The next morning, Starshine was in the meadow grazing, wondering HOW she was going to tell Eaglefeather about the foal. Pricking her ears, she raised her head, ‘Stop worrying yourself…’ She thought, ‘There’s no reason to think YOU are the mother of the black foal. There are TONS of mares in Anok. I’m sure a few of them at least are pregnant. And probably most of the mares in this meadow will have a foal this year. You’re worrying yourself over NOTHING.’ She thought, lowering her head to continue grazing. Her sister, Firleaf, was grazing not too far away, her tail twitching slightly to keep the flies at bay. About eight winglengths away from the rest of the herd stood Leopardwing, his slate gray wings ruffled against the sharp breeze as his sharp eyes watched the herd and surrounding area for any signs of trouble. Windcloud was a few paces away, talking with Wrenroot, most probably asking how many foals would most likely be born to the herd that year. That brought back to mind her earlier problem, how WAS she going to tell Eaglefeather? Should she wait until she can’t hide it anymore? Or should she just get it over with and tell him? Getting it over with would definitely be easier…but it would also make it more awkward. But…wouldn’t telling him later make it MORE awkward? After all, if she never told him until it got too hard to hide, it would get even more awkward knowing that she kept a secret from her mate for moons. Sighing, she trotted over to her mate, her feathers ruffled.
“Starshine?” Nickered a voice behind her, “Starshine.”
Turning to face the voice, Starshine saw her sister, Firleaf, approaching her, her eyes wide, “Yes, Firleaf?” She asked with a tilt of her head.
“Can we talk…alone?” She asked nervously, pawing the ground slightly
“I can’t right now, Firleaf…” She said sadly, her eyes glittering with concern and curiosity.
“Starshine!” She said nervously, “This is REALLY important…” She said, her eyes wide.
“Look…I have to talk with Eaglefeather…why don’t you talk with Cloudmane? He is your mate after all.” She nickered, turning to head towards her mate. Firleaf blocked her sister’s path.
“Cloudmane won’t understand!” She nickered, “Please, Starshine, I’m begging you! We need to talk!” She said, her voice obviously worried.
“After I speak with Eaglefeather…” She nickered softly, skirting around her sister to go to her mate. Looking behind her for a moment, she saw her sister glare at her for a moment before snorting irritably and trot off. Starshine huffed, ‘She can just be patient.’ She thought, ‘She can’t get EVERYTHING she wants at the moment she wants it. My needs are important too.’ She thought with a huff as she trotted up to her mate. Eaglefeather looked up, a few blades of grass hanging from his mouth as he ate his food.
“Something wrong, Starshine?” He asked around his mouthful of grass.
Starshine shook her head, “Nothing’s…wrong…technically…” She nickered with a sheepish look on her face.
Eaglefeather tilted his head curiously, “Do you…want to talk about it?” He asked slowly, knowing SOMETHING was on his mate’s mind.
“Well…no…” She said, almost chickening out, her mate looking at her skeptically as he lowered his head to continue grazing. “Actually…” She nickered, causing her mate to look up at her with a humorous glint in his eyes, “Actually…I DO want to talk with you…” She nickered slowly, biting her lower lip in nervousness.
“Do you want to talk here or talk somewhere private?” He asked with a tilt of his head.
“Private would be best…” She murmured quietly, ruffling her feathers and flicking her tail.
“Of course.” He nickered, nuzzling her momentarily before leading Starshine away from the herd. He lead her to a forested area, where a small waterfall cascaded down the side of a small cliff. He turned to her, a questioning look in his eyes.
“What’s going on, Starshine?” He asked, a note of nervousness in his voice.
‘Now…now I have to tell him…’ She thought nervously. “Before I tell you…can you promise me you will stay quiet until I’m done?” She murmured.
Eaglefeather tilted his head, “Of course…what do you need to talk about?” He asked.
“Eaglefeather…I’m pregnant…” She whispered quietly.
Eaglefeather’s eyes widen to as large as the moon, “Starshine…”
Starshine lifted a wing for silence, “No, Eaglefeather, let me talk.” She said softly, “I…I know this is a strange time…b…but I promise…this…this foal will be nor…” Starshine was frozen with shock when her mate nuzzled her suddenly.
“Starshine…I know I promised I’d stay quiet…but…you’ve got this all wrong…” He murmured, “No matter if the foal is a black foal or not…he or she is OUR foal.” He nickered softly, pressing his forehead against Starshine’s. “I promise…I will love him just as much as any foal…normal or not…”
Starshine couldn’t help but begin to cry, “Oh, Eaglefeather…” She murmured, “You are more then I deserve…” She whispered, pressing her forehead against his.
Eaglefeather stepped back, “I promise you, Starshine…no matter WHAT happens, I will always love you…and our foal.” He said softly.
Starshine smiled softly back, “Thank you, Eaglefeather…” She murmured, “You have NO idea how much I needed to hear that.”
Eaglefeather chuckled, “I can see that!” He nickered, watching the tension in his mate disappear like ice under the hot sun. “Is that what you looked worried about the other night?” He asked with a tilt of his head.
Starshine nodded, “I…I spotted the Hundred Year Star in the sky the other night…and…and I was scared that I was going to have this century’s black foal…” She murmured, pawing the ground slightly, "To be honest...I'm STILL scared that's what's happening..." She murmured.
Eaglefeather nods slowly, “That explains things…” He murmured, flicking an ear in understanding.
“I’m glad you understand…” She said.
Eaglefeather tilted his head, “Did you think I wouldn’t?” He asked.
Starshine bit her lower lip, “Well…”
Eaglefeather chuckled, “I see! You thought I was going to turn into one of those HORRIBLE mates who abandons his mate and lets her raise the foal on her own!” He said with a laugh.
Starshine flinches, “N…Not exactly…” She murmured.
Eaglefeather chuckled, nudging her with his wing, “I know that, Starshine!” He said with a bright smile, “I was just giving you a hard time!”
She laughed in reply, “Thank you! You’ve lifted my spirits.” He said with a smile. She then remembered her sister, and her desire to speak with her. “I…I’d really love to stay…” She murmured, “But…my…my sister needs me.” She said, stepping back, “I mean, she needs to SPEAK with me.” She corrected herself.
Eaglefeather nods, “Go, your sister is more important right now. I’ll be back at the herd.” He said with a smile, trotting away in the direction of the herd.
Starshine smiled, spreading her wings and taking flight, she had to find her sister. It didn’t take her long, Firleaf was grazing at the edge of the herd, obviously wanting to be alone for a bit. Starshine landed next to her sister, who just looked up, snorted, and then went back to grazing.
“Am I important enough now for you to talk to me?” She asked sourly, obviously hurt that Starshine just brushed her off a little while before.
“I…uh…I’m sorry, Firleaf…I should have listened to you…” She looked at her sheepishly, “We can talk now if you want…” She said with nervously ruffled feathers.
Firleaf raised her head, her eyes narrowed slightly as she looked at her sister for a moment. A few moments of awkward silence ensued between them before she responded to her. “Ok…” She said, trotting away into the woods, Starshine following at a bit of a distance. After a while, the two came to a large clearing surrounded by pine trees, their branches rustling slightly in the breeze. Firleaf turned to her sister, a look of terror in her eyes, “S…Starshine…I…I’m scared…” She murmured.
“But why?” She asked with a tilt of her head.
“I…I…” She sighed, “I need your help…” She murmured.
“But why!?” She asked in exasperation.
“I…I know you haven’t gone through this yet…” She murmured, “B…But I need some advice…” She said looking at her hooves, sifting the ground with her hoof.
“Firleaf, WHAT do you need?”