Bracken was a unicorn and one of the most well-known creatures in all of fairydom. He was the first and only son of the Fairy Queen and King, rulers of all creatures of light, and had four sisters. He was further recognized for possibly being the only unicorn to surrender his third horn, apart from Ronodin, the dark unicorn, and was also numbered among the Children of the Dawn. He gave his third horn to the wizards who founded Zzyzx, of which they crafted the Font of Immortality. Bracken also lost his first and second horn and was at a time in possession of none of the three.
When Bracken was exploring the secret preserve Living Mirage, the caretaker, the Sphinx, caught him and locked him in a cell in his dungeon. A few hundred years later, he was part of a successful escape and helped thwart the demons from taking over the world. Only a couple of months after, he was captured by his cousin, Ronodin, during the dragon uprising, though was ultimately rescued.
Bracken was born as the only son of the Fairy Queen and the Fairy King previous to the 6th century, though likely long before that. He had four sisters, one of them being Mizelle, and two cousins, one being Ronodin, the dark unicorn.
Losing his horns
Bracken gave his first horn away to a man who saved his life. Since then, it passed through many hands, until finally ending up in the care of Patton Burgess, who in turn gave it to the centaurs of Fablehaven and was there known as the Soul of Grunhold.The second horn he lost was his third. After the Knights of the Dawn failed in their duty to protect the Fairy King and Gorgrog, the Demon King at the time, captured him, Bracken, who believed, like most others, that his father had been killed, donated his third horn to Agad, who created the Font of Immortality of it. This was used as a key to Zzyzx, the great demon prison. As a consequence of surrendering his third horn, Bracken could no longer revert to his unicorn shape and was stuck in his human form.
Many centuries later, Bracken investigated, against his mother's wishes, why the fairy shrine at Living Mirage had been sealed off. However, he was captured by the Sphinx and imprisoned in the dungeon of Living Mirage. Being an advanced shadow charmer, the Sphinx was able to take Bracken's second horn without feeling the unbearable guilt that normally accompanies the stealing of a unicorn horn.
Imprisonment at Living Mirage
After being imprisoned in the Living Mirage dungeon, Bracken attempted many prison escapes over the centuries, two of which were large prison riots. One of them was thwarted using a magically reinforced iron door, and during the second the prisoners were subdued with noxious gas. He also helped dig and connect many of the secret passages of the dungeon, though most existed long before he came there. One of the tunnels led to a room full of pinball machines and the likes, on which Bracken held all the high scores on since he played them for almost forty years.
Resisting the Society of the Evening Star
During the 2010s, he met Seth Sorenson, who had just recently been imprisoned in a cell in the dungeon, by using one of the secrets tunnels that led to the cell that Seth was kept in. Bracken recognized Seth to be a shadow charmer and did at first believe that he was a spy sent by the Sphinx. After mentally searching Seth's mind, Bracken was convinced that he was an ally, although, Seth did not yet trust him. To prove his legitimacy, Bracken decided to take Seth to his friend and fellow prisoner Maddox, who could vouch for him. They walked through the secret tunnels and entered Maddox's cell. During a conversation between Seth and Maddox, Bracken learned that the dark dragon Navarog had been killed, which both shocked and delighted him.
Sometime later, Bracken found out that the Sphinx was descending into the dungeon, and alerted Seth about it using a magical coin which he had previously given him since he believed the Sphinx would most likely visit Seth. Seth sent his reply and Bracken extinguished the coin. When Seth later used the coin again, he informed Bracken that the Sphinx had brought him to meet the demon Nagi Luna. Bracken could at first almost not believe Seth's story. Afterward, he took Seth to the room full of games, on which they played on for a time.
A few days later, Seth informed Bracken that he had mysteriously received two of the five artifacts from an unknown person, who was later found out to be the wizard Mirav. Bracken told him to leave and Seth promised to return for him by midnight the next day. However, when Bracken did arrive at Seth's cell, a new prisoner had already been placed there, that being Kendra Sorenson. After some brief conversation, Bracken was alerted of an intruder in his cell. He hastened back to his cell accompanied by Kendra and found Warren Burgess waiting for them. Bracken was eventually convinced of his legitimacy and Warren also claimed to know an exit out of the dungeon, through which they exited and emerged outside of the dungeon. They also left a communication coin in the cell for the Sphinx, as he had lost control over the Society of the Evening Star and was now siding with them.
