Hope

A/N I started this story a long time ago, and I had no idea how to continue it, but now I have the long awaited chapter two written. My thanks to all you that reviewed the first chapter. I hope you enjoy this next part in the story of Hope.

Chapter 2

Balinor

I came awake to the sound of two horses drawing close to me. I cracked my eyes open and saw the legs of eight horses no more than six feet from me. One of them snorted, and I shut my eyes again, and pretended to be asleep.

"Do you think she's alright?" a female voice said.

I heard one of the horses come up to me, and I held my breath. "She looks to be fine," a male voice answered. I assumed he was the one who was on the horse that was next to me.

"What about internal injuries?" the female voice asked.

The man snorted. "She's asleep, Fay," he said in an irritated tone. "Most likely she decided to take a nap here in the meadow."

"We still should check to see if she is alright," the woman said.

"Fine," the man said in an irritated tone. "But, if she's angry about being woken up from her nap, then don't look at me."

I was expecting for the man to dismount, but was surprised to feel the nose of a horse nudging my shoulder. I moved to push the nose away, but my hand came in contact with what seemed to be an ivory stick.

My eyes flew open, and I met the blue-green eyes of a horse. But he wasn't a horse. There was a silver horn sprouting from his forehead and at the base was what looked to be a turquoise gem.

This was no ordinary horse, it was a unicorn!

I leapt back with a scream.

The unicorn shook his elegant head as I scrambled away.

"I told you that she would she would be angry," the male voice said again.

This time, when he spoke, I realized something. The unicorn was speaking. There was no rider.

"She doesn't look mad to me," the female voice said, and I looked to were it came from. The owner was another unicorn, this one female and a gray so pale that she was almost white. She had blue eyes and her horn was ivory with a pale blue sapphire at its base.

"Horses can't talk," I said to myself. "Animals can't talk. You're only dreaming, Hope, only dreaming."

"What is a horse?" the male unicorn asked. My eyes were drawn to him, and I was awed at his beauty. Never before had I seen such a beautiful animal, mythical or not. He was a huge animal, standing at least 18 hands, and his dark silver coat rippled like silk over the defined muscles of his body. A long raven black mane flowed over his neck and stopped just short of his shoulder. His tail was the same raven black and flowed like a waterfall to almost touch the ground.

"What's a horse?" he asked again, drawing my attention back to the present.

"What you are," I said, "except without the horn."

He snorted. "I've never heard of such an animal, have you Fay?" he asked the female unicorn.

She was silent for a moment before she answered. "Yes, I have, but it was a long time ago."

"Really?" the male asked. "Where did you hear of such a thing as a unicorn without a horn?"

"From my grandmother, Tirza," she relpied. "She once told me of the Great Sunchaser and how he lost his horn in the battle against the Shifter. She said that he and his princess Arianna fell through the Gap into a world where there were only such beings as horses and no unicorns."

Fay moved towards me. "You're from the other side of the Gap, aren't you?" she asked. "Where there are horses?"

I nodded.

"What is your name, child?"

"Hope."

Fay gasped. "Who was your mother?" she asked.

I sent her a puzzled look. "I have no idea how that's going to help-"

"Just answer her question!" the male grunted.

I glared at the male unicorn. So far, he was tuning out to be rather rude.

"Quiet Orion!" Fay snorted at him. "Keep that up, and we will never learn anything of the princess who is across the Gap." Turning to me, she urged, "Who are your parents?"

"My mother was Lyra," I said.

Fay gasped and instantly knelt and touched her horn to the ground. Orion, who's eyes widened, knelt beside Fay and touched his own horn to the ground.

"Princess Hope," Fay said, raising her head. "We welcome you back home."

Puzzled, I asked, "Where is home?"

"Balinor."