• Published 19th May 2018
  • 13,924 Views, 508 Comments

Child of the Tree - GStarshine

A lost filly finds her way to the Tree of Harmony. How does our story change when one pony is so in tune with the Harmonic forces?

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Prologue - Ways of Fate

Modern Equestria was known for its peace and prosperity. Wars were a thing of the past as diplomacy cut a much calmer path to resolutions. Disease was nearly wiped out, magic and potions saw to it that even the sniffles could be cured with ease. Famine was nonexistent with the hard work of dedicated earth ponies and the steady, unwavering arrival of the sun's loving light. Even death was pushed back in the wake of prospering magic that nurtured ponies well into their two hundreds. It was a true paradise, harmonic forces cradled the land in a cocoon of amity and goodwill.

That did not, unfortunately, stop some hearts from filling with greed.

A fact that Twilight Velvet and Night Light, the married pair of Royal Astronomers, were getting an unpleasant lesson in.

"Velvet! Stay with Shiny! Call the guards!" Night Light shouted as he galloped like a batpony outta heck after the pair of cloaked thieves. "I'm going to follow them!"

"Be careful!" Twilight Velvet called out as she clutched her trembling son to her.

Neither gave any thought to the fact that Night Light was an astronomer, not a Royal Guard or even a particularly athletic pony. No. What had been taken was too valuable not to take the chance on.

"Stop right there!" the Royal Astronomer demanded, but apparently ponies who broke into others homes in the middle of the night had no regard for the authority of a stargazer. Night Light may not have had any training in this sort of thing, but desperation had been known to lend a hoof to a ponies actions. Such was the case when Night Light used magic to take hold of a flower pot he passed and chucked it at the thieves. Night Light's heart leaped to his throat when the pot struck one of the thieves in the head, knocking them out; particularly, the thief holding the precious stolen bundle. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for Night Light, the second thief managed to grab the bundle before it could drop onto Canterlot's unforgiving cobblestone.

The phrase 'no honor among thieves' never seemed more appropriate as the last thief left standing flared open previously cloaked wings and took off, taking the tiny bundle with them.

"No!" Night Light screamed desperately, he picked up another flower pot in his magic and tried to aim for a wing. The pegasus swerved to avoid it and Night Light nearly choked on his own breath as the bundle tipped precariously in the thief's hooves. Hooves shaking, tears threatening, and horn sparking with stress, Night Light watched helplessly as the thief disappeared into the clouded night sky with one of Night Light's most prized possessions.

The thundering of many heavy hooves was accompanied by the clanking of heavy armor and the high warbling cry of "Daddy!"

Night Light's head whipped around and he was somewhere between hopeful and relieved to see some pegasus guards among those that were apparently being led by his wife. "One flew off with her! Please!" that was all it took for the five pegasi guards to launch themselves upwards in hopes of finding the thief.

"Daddy!" the voice called again and Night Light turned to see his son perched on his wife's back and looking up at him with wide eyes, "Did you find her? Did you find my sister?"

Night Light swallowed the lump in his throat and shook his head, "One got away with her Shiny. I'm sorry." Velvet drew in a wet sounding breath but tried to keep a brave face for their little son.

"Sir." one of the unicorn guards interrupted, "Can you tell us what all you know?"

"Of course." Night Light answered readily, "Unfortunately that's not much. However, I did manage to knock out one of the assailants." the unassuming astronomer waved at the thief he had taken out with a flower pot, "You may be able to get more out of him."

The six unicorn's turned to the cloaked pony as one, "I see." the guard answered, "We will do our best to find your daughter, sir, ma'am."

"Thank you." Velvet hiccupped, "I just...I don't know what to do! Why this happened!" she swayed into her husband, tears finally falling from her eyes as she was overwhelmed.

As the guards were converging on the downed pony, one felt a light tapping on his back hoof. When he looked back it was to find a tiny colt staring up at him with as much seriousness as his little face could muster, "You're gonna get my sister back right?"

The guard nodded at the little one, "We'll do our best."

"Good." the colt said as he puffed out his chest, "My name is Shining Armor. I'm gonna be the Capt'in of the Guard when I grow up! I will throw you all in the dungeons if you don't bring my sissy back!"

