Unicorns are white horses with spiraling horns on their foreheads. They are exceptionally rare and some considered them extinct. They represent purity and possess great magic. Unicorns grow three horns during their lifetime, much in the same way humans lose their baby teeth and grow new ones. Unicorns have avatars (human forms) just like dragons and some of the more powerful magical creatures do.
In the series
Unicorns are referenced in the first book when Seth makes fun of Kendra only wanting to see a unicorn. Actual evidence of a unicorn is first mentioned in the third book, Grip of the Shadow Plague, where the horn of a unicorn protects Grunhold from evil and darkness.
However, it is not until the fifth and final book, Keys to the Demon Prison, that unicorns are actually involved within the story. Bracken is a unicorn trapped in avatar form ever since he gave up his third horn. The horn held in reverence by the centaurs at Fablehaven]] is Bracken's first horn, and the stem of the Font of Immortality is actually Bracken's third horn. Towards the end of the fifth book, it is revealed that Bracken is the son of the Fairy Queen and King, both of whom are unicorns like their son and not actual fairies.
In their horse form, unicorns resemble brilliant and beautiful white horses with a single, perfect, gleaming and spiraling white horn that sprouts from the center of their foreheads.
In their avatar form, unicorns look just like humans, but with less faults and more perfection. Bracken is said to have gleaming, shoulderlength, silver hair, silvery-blue eyes, and a smooth, flawless complexion. Even though he is very old in mortal years, he looks like an eighteen-year-old.
Here is a list of the abilities shown by unicorns with their horns in the Fablehaven series. Unicorns can likely do more than this, but these are the only abilities displayed in the books.
- transforming their horn into weapons (like a sword)
- making light from horn
- keeping darkness at bay
- enter unicorn horse form (this requires the third horn of the unicorn)
Here is a list of the abilities shown by unicorns without their horns in the Fablehaven series. Their power(s) are significantly lessened when they are without their horns but they can still manage some magic. Unicorns may be able to do more than this without their horns, but these are the only gifts demonstrated in the book by Bracken, who was without his horns.
- making small amount of light
- very strong
- creating long-distance, mental communication devices (he uses coins)
- reading others' minds and intentions through physical touch
All unicorn horns are nearly impossible to steal or take because they fill the thief with so much guilt that they cannot take it. Shadow charmers are an exception to this enchantment, because they are, to an extent, immune to all magical emotions.
The first horn of a unicorn is the smallest and least powerful of the three horns. This horn is the first a unicorn grows. This horn is generally given away to someone or place as a gift. Bracken's first horn was given to the centaurs in Grunhold at Fablehaven by Patton Burgess. When Bracken discovered this, he took back his horn from the centaurs but provided them with enchantments to continue to keep darkness at bay. However, none of these enchantments were nearly as powerful or efficient as the first horn had been.
The second horn is the middle horn. Once a unicorn loses its first horn, this new horn begins to grow in. This horn is more powerful than the first horn but not nearly as powerful as a unicorn's third horn. Bracken uses his second horn for the majority of his magic in the fifth book, including turning it into a gleaming white-and-silver sword. It is unknown if these abilities are unique to the second horn or if the other horns can also do these things, albeit with different levels of power.
The third horn is the largest and easily the most powerful of the three unicorn horns. It is the last horn a unicorn grows and it is the horn that enables unicorns to retain or enter their unicorn form. Without this horn, they are stuck in a human-like avatar, as Bracken was. The reason Bracken is without his third horn, something most unicorns would not normally give up under any circumstances, is because he donated it to the Wizards who created the Demon Prison Zzyzx. Since the horn of Bracken was given up for the Font, he is technically stuck in his human form forever, but he thought keeping the world safe from demons was well worth the price.