Welcome to The Banished
Hello everyone I am Filidae the author and artist of "The Banished"
Thank you for taking the time to stop by. This is actually an old story I started some time ago that is just now being added too... unfortunately I had not posted in so long the original thread could not be refreshed and the second time I posted this story the MODs didn't like my pictures and colored text in the first few posts so it was deleted. So here I am again reposting lol, anyway welcome all my old readers if you are still there and welcome all my new readers who are just coming in. I hope you enjoy the story and feel free to post a pony if you want them in the story, just follow the directions in post two. Thank you
Black Cat 13
Rules for Posting Ponies
Those posting ponies that wish to be put in the story.... please read the following
There are a few things you have to know:
1. I will use at least 1 character from each user who has posted in some way or another...
2. This story is going to be large... however seeing as I am getting so many pony requests it is impossible to make them all have main character roles... though they will probably have a least one POV each.
3. It is more likely that I will be able to work with your ponies if you don't mind me playing around with their personalities... because alas I cannot make all my characters "good" or super cool warrior types.
4. Please don't get angry with me if your character filters out of the story at some point... its going to happen.
5. Please do not get angry if your character ends up dieing... by posting your ponies you are agreeing to give me free choice of how to use them in my story apart from their personality choice if one is provided.
Please post this completed form when you post your pony/ponies
Preferred element (if any):
Personality (if any):
NOTE: If you give me a character to use in this story you WILL be put on the update mailing list! You will receive an update when I introduce your character into the story, one when your character has a chapter written in their POV (point of view), and one if you request to receive updates on new story posts.
.Prologue (Cain's POV)
By all rights my life shouldn't be as complicated as it is. By all rights I should be content; I'm what some people would call rich; I live in the best stable and have access to the best food; I'm the son of the greatest Shaman chief that the Bluehoof water tribe has ever known and happen to have everything that everyone else seems to want....
So why am I so miserable?
It's a question I ask myself periodically. Yes by all normal circumstances I should be happy but there was just one thing that ruined this world of high-born glory.... and that was my father.
Don't get me wrong he's a great guy, he loves this tribe and it's people and takes pride in what he does. He's always taken care of me provided everything I've ever needed, the only problem is that he can barely stand the sight of me. He resents me, he hates me, I know it and I know why.... every time he looks at me I can see what he wants to say in his eyes... "It's beacuse of you, you killed her; I'll never forgive you"
I cant deny those eyes, I cant yell "No I didn't, it wasn't my fault" because when everything boiled down it was true, so very, very, unfairly true. She died because of me, she died to bring me into this world... a world that decided to value her life above mine from the very beginning.
Character List ( will be edited as the story goes on)
Main Character: Cain
Cains Father: Chief Shaman Swiftwind
Cain's Mother: Still-water (deceased)
Weapons Master: Ice Feather
Fire Tribe Represenitive: Passionfruit the Firehoof (animegurl44's character )
Fire Tribe Represenitive: Serrenus the Flamehorn (SPO's character)
Water Tribe Counsel member: Kobalt the Coldcreek (Deekru's character)
Water Tribe head Battle Mage: Diamond Star the Liquidsword (Balanora's character)
Water Tribe Ice Witch: Gabriel the VelvetSnow (WolfWarrior's character)
Banished Member: Shawshank Redemption (The Blackout's character)
Banished Member: Dark Light (My upcoming character ^^)
Fire Tribe Head Battle Mage: Diana The Inferno (Bleurosea's character)
Earth Tribe Representative: Set The RockSlide (Bleurosea's character)
Earth Tribe Representative: Sunrise the Silk Petal (Sakura Dreams character)
[ Being revamped, those of you who are still active who wish to have your pony in the story please re-post following the rules on post two, sorry, and thank you]
Day #1 The Bad Beginning (Cain's POV)
My day was starting off badly and it had only just begun.
I woke up with a start as the morning light flooded into my room bouncing off the colored glass mosaics on the floor. I bounded out of my bed and ran into my closet looking for my grieves. This was just perfect I was going to late for training... Master Ice Feather was going to kill me! I flung open my bedroom door and cantered clumsily down the hall trying to slip on my other grieve as I went along without much success. I was concentrating so hard trying to get my stubborn grieve on and not tripping over myself that I collided right into my father.
It was hitting a huge thick wall of ice... I fell backward onto my rump my grieve slipping off my hoof as I made my less-than-graceful decent. My father stood as if a fly had run into him instead of me... completely balanced on four hooves unscathed.
"Sorry dad," I blurted as I hesitantly shoved the remaining grieve on my leg.
He gave me a cold glance assessing the situation. "Your late," he stated "water is never late it flows swiftly and directly to where it needs to be." He looked at me again staring with those piercing blue eyes.... his eyes were so cold they froze me in place.... there was nothing in them but ice.... cold and unforgiving ice.
" I expect you to pass your water magic final today Cain."
I blinked my eyes and adverted my gaze toward the ground. "R-right" I muttered as I got to my feet shying past him to get out the door. He moved aside letting me squeak past his muscled torso. I started jogging out of the house when I heard my father mutter something... I barely heard it over the clop of his hooves as he turned away but I could have sworn I had heard it right....
"Red eyes... he is not water.... he is destruction... he is fire."
I flatted my ears not wanting to hear anything else, my eyes watering threateningly and sprinted the rest of way to Master Ice Feather's training hall.
Day #1: The Magic Lesson (Cain's POV)
Master Ice Feather was standing outside the training hall looking less than pleased when I finally got there. He was a towering guy as big as a Clydesdale with a wingspan that could block out the sun... and I had probably just put him in a bad mood. I winced to myself as I approached him trying to come up with some excuse explaining my tardiness but I couldnt think straight... the words my dad said this morning kept playing over and over like a stalled record in my head. "He is not water.... he is destruction.... he is fire!"
Master Ice Feather finally looked at me... I could see that I was about to get yelled at but then something in his face changed and he shook is head as if clearing away a day-dream. " I would have you run until your legs fell off," he growled half-heartedly "but we have bigger problems to worry about.... wouldn't you agree Cain?"
I looked away, I knew what he was talking about.... my magic final was today and if I didn't pass it it would mean I wouldn't become a true Shaman... I would never receive my own title like Master Ice Feather or my Father Swiftwind; I would be Cain forever.
"Yes sir," I said as I followed him inside walking slowly and in small steps as if I could avoid the ordeal to come.
We went into the main dojo, like usual it was completely empty; I was the only teen left in the village who had not pasted this test. Master Ice Feather trotted over to a series of different sized blue circles carved into the floor and motioned with his head for me to follow him. His giant hooves making hollow booming sounds as he lead the rest of the way until we where both standing by our perspective circles.
Everyone had their own magic circle carved into the floor... they were of all different sizes depending on the size of the horse it belonged to.... my circle looked more like a beach ball compared to Ice Feathers who looked to be about the size of me.
"Look here Cain," he said as he placed a sunflower seed in the middle of the circle, "now pay close attention to what I'm about to show you." He looked at me saw that I was listening and continued. "Magic is a very tricky thing, use to little of it and your risk breaking your flower seed; use too much and you will kill it." He nudged the flower seed with his muzzle and I vaguely wondered how he didn't accidently inhale the tiny thing through one of his huge nostrils. "Now watch and take note of what I do" he said as he straightened himself up to his full height and closed his eyes, " now concentrate on what you want to do and reach deep within your chest and find the warmth inside; that is your magic...." he stood there for a moment still as a statue has his hooves beagn to glow; then his eyes snapped open and he reared his glowing hooves before his massive front legs came thundering down into his circle. There was a flash of purple and his circle lit up the room. I shielded my eyes from the light blinking spots out of my eyes as the purple vanished. In the middle of Ice Feather's circle was a huge sunflower, the biggest one I had ever seen and with a yellow so bright that I could see it even with my eyes closed.
"Wow," I breathed.
Ice Feather smiled for a moment admiring the beauty he had created before he turned his attention back to me. "Now it's your turn Cain" he stated, pulling out another seed from his pouch and set it in front of me, "You have till evening to make it grow, and remember I'll be watching."
Day #1 What Just Happened? (Ice Feather's POV)
He had been at it for hours. I watched Cain for the millionth time as he reared and slammed down on his circle. The same thing happened that had been happing for the past four hours....his circle lit up for half a second then flickered out and the seed still remained a seed. I could easily see his frustration, his aggravation, his desperation, it was being carved into his tense sweaty features and the longer he tried the worse it seemed to get.
I couldn't understand it myself; both of his parents were master water healers, they could grow entire forests and could even use some of the deep sea magic that only the Merdragon, Shell, and Sea horses were known to master... so why couldn't Cain do this simple task, this basic growth spell?
Cain was exhausted but he refused to stop, not that I blamed him a lot rode on this final and quitting would be the worse option but still... I thought back to this morning when he had arrived... late to training. I had a right mind to make him run laps until he puked but there was something about him that morning... a horrible sadness that swallowed the flame in his red eyes... I couldn't bring myself to punish him, not after seeing those eyes, I couldn't justify it.
"Aaarrrrrggghhhh" Cain yelled as he slammed down his hooves again.... this time his legs didn't take his weight and he spilled onto the floor.
I sighed and stood trotting over to where Cain had fallen, but he had gotten back up by the time I had gotten over there and started preparing to try again.
"Cain," I said trying to sound soothing, "thats enough I think you should stop now, you're going to hurt yourself."
"No," he hissed his eyes growing wild and frightened " I can't give up! I can do this I promise; I'll make it grow; I'll pass; I'll get my title!" he was starting to hyperventilate his breathing coming in short rapid gasps his body slick with sweat.
I raised my voice, "No Cain I said stop!"
He shivered and bore his burning eyes into mine "I'll never stop I HAVE to do this!"
I couldn't stop him. He screamed and reared his hooves and they lit up bright blue, so bright I could barely look, then he hammered down into his circle and then.... BAM! The light and the sound was deafening I couldn't see I couldn't hear everything was white and hot and humming. I couldn't move, I wondered what had happened, was Cain ok? Was I ok? Was I even alive? Why is it so white? Then I realized that the white was slowly fading... my vision was returning and I was somehow on the floor. Blinking I tried to clear away the rest of the light obscuring my vision... it took a long few seconds before I could see again.
"C-Cain," I croaked, stumbling to my feet, "Cain are you ok?"
