After the defeat of the Wolf King, and the marriage of Deirdre to Reid mac Fionnabhar, there was a general cry from the clans for their saviors to be crowned monarchs immediately. However, this was contested by those lords who wished to remain autonomous. This movement was spearheaded by Deirdre's own bastard brother, Damhain Leanblade, who had been driven mad by his time within the Wolf King's mirror. Stealing the Shadowblade from Deirdre, and joining forces with the necromancer Ruthvyn, Damhain led a prolonged attack against the would-be monarchs.
With the tide turned against them, and needing to be able to keep fighting, Deidre and Reid entrusted their only son, Ceilyn to the minor lord of Norwing Wood. Two other of Ceilyn's maternal cousins were also fostering there - as well as the nephew of the lord of Norwing Wood, Rowan.
Ceilyn and Rowan grew to be great friends, often going out to hunt or spar. Once, while riding, they saw a unicorn in the distance and gave chase - but could not catch it. Several more times they saw the unicorn again, but it would always outpace them. Until one day, Ceilyn lost track of Rowan in the woods. And when he found his friend again, he saw Rowan dismounted and patting the unicorn's nose.
Ceilyn was in wonder at this, for lore said that unicorns only came to young maidens, and he began to suspect that Rowan was not all he seemed to be. Ceilyn devised a series of tests - grappling, archery, riding and the like - hoping to discover whether his friend was different than he seemed. Yet Rowan bested Ceilyn in every field. Stranger still: Ceilyn began to suspect the unicorn was following him as well.
So caught up was the heir apparent in his quest, that he was caught by one of the separatist lords and brought before Damhain Leanblade. Rowan, hearing this, rode into the enemy camp where he strove to free his friend. However, even Rowan was no match for Damhain's Shadowblade, and it was with great pleasure that Damhain revealed Rowan's secret: that he was in fact the only daughter of a minor lordling, who had dared to take her fallen brother's place. Damhain ordered them both taken for ransom back to his camp.
Once there, Ruthvyn declared his interest in taking Rowan for himself - perhaps creating a Deirdre for the separatist cause. But no sooner had he spoken, than the unicorn appeared again, his horn strong enough to stand against Damhain's Shadowblade, which Rowan scooped up and used to cut off both of Ruthvyn's hands. She rescued Ceilyn - stopping only in their favorite grove to beg Ceilyn not to reveal her secret to anyone. Ceilyn promised, declaring his undivided admiration for her strength, and begging her to remain fast friends with him.
They both wondered at the unicorn who explained that his kind came not for maidens or any such thing, but were created for those in need. He had come for both of them. As a final act, the unicorn instructed them to mount his back and journey southwards to assist Deirdre and Reid mac Fionnabhar in finding the Sword of Adamantium - which was the only thing that could destroy the Shadowblade.
Together, all four tracked down the final resting place of Dusk and Night, where the Dwarves had forged some of the Titans' remains, mixed with the nascent stars, into the Sword of Adamantium. Deidre recognized a kindred spirit in Rowan at once, and altogether they fought against Damhain, breaking the Shadowblade and scattering their enemies.
In the final moments, Deirdre was unable to kill her own brother, and so agreed to only rule those who would be led by her. So that no one else would have such great power, Deirdre threw the Sword of Adamantium into the sky, where it still hangs as a constellation. Rowan was created Lady of Norwing Wood in her own right and, although Ceilyn loved her, they never married.
Ages of the Twelve Kingdoms
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(c) Emily C. A. Snyder