• Published 18th Jun 2014
  • 755 Views, 17 Comments

A Fire for Tomorrow - maxxxxxx

The sun has extinguished and death and darkness are left in it's wake.

  • ...

The Burning: Part One

Rainbow soared through the sky with Twilight in her hooves, racing through the pitch black towards their home. Dash strained her hawk like eyes to their limits, trying to get as much out of the light emanating from Twilight's horn, but the dim light seemed like the light of a candle flame at the bottom of the ocean, completely fruitless.

“Twilight, can you give me any more light? I don't want to fly us into a mountain here.” Rainbow's attention was divided between trying to sense the slightest variation in air pressure to avoid crashing and the trembling body that she held in her hooves. That really did a number on her didn't it? I should have done something more to protect her. Damn it! A pang of regret welled in her chest as she heard the impatience in her own voice directed at her shaken marefriend.

“I'm trying, that lightning really drained my magic, I'm doing the best I can Dash.” Even as she spoke, the light at the tip of her horn grew brighter as she pushed her magic as far as she could in her state. It was exhausting her already weakened body.

“I know Twilight, I'm sorry, we just really need to get back to Ponyville and-”

“Rainbow... look,” Twilight interjected. There was an eery wonder to her voice, a mixed tone of grim and awe that made Rainbow nearly shutter. Looking down at Twilight's face dimly bathed in violet that flickered gently making the shadows of her features dance and her eyes glisten. If her voice made Rainbow shutter her eyes nearly chilled her to the bone. A dark, grave expression filled Twilight's gaze as she stared forlornly into the void. Then she saw it, in Twilight's wide eyes: a flicker of orange. A moment after, a whiff of a terrifying scent carried on the frail breeze made all her hairs stand on end as a cold chill surged down her spine. Slowly, she turned, following the stunned eyes of her marefriend. A warm orange glow glimmered, trembling in the distance, pulsing like the light had a heartbeat of its own.

“Fire...” In the weak wind Dash's whisper carried, making the word linger in her hearing. That... that's pretty far away. Just how big was that lightning storm? The acrid smell of smoke wafted around them with an intensity that seemed too potent to be coming from the fire they saw. Looking to the ground beneath them, Rainbow couldn't even see a smoldering ember. What's going on here? Why does it smell like I'm right in the middle of a-

“Twilight! Turn off you horn!”

“What? Why? Without light we won't be able to see where we're going.” Twilight looked up at Rainbow, who squinted hard as she scanned the horizon.

“You smell it too right? The smoke? I think I know why it's like that. I hope I'm wrong but, I just need to see to be sure.” The gravity of Dash's tone unnerved Twilight as the realization of what Rainbow was thinking hit her. In the pollution of her magical light, they wouldn't be able to see the whole picture.

“Right... I hope so too.” Twilight's light snuffed out, bathing the couple in near complete darkness. They were blind again to all but the fire that raged in the distance, it only took a few seconds though, for their eyes to adjust as more orange lights flicked into sight. One by one, another glowing flame made itself known as their night vision sharpened, striking them both with the terrifying realization; the first blaze they saw, was nothing short of a massive conflagration to be the only one they could see with Twilight's light spell. Rainbow slowly spun around slowly in the air, all around them, in every direction, a fire burned in the distance.

“T-Twilight... why is this happening?”

“I don't know... Oh Celestia, everything is burning.” The dark landscape was dotted with fires, the parched terrain was set ablaze by the lightning. The flames raged and consumed, growing larger and larger. The hot, dry weather of the last week had made the land an all too fertile pace for the fire to spread. Straining her ears, Twilight could hear the faint, distant crackling. Wait... sound? That's it!

“Twi, please, you have to teleport us home! I- I can't stand not knowing what's happening to Ponyville. I just keep imagining...” Dash's grim voice smouldered to silence as she reignited her greatest fear. Images flashed through her mind, any one of those burning fields in the distance could be their home. She prayed that their town was spared the flames, but it did nothing to mitigate her panic.

“I'm sorry Rainbow, I just, I don't have the magic to teleport anything...” She could feel Dash trembling, her breathing was rapid and shallow. Guilt and empathy, burned in her chest as she looked up. Even though their faces were but inches away, the only feature Twilight could see clearly from her marefriend, was an orange flicker in her large eyes that remained fixated on the blaze. “I, may have another way though... but, I don't know if you'll be okay with it.”

“What do you mean not okay with it?!” A rush of air hit Twilight as Dash whipped her head towards her in disbelief. Twilight could only imagine the look on Dash's face. “Twi, if there a way to help Ponyville and my friend's you know I'll do anything!”

“I know you would...” She replied solemnly. Her horn began to glow in a dull light, just enough to see each other. “I have a spell, it's doesn't take much focus or magic, so It's about the only useful spell I can use and still be able to give us some light.”

“Well don't keep me in suspense! For all we know Ponyville could be-”

“It's a hearing spell.” Twilight interrupted. “It will improve you hearing more than tenfold but, if Ponyville really is on fire... you might not like what you hear.”

“I...” Rainbow stared down at Twilight, her eyes wide as the reality of what was said sunk in. The thought of what she may hear filled her heart with apprehension and fear. She gritted her teeth, drowning out fear with bravado. No, no! I can't let that stop me, our friends could be in danger and we have to help them. “Hit me with the spell!”

