The first thing that comes to most ponies when discussing Private Pansy is the famous line "Pansy is a timid and shy thing." Therefore, it is only natural that modern ponies think of her as a weak, indecisive and ineffective pony. However, the trouble with studying history is that it is all to easy to impose modern conventions and standards to historical events and ponies, at the expense of things such as the original values of the individuals involved and more importantly the context of the event in question. In the case of the aforementioned quote, it is taken from a letter from General Mutton to Commander Hurricane about his daughter Pansy during a campaign against Diamond Dog Raiders along the Manehattan River Valley border.
"While your adoration of your daughter with the late General is admirable, even you cannot deny that Pansy is a timid and shy thing. She spends far to much time and effort on mundane concerns that have no place in the Junta's military. When she needs to focus on wiping out these curs, she's maintaining communication and resupply lines and monitoring unit positions. Commander, daughter or no, such wasteful and irrelevant concerns are a drain on this army, and quite frankly very unbecoming of a pegasi!"
Clearly Pansy, in comparison to the rest of the pegasi of the Junta, was not the most 'courageous' of ponies.
Born to then-Captain Hurricane and General Wind Whistler of Commander Sullamander's Chiefs-of-Staff, Pansy could not have had better fortune in the station of her birth in the Junta. Furthermore, unlike many foals of the Junta, Pansy not only knew, but had a strong relationship with her sire. At the time of her birth in 32 BW, Hurricane had been dishonorably discharged from the military and condemned to a lifetime as a gladiator, a lifetime that Sullamander had hoped would be brief. But in spite of that, Wind Whistler braved the threat of drawing her commander's wrath and refused to abandon her lover, shelling out the money needed to spend as much time as they could manage together as a family. Later on, she would pay a small fortune on their daughter's birthdays so that Hurricane could leave the coltosseum for a day to play and be with his daughter. Given Hurricane's position as a soldier and a gladiator and his own personality, it should shock nopony that Hurricane had daughters other than Pansey, but there is no question that she was his favorite out of all of his children. It could be because that he had the opportunity to get to know her as a filly, or the fact that she was Wind Whistler's foal, but the result is the same in that she was the apple of his eye, as seen in this excerpt from a letter to a friend.
'I never had the chance to know my own father, so when Breezy [Hurricane's pet name for General Wind Whistler] asked me to play with this little bundle of blues and pinks, I had no idea what to do. In all honestly, I was scared. Scared I tell you! I've slain scores of Diamond Dogs and vicious beasts in the field and in the arena. And here I was, petrified of a tiny filly. But she looked up into my eyes, with this open expression full of love, without any wants or desires, grinning a toothless grin as she patted my snout. And I felt this strange feeling in my chest, and hot tears were running down my face. I've over-heard the ground-pounders speak of a father's love for his children. I've always tossed it aside as more ground-pounder nonsense. However... I think in this instance, they may be on to something.
'Honestly! I find myself, when out of the arena, thinking up activities to do with her the next time Wind Whistler brings little Pansey to me. I've already taken up cloud-crafting (anything to pass the time, am I right?), and just now I was sketching out a cloud doll. A cloud doll! A doll just as big as she'll be in a few months, shaped like a steer with wings, and she'll play with it, wrestle with it, and tumble with it to her hearts content.'
For the first decade and a half of Pansy's life, this was her norm, being raised by her mother with only a few spare moments with her father, when the two weren't watching him fight for his life in the arena. At the age of ten, Pansy was enrolled in the Celestine Military Academy to begin her training as a soldier and, due to her who her mother was, her education to become an officer.
In the academy, Pansy made exemplary scores on her exams, and her teachers had nothing but praise for her academic work. However, even at such a young age the filly made it clear that she was not quite up to the standard viciousness that all pegasi were expected to posses. While she performed admirably in simulated combat against dummies, during a spar she proved sub-par, never giving her full ability against her opponents. This is not to say that she allowed her opponents to beat her. Anecdotes survive of how she put all of her attackers in a 3-on-1 match in the medicae. Rather, she simply didn't try her hardest. From the records from the academy, there was much talk of expelling the young mare from the school, something that had never happened to any student in its 2500-year history. If it weren't for Wind Whistler's intervention as one of the Chiefs-of-Staff, Pansey would have become a pariah and shame to the Junta.
However, when a swarm of Wyvrns attacked Celestine in 19 BW to escape their cooling home territory, Pansy proved to be every bit a warrior as her classmates, killing a number of the flying lizards at the main gate all alone. Accounts vary, with some listing her kill-count being around four to being as high as twenty-nine. Either way, the young mare became a hero of the academy and all talk of giving her the hoof was silenced. Sadly, this act of heroism was not enough to turn around her combat grades, and when she graduated two years later, she was the only one in her class, and in fact one of the very few in the history of the school, to not receive a commission as an officer. Therefore, she was enlisted into the government as a Private, which in the grand scheme of the Stratocracy, amounted to little more than an aid to a lieutenant.
