• Published 29th Dec 2020
  • 297 Views, 64 Comments

Under the Black Moon - Cloud Ring

Solid Line, young unicorn with suppressed dreams of greatness and being closer to her chosen Moon, gets a dream, and answers the calling.

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Chapter 4: Ease

Gentle Touch's cutie mark


Gentle Touch was a fourteen full rounds old earth pony, and she was happy. She was resting in the Blue Moon’s soft fur, saw Her mane of eternal twinkling stars with nebulae here and there, listened to the silence and thought of nothing in particular. There was no pain, no fear and no waiting for the next bout of queasiness; only Blue Moon, and Her unending calm.

She raised her head to look into the Princess’ turquoise eyes, and got a smile from Her.

“Do you know that you are powerful?” She said.

Gentle Touch thought about it, and decided that she can’t be described by this word. Yes, she was able to help tulips sprout while working with her mom and dad, but then who can’t? And there was that one time when she felt Impassion down in the cellar and decided to come down too and speak with her until Impassion’s parents returned from their work, and she took the pain then… yes, maybe it’s something to be cautiously proud of… but powerful? Nothing of that sort.

Especially after she got sick.

And so Gentle Touch shook her head and blushed, “No, my Princess. I am just a pony.”

Blue Moon laughed, and that laugh was of quiet stars in infinite space that never meet too close but still know that others are here, look for them and care about them.

“Still, you have the will to deny Moon’s sayings. That is pretty powerful in my book.”

“But does it matter if I am going to...” Gentle Touch never finished; she suddenly got a mouthful of deep-blue feathers.

“You will survive,” Blue Moon assured, and in that moment it was always so. Because what Moon does say in word exists and what Moon keeps in silence does not.

Then Gentle Touch slowly surfaced to the world of pain, sometimes weak and subtle, sometimes hot and throbbing. In a few cycles she learned that aquamarine lights on appliances surrounding her are usually good and promise a few relaxing slices, yellow and orange ones are usually bad, and scarlet is… nothing can be said about scarlet, ever.

She had been visited by Blue Moon, or Desire, as She was sometimes called, in her dreams as well as in the waking world, and she saw everypony around Her try to get away and out of Her sight but she paid no attention about it — Moon was always so nice.

She taught her to actually see the lines of pain, to move along them and keep them out of the minds. A few full moons later Gentle Touch learned how to ignite them in time of need and in self-defense, and more than once she had been reminded of signs and consequences of doing so. And exactly three square nines cycles or one full round since she had been first time visited by Blue Moon, well on the way to her own recovery, she had delivered her first painless eternal sleep, and in doing so became a full-fledged Herald.

She cried in her room after that, and reminded herself, then and now, that she is just a pony, and that it is not her place to decide who should live. Five full moons later, she still saw the patient’s face in her dreams. Blue Moon comforted her for a while but then said that the memories are to stay for now, and that She would not alleviate the feeling, because without it the applications of Gentle Touch’s powers may eventually become too frivolous.

Only a few cycles ago she found that she actually can don her blue uniform without a twitch of sadness in her heart. But still, right now, in a train approaching the center region of Metropolis, she felt unsure about… pretty much everything. Where to live, how to find a friend in this busy community, would she be looked down upon by older colleagues, or does the designation that she treasured in the envelope at her chest — one that she constantly checked and rechecked to make sure that the sheet sealed by Triangle of Moons was not, against all odds, lost — mean that she will be mostly alone? Once ponies deduce that you were a Herald, they usually minimized contact with you. For them you were a function — healer and painkiller, in her case — rather than a living pony, and sometimes Gentle Touch asked herself if she had made the correct choice then.

Only sometimes, of course. Right now she was tugging the lines of three heartbeats and one headache almost subconsciously, and the foal nearby was sound asleep for six slices straight while his grandmother found that she actually can tell her husband how she really loves him without being distracted by aching temples.

They never looked at Gentle’s small orange-tinted form on the top shelf too closely, of course, and no “thank you” was needed.

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