Star came quickly, his face creased with worry. Starpebble sighed and rose from her laying position in the dream to face him. Next to him was Morningleaf, just as worried. Starpebble stretched out her wing.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” she said anxiously. “Why was Ember silver?”
Morningleaf shrugged her wings helplessly. “We don’t know.”
Starpebble was aghast. “You don’t? What am I going to tell Ember?”
Star put his wing around her. “Maybe it was an accident. Maybe he just needed to let it out. Don’t worry.” He began to fade. “We’ll be here if you need us.”
Morningleaf nuzzled Starpebble and disappeared and Starpebble slipped out of the dream into dark, deep, sleep.
Summersong watched her friend’s sides rise and fall. Starpebble had a small frown on her face, and she whispered almost inaudibly in her sleep, “What am I going to tell Ember?” Summersong frowned. Tell Ember what?
She settled down and closed her eyes. She’d ask her later.
Many miles away, Mistwing, the over-stallion of Snow Herd was pacing in the forest. The Hundred Year Star had just gone out and he was afraid of the future. What if they turned out like Nightwing? They had escaped the fate of Comet, and he wondered now if that was such a good thing. Mistwing was a brash but strong over-stallion, fiercely protective of his herd and family. He reared toward the sky, then came back to earth with a thud, hanging his head toward the ground.
“Ancestors help us,” he whispered. “What have we done?”
He felt a nudge on his white shoulder and he looked up. It was his beloved mate, Ashcloud, her eyes wide and worried. He smiled wanly and wrapped his wing around her. She leaned into him. Mistwing thought fiercely that nothing, nothing would ever happen to her. They were expecting their second foal. Rainshine had been their first, and now she was most likely lost forever. Whatever else he was, Mistwing was a wise over-stallion, and he saw the folly of declaring war with Mountain Herd and losing many strong young mares and stallions over two barely-grown pegasi. But what Mistwing longed for with all his heart was a son.
Ashcloud stepped away from him and looked at him, speaking with her eyes all their hopes, dreams, and fears.
“Ancestors help us,” he whispered again.
Ashcloud pressed her forehead to his and they stood there in the moonlight until it got so cold that they had to return to the herd. Mistwing walked through the herd and around sleeping pegasi to his pine tree near one end of the meadow where he slept with Ashcloud. His heart ached as he thought of Rainshine, who used to sleep between them.
Mistwing lay down with his back against the tree, lowered his neck, and closed his eyes. Ashcloud nestled beside him and he spread his wing over her, missing the little body of Rainshine desperately.
He closed his eyes against the tears.