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Anāriel Anastil (Uh-NAR-ee-el AN-uh-still)

The Black Unicorn

Written by J. L. Gryphon

Ambient sounds courtesy of tosha73 and EminYILDIRIM

Greetings to those below. I am Death, though I will always ask you call me Azrael. Today’s topic is difficult for me to discuss. Not like in the past where I was conflicted about various things. This time, I find it difficult to discuss because Anāriel herself is difficult.
How does one discuss a ghost? Because Anāriel is certainly that. She is as elusive as she is transparent. She is as known as she is unknown. Amidst all those who hunt her, I know right where she is, but that doesn’t change the fact she is lost. She’s been lost for a long time.

150 Years Ago


by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
  I still remember the day she disappeared, the day Anāriel Anastil vanished and the Black Unicorn replaced her. It was 150 years ago. She had chased her husband out into the rain. Dragons were screaming overhead. One dragon was chasing them, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at her. I was trailing behind them, as well, dreading what was about to happen. Even though I knew, I was still surprised when the arrow hit his back. I flinched. I looked away.   Anāriel didn’t.   You see, when a Sithuwaye makes love, they form an eternal bond, a liensa, with their partner. And when that partner is killed through unnatural means as poor Khazar was that night, their lover usually joins them in death.   Anāriel didn’t.   The confusion on her face. I’ll never forget it. She was waiting for me. She held him in her arms, waiting to join him, while I tended to Khazar. He didn’t look at me while I collected him, while I ignored her, but he did speak. He asked me, begged me, “Unbind us. Don’t take her with me. I don’t want her to come.”   I didn’t take her. Not because Khazar had asked, but because my master’s instructions were clear. So I collected Khazar, only Khazar . . . and I left her alone. Khazar left her alone. Amidst everything, that was the part I had been dreading most of all. Sithuwaye weren’t made to be alone.   That was the last time I saw Anāriel Anastil, though I saw the Black Unicorn many times hence.  

My Brother’s Helping Hand


by Yuha park from Pixabay

  The first time was six years after Khazar’s death. Anāriel stumbled into the home of my brother, and it was only by a chance meeting with a friend of a friend that she escaped. My brother has forever been frustrated by that. I suppose Anāriel is his big fish. “The one that got away.” Hmph. If only he knew how much that was true.   He doesn’t know she can hear the bells . . .  

by Brigitte makes custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

  But let’s just keep that little secret between us, shall we, those below? My brother will find out soon enough anyway, and ha! I think I shall quite enjoy the look on his face when he does.   But I suppose we do have him to thank for Anāriel finding herself in the east. She has been safe there this last century . . . for the most part. At the very least she has successfully stayed hidden from Vānima the Veldriss and her wraith-stepping assassins. Though, depending on who you talk to, that’s not necessarily a good thing.  

The Monster in the East


by katy sandvoss from Pixabay - Modified by J. L. Gryphon

  Once she arrived in the east, she soon became a part of it, growing as wild and untamed as the jungles that engulfed her. The east is not overly inhabited, but there is Castle Doll’s Eye governed now by Fifth Chosen House Roiz. There is also the town of Koledin toward the northeast and the smaller castles, Newt’s Eye, Cat’s Eye, and Toad’s Eye. All of them through the years have received concerning tales. Great beasts lying dead on hunters’ paths. Abominations scuttling into town for fear of returning to the rainforests they have otherwise always called home. Then there was that one time a giant rukh, so large it could carry elephants away for a meal, fell from the sky. The townsfolk who found it said it’s neck had been snapped, though not from the fall.   As I said, I saw the Black Unicorn many times after that night with Khazar, and so I will ask again: How do you discuss a ghost?   Remember I said she is lost.   And there is also the little matter of Clearbrooke.  

The Town on Fire


by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

  Twenty-one years ago, there was a fire in the town of Clearbrooke. Well, to put it more accurately, the red dragon, Elghinyrrok the Judge, descended on the town and . . . breathed on it. So it was not so much a fire as it was a volcanic storm erupting from shrieking jaws. But this was not a senseless attack. Elghinyrrok set fire to the town because of one reason and one reason only. The Black Unicorn had come to Clearbrooke. And so it was as the undine scribes say:  
“When the unicorn rides from the east, it will mean the end of all things.”
—Various undine scribes over the last few thousand years
  As I said, I will never forget the look on her face. It was the same one, you see—the same look she had worn when Khazar died without her. I remember Anāriel staring into Elghinyrrok’s flames, her body blazing like a beacon of nightmare as the town burned, and I knew she was waiting for me. I heard her call to me just as she had that night. But once again, I ignored her. Once again, Anāriel lived. After that, she threw Khazar’s wedding ring into the fire and vanished.  

Lost and Found


  This is what I meant when I said she is lost. Anāriel will reappear, vanish, then reappear again. Each time she does, disaster inevitably strikes. Even the whisper of her presence leads many to check the skies in case another rukh starts falling.   But why is Anāriel like this? What is it that she wants? Well, I don’t think even I can answer that. As I said, she is as elusive as she is transparent, known as she is unknown. Since Clearbrooke, there has been a tentative hope that the Black Unicorn is dead, but Vānima the Veldriss still hunts for her. She does this because she understands the same thing about Anāriel that I realized all those years ago:   The Black Unicorn is not someone easily forgotten. She’s too stubborn for that. So it is the undeniable truth that no matter how much you might wish her to go away, Anāriel . . . doesn’t.

Signed your regretful narrator,   Azrael the Star of Death


Book Information

  To learn more, hop on over to the books page OR hop on over to the teaser and get a sneak peek of Chapter 1! For more articles like this one, have a peek at my Worldbuilding Journal and explore Orosta.  

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Image by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
Depends who you ask
Other Ethnicities/Cultures
Honorary & Occupational Titles
The Black Unicorn
Her Highness Phrasai Anāriel of the Royal House Anastil
Date of Birth
The Month of Chal, Day 24, 14819 NS
Year of Birth
14819 182 Years old
The White Citadel
Current Residence
The Wilds of the East
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Beige dusted with gold
The Children of Le Sair
Aligned Organization
Other Affiliations
Known Languages
  • Sithuli (1st - fluent)
  • Orostian (2nd - fluent)
  • Zishlyn (3rd - poor)

Family Tree

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