I saw him across the room lying sprawled unconscious several feet away from his magic circle... or what should have been his magic circle, there was nothing left of it now. There was a huge black, smoldering patch engulfing the floor where the magic circle had been, bits of wood and debris strewn everywhere from a charred jagged hole in the celing above. I stood there stunned trying to wrap my head around what had just happened, the light, the heat, the humming...
"My god.... Cain what have you done?"
Day #1 Raining Fire (Ice Feather's POV)
It was the smell that brought be back from the shock... was that smoke?
I looked around... the inside of the dojo was charred but fine so what was burning? A chuck of flaming wood fell from the hole in the ceiling coughing embers all over the floor. I whipped my head upward my eyes wide... the ceiling! Above the straw and wood roof was swiftly turning into a raging inferno, the fire hissing and spitting like a horrible red serpent bent on swallowing us whole. It would be a matter a minutes before the whole place caught fire! Cain, where was Cain? I had to get him out!
The smoke from the fallen plank was starting to catch the floor on fire and the smoke it made caused my eyes to water... I had to go around it to get to Cain and pray the roof wouldn't fall on me before I got to him or we would both be done for. I kept my head low and as far from the rising smoke as possible attempting to move quickly. It was getting difficult to breathe much less see; all I could do was hope that I was heading in the direction of where Cain was.
I coughed as the smoke began to fill the room, my eyes were burning... pretty soon I wouldnt be able to see anything at all... not good! I had almost lost hope of finding Cain and getting out of here when I almost tripped over something small and cyan.
"Cain!" I shouted. It was no use he was still unconscious. I glanced around us; there was nothing but smoke and fire; I couldn't see the way out; there was no way out... I heard a sickening crack and look up just in time to see one of the ceilings massive wooden arches splint and give way, in a matter of second it would fall right on us! There was only one thing I could do. I bolted to my feet and stood over Cain lowering my wings to trying to keep the ashes and flying embers away from him. The arch gave one final moan and came crashing down...
I waited for the impact, the bone-breaking burning impact, but it didn't come. I looked up and watched in wonder as a huge flaming hand held the arch just a few smoldering feet above our heads then flung the arch away. The smoke was being pushed back as if a wind had blown it to one side and I couldn't help but stare at the newly made invisible wall separating us from life and death.
"What are you gawking at! Get OUT of here!"
That voice sent an electric shock through me bringing me back into the present. Beside me pranced a pink and red painted stallion as big as I was his hooves a-glow as he stomped his feet and flapped his wings using what must have been magic to drive the fire back.
"Hurry up MOVE I can't keep this up forever ya know!"
I nodded and flung Cain onto my back and ran toward the light away from the horrible inferno; our painted savior close behind as we escaped out into the cool evening air.
Day #1 High Magic ( Ice Feather's POV)
The magic of this mysterious fire colored horse must have been the only thing keeping the dojo from collapsing all together because the moment we were clear the whole structure imploded. There was nothing to it but flame and ash and embers as the dieing building coughed plumes of diseased breath into the sky.
Outside horses had begun to gather pawing and whinnying with worry as the flames fead by the freash oxygen the structure had previously denied roared to new life. If we couldn't stop it soon the rest of the village would catch fire! Where was Chief Swiftwind? He was the only one with enough magic to put a fire this large out!
The strange painted horse next to me huffed "Well I guess we better do something about this eh?"
I jumped. I hadnt noticed him standing next to me this whole time. Do something what did he mean.... then I realized that he wasn't talking to me. Beside him stood a crimson Dragon horse not nearly as large as the stranger was but strikingly beautiful. She wore an intricate mask of red, yellow, and purple, with a tiny flame carved on the bridge barley visible under a small but glittering patch of silver-white mane.
"Yes, I suppose it would be rude to let their village burn down... we wouldnt want them to think it was us." She looked at me now her silver eyes boiling over me until they spotted Cain lying strewn on my back; she stared at him almost transfixed for a moment then turned away. "Passionfruit if you would join me I could use some help containing this."
"Yes mam!" the stranger, or Passionfruit, said with enthusiasm as he tossed his head back excitedly.
I wasn't quite prepared for the strength of the gust their wings let off as they gave a few strong flaps and shot into the sky heading toward the burning wreckage. I watched amazed as they started to fly, slow at first, around and around the dojo turned pyre. They started going faster and faster until they where nothing but a blur of pink and red on a background of soot. The fire thinned and tunneled in response corkscrewing into the sky like the writhing snake it was; but the magical wind Passionfruit and the other mysterious Dragon horse made kept it spewing upward roaring and hissing in protest.
I felt another hurricane gust of wind and looked up to see Chief Swiftwind flying over me, flapping toward the magical tunnel of flame. I watched on pins and needles as Swiftwind stopped several feet away from the contained beast; he hovered there for a moment concentrating then his whole body beagn to glow; the dark blue light growing brighter and brighter until Swiftwind shot straight upward water flowing like rivers from his wings.
It was beautiful... and frightening. He began to spiral the water forming around him... more and more until Swiftwind was completely hidden in deep blue glow. He was so high I thought he might break the sky when the glowing shape arched back downward spreading its giant magical wings... Swiftwind's water dragon.... I had heard of it but never thought I would see it! It was breath-taking.... as it plummited down it opened its flowing mouth and roared; the sound was like a hunduard waterfalls pounding on the mountains. The two red ponies bolted out of the way as the massive dragon opened its mouth and swallowed the burnning tunnel whole.
Steam immediately erupted. It was thicker than any fog I had ever seen, I couldn't see anything, and I'm pretty sure no one else could either. It was only momentary however; after a few minutes the steam began to clear and I could see the outline of a horse standing among the soaked wreckage of the dojo. When the wind finally swept away the rest of the steam there he stood Chief Swiftwind... looking right at me his ice blue eyes still glowing from the magic; an angry question ragging inside them.
Day #1 Formalities (Swiftwind's POV)
I looked at the crowd seaching for the sorce of this devastation my eyes still glowing with magic past the stream that only I could see through. I took in the faces of the confused and awed bystanders until at last my eyes feel upon Ice Feather, Cain lying unconscious on this back. My eyes narrowed; they where both covered with soot and ash from head-to-toe, and if that hadn't given them away Cain certainly would have. His magical aura lit up his whole body and glowed like a big cyan light bulb through my magically fused eyes. He is not water... he is destruction....
"Ice Feather!", I snapped, "I hope you have a REALLY good explanation for this!"
He cringed and averted his gaze pawing nervously at the ground. "Chief Swiftwind... I... I'm not exactly... sure myself..."
I wanted to scream; I wanted to break something; I wanted know what that CHILD had done! There was a flash of red at the corner of my eye and I turned my head to see Mistress Serrenus land weightlessly on the ground a few feet away airing her wings in an attempt to dry them out after being soaked with my now magicless water as her companion Passionfruit thudded down beside her. I had almost for got about those two...
Serrenus gave her wings one final flap then folded them to her sides as she directed her stabbing steel eyes into mine. "It seems to me that we arrived at both a good and bad time." she sad as if to herself. "Though if I may be so bold as to suggest," She began as she glided closer and lowered her sing-song voice, "that it would be better for everyone if we discuss this matter away from prying eyes and ears."
I looked around, a large crowd had indeed gathered, all of them silent as they watched with interest my reaction.
"Yes, perhaps you are right," I said my eyes turning back to their normal shade as I took some deep breaths to calm myself. "I am sorry you had to be involved in this,"I apologized, "this is not something that usually happens...." I spun a quick look at Ice Feather making sure he knew our conversation wasn't over yet. "Nevertheless I owe you a great deal for assisting in vanquishing the fire; it would have been drastically more difficult if you had not."
"Ah think nothin' of it Chief sir, we couldn't have very well sat and watched those two BBQ now could we?" said Passionfruit rather, matter-of-factly.
For a minute I thought Serrenus was going to smack him but she seemed to think better of it... for the moment anyway; a shame.
"Mistress Serrenus, Flamehorn of the Sunfire, and Passionfruit, Fireshoof of the Sunfire let me welcome you formally to our tribe. If you could please follow me to our counsel halls I believe we have much to discuss.
As for you Weapons Master Ice Feather, my eyes filtered through him as I stared at Cain, please take my.... son", it was hard to say,"home then meet us in the counsel hall as well." I shuffled through the pile of wet ash that was all that was left of the dojo and trotted away from the crowd toward the counsel hall the fire tribe battle mages trailing behind me.
The occurrence of this little incident was going to cost me... exactly how much only time could tell.
Day #1 The Counsel Meeting (Swiftwind's POV)
"Normally this would be a simple review of our tribes peace treaty but if this is what we think it is todays incident changes things... for everyone."
I tensed. I had expected this much but I had hoped... no, I was a fool; this was unavoidable. I mulled over what Serrenus had just said. Yes it would change things, but where to start. I had to avoid conflict with the fire nation we couldn't afford another war, not now when the water tribe was finally recovering.
"The boy is a danger to us all, a child born from death can only bring more suffering!" hissed Kobalt the Coldcreek; A man, I thought, who always had something to say... despite if it was useful or not.
I tried not to wince at his words. A child born from death... yes I remembered how I watched the love of my life, my beautiful wife, my Still-water's health progressively decline as her belly grew heavy with child... as if the baby was sucking the life out of her, and finally on the day of birth snuffed it out for good. That child was Cain... that beautiful, horrible child... the child I loved as much as hated.
"That assumption cannot yet be made Coldcreek," said Diamond Star the Liquidsword, "Until we investigate exactly what happened in that dojo I refuse to condemn a child!"
"Hold on just a minute!" gasped Passionfruit, "you cant be thinking of killing a child! Who's to say he even knew what he was doing, I mean everyone makes a mistake!"
"We never said that if the child indeed caused this fire today that we would kill him Firehoof" interjected Liquidsword," it would be best if you didn't jump to such drastic conclusions... and I don't think mistake... disregarding if he ment it or not... is the right word to discribe this situation."
"Never-the-less the boy must be dealt with somehow!" snapped Coldcreek
There was the sound of heavy clopping from behind the conference room entrance gate and I stomped my hoof for silence just as Ice Feather emerged. His body mostly washed of soot and ash... though it was a little difficult to tell what was part of his black fade and dapples and what was not.
"Good you have come," I said as he took a seat as far away from Coldcreek as possible. "I believe you can spread more light on what went on today."
