• Published 8th Jan 2018
  • 1,215 Views, 18 Comments

From the Hearth - Carapace

A special day for two races brings about a flurry of questions from Respite's newest filly before the village gathers to decorate the Hearth's Warming tree and dance the night away.

  • ...

From the Eternal Forest to Equestria

Flecks of powder snow drifted down to land upon her smooth, chitinous snout like tiny fluffy kisses. Her polished, black carapace and braided, sugar-pink mane stood out against the pure-white snowdrifts like a sore hoof. Or perhaps like her smug twin brother after Queen Euphoria turned him bright magenta for a day.

A chittering laugh bubbled forth from her chest. Esalen shook her head, sending her braid bobbing with each motion. Still not old. Still never going to live that one down, Aspire.

The young nymph tugged at her scarf to tighten it around her neck, shivering as a cold wind breathed upon the back of her neck. Her carapace felt brittle as the very ice which hung from the trees surrounding the village, and the wooden roofs themselves.

She heaved a sigh. Esalen did so love the scenery, the chance to frolic and play in the snow with all her friends, but it brought out one of the few drawbacks of being born a changeling—carapace had the tendency to grow brittle in the cold, and didn’t tend to hold heat well.

Thus the need for a pink jacket and sweater, her favorite slime green scarf, and the cozy pink galoshes she was sporting, much like her fellow changelings as they milled about.

Fortunately, the Hearth’s Warming festivities planned for the evening would take care of that. What better way to get the blood pumping and carapace warm than a good dance in a faerie circle?

Aside from a good hunt during hide and seek, or the annual Hunting Game, of course. The dances, though…

Oh, those dances in the faerie circles were special and dear to everyone in Respite—none more than that Caretakers. All changelings, even those barbarous Locust, kept them close to heart.

And why not? The dances were a part of their history. The Hearth’s Warming circle was one they shared with the ponies who joined the village, and the hive, of their own volition.

However, there was a rather noisy side of her that wished the dance could just happen right then and there—particularly, the side of her that wanted to warm her trembling hooves.

Suddenly, something cold and hard struck her left cheek with such force that it turned her head right even as it exploded into a cloud of powder snow. A snowball.

Someone dared to pelt her with a snowball?

Esalen turned slowly, her eyes flashing green and a deadly grin spread across her muzzle, scanning the nearby snowdrifts for the source of bubbling laughter and chittering mirth.

Familiar laughter and chittering at that. And, with a quick flick of her tongue to confirm, the familiar taste of two fillies’ mirth and one smug brother’s mischief. Two fillies and one brother who would pay dearly once she found them.

“You three,” she called out to the endless white sea which surrounded the frozen dirt path, “are going to get it once I get my hooves on you!”

“Three?” a new voice scoffed, one she hadn’t expected.

Esalen spun around, her jaw hanging low, just in time to take another burst of frozen cheer right between her fangs.

Nimble Hooves stood behind her grinning sister, Toola Roola, both bouncing freshly made snowballs in their hooves.

A crunch of snow behind her made her ears twitch, then a pegasus’s wingbeats confirmed her suspicions. She’d been surrounded.

Swallowing a lump, Esalen offered them a nervous smile. “I … uh … I surrender?” she said.

Aspire and Sure Stroke snickered. “Oh, good!” the filly chimed. “You’re still getting pelted for all the times you set Nimmy on me!”

With a shriek, Esalen tried to lunge toward one of the nearby snowbanks for cover. She never stood a chance.

“I hope you all realize this doesn’t come close to making up for that snowball assault.” Esalen eyed the four grinning miscreants over the mug of steaming hot cocoa they’d fixed her, and drew the blanket Aspire had pulled out of the closet tighter. Her jacket, sweater, boots, and scarf hung with theirs to dry by the warm fire her mother kept stoked.

She sipped at the delicious beverage, taking a moment to revel in the sweetness and liquid warmth which seemed to wash over her frigid body. Her eyes flitted between her friends and brother in turn. “So,” she continued, “who wants to own up to the idea and spare the others—”

“Me!” all four chimed in unison, their grins widening and ears waggling.

The smugness, mischief, and utter delight which danced upon her tongue was nothing short of delicious. Had she not been pelted with snowballs a short while ago, Esalen might have buzzed her wings and licked her lips hungrily.

