.
Suddenly, Ash realized! It was her home! This forest had been her home for the first forty years of her life. Years spent playing in the stream, and running through the forest. Years spent contentedly living with their parents.
And then after they met the Alicorn, all that had changed. Ash had been only a child when they had faced the Alicorn for the first time, and in their fear, in their confusion, they had ran away from their home, had lost their way, and become what they were now.
Ash knew that because this forest was their home, the home of the Alicorn could not be very far away. Less than three days journey from where they were currently. Ash would sleep in their forest that night, and the next day set off to confront the Alicorn.
The next morning, Ash found a blackberry bush, and started eating. When they were full, They started on the journey toward the Alicorn. Ash remembered that with the magic of their horn, they could bend distance and time, and make the distance to the forest home of the Alicorn a lot faster. The excitement building up in Ash was more than they could take. This was the moment they had been waiting for. Ash had waited for five years, and now, in less than a day, they would face the Alicorn.
Ash was feeling something that they hadn’t felt in the five years that they had searched for the Alicorn. They felt joy, at their goal being realized at last. At that moment, the black husk on their horn started to crack more. They now had streaks of white in their crimson coat. Ash was actually feeling joy!
Despite their giddy feeling of happiness, Ash did not notice the physical changes that had occurred in that first moment of their joy. Ash did not notice their body changing. And because they noticed nothing, they started their sprint towards where they knew the Alicorn would be.
When Ash reached the forest of the proud Alicorn, they slowed to a trot. They proceeded more cautiously, now that they were in the Alicorn’s territory.
Ash wandered aimlessly through the forest. They honestly had no idea where the Alicorn would be. They thought that they would see a familiar tree, or large boulder, but every time the supposed landmarks were meaningless. But Ash’s resolve was strong, and they would search for another five centuries if they had to.
Ash had been searching through the forest for days, and was starting to lose hope of ever finding the clearing where they had met the Alicorn.
After another day, Ash had found the clearing. But there was nothing there. Just trees above, and leaves on the ground. There was no trace of the Alicorn. No food scraps, no depressions in the leaves where the Alicorn might have slept, just quiet, natural beauty.
But the clearing did spark memories. Memories long gone, forgotten, had returned. Memories of joyful days as a very young Unicorn, spent in this clearing. Spent with the Alicorn who lived there.
The Alicorn had been their protector. The one who had watched over them when their parents couldn’t. Ash didn’t understand. How had they not realized? Why had the Alicorn been so wrathful, and fierce? Ash knew it didn’t matter, because the Alicorn was gone. It had either moved on, or died. Alicorns don’t live as long as Unicorns, and Ash had been searching for five centuries. Ash knew that the Alicorn was gone, and had known that he would be gone long before they arrived in his clearing.
They had run so for that day, in their fright. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, round and round in circles, their sense of time and direction muddled in their haste to escape. They had used so much energy. They needed food and water, but they didn’t care. They needed to be as far away from that Alicorn as possible. Ash could have run all the way across Myodutria that day. They had run so far. They continued running for a week, without stopping for food or water, and without resting. By the end of the first week of running, Ash collapsed, and slept…
Ash realized, that in their fear, and then in their need for revenge on the Alicorn, their protector, they had run for a week, and then spent five centuries searching for the Alicorn. Ash still had much of their life left to live, but they had wasted much of it. “That is the problem with vengeance,” Ash thought. “It gives life a purpose, and it drives you to go on, but then it comes to nothing. Five hundred years, with no result. The goal is never reached. The plan never comes to fruition.” Ash started to walk towards the edge of the forest, where they would start a new life. At that instant, when Ash came to terms with the fact that it was over, and they could start again, their coat rippled. It was back to white, although it still had a streak of crimson. The black husk on their horn crumbled. The crack in their horn disappeared. Their horn was a new, brighter gold. Ash was not back to the way they had been, but that was a good thing.
That is the problem with vengeance, you start whole, become broken, and at the end you become some mix of the two. The question is, is that really a problem? Being a combination of whole, and broken? Aren’t all creatures whole, yet broken? Ash pondered this question as they left the forest, to start over...