Despite the situation, the gathered guards couldn't help but chuckle. The first guard brought his hoof up and saluted, "Yes sir, Captain Armor, sir!"

"You've done it now Moutain Glare." the pegasus muttered to herself as she flew frantically, all too aware of the guards on her tail. "This is what you get for listening to Dark Rider. Chased by the bucking Royal Guard while being drooled on by an icky infant." Mountain Glare glanced down at said 'icky infant' who had begun sucking on Mountain's hoof. "Ew." the pegasus huffed, shaking the foal off of her. "I better get a good ransom for that you little parasite!" she hissed at the baby.

Purple doe eyes opened sleepily and fixed on Moutain, the baby cooed and began to giggle.

"Quiet!" Mountain all but snarled at the tiny purple pest.

Those big purple eyes, alight with laughter the moment before, started to water and Mountian cursed under her breath as she tried to rock the baby quiet. The attempt fell well short as the foal threw it's head back and wailed loud enough to alert everyone in a ten-mile radius of its discontent. Moutain Glare cursed and sped up again as the sound of wings grew louder.

"Shut up you little brat!" she hissed as she flew as fast as she could from Canterlot and its guards.

"HALT!" a loud voice commanded, "In the name of Princess Celestia we demand you stop and surrender the foal!" Mountain barrel rolled out of the way with a yelp as a guard charged her, getting much to close for comfort.

Quickly running out of options, Mountain Glare ducked under the cloud layer and desperately searched the ground below.

A tiny town made itself known not far ahead and Mountain Glare dove toward it, still very aware of the shouting guards that were hot on her tail. The foal still wailed, the sound seeming to grow as air rushed past sensitive ears. Mountian Glare kept up her punishing pace as she dashed through the center of the little town, her wings a blur as she moved. She took a sharp corner when another guard snapped his teeth inches from her tail and weaved between a few building to try and lose them.

Alluring shadows caught Mountain Glare's eye on one quick pass and the pegasus dashed for the darkness of the woods with renewed hope for her escape. She made it into the line of trees and slapped her hoof over the foal's mouth to keep it quiet. Mountain Glare crouched into some underbrush as the five pegasi guards broke from the town outskirts and came toward the forest's edge.

"Come out now and surrender the foal!" one female guard demanded as she walked the line of the trees.

"We've captured your accomplice." Another said, "We won't stop until we've taken you in too."

Mountain Glare gritted her teeth but remained silent. Dark Rider had gotten her into this mess, he got what was coming to him. As for her, she was too far gone now. She wouldn't stop until she was captured or she got her money's worth out of the little snot factory whimpering into her pristine ice blue fur. Her confidence in that thought was raised just the slightest when one of the male guards looked over her hiding spot.

"Do you know why we aren't charging in after you?" another female guard asked, a hint of taunting in her voice, "This is the Everfree Forest." Mountain Glare tensed, her wings twitching. "A forest with magic of its own, filled with dangerous creatures that would eat a pony without a second thought." the guard continued, "You wouldn't want to be eaten would you?"

Mountain Glare was searching for a clear flight path out or even a weak spot in the guard's line where she could make a run back to town when the unexpected happened.

The little foal, tired and stressed, took the opportunity to open its mouth and chomp down on Mountain Glares hoof with its little milk teeth. Mountain Glare let out a shriek of shock. The guards whirled toward the sound unerringly and flew toward it.

Mountain Glare dashed further into the forest in a panic, dodging trees and vines as she went. She was just about to fly over what appeared to be a small pond when she was tackled by two guards from behind. The foal rolled from her hooves as she struggled against the two guards, coming to rest at the edge of the pond. "Silver Dart, get the rope!" one of the guards grunted from above Mountain Glare, "Star Shield secure the foal."

Star Shield, the guard who had taunted Mountain Glare about the forest, moved around her fellow guards and approached the foal. She was reaching out a hoof to gather the foal when the water at the pond's edge heaved and an enormous mouth clamped down on Star Shield foreleg. The pegasi guard screamed in pain, thrashing in the grip of the unforgiving mouth.

