• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Skeleton

Rainbow Dash crossed the ravine in the span of a minute. Her hooves touched down effortlessly, just like with any other piece of earth. She stood on the east edge, flexing her wings. With squinting eyes, she paced along the cliffface. Her hooves made tiny scraping sounds that echoed into the upper air of the chasm yawning below. Through her peripheral vision, she saw the wooden platforms of Cold Canter's and Desert Light's outpost lingering like dusty shelves on the far side. To the extreme north and south, she could make out tiny specks that marked where the neighboring Darkstinian guard posts resided.

Try as she might, Rainbow Dash could not see any remains of an earth pony. Undaunted, she pressed forward, covering every inch of the cliffside that the elder unicorn had pointed at. With each progressive minute that passed by, she began wondering if a heavy wind had done away with the remains of the equine. After ten years, it was foolish to expect anything to be waiting for her.

Rainbow Dash found a bush lying in her way. With a side-step, she walked around the vegetation, but suddenly paused. Curious, she turned and knelt down, squinting up close at the shrubbery. Something wasn't quite right about it.

Murmuring under he breath, she opened her saddlebag and pulled out her hatchet. Clenching the blade's handle tightly in her teeth, she hacked and sliced away at the thorny branches of the dry thicket. Slowly, like scraping paint off a picture, a dismal shape was starting to form. Halfway through the task, she hissed through her teeth, almost spitting the hatchet out.

A pony's jaw was yawning towards her, frozen in anguish and starvation. All flecks of skin had long eroded off the calcified remains of the equine. There was a leather scrab bundled tightly against the ribcage: the remains of a saddlebag, perhaps.

It appeared as though—over the past ten years—a cluster of bushes had grown through the discarded bones of the ill-fated figure. Rainbow Dash had no doubt what the soil received for its nutrients.

With a solemn breath, she slid the hatchet back into her bag and examined the partially uncovered skeleton closer. She reached a hoof in and pawed at the leather scrap. A few sparse belongings rattled out, disturbed for the first time in years. Rainbow Dash was careful to scoop the items closer to her, so that they wouldn't blow away with the wind into the deep chasm.

She saw a knife, several lengths of twine, scraps of paper—perhaps the remains of a journal—and a silver medallion. Curious, Rainbow Dash raised the medallion between two nimble wing tips. Her eyes narrowed on the sight.

One side of the coin display two giant palaces of ornate architecture resting atop a pair of tall mesas in the middle of the valley.

She flipped the coin over.

The other side held a symbol that she didn't recognize. It resembled a circle with two concave lines sandwiching the sphere on opposite sides. She couldn't understand the lettering house within. There was a gritty layer of soot filling the grooves of the medallion, as if the object had been exposed to hot flames and dense smoke.

Exhaling, Rainbow Dash slid the contents back into what remained of the leather pouch. Curious, she looked down the length of the pony body... and realized there was no remaining length. Her mouth opened in awe.

The bottom half of the pony was missing, just below the upper structures of the rear legs. From what Rainbow Dash could tell, the skeleton wasn't shattered or broken in anyway. The furthest tips of the legbones were oddly smooth, as if seared to rounded nubs.

She squinted quizzically, glancing once again at the leather strap within which the soot-stained medallion lingered. “Was...” She stammered. “Was he burned in half?”

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