Instead, she blew out a slow breath through her nose and closed her eyes, smiling just as sweetly as the cocoa they were sharing. “Fair enough. I gave you all a chance. Mom,” she called, “you heard, right?”

Faith poked her head out of the kitchen, chittering. “That I did. But nothing messy in my house, Esalen.”

A slow, near-evil smirk pulled at her lips. “Promise.”

Across the coffee table, Aspire rolled his eyes and draped his hoof across Sure Stroke’s shoulder. “Payback for snowballs? I’m underwhelmed, Essy. Besides—” he smirked “—mine were payback for all that teasing about Doodle and me.”

“And mine for setting Nimmy on me,” Sure Stroke reminded her, fluffing her feathers gaily. “Think of it as our slushy, cold way of saying we love you.”

Esalen let out a low hum. They had her there. “Fine, you two are off the hook. You two, on the other hoof—” she leveled her gaze at the giggling sisters “—are in trouble. Big trouble.”

Toola Roola waggled her ears again. “Trouble with Essy?” she chortled. “My favorite kind!”

“All worthwhile, if you ask me,” Nimble drawled, her eyes shone with wicked glee. “But if that’s the way you’d like to play it, I’ll be sure not to forget my game, Essy. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to your tickle spots.”

A shudder ran through her body. Esalen tried to hide it beneath her blanket and quickly moved to change the subject. “So, everyone ready to dance the night away in the faerie circle?” she asked.

Both sisters and Aspire perked their ears, their tails wagged like eager puppies.

“Been looking forward to it all season!” Aspire replied, beaming as he squeezed his girlfriend so tight she let out a squeak. He turned to nose against her chubby cheek, adding, “We’ll finally get to see how this one fares when pulled into a faerie circle.”

“Oooooh! I bet she dances really well!” Toola chirped. “Natural light-hoodedness in pegasi, after all. Especially Cloudsdale born!”

Nimble nodded, idly swirling her hot chocolate in hoof. “Agreed. She’ll do well. And earn her presents too, I wager.” She cast a wink. “And her singing—oh, smugling, I bet she sings just as pretty as a bird!”

Her cheeks flushing, Sure Stroke tried to hide her face behind her mug. A futile effort, but adorable nonetheless.

With a rustle of violet wings, Sure Stroke glanced about the room. “So… is it wrong of me to feel like it’s a bit odd celebrating Hearth’s Warming here?”

Esalen pulled a face. “Why would it be odd?” she asked, tilting her head.

“I just mean… wasn’t the union of the Three Tribes sort of bad for changelings as a whole? It just seems like an odd thing to celebrate, if you ask me.”

Esalen chewed on the inside of her cheek, exchanging a look with Aspire. How best to explain things to her? It was a good question, and a tad complicated to answer, much though she and her fellow changelings might wish to say otherwise or brush off to preserve an excuse to dance and make merry.

There wasn’t exactly a storybook to help, like with Legacy of Love helping to explain how the old hive and the Sainted Ones came into such a fast alliance. Nor was there a schoolbook—a fact which Sure Stroke would no doubt bemoan and grouse about before noting it as yet another thing to include in her own.

Fortunately, there was someone nearby who could help.

“Hey, mom,” Esalen called. “Could you come here for a minute? Doodle’s got a question!”

Her mother’s hooves thudded a steady cadence against the wooden floor as she emerged from the kitchen, her immaculate canary apron still on. Faith wiped the back of her hoof across her brow. “By love, it’s hot in there!” she said.

“Stick your head outside,” Aspire quipped. “Bet you a bit your mane freezes solid in a minute.”

“Thank you, son. It’s so nice to feel loved.” Rolling her golden eyes, she directed her attention to Sure Stroke. “What was your question, dear?”

Sure Stroke fidgeted in the pod seat, her wings rustling again. A rosy blush blossomed across her cheeks when Aspire, grinning wickedly, leaned in to whisper some teasing comment in her ear.

Esalen waggled her ears at her mother, mouthing, “Three … two … one …”

One of her violet wings unfurled with a sudden fwump and struck him over the back of his head. “I do not squirm anytime I have a question, you jerk!” she cried with an indignant huff.

