• Published 24th May 2014
  • 1,683 Views, 19 Comments

Fallout is Dragons - Stories from the Maw - Newbiespud

An anthology of short scenes related to the Fallout is Dragons podcast campaign.

  • ...

Firelight's Story (Session 15)

Author's Note:

This was primarily written by AK Codeman, who played Firelight. The rest of the group provided edits and suggestions as it progressed, making it a semi-collaborative effort, but the main credit goes to him.

Previously, in Dragon's Maw...

After the battle against the Blood Dragon, Smaug, the party returned to the city of Skyfall to make sure everyone was okay. As fate would have it, the town's doctor had been fatally wounded in the dragon attack, and there weren't any other trained ponies available. Firelight generously offered to stay as Skyfall's resident medic for the foreseeable future.

Since that night would be the last night they would be together as the original six of Dragon Mawlers, Inc., Firelight was determined to tell his whole story before they parted ways.

In the living area above Blinkie’s store the Dragon Mawlers sat, enjoying their last dinner with Firelight for what would probably be quite some time. Trigger sat with them, Firelight happy to see his cousin after all these years. "Well," Firelight said with a sigh, "I guess if I’m gonna tell this whole thing I might as well get started."

"My name was Burner - at least, that was the name they gave me eventually. I know, they weren't too clever with names."

"Most ponies aren't," Javolt observed.

"Yeah, you're kinda right," Firelight replied, chuckling. "I was born into a family of bandits and raiders, and was with them pretty much all my life, stealing, murdering, and just what bandits do in the wasteland."

Steel's eyes widened as he looked like he was about to choke on something, but he quickly cleared his throat.

Aurelia let out a low whistle. "Wow. Seriously? You?"

"Yeah, I know. Surprising, right? I haven't always been the kind, fun-loving pony I am today." Firelight grinned. "Though… I guess I was still 'fun'-loving back then…"

He sighed. "I grew up wary of everyone outside of the gang, careful because they might be holding a dagger behind my back. Ponies aren't too friendly to raiders, as you already know. Most of the gang, though, treated each other like family... I mean some of them actually were." Firelight says as he turns to ruffle some of Trigger's hair.

Powder Keg cringed a bit. Flotsam just smiled fondly at Firelight's long-lost cousin.

"Though… we dealt with any outsider pretty ruthlessly… But don't worry! We never really tortured anypony, I mean maybe once... I'm not really sure…"

The smile faded from Flotsam's face, and she looked down at her hooves. "Sorry…"

"Sorry. I just... We took care of our own, alright?" Firelight took a deep breath and then continued. "And it wasn't that bad. I got to grow up somewhere safe, though I admit they were some really bad influences, but come on, who isn't in the wasteland...?

"Anyway... I was happy then, had a lot of fun, although I was a little rambunctious, getting in trouble more than once."

Powder Keg snorted judgmentally. "Yeah, a little rambunctious. I'm sure the killers you were with really hated that."

Steel glanced in Powder Keg's direction, clearly something on his mind about the unicorn's comment but nothing he was saying out loud.

"Well, yeah, not really I guess… They mostly only cared if I set anything important on fire." Firelight said, looking away.

"Xencarn, you already know how I got my cutie mark, but as for the rest of you, I might as well tell you all. It was when I went on a hunt with a few of the other raiders when I was young. We came across a small caravan, just a small one, maybe a half dozen ponies and their brahmin. They outnumbered us by one or two, but only a couple of them were real fighters, they… they were easy pickings. The gang ambushed them and got the brahmin of the caravan, but had to chase the rest into a small house near by. While arguing about what to do I came up with a suggestion... setting the house on fire…"

Aurelia's eyes widened slightly. "Oh," is all she says.

Flotsam glanced up sharply. "So that's how you got your cutie mark?" She reached a hoof up to scratch the back of her neck awkwardly. "Huh… I guess we have more in common than I thought."

"Thrilled at the idea, they all got the molotovs ready and even let me throw the first one. Several of the caravan tried to run out of the building, but they were gunned down, and the ones who stayed inside eventually just burned to death. I didn't really care too much about them though." Firelight begins to get a dazed look on his face.

