That’s what heroes are for…

“Do something,” a hoarse voice said to Schmendrick, as Molly had said it long ago. Prince Lír stood behind him, his face bloody and his eyes mad. He looked like King Haggard. “Do something,” he said. “You have the power. You changed her into a unicorn- do something now to save her. I will kill you if you don’t.” He showed the magician his hands.

“I cannot,” Schmendrick answered him quietly. “Not all the magic in the world can help her now. If she will not fight him, she must go into the sea with the others. Neither magic nor murder will help her.”

Molly heard small waves slapping on the sand-the tide was beginning to turn. She saw no unicorns tumbling in the water, though she looked for them, willing them to be there. What if it was too late? What if they drifted out on the last ebb tide, out to the deepest sea where no ships go, because of the kraken and the sea-drake, and because of the floating jungles of wrack that tangle and drown even these? She will never find them then. Would she stay with me?

“Then what is magic for?” Prince Lír demanded wildly. “What use is wizardry if it cannot save a unicorn?” He gripped the magician’s shoulder hard, to keep from falling.

Schmendrick did not turn his head. With a touch of sad mockery in his voice, he said, “That’s what heroes are for.”

They could not see the unicorn for the hugeness of the Bull; but suddenly she doubled on her track and came flying up the beach toward them. Blind and patient as the sea, the Red Bull followed her, his hoofs gouging great ditches in the damp sand. Smoke and fire, spray and storm, they came on together, neither one gaining, and Prince Lír gave a soft grunt of understanding.

“Yes of course,” he said. “That is exactly what heroes are for. Wizards make no difference so they say that nothing does, but heroes are meant to die for unicorns.” He let go of Schmendrick’s shoulder, smiling to himself.

In the effort to gather up old writings I ran across an old journal entry where I lifted this passage from the Last Unicorn. I think it still rings true for me in a lot of ways. I can’t wait for magic, I need to be my own hero.

 

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