"Rockadile!" another guard yelped as the two free ones flew forward to help. One tugged at Star Shield as she screamed while the other dove for the foal. The rockadile swatted at the pegasi going toward the foal in irritation but ended up batting the precious bundle away from the dangerous tangle in the process. With the foal out of the way, the two guards focused on trying to get Star Shield free, something that happened abruptly when the rockadile snapped its jaws again; completely severing Star Shield's foreleg and disappearing back into the pond with its prize.

Star Shield’s screams quickly turned into sobs as she curled in on herself, staring in wide-eyed horror at her legless stump.

"Night Strike! Get Star Shield to Ponyville General! She needs medical attention, now!" the first female guard said as she forced Mountain Glare to her hooves, rope now wrapped around her wings and lassoed around her neck. "Silver Dart! The foal! We need to get out of here now before another...."

She was interrupted by a deep growling and the rattling of twigs.

Heads whipped around to see a group of seven timberwolves edging out of the underbrush, nosing curiously at the foal who seemed to find that particularly funny. The foal wiggled a little hoof free and tapped on the closest wolf's nose.

"No!" Silver Dart shouted, dashing forward.

The timberwolves growled and the one who had been tapped by the foal grabbed it in its teeth before turning and running into the forest with Silver Dart flying right behind.

"Swift Wing! After him!" the apparent leader of the guards snapped. "Night Strike, the hospital now!" Night Strike nodded seriously and carefully heaved Star Sheild onto his back, taking her carefully back toward town. The leader tugged sharply on Mountain Glare's lead rope, "Move it prisoner!"

Mountain Glare started forward on shaky hooves. She had just wanted to kidnap a foal from some rich ponies and ransom it back to them, was that so much to ask? Now she'd had to witness a pony get their leg eaten off. It was definitely going to haunt her while she was in prison.

Further in the forest, Silver Dart and Swift Wing were flying after the foal snatching timberwolves. It certainly helped that the foal seemed to think this was some sort of game. It was babbling brightly as it was carried off.

Silver Dart banked sharply as a timberwolf fell back to snap at them, Swift Wing dropped his weight onto the creature, scattering its twigs before flying back up to Silver Dart.

"Look!" Swift Wing shouted, pointing forward where timberwolves were beginning to leap over a rise and down into a thick tangle of underbrush and trees. "If they get down there we'll never get to the foal in time!"

Silver Dart nodded solemnly and sped forward. Just as the timberwolf holding the foal went to leap down, Silver Dart landed on it, scattering its branches. Unfortunately, it also sent the foal rolling down the hill and into the depths of the underbrush, squealing all the way.

"Damn." Silver Dart cursed, Swift Wing landed next to him and they both slid down the steep drop together, branches dragging against their wings and armor as they went. Before they could reach the bottom a cry of pain rang out, watery and small, a sound that could only have come from the little foal they were there to rescue. In the next second, they came to a stop at the bottom of the drop, right in a tiny, empty clearing of branches and thorns that clearly used to be a den.

"No..." Swift Wing murmured in horror as their eyes found a little blanket, torn and bloody in the center of the den.

They moved closer and inspected the blanket. It was ripped almost completely in half with teeth marks in one end. There was blood flecked over the entire surface and a small pool where the bunched up blanket led to what looked to be drag marks in the dry earth. More blood showed in the drag marks as it disappeared into a wall of the other side of the den.

Silver Dart swallowed hard, "Should we..."

Swift Wing bowed his head over the little blanket, "There won't be anything left." he picked up the blanket gingerly and held it against his chest, "And if we did find anything, it wouldn't be pretty. The parents don't need to see their foal like that. It would haunt them for the rest of their days."

Silver Dart dropped his head, "We should have been faster." Swift Wing didn't answer but he held the blanket tighter to his chest.

In the deepest corner of the Everfree Forest, in a small cave, stood a very special tree.

This was a large, blue, crystalline tree with a large star etched into the center of the branches, hanging from the branches were silver glowing vines with round buds on them. Below the center star, on the trunk of the tree was an etching of a sun and below that, a crescent moon. Here the blue darkened as the tree's roots spread out through the cave. It was lit by light filtered through large purple crystals set into the top of the cave. Around the edges of the cave sat piles of flat stones, covered in soft moss, trailing vines, and glowing pink flowers.

