Stepping Stones

by DylanDragon

Interlude: The Legend of Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya

Stepping Stones

The Legend of Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya

                “Hey Granny, can you tell me that story again?” Pinkie chirped happily.
                “Let’s see now…which story did you want? The one about the mirror pool?” Granny Pie asked with a twinkle in her voice. In her old age, her previously bright magenta fur had slowly dulled to a dark pink and her vision had given way and she needed her blue-rimmed glasses. Her body had long been unfit for rock farming, so she lived in her own room on the side of the farm. Yet her mind was still sharp, and she gleamed with ancient wisdom, charisma, and experience.
                “Ugh, no…I don’t like the mirror pool now…You know…the one about the Heart of Fates? The one you always tell me when I visit?”
                “Ah, you mean the legend of Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya!”
                “Yeah! That one! I finally made one!”
                “Has my little Pinkamena found love?”
                “Nah, I don’t think she notices me. But one of my friends has! So I gave it to her!”
                “How generous…Let’s see…I don’t quite remember the details, but I can read it.” She stopped in her rocking chair and crossed the round room to fetch the book. The rotund floor was covered in a light blue carpet on which Pinkie sat contrastingly. The walls were covered with pictures of the Pie family. A fire blazed on the side, and around it sat multiple bookshelves. The one on the left housed Legends of Equestria. Granny Pie picked out the sixth volume, returned to her chair, and flipped it open to beginning. She began her tale.
                As you know, the Equestria was established from three different kingdoms. Our story begins long before the unification of the three kingdoms. These events take place centuries before, in the Earth pony kingdom.
                The Earth pony kingdom was ruled by two rulers: King Lorr and his fair Queen Lianne. They oversaw the kingdom’s laws, the society, the economy, but most of all, its virtues. Lorr and Lianne allowed no crime—no overstepping of boundaries. To break a rule—even a social norm—was equivalent of the worst deed and deserved death.
                Those who disobeyed the kingdom’s unspoken rules were tossed into the surrounding ocean, forced never to return, for their precious Earth did not deserve such uncivilized scum. In this time, many of the activities that are accepted today were scorned and worthy of death back then. Activities such as premarital relations, dancing, littering, stalliosexuality and mareosexuality, and verbal slander were all taboo. But not one rule was followed more strictly than the ban on incest.
                “Ewww! Incest!” Pinkie stuck out her tongue.
                “Well, you have to remember, Pinkamena, that in those times, it was common. Royal blood should be kept in royal families. King Lorr knew about how it was bad, and he was one of the first to condemn it.” She stopped for a moment to shift her glasses higher.
                “Well…maybe…but who is he to say that you can’t be a fillyfooler or coltcuddler?”
                “Speaking of fillyfooling, when are you going to find a mare to settle down with?”
                “When you finish the story, Granny!” Pinkie giggled.
                King Lorr was the sole, unchallenged ruler of the kingdom, for his brothers were all unfit to rule—both mentally and physically. They were the product of the incestuous relations between his mother and his uncle. He alone was healthy, and as a result, he set forth a decree so strict, that not only were the violators to be sent to death, but their kin as well.
                Our story begins with Lorr and Lianne’s young son—Raigo. Raigo was a healthy, pert, young stallion of maturing age. His childhood had been spent on learning the art of leadership, for Lorr had trained him from young to become the next king. Everything in Raigo’s life was predestined—from his diet, to his marriage. He was marked to marry Princess Triana from the neighboring kingdom of pegasi. The bond was to be a legal treaty between the two kingdoms.