Escape from Living Mirage
As they walked up the hidden stairway from the Living Mirage dungeon, Seth contacted Bracken using the communication coin he had received earlier and informed him that he had lost the artifacts, that Graulas was healed, and that Coulter Dixon had died. Bracken relayed the information to Kendra and Warren, and they emerged into a cave where the lammasu Halad stood guard. They were allowed passage and exited the underground.
They continued through the Living Mirage desert relatively unnoticed, and eventually reached the Beckoning Grove. As going around the grove to any side would expose them to great threats, they chose to pass through the grove. The fruits on the trees inside the grove smelled incredibly tempting, though all of them have harmful effects. To resist the smell, they put small balls of dirt into their nostrils and linked arms. When they started jogging, one of Warren's nostrils came unplugged and Bracken had to forcefully drag him out of the Beckoning Grove.
After successfully passing through the grove, they progressed through the desert and eventually reached the sealed shrine, which was their destination. As the shrine was guarded by a sphinx, they had to answer three riddles for them all to pass, which they managed. They unlocked the door of the dome and entered into the sealed shrine. Bracken and Kendra continued without Warren to the shrine and conversed with the Fairy Queen. They asked for a method of transportation, to which the Fairy Queen answered by sending the dragon Raxtus to help.
After convincing Warren that he was able to carry them all, they set off. Sometime later, the roc inhabiting the preserve spotted them and began hunting them. After dodging the roc for a time, Raxtus made himself visible and allowed Bracken to talk to the large bird, convincing it to spare them. Though the roc left them, it drew the attention of their enemies, and three harpies started chasing them. One was cut from the sky by Warren, the second slain by Raxtus, and the last also dispatched by Warren, though he sustained severe injuries from being raked by the last harpy's venomous claw. Bracken and Raxtus partially healed him.
Protecting the EternalsWarren was dropped off in Istanbul to be cured by a healer while Bracken, Kendra, and Raxtus continued toward Shipbreaker Fjord in Finland, where one of the Eternals, Roon Osricson, was located (the mortals who'd need to die in order for Zzyzx to open). When they arrived at the entrance to Roon's territory, they saw that the gate had been smashed. Raxtus went in invisible to investigate the situation and returned with the news of a recent battle. They all entered and went inside a keep, where a large part of the battle had been fought.
As they were looking around, a tiger, whom they had assumed to be dead, arose. He introduced himself as Niko and explained that Roon had fallen and that he was his shapeshifter-guardian. As Niko was the chief guardian of the Eternals, he could sense the locations of the other guardians, supplying the information that both were in the United States; one in Texas and another in California. Before they departed though, they were allowed by Niko to equip themselves with some of Roon's gear. In the armory, however, was a man hiding. The man, Jonas, had been avoiding the battle and was tasked by Niko to take care of the dead warriors. Bracken also gave Niko a communication coin.
During their journey over the Atlantic, Bracken received a message from the Sphinx, informing him that the Eternal in California, Mark, would be the Society of the Evening Star's next target. When Bracken, Kendra, and Raxtus arrived in Santa Monica, they eventually spotted the cat, whom Niko had said was the shapeshifting-guardian of Mark. Bracken chased the cat down and convinced him that he was an ally. The cat, Tux, was relatively quickly convinced of their claim of being allies and led them to Mark.
When they found Mark, they discovered that he did not actually want their help and that he was tired of living. He argued that after all the centuries he'd endured, he had the right to give up since the Society had located him. Bracken disagreed, and proposed the alternative to let Raxtus transport him to Wyrmroost. The argument continued until Mark started running, though he was promptly stopped by Raxtus. Right as the dragon prepared to head for Wyrmroost, a trio of wyverns arrived. One of the wyverns made Raxtus drop Mark into the ocean, and a fourth wyvern took him. Mark was soon after dumped in front of the Gray Assassin, who quickly killed him using an enchanted blade.