"I was too focused on the house engulfed in fire. It was the biggest fire I had ever seen. I had my cutie mark in that moment, realizing it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen... and I wanted to see more."

Firelight lost himself in his old memories with a glazed look over his eyes.

There was an odd cracking sound. Javolt glanced at his glass and sighed. "I really do need to calibrate my claw."

The crack snapped Firelight out of his daze. "Sorry! I, uh… Anyway, that's… that's how it happened."

"After that it just went on as usual, I grew up with the gang, learned how to fight, how to use my magic more… Business as usual… But... That all changed when we were attacked by some wandering wasteland heroes. They just showed up out of nowhere and started shooting. We were hilariously out gunned, even though it was only a few of them. I mean, hell, some of us only had pool cues for crying out loud!"

"No one ever said raiders were weapon smart," Xencarn said with a small smile.

"Yeah, no kidding," Firelight agreed, taking a drink.

"Me and a few others, we managed to escape, including one of my best friends Bloody Grin. He… he wasn't the nicest of ponies… but we took care of each other, we helped each other, he taught me a lot about the wasteland, and we, oh goddesses, we got in so much trouble together you wouldn't believe. Heh. I remember the one time we stole some beer from another member and snuck out to fight some ants, then we…" Firelight began to get a blank look on his face, like one of remembering a ghost.

"Firelight?" Concern had crept into Flotsam's voice.

"Sorry I'm… I'm getting off topic… Anyway, I wasn't sure if any others survived outside our small group. I mean, I know now some made it." Firelight looked at Trigger.

"I assumed that all of my family and the rest of the gang died there. We were traveling the wasteland for awhile after that. After a few days, we found a group of slavers, ambushed them. We were gonna just take their stuff and go, but they put up a lot more of a fight than we expected. After a while of fighting, though, we were at a stalemate. One of them started yelling at us from the cover they took. Told us that we were pretty good fighters for a bunch of savage raiders. Told us we should consider a new career, come join them and be slavers. It honestly seemed like a good deal; get a new gang, reliable food, it all sounded good, but… Grin knew better. He thought it was a bad idea… We should have listened… I should have..."

"I think it's better they didn't. They may have been your ‘family,' but they were worthless scum. No offense." Powder chimed in.

"Yeah… but they were still all I had and they still could have changed… I did…" Firelight said while staring at Powder Keg.

"Well, we left with them and when we arrived at their base, we weren't expecting the slavers waiting for us. They jumped us, knocked us out. When we woke up, we were in the pit surrounded by the slavers and their slaves... told us we had to prove our worth, then threw us some machetes… and then they began to cheer... I had never seen so many ponies, all screaming for blood…"

Firelight continued with a sigh, "I was the first one to strike. The one I hit was… goddesses… I... I can't even remember his name. All I know is I never liked him... I never did… The others started fighting us, and it was me and Grin against them. We were fighting back to back, doing what we did best, blades were our thing... Soon it was me and Bloody Grin just standing over the others. But the slavers, the slaves, all of them, they demanded more, just one more death. Just. One. More."

Firelight stopped for a minute, with a look as though the ghost he'd been remembering had appeared before him.

"We looked at each other for a moment, just a few moments. I took my machete, and I attacked him first. We fought, listening to them cheer, wanting more… I just wanted to live…

"He could have done it, he could have killed me. I was the weaker one, Bloody Grin was the better fighter, he was smarter, he was the better survivor… and I knew it, but I didn't want to die. I was… I was so afraid of dying... I… I thought that maybe if I didn't strike first, Grin would have got the upper hand, would have killed me… He could have done it, but… I was determined... I was going to live and I was willing to kill my best friend to do it. It wasn't until later, when the crowd stopped cheering, when… I had finally realized what I had done."

