An old pegasus stood on a cliff, overlooking the vast meadow below him. None of the grazing pegasi in the field below didn't notice him watching the herd. None of them flew to the cliff to greet him or to ask for him to tell a story of old. The pegasus was fine with being alone. He was used to being alone. Almost all of his close friends, including his mate, had died, leaving him to wait for the coming day with only a few to comfort him.
A fierce wind tugged at his feathers and he tucked his dull black wings that no longer caught the sun to his sides. His chipped hoofs dug into the grassy ground.
"The day is coming soon," a raspy voice said behind him. "The pegasi are becoming anxious, Star."
Star turned to greet his old friend, Dewberry. He stepped closer to the pinto and nudged her with his nose. "Did you bring Brakentail with you?"
"She didn't bring me! I brought myself," Brakentail snapped from behind them. He slowly trotted closer to Star, taking every step with upmost caution, a frown plastered onto his aging face. He winced as the wind ruffled his orange feathers. "You should know better than to say that, Star. I only come if I want."
Dewberry laughed. It was an old, raspy laugh and sounded like crows whispering. "Star does know better; he's just saying that to get on your dying nerves!"
"Don't make fun of my age, Dewberry," Brackentail sniffed haughtily. "You are about two years older than us."
Star placed a wing on each of his bickering friends. "Let's wait to talk about such stuff when we are older. There are more urgent matters to discuss."
"Urgent, he says! What is more urgent than us dying before the foal comes?" Dewberry rattled her wings. "The foal needs one of us to guide it!"
"How do we even know if there will be another black foal?" Brackentail grumbled. "The herds have already been united!"
"I say we ask the ancestors about it; if they say there won't be another black foal, we can just hurry up and die. My joints are becoming creakier than ever. Let's ask them if the foal will be born," Dewberry rasped.
"I wouldn't mind seeing Poppyblossom today. Maybe she will answer us." Brackentail sighed wistfully at the thought of his mate that died several years ago. "I miss the smell of her feathers."
"Bumblewind hasn't visited me in a long time." Dewberry's eyes began to water and she breathed in deeply to stop the tears.
Star sighed as he thought of Morningleaf. Her bright aqua feathers, her mischievous brown eyes; he missed her deeply. Even though she had lived a long life, Star wished she was here with him now. "There will be another black foal. It's a new moon tonight, but the night is bright as if it was a full moon. The Hundred Year Star has shown itself in the sky. The foal will come soon and he will survive through birth. The Starfire I once owned tells me so."
Brackentail narrowed his eyes skeptically, but didn't utter a word of doubt.
Dewberry was the opposite. "I've known you long enough to learn that your words are as true as your heart, Star, but are you sure about this?"
Star laughed. "You are always uncertain of everything, Dewberry."
Brackentail nickered in amusement and Dewberry shot his a glare.
"If you really want to, Brackentail, we can talk about our flaws. You are more stubborn than a hors-"
"All right, all right!" Brackentail neighed with a flick of his brown tail. "Let's get back to the urgent things! What herd do you even think the foal will be born in?"
"Well, Nightwing was born in Jungle Herd," Star began. "Then there was that black foal in Snow Herd that died at-"
"Get to the point, Star," Dewberry grumbled. "It's getting cold out and I don't feel like walking down back to the meadow in the dark."
"Can't you fly anymore? Are your wings finally giving out? Or is the weight of those extra pounds you've been putting on since last spring to hard to lift with your wings?" Brackentail teased.
Dewberry flicked her tail at him. "And why don't I see you flying about lately, Brackentail? Are you scared of plummeting back to earth if you smack into a bird? Or is the heights getting to you? I thought you weren't afraid of anything."
"Why-" Brackentail started but Star interrupted him.
"My point is that a black foal has been born to each herd. All herds have had an equal amount of black foals."
"I never thought of that." Brackentail gazed thoughtfully into the distance as he scratched his chin with a wingtip.
"You never think of anything," Dewberry grumbled under her breath.
Brackentail payed no notice to her rude remark.
"What I was saying," Star continued with a warning glance at Dewberry, "is that the black foal could be born to any herd. In fact, it could be even born to Echofrost's and Hazlewind's herd, if they are still alive."
"The ancestors would have told us if their mission failed. They couldn't have flown all the way to the Landwalker territory for nothing." Dewberry flicked her wings.
"True, true," Brackentail commented.
"That is probably the only time you have agreed with me in your whole life," Dewberry snorted.
"Well. There was that one time..... uh..... when........ ummmmmmm...... I'm not saying I'm agreeing with you right now, Dewberry; I just can't remember a time I agreed with you."
Dewberry neighed in laughter. "How about now? You are more stubborn than a horse, Brackentail."
"If you two can't do more than bicker," Star sighed "I call this meeting over. We will meet again to discuss the foal three days from now."
"If we are still alive by then," Dewberry called as she made her way back to the meadow. "You are only 12 days from 100."
Once Star had trotted back to the meadow, he walked to a far edge of the meadow to fall asleep. As he tucked his wings close to his body to escape the wind, he found himself staring at the Hundred Year Star, that grew brighter every day. It was such a long time ago when he had been a foal, playing with Morningleaf. He missed her so much.
A tear rolled down his cheek and fell into the soft green grass. Star half wished a flower would grow in its place as he settled into the grass. 'It's better this way,' he thought as his eye lids became heaver and heaver. 'I have done all I could for the herds.'
"Except for training the black foal," a voice whispered in the wind.
Star lifted his head. "Morningleaf?" he called into the wind.
"The Black Foal is coming, Star," the voice, unmistakably Morningleaf's, answered back. "He is coming. You must be prepared."