“Alright... if you sure.”

“I'm sure we don't have a choice Twi.”

“I know, you're right.” The glow from her horn intensified. “Close your eyes and focus on your ears, try to take in every sound and focus on it.”

“O-okay.” Her bravado waning, Dash closed her eyes before any more of her nerve could be lost. Her eyes twitched and swivelled, training in on the crackling of the distant fires and the weak breeze. It wasn't hard, with her eyes nearly useless in this ever stretching darkness, her eyes were already becoming more acute. She could hear the subtleties in Twilight's breaths as she focused, pooling as much of her magic as she could for the spell. Her breaths calm and concise, but soon she could hear even her heart beat, loud and fast, betraying the sense of urgency behind the seemingly calm scene. Soon, not only could she hear a heartbeat, but the frantic chirps of birds and the crash of distant timber. Rainbow could hear a stream flowing nearby, protecting the land beneath them from the immediate blaze that stuck elsewhere. But nothing was more apparent than the all-encompassing roar of the fire, burning and popping, tendrils of fire searing at dry wood and choking out smoke.

“There, it's done. How do you feel?” Twilight barely whispered, but her voice rang loud and clear in Dash's ears with an almost painful volume.

“Think you could talk a little louder Twi, I don't think that managed to break my eardrums yet.” She snarked as she rubbed her ear.

“Sorry, I guess it's a pretty effective spell.” Turning her attention from her marefriend to the smouldering landscape, Twilight glanced around, hoping she could discern something that would point them in the direction of home. Her optimism drained as she failed to determine anything from the pitch blackness dotted with flickers of flame. “D-do you hear anything?”

Rainbow didn't respond, her eyes gently shut as her ears twitched. The flap of her wings was the loudest, but beyond that she could hear something, something grim. Far off in the distance, out of sight, a fire raged. Mixed in with the crackle of the fire and the pop of burning wood, was the shrill echo of distant screaming. Dash's eyes shot open.

“This way!” Without warning she rocketed forward, the sudden g-forces compressed Twilight against Dash's chest so hard it made her dizzy. Wind blasted them as they tore through the sky.

“Twi, give me some light!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. Her now extremely sensitive ears rang painfully, from the shout and from the high speed winds. Gritting her teeth she bared through her now lowered threshold of pain to sound. Struggling to focus her magic, Twilight's horn flickered back into a soft purple light.

“Whoa! Dash, up!” Twilight shouted as a towering hill barrelled towards them, only meters away. She shut her eyes tight and braced herself for impact. Rainbow sailed through the air, fully extending her wings and, just seconds before they would smack into the earth she gave a powerful flap, her wings ripped through the air, rocketing them skywards. Twilight felt her organs and blood pulled down, the sight of dash's dimly lit face blurred and her hearing faded as they rose. As the couple quickly surpassed the towering mound of earth, a hazy orange glow illuminated just beyond it, almost appearing to rise like the sun from her perspective. Rather than the life giving sun, they only found another small but growing blaze.

Rainbow could hear it growing clearer and clearer, screaming, crying and sobbing, all coming from the same direction, and the sound of the inferno sang along with the sounds of fear and confusion, all of it concentrated in one direction. She tried to tune it out, to just follow the sound and not think of the source, but it proved impossible. It's Ponyville, It has to be. There are no other towns even close to where we were. Damn it! Faster Rainbow Dash, you got to go faster!

“Twilight... turn the spell off.” Even with her enhanced hearing, her words barely registered above the sound of the wind and the screams that it carried.

“What!?” Twilight strained her sore throat as she called out.

“Turn it off! Make it stop!” Now Dash's words were perfectly clear. Her jaw was clenched and her eyes glistened. Twilight saw tears shimmer in her magical glow just before they were blasted from Dash's eyes by the wind. Her light intensified for a moment as her spell dissipated from Rainbow's ears. She hung her head towards the ground with a heavy heart, knowing that the only thing to bring her marefriend to tears, was what she feared most; Their home was in danger. Suddenly, a flicker of light from a small patch of fire beneath them illuminated a familiar figure.

“Rainbow stop!”

“What? There's no time Twi! Ponyville is-”

“There's somepony down there!” Twilight pulled out from Rainbow's grasp, shakily flapping her wings to keep airborne. Squinting down at what was at first a rapidly passing blur, she could now see clearly a figure laying motionless on the ground. She felt the wind off Rainbow's wings as she came up behind her. Suddenly, a shout pierced the encompassing white noise of burning. It was a high pitched scream, crying out through the darkness.

“Help us!” The cry came again from below them. Rainbow's heart filled with horror as she recognized the helpless sounding voice.

“Scootaloo!” Without another though Rainbow dived, plummeting to the earth at breakneck speeds with Twilight following right behind her. As they grew closer Dash could see the filly laying on the ground, only meters away from a massive downed tree, set ablaze by lightening, beside her another figure, a pegasus, lay still as though asleep. No... No! I-it can't be... There's no way it's her. Oh Celestia please don't let it be her! Within seconds, she was only meters from the ground and she could tell without a doubt, her worst fear was confirmed by her own eyes. As she landed her legs nearly gave out, tears streamed down her face and her heart raced. Twilight landed beside her, her eyes glued on the peaceful looking pegasus, only a whisper escaped her quivering lips.