Ice Feather nodded seemly very reluctant, but proceeded tiredly. " He came to training this morning as I'm sure you know," he glanced at me and continued, "as scheduled we commenced with his magic final. After I showed him the task in which he was to complete, which was a basic spell one in which to make a sunflower seed bloom, he began to cast. He was unsuccessful for the larger part of four hours. He was exhausted so I told him to stop, then something changed, he was hysterical, arguing that he could make the seed grow.... and then... and then..." He paused taking a deep breath. "It is hard to describe.... his hooves lit up, it was like no magic I have ever seen, ever yours Chief Swiftwind; I could barely look at them! Then he slammed his hooves into his magic circle... I can't remember much other than my vision went completely white, and it was hot and there was a humming sound..."
"Lightning!" whispered Serrenus, "We saw it on our way to the village... it smashed right through the roof of the dojo... it was what started the fire... Passionfruit and I we saw it all..." she seemed awed by the prospect.
"Ya that's right! Saw it with our own eyes... it's when I rushed ahead to see if anyone was hurt!" quipped Passionfruit.
"If that is true... if that child summoned lightning... that means that the water tribe has power of TWO elements.... I never heard of such an instance before... this is not good not good at all...." muttered Serrenus.
I didn't know what to say; I didn't know what to do; I didn't know how to handle this...
The conference room fell silent.
Day #1 The Verdict (Liquidsword's POV)
Having the power to summon lightning... was it possible? Apparently it was.
I had so many questions, there was so much about this that I couldn't wrap my head around... and no one had any answers. If the boy could summon lightning did that mean he could control pre-existing lightning? What if there was a storm... if the child couldn't control his magical aura things could get very dangerous very fast, and yet... what if he could? The prospect of controlling nature vs. manipulating it frightened me of course... but as head battle mage I was also obligated to look at this from a military standpoint and a power like THAT could certainly tip the scale in any battle...
Ice Feather stood excusing himself from the counsel hall, "Seeing as I have provided the infromation required of me I'll be leaving, it would be agaisnt trible law for a non-councel member to sit in on offical matters." He said has he dragged himself over to the door spairing a quick glance over his shoulder. "For what it's worth though... I beg you not to take drastic measures... he is just a boy after all." he said as he walked out the door.
We listened to his heavy hoof-falls growing fainter and fainter until we were sure he had gone. I liked Ice Feather... if it was up to me he would be on this counsel as well. There was no sense thinking about things like that at a time like this though... the time for thinking was over it was time to speak.
"There are simply too many unknowns for us to make any sort of rational decision right now." I said breaking the silence. "We need to investigate this further... I have a feeling there is much more to this magic than we saw in the short spurt we witnessed today."
"Oh really," scoffed Coldcreek, "'you had a 'good feeling' about this did you? Well isn't that something... in case you hadn't noticed that boy turned that dojo into cinders in less than ten minutes! There is nothing good about that!"
I bared my teeth at him and stomped my hooves. "Yes, Coldcreek I think we all know where you stand on this... your always the one who attacks first attacks some more then when everyone is dead try to ask a question or two."
Coldcreek pawed the ground tauntingly. "You would think that you would have more consideration for your village Liquidsword.... I of course want to protect this tribe from danger... unlike you it seems"
I was tempted to throw him through the wall but I had more self-control than that... sometimes I wish I had a little less. Coldcreek could use a good kick in the rump from time-to-time.
"Silence BOTH of you!" Swiftwind snapped. He sighed, his neck slumping... he seemed to be to tired to deal with much more, not that I blamed him using high magic took a lot out of a horse.
"What is the firetribes stand on this?" He asked looking at Serrenus.
"Hey! I'm here to ya know and I happen to think Liquidsword over there is right." Passionfruit huffed
"Be silent Passionfruit," bit Serrenus. "I think Cheif Swiftwind was well aware of what YOUR stand was on the issue." Passionfruit seemed slightly taken aback, but if there was one thing about that guy is that he had an amazing power to bounce-back.
"I don't know what the right answer is... logically it would be easier to just 'do away' with the boy before any other issues occur... However, Liquidsword, though I agree that it would be beneficial to understand how this magic works, we take an awful risk in doing so." She paused for a moment looking as if she was searching for the right words. "My stance is to watch the child... keep a close eye on him. Passionfruit and I must stay to supervise of course, seeing as this is a blatant violation of the peace treaty concerning paragraph 14: no tribe is to stray beyond the boundary of their element. If the child shows that he cannot control his power... or uses it unwisely. We will have no choice... we will have to proceed with plan B."
"You are just simply delaying the inevitable," muttered Coldcreek, "you can't control nature..."
I hated that loud-mouth Flutter but I had to agree with him... people didn't control nature; nature controlled them.
Day #1 What's HIS Problem? ( Passionfruit's POV)
It was Coldcreek that showed us to the guest stables in which we would be staying for the rest of our trip. He defiantly wasn't happy about being asked to, but he was smart enough not to argue with the Chief about it. Personally I would have like someone else to show us the way too, but I figured I'd keep my mouth shut cause if I didn't Serrenus would really let me have it.
"This will be your residence for the remainder of your stay, feel free to roam the village as you please but if you have any questions feel free NOT to ask ME." he gave a curt bob with his neck... a cheap type of bow, and flew off.
I watched him leave... I always kind of liked the way Flutter's flew... their wings moved as fast as a humming birds so that when they got far enough away they looked like they were floating. I had never meat a Flutter I hadn't liked.... until now that is.
"Real nice guy don't cha think?"I said sarcastically to Serrenus.
She was already walking inside as she answered, "Well he has a reason to be curt... at least with us anyway... though you are too young to know why."
That caught my attention. I attempted to prance into the stable behind her but had a little bit of difficulty getting through the doorway. I was just a little too big... I had to flatten my wings as tight as they would go against my sides and go in at an angle. With a final pull I finally got through... though doing this everyday till we left was going to get annoying. Serrenus watched trying not to laugh.
I beamed my best Casanova smile at her... "What?"
'Its nothing," she chuckled "I swear you should have been born a Wishing pony... your always so full of energy just like them."
I snorted, "Can you really picture me with big rainbow butterfly wings?" I asked giving her a sly grin.
"Absolutely!" she said.
"Ok not the answer I was looking for," I pouted plopping down on one of the beds. The bed rose and fell wobbling madly as my weight crashed into it... just great... of coarse it would be a water bed. I stood back up looking at the bed mournfully; what I would give for a nice stack of straw to sleep on.
Serrenus laughed again, settling down on her own perspective bed with less drama.
"So you gonna tell me what flutter boys problem is?" I asked lying down on the floor... it was less likely to make me sea sick.
She frowned, pricking her ears to see if she heard anyone outside. "Well it is really not my place to say, so I wont give any details but... you know about the war fifty years ago between the water and fire tribes correct?"
I nodded thinking back on my history lesions; I was never very good at reading history and stuff.
"Well both of his parents died in that war... they were killed at the Battle of the Burning Planes by our Chief Kaleido Star the Bright Flame. I won't say how, but it doesn't surprise me that he holds a grudge against us."
I was surprised... I kinda felt sorry for the guy now. "But that's what happens in war, people die." I muttered.
"If your parents were taken from you when you were but a boy I think you might have a different view on things. I couldn't imagine the pain he felt when he got the news." she answered her silver eyes shinning with a strange emotion I couldn't place.
"Ya I guess I would see it differently"
She gave a nod before she unfurled one of her soft leather wings and flapped lightly once, extinguishing the ceiling lamps. "We had best get some sleep; I don't expect tomorrow to be much less trying than today." She laid her head down on the bed and closed her eyes as I adjusted my position on the floor.
"Hey Serrenus." I whispered knowing that she could not have fallen asleep yet.
"What is it Passionfruit,"she responded tiredly.
"If we really do have to... have to... kill that kid... your going to have to do that on your own, I'll have nothin' to do with it."
She didn't answer for a long time, and for a second I thought she had fallen asleep but then she answered:"Yes, I know."
Day #1 An Unexpected Answer (Ice Feather's POV)
I was at Swiftwind's stable waiting for him to return and found myself in the doorway of Cain's room watching...
He was sound asleep of course, most likely recovering from his unintentional magical blunder. I understood that Cain's power was dangerous, that it was un-natural... but he was still a child; there was a chance we could teach him to control it! What if they decided that it was to much of a risk... what if they were decided on just getting rid of him instead? If that was the case... there would be no way I could just stand aside; if they wanted Cain they would have to go through me first!
I chanced going a few steps closer into Cain room, deep in thought as I gazed upon his unknowing form. I had always felt sorry for Cain... he always seemed so alone, so sad, and it made me angry when I thought of why that was. He had no friends that I knew of, and the villagers avoided him; even his father barely spoke to him... and his words where never particularly kind. Living as a child born from death was hard enough... and now this. It made me feel sick to my stomach... the world was a cruel place indeed.
I was pryed out of my thoughts as I heard the front gate swing open and the slow tired hoof-falls of what could only be Chief Swiftwind.
I turned away giving one last look behind me... the moonlight was streaming through the window dancing across the glass incrusted floor... the different color blue glass specking Cain with shinning colored stars. Despite myself I smiled.
"I trust he is recovering well."
I almost jumped as I heard Swiftwind's voice stab through the silence. I looked and saw him staring at me from the end of the hallway. He looked pretty bad; I could tell that his water dragon spell really took it out of him. If I hadn't known him better I would have expected him to fall over right then and there. It made me guilty to think that I was going to make this day last a little longer.
"Yes, he is sleeping the effects off..." I paused trying to think of how to bring the conversation up. "I know that you have a lot on your mind... especially now but I need to ask. What are we to do about Cain's title... he technically failed at his task but I think you would agree that what he DID manage to do is far beyond your recollection of magical science."
"Is this really necessary Ice Feather... him earning his title is the LEAST of my concerns now."
"Yes sir I understand that but... when he wakes up tomorrow... what are we to do? What are we to tell him?" My eyes never left his face as thought the conversation. I wanted to see his reactions, every one of them... would I see worry in his eyes, shame? I saw none of those... but... could that be... could it be that he was conflicted? Could it really be morally possible for Swiftwind to be torn between the options of Cain's fate?
"How many days does he have before he fully matures?" he asked.
The question caught me off guard... what did that have to do with anything? "How many... er well three I believe...why?"
He nodded gazing at the wall of the hallway as if there was a particularly interesting speck he wanted to examine. "Tomorrow we will take him to Gabriel the VelvetSnow, perhaps she'll be able to see something that we cannot... then perhaps if all goes well Cain will be granted a name... in due time."