                One fine morning, however, the kingdom received word that Queen Lianne had been successfully mated, and a new royal foal was to be born soon. The citizens rejoiced, yet King Lorr remained anxious. He had spent twenty years cultivating his formerly sole heir to the throne. If the foal was to be a colt, his pride may have to face a challenge.
                His worrying, however, need not have been, for the foal was born a filly, and the king rejoiced with his empire.
                In time, the filly grew to be healthy, beautiful, and most of all, intelligent. She was Princess Ichthya. She was the pride of Queen Lianne, for her mind was sharper than the rays of sunlight that pervaded throughout the kingdom. The Queen began searching for suitors, finding many across the land whom she deemed unworthy of marrying her daughter. After years of searching, however, she finally encountered one fine stallion—Prince Tulo of the unicorn clan. They were marked to marry when they both came of age.
                “Hey Granny,” Pinkie interrupted, “Didn’t you have an arranged marriage?”
                “I did…your grandfather and I knew we would be married when we were in school.”
                “Does that…work? I mean, I definitely wouldn’t want to have an arranged marriage…there’s no surprise anymore, and I love surprises!” she bubbled.
                “Well, I thought it worked well. I loved him even the day he died…anyways…”
                Prince Raigo, in the meantime, remained adamantly focused in his leadership lessons from King Lorr. He was so preoccupied, that he harbored no desire for the outside world. His life consisted of his studies from his father and care from his mother. There was nopony in his social life—except for Princess Ichthya, whom he was smitten by.
                The bond between Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya was more lucent than the brilliant sun. It was softer than the dullest moon, yet it was stronger than the fiercest wind. It had been said that Prince Raigo often slept in the Princess’s quarters under the cover of the night.
                These rumors harrowed King Lorr, whose strict anti-incest policy was still in place—and would continue to be so. The King, fearing the worst, separated his two offspring. They were to sleep alone, study alone, eat alone, and spend day and night separately.
                The King’s splitting the two, however, had no effect. While he had prepared for the worst, he had no knowledge of the true love between the two.
                The first night of the new separation, Prince Raigo escaped from his guarded bedroom to visit his Princess. He slunk through the night, evading all eyes until he was safely in Princess Ichthya’s quarters and his muzzle was softly on hers.
                Princess Ichthya feared discovery and became disturbingly frayed as time passed. Prince Raigo, caring for his love, decided to seek the help of a pony who he believed was his only hope.
                He left the castle one day unannounced, searching for the one pony known as “The Mistress.” The Mistress lived in the slums of the kingdom, and the entire kingdom knew of her powers. Her powers were legendary, yet unwitnessed, for nopony wished to see the extent of her capabilities. Even King Lorr was not brave enough to convict her. She used to have a name, but that name was long forgotten—perhaps due to fear—and replaced with “The Mistress.”
                Dressed in his darkest cloak, he approached her tent and asked for something that would guarantee his love with Princess Ichthya would last forever. He knew his Princess was losing herself over worry of abandonment and discovery, and he sought for something—anything—that would soothe her nerves.
                Mistress T handed him a heart—rippling pink liquid in the middle, with golden sides. She sang:

Two lovers’ wish for great infinity,

An everlasting loved affinity.

Through Heart of Fates do those create the bond,

And love will last for now and then beyond.

The touch, then right to masculinity.

The split, the left to femininity.

The sun, it sets, and both must be consumed,

At last, it’s pink, and two are in commune.


                Prince Raigo graciously accepted the heart and hurried back to the castle. Sneaking once more into Princess Ichthya’s room, he presented it to her as a gift, singing to her the song that The Mistress had sung to him.
                “So Pinkie, when you made your own Heart of Fates, did it ripple?”
                “Of course!”
                “Were the sides golden?” Granny Pie raised an eyebrow.
                “Erm…” Pinkie rolled her eyes away, “Well…see, the golden dye is super duper expensive, and the Cakes already said that I can’t buy those super duper expensive things anymore, because they need to pay for damages to Sugarcube Corner because...I kept…biting things…” Pinkie sheepishly smiled.
                “It’s okay. I was just curious. But Pinkie…”
                “I know, I know! Things that look like candy are not necessarily candy,” she recited.
                “Good filly.”
­­­                 Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya both placed a hoof on each side of the Heart of Fates, and at that moment, it split apart into two halves. Prince Raigo took the right half, and the left remained for his Princess.
                Upon consumption, the bond was created. It was stronger than the sturdiest chain, for it connected not their bodies, but their hearts, and as long as their hearts were together, physically they would be, as well.
                Princess Ichthya became calmer and was no longer frayed and worried. Knowing that her Prince would be hers forever placated her mind. Their late nights together continued for some time, until the unavoidable became reality.
                Late one night on a walk around the castle, King Lorr spotted Prince Raigo’s open door and Princess Ichthya’s closed door. Curiosity and fear overcame him, and he peered inside the Princess’s quarters and spotted his two offspring sharing one bed.
                His greatest fear confirmed, he promptly called the guards to seize Prince Raigo and send him to the dungeons in the bowels of the castle.
                The princess wept for her Prince, but she could not help him. She was placed under constant supervision and had no opportunity to see her love. She felt the fear in Prince Raigo’s heart in her own. She felt his pain. Conversely, Prince Raigo experienced the loneliness of his Princess and her own fears, as well.
                King Lorr was in a predicament. His anti-incest law was the most upheld in the entire kingdom, and the law clearly outlined that banishment and death were the only punishments for the accused—the instigator of the incestuous relationship. It was quite apparent to the King that it was Prince Raigo who had begun their illicit activities, and this left him with two possible routes.
                Firstly, he could convict his only son and banish him out to the oceans to die. Or, he could spare Prince Raigo. He wished dearly that he could take the alternative, but sparing his son would invalidate the law, as well as vilify his leadership. He balanced two curses, neither of which he desired to have—the kingdom or his son.
                “So which do you think he picked?”
                “Granny, I already know this story!”
                “Oh, that’s right. I forgot. You’ll forget things, too, when you’re old.”
                Pinkie giggled. “Probably!”
­                The next morning, Prince Raigo was slated to be executed by exile. As the castle guards dragged him to the shore, Princess Ichthya wept for her love. She ran after him, longing to see him one last time before he was to be swallowed up by the sea.
                Prince Raigo was donned in the iron chains and stone clasps that would eventually drag him down into the depths of the waters. Princess Ichthya begged King Lorr for forgiveness, but the old ruler regrettably had none. He could not allow the most sacred rule in his kingdom to be disobeyed, and by his son, no less. Thus, Prince Raigo was cast in the ocean by catapult. He flew in a final graceful arc until a large splash, and he was dragged under.
“That’s so sad…” Pinkie sniffled, “I don’t like King Lorr…”
                “Well, Pinkamena, remember that King Lorr had to uphold an entire kingdom, and he always feared and hated incest.”
                “Still…I don’t like him…” Pinkie said.
                “Cheer up. It gets happier in the end.”
                “Granny, I know this story, and it doesn’t get happier.”
                “Depends on how you frame it,” she winked.
                Princess Ichthya pushed her way past the guards and flung herself into the violent waters, trying desperately to reach her love. She fought the currents and battled the waves, delving deeper and deeper underwater. She faintly spotted Prince Raigo, still chained to the ocean floor. Despite the warbled shouts from her father to return from ashore, she remained with her Prince, holding onto his limp body.
                Up on the shore, King Lorr was in a panic. He shouted and yelled at his guards and at the overlooking citizens, demanding that they go save their Princess. Nopony could, however. The ocean was unknown territory, and there was nopony that had the skills or the courage to dive underwater.
                Queen Lianne wept silently on the side, and it was hours until King Lorr gave up on his daughter. Without the two Earth pony heirs, Princess Triana and Prince Tulo lost their partners, and the kingdom was not tied to the pegasi or the unicorns at all.
                In the next year, King Lorr lifted the strict bans that had been in place before. Some remained, but were effectively revoked in the future under a new King from a new family.
                It is said that Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya are still underwater somewhere, their love perfectly preserved under the ocean waves. Their souls remained forever bonded, and because of this, they both were together forever.
                “The end,” said Granny Pie, closing the book and putting it back on the bookshelf.
                “See? It wasn’t a happy ending!”
                “Well, remember that Prince Raigo and Princess Ichthya wanted nothing more than to be with each other. So they were finally together forever. That’s something to be happy about, right?”
                “I guess…” Pinkie yawned. “This isn’t a true story, right?”
                “Nopony knows…” she said mysteriously.
                Pinkie giggled. “Alright, Granny. Nighty night!” She stretched on the carpet, stood up, and headed for her bed.
                Granny Pie resumed her rocking. “Good night, Pinkamena.”