Tempered Steel grimaced as the story went on, taken back a bit at the brutality of the situation as Firelight was describing it. Flotsam, who had been very still, silent, and visibly shaken ever since Firelight had brought up the slavers, covered her face with her hooves and managed to squeak out, "Oh Firelight, no…"

Firelight looked utterly dead to the world as he spoke. "I knew that Grin could have killed me, and he let me win. He was the most likely to live, to make it out of this hell hole, but he let me live… And the last thing…". Trying to fight back tears, Firelight continued. "The last thing Grin said was ‘Don't forget to keep smiling.' He always did love to smile… He thought a moment spent not smiling, was a moment wasted… I... I miss him." Firelight wiped his eyes. "He was still kinda a psycho, but we all kinda are..."

"Right about that." Xencarn glanced at Powder. Powder Keg glared daggers into Xencarn in response. "I am sorry to hear about your friend, though. Living through loss is never fun."

Firelight stared at his dirty glass of water. "No… It's like living in your own little hell isn't it?"

Steel gave a small nod as he drank from his own glass.

Firelight looked back up. "The slavers, they accepted me after that. They had their fun. I showed that I was worth the trouble to keep around. Made me an official slaver. I tried to tell myself that it was worth it… It was worth losing my friend. I had food. I had work. They let me drink and have as much fun as I wanted, as long as I didn't cause trouble… I tried to tell myself I was happy.

"But then one day, I was drunk on duty. I was supposed to be guarding a group of the slaves. I almost let a few escape. When they found the slaves, and found me… I thought I was dead… I wanted to be dead. They didn't kill me though. They decided I should be punished, and death would be too easy. They wanted me to stay around to keep working. A black bag was put over my head, and the next thing I know, I'm having some of the slavers take turns punching me in the head. That is how I got most of the scars on my head. After that... I hated all of the slavers, I wanted them dead, I just wanted my old life back. I wanted my friend back..."

Aurelia muttered something under her breath in Draconic. From the tone, it sounded like a vulgar curse.

Firelight sat with an almost irritated look on his face, not directed at anyone but himself. "Sorry. I know this story sucks… but hey, it gets better. At least… for a little while.

"One day during a raid on a small camp, I was injured pretty bad and left behind by the slavers. The locals were just going to hang me, but the visiting Followers of the Apocalypse, or at least that's what they call themselves now, stopped them. It was Green Hoof and his daughter Daisy. They defended me. Daisy fought hard to stop the locals, even demanding that if they wanted to hang me, they would have to go through her first.

"Heh… It was honestly kinda funny, looking back. She was actually about your age, Flotsam, maybe a little younger. After a while of them both demanding that I not be killed and Daisy standing over me like she was some sort of big shot, the locals agreed to let me go," Firelight said with a smile on his face.

"They took me back to their headquarters. For a couple months while I was healing, I was constantly worried that they were going to kill me. I was constantly demanding that they let me go, yelling that I was gonna set the place on fire if they didn't. Daisy talked to me the entire time I was strapped to a medical bed. I tried to scare her off, but she refused to let me be." Firelight's smile grew.

"She was so stubborn, she just wouldn't let me lay there in peace. I would tell her that I had killed ponies, but she didn't care. She would tell me about her day, what the other kids were doing, how her homework was. She knew I was hurt and needed help and that's all she cared about…" His smile fades.

"She sounds real special," Flotsam chimed in. "I wish I could'a known her."

"She was special. I wish you all could have met her. I'm sure you would have liked her." Firelight gave a half smile.

"I even told her about Grin, what he did to ponies, what I did to ponies, what we did together, what I did to him, and that he was my best friend… She said she was sorry for me, that I had to do that. She asked me if I wanted him back. I told her I did. Daisy said she knew that I was an OK pony and left. I began to get attached to Daisy after that. I actually started talking to her. When I got better I agreed to stay and behave myself." Firelight smiled once more.

"And I did, for the most part. They taught me various things including healing magic, as well as helping me get rid of some of my bad habits.

"It was nice while I was there. They even taught me how to read. Daisy actually taught me that mostly, though she was kinda a pain about it." Firelight said, his smile growing even wider. "Thought it was funny that a nearly grown stallion had never learned to read. I asked her if she knew how to cut someone with a sword while simultaneously cauterizing the wound. She was impressed by that, actually. Heh. Sorry, I'm getting off topic again.

