Ember gazed up at the sky, his heart fluttering wildly in his chest. The Hundred Year Star was brighter than ever, as well it should be. It was his first birthday.
He looked down to Starpebble standing beside him, and for some reason this only made his heart beat faster. She was also looking at the star, its glow making the sunlight richer. They were standing on the same bluff where he had learned to fly, and even now Ember felt pride.
I’m almost a yearling, he thought. No, I am a yearling! Soon I’ll have to make choices. Right choices, I hope. Soon he would receive his power and he hoped he could control it. He would choose a mate one day, and if that mare would take him it would probably be the happiest day of his life. But then, she might not want him, as he would be immortal.
He sighed, and took comfort in the thought that the future wasn’t there yet. He still had months, if not years to come to conclusions. He only hoped they would be the right ones.
Cobrawing trotted to the edge of the oasis, accompanied by his mate, Dustcloud. He put his wing around her and she leaned into him, relaxed for the first time that day. It was almost spring, and she was expecting. Her belly was round with foal.
He looked over Dustcloud’s head and saw Ember and Starpebble coming down from the mountain. Starpebble was growing up beautifully. Her thick coat was gone, and she was sleek and silver, her feathers glossy. Life in Desert Herd had not hurt her. In fact, it had made her hardier, more resilient, as he could see by the strength of her stride. Next to the browns and golds and duns of his own herd, she truly stood out.
But then, she is my own herd, he reminded himself. He had come to look upon her as a daughter, and loved as much, if not more, he believed, than her own father had. In the past months he and Dustcloud and she had had many pleasant and heartwarming conversations.
“She will be a good sister to our little one,” whispered Dustcloud, sensing his thoughts. He nuzzled her neck.
“Yes, she will, and we both love her,” said Cobrawing softly. Ember paused and said something to Starpebble, and he saw her throw up her head and laugh.
Cobrawing watched the two of them and smiled.
That night, all the pegasi of the herd gathered by the oasis as night fell, and the Hundred Year Star burned in the night sky, staining everything with a golden light. Sunfire stood next to Starpebble and put one wing around her and the other around Brightsky.
“Everything will be fine,” he whispered to her. But he was not so sure. What if everything isn’t fine? he wondered.