Braeburn At The End Of The World · 5:09pm
So I was reading a story (Spike the Selfless, by flutterdash1) and one line in particular caught my eye. It's not a spoiler or anything, just a particular detail of the premise as stated in the description.
it was the Dragons who declared war and burnt Appleoosa to the ground.
And I read Family by NTSTS a long time ago and its characterization of Braeburn and his feelings about Appleloosa and what it means to him really stuck with me, so... this happened. It's not even five hundred words, but it's the most complete idea I've typed up in a while and I thought I should put it somewhere so that people who are interested in my writing can see it.
Braeburn's world was burning.
He'd been here when Appleloosa was founded. He hadn't helped with the first building, but he'd been here long before the town charter- before the salt pub or the orchard or even the train station. He'd have walked here on his own four hooves if he didn't have supplies to contribute- in the end he'd had to split the fare for a pegasus chariot with Red Delicious and Golden Delicious to get themselves and their provisions this far out in the desert. The twins hadn't stuck it out in the end; they'd decided they were needed back in Trottingham. But Braeburn had stayed. He'd grown up making annual visits to Ponyville to see Cousin Mac and Cousin AJ and Granny Smith, and always wanted to hear Granny's stories of the pioneer days, her parents staking their claim at the edge of the Everfree and working against all the odds, to make that patch of land something new, something worthwhile, something they could call home.
That was all he'd wanted. To make something worthwhile. To make something everypony would value. To be like Great-Grandpa Appleseed, striking out into the unknown and changing it with his own four hooves.
He hadn't let himself think about it until now. The fire had been spreading too fast and there were too many ponies who needed evacuating. It had gotten easier at some point- he'd looked around and seen others helping as well, and the work had gone faster after that- but he hadn't thought about that either, not until everypony was safe outside of town, away from the flames.
Now it was hitting him.
There weren't enough pegasi in Appleloosa to put together a weather brigade and try to quench the blaze, and even if there had been there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The orchard they'd worked so hard to plant had had to get by on earth pony magic alone- good healthy soil and love and hope. The orchard was burning too. By the morning there would be nothing here but ash.
"Braeburn?" Someone nudged him, gently, with a limb that was too small, more like being poked with a stick than patted by another pony.
He turned to look and saw one of the last faces he'd been expecting to see. "Strongheart? What're you doin'- I mean, it's not- ..." Words failed him. They rarely did, but it was that kind of night.
"We came when we saw the light from the fire," the young buffalo explained. "We thought that we could help, but it had spread too far and too fast, and it was all we could do to help the ponies who were trapped. Do you... do you think there is anything we can do?"
A tear welled up in his eye as he looked away from the flames, his uncertain expression meeting Strongheart's own. "I... I don't know."
... I can write characters who aren't in the Apple Family, too. I swear!