• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,244 Views, 417 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything


Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

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Born of Conflict

Varchild (31 BE-EY 22) was an officer in the armies of Pegasopolis. He is considered a microcosm of the rapid cultural changes that took place over the course of the Tribal Unification and the early days of Equestria.

Varchild was born in a griffin slave corral. Liberated as a yearling during the Third Griffo-Pegasopolitan War, he was raised in the traditional Pegasopolitan manner: he was placed in one of the free-roaming, half-wild herds of foals that rampaged across the streets and skies of the city-state, where the brave and ambitious could distinguish themselves and the unworthy would make themselves known. The still-unnamed colt rose through the bucking order with incredible speed. By the age of five, he had bitten, kicked, and wing-slapped his way into leading his herd.

This rapid ascent did not go unnoticed by the colt's elders. He became one of the youngest pegasi to earn the right to a true name and military service. Varchild selected his name based on the faint memories of his earliest days, choosing a Griffish word meaning "One born of conflict."

At the beginning of the Fourth Griffo-Pegasopolitan War, Varchild was nine years old and a trained if unbloodied hoplite. During the conflict, he greatly distinguished himself, both through valor in combat and in the single-minded determination with which he gave others the salvation he had received. Such heroism saw him rise through the ranks of the military nearly as quickly as through his childhood herd. By the war's end six years later, Varchild had the rank of primary, with five feathers of five pegasi each under his command.

Of course, this final war against the griffins marked the beginning of the end for the Three Kingdoms Era. Griffins were the last major menace to Dream Valley, and now the few remaining on this side of the Saddlantic would avoid ponies for centuries to come. After centuries of defending themselves against external threats, the ponies had hostility ingrained in their culture, and the only ones who they could be hostile towards were one another.

Pegasopolis's highly militarized culture meant that it was already poised for the extortion and terrorism that would mark its contribution towards the coming of the windigoes. Varchild now directed his troops not against griffin reivers, but earth pony settlements that refused to pay tribute to the pegasus city-state. The towns were sacked, though Varchild was actually one of the less cruel raid leaders, keeping lost lives and ruined crops to a minimum. His reputation protected him from his superiors' displeasure, but these tactics still put a halt to his advancement, and patience was wearing thin with him by the time of the Great Freeze some fifteen years later. This likely contributed to his choice to join Commander Hurricane's Peregrines and seek out a new land.

Hurricane thought little of Varchild's soft heart, but Private Pansy understood and respected his pragmatic attitude. As the chief of logistics for New Pegasopolis (or, as she put it in her memoirs, "chief of everything Commander Blowhard couldn't be bothered with,") she made Varchild the first wing-commander of the new city-state, giving him authority over virtually all of the surviving rank and file. In this, Varchild would be the salvation of the pegasi.

The Second Freeze was of a necessarily much greater intensity, encasing a more temperate region in an even greater chill. So great was this cryomantic calamity that it even overwhelmed the innate pegasus resistance to temperature extremes. The barracks and bivouacs of the pegasi were designed with this resistance in mind, and thus they offered virtually no shelter against this incredible cold. Varchild was the one to swallow his pride and order them to seek shelter with the wingless.

While not everypony could huddle together with the preternaturally powerful student of Star Swirl himself, the catastrophic conditions were such that many saw the same wisdom as Varchild. Doors (or, in some cases, chimneys) were opened to the pegasi, and many bonds were formed as the Fire of Friendship was ignited.

In a moment of irony, Varchild found himself weathering the catastrophe in an earth pony homestead. Such was his gratitude that, after the founding of Equestria, he dedicated the rest of his life to repenting for his crimes against his fellow pony. Today, he is best remembered for his method for doing so: he vowed to create a life for every one his troops had taken.

The results of this quest can be seen even today. Commander Hurricane's virility is widely popularized, best seen in the rather inaccurate statement that he is a direct ancestor of roughly one seventh of all living pegasi. However, genetic analysis has determined that Varchild actually is a direct ancestor of approximately four percent of today's earth ponies.

Author's Note:

BE is Before Equestria, EY is Equestrian Year. At least, it is for the continuity of this story.

An interesting card, though one with somewhat problematic flavor, in that it refers to a person by name. Fortunately, the Varchild of Equestria was much nicer than the one of Terisiare.

I'm honestly not sure what the context of this story is. It's a bit too narrative for an encyclopedia article. Let's go with a history assignment. Possibly one of Twilight's.