The Power of Freedom

by Greatazuredragon


XXI - Sow the Wind

Sow the Wind

As the light of the moon started to shine through the eastern windows of his office, Colonel Shake Spear re-read the missive the two odd ponies had brought him, through a wall of all things, for the third time. Anxiety and incredulity battled for supremacy within his mind as he pondered what Sergeant Fierce Breeze had written.

“These are some very serious, and very incredible affirmations you have here,” he commented with fake nonchalance as he placed the missive down, hiding his worry with the ease of long practice. “Very serious and incredible, indeed.”

“We are aware, sir! But they are nothing but the truth, sir!” the azure-coated pegasus immediately stated as he stood at a picture perfect parade rest. His green companion, on the other hoof, seemed to be far more interested in examining the colonel’s spear, now once more resting at its holster by his table, with a faint air of approval. As he should! That masterwork had cost him quite a bit, and more favors than he wanted to admit, to get it done just right!

Internally shaking the random thought away, Shake Spear re-read the missive for a fourth time, perhaps vaguely hoping that would change what was written within, but he had no such luck. With a tired sigh, he put it down on his desk and looked at the two odd pegasi.

“Well, if this is true, then we now have found ourselves in quite a pickle.” He could easily believe that Lieutenant Wind Shriek would act like a craven and abandon his troops. He had had the displeasure of meeting the officer before, after all. And even if he hadn’t, one only had to look at how he had been stuck as a lieutenant for well over a decade, despite having a colonel for an older brother of all things, to ascertain his capabilities and general competency level. But the rest of the missive, now that was the problem, wasn’t it? “And that’s the question now, isn’t it?

“I remember Fierce Breeze. She was a bright and extremely competent mare. I remember thinking that she would go far as I oversaw her go through basic training. But her word alone wouldn’t be enough, not for such wild claims,” he seriously stated as he tapped the missive with one hoof. An unknown threat to the whole of ponykind, numberless ice wraiths, a long lost Storm Caller? Yes, those claims were indeed hard to accept at face value. “So I do hope you have some proof with you, my dears. Or I fear things will get a little dicey.”

His eyes were now fixed on the green pegasus, who had finally deigned to pay him some attention. The same green pegasus who, if Sergeant Fierce Breeze could be trusted, possessed knowledge of the long since thought lost art of Storm Calling.

“The sergeant tells me that you are a Storm Caller, mister Link,” he calmly stated to the serenely waiting pegasus that apparently had never been a part of the Armada. Another thought that defied belief. “Would it be a bother to ask you for a demonstration of said skill?”

There were many wild claims being made right now. Wild claims that would have some very serious repercussions if proven true. And luckily, one of the wilder claims could easily be verified. And should it turn out to be true? Well now, things were bound to get quite interesting in the near future.

The green pony simply shrugged his wings in answer to the colonels’ request, gaining an aghast look from Wonder Bolt and a slightly amused one from Shake Spear. There were far too few ponies that were brave enough to forgo formality and act candid with a colonel, after all. The next moment, his amusement was traded by slight bafflement. As Link now had a flute on his hooves, and for the life of him Shake Spear could not tell from where the instrument had come.

Soon after, his emotions suffered another change, from baffled to surprised. For, as the green-coated pony started to play a melody that reminded the colonel of thunder echoing upon the open skies, a dark rain cloud slowly started to form inside his office.

“Well, I’ll say,” the cream-coated colonel found himself muttering, surprise now truly entrenched on his mind, but more than willing to make room for astonishment and awe.

The cloud kept growing and growing until it occupied a good third of his office. Link stopped the song and took a few steps to the side, so that he was no longer underneath the storm cloud, an action that was immediately followed by Wonder Bolt. The very next moment, it started to rain.

“By the great winds,” he exclaimed as he extended his hoof towards the rain that stopped about an inch away from his desk, and all the scrolls and paperwork found there. How very considerate on the Storm Caller’s part. And as the wet droplets of rain hit his outstretched hoof, Shake Spear could only conclude that this, no matter how unlikely, was indeed happening.