This serene, whimsical scene was interrupted this night by the rattling of twigs and the whimpering of a tiny foal.

A pack of timberwolves sat at the edge of the ridge that looked down into the cave. A pack of seven wooden beasts and their one tiny pony addition.

The largest of the timberwolves gripped the little foal in its teeth and trotted down the moss covered steps that had been made from the upper ridge to the cave so long ago. Once they reached the edge of the cave, the timberwolf set the foal down and pushed it across the ground until it was right up against the blue tree, before quickly retreating to the edge of the cave to watch. The rest of the pack lay down on top of the ridge to watch as well.

The foal didn't pay the wolves much mind. It was hurt after all, a large gash on its back leg from the branch that tore through its blanket. The foal toppled to the side, landing against the roots of the tree as it whimpered, large purple eyes watering for the second time tonight. Tears began to fall from the foal's eyes and they landed on the roots of the tree. With each tear that hit the roots, the tree seemed to glow brighter, until one almost couldn't discern the branches of the tree from the glare.

Suddenly, the glow detached from the tree and split into six smaller auras that condensed until they began to take shape. The six were distinctly pony in shape and began to glance around as their auras settled into a light glow just an inch away from their coats. Though seemingly solid, these six ponies did appear translucent.

The growing distress of the foal drew these ponies focus to it almost immediately.

"Oh, you poor dear!" one exclaimed, moving forward. She was a cerulean blue earth pony mare, with a red mane that was done up in a beehive to set on top of her head, she wore a green skirt and had a bronze necklace around her neck. She sat down in front of the little foal and pulled it gently into her hooves, "That's quite a gash you have there, little one." she cooed.

The largest figure, a sky blue stallion with a blaze down his nose that was just a hair lighter than his coat and a ginger mane and beard, walked over to the mare and the foal, leaning over the mare's shoulder to look into teary purple eyes. "What is wrong with it Meadowbrook?"

The mare peered up at him and huffed, "She is not an 'it', Rockhoof. This is quite clearly a little filly." she looked down at the little foal, "And she seems to have a large gash on her hindleg."

A third pony joined them, this one a tan pegasus stallion with a maroon mane, "Woah, that is pretty big for a foal. I'm surprised she isn't outright bawling." he waved at the little foal who cocked her head at him curiously while Meadowbrook soothed a hoof over the gash, as her hoof passed over it some of the glow clung to the wound and began to seal it. "You're a brave little thing huh?" the filly waved her little hoof in time with his and giggled.

"Is this what we have been awoken for?" a fourth figure huffed, "Lost fillies with cuts?" this was a stern looking grey unicorn stallion with a white mane and magnificently curly beard, he wore a blue cloak with stars and moons on it as well as a large pointed hat, both with bells on them.

"Starswirl," another mare scolded lightly, she was a seemingly elderly unicorn mare with a curved horn, a periwinkle coat, and a gray mane that flowed without a breeze. "you know we would not have been woken for such a small thing." she stepped gracefully over to the group surrounding the filly, "Which means this little filly is something special."

"Mistmane is right, Starswirl." the final figure said in a heavily accented voice. She was a peach-colored pegasus mare with a short navy mane, she wore a light gauzy wrap around her frame and had heavy kohl around her eyes. "We would not have awoken if this was not a very important filly." she flew over and alighted herself on Rockhoof's back to lounge there as she looked down on the little filly.

Rockhoof turned his head to look at her, "Can I assist you Somnambula?"

She smiled at him and stretched leisurely, her wings brushing against his sides, "You are already being a great assistance, my friend." the stallion snorted but looked back to the filly among them.

Starswirl gave a loud sigh and walked around to the clear spot in the circle to look at the filly. He picked the filly up with his magic and turned her carelessly in midair as he examined her, the foal cooing excitedly as she spun, "Unicorn filly, perhaps two weeks old, healthy other than the obvious scratch, horn within the expected measurements for her age, magic pathways above average, magical core strong for a filly." he huffed and set the filly down in front of Meadowbrook again, "She will be a strong magic user, maybe even an important one if she puts the work in, but I still do not see why her presence woke us." as he turned away he caught a glmipse of the timberwolves still watching the cave and frowned throughtfully, his thought process was quickly interuppted by more high pitched giggles.

