The Equestrian Hawk

by Nova Critical

Chapter 3: Damages

A pony will get their cutie mark when they find their special talent that makes them different from all other ponies.

Hawk reflected on Twilight's lesson on ponies as he woke up in dull agony, his whole right side seemed numb but his left side was simmering with pain. He was no pony, but if he was, he was sure his special talent would be waking up in pain and not knowing where the hell he was. A question and exclamation mark side by side -and on fire- seemed like an appropriate image for his hypothetical cutie mark.

How long was I out for?

Taking a deep breathe in, the images of the mesa were still fresh in Hawk's mind, though they seemed a lifetime ago. Daring to find out where he was, he slowly opened an eye and looked around. The room he was in had a high ceiling and was lit by two floating glass orbs, they were a bright white in the center with their edges fading into a darker blue. The orbs spread their cold light quite effectively throughout the room, illuminating the pristine shelves and tables that lined the walls.

Gazing down at himself, he saw that his whole torso was tightly wrapped in gauze, and his left arm was also tightly wrapped where he was stabbed. He noticed he could move his right arm, but it was a strange sensation. He knew it should feel sore, but it only felt slightly numb, diluting the pain. Hawk managed to cut a few of the gauze strips off his torso, relieving some of the pressure from his chest.

A creaking noise was heard opposite of Hawk, as the wooden double doors were opened. Hawk just stared at the figures entering, fear and caution absent in his mind. Wherever he was, they had taken care of him and probably saved his life. Two ponies walked adjacent to each other though the doorway. The shorter one was looking up at the taller blue one, not noticing the griffon's gaze.

"Yes Princess, I know it's important, but the patient shouldn't be disturbed." The shorter white pony said. She had a soothing voice and sounded genuinely concerned, "The physical damage done to his body is bad, but the mental trauma when he realizes we couldn't save the right-"

"Nurse," The Princess said, nodding her head toward the patient's bed, "it seems as if he's already woken up. I'm sure the doctor will be fine with me talking to him."

So that's what alicorns look like. Hawk thought. Once again, it was Twilight's lessons that gave him some insight on the world he was in. The alicorn looked too dark to be the one who "raised the sun", so he assumed it was the Princess of the Night: Luna.

"Yes, Princess." The nurse said, leaving the room.

The dark blue alicorn made her way to the side of Hawk's bed, "Greetings young one, I am-"

"Princess Luna." Hawk interjected. "Twilight Sparkle told me who you were."

Luna looked slightly vexed at the interruption, but quickly let it go, "Ah, yes. And you are Hawk. The griffon who mysteriously crash-landed in Ponyville, along with Pup, your younger sister. An interesting name to say the least. I am glad you are awake, you were unconscious for quite some time..."

Hawk visibly tensed at the mention of Pup, it did not escape the Princess, "Worry not. Your sibling is safe. My guards drove out the rebels and secured the Element Bearers as well as your sister. Though my guards did have some trouble getting into the room where Pup and Rainbow Dash were held up. She even attacked one when they broke in to secure them."

The statement eased his fears somewhat, he knew he could count on Dash, "Thank you Princess. As long as Pup is fine, I'll be fine." Hawk said gratefully.

At the griffon's response, the lunar diarch's expression darkened. She sighed and got closer to Hawk, "I'm afraid you aren't young Hawk. The night of the attack has left you more damaged than you realize."

"It's just a few scratches," Hawk said, trying to make light of his injuries, "I'll heal up just fine in a little while."

"No, you won't." Said a hard, cold voice from the doorway. It was a cream-colored unicorn stallion in a stark white coat. He wore thick-rimmed square glasses and his face seemed to be set in a permanent scowl. His horn lit up, and in a flash, a panel on the wall began to glow. On the panel was a pair of x-rays. One looked to be just an x-ray of his arm, the other, his whole body.

"This one," The doctor said, pointing a hoof at the image of the arm, "should heal quickly, but the rebel leader's strike through your arm fractured the bone and severely damaged the nerve. Your left arm won't be as strong, nor as fast as it used to be."

Hawk forced out a laugh, "Uhm, thanks doc, you say that like it's the good news."

"That was the good news," The stallion replied, "and call me Stable."

"Well, Dr. Stable, what's the bad news?"

"The magic used as as anesthetic for your right side is going to wear off soon. You'd have to be blind not to see the worse news. Look at the other x-ray you dolt."

Putting aside thoughts of violence against the physician, Hawk took a greater look at the image. It seemed normal.

Hmmm. Head, check. Limbs, check. Ribs and spine look fine. Two wings- His mental checklist was interrupted at the shattering realization.

In a panic, he took his left talon as ripped at the bandages around his body. Ignoring the protests of Stable, he continued until they were in shreds. Hawk sat up, ignoring the pain on his left side, and arched his neck to look at his right wing.

It wasn't there.

Appleloosa was changing. Even in the dark of night, ponies worked. Hardy earth ponies carried lumber, pegasi were constructing roofs, and even unicorns, an unlikely sight in Appleloosa, provided light and assistance.

The Sun Goddess's aid came with the brilliant dawn, several hours after Princess Luna's guards saved the town. First, brilliant flashes of light marked the arrival of scores of unicorns and Princess Celestia herself, healing the wounded and clearing the way for the supply wagons.

