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An Alicorn Blade in the Heart

Dreamed 2010/12/18 by Wayan


I go see Inside Job, a film on the 2008 financial crash. It blames a web of so-called financial "experts" who shuttle between banks, government, colleges and think tanks. First they preached deregulation, then looted the banks, and spent half the take on coke and hookers--these were company expenses at investment banks! A Wall Street madame says on camera her client list included CEOs but the cops were emphatically not interested in prosecuting them; a therapist specializing in Wall Street financiers confirms CEOS were directly involved. An economist rationalizes "personal life doesn't necessarily reflect job performance." Yeah, I want cokeheads running MY bank!

And then, like the rats they are, they jumped off the ships they sank, back into think tanks, universities... government. And are unrepentant; capitalism's all about getting yours.

Incredibly, Obama's hired the worst thieves (and Inside Job names names) as advisors! Europe's governments are at least trying to restore oversight--too little too late. But not here in America. Crooks in charge! And these guys profit from crashes and booms. The one thing they won't want is the slow stable growth that's best for everyone else. Instability's a gold mine--for thieves. Just bet on failure, then cause it! I come out despairing. In America, dishonesty's now policy. Cover logo of short story anthology 'Zombies Versus Unicorns'.

So I read escapism--Zombies Versus Unicorns, a collection of postmodern tales about... oh, take a guess. Mostly zombies or unicorns, but one story, "The Highest Justice", has both, plausibly. And both are sympathetic. A queen lies dying--poisoned. Her daughter summons the kingdom's mythical guardian, a unicorn, to cure her. Too late! But the unicorn's healing horn reanimates the dead queen as a zombie long enough so she can finger the king's mistress--and new queen. She says the king himself ordered her to... and it's true. What to do when rulers turn corrupt?

Wait, I heard this somewhere earlier today...


I'm an adventurer, seeking a powerful witch in a pavilion in the forest. I have a pale, spiral sword, carved of alicorn. If I can pierce her heart with it, she won't die... exactly. But she'll become bespelled to me, and I want her power. For if I order her to tell me the exact truth, she will: even things she does not know, things no one should know! Strange but true--she'll speak truths she never could in her own name, of her own desires. She'll become a great oracle, a Sybil. Just not for herself.

I burst in on her, and then, with the swordtip at her heart, I hesitate. Slavery is wrong!

She whips out a knife. A long twisting bone knife. No, not bone--a familiar gleam, lunar-pale. Alicorn too!

She's faster, a skilled duelist; but when she finds an opening, she too hesitates. Though she knows these blades, torn from unicorns, heal as they kill, she too is reluctant to pierce a man's heart.

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: A man and woman face off, with knife and sword. But twined around them are two unicorns also facing off with their horns. Click to enlarge.
In desperation, I run her through. And then as she gasps, skewered, I blurt "I swear not to make you my slave. I'll leave you alone. All I want is for you to tell me the truth, if I ask now and then."

Even this feels too much. I sense I'm dreaming--and the whole dream is wrong. I must run time back and redream it right! I'll confront her and propose a deal. We both have unicorn blades, we're a danger to each other... so rather than fight and risk an even chance of enslavement and not-quite-death (still a blade in the heart!), why not agree on a magically binding oath, sworn on alicorn, to tell the truth to each other? Then we'd both get the benefits of a powerful oracle.

With unpierced hearts.

This feels right. As I decide to do it, and start to ask her now-infallible advice on how to run back time, to undo her own undoing... I wake.

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: close-up of a man and woman facing off with knife and sword. But twined around them are two unicorns also facing off with their horns.


Sketch of an image from a dream by Chris Wayan: a twisting spiral dagger of alicorn (which can heal as well as kill) piercing a heart.

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