Fluttershy was flitting around the Ponyville library hoping to get Spike’s attention. The baby dragon had come out of the closet and was very close to abusing the Pegasus’s good nature by being rude and ignoring her at every possible turn. He had spent the past half an hour rummaging through Twilight’s books, looking for something…anything that would help him control whatever dark impulses he now knew were deep in his soul.
‘Come on, hundreds of books, some older than this town and not a thing about Dragons…how did she raise me?’ Spike thought
“Spike, I really think you should talk to Twilight, she’s been worried sick about you” Fluttershy hovered over the small Dragon as she spoke.
“Nope” Spike did his best emulation of Big Macintosh and continued tearing through Twilight’s impressive collection of tomes.
Fluutershy was not an unobservant pony: she spent a lot of her time being the quite one who watched, and she could pick up nuances of her friends behaviour. Right now while on the surface Spike was being rude (dreadfully so in fact), Fluttershy could see in his eyes when he made eye contact that he was terrified of what had happened, the slight shakes of desperation in his hands as he looked through the books.
“Oh Spike, please just calm down” Fluttershy tried to put a hoof on his shoulder, only to have it smacked away.
“CALM DOWN? I nearly killed you and Rainbow, heavens knows what would have happened to Rarity if she hadn’t managed to talk me down” Spike had worked himself up and was wound tighter than a pocket watch.
“And…Twilight…Fluttershy, I turned on my own mother, family. Never again” Spike got that look in his eyes and began sobbing again.
Fluttershy liked Spike, most everyone in Ponyville did (up until his episode that is) but few took the time to realise things: he was a Dragon, and if Fluttershy was right, he was fast approaching adolescence which explained his infatuation with Rarity and his protectiveness of Twilight. She was no expert on Dragons, but had seen enough abandoned animals that engaged in behaviours outside their norm due to a lack of their parent’s teachings.
“Spike, I don’t know how you’re feeling at the moment, but Twilight raised you as best she could. No parent is perfect…just ask Rainbow, but I promise that Twilight would never let this happen again” Fluttershy tried to give the most inspirational speech she could, but Spike seemed to have fallen asleep, exhausted from his irregular feeding and bad moods.
“Oh dear” Fluttershy sighed and picked Spike up, and flew him to his basket beside Twilight’s bed.
The yellow Pegasus really felt badly for Spike; each of them had once been forced to act someway that was in some way anathema to their very core. She could only imagine that for Spike it had been worse; where they had been cursed by a great magic user, Spike’s fall had been a cruel trick of nature. As Fluttershy tucked him in she saw he began to struggle and thrash as if in the throes of a nightmare. To ease him to rest, Fluttershy began singing a song that her mother Feather Light had sung with her father Stealth Stream.
“Don’t lose you way, with each passing day…” she began the song, almost at a whisper but as she grew in confidence it grew just a little louder.
“If we hold on together….” She finished the verse early when she saw Spike’s breathing was regular.
Unbeknownst to Fluttershy, Twilight had returned to the library and heard her sing. At first Fluttershy felt terribly embarrassed but as soon as she saw Twilight’s face, her embarrassment left her. Without a word the lavender mare trotted up and nuzzled Fluttershy as a silent thank you. Using her magic, Twilight levitated Spike onto her bed before joining him, curling around him as a mother would her foal.
“Good night” Fluttershy spoke gently and quietly left the library, reflecting as she went.
This healing process was sorely needed but would take time, possibly longer than any of the other upsets that had occurred between the friends and longer still to mend the rift between Spike and Ponyville proper. In her heart though, Fluttershy believed her old lullaby and that it would be alright as long as they held on, together, like a family should.
Luna had quickly departed the fort, just after sun up in fact. She took the casual raising of the sun as an indicator that Celestia either supported what she was doing or wasn’t inclined at this stage to stop her. Allowing herself to tap into the magic currents that engulfed their world, Luna flew as fast as starlight, passing over the Gryphon Territories in mere minutes and soon felt herself growing hot: the Fire Plains was not an ironic or fanciful name.