Chittering, Nimble aimed a grin at the filly and decided to chip in her two bits, “You squirm an awful lot, Doodle. It’s kinda hard to tell your question squirming from your flustered squirming.” She trailed her tongue along her lips, adding, “Unless I taste you, of course.”

Sure Stroke puffed up her cheeks, flicking her tail before she turned to address Faith. “I was asking why we were celebrating Hearth’s Warming in the village—or, rather, why changelings would since the Three Tribes ended up pushing the old hive north.”

“Ahh, that.” Faith swished her long, silken tail. “Well, I suppose one could argue that point. But, in fairness, even Queen Morrigan acknowledged that the old hive caused its own downfall with past offenses.”

“I guess that makes sense. I don’t know, it just seems a little strange to me that you’d want to celebrate it with us.” She gestured to Toola and herself. “I get why ponies here would still want to, but…”

“But it doesn’t seem to make much sense why we might want to celebrate that union, you mean?” Faith supplied. At Sure Stroke’s nod, she smiled. “That, I understand. Perhaps this might help.” She trotted over to join Esalen on the pod couch and sat down on the end with a happy little buzz of her wings. “In some respect, we actually owe the Tribes a debt of gratitude for pushing us north. If not for that, we never would have met the Sainted Ones and enjoyed an age of prosperity.”

“Yes, but then the Empire was lost.” Sure Stroke tilted her head. “Madame Soleil mentioned that it was a stallion who was the cause. So … I mean … wouldn’t that lead to a grudge? Or some sort of slight?”

A dark look flashed across Faith’s features. “Yes,” she admitted. “It did fall, sadly. And there is one hive which does blame Equestria for that tragedy.”

Sure Stroke’s ears twitched. “The Locust?”

“Indeed.” Faith sighed, shaking her head. “The greed of one wicked stallion doomed the Empire, not Equestria. History tells the tale of how the Princesses reacted to news of his treachery in rather plain wording.”

“So, in a way, they stood up for everyone in the Empire,” Aspire added. “Sainted Ones, changelings, they didn’t pick or choose who they were avenging. They just put the Dark King down.”

Nimble shrugged. “The hive leaders at the time made the call for us to flee when it was clear that the Empire was going to fall. They feared that the Dark King’s hatred would poison us, turn us into something horrible or just kill us all outright. So, the Princesses couldn’t save the Empire by the time they got there, but the attempt was made.”

Humming, Sure Stroke seemed to consider their answers for a moment. “Okay,” she said, conceding the point. “That does make sense in a way. So, celebrating to share the day with us?”

“Somewhat, yes,” Faith replied. “We’re certainly happy to share in the joy of union with you all. Additionally, celebrating the bonds of kinship and unity in midwinter have been a tradition which dates back to our race’s origins in the Faerie Glen.”

“That’s supposedly on Emerald Isle,” Toola supplied.

Nimble delivered a sharp elbow to her ribs. “There’s no ‘supposedly’ about it, giggle box. The Faerie Glen lays deep within the heart of the Eternal Forest—”

“Where none have gone and returned to tell of it, yes,” Toola said, squirming a bit from the jab. "I’m just saying, without any confirmation, it’s hard to say for sure. Even bookbug would agree—unverified sources, right?”

As all eyes fell upon Aspire, he gave an awkward cough and smiled. “W-Well, I certainly believe the tales of our origins are true and the Faerie Glen is there, of course,” he replied. Then, he added rather diplomatically, “But I can also understand why others might question their veracity.”

Esalen had to withhold an amused snort, hiding a smile behind a sip of cocoa as her mother and Nimble began to lay into him for attempting such a slick little escape. He could sell water to a fish, that one. Grandpa would be proud of the little snake.

Not to mention how Enticier would crow his approval. Why, she could almost picture him catching Aspire in an inescapable embrace and croon what an Enchanter-like bit of wordplay he’d pulled.

Well. Before their deal, that was.

Turning to Sure Stroke, she made eye contact with her friend and decided to bring things back to focus. “To be perfectly honest, we respect the founders of Equestria for looking after their own and, like mom said, we do owe them a rather odd debt.” Shrugging, she added, “The day has significance to both our cultures—ours for the dances in the faerie circles, yours for the Tribes uniting to form Equestria. So, why not celebrate with you all? Why not share?”