But then again, one popular theory among historians is that Pansy's lack of promotion was politically motivated, orchestrated by Sullamander in petty revenge for her actions during the Wyvrn attack.
When the attack was at its worst, Sullamander took a gamble and released the gladiators to supplement the defending armies. When the threat was largely broken and all that was left would be mopping up the stragglers, Sullamander sent out orders to the Academy students that the gladiators were rebelling and needed to be put down swiftly and violently. Anypony familiar with Sullamander's rule and her methods of operation, as many serving in the Junta would have been, would know her idea of a 'quiet assassination' when they saw it. Clearly she wanted a specific stallion dead, and Hurricane was her only logical target.
However, the students of the Academy were practically brainwashed from day one that Sullamander's orders were law. If she said jump, they were expected to ask 'how high.' If she told a student to kill her friend standing right beside her, that student was to ask for the preferred method of execution. Furthermore, the students were deputized by Sullamander as temporary majors in command of the army, and the punishment for disobeying a direct order from anypony higher-ranked than a colonel in an emergency (which the attack undoubtedly was) was death. Sullamander was nothing if not an opportunist. If she could not allow the highly popular Hurricane to be killed in the arena, then his death while putting down a rebellion would be just fine. Fortunately, she could not count on the love and loyalty a daughter could have for her father, and how those two things would motivate her.
When she heard the order, Pansy is said to have told her fellow students to belay it. The firmness and resoluteness with which she said it had an effect on her classmates, who were struck dumb, stunned into inaction. This bought Pansy enough time to fly to the central plaza, the great meeting place of Celestine where the Commander traditionally delivered her speeches to the masses. It was here that the gladiators had gathered during the attack to defend the Commander's Barracks. Flying above the amassed warriors, and her father, Pansy ordered them to stand down and return to the coltoseum, and to prepare for the games that would be put on in celebration of the day's victory. Without a word, the gladiators dropped their weapons and did as she told them.
In a shocking move, a single mare who had barely earned her cutie mark, and had no real position in the army, totally subverted the orders of the Commander. Normally she would have been killed for such insubordination, but Wind Whistler quickly spun the event as her daughter recognizing a hasty order based on a chaotic and confusing situation, and taking charge to prevent a needless bloodbath, thus pulling any legal standing Sullamander had out from under her, forcing her to begrudgingly congratulate Pansy rather than punish her. After that day, the true strength of Sullamander's hold over the army was known, and suddenly all of the resentment that the citizens of the Junta had for her was vindicated. A split was also apparent in the Chiefs-of-Staff as a result of Wind Whistler's blatant disregard for Sullamander's wishes. It is here that many historians identify as one of the events that lead-up to the Lake Trot Crisis.
In the year 16 BW, Private Pansy fought alongside both her mother and father in the Lake Trot Crisis, leading a platoon of soldiers in the final assault on the Commander's Barracks. Sadly, in spite of her training, her skills and her parentage, Pansy was still a youth, and so had not yet been properly conditioned to combat. This flaw lead to Wind Whistler's mortal wounding by Sullamander. In a rage, the young mare, along with her father, double-teamed the tyrant and killed her, but it was to late to save her mother. Wind Whistler's death, it is assumed, played a large role in shaping Pansey's future. She would never rise above the rank of Private, denying a single promotion above it, even when her own father offered one.
During her time after graduating from the Academy, Pansy met Armor Fastener Second Class Shield Skin, the latest in a long line of armor-smiths, and the two would become lifelong friends and confidants for the other. Few records exist that detail what exactly they discussed, but the few letters that survive show a strong bond full of trust and mutual respect. Shield Skin did not care who Pansy's parents were, and Pansy had no delusions concerning rank and position, unlike most graduates of the Academy. Among the topics that show up in their letters is the nature of the Junta, and Pansy's place in it, with Pansy expressing dissatisfaction with serving in the Junta's army. But sadly, there was nothing for it, and so for nearly six years, Pansey was nothing more than a private, content to stand guard at all hours of the night, running errands for every officer in the Junta, until one spring day in 11 BW.
Commander Hurricane's virility and almost supernatural magnetism to mares was no secret, and there was no better example than in the fact that, one right after the other, each of Hurricane's Seconds would become pregnant by the end of their first year serving at his side. Finally, in 11 BW, the Chiefs-of-Staff had had enough, and so used an old and rarely used power of theirs to appoint a Second for him. The list of criteria that the Cheifs were interested in boiled down to a single deciding factor that overrode all others: 'mares that Hurricane would be unwilling to lay with.' At the end of the day, there was one mare that all agreed on to both perform her duties competently and be to unattractive a target for Hurricane's eye was none other than Pansy.
"Shield Skin. It's horrible. This morning I woke up a simple private with no prospects of promotion. This evening? Second! Damn my father's loins! I don't know the first thing about performing such a powerful position! And from the looks of the soldiers around the Chiefs and I, I'm quite sure that saying no would mean my death, to Tartaurus with the consequences."