The ground itself was sand so hot it was red, coarse and if it whipped up into a decent storm, could shave the feathers of even the deftest of Pegasus. There were great rocky spires dotting the land scape, atop each of them stood black Dragons with gold adornments: they were the armies of the Dragon lands, standing watch over their slumbering brethren. They allowed Luna to pass unchallenged: they remembered her magical signature and knew she was no threat.
‘Now if I remember rightly, there should be….’ Luna was interrupted by brown streak passing her.
A solid looking Elder Dragon in dark brown scales now hovered in front of her. It took her a few moments but catching sight of a scar on the creature’s left front leg made a name jump from the haze of her memories before Nightmare Moon.
“Dervish” Luna whispered as the Elder Dragon’s maw twisted upwards into a smile.
“I had heard you were back. Although I cannot fathom what you want here at the moment” his voice was deep and smooth.
“I am here to see Kerastran, anything beyond that is not your concern” Luna tried to fly past the imposing Elder Dragon but found herself blocked.
“I cannot allow that” Dervish’s eyes narrowed.
“You are Kerastran’s consort, not her minder. I will see my old friend if she will have me, and I’ll hear the rejection from her own maw” Luna began to glow with magic.
This was less of a threat with Dragons, like all old beings they had long grown resistant to magical attacks. However, as with many things that simply aren’t seen, many ponies forget that Luna was the one who taught the ponies the arts of war so that they may defend their borders and she had not forgotten.
“Even after a thousand years of stagnation, still some fight in you. Good” Dervish spread his wings, tempests of the searing hot dust gathering beneath them.
With a crack of lighting, the bout was on. Luna summoned a cavalcade of lightning bolts down on her opponent but the Elder Dragon used his spines as lightning rods and in a deft move, used his own magic arc it down his back and throw it out of his tail at Luna
Luna dodged the impending attack, using her magic to lift two boulders and fling them at high speed at Dervish’s wings, the source of most of his special powers. The mighty Dragon however was more agile than his size would imply and with a twist that would impress the Wonderbolts, dived from their path.
“Losing your touch, Blade Mare?” Dervish taunted as he barrelled forwards at Luna.
“HARDLY” she bellowed back in finest Royal Canterlot voice.
This time Luna was ready for him, using a basic telekinesis spell she waited until he was nearly on top of her and then flung him with her magic. The momentum of his forward charge, coupled with the precise nature of Luna’s throw sent Dervish barrelling into an unused spire with a sickening but also satisfying crunch.
Luna’s triumph was short lived as Dervish stuck his head again, a savage grin on his face. Luna narrowed her eyes; this one had always been a bit of a masochist and loved his bloodlust a little too much. Before Dervish could rev himself up further however, a long beam of ice flew between them. Luna turned, and in that instant she felt her breath taken from her.
Kerastran was a majestic being; her whole body was coiled around the largest spire in the Fire Plains with her head resting atop the spire to create the famed Nest Mountain. Her under body was black as the night sky, with flecks of red and orange every hundred feet or so. The top half of her long, serpentine body was a deep purple, alabaster spines ran from the tip of her tail all the way up her body, peaking two thirds of the way up and then getting smaller as they reached her head.
The most striking feature of the Matriarch was her head; a great crown like crest, five sweeping horns made of a different precious stone adorned her. Rubies in the centre, Sapphire and Diamond either side of that and Emeralds and Topaz at the outer ends. In the centre of her head was a great Amethyst stone. This was all the more impressive since they were many miles from the mountain and yet all the features of the High Mother Dragon were visible.
“Must I put you two in corners?” a surprisingly soft voice in their heads asked with just a hint of humour
“My Queen, she was intent on disturbing your rest” Dervish answered verbally, assured that the other Dragon would hear him.
“I assure you Dervish, I would not have minded had I known it was Luna. Go and relax in a steam pool. I wish to speak to my old friend” the great creature turned her head, both eyes gleaming argent.
Suitably chastised, Dervish shook his great head and flew off in search of game or another fight. Luna gently flew towards the towering leviathan that was Kerastran. As she got closer, far more details became noticeable: her body was almost an ecosystem on its own, with vegetation, rocky outcrops, even what looked like a lake running around her middle coils. Parts of her body were also encrusted with more gems than any pony could use in a lifetime. Once Luna was within a few meters she found herself becoming warm and attuned herself accordingly, chuckling that she had forgotten Kerastran’s blood was hot as magma.