To reach the last Eternal before their adversaries and to avoid the police, Bracken, Kendra, and Raxtus quickly relocated to Texas. They met up with Warren outside of a supermarket, and he informed them that the last Eternal, Civia, was inside the building. Bracken waited by the car Warren had acquired, while he and Kendra went inside the store to confront Civia. The confrontation ended in Civia attempting an escape, which quickly got halted by Raxtus. They forced her into the car and she was eventually convinced of them being allies. She told them that she had a storage locker at Lonestar Lockers, and they headed toward the destination.
Soon after they arrived, Raxtus warned them that the Society had caught up to them. As Raxtus took care of the aerial threats and Civia prepared to flee, Bracken confronted Mirav, who had, unknowingly, brought him his second horn. Bracken easily retrieved his horn by uttering the words "to me", and the horn also turned into a sword when in his hands. However, his fight with Mirav was interrupted by several minotaurs. Bracken dispatched his assailants with relative ease and returned to fighting Mirav. During his duel with the wizard, the lectoblix Torina Barker hit Civia in the back with a phoenix-feathered arrow, which rapidly turned her to ash.
Shortly after, Mirav called for help, and the Gray Assassin answered. As the assassin challenged Bracken, he was struggling to defend himself, though was ultimately victorious by producing a burst of light that blinded the Gray Assassin. He turned and finished the wizard off as well. Torina was also killed when trying to drain Bracken's life force.
Battle of Zzyzx
Bracken, Kendra, Warren, and Trask, who'd participated in the previous fight under the control of a narcoblix and gotten turned back to normal by Bracken, met up with Seth Sorenson and Vanessa Santoro in Hatteras. As Vanessa had previously betrayed them, Bracken proposed that he should search her mind to find out if she really was siding with them, though Vanessa was reluctant. She argued that she didn't want a unicorn to determine her credibility, as unicorns hunt her kind, blixes. However, she eventually agreed and Bracken found that she was, in fact, an ally to them.
With all of the Eternals now dead, they planned on going to Shoreless Isle, where Zzyzx was located, and confront the demons, though Seth had already prepared for that by gathering the items necessary for calling the Lady Luck, a ship capable of traveling to Shoreless Isle. At midnight, Seth rang a bell at the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, then dropped it down to Bracken and Warren, who'd ring it where the lighthouse had stood before being moved in 1999. A few minutes later, he used the bosun's whistle, and a large rowboat crewed by undead sailors approached the beach. Bracken and the others climbed aboard and they set off towards a large ship. As they were climbing up the ladder on the side of the boat, Newel, Doren, and Hugo arrived in a motorboat that they had used instead, in case the Lady Luck's rowboat was too small to accommodate all of them.
When they were all up on the deck, undead sailors awaited them. Bracken pointed Seth towards the captain's cabin since he was the one to confront the presence inhabiting the cabin. Seth successfully secured passage to Shoreless Isle, and after three days at sea, they reached their destination. Two rowboats were deployed and they were transported to Shoreless Isle. After being paddled into a hidden cove, they disembarked and Bracken created a floating ball of light to illuminate their way up through a small cave. They ate their final meal before the battle and set off toward the fairy shrine on the island.
Bracken and Kendra both approached the shrine, where the Fairy Queen released the astrids, who emerged from the water surrounding the shrine. After Kendra granted them their empowered states, human-sized fairies also came up from the pool. Soon after, the stone dome of Zzyzx split open and the prison opened. A large host of demons exited through the crack and a fight quickly ensued. During the early stages of the battle, the Sphinx showed up, in possession of the Translocator, the Chronometer, and the Font of Immortality. As all of the five artifacts were required to fulfill the plan developed by Bracken, the Fairy Queen, and the founders of Zzyzx, the Sphinx, accompanied by Peredor, Targoron, Silvestrus, and Seth, with Vasilis, were sent to retrieve to two remaining artifacts from Graulas and Nagi Luna.
