• Published 2nd Sep 2013
  • 1,486 Views, 36 Comments

Assault on the Black Forest - Farseer



As the fight for Equestria goes on, General Applejack of the House Earthborn seeks to contain the Everfree Forest before it drives out the ponies on her land...

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Sacrifices

"Ah'm not so sure about this..."

Braeburn, in his ranger's equipment, ready for battle, stood shivering slightly outside of the forest. Next to him stood Apple Bloom and Big Mac, and the rest of the army was forming up behind them- Big Mac in his signature Juggernaut armor and with his squad-mates, and Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom had chosen a personal retinue of Hotshot, Blacksmith Ironhoof, and a few hoof cannoneers. For her own personal protection, she insisted on, but, in reality, Hotshot had already set fire to several ponies on the way over here. Apple Bloom, Applejack, and his own conscious were all he seemed to understand, let alone listen to.

"Oh, c'mon, cuz! You fought against the Cult of Laughter in Colterado! What's worse than that?" laughed Apple Bloom

"The cult don't use thick forests that they could hide ambushes and traps in without anyone seeing them."

"Ah don't believe it. Mah cousin, a scaredy cat!"

"Stop." said Big Macintosh before turning to the troops.

Having fully assembled, this strike force was quite a sight to see. Several squads of Ponies-at-arms, as well as several of Battle Buckers. Other Flamespitters were in rank and file of five, with a blacksmith to ensure all of the weapons were working properly. Two squads were equipped with hoof cannons, mobile but inaccurate artillery. Three Bucker Cannons. A few squads of Apploosian Rangers, each with a similar getup to Braeburn. Towering over the other ponies, four squads of Juggernauts stayed in the back, organizing the smaller groups and keeping order. However, the most impressive things were in the back.

Three Beastbusters, all equipped with triple Earthbreaker Cannons, stood ready to go. Their faithful Blacksmith crews were in high spirits, for what could stand before this steam-powered monstrosity and win?

Big Macintosh surveyed the units, making sure that they were all in combat formation and ready to go. Upon ensuring they they was, he nodded to the captains. "Let's go."

To those expecting a speech- as several of the members of the army were- Big Macintosh was, indeed, a strong and silent type. He left the speeches to his captains. He preferred direct action, as demonstrations of prowess and skill were much better motivators than words.

And Apple Bloom turned to Hotshot. "Hotshot? It's sparkle time."

You could see the jubilation in his eyes as he bit down on the activator pad. causing two long streams of flame to jet out of them.


Several dozen miles away, the Beartooth sect of the House Everfree was preparing for battle. And that included a sacrifice to the tree spirit that guarded over the camp, in a large dome-shaped tree with yellow-orange brambles. Without it, several of the guardians would not wake on their own, so they found it customary that, before every battle, to send one of their warriors into the vine-filled hollow, where the tree spirit would do... something. It was never known, for whoever entered into this cave never came out, whether they were actively sacrificed, or merely entered as part of a dare or a bet.

And so it fell down to- in this case- a mare named Fire Heart. Being pressured on by her warrior colleagues, as well as the recent lost of her family at the hands of an incursion by House Stormwing, she had been looking for an excuse to die for quite some time now, her heart rended into pieces. So, when an inquiry came up for anyone who would willingly sacrifice themself(ves) for the forest, she leaped at the opportunity. At least she would serve the forest in death.

So she found herself- under the watchful eye of an Everfree wraith- walking steadfastly towards the vine covered hollow at the base of the tree. She paused upon entering. What would happen to her inside? Who knew? She just wished for it to be death. A quick, painless death.

Fire Heart entered in to see vines covering the entire cave. Several bulges in the hollow wall reminded her that even the most beautiful tree was not perfect, yet, all in all, it reminded her of a place where the wraiths would go to meditate.

She saw something... something green. Something shiny. Brushing her way through the vines. And stopped dead in her tracks as she saw what it was.

It was a pony. No... it was more than that. It was a spirit. The tree's spirit. It turned to her and smiled lightly, and spoke to her. Yet, the language she spoke was... unfamiliar. It sounded like the wind in the trees, the rustle of leaves. She paused in her talk and looked at her.

Remembering what was told to her by the Wraiths, she then repeated what they had told her. She couldn't understand it, but the words flew from her lips, almost of their own accord. The spirit smiled and turned away, before it said something again. And, suddenly... the vines started to move.

She looked around, frantically. What was happening?

The spirit spoke again, yet once again, she could not understand it.

One of the vines had made its way to her chest, where it was... dancing, almost? She couldn't tell. But Fire Heart was starting to freak out. Was this a good idea?

Then. she felt a sharp pain in her chest. The vine had stopped moving, but she could feel something enter her heart...

It felt... good. Better than she had felt in a long, long time. In fact, she couldn't believe she had ever felt better. She fell over, but the vines held her up. She was overcome with joy. This was, indeed, the best thing Fire Heart had ever done. The whisper of the spirits became... coherent. As the vines continued to wrap her up and enter into her body, several entering through recent scars and battle wounds as well as through her mouth, the only thing she could feel is joy. Joy.

Feeling her mind slow down...

The sensation of her legs disappearing...

The words of the spirit...

Enjoy the boon of your bravery...

And, suddenly, the mind of Fire Heart as recognizable to ponies was no more, replaced by a blissful spirit entering into the lifeblood of the Everfree, where an even greater reward awaited her.


And with that, the spirit laughed as she felt the power of a new soul enter the current of the Everfree's stream, as the vines finished wrapping the body, turning it into a hyperslime that would give the forest even more energy. Grinning, she diverted some of that energy into waking up the guardians of the forest. The shamblers, the carnivorous trees... yet, she used some of her own energy to activate them. She could feel the sorrow of this soul- the pain of losing a loved one fresh on it. She decided to reward her the best that she could possibly reward her.

Closing her eyes and feeling through the energy web, she found exactly what she was looking for.

A new Guardian Tree, newly grown, but in need of a spirit to guide it before it could truly perform the deeds of the forest. With happiness, she filled the tree with Fire Heart's soul, so that she may become part of the forest she serve. And that she would live forever, blissfully transmuting her sacrifices so that the forest would continue to grow. Before long, Fluttershy would sense the new tree and send a new coven of Wildings to support her and nourish her. She would soon forget losing her family, for the joy of gaining a new life would soon drive out all other memories from her mind.

If only all ponies' mortal lives could end this way...

Author's Note:

I had this idea last night... and I guess, here it is in writing. Dreams are strange things, are they not? I can just envision the bravest of them- the ones that would truly venture into the unknown, despite what happened- becoming new trees and, in her case, the future host to a new cadre of ponies, all ready to look out for her.

You know what? I just gave myself yet another brilliant idea for a story.

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