Lightdrop pulled his head back through the bushes, and saw that others had done the same. Everyone appeared to be just as confused about what was going on, and Lightdrop doubted that any of them had seen anything like this before.
"What are we going to do?" asked Twilightdawn.
All eyes turned to Lightdrop's sire, Oakblaze had an anguished look on his face, but when he spoke his voice came out strong, "I need to get a closer look first."
"I'll come with you." volunteered a brown stallion named Cliffstone.
Oakblaze shook his head, "I need you all to stay here. We don't know what caused this and it may still be around. I need to make sure it's safe first."
Cliffstone dipped his head, and Oakblaze made his way over to the barrier of bushes. Before he went through, he leaned over and whispered something to Twilightdawn, she nodded and Oakblaze continued on through. As soon as the stallion had completely disappeared, Lightdrop and the wrest of the patrol stuck their heads back through the bushes, curious to see what would happen.
Oakblaze was walking slowly up to the nearest pegasus, who appeared to be grazing. As the bay stallion got closer, the pegasus didn't even look up, and when Oakblaze reached out his wing to touch the it's flank, the pegasus didn't react what so ever.
"I don't like this." Lightdrop hear Bluestone mutter.
The patrol watched intently as Oakblaze tried again, and again to get the attention of the Stone Herd pegasi, but every time the pegasus wouldn't even flinch. Lightdrop was now starting to get really nervous, he had never seen pegasi act like this before, and he was to terrified to think about what might have caused this.
Suddenly Lightdrop saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye, and so he turned his head to try to get a better look, hopping that perhaps there was a Stone Herd steed that might not have been effected. Instead Lightdrop saw a coal black pegasus he didn't recognize glide over the meadow, and land a few winglengths away from Oakblaze.
The other members of the patrol let out horrified gasps when they saw the strange pegasus, and Lightdrop heard Twilightdawn mutter the name "Ravenstrike."
Realization dawned on Lightdrop, he remembered hearing that name mentioned by the elders a few times, and tried to recall the story. From what he could remember, Ravenstrike had been born to Stone Herd many moons ago, he had no sire, and his mother died shortly after he was born. The herd had tried their best to raise him, but as all black foals, he couldn't escape being bullied. They teased Ravenstrike for being not having a sire, and for the color of his coat. he managed to ignore the bullies for a wile, but finally, after he had received his starfire, something snapped inside Ravenstrike, and turned on his herd mates. He even killed a few of them. Then he proclaimed himself Ravenwing and ruled over Stone Herd for a few moons. but then the herd rebelled, and a group of steeds, led by Dawnstar, managed to drive Ravenstrike from Stone Herd's territory.
Lightdrop was sure that the story had ended with Ravenstrike's body being found after being mauled by wolves. But whatever the case, the black stallion was now standing only winglengths away from Oakblaze, a look of strong distaste on his face.
"Ravenstrike." said Lightdrop's sire, standing tall with his neck arched, "You are supposed to be dead."
Ravenstrike shrugged, "Well, what can I say? Death was over-rated."
Oakblaze glared at the black stallion, "Why are you here?"
"I'm here to offer you a deal." said Ravenstrike, with a cruel smile.
"Oh, and did you offer the same deal to Stone Herd?" accused Oakblaze, "Are you the reason they're like this?"
Ravenstrike laughed, "You always did like to jump to conclusions Oakblaze."
Lightdrop watched intently as the two stallions started to circle each other. From what Ravenstrike had said, it sounded like he and Oakblaze had met before, but Lightdrop didn't remember his sire ever mentioning this stallion's name.
"You know," said Ravenstrike, "When I paid my little visit on Stone Herd, I was disappointed that I didn't see you and Spottedecho. But here you are. Now the question is, where is Spottedecho?"
Waves of shock went through Lightdrop's body, Spottedecho was the name of his dam, who had died when he was a young colt. How could Ravenstrike know about her? What had happened between this black stallion and his parents?
There was a long pause between the two stallions, and when Oakblaze didn't respond, Ravenstrike slammed one of his razor sharp hooves on the ground "Where is Spottedecho?" he demanded.
Oakblaze glared defiantly at Ravenstrike, "Spottedecho is dead."
Ravenstrike reared, "How did this happen?" he bellowed "You promised to look after her!"
Oakblaze stood his ground, "There was nothing I could do so stop her death."
"Lies!" exclaimed Ravenstrike, he reared again, and charged at Oakblaze, who ducked out of the way. Lightdrop watch his sire lash out with a hind leg and connect with Ravenstrike's head. The black stallion glared at Oakblaze, blood pouring from a cut on his head. "Coward!" he shouted.
"The only coward here is you." said Oakblaze.
Ravenstrike snorted, "Then if that's true, where were you when I visited your herd." he said, smugly.
"I was out patrolling southern Anok." said Oakblaze, keeping his tone neutral.
"Then where's the wrest of your patrol?"
Oakblaze dipped his mighty head, "We ran into some trouble on the way back. I was the only survivor."
Lightdrop knew as soon as his father finished speaking that, wile he appeared completely calm and in control, he was really terrified. Oakblaze would have never lied if he wasn't.
"That's to bad." said Ravenstrike, with mock sorrow, "But oh well, it'll make this so much easier."
A sickening feeling hit Lightdrop out of nowhere, seconds before Ravenstrike released a beam of his silver starfire. It engulphed Oakblaze, and Lightdrop watched in horror as the same thing happened to his sire that had happened to Maplespark in his dream.
Oakblaze was now the same dull gray color as everything else in Stone Herd's valley, and Ravenstrike had claimed yet another victim.