She could see the proverbial wheels turning at full speed behind Sure Stroke’s eyes. That curious mind in her doodly little head worked to piece together the puzzle laid out before her, as it always did when it came to her fascination with their way in Respite.

After a moment of quiet thought, her soft violet ears flicked. A slow smile spreading across her chubby little cheeks as comprehension dawned upon her. “All right,” she said. “I don’t quite understand it entirely, but it makes a bit more sense now. Thank you, everyone.”

Faith broke off her light scolding to return Sure Stroke’s smile. “You’re very welcome, dear. I’m always happy to offer help.” She rose from the couch, wincing and flicking her tail. “Oof! My knees don’t seem too keen on moving before the dance.” Casting a wink at the group, she began to trot away, adding, “Perhaps they know, eh?”

A smattering of chittering laughter and bubbly giggles met her comment. Esalen shook her head again, sipping at the rest of her cocoa.

But as their mirth died down, another question cut through the air.

“So… how exactly does one dance in a faerie circle? Is there a specific way, or…”

Aspire silenced her with a kiss. “Doodle, trust me on this—it’s better if you wait and see.”

On that, Esalen could happily agree. The dance would be quite delightful once night fell.

After everyone cleaned up and put on their Hearth’s Warming best, of course.

Though the winter chill breathed down upon her neck once more, biting at the silver chains and pendants and ornamentation around her ankles—even through her coat and boots—nothing could dampen Esalen’s spirits.

Nor Aspire’s, for that matter. Her brother trotted along in his blue jacket and hat, the silvery glint of his own necklaces and pendants flashed in the moonlight with every step he took. Much the same as that their parents wore as they followed behind, carrying a pair of large sacks.

Full of gifts, of course. Gifts always came after the faerie circle and the tree decoration were complete.

Sure Stroke, Alto, and her parents managed to catch up just outside of town center, where a great evergreen and a bonfire were prepared at opposite ends. The fire’s warm orange glow bathed the entire village in its light, chasing away the cold breath of winter—much to each and every changeling’s relief.

Esalen could feel it, even as far away as she stood. She closed her eyes and let out a happy hum, revealing in the way it restored her carapace’s natural mobility and strength.

Then Sure Stroke decided to break the silence, as she was so wont to do.

“Were we supposed to wear jewelry?” She glanced at her coat, frowning slightly. “I feel like we’re a bit under dressed.”

Aspire chuckled. “The old stories tell of changelings being considered nobles among those in the Faerie Glen.” He waggled his ears. “Hawkeye’s told us about the noble ponies in Canterlot. Think of it like that—we’re just putting all of this on to remember.”

And for a little something else, Esalen thought, restraining a smirk. Some traditions were just so much sweeter when they surprised new ponies.

A flick of her tongue earned Esalen a mixed taste of muggy confusion and the zest of curiosity. Sure Stroke’s frown maintained, but told more of intrigue than any dissatisfaction.

The filly nodded once before sidling up to Aspire and unfurling her wing to lay it across his back, a silent gesture he gladly accepted to help warm up, before dotting his cheek with a kiss. Then, before Esalen could loose a quip about being left to suffer, she laid the other across her back and offered a smile.

“I might feel just a little guilty about those snowballs,” Sure Stroke teased. “And my smug boyfriend might have spilled on how uncomfortable the cold makes his carapace.”

Esalen grinned and leaned against her side, happy to share a bit of her natural warmth. We might just have to check Doodle’s family lineage. She thought with humor. With all her love and generosity, she could be a Sainted One.

The small group of eight trotted into town center, exchanging smiles and greeting with their fellow villagers as they found a table to set down their respective gift bags. Esalen, Aspire, and Sure Stroke had to stifle laughter when Drizzly Day caught Warm with a swipe of his powerful wing for trying to sneak a peek into their bag. Yet another tradition—changelings tried to sneak a peek, the ponies guarded their gifts jealously.

“You might be tricky and sly,” Drizzly warned, “but I’m quicker than I look, Warm.”

The sight of her father pouting and shuffling back over to Faith’s side for comfort all but destroyed her efforts. Esalen toppled over, her wings buzzing as she chittered herself silly.

