Rainflight glided over the small silver lake, letting her shiny black hooves skim the water. Gazing at her small reflection in the glassy lake she lost herself deep in thought. It was six moons until her first birthday, when she would become a yearling. Most foals would be excited to reach that stage, but Rainflight wasn’t a normal pegasus. She was the black foal of Anok, born every hundred years. It was rare for the black foal to survive, but if they did, the over-stallion of the herd could decide whether to execute them or protect them. The reason for this was that on the day of their first birthday, the hundred year star would fill them with starfire, a power that could be used for good or evil. Rainflight wished the cruel leader of the herd, Thornwing, would hurry up and decide. She knew he would choose to kill her, but the tension of not knowing was unbearable.
“I caught you! You’re my prisoner now!” Rainflight looked up in surprise. She had forgotten they were playing chase. She spotted Puddlenose hovering above her, sending light breezes her way. She nickered, landed on the ground, and submitted, letting her best friend guide her away to his ‘prison’. They walked on hoof because Puddlenose wasn’t strong enough to lift her. When they reached his hide-out, a gap in the trees, Rainflight burst out laughing at the sight of seven other foals, including her other best friend Rowansky, lying, prisoners, on the grass.
“You really are the fastest pegasus in Anok,” Rainflight commented cheerily. Rowansky sighed.
“She’s telling the truth!” admitted Rowansky. A glint appeared in her eyes and she winked at Rainflight. When Puddlenose and his newest captive, Rainflight, passed by Rowansky, she stealthily flung her aqua wings out. Rainflight dodged, but Puddlenose toppled over into the dirt.
“Hey!” he quickly regained his hooves and rattled his feathers in annoyance. He gaped in surprise at the suddenly empty clearing. “Where did you all-”
Rowansky gave the signal from a tree she was hiding in. The eight foals dived on poor Puddlenose, who didn’t stand a chance. “Hey! Got off!” he mumbled through a mouthful of feathers. The foals relaxed, and he admitted defeat, while spitting out clumps of down.
A trumpeting rang from the meadow nearby. It was a calm blast, so Rainflight and her friends knew it was grazing time. The other six foals trotted into the air and lazily glided away. The three friends laughed for a long time, until, finally, chests aching and teary eyed, they galloped into the air to catch up with the others.
Later that night, Rainflight silently flew to the crest of a hill facing the full moon. She stood gazing quietly at the stars, considering her options. If she stayed in Star Herd, the chances of her being executed were high. But if she left, she would live the rest of her life alone, unless of course cold, hunger, predators, enemy steeds or worse killed her.
Rainflight looked away from the night sky. Embarrassed, she noticed a small cluster of white flowers. She wasn’t aware she’d been crying. Another gift the black foal has is that whenever their tears hit the ground, tiny white flowers spring up.
Puddlenose nudged her. “Don’t think about it,” he said, as if he’d been reading her mind.
“What else is there to do?” choked Rainflight.
“Let Thornwing decide your fate, and live life to the fullest, whether that be long or short.”
“You and I both know Thornwing will choose to kill me,” Rainflight pointed out dryly. Puddlenose’s eyes lit up.
“Unless someone kills him first,” Puddlenose replied smoothly.
“Don’t say that!” scolded Rainflight. But inside, the pressure dissolved, and she realized she was on the verge of falling asleep. “Let’s go back to the meadow,” she yawned.
“Let’s,” agreed Puddlenose.