"VelvetSnow!" I almost choked on the name, "the snow witch..." I shuttered at the thought. She was a powerful mind bender, it was said she could see into your very soul; see all the things hidden away; she could know things that had happened that you never told her... and things that had yet to happen.
"Are you sure about this Chief... I heard about the things she did in the Battle of the Burning Planes... her power... it's no more natural then Cains is."
"Precisely." He said. That time when I looked in his eyes... they where no longer ice.
Day #2 A Locked Door.(Cain's POV)
You know when you're going to have a bad day when you wake up with a headache.
Though the word "headache" did not begin to describe how my head felt. It felt as if someone had mistaken me for a hammer and used my head to build stables all day.
"Ow," I winced as a fresh spike of pain shot through my body... talking made it worse.
I tired to think; when did I come back to my room? In fact I didn't even remember leaving the dojo... THE DOJO! I sprung to my feet and immediately regretted it. My head exploded the world tipping and spinning wickedly; when the world finally settled again I found myself on the floor. I didn't get it what was wrong with me... why did everything hurt so much?
I didn't understand but I decided that staying where I was at the moment was good idea. My thought's bee-lined back to the dojo. I remembered I had been trying to make that stupid seed grow... I remembered trying forever to make my magic turn on, to try to make the dumb stuff WORK... but hadn't done any good. I thought extra hard; my memory was fuzzy but I remembered Master Ice Feather telling me to stop.... and I didn't want to stop... what next? I tried to think what happened next; tried to think past the fuzzy memories.
My headache exploded again and I could help but cry out this time OUCH!"
I wanted to know if I had passed, no I HAD to know if I passed... but it simply hurt to much for me to try to remember. I gave up thinking about it for the moment and concentrated on standing again... this time slowly.
I was a little dizzy but I managed to get myself on all four hooves. "Dad?" I called, if I had passed my test he was sure to know; Master Ice Feather would have told him right away! The prospect of finding the answer drove me on as I walked waywardly toward the hallway. I was about to walk out into the hallway when my head collided with the door thump!
"AHHH OUCH!" I backed away trying to keep my surroundings from twirling. What the heck; why didn't it open? I blinked several times trying to clear away the newly applied burst of pain as I walk forward again to the door.
I used my hoof this time planting it against the door and pushing... nothing happened. What was with this? My door had never not-opened before. I reared and slammed both front feet into the door. The door shuttered but didn't move. Locked! My door was locked... from the OUTSIDE! Why I had never been locked in my room before... and certainly not without a reason!
"Dad!," I screamed rearing and banging into the door, "Dad help! Why is my door locked! Dad are you there I'm stuck!"
"He's not coming little one," came a bell like voice from behind me.
I spun around and saw the head of a beautiful Red Dragon pony peeking through my window.
"What do you mean he won't come," I asked my eyes narrowing at this suspicious new stranger "Who are you?"
"I am Serrunes the Flamehorn from the fire tribe," she said "and your father was the one who locked you in here... so I dont expect that he will be letting you out anytime soon young one."
"My dad locked my door... no your lying you've done something to him..." but as I said those words they died on my tongue. No, I couldn't say that my father would never think of locking me up... but he wouldn't do it just to do it would he?
"Your father is well, he is probably still resting; he used quite a large amount of magic yesterday... it was quite the spectical... though it was nothing compaired to what you did child."
"What I did..." I was so confused... and my head, oh my head. "I still don't understand! I didn't DO anything!
"You really don't remember do you child?" She sighed disappointedly. "Well, you'll find out soon enough I'm sure, though I can tell you the reason your door is locked. You are a danger child, a danger to us all."
Day #2 Visions of Light (VelvetSnow's POV)
"Vistors! Visitors! Visitors!" I sang to myself as I pranced around my stable.
Oh it had been such a long time since I had visitors! No one ever came to see me anymore; and I was ever so lonely up here all on my own. I must get ready for them! I wonder what kind of oat candy they liked... cinnamon... no honey... or perhaps banana? Oh I'll just make them all, I thought as I danced into the kitchen.
I had a vision that someone would visit me today and if that had not been exciting enough it was the simple fact that I had no idea who it was! I mean I was ALWAYS able to see who showed up in my visions; but this time it was different. In my vision whosoever was coming had a magical aura like nothing I had ever seen; my physique went completely nuts, all I could see was a bright light coming up the hill... a bright light blue shine.
"Oooo I wonder what it could mean!" I laughed excitedly as I glided into the living room balancing the tray of oat treats on my rump.
My body froze; the tray of oat treats falling to the floor. I felt high-headed my body slowly numbing itself. Another vision was coming on...I felt a slight jerking motion and then the familiar touch of ghostly clouds as my mind separated from my body.
Then I was soaring; soaring through a hollow tube of pale water, strange shapes and images flashing by as the untouchable water rushed around me. Then quite suddenly the tunnel ended and I came spewing out falling from a waterfall of past and futures I was not yet meant to see.
Then the flashes began, it was like being in front of a giant painting that changed pictures every few seconds... first an image of the water the village, then a purple horse with black fade and dapples with a horror struck look on his face, a magical burning wall battling a torrent of pounding water.... the images got faster. There was a flash of a dark colored pony I didn't recognize, and the sound of snapping wood and tumbling rock, more and more images flashed by but all of them went by to fast I couldn't decifer what they were. I began to get dizzy the images swirling madly around me crowding me pushing in on me.
Suddenly it was white, white everywhere, hot and humming. It obliterated all the visions burning them unto oblivion... I ran, or I thought I was running but I never moved. I was stuck suspended in this suddenly white pit less abyss and the humming was coming, the heat was coming, louder and hotter. I opened my mouth to scream but it was all but drowned out by that raspy humming, so I did the only thing left for me to do. I closed my eyes tight willing myself to escape that horribly wonderful light...
When I opened my eyes I was standing surrounded by a scattered pile of oat treats in my living room. I took deep breaths trying to ground myself...
Those images, that light... what did it mean?
Day #2 Mind Over Matter (Serrenus's POV)
I should have never spoke to the boy; I could not grant answers to the questions he so
desprately wished to receive.
"Danger? What do you mean I'm dangerous! I haven't done anything; I would remember if I had! I don't understand, none of this makes sense! You got to believe me!"
I looked down on him sadly watching as the emotions flashed across his face: desperation, confusion, rage, pain, guilt, fear.... yes most of all fear. However, I could not ease his ordeal; It was not my place to give him information in which his own tribe had not seen fit yet to provide him.
"I'm sorry child but I cannot answer your questions; it is not my place." I could see the utter despair on his face as I said this but I simply could not tell him these things... and perhaps it's best that he DIDN'T remember.
I turned away from the window and began to walk away; I couldn't trust myself to keep silent around him any longer. It was those eyes... so full of bitter sadness; I felt compelled to relieve that sadness and the only way to do that was to tell him everything, which I could not.
I heard him calling as I walked away... I heard him begging; pleading; crying.
"Please! Please come back! Don't leave! Please you have to help me, you have to believe me!"
I listened to the sound of his hooves beating on the walls as he reared and stomped in hysterical desperation. Pity welled up inside me but I kept moving forward, moving away from the horrible pleas until the shouts faded away, but not the memory of that look, not those eyes.
"Hey Serrenus there you are where ya been?"
Passionfruit? I looked up and there he was standing outside of the stable that had been assigned to us. How had I ended up here; I felt as if I had barely gotten away from that boys window. Apparently I had gone much farther than I thought; I supposed that was what happened when you wandered about while thinking to much.
"Woah what's the matter with you? You look like you got slapped in the face or something"
I stared at his lopsided grin trying to get my head back in the game. "Ah yes, I apologize I just have a lot on my mind at the moment is all."
He shuffled his hooves a little confused by my answer. "Uh ya sure if you say so... though I seems to me like you were upset about something."
I looked up at the sky; watching the puffy globs float by, anything that might give me a little bit of strength for the conversation that was to come. I had to tell him.
I exhaled a breath I hadn't known I'd been holding in.
"Firehoof, I want you to leave now; I want you to go back to the fire tribe."
Day #2 Stalking Fire (Coldcreek's POV)
"What! No, no, no, no way! I am NOT leaving you here all alone!"
I flattened my ears trying to shut out some of that idiot's shouting. I was laying down on the roof of a nearby stable, listening as the conversation unfolded. It was a good thing too; it sounded like they were up to something, probably going to send for re-enforcements. Swiftwind and those other fools on the counsel might trust these soot heads but I wasn't about too.
"Lower your voice Passionfruit! This is not the place to talk about this; come with me inside."
There was a annoyed huff from the pink one as he clopped into the guest stable behind the crimson one. I cursed silently to myself as the door swung shut cutting off any hope of hearing the rest of their conversation... well at least the conventional way.
I closed my eyes reaching out with my aura searching... searching as my body started to melt away. My mind traveled through all the water sources in the stable listening for the soot heads voices; first I was a puddle in the sink; then I was in the indoor watering hole, then through the pipes in the ceiling. Finally just as I was winding through the saturated water of some potted plants in the bedroom I heard their voices again.
I let the rest of my body seep through the wooden roof, through the piping and drip down the wall into where my main magical aura resided among the plants.
"We have to send someone back to report to Chief Bright Flame; we have already been gone far to long and it is essential that we get this information to them as soon as possible."
"But I was ordered to remain by your side Serrenus! I cant just go against direct Chief orders you know! I understand why you want me to go back but what if something happens while I'm gone; what if that child causes another fire? You couldn't contain another one of those inferno's, not without help!"
There was a angry whinny as the red one reared and slammed back down cracking the mosaic on the floor. "Do you question by abilities Firehoof! I fought at the Burning Planes; I've killed my share of horses stallions and mares alike; do NOT question by powers! You've also been commanded to listen to ME; so when I ask you to go back you GO BACK!"
The large one backed away from the raging dragon completely taken-aback.
"Alright, alright got cha go back to the Chief and report... man your sure in a foul mood."
There was a another growl and then the heavy clop, clop of hooves as the large one turned and trotted out of the room, a wounded expression on his face.
I didn't stay any longer; there was no point in watching the red one anymore. I concentrated once more pulling the liquid streams of my body together, back up through the pants soil, up the wall, through the pipes and back between the wooden cracks onto the roof once more. It was a longer process than I would have liked but it was best to make sure every drop of my body returned; I did not enjoy the prospect of morphing back without a leg.
