• Published 5th Oct 2017
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The Spirit of a Pegasus - bookplayer



In early Equestria, the pegasi cling to their traditions. Seeking a father for her foal for one of those traditions leads Pansy to consider her true feelings for Commander Hurricane, but she finds his emotions protected by armor nopony has pierced.

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Epilogue - For Equestria's Future

Hurricane arrived at his office precisely on time that morning, though he yawned a good bit more than usual and sent young officers scurrying to bring him coffee several times. But in spite of spending most of his early meetings grunting responses to issues he was barely following, he couldn’t deny he was in good spirits.

By mid-morning he was in his usual form, except for his wings which were determined to remind him of his age and foolishness. He was bent over his desk, reviewing reports when there came a knock on his door.

“Come in,” he called, glancing up to see the door opened by the last pony he expected, or wanted, to see.

“Cushy office you’ve got here,” Puddinghead said, looking around and nodding approvingly.

Hurricane glared at her.

“I got Clover to cast a spell. It wouldn’t ‘ve been right to ask you to come down for an apology. And with how deep I put my hoof in it, I owe you the best I can offer.” She walked over and leaned against his desk, earning another glare. “So, you’ve my deepest apologies. I was an ass, and I don’t deny it.”

“Apology accepted,” he said, in hopes she might get out of his sight.

“Very well.” Puddinghead nodded, but made no move to leave. “Probably doesn’t matter to you anyhow. That sort of thing only counts from ponies of honor, right? We both know I’ve got none.”

Giving a snort, Hurricane shook his head and turned back to his reports.

“You know, I never minded being called a mud pony,” Puddinghead said casually. “It suits me. I fight dirty, I play dirty, I talk dirty. It got me made Chancellor. Cookie’s got more brains in his hoof than I do in my head, but put us on a debate platform in town square and I’ll have him stammering and fuming so he can’t put two words together. That’s how we played politics in Girthshire; he was miserable at it.”

During her rambling Hurricane had glanced up, and he leaned back in his chair studying her with a stony expression.

Puddinghead offered him a shrug and a grim smile. “But… there’s no more Girthshire, and no more mud ponies. I’m an earth pony in Equestria now, but sometimes I can’t get the mud off my hooves.”

A silence fell between them for a few long seconds before Hurricane frowned and spoke, “I earned my position in battle. Promotions for bravery and honor, tactics and skill… every one of them at the cost of blood and corpses of ponies and griffons raining from the sky.” He raised his eyebrows at Puddinghead. “That’s how we played politics in Hippocampus.”

She gave a snort. “A bit rough on the losers, eh?”

Hurricane nodded slowly.

“So does blood wash off easier than mud?” she asked, with a sad smile he had to count as sympathetic.

Hurricane drew a breath and let it out, his face softening to his normal impassive expression. “You’ve heard me in council. Reaching for the spear comes too easily to me. It’s a decisive answer to many problems, and my troops have the bravery and skill to see it through.”

Puddinghead raised her eyebrows at him with that same sad sympathy.

He nodded. “There’s no more Hippocampus, and the princess and you all keep me in check. I can’t say I don’t miss the glory of a successful campaign at times, but… this is a new world.” He gave Puddinghead a pointed look that managed to match her sympathy as he finished, “You and I are old ponies, we’ve got to do our best to keep up.”

“It’s a better world. And you’re quite right.” She grinned. “Especially mucking about with you. It’s all in good fun until somepony gets run through with a spear.”

Hurricane met her eyes. “You came close last night.”

‘I thought—” Puddinghead’s smirk and the twinkle in her eyes suggested she had been about to say something ill-advised, but looking in Hurricane’s eyes she stopped and closed her mouth firmly with a slow nod.

The smirk remained on her face as she drew a breath and started again, “Never been fond of spears, myself. There’re a hoofful of mares down there who can vouch for that.”

Caught off guard, Hurricane raised his eyebrows in mild surprise.

“I suppose I know better than anypony that there are things you’d rather have stay under the covers.” Puddinghead tilted her head. “But those ponies can also tell you there’s more than one way to please a mare. Get a bit of practice and maybe you’ll rest easier.”

Hurricane stared at her for a moment, then he started to chuckle and shook his head. “You’re a rotten old scoundrel. But you’re not a bad pony.”

“No need to sweet talk me now, I wasn’t volunteering,” she said with a grin.

“Get out of my office,” he said with a smile, motioning to the door. “I’ll see you at council.”

“I’ll be there, whether you want me or not,” Puddinghead said cheerfully as she turned and walked out the door.