Thunder resounded within the room as his eyes finally moved away from the dark cloud and back towards the sergeant’s missive, the validity of which was now infinitely more likely than before.

The doors to his office were slammed open as several of his soldiers rushed into the room, undoubtedly attracted by the sudden sound of thunder now filling the entire area. They stood there, staring incredulously at the large storm cloud merrily floating in the middle of the room, in all likelihood wondering exactly how they had missed a team of weather pegasi carrying such a large cloud into the room. But Shake Spear paid them no mind as he re-read the missive a fifth and final time, mind awhirl with what this meant.

“Very well, with that out of the way, lets us proceed shall we?” he stated with fake nonchalance as he turned eyes now filled with steely determination towards Bolt and Link. “Tell me everything you know about those ice wraiths to the north, yes? Oh, and do tell me more about Wind Shriek and his brother’s actions, if you wouldn’t mind, my dears.”



As the caravan, new additions included, proceeded down the road before the sun had even properly risen, a massive brown-coated earth pony trotted along with a small irritated look on his muzzle.

Grunting in slight annoyance, Ganondorf beat down the irritating feeling that he now knew was caused by the thrice blasted Curse thrashing against its remaining bindings. The mere thought of the damned final parting gift from that sore loser of a dark god made his already sour mood even worse. That was not helped by the idiotic thing blasting sheer hate and anger his way willy-nilly with no prior warning.

“Is everything alright, Ganondorf?” Forest Blossom asked as she stopped by his side upon noticing he had stopped for a moment. A look of concern lingered upon her features as she looked at him with her big green eyes.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he reassured his apprentice with a wave of his hoof as he hit the metaphysical gathering of malice and wrath trapped within his soul with a mental blow that would shatter most beings in order to get it to shut up for a moment. “Just a slight annoyance, nothing to worry about.”

“Well, if you are sure,” the orange-coated mare uncertainly said as she gave him a strange look. Ganondorf merely gave a grunt in confirmation, mind already back at the problem at hoof: Demise’s fucking Curse.

Demise’s Curse was hatred made manifest, pure and simple. It was the metaphysical representation of the late, and unlamented, dark god’s eternal hatred towards basically everything in existence, his final ‘gift’ to the world at the moment of his passing. And, luckyhim, Ganondorf was the one that got burdened with carrying the whole mess in the end.

Another random spike of anger attempted to escape his control, only to be brutally beat back by the Wielder of Power’s indomitable will. Sure, during his early years the idiotic thing had influenced him far more than he would ever care to admit, pushing him to lash out and destroy without rhyme or reason at times. But that was then, and this was now.

Several centuries had passed since he had been under any danger of succumbing to the curse’s effects. Even without the seals and wards he had painstakingly placed during the long years of his existence to keep the stupid thing quiet, he could keep it contained and his mind free of its influence. But that didn’t mean it didn’t take some concentration and effort, or that it wasn’t a major pain in the flank to do so. It was a major annoyance, one that had to be dealt with, the sooner the better so that he could focus on more worthwhile things.

The next moment Zelda rushed past Ganondorf and Forest. The Princess weaved through the crowd of moving ponies, never stopping for even a moment as she solved one problem after another in order to make sure the caravan kept going forward as smoothly as possible. That little idiot was going to run herself ragged like that. Especially now that they couldn’t keep up with their spars, what with the need of keeping the caravan going as fast as possible.

Ganondorf snorted in irritation at that thought. A spar sounded great right about now. A good old bit of violence to help him vent his frustrations and aid the Wielder of Wisdom in winding down a little. But no, he could even hear the Princess rant if he even suggested such a thing. She would rant about how, due to the ice beasties attacking that earth pony village last night, they simply didn’t have the time for such frivolous pursuits, not if they wanted for the caravan to reach the Earth Villa unmolested, no matter how helpful said spar would be for his peace of mind and her stress levels.

