Song of the Unicorns, Prologue: Dummy Protagonists

Somewhere on the far reaches of the Magic Web, two centaurs and their cargo wagon are hopelessly lost. Granted, it’s not their fault: portals have been acting weird lately, and the Fairy Map they’ve been using is now quite out of date. The new edition explains just why things haven’t been going well for this party:

Magic flowed uncontrolled and wild across the web, closing portals that had been open for centuries and creating new ones as yet unmapped. And now they were way off course and stranded.

I’ll give you three guesses to figure out who’s responsible for this.

Luckily, the centaurs figure out that there’s a portal that will put them back on the right track. Just one problem: it’s across this treacherous, mist-shrouded bridge over a bottomless pit called the Demon’s Crossing. The centaurs agree to cross the bridge, but only because they gotta make their delivery on time.

Unfortunately, the party is attacked by shark-like mist creatures halfway across the bridge, and one of the centaurs mysteriously vanishes. The remaining centaur struggles to pull the wagon to the other side of the bridge, but another mist-shark-thing knocks the wagon off said bridge. The centaur throws his Fairy Map after it, which causes the wagon and Map to vanish elsewhere.

And then, on the other end of the bridge, a giant suit of armor with a magic staff appears! Oh shit, it’s the Destroyer! And as you would expect, the centaur is easily defeated and thrown into the bottomless, misty pit, presumably to die of starvation.

Next time: Ozzie goes on a diet.



  1. I had forgotten that this book does open quite strongly. I thought there was some really good writing here. Too bad it doesn’t keep this tenseness up.

    When you said “the Destroyer” I thought at first you meant the Doctor Who Destroyer.

    1. I’ve never seen the Seventh Doctor’s run (outside of his first episode — OMG was it bad), so I didn’t know that he fought a “Destroyer”.

      I probably had Thor on my mind when writing this, too ^_^

      This intro is pretty awesome, but I wish the rest of the book built up on it.

      1. So do I.

        I only know the first Thor film, and never knew that the Destroyer in that was always a part of the lore. I had been thinking of looking more into Thor as inspiration. Do you have a suggestion of where to begin reading?

        Yeah, Time and the Rani doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s list of favorite Doctor Who stories, but the Seventh Doctor has some really good ones. Battlefield was notable for having Arthurian knights and sorceresses running around and the Doctor never tries to say it’s not magic. Maybe someone can do a crossover with Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders based on that premise.

        1. If you want to get into Thor, I would suggest reading the original Jack Kirby run (it introduces most of the characters), the Walt Simonson run (contains many classic stories, and awesome artwork), and the JMS run (the movie borrows heavily from this, but be warned — it has an abrupt ending). I’d also suggest the recent relaunch of Journey into Mystery, which focuses on Loki. And I think there’s a run from the early 2000s focusing on Ragnarok that’s supposed to be good. I haven’t read either of those, though. Honestly, I haven’t kept up with Thor for the past few years.

          I hear that the last season or two of the Seventh Doctor’s run are supposed to be good. I think it’s when they replace Mel with Ace, right?

          1. I’ve seen more of Ace than Mel. I think Mel is replaced in the serial Dragonfire at the end of Seven’s first season. I’ve mostly seen the second and third seasons with Seven, where they develop Seven as a manipulative schemer. Makes for interesting viewing.

            Ah, thank you. Those should be easily obtainable from Comixology.

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