As she left, Hurricane chuckled again and went back to his reports. With Puddinghead taken care of, he knew the rest of his friends had at least some sense of honor, decency, or self-preservation. Aside from an apology he knew he owed Cookie for the slur against his tribe, and a private conversation he intended to have with Clover, the matter was likely dropped.

He glanced out the window at the clear sky, feeling less burdened than he could remember in his life.

***

Pansy stood outside Clover’s school on the sunny lawn, waiting for Hurricane to finish talking to their friend. She smiled and absentmindedly appreciated a bed of flowers; the night before had proven conclusively that all fears on this matter belonged to Hurricane alone. While she wished him well with all her heart, she had no doubt that even bad news could be soothed over the course of more nights like last night.

In the center of the flower bed stood a statue of Lord Oblige, a unicorn noble who had given what Clover described as a whole rump-load of gems to finance the school and library. She wondered if he had heirs, and if any of them might do more for the future than his donation would. On the one hoof, they may be mages, or heroes, or simply keep his generosity alive through future generations. On the other, his donation was already assisting in magical research that would lead to greater and greater discoveries, and training the students who would become teachers of those things.

She thought of her own mother, whom she’d hardly known. Springwind was famous as a fierce and skilled warrior, she’d organized a campaign against the griffons so bloody that it led to a treaty which lasted three whole months. She fell in battle when Pansy was young, so Pansy was left to wonder if her mother had actually had any traits that might keep Equestria strong, or if it was an accident of the stars that her honor foal had matched her in renown.

As she was thinking, the door to the school opened, and Hurricane stepped out. Pansy smiled at him before he even saw her. He held his head high as always and looked as if he’d been there on important business, but he quickly glanced around and smiled as he caught sight of Pansy.

Pansy flew over to him and offered a nuzzle before falling in step beside him as they crossed the well tended lawn. “How did it go?”

He kept his face even and gave a shrug. “There’s little hope for a permanent solution, but there’s a chance she might be able to assist if we want a foal.”

She considered that. “Do you want a foal?”

“Yes. With you.” He gave a soft chuckle. “I never dared hope for it.”

“Then we’ll try whatever Clover can offer us.” She stepped close to him and brushed against his solid body. “And if we can’t have one, there will be no apologies.”

“If I can’t sire a foal, I’m still the luckiest son of a crow in Equestria. And one pony is responsible for that above all others.” Hurricane glanced over at her with a smile that he seemed to have invented last night, one of such fondness that Pansy felt her cheeks warm each time.

“If that’s true, that pony is you,” she said. He raised a skeptical eyebrow, and she answered it, “You gave me more second chances than there are stars in the sky. You made the decision to join our tribe to Equestria before there was an Equestria, and you dealt with the opposition and malcontents. And last night, it was you who stepped forward to be the stallion I always knew you were.”

He glanced over at her again. “If I stepped forward last night, it was past my own failings and only at your prodding.”

“You don’t want to argue with me about this, Hurricane.” Pansy looked at him with mock severity. “I’m quite proud of my commander.”

Hurricane gave an amused snort, and a knowing smile crossed his weathered face. “Pansy. For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve known what must be done, and my job has been to move the stars to make it happen. I’m not sure I’ve ever been your commander.”

Pansy returned the same smile, leaning in to kiss his cheek. “I won’t tell anypony if you won’t, Sir.”

Comments ( 19 )

Bravo Zulu!

If Commander Hurricane and Private Pansy were voiced, what would they sound like? If you don't know, then just say so.

8475392
I'm sorry, I've been trying to think. I know what they sound like but I'm having a hard time coming up with actors. Miranda Otto as Eowyn in LotR isn't far off for Pansy, if it helps.

You know, even though this ended happily I STILL can't get over the fact that he can't father a foal. As a man, that really stings me, especially since I DO want kids. Just had to say it.

Anyway, this was great writing still.

8475491
I totally understand. To be fair, it took Hurricane 30-odd years and the love of his life damn near bashing him over the head to get over it, and he's still happy that Clover might be able to offer them a way.

8475702
Yeah, that's definitely true and I am happy about that.

It's just that I watched movies, read books and even stories on this site where a girl is infertile and has to deal with it.
And even THEN I still really feel their pain. This is pretty much my first time seeing a story where it's on the man's side and... it just REALLY got me.

scared of spears now O_O

Regardless, this really was great writing man, gonna read another story of yours, keep it up :pinkiehappy:

8475743
Just fyi, I've got no problem answering to "man" (and I do regularly,) but I'm actually female. :ajsmug:

8475748
:pinkiegasp:

O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O

Uummm... I... uh...I uh... um... well uh... I just um... :ajbemused:

I'm sorry :twilightblush:

I'm honestly kinda touched with what you wrote now.
God Bless :scootangel:

8475748
You tell ‘em, man! :pinkiecrazy:

Well, that went in a direction I wasn't expecting. Very nice.