As the last thought passed through his mind, for a brief moment Ganondorf hesitated as he briefly focused on a single word. Help.

The holy light the little princess could wield had extremely strong sealing capabilities, after all. He knew that from personal experience, having been on the receiving end of that annoying ability more times than he cared to remember. And there was no denying that that pesky little ability could be really helpful in putting the Curse back where it belonged.

The Wielder of Power pondered about the situation for a brief moment. Of maybe, just maybe, just an idle thought really, asking the Wielder of Wisdom for some help in regards to the stupidly persistent annoyance the idiotic gods had saddled him with without so much as a ‘by your leave’. Subduing and sealing it away would be infinitely easier and faster with her aid, after all.

Ganondorf walked beside Forest in silent contemplation for a moment as he weighed the option. A moment later, he swiftly tossed the idea aside with an annoyed huff.

He had contained the damned thing before without help, and could easily do so again. He had dealt with this issue for centuries by himself and never needed any aid from anyone. So why should that change now? There was no need to drag the little princess into something that she had no business sticking her nose into!

It would be extremely annoying; there was no doubt about that. But he could easily handle the annoyance, for he was not the Wielder of Power for nothing! He would deal with that cursed, beastly embodiment of hatred, beat it back, subdue it, and lock it back down into the deepest recesses of his soul to rot and be forgotten like it should’ve! There were no two ways about that! He would deal with this himself!

All it would take was time. Time and a good deal of annoyance and effort, but mostly time. And it wasn’t like he didn’t have plenty of that between keeping the caravan going and waiting for the wraiths to attack again.

Oh, sure. The thing would be doing its level best to try and influence his emotions, radiating anger and hatred every which way like a broken faucet. But it was not like he hadn’t long since learned how to make sure it couldn’t affect him directly. It would be a massive pain in the ass, but as long as he was careful his thoughts and emotions would remain his and free from its influence, all of the thrice damned Curse’s hatred simply passing by without truly affecting him before being dumped into the atmosphere like so much excess magic.

With a firm nod he made up his mind and proceeded to see if there was any way he could help to make the caravan go faster. The sooner the caravan reached its next stopping point the sooner he could start dealing with this pesky little annoyance properly.

All it would take was time.

And, as he trotted into the sea of ponies, Ganondorf paid no mind to the steadily dropping temperature or the small snowflakes that were now slowly falling from the sky.



“Sir, with all due respect, but are you sure it’s a good idea for me to come along for this?” Wonder Bolt hesitantly asked as he followed Colonel Shake Spear, Link, and about a dozen other pegasi. He fidgeted in place as his eyes darted one way and then another, more than a bit agitated as they went deeper and deeper into the very heart of Pegasopolis.

“Don’t be ridiculous, young Bolt!” was the colonel’s loud reply as he flamboyantly pointed a wing towards the fidgeting azure-coated pegasus. “You are a direct witness to this whole affair! Your presence is of paramount importance!”

“But ,sir-“ he tried to interject, only to be immediately stopped as the cream-coated officer took a step towards him and closed his mouth shut with that very same wing.

“Ah, ah, ah! Enough of that!” Shake Spear continued. He shook his head once, the many curls that made up his mane swinging wildly on the wind. “While your green friend’s abilities are essential to give validity to the brave sergeant’s words, the fact remains that he is not part of the Armada!

“And as such, your presence and words are necessary to give far greater weight to the narrative!” he continued with a stomp for emphasis before finally releasing Wonder Bolt. “So stop dilly-dallying. Chin up, chest forward, and let us proceed!”

And with those words, Colonel Shake Spear started to power walk away, Link and the several other pegasus attendants that were part of the colonel’s inner circle of officers following after. This forced Bolt to quickly regain his wits, shake his head, and dart after them.