By the end of the year, Hurricane was sending scouting parties into the wilderness to look for a new land after the River Valley became a frozen wasteland. With the founding of Pegasopolis, Hurricane sent his daughter to the new capitol to rule until the transition of the government to their new home was complete. Surprisingly, Private Pansy proved to be an effective administrator, running Pegasopolis like a well-oiled machine. Under her command, maintaining supply chains and channels of communication took priority over personal glory, and because of this, the completion of the new cloud city was shortened from some sixty years to seven, with the final cloud being put in place in the year 2 BW. However, Pansy was still not satisfied with how her life in the Junta was progressing. Instead, she found contentment from a much more down to earth source.
In the year 10 BW, before the Shouting Congress, Pansy was injured in an attempt to dismantle one of the wild storms that had grown more common in the River Valley. She crash landed in the Hyracotherium Republic, more specifically the barn of a simple Earth Pony peasant named Trencher. The exact events are a common source of speculation in literature discussing this part of Pansy's life, but the stallion braved the potential wrath of the pegasus to nurse her wounds and share what little food her could spare with her. For a month the two remained in the tight quarters of his home, waiting out the storm until conditions improved enough for Pansey to return to the Junta. In the meantime, Hurricane was frantic, sending out so many wings of pegasi to find his daughter that the Kingdom of Unicorns and the Republic below were genuinely concerned about the possibility that the Junta was preparing for an invasion. When scouts returned with information concerning how Pansy was found living with an Earth Pony stallion, Hurricane gathered the Chiefs-of-Staff and flew to the surface to gather his daughter.
"The tension in the small hut was thick as a thunderhead when the Commander bucked the door open. From the expression on his face while looking at the stallion who stood over the Second, redressing a sprained wing, it was a small miracle that the young stallion did not burst into flames. With a gruff tone, he ordered the Second to his side. Quickly she did so, and as the Commander was about to leave, the Second asked about a reward for tending to his daughter in her time of distress. It was obvious to all of us that the Commander detested the other stallion as only a parent could. However, his love for the Second negated whatever instinctive urge he was suppressing.
"After a few moments sizing up the stallion, the Commander decried that he be exempt from being forced to give up a third of his food to the Junta, rather only giving a quarter. He then ordered us to return to the Junta. Most of the cheifs did so, but the Second and I lingered a few dozen feet about the surface, watching the Commander as he trotted up to the stallion. The Commander exchanged a few words with the Earth Pony before tossing a punch into his face, flooring him. The Second gasped in sympathy. I thought the violence was superfluous, but at the same time I could not fault the Commander. I turned the Second away from the scene, and the two of us turned and flew upwards to the Junta."
-Gen. Fire Brand, Chronicler of the Junta
Not long afterward, the Shouting Congress came and failed, prompting the three tribes to each seek out a new land, with Pansy being sent to lead the Pegasi expedition. Clearly Hurricane sent his daughter away, at least in part, to keep her far away from Trencher. However, it turned out to be for naught, because Trencher was with the Hyracotherium's own expedition, this time as a pioneer farmer. Officially, none of the three tribes knew of the other two's existence in what would become Equestria until year 0. However, a few scattered documents and stories exist to suggest that at least a few members of each might have come in contact with the others during those ten years. Nothing was done for so long due to the fact that none of them were in any position to take action when so much effort was being directed to founding their new nations and building their new capitols. Furthermore, the contact was mostly amongst scouts, who may have rattled sabers or exchanged words, but other than that nothing of significance happened.
By some lucky strike of chance, Trencher and Pansy ran into each other, and the two began a secret love affair right under everyponies' noses. It was during this time that Pansy evidently found something that she felt contentment with: farming. In a series of letters between her and Shield Skin that has survived long enough to be published (under the title of 'The Debate'), Pansy expressed a desire to resign from the Junta at the earliest convenience and live on the surface with her lover as a farmer's wife, running far away from everypony if need be. Shield's response is one of the happy rare instances where the phrase translates literally from the Ancient Equestrian to the Modern.
"Are you out of your bucking mind?!"
In spite of the repeated pleas from her old friend both via letter and in person, Pansy continued to visit Trencher for extended periods of time, and by year 0 she was pregnant with Plow Blade, her son by Trencher, whose birth proved to be the spark that ignited the powder keg that was Pre-Unification Equestria and starting the Winter War, and thus the Great Warming.
After the Warming and the formation of Equestria, Pansy made good on her intentions and resigned from the military to marry Trencher and help him on their small farm just to the west of what would eventually be home to Ponyville, where she largely fades from the historical record, working weather alongside her daughter on the farm, dying of natural causes in her sleep in 24 AW at the age of 56.
With the death of his only child by his first love, Hurricane was distraught, once again locking himself in his study in the Hideaway for nearly a week after the funeral, letting only Clover inside to comfort him. Pansy proved to be the model for the Post-Warming pegasus, a mare who focused not on martial prowess, but on serving her community. While true the perception of Pansy being a weakling and timid leaf lingers, her more far-reaching legacy is the society of Modern Equestria, where a pony can find love in any one of the other races.