Starshine groaned, the pain receding from her body as she gave birth to her foal. Lying on the snow covered ground under the cover of a low hanging maple tree, Starshine breathed heavily. Her four guards were stationed at the perimeter of the maple tree, making sure that none other than the ones the Medicine Mare, Wrenroot, deemed allowed into the shelter of the oak, and Leopardwing was not one of them. The Over-Stallion paced outside the maple, his lips drew back in a snarl as the guards that HE had assigned to keep pegasi away from Starshine, kept him at bay. Starshine was grateful for the Medicine Mare, and knew she would be for probably the rest of her life. Her mate, Eaglefeather, stood nearby, giving her silent support. A few moments later, Wrenroot spoke.
“You have a beautiful, colt, Starshine…” Wrenroot murmured, drawing her feathers soothingly down her back. Starshine was a little terrified to look, what if the colt turned out to be the black foal? What would happen to her and her colt if he was? Draping her wing over her young colt, she blocked him from view, lifting her head slowly to look at her outstretched wing. Taking a deep breath, she folded it back, her eyes widening in shock and pure love. Eaglefeather approached, a broad smile on his face as he spotted the colt.
“He’s perfect…” He murmured softly. Starshine nodded, gazing down at her young colt, love shining from her eyes.
“He is…” She murmured, smiling softly. Her young colt was a golden furred appaloosa with dark blue wings tipped in yellow, black points, a star and snip connected by an uneven, thin stripe, and two white hind socks. Starshine nuzzled her son, a lone tear slipping down her cheek, her son was NOT the black foal! He was spared from the fate of either death or starfire, and the sheer amount of responsibility that comes with it. Looking at her mate, she nuzzled him, “What should we name him?” She whispered.
“I was thinking…Brightray…” Eaglefeather responded, “Since he’s a ray of light in this dark time…” He murmured.
Starshine nodded, “It’s perfect…our little Brightray…” She nickered, nuzzling her son, who bleated softly in protest. Getting to her hooves, she bent her head down to nudge her son slightly, “Come on…” She murmured, “Get up.”
Opening his eyes, Brightray bleated in protest, fluffing out his blue and yellow wings as if in a pout. With a small chuckle, she nudged her son again. Snorting, he put his front legs out in front of him, getting to his hooves slowly, his stance slightly wobbly as he stood there, bleating in protest. Starshine just stood where she was, waiting for her son to come to her. Brightray sniffed, and, smelling milk, he took a tentative step forward, his hunger driving him. As he reached his mother’s side, he sneezed, falling on his rump as the sneeze unbalanced him. Getting back to his hooves, he reached out, nursing from Starshine. She smiled softly, she loved her son, and would protect him from anything…and ANYONE.
“Let me THROUGH!” Snarled Leopardwing as he pushed his way past the guards, his ears pinned back in rage. Even though the Medicine Mare had ordered the guards to keep him out, the guards made no move to throw him back out of the ring when he had pushed through. Flaring his nostrils, he trotted over to Starshine, who covered her son protectively with her wing, lowering her head and whinnying in challenge. Eaglefeather leapt over his mate and stood between her and Leopardwing, his ears pinned back and his wings rattling in rage.
“Stay AWAY from my mate and son!” He snarled, pawing the ground angrily.
“Are you telling ME to stay away!?” Leopardwing snapped flaring his wings momentarily.
“Yes, I am.” Eaglefeather growled, his voice cold and dangerous. Leopardwing rattled his feathers, his eyes flashing with rage.
“How DARE you…” He snarled, stepping forward, his wings rattling. Eaglefeather reared, forcing Leopardwing to step back. “You’ll regret that…” Leopardwing snarled, stepping closer to the stallion.
“I don’t think I will…” Eaglefeather snarled.
“Why you little…”
“BOYS!” Snapped Wrenroot, pushing herself between the two stallions, “Does EITHER of you care that there is a NEWBORN foal in the vicinity!?” She snapped, “If you’re going to fight, DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE!” She hissed, glaring at the two bristling stallions.
Eaglefeather huffed, his ears pinned back, “I’m not leaving my family…” He growled.
“You WILL!” Leopardwing snarled, stamping his hoof, “I will be taking your son into my service!” he hissed.
“You will do NO such thing!” Snapped Wrenroot, turning on the Over-Stallion, “The colt still needs his mother’s milk, and it’ll be way too stressful for the him if you take him from his mother now.” She explained, “I suggest you wait until he’s a weanling until you do ANYTHING.”
Leopardwing’s ears pinned to the back of his head, his feathers ruffled in agitation, “Fine!” He snapped with a flick of his tail, “Keep the colt for now, but when he is a weanling he WILL be taken into my service!” He snarled, turning around and stalking out of the ring of guards, muttering angrily. Once the Over-Stallion left, Eaglefeather obviously relaxed, his feathers smoothing and his head drooping slightly. Turning, he trotted over to his mate, nuzzling her lovingly.
“Is Brightray ok?” He murmured.
Starshine drew back her wing, revealing her colt who was sleeping under the comfort of his mother’s wing, breathing softly and squeaking slightly in his sleep. Ruffling his wings and flicking his tail as if he was having a dream. Starshine chuckled softly, “He’s fine…” She murmured, nuzzling Eaglefeather.
“Good…” He nickered, looking at Wrenroot, “Thank you for helping us.”
Wrenroot nodded, “A colt should never be taken from their mother and father…even if it is only for a while.” She nickered, “I did all I could. If you want to keep the colt after he is weaned…I suggest you come up with something…and fast.”
Starshine nodded, “We will…perhaps since he’s not a black foal, Leopardwing will forget about him.”
Wrenroot flinched, “I…I’m not sure he will…” She nickered, “He has a tendency to remember his…promises…” She said, looking at Starshine and her mate.
Starshine sighs, “I know…”
Eaglefeather stamped his hoof, “IF Leopardwing comes anywhere NEAR my family I’ll challenge him for the leadership of this herd!” He snarled.
Starshine nudged her mate with her wing, “I LOVE how defensive you are of us, but I suggest you DON’T speak like that around THEM.” She said, jerking her head in the direction of the guards.
Eaglefeather sighed, “Alright…” He said slowly, “But I promise you…I WILL protect our family.” He nickered softly.
Starshine nuzzled Eaglefeather, “And I wouldn’t expect anything less.” She murmured, draping her wing over her son again. “We’ll be fine…when all this is over.” She nickered. Starshine nuzzled Brightray while Eaglefeather lied next to her, draping his wing over her back. They were happy, but Starshine couldn’t help but have a thought nag at the back of her mind, ‘But for how long?’ Her gaze was drawn to the dappled hide of Leopardwing, ‘If he has anything to say about it…not very long.’ Her gaze then went to her mate, ‘But we will try our best to protect our family…no matter what.’