It was not that he didn’t know what needed to be done. But even so, the idea of actually going into the chamber of the High Council of the Armada was a daunting prospect. He knew of captains who had never set hooves in there! Oh, quite a few ponies he knew would have fits if they were to ever learn that the ‘half-breed’ had found himself inside where the four colonels ruled the Armada alongside Commander Hurricane himself!

“Sir, everything is in order,” another of the Shake Spear’s aids, followed by two other armed and armored pegasi, said with a salute as they turned a corner and started to trot down the corridor. “The troops are at attention and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.”

“Excellent. I doubt it will come to it, but one does not get to my age by trusting things to chance,” Shake Spear seriously said with a nod of his head, all while a knot of worry made itself known right upon Bolt’s gut. “I trust that Colonel Spring Shower has been informed of the overall situation?”

“Yes, sir, she has made known her slight skepticism to whatever it is that you may have that could possibly convince Colonel Thunderstrike to not side with his fellow war-hawk. But she confirmed that she and her troops shall not be caught unawares should the worst happen.”

Right after dissecting everything they had to say about the various ordeals of the last few days, Colonel Shake Spear hadn’t allowed a single moment to go to waste. They went through the night as he questioned them extensively, before sending missive after missive to the various troops under his command and to his closest ally among the other colonels, Colonel Spring Shower; leader of the southern barracks.

Orders had been sent, reports analyzed, and in the end a general meeting of all four colonels had been called at the central chambers. A gathering upon which they would present the proof of Colonel Winter Gale’s and his brother’s actions and warn the Armada of the threat to the north.

If all went well, Colonel Winter Gale would allow his brother to face justice for his actions and would suffer reprimands himself, and they would be able to move on to focus on the true danger and start to prepare for the invasion from the north. But if all did not go well… well, there was the fact that Winter Gale still had one fourth of the Armada under his direct command to consider. And the only pony who could directly command him to stand down was not in Pegasopolis at the moment.

Things could get… complicated, for lack of a better word.

“Calm down, lad, I can hear your heart hammering from where I stand!” Shake Spear told him with a jovial smile even as they went deeper and deeper into the central halls of the cloud fortress, and more and more armed and armored pegasi joined their ranks. “Take a deep breath; this is not my first time wrangling a storm!

“Spring Shower would already be inclined to listen even without our evidence, but with it she will be firmly on our side! If we manage to convince Thunderstrike as well, then Winter Gale will have no choice but to relent!” he continued as his smile became somewhat fanged, before a steely look entered his eyes. “And from there we can start with what really matters. If those beasties are even half as nasty as you have led me to believe, we do not have a single moment to waste!”

And that was the crux of the matter, wasn’t it? Time.

They simply did not have the time to wait for Commander Hurricane to come back to deal with the situation, not if there was to be any hope of preventing the frozen specters from invading their lands. They had to act, the sooner the better. But even so, Wonder Bolt couldn’t help but worry. Winter Gale had already shown he wasn’t exactly the most reasonable of ponies, after all.

Bolt felt a shiver run down his spine from a gust of cold wind that rushed through the large open windows as they neared the large, ornate double doors to the council’s chambers. The moment before they opened and the large group went inside, the corporal thought that he saw small snowflakes being carried by the wind outside, shining upon the sunlight, before his line of sight was cut off by the imposing cloud walls of the room.

“Well then,” Colonel Shake Spear jovially stated as he fixed his ornate armor so that it rested properly on his back, his eyes glinting with determination and a small smile on his lips. “It’s showtime!”



If but a few days ago anypony had told Limelight that he would ever find himself helping to guard an earth pony caravan, alongside a squad of armed pegasi, and under the command of a war mage, he would have flatly told them that they’d had too many ciders and really should stop drinking already. But then again, back then he would also have said that there was no chance he could have ever been dragged into one of his tales and epics. So that proved what he knew in the end.

