The Golden Meadow was pure perfection. There was no other way to say it. The grass was the most vibrant shade of green, the air was cool, with a warm breeze, ruffling Stormfrost’s crystal blue feathers. The sky was the same color as Stormfrost’s wings, with sunlight the color of Flamefire’s wings. There was just one thing missing. “Where are the Ancestors?” Stormfrost wondered aloud.
“Right here,” a stallion’s voice said. Stormfrost turned around, and right in front of her was Clearwing, leading an army of the deceased.
Stormfrost bowed her head. “I’m so sorry,” Stormfrost said and started to cry.
Clearwing smiled. “Don’t be,” he said. “It was Deathwing who did it, not you.”
“But I channel it!”
“You are here, so you can get it out of you. You are aligned against it. That is what matters. As for you,” Clearwing said, now speaking to Flamefire, “You are worthy of my daughter. But treat her well. She is only a two year old..”
“What are you talking about?” Stormfrost asked. “For one thing, I’m a yearling.”
“Yesterday was your birthday,” Clearwing said. “But let’s not dawdle. Crystalcloud, will you do the honors?” A strong, white mare with bright green wings, the color of fresh grass, stepped forward. Stormfrost knew her at once to be her dam. Crystalcloud smiled at her.
“Raise your wings and open your heart,” she said. Stormfrost raised her wings and thought of all her strife and all her honors. She thought of Raincloud, who had nursed her since birth. She thought of Ashroot, who had given her advice. But most of all, she thought of Flamefire, who risked his life for her. Crystalcloud smiled at her, and a roiling, black, dark thing came out of her chest, screaming with a horrible sound. Crystalcloud wrapped it in some gleaming light, and its screaming stopped, and the dread that was always in Stormfrost disappeared. She knew at once she was free. She flew a little bit, enjoying her freedom that had never been total before. Flamefire joined her above.
“Will you be my mate when we’re older?” he asked with a weanling’s shyness.
“Of course,” Stormfrost said coolly. Clearwing and Crystalcloud flew up next to them. “We will take you home,” Clearwing said. And just like that, Stormfrost was in Sun Herd. Alone. She was worried that Clearwing, Crystalcloud, and Flamefire had abandoned her, but soon they appeared beside her, the Ancestors looking ethereal. She knew it was time to say goodbye. She gave a hug with her wings to all three of them. And then they were gone, even Flamefire. But she knew they would come back. She wasn’t alone. She would remember that forever.