When I was finally fully gathered I phased back into my solid form just in time to see the large one spread his huge wings and take off. I barred my teeth taking a running leap off the roof into the sky behind him following him out over the village.
I had to stop him from reaching the other fire bringers; I would not let them bring more of their burning sages into my village! I would drown this flickering flame before it got big enough to consume my tribe!
Day #2 Battle of Will (Swiftwind's POV)
What I would have given for a few more blissful hours of sleep.
I stared irritably at the glass speckled floor as I listened to the dull hammering of hooves on wood. Yes Cain was most definitely awake; unfortunately that meant so was I.
I hadn't moved since I had been woken by that incessant pounding. At first I had tried to ignore it in the lame hope that perhaps I might be able to scrape together a few more minutes of sleep; obviously not. The only thing trying to ignore it managed to do was synchronize the throbbing in my head with the thundering of Cain's hooves.
I gave up; I had given it a valiant effort but it had been a wasted one.
With a wearily snort I pushed myself out of bed and headed for the hallway. I winced as bones I didn't even know I had snapped and cracked; some of them felt good and others definitely didn't. I groaned to myself annoyed by the stiffness of my muscles; at that moment I didn't feel like the title "Swiftwind" applied to me at all.
By the time I got to the end of the hallway my body seemed to decide that it was done imitating a bowl of rice crispies, though the soreness remained as constant as ever.
I stood in front of Cain's door debating on if I should open it or not. He sounded quite upset; though I supposed that was understandable to a certain degree. I listened for a few more seconds attempting to reach a conclusion; in the end I decided that it was probably best to deal with him now before his tantrum created another incident.
Reluctantly I flicked open the lock on the door and stepped back; seconds later there was a flash of spotted cyan as Cain came crashing through the door tumbling right into the hall and smack dab into the wall shortly after.
"OUCH, Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!"
I resisted the temptation to laugh as I watched my... son...try to untangle himself, a few minutes later he was successful though not very graceful about it. It took him a second to regain what was left of his pride when he finally got back up on all fours; I knew that things were going to get difficult from here on, how difficult depended on the first question that came out of his mouth.
"Dad! I've been calling for you for hours; are you ok; did you run off those fire tribe horses! I knew there was a reason you locked my door; you wanted to keep me safe right? I'm not dangerous; I mean how could I be dangerous?"
The child was half hysterical... and how did he know about the fire tribe mages anyway?
"Cain...do you not remember... yesterday you..." I trailed off as I watched him emotionally do a 360; one moment he was giddy hysterical the next un-naturally serious. Some switch inside him seemed to flip and he turned into someone I'd never met before, and those eyes they burned right through me.
I pawed the floor in an attempt to steady myself; there was something in that child's eyes there was magic, more magic than I had ever or could ever hope to have.
"We can discuss that another time, I need you to come with me Cain; I'm taking you to see the Ice witch."
"She said the same thing; you don't remember... no OBVIOUSLY I don't, and I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what she meant by that; what YOU meant by that."
I stared at him for a moment trying to put together the right words, the right answer to give him but I couldn't manage to get them out.
"I promise," I started the word sounding foreign on my tongue, "I will explain everything to you; whatever questions you ask I will answer them but first you must come with me to see the Ice Witch."
Day #2 Sinking (Passionfruit's POV)
I always loved to fly; I never understood how those poor wingless horse breeds lived without them! No matter how fast you ran nothin' could beat the feel of soaring through the puffy white clouds, not to mention the VIEW!
If there was one thing I liked about the whole miserable trip to the water village was that they lived in a killer location. Their village grew like a strange pant that both did and didn't belong in the lush green valley it resided in. The whole place was surrounded by things that were green and wet and alive, but that's not what made the water village so beautiful.
I turned around spinning in a tight corkscrew motion until I was facing back toward the water valley; it simply took my breath away. All around the valley there where great purple-grey mountains each with its own unique waterfall; the water had carved its way through and around rock cascading and forking into a million tiny streams as if the ridge of mountains were sobbing; a million rainbows leaping from every tear.
Suddenly a rather skinny purple flutter popped out of the clouds not but 20 hooves away; our eyes meet and we both hovered frozen apart from the steady flap of our wings.
"Coldcreek?" I called out confused. Why was he here was he following me? Had Serrenus decided that she didn't want me to go after all; had she sent him to bring me back? No that couldn't be it...
Without warning Coldcreek shot up into the clouds; his quick wings and light body making the move almost impossible to follow.
"Hey," I shouted as I flew up toward where he had sunken into the clouds, " what's your deal; did someone send you... or are you stalking me if so then thats just creepy man!" I floated there for a moment or two trying to see through the fogginess of the cloud.
Then I heard it. It started out very soft then grew louder and louder; was that laughter? Was he laughing at me; why just to increase his creepy factor... let me tell ya this was going WAY beyond creepy.
"Look man you can play your hide-and-go-seek game with someone else I've got places to go," I yelled into the mist as I began to angle my wings curving my body in order to drop down out of Flutter boy's playhouse.
Suddenly my wings grew heavy.
I whipped my head to either side examining my wings; there was nothing out of the ordinary just water... really, really heavy water. I watched at first confused as the water pulled together puddling on the tops of my wings instead of sliding off. I was losing altitude; I could barely flap my wings anymore, the water was wrapping around weaving its way into every cranny completely incasing them; weighing them down... and it was spreading fast! I watch in horror as this evil liquid began to expand onto my back melting over me like some nasty glue. I couldn't control my wings anymore
I had no choice I would have to land before I crashed. My hooves skidded across the ground as I made contact with the soft soil and I immediately began to buck and rear running and tossing my body every which way to try to get this stuff OFF me; but it did not good.
There was nothing I could do as the watery purple liquid slid down my legs finally cutting any and all movement left to me. Wait.. the liquid! It was Purple!
"COLDCREEK!" My enraged neigh ripped through the air as I felt myself sinking into the soft wet soil. He was breaking up the hard ground underneath me turning the ground into an hungry pit of dark mud. I screamed and screamed again hurling every insult I could think of.
"TRAITOR! SCUM UNDER MY HOOVES! YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS!"
My body sank lower and lower into the mud, sucking me in like a greedy animal; there was nothing I could do now the mud add already swallowed me up to the thighs and I was STILL sinking! Was he going to kill me? Was he going to let the ground suck me under? I shuttered as I thought of being buried alive.
There was a horrible wet sucking sound as suddenly my body was pulled downward leaving my neck the only thing left on the surface. I looked to the sky for what was going to be the last time...
Day #2 Second Guessing (Coldcreek's POV)
The loud one had been easier to deal with than I thought.
He had fallen right into my trap, following me into the clouds like a lost duckling. I would have thought that a fire tribe battle mage would know better...
The painted one was now almost completely inclosed in earth; I could feel his body through the vibrations it sent through the overly saturated soil... that was plenty deep enough to insure that he would not be muscling his way out of this prison. I had wasted enough of my energy on this fool already.
I concentrated again starting to call back all the watery streams of my body and as it began to return to me the soil shifted and the large one dropped a level lower into the ground... I imagined that only his head was above the surface now.
It took a long time to summon my body back... the soil made the water magic sluggish and hard to absorb back into my magical core; but it was working... the soil was drying up, hardening as hard as stone. I had made it to the surface now, by body still not much more than a puddle as I collected myself. The view from here was much more amusing than the brown muck below.
I could see the sunken mage's face as he jerked it side-to-side probably in an attempt to pull his body from the ground... it was futile, as he soon discovered.
I felt the last of my liquid return to me and I let my body phase back into a solid. The fire horse watched me a murderous glare on his face.
"You have no idea what you have just done!" he hissed bitting and snapping like a turtle. "Are you insane you can't do this to me; I've done nothing wrong!"
Annoyance rippled across my features as I listened to this soot head lie to me. "Don't you lie to me ash mouth! I know you were going back to that village to get re-enforcements; you are going to get more battle mages to come and take that demon child and use him for your own gain!"
"Are you and idiot or something? If I don't go back they will come anyway!" the loud one snapped.
"Well at least this way we'll be ready for them... and they will be no more informed about Cain's power than you were before you stole into our home!"
"Do you want to start a WAR Coldcreek; is that it? Do you want so badly to avenge your parents that you would risk the lives of the very people your trying to hard to protect; your precious water village!"
How DARE he talk about my parents; how did he even know about that! He knew nothing, he understood nothing, the pain of it, the guilt of being helpless, and the rage, oh the RAGE!
"Be silent you big lummox! I don't have time to waste talking to you!"
"If you wanted me silent you should have killed me... but you couldn't and I bet I know why. You've never killed someone before have you?"
I was taken-aback for a moment; though I refused to show it. He was right I hadn't killed anyone before... but it didn't mean I wouldn't... right?"
I sneered at him hiding away the questions his statements rose about myself. "Don't assume such things... I simply do not approve of killing weak mentally disabled ponies." With that I turned and took a few long strides before I took to the sky; away from his words.
He called to me tauntingly as I flew away.
"Guess that means you wont be committing suicide then!"
I gritted me teeth in anger and urged myself to continue on back to the village. There was still much I had to do.
Day #2 Wake Up Call (Liquidsword's POV)
I groaned... what was that...
That voice sounded familiar but I couldn't quite place it... wait... no it couldn't be.
BLAST YOU DIAMOND STAR WAKE UP!
VelvetSnow! Instantly I was awake, I whipped my neck up so fast that my head shot up straight into my overhanging desk lamp. The oiled lamp shuttered and tumbled off it's hook stand and fell crashing onto my desk. In a matter of seconds the oil caught fire and flamed up consuming all my coorispondance letters from the other tribes.
"ARGH, great just perfect!" I cursed as I took a deep breath and blew... by breath automatically began to cool until it came out in a thick white mist. As it made contact with the inflamed oil it started melt the tiny drops sliding into the flames; a few seconds later they pulled together and stiffened before multiplying in an explosion of icy vines. In a few moments the entire desk was covered in a thick growing icy crust the once proud flames all but extinguished.
I spun around as I tracked the sound of VelveltSnow's voice over to the indoor watering whole; sure enough when I looked into the clear cool water there she was. Staring back at me where my reflection should have been was the Ice Witch VelvetSnow. I glared at her.
"What do you want? Do you know what your shouting just made me DO!" I winced as I looked back at my desk, which was now covered in slick hard ice; there would be no way to salvage anything I had put on that desk when I finally got it defrosted. "I hadn't read some of those letters! What if the Earth and Wind tribes had sent me some vital information!"