"Flash Magnus you put that filly down this instant!" Meadowbrook scolded. Turning back, Starswirl found their resident pegasus guard tossing the filly high into the air as she giggled. Mistmane caught the filly in her magic and brought her back down into the safety of Meadowbrook's hooves.

"Aw, you're no fun." Flash huffed, "She was enjoying it!"

Mistmane looked to Starswirl, "You cannot say that we were awakened without reason unless you wish to admit a flaw in your spell work, dear one, and all of us know how much you hate admitting that." Meadowbrook and Flash snickered while Starswirl huffed. "You set copies of our memories into the magic sapling we infused with our seeds in case anypony in tune with the harmonic forces of the world ever wished for our advice."

"Yes, I assumed Celestia or Luna may eventually find their way here and wish to speak to us." Starswirl said as he began to pace, "They know how to tap into the harmonic forces. I did not expect them to take the seeds without speaking to us. This little filly cannot yet walk, let alone tap into harmonic forces to allow us to awaken."

"Why not?" Flash asked, "She was hurt and crying, clearly wishing for help. Perhaps the sapling took that as close enough to a wish for advice."

"But the filly can't tap into the pure harmonic forces!" Starswirl snapped, "That is something taught to masters of magic!"

"Why can't she?" Rockhoof grumbled, "Perhaps she suffered one of you unicorn folks 'flares' and tapped into it accidentally."

"There was no evidence of a flare when we awoke..." Starswirl trailed off, his eyes back on the timberwolves, their glowing yellow eyes were locked on the filly but they made no move to approach. "Did the wolves bring her here?" he muttered.

"Starswirl?" Mistmane called.

He startled and turned back around, "Something is not adding up. The timberwolves have been here, presumably, since just before we woke up. There are markings on the ground to show that the filly was pushed into the cave. I can only conclude that the timberwolves brought her here. But why?"

Mistmane looked down at the little filly and hummed, "Perhaps, she felt of harmony to the wolves and they brought her to the biggest concentration they knew."

"Preposterous." Starswirl snorted, "She would have to be naturally tuned to the harmonic forces, there has never been a pony whose magic was so tuned without being taught."

"I'm sure," Mistmane answered dryly before bowing her head and touching her horn to the little filly. A purple glow surrounded the foal and she babbled in approval. Flash Magnus landed and laid a hoof on the filly, his aura transferred to her easily and added a ring of red to her glow, the filly cooed. Catching on, Meadowbrook, Somnambula, and Rockhoof also touched the filly and extended their magic, adding orange, blue, and light pink rings to the aura around the filly.

Starswirl approached slowly with wide eyes, he could feel the magic that his friends were putting out. The pure energy of the harmonic force that they were most in tune with, all focusing on the little filly who was rolling in it quite contentedly. In fact, the foal's eyes were sparkling as she reached out for Starswirl, perhaps instinctively knowing that he would give her the final piece. Warily, Starswirl lowered his horn to the filly's and channeled his magic into her.

The filly's eyes went white with power and her fledgling magic flared out to tug at the magic of the six.

Collectively they tensed as images flashed past their mind's eye, visions of the future. Visions of the little filly as she grew. Visions of her with each of them, of them together as a family. Visions of grown up Celestia and Luna. Visions of the filly with wings. Visions of Discord. Visions of the filly facing the Pony of Shadows. Before finally lingering on a final vision of the filly as a fully grown alicorn mare with a silver and diamond crown sitting on a blue throne that looked to be made of branches; they sat on either side of her in thrones of their own, heads held high and expressions unbearably proud.

The filly's magic released them and she floated down to land safely between them all, yawning as the magic took a toll on her tiny body and curling into herself to sleep.

"She..." Somnambula began in awe.

"It would seem that fate has seen fit to bring us the future embodiment of Harmony," Starswirl stated, genuinely surprised.

"We're keeping her!" Meadowbrook rejoiced, pulling the sleeping foal into her hooves and beaming down at her. Flash darted into the air and let out a cheer.

"What?!" Starswirl sputtered, "That's not what I said!"