...she’d organized a campaign against the griffons so bloody that it led to a treaty which lasted three whole months.

I love how that speaks volumes about pony-griffon relations at the time.

In any case, a wonderful romance and meditation on strength and weakness. I'm glad I prioritized this story on my catch-up lost. Thank you for another fantastic bit of early Equestrian history.

Congratulations, you have another fine story here. I definitely didn't expect infertility to play a part in this story, and embarrassingly it wasn't until all of the characters announced this revelation aloud that I realized what was going on. I guess because I have no desire to have kids the impact didn't hit me very hard, but the amount of time that the story built up the Pegasi idea of continuing the line did make up for that. This really isn't a theme that I would have expected from you, but it is important and you did a good job.

This is simply magnificent, from start to finish. Well done :twilightsmile:

...liquid pride:raritycry:

This was gorgeous, and far more than I expected. The turn was so surprising, yet obvious in hindsight.

Thank you for this. (And also for including it on your “best stories” list, without which I might never have read it)

This is like a Russian novel in miniature. Because the characters are all Ideals, or at least ideas, and they spend most of the time arguing about their proper relationships with one another. It can be great stuff if the setup's good and the dialog's interesting and it doesn't run on too long. Which in a Russian novel it always does. So that "in miniature" obviates the issue.

It also reminds me of when I was seventeen and I read Dostoevsky's The Idiot (I was trying to prove what a big strong brain I had) and I realized "Hey--I know these people!" I could have told you who was Natassya Filipovna and who was Rogozhin. And I--Prince Mishkin! Of course I made us all tragic romantic heroes because I couldn't believe anybody would write a 600+ page book about about a bunch of railing twaddling useless bores. Plus, teenage vanity.

But I was right (or more likely Dostoevsky was). I did know all these people. And they all did, eventually, turn out to be railing twaddling useless bores.

Comes now The Spirit of a Pegasus and its ruthlessly perceptive ear for dialog. Specifically for the kind of dull repetitive verbal cruelty served up as wit whenever nerds turn to the topic of sex. And I think, "Hey--I know these people!"

And "Hey--I'm one of them!"

Well, not lately. At least not so much. I did take part in this kind of raillery once but that was in the past and things have changed--the world of last Tuesday was a very different one, as I'm sure you'll agree.

And then remember
Not to forget
That you do it
And do it yet.

Other things:

I like how you address the matter of geriatric sex. It points up the unfairness of the situation in the story, and in life: these old farts trifle with it because they have it in abundance, yet the young who could put it to good loving use are denied it, or at least the full measure of it.

But the B&D inference is a nice sop to toss to us nerds (who still think Rocky Horror is SO 3DGY) before you rap us on the knuckles with the conclusion of the story: sex doesn't solve everything. Love and duty solve everything. Or at least enough things to go on to the next problem, which is all any solution ever does.

(Sex, by the way, does not solve any problems. Sex just creates new problems. That is the whole point of sex. The choice, as always, is between the problems you'd rather and the ones you'd rather not).

Yet in the end you're kind. Kind to the characters and kind to us nerds. Kinder than any of us deserves, except maybe Pansy. But in a real Russian novel she'd be dead at the bottom of the River Moskva before the story was halfway through. That's one reason I've never read another Russian novel (I prefer to read about them. It's like mountain-climbing).

I've gotten into the habit of ending my screeds with a coda, a little piece of music that sort of sums it all up. So let me follow your example and finish with something kindly. Yes, Warren Zevon can be kindly, but there's a vaguely martial air to the tune here which I think is also apt:

And thank you for telling me a story! :twistnerd:

L'Envoi

I think I've got Hurricane's anthem--

Come my brothers
Come all fighting men
Come together while we may
We ne'er may meet again
Come you soldiers
Sing out proud and brave
Each man fallen
Stirs now in his grave...
We remember

And in fact his complete commute jam:

Loved your story! Very well written and sweet. Thank you for the read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I keep coming back to reread this story, I love it so much. From the very begining when Hurricane has his realisation about Pantsy to the last line where he besicly tell her how he's always felt about her. This is so good!

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