• Published 4th Jul 2012
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The Sea Swirl Anthology - Zorotokon



Sea Swirl didn't have background. Now she does.

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Dreams of Dolphins

"Momma, momma, mommy! Look, lookit! You're not looking!"

The chilled waves of Equestria's Western Coast gurgled and churned in foam-crested swirls around the rocks of the shallow tidal pools that sporadically dotted the beaches. Spots such as these, where life flourished within the seclusion and shelter of the calm waters, were rare. Once found though, they could offer a rare glimpse into a world few ponies visited.

Today, three unicorn mares were exploring the tidal shallows. Two lavender filly sisters worked their separate ways around the unsure landscape, splashing through tiny rivulets and leaping from rock to rock as an older mare looked on. One of the siblings hung especially close to the third, a mare whose pelt matched the more cautious filly's mane. Though the filly's mane was two-toned, it melted perfectly into her pelt where it reached her nape. Despite her bravado at the family cottage earlier, her steps were careful and her movements unsure.

The other sported a blue to purple mane that was soaked from the splashing water and sudden dives into pools to investigate anything that caught her interest. Her little horn radiated a deep blue aura as she used her magic as a third hoof to pick up spiny urchins or squishy slugs. Floating along beside her was a dull red bucket that had seen much use creating sand castles, but now housed a mini ecosystem of seaweed, crabs, and fish no larger than the young filly’s snout.

She dunked her head into another pool, the salt water stinging her eyes as she flitted her gaze back and forth. A brightly colored flame-orange shell sat in the deeper waters, tantalizing her. Reaching in with her little hooves the shell sat just barely out of reach. She pulled her head out of the water, shaking like a dog to get some of the water out of her eyes. Her horn glowed brighter as she pulled at the shell with her magic.

"Sea Swirl, it's time to go!" Sea Swirl looked up, her concentration broken by her mother's interruption.

"Okay, Mom, I'm coming!" The little filly checked her bucket one last time, smiling into it as she watched her finds swim back and forth in the placid waters it contained. Her new friends secured in her mind's eye, she dumped the bucket's contents into the flame shell's pool and trotted off to join her mother and sister.

The mare smiled as her children joined her. "Okay, Sea, Amethyst, let's stay together and find your father, mind where you place your hooves."

Sea Swirl wrinkled her nose at her mother in distaste. "But Moooom, I'm fine! You let me wander off earlier!"

"Yah," Amethyst Star, Sea Swirl's twin sister interjected her thoughts "and you came back soaking wet with seaweed in your mane!"

"At least I didn't get scared by some kelp!"

"It looked like a fish, and it was gross!"

"Oooh, a big scary gross fish that's gonna jump up and EAT'CHA." Sea Swirl feigned a pounce on her sister, who responded by ducking behind an outcropping. A giggle of triumph escaped the wet filly, who indeed had seaweed in her mane.

"Moooom, Sea Swirls making fun of me!"

"Sea Swirl, stop that." The purple filly stuck out her tongue at her sister behind their mother's back. "Try to stick close to me, okay? I know you think you're all grown up, but you'll always be my little fillies to me, okay?"

"Okay, Mom." The two little fillies exchanged looks of mutual dislike outside of their mother’s gaze, neither wanting to be the first to break eye contact.

"If you know so much about fish and kelp, why don't you go live with them!" Amethyst's whisper was masked by the crash of waves from her mother, but Sea Swirl heard it loud and clear.

"Oh yah? Well, I bet I'll get my cutie mark if I do! So maybe I will! AND it will be for something totally cool and unlame!" Sea Swirl poked her sister in the flank where three diamonds glittered in the afternoon sun. "You know, the opposite of rock collecting."

"Jewelry and gem carving is NOT lame." Amethyst hissed at her sister through clenched teeth while poking her back in the same spot. "Blank flank, blank flank, has to live out in the park. Blank flank, blank flank, never got her cutie mark!"

Nettled by the school yard rhyme, Sea Swirl flushed red. "Oh, yah? Just watch me! I'll," Sea Swirl looked around her surroundings, trying to find something that she would like as a cutie mark. "I'll swim out to sea and get it right now!"

Amethyst's face turned from lavender to pink at the gutsy declaration. Checking to make sure she wasn't being overheard she leaned in close to her sister and whispered: "Mom would KILL you."

Sea Swirl checked her mother's location, probably just out of reach of a stone's throw from where she was, the sea was much less than that. She'd make it. She could do it. All she had to do was just... run "Let's see her try and stop me!"

With her challenge to the world shouted out for all to hear, she turned and galloped full pace over the slippery tidals towards the sea foam that she was named for.

"MOM! MOM! SEA SWIRL'S GONE CRAZY!"

