• Published 12th Jun 2014
  • 1,597 Views, 19 Comments

A Time in the Sand - AppleJared

Big Macintosh gets drafted to the service of protecting his country. He makes it home alive.

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Some Stranger Pt.2

So there I was, Princess, on my way to Apple Bloom’s school. I had made it a habit to walk her home when she didn’t play with her friends. Through Mac being gone, we had gotten closer as sisters. We worked on the farm, talked together and kept the house up all by ourselves. I wanted her to enjoy being little as much as she could, but she wanted to work and help me out just as much as she wanted to play with her friends. I told her every week that I was proud of her.

Anyways, we talked a heap on the way home after school when she wasn't playing with her friends. She opened up about liking some colt in her class and she was all embarrassed about it. Boy howdy I remember being that young and gettin' hot for some colt. She says there's a class dance comin' up and she thinks he'll ask her to go. I sure hope he does, too. Apple Bloom deserves to have a nice time. She's been such a trooper since Mac left again and never once has she bad-mouthed him about leaving us. In that sense, she's done better than I have.

Twice a month, we would get a check from the Army. Mac just didn’t write home anymore, but as long as we got that check, I knew he was alive. I sent him a letter or two when I could, but with Granny gone there was a heap more work to get done on a daily.

I guess Mac had really gone up the ranks while in service because they seemingly sent more every couple of months. It got to the point where I wouldn’t need to spend it all to keep the farm afloat, but it didn’t feel right spending that money on luxury. I bought Apple Bloom a necklace for Christmas and we felt so bad about spending Mac’s war money on it that we went and took it back.

Princess, I just don't know what to do anymore. It feels like Mac isn't coming back now and it doesn't feel right for me and Apple Bloom to be here alone. I always thought I could count on Mac to be here when we needed him and now I'm not even sure if he'll ever be back again.

The worst part is that Mac wasn't himself when he was home! It's like some stranger came and took his place for a while. He was always such a hard worker and he always took care of us. But when he got back he'd daze off in the fields and rarely got anything done. He'd sleep with his gun like some kind of maniac and talk to it. I could hear him have awful nightmares and he rarely slept well. I tried to get him to see a head doctor about it but he just wouldn't go. Next thing I know, he's going back AGAIN to fight the war. Whatever is going on out there is tearing his apart. Princess, you NEED to get him back here!

I know I don't have much to complain about compared to the families who have lost lives from battle, but I don't even want his money anymore. I just want him home. I thought I was tough enough to handle this, but I'm not. Princess I know you have your duties to handle, but I'd do anything... ANYTHING to get Mac home for good this time.


Element of Honesty, Applejack.


My faithful Applejack,

It may seem fitting for this to be in the history books, but it feels as though it was only yesterday when this princess personally led our troops into battle. I was once the commander of our forces and I would be on the field leading them. Though the nobles might scoff in disbelief, there were times I had to personally end lives in the name of Equestria. It's a tricky business to participate in and if it weren't for the social reform experienced during Luna's banishment, I might still be filling that role. Thankfully, that burden has been lifted from me. However, I still can feel the pangs of regret and remorse for my actions. It is easy to tell one's self that sometimes killing is necessary but believing it is a different subject altogether. While I know in my heart it had to be done, there are times I can still see faces as they die, pleading for mercy.

Applejack, I think you ought to know the truth of the matter. There is no amount of training anypony can receive to fully prepare them to end lives. When stallions join our forces, they mentally are broken down and rebuilt from the hooves up as killers. They are given tools of the trade and sent off to end lives. It is impossible to really get used to it. I did it for centuries, and I'm still not used to forced death. Some soldiers are more well-prepared than others for their job, but even the most cold-blooded of the pack will have difficulty coming home and being the same stallion they were before. When they are mentally rebuilt, it doesn't just go away once they leave the corps. For many, it never does.

This becomes a problem when they come back to a non-violent society. Oftentimes they cling to something they held dear to in battle, much like your brother's gun. His nightmares are probably war memories. War isn't fun for either side and that is something only veterans can understand.

Macintosh has gone over and above the call of duty. His confidence makes him a great soldier while his leadership and wisdom make his a great officer. He has been promoted faster than any other soldier in this war. While I admit that he should try to stay home longer, I cannot take away his free will to go back to the army. Macintosh will know in his heart when he should stay home and until that time he will need your love and patience to get him through this. Soon enough, he will be home to stay; I hope that day comes soon. I feel the pains of all my soldiers and I will continue my efforts to end this war.

Lastly... though sometimes it may seem easy, we can never give up hope on our loved ones lest we act in a manner that we will regret.

Sincerely yours,

- Princess Celestia