Rockhoof landed a massive hoof on his back in a friendly pat that almost sent Starswirl sprawling, "Nonsense!" he shouted, "The wolves have brought her to us! Who better to take care of her than us?"

"Her parents!" Starswirl stressed, readjusting his hat, "We are just semi-corporeal copies of ourselves! We cannot take care of a foal! If we ever leave the cave we would turn into nothing more than substance-less projections that will fade the further away we get! We cannot gather food, nor water for this foal let alone defend her if something in the forest comes for her!" he stomped a hoof, "Moreover, she would be better off with her actual parents! Where she could learn about the modern world, not just the old world and where she could learn of the advancements I'm sure have been made since our departure!"

"Oh don't get your cloak in a bunch." Flash laughed, "The visions showed us it would be fine!"

"Time is fluid!" Starswirl shouted, "Anything could change those visions at any time!"

Mistmane walked over to Starswirl and laid a hoof on his back gently, "Starswirl, I know she would be better off with her parents but that isn't something we can do at the moment. We can't touch her outside of the cave, so we can't exactly carry her to a town and as you pointed out, she is unable to walk at the moment so we can't lead her there even if our projections would make it that far. If her parents are able to find her we can certainly return her to them but, unless they come, keeping her here is the best choice. And really, it would be best for us to teach her our arts, we have gotten more in tune with the harmonic forces she is to eventually wield than any before."

Starswirl frowned, "We have no way to feed or water her. We have nothing to keep her warm when winter comes. We certainly can't protect her if she wanders from the cave alone before she can be taught defense."

"We can use the sapling's store of magic." Mistmane pointed out, "Summoning things we need. As for the defense, the timberwolves have been watching us this entire time, they brought her here. If her signature is harmonic enough to match the sapling then the animals should respect her and protect her like they've done for the sapling before. And of course, we can start training her the moment she's old enough."

Starswirl dropped his head in defeat, "Fine." he sighed. Rockhoof, Meadowbrook, and Flash Magnus all cheered. "But," Starswirl warned, "we must use the sapling's magic as sparingly as possible. Without the seeds here the magic will not replenish quickly enough for us to use it continuously. Until we can bring the seeds back and put them back in the sapling, we can't just use the magic willy-nilly." They all nodded in understanding. Starswirl sighed and moved with Mistmane to join the other four where they all lay around Meadowbrook and the foal, "With that decided, what should we call the little one then?"

"Brynhildr is a good strong name!" Rockhoof enthused.

Somnambula laughed lightly, "The greatest pegasus in the Valkyrie guard! A good name but this little filly won't have her wings for some time. Perhaps Sekhmet?"

Mistmane chuckled, "You two are trying to saddle this little filly with such old names. She needs one of her own so she can truly be herself and not be compared to past legends. Perhaps Phlox Petal?"

"Phlox, as in the flower often used to symbolize harmony?" Starswirl snorted, "A little on the nose don't you think?"

"I think her name should have something to do with her future." Flash put in, "But Phlox is a bit much. She'd be laughed right out of town." Mistmane shook her head good-naturedly.

"What about Tally Reed?" Meadowbrook spoke up softly, everyone looked at her curiously and she gave them a serene smile, "Reed because reeds are sometimes associated with health, growth, and harmony. Tally because she will be keeping harmony in check. Helping to keep the balance between the Harmonic forces and the Chaotic forces." she shrugged and looked back down to the filly, "Tally Reed."

"I like it." Somnambula decided after a moment of silence.

"Our little Tally." Flash nodded, a chorus of agreements went around the group.

"Very well," Starswirl said solemnly, he looked to the filly just as her eyes opened halfway, "Welcome to the Pillars of Old Equestria, Tally Reed."

It would be another eighteen years before the night's wrongs were righted or the little filly was even seen outside of the Everfree Forest.

Author's Note:

First pony fanfiction! Yay! Gotta tell you, took me longer than I anticipated to change 'hand' to 'hoof' in my head. lol

As usual with my writing, I'll have to play a little loose with the cannon to make things work but I'll do my best to keep it all cohesive!

Just to make it clear....yes, Tally Reed = Twilight Sparkle

Let me know what you think!!