by Autumn Miller
The goddess Athena was particularly fond of 12 of her worshippers that looked after one of her temples deep in the forest at the foot of a huge, rocky mountain. These woman were of the strongest constitutions and had the purest hearts and greatest minds that she had ever seen. They became much beloved of everyone in the nearby village, as they taught anyone who came seeking knowledge any subject they wanted to learn about.
In time, she learned that they were virgins; sacrificing earthly pleasures and also giving up the security of marriage and children to help others in the name of Athena. She wanted to do something to repay them, and decided she would create a special herd of horses for them so that they could journey easier to the farthest reaches of this forest, all the way to where it eventually met the sea.
She took her own necklace of beautiful pearls that had been a gift from Poseidon and fashioned 12 magnificent horses that were solid white with white manes that flowed in the wind like sea foam playing on top of the water. When they ran it sounded like waves crashing against the shore and their eyes were boundless and deep blue.
Six of them were male, 6 female so that they could be bred, and the women loved them upon first sight. Happiness wouldn't last long however, as 2 of the women got accosted in a previously unknown to them road in the forest by a band of evil bandits. Having nothing to steal but their purity, the bandits helped themselves. Athena became incensed and vowed that these women would get her protection.
The goddess approached the mountain goats banging their horns against the bottom of the mountain, and learned of their frustration that they could not climb up the rocky surface to scout out areas where the best tasting grass and sweet clover was. She traded the wisdom to climb for one horn from each of their 12 biggest males, and in her ire she straightened the horns out like swords, placed them atop the horses heads, and taught them to charge with their heads lowered. Now when the 10 virgins traveled, if men of questionable morals approached, the beasts would gorge them in the organ that most closely resembled their own horns. This wasn't enough to kill them, rather it served to spread the message far and wide to everyone as the men would live a long life with their maiming. The 2 women that had suffered the attack were soon with child, and stayed back at the temple breeding the wonderful unicorns and ensuring that the animals would be around for the next generation of Athena worshipers.