Spark glanced at his guards. They had their backs to him, paying more attention to the pegasi streaming out from the canyon than him.
He concentrated with his starfire, projecting toward Summersong.
A moment later, he heard a whisper. “Spark?”
He breathed a sigh of relief. “Summersong? You okay?”
There was silence in the starfire link. Then Summersong asked, “Where’s Starpebble?”
Spark gulped. “I don’t know.”
"You don’t know?!”
“I sent her… somewhere. But I don’t know where. Hopefully she’ll be safe.”
Summersong sighed. “Why would Ember do this?”
Spark closed his eyes. “I don’t know… but I don’t think it’s his fault.”
“Whose is it?”
He hesitated, pressing his forehead against the wall. “Partly mine. But I saw Sprucefeather….” He left the sentence unfinished.
“You think she has something to do with this?”
“Yes. But I blame myself too.”
“It’s not your fault. I don’t blame you.”
“But you don’t know what I did.”
A long silence.
“Then tell me.”
So he did, and when he was done he could feel her judging silence, the weight of the blame settling on his wings.
Her voice came suddenly. “You may have done wrong, but it’s not entirely your fault.”
“You don’t think it’s my fault he left?”
Spark sagged away from the wall. “But we have to deal with the consequences anyway.”
This time, there was no reply.
Her neck arched, Sprucefeather scanned the seven captains and their battalions. Ember stood behind and slightly to the right of her, his wings tucked tight and his head low. He looked weak and unimpressive.
But I’m fulfilling my dreams, she thought. I will rule the herds!
She flared her wings. “We’re going to take over Mountain Herd, understand? Form up.”
Hey!! Thanks so much for reading!
Flintwing~ (over-stallion) dark gray stallion with slate-blue feathers, black mane and tail. Deceased
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
Snowstone~ (under-stallion) white stallion with mint feathers, white mane and tail. Deceased
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
Fogfire~ (captain) gray stallion with navy feathers, black mane and tail. Deceased
Moonfrost~ (mated mare) dark silver mare with dark purple feathers, black mane and tail, Deceased
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
Sunlight~ (single/widowed mare) palomino pinto mare with pink feathers, white mane and tail. Ember and Spark’s dam. Deceased
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
Shanika Stormrunner~ Queen of the Fifth, age thirty-three. Tall with long black hair, tan skin, golden eyes. Kihlara mount:
Quinn Cloudburst~ age fourteen. Curly light honey-brown hair, lightly tanned skin, dark brown eyes.
Sami Firetongue~ age thirty-nine. Short crinkly black hair, dark brown skin, amber eyes
Sera~ beautiful dark bay mare with lemon-yellow feathers, black mane and tail, wide white blaze
Ras~ handsome dark bay colt with lemon-yellow feathers, black mane and tail, wide white blaze
Jager~ gray pangare mare with light green feathers at the mantle changing to white at the ends, gray mane and tail
Celaeri~ blue-gray mare with rose feathers, black mane and tail
Viru~ palomino stallion with reddish-orange feathers, flaxen mane and tail