“Matriarch Kerastran, how do you fare this day?” Luna asked, returning to her flowery language in the presence of an equal.
“No need to be so formal Luna, we are friends after all” Kerastran tilted her giant head, dust and small rocks falling from a surface somewhere.
Luna opened her mouth to say something, but suddenly felt the penetrating gaze of Kerastran on her. The old Dragon was psychic and always spoke in the minds of those she met with; actually opening her mouth and speaking would be loud enough to deafen most mortal beings. Also, like most mothers she was unnervingly perceptive.
“I…I am not here to discuss myself” Luna had landed on one of Kerastran’s outstretched clawed hands, which was almost as big as mansion floor.
“You were always a terrible liar, Luna” the old Dragon gently lifted Luna up to eye height, two large and glowing silver orbs locked with Luna’s green ones.
Suddenly the moon Princess faltered, tears coming unbidden to her eyes. It was hard, being around ponies that for years have been told stories of you. Even worse were the almost comical variations that occurred. Twilight Sparkle’s tomes made her out to be malevolent force of nature, bringing destruction and death wherever she turned her gaze and promising a night eternal. Popular culture and even tradition turned her into some bizarrely inept villain from a children’s story that threatened to gobble children without offerings of candy. The worst thing was, she could not remember if the truth was worse or not.
“I let a great darkness overcome me, Old Mother. I became evil, spiteful, selfish and murderous and while I have been told why, I cannot remember myself why” Luna gave Kerastran the best explanation she could.
“I cannot offer you absolution Luna, powers greater than our own will bring balance for what you have done…as they will against me for the trespasses of my children” there was a pause as Kerastran nudged Luna with her giant snout.
“But I believe you said you were here to discuss a matter not of your own, now, what was it?” her lips pulled up into a smile, rows of pointy teeth showing.
“Yes…there is a young Dragonling in Ponyville and he has been without the guidance of his kind since birth and he has had a terrible encounter with his own instincts” Luna paused to collect her thoughts on the matter.
“Why seek me? There are Elder Dragons and Arch Mages that would know enough to help” Kerastran asked.
“Twilight Sparkle endured much for me, she found the Elements of Harmony, faced my power alone for a time. Then she and her friends freed me from myself. I have also learned that Twilight has been a bright star in Celestia’s life while I was gone and still is” Luna looked up again at the glowing silver eyes of the Matriarch.
“And never, has she asked anything in return but to remain Celestia’s student: a position she won on her own merits. I wish to only show her that I am grateful for everything she has done” Luna finished.
Kerastran seemed to mull the idea over, ascending up higher in the sky above the plume of dust that covered a lot of the Fire Plains. Rearing back, she took a deep breath of air and gently sank back down and looked at Luna.
“I will agree on one condition” Kerastran stated.
“Name it” Luna replied quickly.
“There is a small, matter that I would ask you take off my hands” Kerastran’s voice took on a mischievous tone not unlike Celestia’s.
Suddenly, a blur of green and gold tackled Luna out of the enormous hand. Luna landed on one of Kerastran’s coils with less pain than might have normally occurred as she had activated a bouncing spell. As she shook her head, a very familiar cawing sound made her freeze.
‘Could it be?’ Luna dared not hope and whipped her head around.
Sitting there wagging its tail like a puppy, was a green and gold Wyvern: a non-Sapient subspecies of Dragon that could be tamed with patience, practice and a level of magic to keep them from getting too dominant in the relationship. The creature appeared to be smiling at her, its large blue eyes blinking from either side of its long, narrow snout while shifting its head around a lot. The haze remained until it bounded over and punted her with its own head and then it all became clear and her eyes widened and a foal like squeal of happiness thundered out.
“ARCHIE!” Luna leapt up and pulled the rambunctious creature into a bone crushing hug; Archie responded in kind by wrapping Luna in his wings and winding his long neck around her. Luna pulled her head back long enough to look her pet in the eye again
“I missed you”