Bracken relayed most of his strategies and commands telepathically, including orders on when to regroup and instructions on when to get to the fallback position. As a crucial part of the plan was to injure Gorgrog, the Demon King, Bracken took to battle himself. He challenged Gorgrog with a strike force consisting of astrids, phoenixes, lammasu, and dryads, though was on the defensive. When the Fairy Queen arrived to help him, Bracken was viciously kicked away by the Demon King. A few moments later, as Bracken sought to aid his mother, Gorgrog struck his sword from his hands. A follow-up swing, though partly deflected by the Fairy Queen, still struck him to the ground with a gaping wound across his chest. He was rescued and restored by the Sands of Sanctity right before Gorgrog was slain by Kendra, wielding Vasilis. He also learned that his father, the Fairy King, was not dead, as most believed, but just preserved in powerful demonic spells.
Soon afterward, Bracken ordered their forces to withdraw, and the demons began pouring into the fairy shrine and vanishing. Though the demons did not know, this was part of their plan. The Fairy Queen had destroyed all of her other shrines and evacuated her people. For over three hours the demons kept emerging from Zzyzx, entering the fairy realm through the shrine. After the dragons slew the few remaining demons, Agad sealed of the shrine, trapping the demons inside.
After the battle
As the original fairy realm became the new demon prison, Zzyzx was made into the new fairy realm. Bracken helped with a lot of the rebuilding during the weeks after the Battle of Zzyzx. He also helped reclaim the Fablehaven preserve from the centaurs, where he discovered that the unicorn horn the centaurs prized belonged to him, and he took it as punishment for their rebelliousness. Bracken participated in the meeting at Living Mirage where the punishment of the Sphinx was determined as well. The punishment agreed upon was to make the Sphinx an Eternal, and Bracken testified about his intentions, which he claimed were acceptable.
After the shrine at Fablehaven had been reconnected to the new fairy realm, Bracken traveled there as a surprise visit, where he met with Kendra. He expressed his love for her, but also concern about the vast age gap between them. Even though Bracken appeared as a young adult in his human form, chronologically, he was centuries old. They together decided to wait a couple of years and see where the future led.
Before the dragon uprising
Bracken took Kendra on a tour in the new fairy realm. He paddled her over to the Fablehaven shrine and they both entered together. The tour was, however, intercepted by the astrids Denwin and Peredor, who informed Bracken that the demon Jubaya had requested to speak to Kendra in exchange for surrendering herself. At first, Bracken refused, though he soon relented after Kendra showed willingness to have the conversation. They were both transported to Jubaya's sludge pit, where Bracken arranged the conversation with the demon. He gave Kendra his first horn for her and Jubaya to be able to interact properly. The interaction between Kendra and the demon went well, and they presumably continued their tour.
Later, Bracken visited Fablehaven again when Kendra and Seth were nominated as co-caretakers at the dragon sanctuary Wyrmroost. He also explained to them that he couldn't join them because he had to go after the dark unicorn Ronodin at Soaring Cliffs, but assured them that he'd return in no time. Before he departed though, he visited Wyrmroost briefly to inspect the staff. Even though the staff was reluctant, they eventually agreed to let Bracken search their minds to detect any traitors. After reading the minds of all seventeen staff members, he declared that there were two traitors. Firstly, he pointed out the minotaur Tonak, who was quickly subdued by the other two minotaurs. The second traitor was an older woman named Myrna, who also got captured. After giving Kendra his first horn, Bracken departed for Soaring Cliffs.
Imprisonment in the Under Realm
At Soaring Cliffs, he communicated with Kendra a few times using the horn, before being captured by Ronodin. He was at first kept in a cell at the sanctuary but was later moved into the Under Realm. In the Under Realm's prison, Bracken is visited by Seth, who had recently lost his identity and therefore didn't recognize Bracken. Bracken tried to convince Seth that he was an ally, though Seth was unsure of what to believe. Eventually, however, Ronodin arrived and manipulated Seth against Bracken. Ronodin then escorted him out of the prison.
