In The Company of The Sun

by PlumBuckeredOut

Ch. 14: Absense (v.1)

I awoke within another memory. My first visit to Canterlot. My father stood beside me as we walked within the white castle's grand hall. I remember this moment being potent, even pivotal to who I was then. This was the moment where my father gave one of his greatest speeches. Yet... as I gazed up to him he was silent. Another corrupted memory. As his lips moved I gave up lip-reading. The memory was off pace with his words, as if someone was pushing me along. There I heard a voice, it was of King Din, Celestia's father. He was singing a song that I never fully heard... until then.

Someone had altered my memory, for this? A simple ballad of the late king...

Originally my father and I had arrived in time for the King's last stanza. I remember my father giving a hearty chuckle as he complimented King Din on his singing. The two exchanged a hug and my father and I were seated to the right of him. I grinned. I was sitting beside none other than Prince Umbra. That's how he knew my face, and princehood. My father's speech resumed, piercing the muffle sounds around me. I shook to his rough voice.

"There's a lot you can gleam within the charity sitting here today son. Just remember to keep you attention to their brows. Conviction is a good sign of passion, but a stiff brow is merely a jest of admiration. People are will to say anything to make their thoughts your own, sometimes that is required. Your memories and powers are always tools to mold within the company of strangers, do you know what you must do then my son?"

My voice cracked. "Become F-riends with them?"

He gave a soft smile as he humored my answer. "Friendship is a nice start, but sometimes it is better not to befriend everyone you meet. It's better to understand their needs to your own. Take for instance the Crystal King's emissary, he's the King's brother. The Crystal Empire is looking for a trading partner of their magic crystals, and healing salves. Do we have any business with them?"

"Healing salves would help our wounded... but we haven't had a major plague or war in years, and not all goats can use magic... I guess we don't." I thought a loud.

My father grinned. "Exactly, In that respect we have no business with the Crystal ponies. However Emperor Onyx has sent King Baritone here for a reason... can you guess why?"

"He's here to keep good standings with the commune." I said eagerly. My father's lesson was coming to a close.

"Exactly my son, He is here to represent his empire, and listen to what other countries and delegates are inquiring about. This knowledge is vital for a healthy relationship." My heart sank as I remembered how the future played out for the Empire. Lord Baritone had remained silent to his brother, most importantly he hadn't told the commune about the Windigo attacks. It had left their utopian north a bitter wasteland, and with only a fraction of survivors reported... the counsel was left broken after such a loss. With no warning of the Windigos they swept much of Equestria into a blizzard. This severed the tribe's trust within one another, until King Din rallied the tribes back together,but the birth of his twins solidified Equestria's union. Zebrican legend revered the two as a signs of The Sacred Tree's awakening. This legend alone bound the pony tribes to the King's trust. How I had wish I knew all of this then, Though I still believe my actions have prolonged our era of peace. I digress... where were we again?

Ahh yes... Mora's lullaby, just five hours until the commune would join.

I could still hear the most alluring call. Voices only the nearly dying or purest soul should be blessed to hear, or so I thought then. My pacing was staggered as I found the will to follow wherever these voices desired. Everyone else laid in their slumber as I hobbled ungracefully through the castle. My gait was regaining it's regality as I left the castle's door, atleast I was allowed some dignity to remain. The voices leaded me into the thorny gnarls just outside of town. Some distance into the forest their verses became audible, and for the first time in my life I wished I wasn't magically attuned.

"Not too proud to shed a tear, but to scared to share his fears..." a deep voice rang.

"How has your father guided you?" A softer voice whispered.

"Have you lost what you once knew?" A honeyed voice chimed.

"Your creed instills you should not feel..." The deep voice hissed

"Yet emotions are what bind you here." The soft voice sang.

"Enough!" I barked. In unison they giggled around me. "I'm needed at the castle, so if you're done lamenting about my past." I spat.

They only giggled more.

"Such... rage in one so calm." An orange pony flashed in front of me behind green smoke. "Where's that balance I-"

"It doesn't rest with you. I may pride myself on balance, but I'm no fool to wickedary. Keep whatever filth you call magic to yourselves." I protested. As I turned back the forest turned dark. I gave a small gulp. I may had contested the wrong evil force. A sharp pain crept up my leg, and as I looked at my pained leg vigorous thorns was spiralled around my leg. My... My blood had not even quenched the root's thirst as it bound to my leg tighter. A cry shot out of me.

"Shall. I. Take your peep as I sign of submission, or merely an instinct. Of. Your. Misery?" A deep throated voice asked in faked wonder.

"I-" I cried, I wasn't given a chance to speak, as the root lifted me. Drops of blood dripped past my eyes.

"A. Fragile. Husk, such as you does not hold the. Power. Of. Intimidation." It cackled within my core. "Such. Pride. Indeed... It does not know to whom it offends, to Whom. It. Commands!" The voice shook within me. "I will spare your thread of life, for the life water you have shed for me. Not out of mercy... but of pity." The root unwound from my leg leaving me to fall to the grass below.When I awoke three pony-like forms grinned around me.

"I... I have nothing f-urther to speak to you." I fumbled out in my daze.

"You will not write your treaty... it is not meant for your scribe." the orange one attested.

I sighed as I tried to collect whatever bearings and wisps of dignity I had left.

"It's not because your writing is bad, it is because you won't want to sign it." The blue one added quickly, much to the disdain if the purple one.

"Ladies, as much as you enjoy telling me who I am, I think I'm better off being the judge of that." I assured them calmly as I limped away.

The orange one drifted in front of me, sliding her hoof up my chin. She harped "Your heart is cold yet it beats ever on... How have you endured on?"

I seethed my anger out with a long rolling sigh. The blue one hooked her arm around my neck.

"She meant no harm, but it is hard to see you limping on..." She coyly sang.

"I... The three of you, please. Just let me get back to the castle." I sighed. One by one they drifted away into the forest.

The castle bell rung the Evening feast. I stumbled out of the brush and over the fence back into civilization. The pain in my leg was weak in comparison for my eagerness to eat. Never had I felt such a craving, such hunger. The crowds parted as I made my way through the commons, the stationed guard's eyes grew as they shouted words I cared little to hear. Scents of foods assaulted my senses as I was almost in full gallop to the mess hall. The griffons turned immediately to me, Finchelstein stumbled in horror to the floor. Mora lifted a hoof to her lips, and heart as she gasped.

"What is all this... blood?" Luna hesitantly asked.

"Blessed Sun! Norm!" Celestia cried.

Even with the silence of the crowd, and the screams of my best friend I pillaged the feast I piled in front of me. Berries, petals and all manner of confections flung into my jaw, not even the touch of Celestia's hoof snapped me out of my greed, only her whispered words did.

"Your bloodied leg... it... it's a dragon's."