A glare and hissed, “watch yourself, little nymph” put a stop to that, however. With an awkward little cough and forced smile, Esalen scrambled to her hooves and did her best to feign innocence.

Were it any other day, she just might have been in trouble. But on Hearth’s Warming Eve, her father’s charity and patience were quite generous.

Once their bags were safely deposited on the table—and Skydancer caught Warm trying to double back and sneak a peek—it was time for the festivities with the last, dying light of day.

Esalen shed her jacket, sweater, scarf, and boots along with the others. Her glittering chain necklaces and sparkling pendants clinked against her carapace and shone in the flickering firelight. She smiled and sidled up to Sure Stroke’s right side as Aspire took the left. Their eyes met, the twins shared a wink and lit their horns, ready to indulge the next part of their little tradition.

Each looped a hoof around one of her forelegs and wrapped a necklace around her, gently settling the pendant upon the tuft of violet coat fluffed up on her chest. Esalen grinned at the way she blinked and worked her mouth, checking around to see if others were doing the same.

Of course they were. It was their way.

The twins tugged her forward, toward the fire, where a crowd of changelings and nymphs, having just gifted their friends and lovers with such ornamentation, were doing the same.

“Come on, little pony,” Esalen teased, waggling her ears. “Follow us to the faerie circle.”

Aspire nosed against her cheek, teasing his fangs against her coat in that way which never failed to make her squirm and squeak. His fanged smile dazzled in in the firelight. “Time to dance those hooves off and sing with the rest of us.”

Sure Stroke offered only token resistance. “Okay! Okay, you two!” she laughed. “I’m coming already!”

The dance had already begun in earnest when they entered the circle, which encompassed both the fire and the great tree itself. Changelings and nymphs led the way, their muzzle creased by bright smiles as they laughed and danced a merry jig with no real uniformity—only their own rhythm kept the time, a beat they all followed and kept with each stomp, skip, shuffle, and leap of their holed limbs.

Respite’s ponies and foals were quite happy to be “drawn” into the circle by those winning smiles and waggling ears. Some linked hooves with a changeling and reared up on hind legs while others were content to fall into step and add their own dance to the circle.

And when the villagers reached the tree, they dipped their hooves into one of the waiting boxes to retrieve festive decorations. They found gold and silver tinsel, glass baubles of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and little hoof-sewn dolls of changelings and ponies in seasonal dress. Even some of the little hatchlings and newborn foals, babbling in their parents’ hooves, got to make their first contributions—clumsy baby hooves and all.

Esalen sprang up on one hoof and leapt into a twirl like she’d seen Nimble and Toola do so many times before.

The first voices began to ring out over the stomping cadence in an old language, on long-forgotten to most races who walked the land.

The Old Tongue. The old language only those who walked within the Faerie Glen, or came from those who had, would know.

Esalen joined, laughing and grinning a fanged grin as she threw back her head and added hers to the song.

It was an upbeat melody which guided their voices, entwining with the beat their hooves provided like the warm hooves of a cherished lover—or like those of a certain bubbly filly dancing just a few steps ahead, laughing to her little heart’s content while she clasped hooves with Nimble and twirled and skipped around their parents’ legs.

All the while, their song told the tale of the old changelings who first emerged from the Faerie Glen, bored of their many centuries drawing wandering ponies into their midst to play, to spread throughout the land to delight in their games. How they grew and changed, adapting to the world around them until they became the old hive, and were driven north where good fortune awaited them in the form of the Sainted Ones.

Then it told of the bravery and bonds shared by those Tribes from the day they joined together to form Equestria. How they put aside their age-old grudges to link hooves and build a nation where all ponies could be free.

The only ones who weren’t singing were the Cloudsdale pegasi.

The family of four danced along, but their lips were pulled into crooked, confused smiles. Their eyes flitted about this way and that, searching for a friendly face to provide some explanation to the unfamiliar song spoken in such a strange language.

They tasted so uncertain, yet unwilling to speak up. From Drizzly and Skydancer dancing with Esalen’s parents, to Alto over with Maple, even as the baker licked his nose and spurned a squeak, they all seemed to swallow their questions down and just…

Go along with the crowd. Unknowing.