“If we keep our current pace, we should reach the Earth Villa tomorrow,” the earth pony ranger with the golden arrows pointed out during the short stop they had taken for lunch. The pace both the earth pony elder and the war mage had set for the caravan had been brutal, but he really couldn’t complain. Not in the slightest, not after hearing what was coming south after them. “We could get there earlier if we push through the night, but that is a risk I don’t think we should take. A broken axle in any of the wagons would cost us way more time than risking a night march would gain us.”

“Agreed, even if we could easily redistribute the bags holding the supplies amongst those walking, it’s best to stay cautious,” Old Oak said with a firm nod toward the ranger. “Many of the villagers of Fire Stone would not be able to keep the pace without being able to rest in the wagons from time to time.”

“The messenger I sent must have reached the city by now, for all the good that will do. I doubt they will even bother to read it, or listen to the words of a pegasus for that matter,” the leader of the pegasi stated with an irritated grumble. In his opinion, the fact that the earth ponies all around the circle nodded their heads in commiseration and sympathy towards the pink winged pony was almost as odd as the fact there seemed to be several dozens, if not hundreds of bags of holding scattered throughout the whole caravan. But then again, maybe he was getting inured due to all the various magical artifacts being toted around like nothing.

Limelight nodded in thanks as a bowl of steaming soup was given to him. And as the huge earth pony started to discuss logistics with the ranger and the orange-coated mare, who against all logic seemed able to manipulate magic with her hooves, the troubadour tried to focus solely on the meal and not at what was being discussed for a moment. He most certainly was not going to think about the endless horde of frost monsters rushing south to destroy everything he had ever known. No sir, not at all.

For a moment his hoof trembled as he brought the bowl to his mouth, before he forced his confident mask back into place and pretended it hadn’t happened. If he buried the fear deep enough, maybe he himself would eventually believe it wasn’t there.

“The storm to the north seems to be slowly picking up speed, but even so we should make it with a couple of days to spare before it reaches the Earth Villa,” he couldn’t help but overhear as Fierce Breeze replied between bites to something that Lady Zelda had asked. “The scouts I sent to keep an eye at the arm of the storm that struck Fire Stone should be back soon with more news too.”

The truth was that he wanted to run far away. That was all there was to it. He wanted to run away, find some nice safe hole, and hide until the danger had passed and the world made sense again. Only… apparently… if nothing was done soon there would be nowhere safe to hide… at all…

Limelight was not a brave pony. He knew that, accepted it really. To run away to live another day was a perfectly valid course of action as far as he was concerned. But now, now that there may very well be nowhere left to run to… that didn’t leave him with that many options on how best to proceed.

He didn’t know if it was his imagination or not, but Limelight could swear he felt the magical rod he had found heating up from its resting place against his flank, as if to remind him that it was there. Choosing to ignore that, he kept eating his meal. Nothing odd had happened, and that was final.

“The climate is getting colder and colder, before long it will become a problem keeping everypony warm,” Old Oak mused worriedly as several other ponies nodded their agreement.

“Any hocus pocus that could solve that, Princess?” Ganondorf blithely threw Lady Zelda’s way, the massive earth pony apparently not concerned in the slightest with his lack of courtesy towards somepony that could probably destroy battalions by herself due to her magical might. But then again, he had leveled most of Fire Stone with that magical sword of his. So that probably wasn’t that much of a deterrent as far as he was concerned.

“Possibly,” was the white-coated unicorn’s calm reply as she apparently pondered the problem, not really minding the earth pony’s curt manners. “I do know some weather protection and warming charms that could work and wouldn’t be too hard to make. But I would need something to affix the enchantments into, like gemstones or alloys.”

“Would this work?” a very excited young voice enthusiastically asked as a tiny yellow-coated filly appeared out of nowhere and started to shove something Zelda’s way. More than one pony, Limelight included, nearly jumped at the beaming filly’s sudden appearance.

“Singing! How long have you been there?!” Forest Blossom sternly asked, clearly not happy that the young one had been eavesdropping on their decisions. Not that that was apparently a deterrent to the young one.

