Lovers of the Dawn
by Jeremy Crawford
“Please tell us about the birth of Lord Hiathas,” the twin girls implored their mother, Loreena. She shook her head and chuckled, having told them many times how the Dawn Prince came to be. It was their favorite story, not only because it included the first unicorn, but also because they giggled at how their older brother, Phaedryl, blushed at its telling. About to shoo her daughters out into the garden, Loreena spotted why the girls were asking for the tale now; Phaedryl, a willowy and handsome teenager, was on his way up the hill to their open kitchen door. Loreena smiled to herself and asked the twins, “Where should I begin?”
“With the unicorn!”
“Of course,” she laughed. “With the unicorn.” She sat down and began, “After Lord Braniel caught Lady Maurenna’s tears in his chalice, he lovingly sang the Eternal Song over it, and waited for what would happen next. At first there was a great quiet, and the water rippled in the Twilight. But then a light began to emanate from the chalice, and Lord Braniel knew something wondrous was about to take place.
“Soon the light was brighter than anything in the world. Not wishing to confine it to his chalice, Lord Braniel poured the illuminated water out, and wondered and waited. Freed into the open, the light grew brighter still, until not even Lord Braniel could see into it. He could tell there was a figure within, a young man perhaps, but the light would reveal no features. Drops of life-giving water fell from the figure, and as one hit the surface of the pool, there was a neigh, and from the water emerged the first unicorn. Its horn breached the surface first, followed by its serene face and pearly white body. Lord Braniel laughed in joy and welcome, as the unicorn whinnied and shook its luminous mane.” Loreena’s daughters were so transfixed they didn’t notice Phaedryl, until their mother looked up at him. He leaned against the doorjamb, a spring breeze blowing in past him, carrying aromas of honeysuckle and approaching rain. He smiled, somewhat shyly at his mother, waiting for her to continue.
She obliged: “What could be more beautiful than this?” Lord Braniel pondered aloud. In answer, the light grew smaller, but no less bright. It shrank until it was a halo behind the head of the most beautiful youth Lord Braniel had seen. The first unicorn bowed its head before the new god, who gently laid his hand on its mane. Newly born but fully grown, the youth said, “I am Hiathas,” and Lord Braniel’s heart ached at the loveliness of his voice. They gazed into each other’s eyes and knew, with joy and longing, they would be one for all the ages.” Loreena watched her son, as his cheeks flushed at the ending. The twins noticed and giggled.
Just then a whistle came from out in the garden, and the tailor’s son poked his head through the open window. “Coming, Phaedryl?” he asked with a grin. Phaedryl flushed even more, nodded, and laughed. Looking to his mother for her consent, she said, “Have a wonderful time at the fair.” Her eyes followed the boys as they walked down the lane and saw Phaedryl shyly slip his hand into the other boy’s. With happiness in her heart, she prayed, “Lord Hiathas, watch over these lovers of the dawn….”