—an excerpt from my free ebook, The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn.
(One of the earliest entries in the Guardian archives. I think this details how and why they formed in the first place. —Silver Moon Unicorn)
Julio, an elf, was worried about his wife, Penelopi. She was pregnant and he feared he wouldn’t be able to protect her and their child against raiders. They lived in a castle all alone in the wilderness. He was currently up in the tower with telescope and other instruments which he used to study the stars. He had already discovered other planets with moons, but he had the nagging suspicion that raiders would be coming. It was just dawn and he was tired after being up all night. There were days he wondered why she even chose him when she could have had a dozen warriors to look after her.
He saw some a lone man armed with swords and a bow and arrows. Julio jumped up and looked through his telescope. It was an elf and he was all alone. Well, one was something he figured he could handle. More would have been a problem. Julio was klutzy with swords. He ran down the tower steps and all the way to the gate to meet the stranger.
The stranger was standing near the moat. He saw the drawbridge coming down. He watched carefully. Once the bridge was down he could see another elf standing in front of him. “Hello, Sir.”
“I wonder if I may come inside? There’s a storm brewing and I am weary from long travel.”
Julio hesitated. He saw Penelopi. Her eyes asked him why he wasn’t giving the young man the okay to come inside. “Yes, you may come in, but please don’t attack us.”
The stranger bowed. “You have my word that I will harm no one that lives here.” He proceeded to walk across the bridge. He saw Penelopi and bowed to her.
“Welcome to our humble home. What brings you to our door?” she asked the stranger.
“I’m a wandering elf. I have no home and I sometimes have to fight just to stay alive. If you give me a place to set my weapons down, I’d be glad to. I’m tried of fighting and would like to be among folk that aren’t violent.”
“We have no reason to be violent. My husband is an astronomer.”
“An astronomer? What’s that?”
“I study the stars and planets at night when it’s dark.”
“Oh. I see.”
“Here, you can put your things here in this closet off to the side. Are you hungry? I was about to fix some breakfast or dinner or whatever meal it is for us.”
“Yes, thank you and I am hungry. Are you two the only ones who live here?”
“Yes, with one on the way.” Julio patted his wife’s stomach.
“Oh. Would you be in need of defense against raiders?”
“Yes, we do need that. I know my husband won’t admit it.”
“In that case, I’d be happy to help you with that.” He held out his hand to Julio.
“Well, okay. We can provide food and shelter without too much trouble.” He shook the stranger’s hand.
Penelopi went to the kitchen to cook. The two men stood in the main hall.
“My name is Darius. I’ll do what I can, but we may need more people to help defend the castle so you can pursue your work.”
“I’ve been thinking that. I’m Julio and my wife is Penelopi.”
They went into the kitchen and Julio told her the stranger’s name. She continued to cook over the open fire.
Days past and Darius kept his word. He watched from another tower. He’d watch the stars. One day he was at his tower post when he saw a small hamlet on fire. He knew it was raiders. They were too close to the castle. He also knew he wouldn’t be able to get to them fast enough to do any good and he could be leaving Julio and Penelopi alone. He couldn’t do that.
When dawn arrive, Darius could see people approaching the castle. He walked over to Julio’s tower via the narrow stone bridge between them. “Julio!”
Julio turned to face Darius. “What is it?”
“A hamlet not far from here was raided last night. I saw it burn. Now there are people approaching castle and we need to know if they are raiders or just survivors headed our way.”
Julio looked through his telescope. “I see. They don’t have any weapons. There are children!” He pulled himself away from the telescope. “We better go meet them.”
The two ran down the stairs. They met Penelopi in the great hall. They quickly told her what had happened. She prepared herself as Julio lowered the draw bridge. Once it was down, all three could see survivors walking towards them. Darius stepped out onto the bridge to meet the small group. There were more children than adults. Some were elves and others were fairies. All looked dirty and frightened. They stopped at the bridge, but couldn’t speak.
Penelopi stepped forward. “Welcome. Darius, our guard has told us of your plight. You are welcome to live here. All we ask is that you help out with the work. We have to grow more food and cook, clean, and make new clothes.”
One of the fairy children spoke up. “What if we don’t know how to do any of those things?”
“I will teach you what I know.”
“Okay.” The children walked across the bridge. The adults didn’t move.
Darius walked over to them. “Why are you hesitating? Lord Julio and Lady Penelopi are kind and generous.”
“Sir, the raiders may come this way.”
“I am prepared to deal with that, lady.”
“I am not domestic.” The elf lowered her eyes.
“Oh? Do you have other talents?”
She raised her eyes. “Yes, I can shoot arrows. But no one wanted to me to fight like the men do.”
Darius looked at her. “Why do I get the feeling you’re still alive because you did fight last night?”
“I did and saved all these children in the process.”
“Well, then you can be a guard with me.”
“Really? Will you train me?”
“Yes, of course.”
She walked up to him and stood at his side. Two adult fairies, a man and a woman, also walked up to Darius and asked to be trained as well. He agreed to train all three of them. The rest, a few elf women relaxed and went over to Lady Penelopi to begin working with what skills they already possessed.
Lady Penelopi and the other women had their hands full with the children. The children were given chores to help out around the castle, and lessons to learn. However, they were allowed to play and be children as well.
Darius had his hands full training three willing recruits. The elf, Jasmine, was as good as she said with the bows and arrows. The fairies were learning as well. They were able to fly and evade the elves.