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With sinking heart, Noj Vidad looked up at the three adults and saw the expression on their faces. Bibma turned to Kelu. "It will require great skill and care to restore the mother to health. She will not be able to care for the uni. There is something wrong with him, and it will require a great deal of care to save his life, and even then he might not make it.

With the sickness this year, we cannot spare enough healers for both. What do you want to do?"

Kelu rubbed his chin and sighed, "I have many workers missing due to the sickness. We are struggling to care for all the animals already. I think we must save the mother. We cannot care for this uni."

"NO!!" Noj Vidad ran into the stall. Everyone stared at him in shock. "You can't let the uni die. Let me have him. I will care for him."

Kelu started to protest, but Yonta and Bibma stopped him. Yonta spoke. "It is a noble offer, although made in ignorance of the enormity of the task. We will speak to his father. If his father agrees, the uni will be his to care for, and if it lives, it will be his to keep."

Noj Vidad smiled as he remembered that day. Yonta had been right. He had spoken in ignorance. However, he had persevered and the uni had not only lived but had proved to be the most valuable of all.

Now his unicorn thundered along, outdistancing all others, but Noj Vidad didn't think about that. He concentrated on the gate ahead.

He pulled out the pole he had strapped to the saddle and held it steady. As they galloped close he slipped the pole into the loose knot on one of the scarves. In a well-practiced move, he freed the scarf and slid it down the pole into his hand.

The unicorn never changed his speed, as he slightly changed course and headed to the lake. "Come on, Fire," Noj Vidad encouraged his unicorn. "Let's show everyone that we are champions."

While Noj Vidad raced to the Amethyst caves, Isoje & Eticia raced toward the lake. The two elves were the best of friends, and were closer than sisters. They were almost always together.

Like Noj Vidad they had been born at the palace. Not only were their mothers skilled elf healers, but so were their fathers. Although many people wondered which of their parents was the best healer, the four elves never wondered.

They were not in competition, and they cared little for praise. Their desire was to save life and ease pain. Both Isoje & Eticia had been taught herb lore and the healing arts. They knew where to find the various herbs and roots, and they knew what each was for.

Eticia, like her parents was not only a healer, but she was also a comforter. Her family often used music instead of herbs to calm their patients. Their music made them especially good at working with children and animals.

However, their music was not just a tool for the sick room. They were often asked to sing for entertainment as well. It was partly due to their gift of music that Eticia had an oliphant of her own...

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