I watched as her face twisted into a scowl, "If they were so important you wouldn't have fallen asleep reading them I'm sure; but shut up and listen to me! I had a vision and it wasn't good!"
All thoughts of my ruined papers flew into the back of my mind as I listened to what she had just said; her visions always came true... and she wouldn't be contacting me unless it was of great importance and dealt with matter pertaining directly with the village.
"What! What did you see?" I asked dreading the answer.
"I'm not 100% sure... most of it went by to fast for me to grasp but I saw a huge wall of fire battling against a massive torrent of water, if that was water magic in my vision then the only one who could control that much water would be Swiftwind... but where did the fire wall come from?"
"Fire..." No it wasn't possible... why would the fire mages use magic against us? "The fire tribe battle mages... only one of them could create something that could withstand Swiftwind's water magic... but they would never attack us; we haven't DONE anything make them do that!" I muttered.
"I don't know why they used their magic I didn't see the events before that moment in time but there must have been a good reason for it. I need you to go to Chief Swiftwind and tell him to meet with me as soon as possible; after you have done that you better go find those fire horses and keep an eye on them."
"I understand... but if your vision is right and the fire tribe does turn on us... we will be in more trouble than we can handle and no amount of planning or fortune telling is going to be able to save us."
We stared at each other for a moment each looking grim. "I might be a great stratagist and you a powerful mind bender but we will not be able to stop a full on fire magic attack... not without someone getting toasted."
VelvetSnow nodded a sudden hard glint setting in her eyes. "Thats why I'm counting on you Liquidsword... we have to try to stop this before it even begins... the future is never curtain after all."
Day #2 An Ugly Truth (Cain's POV)
I wanted to believe him... I wanted to more than anyone could imagine.
"I promise I will explain everything to you; whatever questions you ask I will answer them..."
There was something different in his eyes when I saw them now... there was not ice, no cruel hatred, no distance to them, but there was something new, a emotion I had never seem swirling in those watery orbs. Could it possibly be... was that fear; was he afraid of me?
He finally tore away from me, jerking his head to the side as if he had just escaped some spell; he tried to hide the movement by turning around abruptly but I could tell... something was unsettling him, and that something was me.
"We had better get going," he called over his shoulder as he began to walk down the hallway, " I imagine VelvetSnow is already expecting us.'
I didn't want to go see the Ice Witch... I had heard stories of her powers; stories of her role as interrogater during the war. It was said that she could dive into your mind and see things, could find things, and even make horses see things... see visions and re-play memories, shatter things. It was said she could drive a horse mad within their own minds... is that why they wanted to bring me to her, had I done something so horrible that they would destroy my sanity?
No, I was sure that I didn't WANT to go... but I had to; the prospect of getting all the questions answered was to good of an offer to pass up. What was going on; why was everyone suddenly afraid of me; why was I dangerous, but perhaps the questions I wanted answered to most where ones I should have never had to ask. Why do you hate me; what did I do to deserve all this; why was I the only one who was... different?
I forced my feet to move. Step by step, by step I pulled myself forward; following the sounds of my fathers hooves down the hallway and out the door. He was standing outside waiting for me; his back turned. I stared at his back as he started walking down the dusty path that lead from our house to the compacted dirt main-road. He never once looked back to see if I was following; he didn't need to... I had a feeling that he knew I would come after him.
It was going to be a silent assent up the mountain range to the Ice Witch house so I had plenty of time to think. He had never ONCE in my life promised me anything... he had never actually looked into my eyes and told me that he would answer everything... all the questions I had been harboring for years... would he really answer them now?
I wanted to know the answers to everything and at the same time I dreaded getting them; I think I had always known that my father could never... would never love me. Hearing it would just confirm my worst fears... and then I could not hide behind the illusion that he was just being a good Chief; that he was just being hard on me because he wanted me to be stronger. Somehow I knew that he resented me and no matter how hard I tried I would never be able to be the son he had wanted, or fill the void that my mother had left... I could never be good enough.
At that moment I felt something die deep inside me.
Day #2 Questionable News (Cain's POV)
We were almost past the edge of town when Liquidsword came galloping up from behind us calling for my father. We stopped and waited for him to reach us; he must have been in a hurry to catch us because his golden glasses still resided in the bridge of his face; which was odd since I had never seen him wear them anywhere other than his office. (heh heh had to put the glasses in due to all the mention of it)
He wasn't a particularly swift horse, nor was he really that strong... compared to most horses he was average in all physical aspects. He was well built for a horse as slim as he was... and most of his body was muscle... though it did not make him look large and opposing but rather graceful and sleek. It seemed pretty obvious that he had to have gotten into his high standing for more than just his looks, and indeed he had...
From what I had heard he had definitely earned his title as head battle mage. Though Liquidsword could not beat any sort of war horse with his strength he made up for it in other ways. Most of the time his battle had been not with the Fire tribes but back behind the lines writing battle strategies... except for the Battle of the Burning Planes... a battle that no one ever talked about much. However, I had managed to gather from the small whispers I had heard that he had been one of the most powerful mages on the field. It was said that he had frozen his enemies many yards deep into the fire tribe lines without ever moving from the back supporting lines; he turned them into pure ice... then he... he shattered them.
He was powerful all right... and his ability to think smart and quickly only made him all the more frightening. I guess that it was good that he didn't look so opposing... he was already scary enough. His body structure fit his occupation pretty well I thought.
When he reached us he was barely winded considering he probably ran half way across the valley to catch us before we left.
"Chief Swiftwind I must speak with you..." he gave a questioning glace in my direction. "Preferably alone if i might..."
"I cannot stop to have a conference with you at the moment Liquidsword I'm on my way to see someone very important." Father looked a confused by Liquidswords words but it was obvious that he wasn't willing to delay his trip over the matter.
"See someone important.. are you going to see VelvetSnow?"
Father didn't seem happy about him knowing where we were going... but somehow Liquidsword looked relieved at the unspoken conformation on his face.
"Good... she contacted me this morning and asked me to tell you to go to her right away... it is VERY crutial that you hear what she has to say." the phoenix mage gave me a nervous glance again then moved to whisper something into father's ear.
By the time the battle mage had finished his secret conversation my father's eyes were wide with... what... fear I guessed... but as he looked back to me they filled with knowledge, a horrible knowledge.
"It cannot be..." me muttered "why would they..." he shook his head seeming to clear his thoughts. "When did she say WHEN!"
"She does not know my Chief... but she only told me what I must know, there must be more to her vision that she only wishes you to hear; you must go to her right away. Since we dont know when this will happen there is not time to lose! I will stay here in the village and..." he eyes flicked to me again, " ah... keep our visiting guest company it is impolite to ignore them like was have."
"Yes a good idea; I will leave to go see VelvetSnow with Cain."
"WITH...Cain my Cheif?" he seemed unnerved by the concept. "Perhaps Ice Feather could watch the boy while you are gone... I'm sure he would--"
Swiftwind cut him off, "NO! Cain comes with me."
Liquidsword looked shocked at his responce but didn't argue... he gave a curt nod and turned trotting off back toward the village.
For a second I was happier than I had ever been in my life... he wanted me to go with him... he wanted me to know what was happening. Maybe... father was really going to keep his promise, and maybe... just maybe he love me just a little.
Day #2 Getting to Work (Shawshank's POV)
Here I go again, I thought to myself.
I was standing at the top of a very very high cliff looking down on at rather nauseating height. The scenery was beautiful though, lush green forest and thick hairy meadows... all of this I could see through the millions of crisscrossing rainbows springing from the hundred small waterfalls that crashed down the top of this cliff. Yes, no denying it was beautiful... it was a shame it would have to be destroyed.
Oh ya right... I was suppose to be working right now.
I allowed myself an annoyed huff and began to trot around the cliffside looking for a way down that didn't involve turning into a big red splatter. It wasn't easy going; the cliffside wasn't exactly flat... not to mention if you step on a lose piece of rock... lets just say it was a LONG way to fall.
I cursed my luck. I was always the one stuck doing the grunt work... setting it up so that everyone else could have an easy time of it... especially that Dark Light. What I wouldn't give to nudge him off a cliff! That guy really made me mad, with his plotting and his fake charms... how he ALWAYS managed to trick me into doing this over and over.
Dark Light... something just wasn't normal about that guy. He wasn't anything you would expect him to be.. considering his title. He was a skinny small built horse with next to no physical power; yet he had somehow bolted up through the ranks practically overnight! He was decent to look at from a mare perspective... black and dark plum fur with his purple-grey mane and tail; he often had all the ladies charmed even before he opened his Casanova mouth. There was alone one thing that made his appearance have military stock.
His eyes... those creepy little ghost purple eyes.
For a moment I resisted a shutter. I hated those eyes, knew everything, saw everything; they alone reveiled how he had climbed in rank so fast. He was a crafty smart little sucker... as far as I knew he never got into any trouble he couldn't talk himself out of... and he had connections everywhere. Not someone to take lightly... what was it he said to me once? Ah yes... "Sometimes it's better to have friends in low places than to have friends in high places."
As if I knew what that was supose to mean. That was another thing I hated about that guy... he talked in puzzles. I call that a lack of communication if who your talking to doesn't get half of what you say most of the time.
When I zoned in again I had walked about half a mile; about a quarter of a mile further down I saw a slope that looked to have been ill used for quite some time. Good I didn't want to run into anyone I was irritable enough already... and I still had a job to do.
Day #2: The Assent (Cain's POV)
I wanted to say something; but something just didn't feel right... the closer we got to this Snow witches house the colder the atmosphere became, and I didn't mean the weather.
I knew there was something off with dad though he tried to hide it; he had been on edge ever since Liquidsword had spoken to him. Of course his face was as still as a mossy pond but his body was the very definition of ridged; the muscles bulging and flexing sending ripples of his unease through the rest of his features. Seeing him so tense unnerved me and I wondered if whatever Liquidsword had said to him had something to do with me... the every idea made me feel sick.
I decided to distract myself and tried staring at the ground following the sound and hoove-prints of my father. I tried to place my hooves in the exact same spots just to keep my mind concentrated on something besides my possible impending doom. It didn't take me long to give up; my legs were just to short. It seemed ironic that I couldn't follow in my father footsteps... metaphorically and now literally in every aspect. So much for distracting myself.
