“ ‘The prophecy!’ Firewind gasped, staring at the flower. ‘You are supernatural!’ ”
“I was absolutely astonished because that had never happened when I cried before, so I launched back into the sky and flew around to think. I looked up at the Hundred Year Star and finally thought that I should try to reach it to answer some of my biggest questions. Now, I knew that most pegasi are unable to fly all the way to where the sky turns black, but I knew I had a destiny and I hoped it would help me get there. As I climbed, the sky grew continually darker, and I started seeing small spots in my eyes. I had heard this happened to normal pegasi, so I got discouraged. I kept at it though, but it seemed no use.
Just as I seemed close enough to touch it, I blacked out and it felt as though I was plummeting. I braced for a crash, but eventually it seemed that there wasn’t going to be one. I drifted upright, feeling strangely warm. I decided to open my eyes and I saw myself in a lush meadow full of long grass. What was strange was that everything in sight had a pale gold glow. There was a group of pegasi of all ages huddling together over to my right, so I flew over to them and landed. It seemed that they were focused on something on the ground far away, as if they were looking at a steed walking toward them. I took a closer look at the gold cloud that their attention seemed focused on and recoiled in shock. It was a moving image of a herd of pegasi! They were standing in a rocky meadow, staring at one dark-colored foal. I looked at the foal that held their attention and noticed he was black and had a large star.”
“This fascinated me, because I had assumed that I would be replacing the black foal this century because of my marking. I had heard of Star, of course, but I assumed he would have been killed. But no, I saw the steed I recognized as Thunderwing standing off to the side, ready for whatever was happening next.”
“I quickly realized what would happen next, as a chestnut filly with aqua wings, Morningleaf, materialized on the grass before me. I tried to hide my shock and said, ‘What are you doing here? You were just watching Star down there!’ ”
She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, Star! I’d do anything for him, but I might have crossed the line this time. He was going to be executed, but I jumped in the way.’ I stood there, flabbergasted.”
“ ‘Why did you do this?’ I whinnied. Before she could answer, a few of the pegasi in the huddle watching Star realized I was there.”
“ ‘Why are you here?’ one of them asked. He was a brown and white pinto, and then I saw the black mane and tail. I gasped, certain of who he was.
“ ‘Spiderwing, wha– I don’t know where I am, actually,’ I stammered.”
“ ‘You don’t?’ Morningleaf asked. I shook my head.”
“ ‘This is the Golden Meadow,’ Spiderwing said. ‘May I ask your name, and how you died?’ ”
“ ‘I– I’m Starfall,’ I said. ‘But I didn’t die, at least, I don’t think I did. I tried to fly up to the Hundred Year Star because it’s my birthday too and I was led to believe that I was to fulfill a prophecy or a destiny due to my face marking. I blacked out and started falling. I thought I was dead, but I didn’t feel a crash. When I opened my eyes, I was here in the Golden Meadow.’ ”
“ ‘It could be that you suffered numerous injuries in the fall and died on the way down, but you could also be the messenger filly.’ Spiderwing said.”
“ ‘The what?’ I said.”
“ ‘The messenger filly,’ Spiderwing repeated. Did your mother tell you the poem?’ He began to recite it.”
“Anok is soon to be in turmoil,
Warring steeds on the sunbaked soil,
They need leaders to show them the way,
Out of these dark times and into pleasant days.
These leaders will be black,
There could be more than one,
But one thing is certain: their job will not always be fun.
These leaders need a leader, a steed who can guide them.
That leader must have the strength to be a resource
Without any of them.
This leader will not get guidelines or anything, more or less,
This steed must handle well under stress.”
“He let this sink in. Then I remembered that yes, my mother had told me that. On the night I was born, under the shouting of the steeds who had wanted to kill me immediately, she had whispered it into my ear. I nodded to Spiderwing’s question.”
“ ‘Wait, so am I this messenger filly? And why is it called a ‘messenger’ filly when I’m the leader, not a messenger?’ I was just starting my torrent of questions, but he answered me.”
“ ‘Yes, you are the messenger filly,’ he said. ‘And it’s called a messenger because you will be the subconscious link to us up here in the Golden Meadow. If they are absolutely desperate, then they can say their plea of help to you and it will come up to us. Keep in mind, though, that if you think you can answer it, then you should answer it. Only have the message come to us in extreme cases.’ ”
“ ‘So I’m going back, then,’ I assumed. I wasn’t entirely happy about this because of how Jungle Herd had treated me. But Spiderwing shook his head.”
“ ‘Not immediately, no,’ he said. ‘You need to be prepared more up here in the Golden Meadow, and I’m honestly not sure yet of how this poem will be fulfilled. You can go back to Anok when we think the poem is about to come true.’ ”
“ ‘So I’m going to be here for another hundred years, until a new black foal is born?’ I asked.”
“ ‘Not necessarily,’ Spiderwing said. ‘I think that there will be another black foal born in less than one hundred years from now. But that reminds me,’ he continued, ‘let’s get back to watching Star.’ ”