Unicorn

A unicorn (pl. unicorns) is a magical horse of the Otherworld, known for its single spiral horn.


Physiology

In their natural form, unicorns are gleaming white horses, with leonine tails. They have long, silky manes of silver hair, and matching fetlocks above cloven, goat-like hooves. Many also have goat-like beards. Their most prominent feature, however, is a long spiral horn in the center of their forehead. They can render this horn invisible, and frequently do as a disguise (the horn is greatly valued as a magical ingredient, and is therefore the target of frequent poaching). Unicorns can also adopt a human form, although they often greatly dislike doing so (they find their natural equine shape to be much more comfortable, and human shapes to be awkward and clumsy in comparison). In human form, they are indistinguishable from true humans in appearance, but they are often shy and thoughtful, and confused by what's going on around them.

A unicorn grows at the same rate as a non-magical horse for the first four years of its life. After that point, the unicorn is considered a mature adult, and the aging process slows to a crawl. Unicorns are immortal, and will live forever without sickening, but may be slain the same way any horse can. Iron is particularly effective, as it reacts with the magic that is at their core.


Magical Characteristics

Unicorns are the embodiment of the pure, undisturbed wilderness. This purity attracts them to the 'untouched' - virgins. Anyone who hunts a unicorn must have a virgin in their company, or the unicorn will never be found. As guardians of forests, unicorns are incredibly attuned to nature - not only can they pass through the forest without leaving any trace, they can ensure that evildoers who enter their forest become lost or trapped, and find no game.

A unicorn's horn is the most magical part of them. Either attached or unattached, it can render fouled or poisoned water safe to drink, and heal any sickness - though unattached it loses its potency gradually (sort of like a battery running out of charge).


Society and Habitat

Although in the Otherworld unicorns typically don't bother hiding what they are, the vast decline of their habitats on Earth has led them to occasionally integrate with human society, usually for short periods of time. Their natural instinct is to avoid humans, however, so they frequently retreat back to the Otherworld rather than stay on Earth amidst a society that destroys nature.

Many unicorns are solitary, or live as mated pairs, however in the Otherworld they can sometimes be found in herds. Typically there is one herd, pair, or individual per forest, though this depends on the size of the forest. They do not often travel outside of their forest, so their society is usually limited to other forest dwellers and each other.