"Anyway, I worked there for a few years healing people, but mostly acting as a protector for the Followers. I learned to love my new home pretty quick. I even became an adopted son of Green Hoof and changed my name to Firelight. This was... This was the happiest time of my life.

"Of course… it didn't last."

Aurelia puts her claws over her face, already seeing where this is going. "Oh, Tiamat NO."

Firelight's face darkened. "Daisy, Greenhoof and I went to help a nearby village, but we were attacked by a small group of slavers. They recognized me. They remembered me from before, so they decided to take us captive, and try to take us back to I don't know where. Thought that we would fetch a good price. I wasn't going to let Green Hoof and Daisy go through that hell.

"I was able to get out and able to free Green Hoof and Daisy. We tried to make our escape, but Green Hoof and Daisy… They… They were killed by the slavers," Firelight said, dead-faced once again.

"She died, right in front of me… I couldn't do anything, nothing I did could help her, she didn't say anything as she died. She only looked at me…"

Powder Keg looked uncomfortable. The pain felt a bit too real and similar to his own experiences. Tempered Steel slouched as the gruesome details sunk in, making the large Minotaur look depressed.

Flostsam silently got up, flew over to Firelight, and wrapped her forelegs around his neck in a tight hug.

Firelight put a leg around Flotsam, hugging her back.

"I… I wanted nothing more... than to make the slavers pay. I went back and I killed them. I made them burn and I enjoyed every moment of it… I went on my own back to the Followers, but with Green Hoof and Daisy gone, and with what I did… I just couldn't stay. I felt like the other Followers blamed me and I knew that they were right…

"The Followers no longer felt like home and only reminded me... of the slavers… of Daisy and Green Hoof… of everything… I heard of the Maw, heard about how far away it was, and I hoped that if I distanced myself from the Followers I would just forget it all. I would forget it all, eventually. But that didn't happen and it never will.

"...But that doesn't matter anymore. I mean, it wasn't all bad, coming to the Maw. I got to meet you all, and to be honest, it's been one hell of a time." With his story finished, Firelight smiled to everyone.

"I'm gonna miss you all."

"We'll all miss you too," Xencarn said. "Thanks for keeping us alive. You did good. Stay safe, alright?"

Flotsam tightened her hug for a moment before finally releasing the blue unicorn. "What Xencarn said. Or else," she added with a grin.

Smile widened again, Firelight replied, "I will. I promise." A tear started to drip out of his eye. "*sniff* Dammit. I promised I wouldn't cry," he said with a laugh.

"As the only other voice of reason in this group I can safely say your departure will be gravely mourned." Javolt tilted his head. "And of course, as your friend… I will miss you too."

Powder bopped Javolt on the head. "You are not a voice of reason, Javolt. As for you, Firelight, don't get so torn up. This ain't a goodbye. We'll see you again."

"Yeah." Firelight wiped at his eye. "But I'm still not gonna get to be with you all. Heh. I'm gonna miss out on all the adventure aren't I?" Firelight remarked, laughing.

Aurelia looked thoughtful again. "You're the pony that hatched my egg with your magic, and now you're leaving. Not sure how to feel about that. I mean you're a pony, not a dragon, but…"

"Its okay… Heh. Hopefully I've been a better father or whatever I am... than mine was, at least." His grin changed to an utterly serious expression. "Take care of yourself, don't talk to any strange cultists, and don't take gems from strangers." His effort to keep a straight face was faltering. "And practice the fire breathing. It definitely comes in handy," Firelight finished, and a little stream of fire flew from his mouth.

Aurelia grinned. "Right. You're more of a dragon than I give you credit for. Guess it all works out, then."

The gathering quieted down soon after the story was over. Everyone finished their meals and drinks, sharing a few more stories and laughs before they finished, and all were glad for the chance for a bit of relaxation after that last fight with Smaug. As everyone left to get some sleep for the night, Firelight and Trigger left to their new home at the hospital. That night when Firelight settled down in his new cot, he started to think of his friends, knowing that he'll get to see them again, and wished them good luck on their adventures.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!