The Foaling Drop
If you were to gaze upon a new unicorn foaling you would find little difference between it and newborn foals of the unhorned. Both wobbly, leggy, eager for maternal bonding; they look identical.
The foaling drop is not just a singular event but a Fatuusian wide event. Every winter one week after the first blizzard, the Foaling Drop occurs. All of the mares are gathered the day after the blizzard and brought to Derby Park; housed in the barns and waited upon eagerly. Families from all over the country and world come to gather and fellowship in eager anticipation of the drop. Crowds of people in and around the Derby barns congregate at all hours of the day and night waiting and waiting, drinking mugs of SpectreTea (a superstitial drink people drink in hopes of securing a tricolor foaling-but delicious all the same) and snacking on "Cloud Cream" and sweet biscuits. The food wagons hock their wares near the entrances of the barn selling savory hand pies, spits of roasted lamb, turkey legs, hot cider etc. etc. etc. The Black Hackle brewery is just across Bresse Beggar Street from the Derby grounds and makes for an inviting libation station for the barn wanderers.
It's important to remember that everyone in Ignis Fatuus has at least a one pair of Unicorns They are part of the fiber of the landscape that is Ignis Fatuus. When someone moves out of Ignis Fatuus, the Unicorns stay. They are part of the property and rightly so as they survive no where but within the borders of the county. Of course, sales of the foalings and adults do happen but they fall under the Fatuusian trade regulations. Lahla Lander's are strictly prohibited from owning Unicorns and gross punishments are instated for any Lahla Lander's attempt to own any. Not only are the Unicorns unable to survive outside of Ignis Fatuus but they are deathly allergic to the patchouli fields that the Lahla Landers depend upon for their economy and survival.
It is not just the joy of watching new life appear that makes this so momentous but it is also the anticipation of "the drop" which determines the type of Unicorn one has. Once a foaling has dropped from its mother the next 24 hours are a game of following and waiting. For after the foaling has "dropped" its first...ehem...road apple...or rather bowel movement, one will know whether they will be keeping or selling their new little Unicorn. Unicorns carry the "prism gene" and it is only observed through the excrement. This is where the rainbow effect of unicorns comes into play. Each Unicorn has its own color and in order for it to have a successful mate, that mate has to be of the opposite side of the color wheel. So when I say "color", it's not the hair color of the Unicorn as they are always white, it's the poop color. Every once in a blue moon there is tricolor drop and that foaling is the most celebrated and prized for this foaling can be mated to any other colored Unicorn and is thought to be genetically superior to the others.
The Derby League is the keeper of the herd book and provides verification of the "drop" registration. They keep the info because the first winner of the derby was a tricolor and so the tradition has continued that the Derby League be the official herd book keeper. There are 10 League members constantly present during the week of the drop. Those who are there for the first birth are not allowed to leave the barn area until after the last foaling has fully dropped and color coded. Once one mare goes into labor there is a trigger effect and all mares subsequently will drop their foalings within 30 hours. A quick but brief buzz fills the barns when the first one starts as all of the League members must administer the mares a milk marker to ensure that the correct coding and foaling belong to not only that mare but also the correct farm. A simple urine test from the foaling, post nursing, confirms belonging. Cheating has been attempted in the past by those who have not wanted duplicate colors in respective years so the milk markers have been established as a safe and effective way of determining ownership.
This year my 4 year old mare, Azalea, dropped a beautiful white filly who presented orange. So we will be looking for a presenting blue colt for her to be mated to. Morraine Williams, my next door neighbor, had a green colt...so he will require a red filly. There was no tricolor this year but there is always a chance next year...but because only one mare gets pregnant per herd per year (and you never know which one!), the odds are not in our favor.
You might think that this is all just nonesense but Unicorns AND their droppings are vital to Ignis Fatuus. Almost all droppings are recycled and sold at the local nurseries in bulk or bag form, in singlular or mixed color formulations. You see, if you were to plant a plant in Ignis Fatuus it would naturally grow white...the foliage would be green but the flowering bodies will always be white. There are farms that choose to keep their gardens white and some are extremely beautiful this way but most do not. The color of the flowers are dependent upon the manure from the Unicorns. If you want a red rose you would need to top dress your planting with either pure red or a mix of reds and pinks for more depth of color. Same goes with all the other colors and plants. This is how one goes about creating a garden of color in Ignis Fatuus. You can always tell which Unicorns belong to what farm as the fields will have little pops of color confettied throughout them. I suppose it's not necessarily vital in the county as far as life and death are concerned but most Fatuusians would agree that they'd rather not live in Ignis Fatuus if there were no Unicorns and subsequently no colorful gardens.
As you can see, these little Foalings cause a great buzz around our little county and based on what our weather man, Bran Mosskey, has to say, it looks like our Foaling Drop might happen right around the New Year.
The barn opens the same day as mare delivery Make sure to contact a Fatuusian sponsor family so that they can accompany you into Derby Park.
Wishing everyone a colorful and successful drop this year! Sparkle on!
Annie *if you are confused about this blog please see the "about" section to clarify any bamboozlement.