Sure Stroke was little better in hiding her confusion. Something of which Aspire, judging by how he tilted his head and kept nosing her cheek while he sang, was acutely aware.

An idea was birthed within Esalen’s cunning mind. The pegasi were confused by these new traditions, doubly so by the songs sung in a strange language they’d never heard. Understandably so.

But that didn’t mean a little tweaking couldn’t help.

As the song came to an end and the villagers readied the next, Esalen reached over to tap Aspire’s and hissed, “In Equish this time.”

He beamed and nodded, leaning in to murmur in Sure Stroke’s ear, “Listen up. You’ll love this one.”

“It’s our favorite,” Esalen added.

As the chittering and laughter of changelings and ponies heralded the beginning of their next song, the twins took initiative and beat them all to the punch, singing out in perfect unison the Equish translation most new ponies learned.

The melody was rather light and short, giving it a sort of bouncy quality to how the lyrics were sung. It all came together in this chipper little tune describing some of the games and tricks they so delighted in playing with their pony friends. How the laughter and love of the chase brought forth a feeling in every changeling’s chest that harkened back to the Faerie Glen. How the ponies rising in strength, together as one herd as the hive had once been whole, gave them the chance to join in the laughter and come out of the dark shadow of those age old tribal conflicts to build homes together and play.

Just like the Caretakers and ponies had done in the very village they lived today.

By the time they finished, the twins were joined with Sure Stroke to make their selections from the box of decorations. As fortune had it, when the filly withdrew her hoof, with it came a glint of gold. A thin piece of metal fashioned in the shape of a warm flame.

Esalen cheered. “You got the Flame, Doodle!” Nudging her shoulder, she nodded toward the barren top of the tree.

“Did she?” Aspire looked up from the glass bauble in his hoof, his ears waggled merrily. “Oh, nice! You get to put it on top!”

“Wait, what?” Sure Stroke blinked, her eyes flitting between the flame and the beaming twins. “But that’s for the head of house or community to do!”

“Not so in my village, dear,” Queen Euphoria’s dulcet tones nearly made the trio jump.

They spun around to find themselves standing before the changeling Queen and Cool Breeze, both adults fixing them with amused looks. Amused looks, Esalen noticed, which were shared by most in the faerie circle.

The dance had paused, just long enough for everyone in Respite to raise their brows in silent prompting for answer to an unspoken question.

Unspoken until Cool Breeze broke the silence. “Singing in Equish this year?” he asked. “Any particular reason why?”

The twins shared sheepish grins. “That was my idea,” Esalen admitted. “Doodle and her family couldn’t understand when everyone was singing in the Old Tongue, so we just thought …”

“It might be nice to sing one in Equish,” Aspire took up.

“Aha.” Cool Breeze and Queen Euphoria glanced at one another, coy smiles playing upon their lips. All around them, the ponies and changelings of Respite seemed to consider the twins’ words, slow smiles began to spread across their faces.

“Well, I, for one, see no problem tweaking tradition to bring a friend into the fold,” Queen Euphoria said, loud enough for all to hear. Then she turned to Sure Stroke and made a point of glancing up at the treetop before smiling at her again. “Fly on up and put the Hearth’s Warming Flame atop the tree, Sure Stroke. Our dance will wait until you’re finished.”

Her chubby violet cheeks flushed pink and the delightful taste of embarrassment and joy radiated off the nervous little filly. Biting at her lip,Sure Stroke unfurled her wings and took flight, slowly floating up to the very top of the tree with all eyes in the village upon her.

Even on ground level, Esalen could see her fighting the nigh-irresistible urge to squirm and hide her muzzle in her wings.

But she held fast, rosy cheeks and all. As she reached the top, a smile brighter than the sun itself blossomed across her face. As delicately as one would hold a newborn nymph, Sure Stroke set the Flame atop the tree, and the gathered villagers erupted in cheers and stomping hooves.

She hovered down to rest and was promptly pounced by both twins. Esalen chittered, happily nuzzling her cheek while Aspire planted a fluffy kiss upon her nose.

A warm chuckling made their ears flick. Esalen looked over to find Queen Euphoria standing just a step or two away. Her aquamarine eyes glimmered with joy.

