Sprucefeather slid between two pine trees, smiling to herself. Her plans were working. Over the past week she had carefully cultivated Ember’s anger against his herd and his friends, and now she was ready to make her next move.
She entered a small clearing where Ember stood, his wings folded, a frown written across his face. She cleared her throat and he turned his head to look at her, colorless starfire sparks flitting across his coat.
“What?” he asked flatly. She arched her neck and circled him, ruffling her feathers. “It’s time to take over Desert Herd.”
He turned away and flicked his tail, plodding to a tree and pressing it with his wing. “All right. Now?” He burned a small spot onto the tree with a breath of silver starfire. Sprucefeather narrowed her eyes.
“Remember what they did to you. They blamed you for something you didn’t mean to do. They made you feel like you didn’t belong. They prefer your brother. You deserve better.” Sprucefeather hoped her words had the desired effect. They did. Ember tensed up, the muscles in his neck bulging.
“Let’s go.” He flared his wings and neighed an over-stallion’s call to his herd. A minute later Stormrain cantered into the clearing, her hooves churning up the forest floor. Ember began to pant, calling up his silver shield and extending it around all of them. They spread their wings in unison and rose into the air, heading higher. Sprucefeather nodded to where she thought the jet stream should be, and they made for it, soon finding it and getting caught up, hurtling toward Desert Herd.
Starpebble paced her cave, wondering where Ember was. He had been gone for a week and she was worried.
She arched her neck and stared at her hooves. I hope he’s okay. It was silly, she knew, to think that he couldn't protect himself, and he even had a shield.
But that’s not all I’m worried about.
She tossed her head and spun around, tossing her head. Then she pricked her ears and turned to see Spark at the entrance, his head down and his hooves scuffling nervously. She sighed.
It wasn’t that she was mad at him exactly, even though it was sort of his fault. It was just… she couldn’t quite explain it. She just needed to be alone.
Spark tentatively stepped forward and she relaxed her stance. Spark stopped just inside and looked at her for a minute, something in his eyes that she couldn’t quite make out. “I’m sorry.”
She pinned her ears. “You don’t need to keep apologizing.”
He rustled his feathers awkwardly. “I feel like I do.”
She turned away and pressed her forehead against the wall. “Well, you don’t.”
Summersong lifted her muzzle from the oasis and glanced up at Starpebble’s cave. What is going ON? she wondered, not for the first time. All she knew was Starpebble and Spark had come back from the desert without Ember and would only say that there had been a fight and Ember had run away.
Summersong pawed the sand and snorted. Wingbeats far overhead distracted her and she looked up.
It was Ember, gliding gently down from on high to land beside her. She stepped back in surprise, tossing her head. “Ember! What are you doing — where did you go?”
He nodded to two mares who landed behind him. “Summersong, please cooperate.”
Summersong backed up, nearly falling. “I don’t understand! What’s going on?”
One of the mares, gray with dark green feathers, darted forward and sank her teeth into Summersong’s wing, Summersong shrieked and reared, trying to shake the mare loose.
Ember’s eyes flashed. Please don’t make me hurt you, Summersong! Then he whirled as Stormrain got her under control, pacing toward Cobrawing’s mate and foal, who stood not far off, watching wide eyed.
What am I DOING? he screamed at himself. He stopped, clutching his head with his wings. The starfire burned inside him, and he dug his hooves in, grinding his teeth. Then he made himself a solemn promise.
No matter what else he did, he would NEVER kill any pegasus with the silver starfire.
He turned toward Dustcloud and Tumbleweed, his wings clapping and his nostrils flaring Dustcloud shied, dragging Tumbleweed behind her, and she neighed for Cobrawing.
He came, his wings rattling and blocking out the sun, to land in front of Ember, rearing. “What are you doing, Ember?”
Ember folded his wings carefully. “Cobrawing, please step down from the rank of over-stallion. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Cobrawing stiffened and spread his wings to hide Dustcloud and Tumbleweed. “I will not. This is my herd, and you are my nephew. What’s going on?”
But before Ember could answer, Sprucefeather dropped from above and struck Cobrawing with a swift blow to the head. He dropped, dead.
Hope you all enjoyed! PLEASE inform me of ANY MISTAKES OR INCONSISTANCIES be they a missing period or a plot hole or a weird travel time or ANYTHING! Thank you!
Cedarwing~ (over-stallion) agile light bay stallion with blue feathers, black mane and tail, thin white blaze
Sprucefeather~ (widowed mare) bay mare with green feathers, black mane and tail
Stormrain~ (yearling) dark gray filly with dark green feathers, black mane and tail
Hoperiver~ (single/widowed mare) pure white mare with sparkling blue feathers flecked with amber, silky white mane and tail
Stormsun~ (single mare) chestnut mare with turquoise feathers, curly black mane and tail fading to light brown, four white socks, blaze
Rockroot~ (medicine stallion) smoky-gray stallion with deep pink feathers, black mane and tail, white snip on nose
Mistwing~ (over-stallion) white stallion with misty blue and white feathers, silver mane and tail
Ashcloud~ (lead mare) smoky gray mare with smoky purple feathers, black mane and tail, large diamond-shaped star on forehead
Frostroot~ (medicine mare) light gray appaloosa mare with pale yellow feathers, light gray mane and tail
Echoflower~ (single/widowed mare, elder) white mare with pink feathers, white mane and tail
Rainshine~ (yearling) dark silver dapple filly with silver feathers, black mane and tail
Cobrawing~ (over-stallion) bay pinto stallion with green feathers, mixed brown-and-white mane and tail
Dustcloud~ (lead mare) palomino mare with pale green feathers, white mane and tail, wide white blaze
Sunfire~ (captain) gold dun stallion with violet feathers, gold mane and tail, thin white blaze
Starpebble~ (yearling) silver filly with pale blue feathers, white mane and tail, deep blue eyes
Ember~ (black foal, yearling) solid black colt with black feathers, black mane and tail
Spark~ (black foal, yearling) solid black colt with black feathers, black mane and tail, four white socks
Brightsky~ (mated mare) bright palomino mare with mixed blue and purple feathers, white mane and tail
Summersong~ (yearling) brownish-gold filly with pale pink feathers, light brown mane and tail
Palmroot~ (medicine mare) gold dun mare with amethyst feathers, black mane and tail, black points
Tumbleweed~ (nursing foal) buttermilk buckskin with turquoise feathers, black mane and tail, uneven blaze