Later, Bracken was rescued by Kendra, who had invaded the Under Realm using the Fairy Queen's crown. Kendra also brought him all of his horns, including his third, which had previously been part of the Font of Immortality. She had reached an agreement with the Underking, which let her free Bracken and receive the Sunset Pearl to restore the Crescent Lagoon dragon sanctuary. Before they managed to depart though, Ronodin entered the prison. He insisted on a fight between the two, and he, just as Bracken, had recently reclaimed his horns. Transforming into their natural shapes, Bracken and Ronodin charged one another. Their horns connected several times before they crossed horns to directly test their strength. The deadlock broke when Kendra snuck up behind Bracken and pushed magical energy into him by touch, which resulted in Ronodin's horn snapped off. Ronodin fled using a potion that transformed him into a raven, and Bracken purified his broken horn.
Bracken and Kendra exited the Under Realm and traveled to the island of Timbuli at Crescent Lagoon. Upon arrival, they returned the crown to the Fairy Queen and the Sunset Pearl to the Himalayan cyclopses Baroi, Hobar, and Tal. The cyclopses also confirmed Seth's departure from the sanctuary and relayed the message he had written out, which indicated that he'd left to Titan Valley.
During his incarceration in the dungeon of the Living Mirage preserve, Bracken wore ragged, threadbare clothing and improvised moccasins. After his outbreak, however, a couple of fairies attempted to mend his attire. He had dirty feet and grime-streaked skin during his imprisonment as well, which could've been the result of frequently traveling through the secret passages in the dungeon.
Personality and traits
Magical abilities and skills
As a unicorn, Bracken had great magical potential, and he proved himself to be extremely powerful. Though he for a long time was in possession of none of his horns, he still retained some significant abilities, such as reading minds, enchanting objects, and, to some level, eradicating poison. His powers and abilities increased if he was in possession of any of his horns, at their peak if he had all three.
- Connection to his horns: If Bracken wasn't in possession of his horns, he would still have retained a connection to them, as long as they were not destroyed. Even centuries after parting with his first horn, that connection remained, although severely weakened. When he finally reclaimed his first horn, he was able to re-establish the connection. When Bracken entrusted his horn to Kendra Sorenson, they were able to communicate mentally over great distances using the connection of the horn.
- Enchanting: Even without his horns, Bracken still possessed some abilities, including the power to imbue stones or coins with light, as well as making them into communication devices. He could also create tiny, hovering globes of light to help with illumination.
- Healing: Bracken mentioned that he had some skill with healing injuries. During his imprisonment at Living Mirage, he helped fellow prisoner Berrigan heal from injuries sustained from the Dreamstone.
- Human avatar: As many of the more powerful magical creatures, Bracken could assume the form of a human. As he surrendered his third horn, Bracken got trapped in his human avatar, unable to revert back into his unicorn-shape. His experience in a mortal shape differed significantly from being a unicorn. By nature, unicorns are solitary, though being trapped as a human helped him socialize.
- Mind-reading: Bracken was able to read the minds of other beings if permitted to make physical contact with the said creature. He most often used this ability to detect spies or traitors among supposed allies. Bracken claimed that some of the more powerful magical creatures, like dragons, were hard for him to read.
- Perception: Bracken could perceive certain elements that others couldn't, such as the light within Kendra, who was fairykind. He could also sense the vicinity of certain magical creatures, like the undead.
- Purifying: Bracken had the power to purify darkness, corruption, poison, and decay. Depending on how many of his horns he possessed, his purifying powers varied in strength, at their peak when he had all three.
One characteristic of Bracken, although not a true power, is the unique way unicorns can destroy Lectoblixes indirectly. Lectoblixes sense great energy in Unicorns and crave it immensely which causes them to try to drain one without knowing the danger. But, since Unicorns have eternal youth, the Lectoblix that gets "lucky enough" to attempt a drainage doesn't live to tell the tale because they literally stuff themselves on youth until they die, with no lasting effect on the Unicorn.
- "My possessions are few."
- —Bracken, during his imprisonment at Living Mirage[src]
- Clothing: In his human form, Bracken was seen wearing relatively modern clothes, such as jeans and a white shirt. During his imprisonment at Living Mirage, however, his clothes were ragged and threadbare, and when protecting the Eternals, he wore animal hides.
- Small knife: When Bracken was a prisoner in the Living Mirage dungeon, he owned a small, sharp knife.
