This is my entry for @Skysun's December Writing Challenge!
So I thought about the Desert Herd steeds who tried to make a break for the jet streams but whom Nightwing killed with his silver starfire. So my short story is about a young mare who tried to make a break for it with her mate. Enjoy!
Whirlwind~ young light buckskin mare with pale blue feathers edged in midnight blue, brown mane and tail, wide blaze
Goldriver~ young bright palomino stallion with gold feathers, flaxen mane and tail, two front white socks
Redflower~ young red mare with white feathers, black mane and tail, tiny black spots all over body
Dustfeather~ brave palomino pinto stallion with rust-red feathers, mixed white and gold mane and tail, four white socks
Whirlwind arched her neck nervously, eyeing Nightwing and Petalcloud across the flatlands. She lowered her muzzle to the water and closed her eyes. Her heart beat like a frightened rabbit’s against her chest. Soon… she thought. So soon! Only a couple more minutes….
Ripples splashed against her muzzle as someone touched the water and her eyes flew open, panicking. But a warm wing across her back calmed her down. “Shh…. It’s just me.”
Whirlwind closed her eyes and leaned against him. “Goldriver,” she whispered. “I’m so scared.”
Goldriver nuzzled her neck. “It’s okay. Once we get to the jet streams we can escape and start our own herd somewhere else. West even of the Anok we know.”
“What if we don’t make it?” asked Whirlwind, shaking.
Someone nudged her left side and she tensed up again, relaxing when her friend Redflower whispered excitedly, “Ready?”
Whirlwind began to hyperventilate, Golriver trying to calm her by stroking her neck. Finally she choked out, “Now?”
Redflower nodded. “Now. Dustfeather says to go as soon as he gives the signal.”
Whirlwind stepped away from Goldriver and flared her wings. A harsh neigh cut across the still meadow and Whirlwind leaped into the air, darting up toward the jet streams far above. Below her, the other Desert Herd mares and stallions straggled into the air.
Too late, Whirlwind realized the neigh had been Nightwing’s, calling Stormtail to him. It hadn’t been Dustfeather at all.
They were up in the sky, and then Nightwing was among them, breathing silver starfire in all directions. Whirlwind saw a blast catch the brave stallion Dustfeather in the chest, the starfire spreading to his mane and catching his feathers on fire. He screeched, a high, piercing sound, and fell toward the ground.
Whirlwind shot upward, trying to block out the noises of dying pegasi. She glanced back and saw Goldriver just behind her, Redflower below him.
Nightwing swooped past Goldriver and incinerated Redflower. Whirlwind almost fell out of the sky, but Goldriver pushed her up. “Go, go, go!”
Whirlwind beat her wings harder. Nightwing roared at her, but Goldriver flashed in front of her, taking the starfire in his side and falling.
“NO!” Whirlwind screamed, her wings stalling as she stared with terror into the cold silver eyes of Nightwing. He kept his stream of starfire going and blasted it into her face. Screaming with pain and terror, she threw her wings over her head and fell.
Whirlwind’s eyes popped open and she screamed into the pitch darkness that surrounded her. It echoed like she was in a canyon and she stopped, eyes wide open, panting, the chilly air pressing against her. She stumbled to her feet, reaching her wings out into the void. The ground under her felt cold, hard, and slick, like obsidian. She was so terrified she felt she couldn’t get more scared or she’d die.
But… wasn’t she dead? Hadn’t Nightwing killed her? But this wasn’t the golden meadow…. And Goldriver!
Devastated, Whirlwind crumpled to the ground, sobbing into her feathers, feeling the tangible cold darkness seeping into her, creeping into her blood, chilling her from the inside out. Then a whisper came through the darkness.
“Who’s there? Are you okay?”
Whirlwind stopped crying, her breath catching. She dumbly asked the same question. “Who’s there?”
A small chuckle sounded. “My name is Goldriver. Who are you?”
“Goldriver?” Whirlwind struggled upright. “It’s me, Whirlwind! Where are you?”
“By the Ancestors! Whirlwind! Walk toward my voice.”
Whirlwind stumbled in the direction of Goldriver’s voice, finally crashing right into him. “Goldriver! What’s going on?”
Goldriver wrapped his wings around her and sank to the ground, pulling Whirlwind with him. “I don’t know, and I’m as terrified as you are, but at least we have each other. I think it may be because Nightwing killed us with the same burst of starfire.”
They stayed there a long time, quiet in the dark void — Whirlwind didn’t know how long it was. It could’ve been five years or five days. There was no time in this horrible, cold, dark place.
She looked up into Goldriver’s warm amber eyes. They were big and bright, but she could see the terror deep down.
“Wait,” she whispered. “I can see your face.” They rose awkwardly, their wings still around each other, staring at each other. “It’s getting lighter!”
Goldriver looked down and flared his wings in alarm. “The floor’s shattering!”
Whirlwind looked down just as the floor fell away and she fluttered her wings to stay in the air, hovering next to Goldriver. Below was the Interior, with celebrating pegasi scattered across the plain. Shining pegasi surrounded Goldriver and Whirlwind, slightly transparent, and Whirlwind noticed that she and Goldriver were also semi-transparent. Ancestors! We’re Ancestors!
A pale gray mare with silver feathers saw their bewildered expressions and flew over, a bay stallion with crimson feathers next to her, smiling. The mare said something about “the Beyond” that Whirlwind didn’t quite catch, but Goldriver seemed to understand, and when the two pegasi flew away, Goldriver explained when he saw her still-puzzled face.
“Anyone who was killed by Nightwing’s silver starfire was sent to that place we were — the Beyond. But Star defeated Nightwing, so we’re free!”
Whirlwind smiled ecstatically and knew what to do. She nuzzled Goldriver, closed her eyes, and opened them in the golden meadow, Goldriver right beside her.