The night was dark around Amberstone. The cold stars glittered menacingly in the black sky. She tucked her orange- yellow wings close to her sides as an owl hooted in the distance. The humid air pressed against her chest.
A twig snapped behind her and she whorled around. To her relief, it was only her brother, Duskstorm.
"Duskstorm," she cried as raced towards him. "I'm so glad you're here! The night feels all wrong."
As she neared closer, Duskstorm's dark bay coloring became as dark as the sky and his yellow tipped wings blacked. He had turned into another pegasus.
"Who are you?" Amberstone asked, her voice cracking in fear, and slid to a halt. She tensed her wings, preparing to take off in a moments notice.
The pegasus took a step closer and exposed his sharp white teeth in a snarl. "Don't you know?" he hissed in a voice that sounded like a snake's. "I'm your new over-stallion." He laughed and a geyser of silver fire shot out of the ground and spun towards her.
Amberstone shrieked and raced away but the fire slid around her throat and tightened till she couldn't breathe anymore. She bucked frantically as the silver fire drained her life.
The pegasus laughed again and the fire began to shake her up and down, up and down.
"Amberstone! Wake up!" Something hard nudged her side.
Amberstone's head shot up. Sweat dripped down her side and terror still raced through her veins but she managed to smile at her twin as Duskstorm's worried face came closer to her own.
"Are you ok?" Duskstorm asked. "You have been whimpering in your sleep for some time now."
Amberstone held her breath as she waited for Duskstorm's face to turn black as burnt trunks of trees but her nightmare didn't become real. She tightened her wings closer to her body as a spasm of shivers rolled across her body. "I'm fine. I was just dreaming."
"The one about-" he broke off.
"Yes," she answered. "But I'm fine now; I just need some sleep." She tucked her head under her left wing.
"Don't fall asleep now!" Duskstorm tried to lift her with his wings but he failed. "Mother is having her foal!"
Amberstone sprang to her hooves, almost hitting Duskstorm with her wings in the process. "Now? Has the medicine mare come yet?"
"Moonbark arrived a couple minutes ago. She told me to stay away from Mother right now."
"Where is Father?"
Duskstorm pointed a wing to where Lightningstrike, their sire, paced, shedding feathers like mad. Bright yellow feathers fluttered in his wake. "Should we go check on him?" Duskstorm blinked anxiously as he watched him.
"No," Amberstone answered. "He should be alone right now. Let's go see if Tansythorn is awake yet."
Duskstorm brightened at the thought of his chestnut pinto friend. "Do you think she will be awake? It's the middle of the night. "
"I have no clue! Let's go find out."
Tansythorn was awake. She was glaring at her older brother, who snored. She wasn't shocked when Amberstone and Duskstorm trotted to her side. "His snoring woke me up. Now I can't fall asleep again. Hi, by the way."
"Hi Tansy-t-h-horn." Duskstorm blushed as he looked away. "How are you to-today?"
"Good," the pinto yearling answered with suspicion. "What's this about?"
"Come with us," Amberstone said. "We'll explain on the way. Your dam won't worry if you're not here if she wakes up?"
Tansythorn shrugged. "She'll be fine. I've explored at night before, and she was perfectly fine with it."
Amberstone had explored with Tansythorn when she first had the idea. She perfectly remembered the worried face that turned into relief once they returned.
"I thought you were taken by a bear!" Tansythorn's dam had cried. "I thought I would never see you again!"
It was just like Tansythorn to say something like that.
"I'll leave one of my feathers under a rock with one of Duskstorm's and yours with it, so she'll know you're with us." Amberstone yanked out a small orange feather with her teeth and waited for Duskstorm and Tansythorn to do the same.
Duskstorm pulled out a dark blue feather and Amberstone took it.
Tansythorn sighed and pulled out a feather of her own.
Amberstone carefully set the three feathers, orange, dark blue, and grey-purple, under a stone near Tansythorn's sleeping dam. "There. That should do it."
"Ok, then. Let's go." Tansythorn leapt into the night sky.
Lightningstrike was still pacing when they returned. He barely acknowledged them as they walked past, talking.
"So Star is going to be one hundred soon. You know what that means." Tansythorn swished her flaxen tail. "Do you even think that there will be a black foal?"
Amberstone and Duskstorm stared at her blankly. They had been laughing about Oakflame, Tansythorn's brother, who had slipped into a mud puddle recently.
"When he finally regained his hoofing," Tansythorn had giggled. "He was covered in mud! Mother made him wash off immediately, but I knew she was secretly laughing inside."
"Duskstorm did that once!" Amberstone had laughed. "But mother was laughing so much to even speak."
"Hey!" Duskstorm frowned. "That was ages ago!"
That conversation had been meaningless, but Amberstone wished that Tansythorn never mentioned the black foal.
"Star already united the herds." Amberstone shrugged, trying to sound calm. "There is no need for another black foal." 'I wish Tansythorn would just keep to the subject, and not change it all the time,' her mind sighed.
Tansythorn grunted. "Remember that there was still remains of Snow Herd and Desert Herd and Mountain Herd. And the prophecy doesn't make the foal always good."
"Those are just legends," Amberstone argued. "There is only one herd in Anok, and that's River Herd."
Tansythorn grunted again.
"There will be another black foal though," Duskstorm whispered.
"How do you know that?"
"I've heard Star, Dewberry, and Brackentail talk about it. They keep talking about the Hundred Year Star, and it's up in the sky." Duskstorm pointed a wingtip to the night sky where an unusually bright star shone close to the moon.
"Don't you mean eavesdropping?" Amberstone was about to say, but a cry in the night interrupted her.
"The foal is here!" Moonbark called.
Lightningstrike raced to where his mate lay, a small bundle at her side. He touched noses with her and lay next to side.
"That's my cue to go," Tansythorn waved a wing and leapt into the sky. "See ya soon!"
Amberstone didn't notice Tansythorn leaving. She galloped after her sire, her brother close behind.
Softwind looked up from her newborn filly. Her eyes were tired, but she glowed with happiness. "Amberstone, Duskstorm, meet Peachblossom."