And a hint of sly, mischievous intent.

“Well done, Sure Stroke, dear,” she praised, closing the distance to tussle the entrapped filly’s mane. Turning to the rest of the waiting villagers, still in the circle, she called, “Let the dance and song resume!” Before they could cheer again, she held up a hoof. That glimmer in her eyes grew brighter, like the very stars in the night sky. “I think a slight alteration might be in order, as our troublesome twins have suggested.”

This time, it was Esalen who felt heat burn beneath her carapace as her cheeks flushed a deep black. She ducked her head, hiding her face in the giggling pegasus’s downy feathers and pinning her ears as Queen Euphoria spoke again.

“For the benefit of our new family from Cloudsdale, tonight’s songs will be sung in Equish.”

A good deed in the end, even if it came at the cost of her own embarrassment.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 18 )

yaaaaaaay!! I love world building stories and I love how you have a very fae take on the changelings

Oh man, I'm so happy you're going the fae route on changelings. Does this mean stale bread/hard tack would be changeling repellent since that stuff is considered a good protection against the fae folk? It would also explain why changelings like sweets/pastries/sugar in your universe, considering they are a traditional offering.

Oh man, now all I can imagine is Sure Stroke pulling out a stale PBJ sandwich for lunch at school one day, and getting super confused as all her changeling friends bolt out of there XD

This was cute, since this was mostly focused on Esalen does that mean that you’ll also have one focusing on Aspire at some point in the future?

Well the comic's origin for the Changelings in the Fiendship Is Magic series is apparently heavily inspired be classic Fae folklore. So he's in good company.

8656760 I ignore the comics intensely. I'm quite glad they're not canon.

Toola Roola waggled her ears

I want this animated.

8656034 Thanks! I'm glad you like my take on things, I was a bit worried that it wouldn't fit this way ^^;

8656131 Hmmm, I hadn't considered using the stale bread as a repellant. Then again, I've also not mentioned anything about cold iron having any negative effects on changelings of yet, and I don't think they've really come in contact with anything of the sort, depending on what some of those tools around the village and the rides on Coneigh Island are made of...

8656376 We'll see~ He did get an awful lot of attention in TVCR.

8656986 Tbh, so do I

Carapace, I swear to love, you're ruining me. First there was TVCR, then The Sweetest Treat and A Fey Evening, and now this? There's so much fluff! And it is FABULOUS! Keep it up! MOAR Doodle, MOAR Alto, MOAR everyling!


Yeah I didn't guess iron since it seems like it would be an absolute nightmare to write around since steel has iron in it, and steel is found in a whole heck of a lot of things, such as eating utensils. I mean, unless it was only a weakness to more pure iron forms such as wrought/cast iron since stuff made of that is usually a lot older and a lot less common nowadays since its' decline due to steel becoming more widely available.

Ha, would actually fit in with how the pones drove them off to the sainted ones, since a lot of stuff was made of those metals hundreds of years ago. Developing iron based things as changeling repellent back in those days, while switching to steel once they "mostly" forgot about the buggies.

I always just found stale bread as a fae repellent to be hilarious, and I could def see the changelings playing it up as a joke if it's just a myth, or having the best over reactions to it if it was true.

Final thing, glad to see more of my fave maple/alto ship, even if it was only briefly. They are so adorable!

I'm loving these stories about Respite. We need more of them :raritystarry:

Actually, cold iron is forged differently than normal iron, and steel, though it does have iron in it, has a vastly different chemical composition to it. Cold iron has been known, in lore at least, to not only be toxic to fey creatures, but also hold magic nullifying properties, making it dangerous against any magic user. That being said, cold iron is also supposed to be very hard to forge, as if it's too cold, you ruin your tools while making almost no progress, yet too hot, and it loses the cold forged traits that make it toxic to fey in the first place

Amazing writing, as always, Cara :D

Though, after reading it, the Irish part of me wants to go listen to Celtic music in Gaelic.

If I'd had the time, I was going to try writing the song out in Gaelic, but alas.

A shame, but it was still an awesome story :3

A nice little changeling christmas story from the loveable characters of Respite.

A cute vignette.



a bit under dressed.”

underdressed or under-dressed

A very nice Vignette

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!