- Swords: Bracken used two different swords when protecting the Eternals. He got the first from the armory of Roon Osricson, and he received the second from Civia.
- Unicorn horns: As all unicorns, Bracken owned three horns. He had his first horn as a child, then shed it for his second, larger horn in adolescence, and in turn, shed that for his third, permanent horn. Throughout his life, Bracken lost all three of his horns and was for a time referred to as "the hornless unicorn", since it is highly unusual for unicorns to part with all of their horns. He did, however, manage to reclaim all his horns shortly after being released from the dungeon at Living Mirage.
- First horn: Bracken gave his first horn away to a man who saved his life. It was the first he parted with, and it passed through many hands until finally ending up in the hands of Patton Burgess, who, in turn, gave it to the centaurs of Grunhold. He discovered it when visiting Fablehaven after the Battle of Zzyzx, and took it from the centaurs as punishment for their rebelliousness. Soon after, he gave it away again, this time to Kendra Sorenson, at the start of the dragon uprising. She used it as a way to communicate with Bracken.
- Second horn: Bracken lost his second horn when exploring the sealed shrine at Living Mirage. He was captured by the Sphinx, who was also able to steal his horn due to being a shadow charmer. He reclaimed his second horn from the dark wizard Mirav by extending his hand and simply saying "to me". In his grasp, the horn could transform into a powerful sword. He used this horn during the Battle of Zzyzx.
- Third horn: Bracken surrendered his third horn to the wizard Agad to help in sealing away the demon horde in Zzyzx. It was made into the Font of Immortality, one of the five artifacts required to open the prison. Losing his third horn resulted in him not being able to assume his unicorn-shape and he was thus trapped in his human avatar. It's possible that Bracken is the only unicorn to have willfully given his adult horn away, save Ronodin. During the dragon uprising though, Bracken's third horn was retrieved for him on the Underking's orders, and he was able to assume his natural form again. It is unknown what happened to the Font of Immortality because of this.
Bracken and Kendra first meet in the Dungeon of Living Mirage. At first, she does not trust him, but after her break out of Living Mirage, the pair become close and Kendra learns to rely on Bracken. At first, Bracken is drawn to Kendra because of the bright light that radiates from her, as a result of her being Fairykind, but soon grows to respect and admire her courage and determination to save her family. Kendra had been attracted to Bracken from the beginning, although she was unsure if he was trustworthy. While the pair visits the Fairy Queen's Shrine, Kendra becomes jealous of Bracken's relationship with the Fairy Queen, although later she repents of this misconception, learning the Fairy Queen is Bracken's mother. They continually look out for one another, and Bracken grows very protective of Kendra. Later Vanessa states that it is quite clear that "Bracken likes Kendra." The two speak about their feelings for one another, and they seemingly become a couple for the rest of the book.
Bracken meets Seth inside the Dungeon of Living Mirage. At first, Seth is wary of Bracken, believing him to be a trap to get Seth to reveal information. After Bracken proves he is trustworthy, the two become close friends, and Bracken even gives Seth a magical coin that allows the two of them to keep in touch.
Bracken is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, an English noun defined as "a tall fern with coarse lobed fronds, which occurs worldwide and can cover large areas". The word is Middle English of Scandinavian origin; related to the Danish word bregne and the Swedish word bräcken.
Behind the scenes
- Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison
- Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure
- Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King (mentioned only)
- Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle
Notes and references
- ↑ Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, Chapter 26 (Shoreless Isle)
- ↑ Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, Chapter 28 (The Demon King)
- ↑ Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure, Chapter 3 (The Fairy Realm)
- ↑ Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure, Chapter 10 (Caretakers Wanted)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Since the Font of Immortality was crafted out of his third horn, and since Zzyzx was founded earlier than the late 500s A.D., Bracken was most likely born before the 6th century.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle, Chapter 12 (Prisoner)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, Chapter 16 (The Sealed Shrine)
- ↑ Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure, Chapter 3 (The Fairy Realm)
- ↑ Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle, Chapter 12 (Questions)
- ↑ Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, Chapter 8 (Bracken)
- ↑ Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, Chapter 14 (An Unexpected Ally)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle, Chapter 36 (Unicorns)