The Heart of Steele

by JasminePosey


When I was a little mare, I was always destined to protect the ones I loved.

It all started on the playground at school. A couple of older-grade bullies had gathered around my friends and I while were playing in the sandbox. The words they used to describe the lot of us were cruel and unnecessary. It surprised their leader when I popped him in the snout and told each of them off. It's not my fault my Mom and Dad taught me how to defend myself. And during our little celebration, a little gift was bestowed upon me.

A little heart-shaped shield appeared on my flank, with a little sword that lay over it. I was ecstatic. It was from that day that I vowed to protect everyone I could.

Fast forward years later, and I am signing up to join the Canterlot Royal Soldiers Assessment Program. The CRS was one of the highest organizations to be in, and the hardest to get accepted into. But I felt I was ready, and with the support of close friends and my parents, I was able to be accepted into it. I'll tell you, it was the roughest three years of my life. But, in the long run, it was worth it.

You see, I met my special somepony there; a kind and sweet gentlecolt named Bronze Schwert. Actually, when I first met him as my training partner, we didn't get along. He was a bit lazy in some cases, and was only into the program because his father forced him to be. After about two years of nonstop arguing and intolerance, the head of the program threatened to kick us out before the final exam. With our heads hung low and a few grumbles from Bronze, we decided to at least try to get along until after the program had reached its end. And for the next year, the training had gone smoother. We learned more about each other, talked a bit more, and even dated for a whole two years after the program (I had aced the exam, while he had barely passed). A short time later, we were standing at the altar, saying our vows.

About a year later, we were blessed with a beautiful baby colt, of which we named Gold. His name matched his eyes -- a breath-taking yellow with orange specks in them, and his coat was a light green. As Gold grew up, he was spoiled rotten, as all single children were. However, I didn't fail to notice his humble attitude towards life, or his unselfish acts towards others. I was proud to say that he was just like me. By Gold's 12th birthday, I was making my way up the ladder in the CRS. I had saved many lives even then, and was, as Gold put it, a Hero. It felt good that my son could look up to me and be proud. Bronze was no different either. Even though he had left the organization years before, he cheered me on. I couldn't have asked for more.

When Gold was finally old enough, he insisted that he joined the Canterlot Royal Soldiers. I was a bit skeptical about it, but Bronze urged him to do so. Gold was strong and determined, and three years later, I was saluting my son as he was handed his uniform, with tears of joy in my eyes and a proud feeling making my chest swell.

Then, that fateful day came about a year later.

We had received a letter from Princess Celestia herself, claiming that there was a bomb threat located near the Castle. There were hostages involved, and they wanted Princess Celestia to personally handle the situation. Instead, she put her nephew, Prince Blueblood, in charge of the mission, with me as second command. From there she allowed us to gather up our best men and proceed. I didn't want Gold to come, honestly. But Blueblood, being the conceited jerkwad he was, allowed Gold to join. And I had to keep my mouth shut, in fear of compromising my reach for the title of Royal General of Canterlot.

Either way, we all were armed and prepared, weary of the danger we were putting ourselves in. I felt a heavier burden put on top of myself, having the responsibility of protecting my fellow soldier and my son at the same time. But this was what I trained for, so I dared not to open my mouth. However, I did keep a closer eye on Gold.

At first, the mission seemed successful. The hostages were removed, and there was no evidence of a bomb. However, the pony behind the event was nowhere to be found. We scavenged the area for any sign of then, and found none. What I didn't know, however, was that Gold had gone farther than he was a supposed to. From what he said over the radio, the villain had found refuge in the North area of the Palace Labrynth, and seemed to be holding what looked like a remote control and a bomb plate.

...I don't like retelling this part. Even now, years after it had happened, I still see everything; the fire, my fellow soldiers sprawled out in front of me, those who were too close to the impact who were burned alive. That smell still burns my nose. The pain between my shoulder blades...I can still feel it. Worst of all, I remember involuntarily slipping into that dark pit of darkness that haunts me to this day.

I remember the sound of the trumpet. The wooden box in the front of the isle was piled up with Marigolds and silver crosses lines with gold. There were others, too, but none had affected me more than that particular one. The nurse wheeled me up in my chair, to get closer to him before they put him in the ground. I sat there, staring at the wooden box that held the remains of my son. They handed me the flag of Equestria, folded crisply into a thick triangle. I held it tighter to me, unable to fully respond. They thought it was because the explosion left me unstable. That the impact that it had left on me had scrambled my brain. But I could think clearly. I could fully comprehend what had happened.

But it wasn't until the guns fired that I cried. Every shot ripped through my heart and left me broken.

The called him a Hero.

I called him foolish.

I had broken my solemn vow to myself, to protect the ones I loved, and the ones who loved me. My little colt, the one whom gave me reason to live, was gone. I couldn't look Bronze in the eye after that, knowing that I had failed. I hated myself. I wanted to throw myself into the ground and sleep forever with my son. I wanted to take his spot. Many times I had pleaded to God to give him back, but my cries landed on deaf ears. My baby was gone.

And it was all their fault.