The silence was crushing me, it was like the gravity further up the mountain side was tugging harder at my body, the air resisting being sucked into my hungry lungs. I wondered for a moment what would happen if I couldn't talk when I got to the witch... if I would be able to breathe... then I wondered if it even mattered.
I wanted to scream just to prove that I still could; I wanted answers before I was incapable of speaking. I stopped; I couldn't make myself go any further not like this....
Swiftwind trotted another few steps before he realized I wasn't following him anymore. He stood there for a few seconds before he figured that I wasn't going to move.
"We are almost there... just beyond this corner."
I wanted to turn around right then and there; for a moment I thought that nothing he could give me was worth his hollow sincerity. But the feeling fled as swiftly as it came. I wanted answers but my lungs burned and my tongue refused to move and make the right words.
"Why are we walking... why didn't we just fly..." I gritted my teeth as soon as the question slid out... of all the things I asked... how stupid was I?
Father also seemed surprised by what I asked. He blinked a few times probably wondering why I was asking something so random.
"Well... your wings are not fully grown and the air is thin here in these high altitudes I couldn't guarantee that even if I could fly slow enough that you would be able to adjust to the air pressure fast enough to avoid going into shock... that and SnowVelvet hates when horses fly up to see her... she is of a breed that has no wings and is very envious of those of us who can fly."
So he actually answered that one... I was a little surprised he had. It was all it took to release the invisible lead inside my legs; I began to follow once more. He waited at the end of the bind for me to catch up, then we ascended the last slope together.
As the we moved upward the rocky walls that made the mountain trail slowly began shrinking until all the cold grey-brown stone sulked back into the ground, and created a large grassy plain. The sight took what was left of my breath away...
The plane opened up and on the far west side the edge dropped off to make room for a elegant yet powerful waterfall. Almost the entire grassy plane was filled with lilac's, thousands of them; the only thing that wasn't dominated by those purple blossoms was the mosaic path beneath our hooves colored with millions of glass shards of blues, purples, and sunstone's that shone like fireflies even in the day.
The sparkling path lead up to an odd little stable, painted in shades of white, silver, purple, and teal. The stable itself was shaped something like a pentagon, the roof shingled in an oriental style like a Japanese dojo with a massive cherry blossom tree growing through the middle of it... or at least I thought it was a cherry blossom tree... expect the flowers where blooming out of season... and its flowers were golden instead of rosy.
The tree was so massive that it seemed to have grown OVER the stable; the trunk stood above the entire house while hundreds of viney roots crawled and clawed their way over the roof and down the walls in dizzying knotted patterns. The only place the roots did not stray was the doorway. They seemed to know that the doors where there and that they ought not to block them; those doors... they where beautiful like everything else...dark colored wood with intricate carvings of runes and lilacs painted in silver and purple.
Those doors were magic and terribly powerful magic at that; I could feel it. As I stared in awe the runes lit up momentarily as the light hit them and it almost seemed that they winked at me...
I never thought something so beautiful could be so scary... what made it worse was that I knew that I would have to walk through them.
Day #2: Cautious Magic (Velvet Snow's POV)
I felt them long before I could see them.
From the very moment they stepped onto the mosaic path at the entrance to my small sanctuary I had been alerted of their presence. It had been hard to collect those sunstones but worth it... they had certain useful magical properties... one of which being the ability to hold detection and barrier spells; a handy little detail often overlooked by most shaman.
I lifted myself off one of the many cushion residing in my living room and moved over to the large water basin in the middle of the room. I touched the water lightly with the tip of my nose and waited for the magic to active in the runes I had carved on the main doors. Nothing happened for a moment or two, then the water glowed white and a small drop of water lifted itself out of the middle of the basin and dropped back down once more causing a perfect ripple that swelled and extended all the way to the edge of the basin. As the ripple grew so did the image and when the ripple had fully extended I could see a crystal clear vision of what lay outside.
On the middle of the path about half way from the main door were two winged uni's; one large fully grown stallion and a smaller... by the looks of it a child of I guessed 19 years or so. They where both blessed with beautiful blue hexes with colored high dapples and silky featured wings.
The adult couldn't have been anyone other than Swiftwind... but the boy; who was he... could he be... was that his son? I glazed at him through my silver wooden eyes, yes there was definitely a resemblance, his cyan fur was the perfect mirror to Still Water's, and the high dapple, that was without a doubt the son of Swiftwind and Still Water.
Suddenly the child's eyes zeroed in on me... he seemed to stare back at me as if he knew that I was there... which I knew was impossible yet... I touched the water once more and the image dispelled in the same fashion as it came.
"Red eyes... how interesting."
I stomped my right hoof into the flattened end of the basin and the water glowed a soft purple before going dark once more. I felt the slight vibration as the massive front doors shuttered and opened. I waited for the vibration to subside when, assuming the door had fully opened itself stomped once with my left hoof. Immediately the water glowed purple again but this time it stayed like that; slowly all the spellbound paper lanterns lit first in the living room, then in the hallway and beyond until they would finally reach the main door. Swiftwind would know to follow the lights; getting lost in my stable could be more than a little dangerous if you walked through the wrong doors.
I turned away from the basin, there was nothing else I could use it for at the moment, all that was left was to wait until my guests found me. Though I did not enjoy the prospect of waiting.
I decided to distract myself by looking at my ceiling; though I suppose it wasn't technically a ceiling. My stable actually had no roof... the roofing tiles on the outside were all that was left of what at one time had been a multi-leveled dojo, but many many hundreds of years ago this mystical tree had grown from the garden that had once rested in it's center and demolished all the upper tears of the building as it grew larger and larger. The tree had grown so large in fact that the many roots had tangled and gown together creating a natural living ceiling over what had once been a dead wooden one. I found it rather ironic myself.
The sound of heavy hoof-falls caught my attention and I looked away from the ceiling toward the hallway. A few minutes later they rounded the corner the smaller one first then Swiftwind. The poor little thing... he was scared I could tell that much, though he attempted to hide it; the fact that his father was as taunt as a bowstring didn't help the child relax either.
I smiled at the boy trying to make him feel more at ease before directing my attention to Swiftwind.
"Welcome... I would say that I'm happy to see you Swiftwind, but your appearances usually mean that something is amiss.... a shame I wish someone would visit me for the sake of visiting. "
He seemed lost for a moment... as if torn between to many difficult decisions. As usual he skipped right to the point. "Velvet Snow this is my... son Cain; I want you to mind bend him."
I stared at him not believing what I was hearing! What was his thinking? I looked at the boy... or Cain I should say... he was staring at his father a terrified look in his eyes, he looked from Swiftwind to me then back as if he was trying to decide if we were kidding or not.
"Swifting are you crazy?" I blurted out "Why on earth would mind-bend a child, who knows what could happen if I tried to see into a horses mind that has not fully matured what if--"
"He summoned lightning."
Silence. It took a second to sink in.
"What!" I said in unison with another voice, Cains.
Swiftwind shook his head as if trying to shake away some of the clouding thoughts in his mind. "He summoned lightning... Cain you summoned lightning and burned down Ice Feathers training dojo."
"Impossible... how" I whispered.
"NO! I would never! I can't even make a stupid seed grow how could I have created lightning!" Cain shouted.
I felt suddenly sick... "The light... the light in my vision... no it couldn't possibly be." I looked into Cains bloody eyes. This boy had been in my vision... or at least his magic had, the hot humming obliterating white; it had all been foretelling Cain's power except the magic in my vision had been far beyond a simple lightning bolt that could only mean that, assuming it was true that the boy could summon lightning; this boy was going to cast a spell vastly more powerful than a small lightning strike... but why, how, WHEN? There was only one way to find out and I didn't like the idea.
I was going to have to mind-bend Cain.
Day #2: Paperwork (Inferno's POV)
I stared annoyed at the pile of papers in front of me most of them were essentially not worth the paper and ink committed to them. There was nothing for anyone to say, yet still they wrote quarterly letters that explained a lot about nothing important. Occasionally there was a letter here or there that requested changes to existing peace treaties or land and boundary rights but none of those excited me, in the end it just meant more paperwork.
I glared down at the rough carved stone desk. This shouldn't be my job, I was head battle mage of the fire tribe for heavens sake! If I had known I would be sitting at a desk strewn with useless letters then I would have never accepted that title.
I flicked through the reports flinging the pointless ones out of the way; some landed on the desk but most spun out onto the floor but I didn't care. No one had ever accused me of being particularly orderly so why start now.
I looked for possible problematic details as I skimmed; HardRock Earth tribe was erecting a wall around their village disrupting the tectonic plates; The HotCoal fire branch sent a complaint about the earthquakes caused by the wall, as well was the distant Thundering Falls water branch to the east.
I sighed, there had been a lot of trouble stemming from the Earth tribes of late. They were coming dangerously close to breaking the peace treaty established by the four clans; and soon I was afraid they would go to far... especially with this wall stunt they were pulling.
"Curse them" I snapped as I dropped the remaining reports back into the desk. I looked around at all the reports flooding the floor; spewing half shoved in jours, and laying in toppled piles on top, next to and in front of my desk.
I glanced around zeroing in on the colors and symbols stamped into the letterheads. A green blooming acorn tree for the Earth tribes, A red flaming Phoenix for the fire tribes, an occasional gold and silver moon and sun from the Air tribes; then there was the water tribe... somewhere... there should be....
I looked around at the floor searching for a water tribe stamp.... there were a few from the smaller tribes located to the far east, but those where few and most out of date.... I saw none from the main Water tribe located in the scar of mountains. Something wasn't right.... I rummaged through the remaining reports on my desk looking for the dark blue dragon stamp of the Water tribe. There was a lot of green and Red and even the silver-gold of air... but no recent water tribe.
Alarm bells started going off in my head. The Main Water tribe had NEVER failed to send in a report on each yearly quarter; so why now all of a sudden?
"This is wrong... something's not right." I stood abruptly sending the heavy stone chair sliding back with a screeching protest. I winced and cursed the smiths that decided to carve everything from stone... but I supposed it made since... fire and wood usually didn't mix well. I ignored the hollow echoing noise my hooves made and trotted over to the file cabinets in the far corner of the cold stone room.
I jerked opened a few cabinets searching for the record logs that had all recent fire tribe representative activity written. I coughed as globs of dust erupted from old books as I tossed them aside searching for my prize. Finally in the third jour I was able to find the right log; I flashed through the pages looking for representatives sent to the mountain scar region within the last week.