“A while!” she happily exclaimed, before once again trying to give what she was holding to Zelda. “So, anyway, would this work?”

Limelight then realized what the young filly, Singing Blossom was her name if he was not mistaken, was holding. A perfectly cut, shining blue gemstone.

“Well, yes,” Lady Zelda said after taking the gem and examining it for a moment, a faint look of recognition in her features. The look she then gave Singing was as if she was questioning if she should ask the filly something or not. “This would work perfectly, but we would need many more of them.”

“That’s easy! I can make more! All I need are a few rocks!” the filly exclaimed in barely contained excitement as she started to jump into place. Paying absolutely no mind to the strange looks she was getting from most of the crowd. “Or perhaps more than a few rocks! Now that I think about it a ton of rocks is probably better than a few rocks for this! Anyway, if I have rocks I can make more of those!”

“What?” Limelight found himself muttering, more than a little confused. For, while he didn’t exactly recognize the type of gemstone, it was most clearly a precious stone of some kind, and as such worth more than a bit of money. So what exactly did the filly mean with that she could make them with rocks?

“The kid showed you how to make those things?” Ganondorf asked with amusement clear in his voice and a smirk firm on his muzzle as he examined the gemstone with an experienced eye.

“Yes! Mister Link taught me how to do it! It was really, really neat! He showed me how to choose the right rocks, how to throw them, and everything!” she proudly explained while not really explaining anything, before promptly starting to rummage through the small saddlebags she seemed to carry everywhere in order to grab a small grey pebble out of it. “Here, let me show you!”

The troubadour really wondered what exactly he was even looking for as the young filly stopped for a moment, as if concentrating hard on something, before throwing the pebble away with a strangely fluid throwing motion. The very next moment his jaw dropped, as a small perfectly cut green gemstone appeared as if out of magic from the remains of the pebble that had shattered upon hitting the ground.

“Here! Neat, isn’t it?” she cheerfully asked as she offered the green gemstone to Zelda, the look on her face showing that the war mage didn’t know if she should laugh in amusement or sigh in exasperation. Neither of them really paid any mind to the sudden silence that had fallen upon the rest of the group.

“Indeed, Singing, that was very neat, well done,” Zelda kindly stated with a smile, all the while Ganondorf let out an amused laugh. “If you could make some more that would be extremely helpful.”

“Okay, I will be back after I gather more rocks!” the young one excitedly shouted before rushing away with far too much energy for such a small body.

“Can’t believe that the kid taught someone else how to do that!” Ganondorf boisterously exclaimed.

“Indeed,” was Zelda’s reply, her voice filled with fond exasperation as she shook her head.

All the while Limelight simply stood there, staring at where the filly had just disappeared from view. His mind tried and failed to reconcile what he had seen with what he knew about the laws of magic. After another moment, he suddenly turned towards the group, intent on asking what the buck had just happened?!

“Don’t question it,” Sure Shot immediately interjected before he could say a single word, cutting him short while giving him a very strange look.

“But she just-” he tried to say once more. The all encompassing fear he had been feeling these last few hours well and truly forgotten due to the impossibility he had borne witness to!

Only for Sure Shot to calmly take a step towards him and place a hoof on his shoulder, cutting him short once more. The deeply understanding look the earth pony ranger was giving him made him stop and listen despite his current feelings of shocked incredulity.

“Just, don’t,” the sea green mare firmly stated as she looked him right in the eyes. All the while the other ponies had re-started to talk about the plans and preparations, as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened. “Trust me on this; you will be much, much happier if you don’t follow that train of thought. Just let it go.”

He opened and closed his mouth a few times as he searched for words, to no avail. He looked from the oddly sympathetic look the ranger was giving him, to the rest of the group who had apparently already moved away from the impossibility that had happened.

After another moment, a very lost Limelight hesitatingly nodded his agreement. The commiserating pats on the back Sure Shot gave him before moving away only made him feel even more confused about it all.