Sun Herd’s council gathered to discuss the black foal on the rock outcrop that the Mountain Herd pegasus had landed on earlier. Thunderblaze looked around at the ring of faces and tried to match them to names: there were Star, Morningleaf, Brackentail, Redstorm, an elder mare named Riverlight, and a few others.
Star spoke first. “This is Smokewind,” he said, indicating the Mountain Herd pegasus. Smokewind fluttered his red feathers nervously. “He comes to tell us about the black foal. What I think is strange is that I am only five years old, so it can’t possibly be time for the next black foal already.” He motioned for Smokewind to say something.
“We thought about that too,” said Smokewind. “But our herd is undecided about how to treat him. Since we know the Hundred Year Star gives the black foal a choice as to what to be, our overstallion, Stormwing, is trying to convince Darkblaze, that’s the black foal’s name, to be a healer. He sent me over with the news. However, I think there is
something else that says he might not receive the star’s power: the Hundred Year Star has not appeared for the last three nights. Darkblaze was born three days ago, and the star is supposed to appear when the black foal is born.”
A whinny from the sky attracted their attention. They glanced up and saw a dun Desert Herd pegasus circling overhead. He landed, and Redstorm greeted him.
“What brings you to Sun Herd’s territory?” he asked.
“Hello, I am Cloudfire. Desert Herd believes that the black foal has been born to our herd. The problem is that there isn’t enough shade in the desert for poor Nightpearl, so with her black hide, she kept overheating.”
“Wait! That can’t happen!” Smokewind protested. “The black foal was born three days ago to Mountain Herd!”
“Impossible!” Cloudfire retorted.
Redstorm raised his wings, calming the outburst and asking another question. “Did you say her black hide?” he asked.
Cloudfire nodded. “Yes. That’s why I said believes instead of has. The stories our elders tell say nothing about there ever being a black filly.” He indicated Star, who nodded, realizing that the steed was referring to his coat color.
"So,” Morningleaf said, “we have two black foals born early, one of them a filly, and the Hundred Year Star is nowhere to be found.” The steeds expressed their agreement with her summary.
“I believe that could mean that we are looking at something terrible in the near future---” She was interrupted by dark-sounding mutters of agreement from several of the council “--but, and correct me if you disagree, is that black could just be a normal coat color for pegasi now.” Several protests met this, so she tried to prove her point further. “Well, how about this. Smokewind, Cloudfire, have either of the foals had trouble with their wings?”
The steeds thought about it for a second. “No,” Cloudfire answered. “We didn’t want her to exert herself too much because of the heat, but she can control them.”
Smokewind agreed. “It’s the same with Darkblaze. We haven’t cared too much about his exertions, but he can control them, and they are also the right size.” Star saw his point. In the past, including himself and Nightwing, most of the previous black foals’ wings had been too large in comparison to their bodies. He turned his attention back to Morningleaf as she started talking again.
“To wrap it up, there are two black foals, a colt and a filly, we haven’t seen the Hundred Year Star recently, and they can control their wings. All of these are the opposite of Star and Nightwing.” Morningleaf could see that most of the council members were starting to agree with her. She added the clincher. “Also, after his fight with Nightwing, Star realized that his starfire power was gone. I, for one, think that there is a good chance that the starfire power has disappeared for good.”
A majority of the steeds made sounds of agreement, but a few still muttered darkly. Star and Morningleaf ignored them and dismissed the meeting. However, it turned out those steeds were right to be pessimistic. That night, the Hundred Year Star appeared, behind a tall pine tree, in the sky.