She reached the drop off where the rocks suddenly gave way to the chilly waters of the coast, the bottom barely visible beneath the waves. Okay, Sea Swirl. You ran all the way out here to prove a point. And you just proved it. The little filly gulped and checked her footing, before a large grey silhouette in the water caught her eye.

Is that a shark? Oh barnacles, this was a bad idea. Retreat! Sea Swirl backed off from the precipice, the descending water sucked at her hooves, drawing her in. She could hear her sister and mother shouting at her, but their voices were drowned out by the rush of water that filled her ears. She heard the wave before she saw it, but when she did see it she started a mad dash for safer ground. Her scramble backwards was stopped when the wet and wild terrain proved traitorous and a slick of flotsam sent her tumbling onto her behind.

It wasn't the largest wave she had ever seen, but it was the first she had seen from beneath. The crest peaked far above her, devouring the sky as it grew taller and taller. All the little filly could do was seal her eyes and pull her hooves in close, hoping that she would be alright.

The wave hesitated for a moment, surrounded with a faint lavender glow. Amethyst Star had been the closest to her sister, and her little horn glowed brightly as she channeled all her will into this single spell of holding against the wave. Her teeth ground together in a determined grimace as her hooves sought purchase against the terrain that had already claimed her sister. But not even the strongest Alicorn can tame the sea, and the rush of water overpowered the filly's magic when a second wave crashed into the suspended water.

The combined tide swept up the terrified Sea Swirl into the ocean's dread bosom, her tiny lavender form descending beneath the waves as her sister and mother looked on.

Amethyst ran to where her sister had just been. She has to be here! Where is she! She's the best swimmer I know! She's fine! Her mother slammed to a stop beside her, pulling her away from the same edge that had just swallowed up her twin.

"This is all my fault!"

"AMETHYST!" Her mother's voice was loud, strong, and blasted full force directly into the little pony's face. "Go get your father." Amethyst nodded wordlessly and galloped off, slipping along the rocks and sending up sprays of sand and water under her hooves.

The purple mare looked out to sea. In times of great need, earth ponies could call upon insane feats of strength, bending mountains or throwing around boulders as if they were pebbles. Pegasi could call upon the fury of the storm itself, summoning great clouds, rainstorms, or even the death brought forth by lightning. But the Unicorn was blessed with a magical state that few had ever experienced, and fewer still could control.

It was known as the Flow; when a Unicorn tapped directly into the magic of the universe to draw power from the very essence of Magic itself. It was beyond dangerous, but it was also beyond powerful. A Unicorn entering the Flow would be filled with unimaginable arcane power, their eyes would burn with blistering light and their bodies would glow with aura.

The purple Unicorn looked down at the sea once more. Her eyes were reflected perfectly as the waves calmed. Two perfect orbs of white, brilliant light lit up the now placid waters. Her mane moved to the currents of some unfelt silent wind that only blew in places ponies were never meant to go. Stepping out onto the water, it supported her weight as if it was as sure as the rocks she had hewn her home from. From her hooves veins of ice shot down through the water, searching, feeling for her child. When it encountered a fish or coral it spiraled out from first contact, freezing the poor creature in the grasp of inescapable ice.

RETURN MY CHILD.

The words were not said, but the command was heard by all things, living or otherwise on the beach that day. Her frozen tendrils continued their search, now hitting the floor and spreading out, forming a deathly cold web that shot up to sources of warmth, seeking for that small form of a filly.

"Frost!" The Unicorn did not acknowledge her name. A maroon-red Unicorn had arrived with Amethyst. He had partially understood the situation from the babbling and sniffling of his daughter, but when he saw the ocean perfectly still and his wife standing in a now frozen pool the severity fully hit him.

"Frost, it's... Did you find her?" With a crack the mare freed her hooves from where the ice had sealed them to her work and returned to shore. As her mane settled the frozen waters behind her cracked and began to melt. Her eyes dimmed from the shine of power which marked her as one with the Flow, back to the tear brimmed eyes of a simple pony. A pony that had failed.

She just shook her head in reply and fell against her husband. They held each other close and watched the waves undo her work. The sounds of the cracking of the ice and the crashing of the waves was muffled to their ears. But somehow through that thick haze a small voice penetrated.

"Uh, Mom, Dad, I think she's fine."

Disguised by the gurgling of the tidal pools, a giggling like the tinkling of a tiny bell reached them from far out to sea, farther even than Frost's magic had reached. There in the distance, a small lavender filly rode on the back of a dolphin, its pod pirouetting and leaping through the air around the pair. They chirruped and squeaked at the filly and she cheeped and clicked in return. A mark of two dolphins had appeared on her rump and radiated light and magic into the now sparkling waters.

The dolphin mount splashed happily along the waves as the pod danced back and forth along Equestria's Western Coast, the filly astride it laughing all the way.

" Momma, momma, mommy! Look, lookit! You're not looking!"