• Published 13th Feb 2016
  • 1,434 Views, 19 Comments

Ashes - Ice Star

In the ruins of a world they were never truly a part of two fillies travel with only each other as company, yet the elder starts to have doubts about their destination and wonders if everypony she loves is doomed to leave her. (EFNW '16 Finalist)

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Chapter 1: May You Be Shielded from Misfortune

How do you tell your best friends that you're leaving them? No, no, no it's more like this: How do you tell the only friends you've ever had that you're deserting them?

It's not a trick question. Or a joke, although you know I do like jokes. I'm serious, which is hard. I've traveled with you two for years and this is where I realize our goals lead in different directions. At first, we both wanted the same thing: to find the families we lost. But then, I thought: Hey I'm doing pretty swell on my own, why do I need to go find two draconequii that I barely remember? Clearly, it's not worth it.

And then what do you know, a few hours later of traveling up from that desert and things get a little greener on the other side, quite literally. Next, I bump into two Alicorns — as they called themselves — the pretty one and her kid sister. They are looking for the exact same thing. Well, not the exact same thing, it would be creepy if they were also looking for my parents. I hadn't found any food for a day suddenly there were two smart, funny-sounding strangers camped out under the stars offering me food for free and asking my name.

The next thing I know both of you had talked me into joining your duo, and had inspired me to renew my search instead of just continuing to drift upward — 'north' you called it — to see if there was anything fun up there. Later, you two even taught me to read and write in your language. During the first meeting, Celestia, you gave me a hug. Luna gave me the goofy grin, and like the magic you girls are always doing I suddenly had two friends.

And magic is exactly why I'm leaving.

You two know I'm impulsive and I know that you girls taught me all sorts of things, from the difference between north and south, how to write (however messy my penmanship is, I hope you can read this), and why you shouldn't be eating weird plants in the woods. Especially the mushrooms.

I've been traveling with you guys so long I'd almost forgotten Luna wasn't my sister. I've been traveling with you two for so long that Celestia, you, taught me to write and read when Luna's assistance just wouldn't work out. Because of you, I learned the name of the language I spoke.

I can do magic, but not with you guys. My magic is different, and it's calling me away, and to be honest here... I want to follow it, just go wherever it may.

Since you always gather Luna and myself around the campfire you set up each night to tell us where we'll be tomorrow and the next three days and nights that follow in case we get lost, I'll know that we're traveling through a beach before you two head up north. I wrote this ahead of time because I'll be leaving you there and don't try to look for me because you won't find me, but I know you'll find this 'cause I'll make sure one of you does.

I'm not doing this so I can find a family I barely remember because I don't care about them at all. Not out of spite but because once more: how can I miss somepony one who was never there at all?

You two know exactly who you are and where you're going, while I don't have that kind of reassurance. You've been saying something about the north — whatever that is — quite a lot. I don't know what you think you'll find there, but I don't have this northward faith. Our paths split here: you two into the unknown and me, wherever my magic takes me (which could also be the unknown), but this is where I sever my ties with you both as cleanly as I can.

I can't understand your harmonious natures. Celestia, sometimes how orderly you are is puzzling, and it doesn't suit me, just know that I'll be heading where you two won't and that my new wish is much different from yours. By following this uncertain future neither of us will be able to predict our fates and all the things you've been chattering about, Celestia. And that weird prince-y guy I guess you lost or something, Celestia, since you'll talk about him quite a bit from time to time (but you don't know his name?) is probably someone you'll find too, y'know?

Who knows? Maybe one day my name will be synonymous with 'chaos' with all that I could do. I wouldn't mind. I'm counting on never meeting you guys again, since it's such a big world, but know that if we do I don't know what'll happen. We might not be the same as we once were. All I know is that to the both of you: You're gonna go far, much farther than when I tagged along.

The one and only,



We stared at the letter written on parchment as smooth as the sand Our hooves stood on. Tears hit the paper and mixed with the still wet ink that We knew was nabbed from the stationary We carried with Us when we were not looking. We had made that little comfort — paper with plant pulp and ink with the right powders — with Our own hooves, guiding the claw and paw of Our friend along... and...

Behind Us, the sun was setting, which stained the sky with the hues that never looked quite right, as the sun wobbled on its course below the horizon. Though, Luna and Ourself had become accustomed to this. The ocean roared with the blood in Our ears as We sobbed silently. He slipped away when We were not watching and into the dusk-drenched tangle of woods, We presume. The night-gloom would soon approach, making everything so unsafe and scary.

Our only friend was gone, it was just Us and Luna alone in this world. We know that now, that everypony feels so gone,
and they must be. There have been bears, birds, fish, and creatures aplenty, but never the ones we seek. No ponies, no griffons, no buffalo, and no Alicorns.

Luna, who was ahead of Us, scouting and surveying as best she could, turned back and called: "Tia, where is Discord?"

Our only friend was gone and he thought We were pretty.


Luna was caught off guard and turned around, even from this distance We could see the worry. We were not one to speak so little.

How could he do this? Was he just like the ones who left us in this mess, an empty new world? The ones we would never search another second for...

"Tia," Luna said, more cautiously this time "what is that?"

Luna must have seen Us holding the paper, she saw Our anger boil up, for it was rare, and in its golden aura pocket before steaming and bursting into flame, every wet-ink word reduced to ash.

"Nothing, Luna. It was nothing at all." Our voice was oddly flat and made Our mouth taste bad.

We stamped the ashes into the sand, swished Our color-streaked mane over Our shoulder, and turned away. When that was done, We walked up to join Our sister, who We would always protect, who would never betray Us. We told her a few frank, hollow words about what Discord did, she swallowed and hung her head. Surprisingly, she did not cry, but We were too sad to worry. We both walked north, knowing it was too upsetting to stay here, at least for Us.

We were going to go far indeed, because We had the only friend We ever needed, and that was Our own sister.

Luna, We swear We will protect you from everypony, and make sure you never get hurt again. We promise to be the only one you will ever need, like a mother. No friends, princes, or draconequii will ever hurt you, never, ever, ever.

Author's Note:

[Revised for print on 7/25/2023]

Happens not long after The Dark Side of The Sun.

Anyone who understands the chapter's title might get a cookie.