Chapter 1

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No longer watching where he was going, Uriel came to a small thicket of the pale violet bramble, stumbled and fell to his knees. The pain inflicted by the bramble quickly returned him to his senses. He looked up and saw a fairly large shape across from him on the opposite side of the thicket. At first he thought he was hallucinating. He rubbed his hands over his eyes, trying to clear his vision, and looked again. Something was definitely there! It was difficult to discern in the wind and snow, but something lay at the edge of the thicket. Uriel tried to make his way to the object but was prevented by the constriction of the bramble around his feet. He knew enough not to pull at it and desperately searched for something that might be of help. He saw nothing. In frustration he grabbed his staff and furiously struck down at the bramble. A white flash erupted from the staff, severing the bramble from his feet. Uriel stood momentarily in shock at what the staff had done. Or was it what he had done? He dismissed it as something for later consideration. Not containing his excitement, he quickly moved to the other side of the thicket. There he saw the most wondrous thing of his entire life: a unicorn!

The unicorn was young, totally white with a silver mane and a small, twisted, golden horn on its head. It was lying in the snow with its front legs caught in the bramble as Uriel had been. Uriel reached down to pet its fur. It felt warm and silky. "Don't worry," he said, "I'm not going to hurt you. We're just going to get you out of this mess, okay?" He struck the bramble with his staff but nothing happened. Uriel tried striking the bramble several times, using different angles and grips, but received the same result. "Why doesn't it work?" he wondered aloud while staring at the staff. His patience, what little he had left, was wearing thin. Directing all his anger at the bramble, he swung the staff and this time the white flame cut through. He stopped for a moment and wondered why it had worked this time. "Who cares?" he said and turned his attention to the animal.

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