Sure enough just four days ago battle mage represenitives Serrenus and Passionfruit, title names Flame Horn and Fire Hoof had been dispatched for the yearly council meeting between water and fire tribes. They had not returned yet.
I did the math quickly in my head; it would probably have taken two days to get there for earth bound horse breeds, but both Flame Horn and Fire Hoof where flying breeds so it would have probably taken about a day. That would leave one day for the council meeting, which would be plenty of time; I couldn't imagine it going over a day. That would mean that they would have a day to fly back which meant three days total for the round trip.
So they were a day late, nothing to worry about... things happened on long flights too and from tribes, but something still felt off.
I knew Flame Horn... she had been one of my greatest rivals when we were younger in training, she was a smart and powerful dragon horse always to-the-point and timely. It made no sense that she would be late, or if she was going to be late a least contact one of the messenger scrying squires with a reason.
I looked down at the record log once more and read the other name; Passionfruit the Firehoof. A rookie that had gotten lucky; he apparently had been partnered with Flame Horn as a probable attempt to keep the overly excited peg from doing something stupid.
Yes he was probably the reason for Flame Horn's late return; no doubt he was a handful even for that stickler dragon. I closed the record log and walked back to my desk and flung it on top.
I would allow them a day or two tardiness but after that, assuming Flame Horn would not contact us sometime between then, would assume something had gone wrong and send someone else over to correct the situation. Yes, that sounded reasonable.
I plopped back into that hard cold chair and slumped back surveying the fifthly paper plastered floor and furniture.
"I wonder how much trouble I would get in if I just burned it all?" I muttered as I let my sleep heavy lids close.
Day #2: Lakeside Dangers (Ice Feather's POV)
There was nothing left for me to do.... or I shouldn't say that there was always plenty to do just nothing that would help concerning Cain.
I barely noticed that wind that washed through my hair or the blur of foliage as I ran along the forest path; I always loved the feel of the wind, the sound of my hooves beating into the earth, and the crisp green smell of the life around me. Not today; today I barely registered any of it... I had taken this run in hopes it would calm my persistent mind, a wasted effort.
I had tried to get my mind off yesterday's events, the magic, the fire, the counsel meeting, everything was swimming through my head drowning out any other thoughts. I kept telling myself that there was nothing I could do, which in truth there wasn't, but still--
I felt a sharp pain as my hoof caught on a upraised tree-root; I flapped my wings trying to keep myself from cascading forward into what would end up being a lot more pain... I failed. The pillow of air that the wings supplied when I opened them had slowed my fall but not by much, the momentum carried me straight into the ground. I turned at the last second landing on my side rather than my face, the move probably saved me from breaking my neck.
I gritted my teeth as I felt the rock tear through my side like rice paper as my left wing shortly followed making a sick sounding "crack" as the ground under my skidding body sucked the long feathers under as I went bending my wing at a bad angle. Finally the momentum stopped as my back collided with the trunk of a thick oak tree.
I didn't move for a moment, I didn't feel anything either... then the shock wore off and the pain feasted upon me. I clamped my teeth together surprising a pained whiney; to say I was hurting would be a understatement.
I tried to think through the pain, tried to assess the damage. My side was scraped up pretty nasty but otherwise no permanent trouble. I decided to move my legs first. I lifted my front legs, they were skinned and stinging from the dirt but otherwise functional my back leg however, was a bit of a different story. As I hauled myself up getting into a standing position and immediately regretted it, my back left leg was fine but the right that had gotten insnared in the root had at minimum a sprain. I took a few cautious steps forward seeing if I would be able to take my weight. Fresh pain flared up with every back step but it held.
My wing however was definitely broken.
It made me feel sick to survey the limp hunk of now useless feather and muscle that was now my left wing. From what I could see there was at least two breaks in the main supporting bone. I attempted to lift it and a thousand red hot pokers stabbed into me. My vision when white for a moment and I couldn't help but whiney; I panted as I waited for my vision to return and the dizziness to pass.
Water... I struggled to think through the pain... yes water I need to wash these wounds out... before they get infected. There was a lake up ahead, if I could just make it there....
The first few feet were the worst, but eventually I settled into a daze as I tugged down the last quarter mile until at last the trees parted opening into a huge green field bordered by the valley's biggest lake. It was a beautiful sight in truth, the waters were dark and sorrowful as if it were depressed that the massive waterfall that had created it has been damned far, far up the mountains. Beautiful, but also essential at the moment.
I few more painful yards and I could wade in and purge my wounds. I was so intent on getting into the water I almost didn't see a dark unknown horse wade into the water on the far side of the lake, I almost hadn't seen him he blended in so well with the harsh mountainside behind him. He was dark hexed almost black and his body was large and well muscled, a winged uni and not one from our tribe. He seemed to walk without a care through the water, making large splashing echos with his hooves, the only thing that stood out on the backdrop of rock was his white face fade.
Suddenly his head turned and scanned the lake searching... then he found me. He froze when he saw me surprised but only for a moment; he stared at me for a while then ever so slowly a smile slipped on to his face. My body automatically went rigid as a cold aura washed over me, no this wasn't right he was dangerous, how much of a danger I couldn't tell but if I tried to confront him in my state... or if he attacked....
Still sneering he took a few more splashing steps toward me before stopping once more; he gave a quick wink then reared lifting his huge hooves into the air the water streaming from his soaked legs.
"NO!" I shouted as the rushed forward, neighing from the horrible pain it brought. It was no use I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near him, the water clung to me weighing me down and it would not physically possible for me to fly with my wing in it's state.
He gave a curt laugh as his glowing silver hooves crashed down into the water sending up a mocking spray of water and then... nothing?
I waited holding my breath waiting for something to happen... a huge wave to crush me... the water to suck me under, a whirlwind... something; but nothing... he just stood there with a smug expression on his face. Was he messing with me? What had he done?
Then I understood. I hadn't seen it before, it had been so subtle but now here it came plane as day. A mist was forming on top of the water and it was getting thicker. I backed away from the water but it just thickened faster, soon I couldn't see the water seconds afterward I couldn't see my legs. It was like drowning in fog. I snapped my head back to the black horse, he was still grinning, and as I watched he body began to fade, lighter and lighter until he was gone... no not gone he was in the fog... no he WAS the fog!
As the idea sank in the mist rose and billowed over and all around me like a blanket... a blanket that would smother me... he was somewhere I could sense him, why had he done this, would he kill me?
As I was now he could very easily do just that.
Day #2: Bizarre Findings. (RockSlide's POV)
I couldn't believe I was stuck babysitting little Mrs. Princess on this stupid intertribal tea-party.
I was a warrior! This shouldn't be my job; they had recon ponies for this, I should be training right now! I swished my tail irritably as I picked my way along the root infested path we had been walking along for days now. You would think this water tribe would have the decency to make their traveling routes well... travelable!
Out of boredom I glanced off to the sides taking in the huge wild trees on either side of us, they were gnarled and creaking things covered with ropes of vines and moss. The foliage was so thick that you couldn't see more than two hooves in and strange shadows of light and dark play tricks on the eyes as they glittered through branches of the canopy that stretched like rotten fingers over our tiny path. It wouldn't be long before nothing was left of this path if the water tribe didn't trim them back soon.
My hoof caught on one of the many slithering vines that darted across the ground and I stubbled forward cursing for the millionth time this trip. Did I mention I hated this mission?
"You know... you wouldn't trip so much if you would quit dragging your hooves like an ogre."
I growled turning my head to look at my charge; Silk Petal. She was a pretty little thing, her body the color of sakura petals which matched perfectly with her cascading powdery pink mane and tail. Normally I would have been stoked to hang out with such a babe, but not after dealing with her silver tongue for two days on a forest eaten path.
"I'm NOT dragging my hooves! I just happen to like traveling on SOILD ground that isn't infested with snares!"
She sighed as if I was some child that was being annoying.
"My, my what is the earth tribe coming to when it's own warriors cannot even walk amongst their own element without trouble?"
I ground my teeth irritably trying to resist the urge to trip her happy pink butt into the mud. "You know full well that I'm from the Snowcap ROCK tribe, an element that is much more constant that your glasslander magic; at least our magic doesn't have a seasonal time limit."
She shot an irritated look at me but didn't retort, probably thought better of it. Good! I had, had enough of her high and mighty ambassador attitude.
"Honestly I don't enjoy this little tempter tantrum your constantly throwing. I don't understand why they sent you as my guard, but they couldn't have picked a less refined brute. I mean really you think they would send someone who had some tact on an ambassadors mission."
I huffed theatrically, "That's the same question I have little Mrs. Perfect, don't blame me for being here blame your bloody superiors, it was their bright idea!"
She seemed about to say something else before the strange sound of something scuttled into my ears.
"Shh! I think I hear something." I whispered as we both came to a halt.
I didn't like this path... there was to many places ripe for ambushes, my body immediately tensed the the humming sound continued.
"Follow me but stay close" I muttered to Silk Petal, for once she did as she was told, as we both moved cautiously forward ears trained for more sound. After several more feet the humming started defining itself morphing itself into a recognizable tune.
"OOOOOOHHHHHH, 99 baskets of oats on the wall 99 baskets of oats, take one down pass it around 98 buckets of oats on the wall!"
Silk Petal and I exchanged equal looks of confusion at the tune, nevertheless I was still mistrustful. "Stay here." I told Silk Petal as I wondered forward a searching for the location of the sound. It seemed to be coming from the right side of the path about twenty hooves into the sticky undergrowth.
I have Silk Petal a quick look letting her know not to follow as I shoved my way through the wet foliage toward the music. At this point I was about to walk into a really bizarre trap or I had just found the water tribes crazy tree hermit. The singing was defining now and I flattened my ears against it's barrage. Whoever this was he certainly couldn't sing to save his life.
In a few more squishy steps I came to a clearing the ground was overly soft and the music had now gone. I took a few more cautious steps forward... there was nothing here?
"Woah, hey dude your gonna step on me!"
I probably jumped 10 feet. I flung myself backwards my hooves already starting to glow silver as I scanned the area for the speaker and came face-to-..... head? I stood their frozen crouched to pounce on what was... a talking pink and orange head of a horse?
"Thank heavens you heard me! You know how long I've been singing? You want to be a pal and help me out here, I have dirt in the worst possible places! Come on be a good samaritan; I really have to go beat the crap out of someone you see..."
"W-what..." I asked stupidly. I think Silk Petal has finally succeeded in driving me crazy.