It had been two weeks since then. Twilight Sparkle stood on the balcony of the newly constructed command post, the wood was unpainted and needed sanding, but it was as solid and sturdy as any stone building she had been in. Looking at the ponies working late into the night, Twilight sighed, she felt very alone. Rarity and Fluttershy had left Appleloosa with most of the other settler ponies. Although they had held off the griffon attack, they didn't wish to stay in the town. Not where they had seen such devastation. Had the Princess herself not come, Twilight would've gone too. But how could she face her? Not only that, she also failed Princess Luna: Hawk was taken by the griffons.

In the short time since help had arrived, Appleloosa was changing, walls and battlements were constructed in a wide perimeter around the town, and new buildings were sprouting up, the existing ones being strengthened and added to. It seemed as if Appleloosa, the frontier town, had died in the attack, and from the ashes, the new Appleloosa, which was beginning to look like a war capital, had begun to take its place.

Applejack had been spending a considerable amount of time with Braeburn. They were both unusually silent since the attack. Then again, everypony was. Rainbow Dash was still with Pup, and they were both under supervision by the Night Guard. At least Pup was, but Rainbow Dash, true to her word, wouldn't leave Pup alone. She told Hawk she'd take care of her. Twilight thought about giving them a visit, but decided against it, she remembered the last time she went to see Dash. The pegasus had blamed Twilight for Hawk being taken. Taken from Appleloosa, taken from Pup, taken from her. With a sigh, Twilight let go of the notion of visiting Rainbow.

Twilight wasn't exactly sure where Pinkie Pie went. She didn't see her board the train or any chariots back to Ponyville, nor did she see her skipping around Appleloosa. She knew she was fine though, physically at least, she was uninjured during the battle...

The battle...

The lavender unicorn shivered, not only from the chill of the night air. Every night since the attack, Twilight had cried herself to sleep. She had never used magic like that before.

At the beginning she was only assisting Hawk in any way she saw fit, grabbing weapons, slamming griffons against walls, Hawk always...finished them off for her. After he was abducted, two griffons had swooped down on the group Twilight was leading. They pulled axes and began to move towards the ponies. At that moment she knew what she had to do and focused her telekinetic magic into a deadly, razor-sharp edge, and shot it through the griffons.

On the balcony, Twilight tried to blink away tears and banish the grotesque images of griffons being brutally sliced in half and the looks of shock and disgust coming from Applejack and the other ponies. At the time, Twilight didn't think anything of killing them, there was no emotion to her, only action. She needed to save her friends, that was it. But now, she felt horrible, despite the fact it needed to be done...

The sound of heavy hooves made their way onto the balcony and Twilight hurriedly wiped the tears that had run down her face.

A voice came from behind, it was calm and melodious, with a tinge of sorrow, "Oh, Twilight, you've avoided me ever since my arrival. I've heard about your actions during the incident. You were very brave, and you saved the lives of your friends." She waited a few seconds, Twilight still said nothing. "Brooding will only make things worse....come here, my most faithful student.."

Before she finished the sentence, Twilight had spun around and embraced the Princess, crying openly. There were a pair of guards not too far off, but Twilight didn't care.

"There, there." The Princess said, returning the embrace, "It is late Twilight, you need rest. There is much I have set in motion that you must know, it will be hard to digest. You must be strong."

"Yes, Princess." the unicorn said, her hoof wiping away more tears. Princess Celestia needed her to be strong. She would do anything for the Princess, anything. I will be stronger. Twilight tried to summon images of strength into her mind, all she saw was metal; cold, hard, and unyielding.

Steel. That is what she needed to be. That is what Equestria needed of her. Strength: hard and unforgiving. This attack would not be the last, and Twilight had to be willing to do whatever that was necessary.

A small voice inside of her screamed, warning her of the path she was going down.

Twilight ignored the voice, No room for weakness.

Leaving the Princess on the balcony, she walked back to her room and laid her head down on her tear-stained pillow, determined not to stain it any further.

Steel did not weep. Steel did not feel.

The cat-slit yellow eyes of the two bat-like ponies guarding him seemed to pierce into Hawk's very being. It might have irritated him more if he wasn't so furious.
Although Dr. Stable now sported a black eye, and a crack in his glasses, Hawk's fury was directed at the dark blue alicorn looking at him nonchalantly. Like she didn't have him tied down and under guard. Stable just got in the way when Hawk went ballistic. He didn't plan on lashing out, but it happens when you know the joys of flight and irrevocably lose a wing.

"When you decide to calm down, we can speak of why you are here." Princess Luna stated flatly. "I expect you wish to know how your sister is doing, and I am very sorry about your wing, truly I am, but violence towards the ponies who helped you is the last thing you should consider." She added with a little more empathy. A little.

Hawk just fumed and looked away. He knew the Princess was right, and now he was only angry with himself.

"Come Doctor, we have much to discuss." The Princess said, walking out of the room. Dr. Stable just muttered under his breath and followed her. The Night Guards backed away from Hawk and took positions right outside the doors. With everypony gone, Hawk could hear his own heavy breathing. He let out a sigh and tried to calm down.

He had a lot to think about.