• Published 8th Jan 2012
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Last of the Dragonlords - Fluttershy20

Fluttershy sets out in search of answers after a dragon attack left her changed.

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Chapter 10

The Frozen Steppes was just miles and miles of featureless land. Segments of grass and rocks were scattered here and there, giving shelter for the smaller creatures from the elements. The steppes were split in two halves: one end heading south towards the borders, while the other headed north, towards small pony kingdoms and the ocean. While the southern section was featureless, the northern side, however, was covered in swamplands. Dead trees and bushes littered the landscape and the swamps were filled with dark, sticky water.

And this was where Firewing was leading Fluttershy.

“We have to go in there?” she asked him, her voice giving away her fear.

Firewing looked back and nodded, brushing his long mane out of his right eye. “Afraid so. Just stay close behind me and follow my steps, okay?”

Fluttershy nodded and moved so that she was merely two steps away from him. Firewing led the way through a small muddy path that seemed to narrow as they walked, it felt like that to Fluttershy anyway. For Firewing, however, he walked as he was strolling down an empty street.

“There’s nothing to be scared of, Fluttershy,” Firewing said as they walked. “Nothing lives here, not any more.”

Fluttershy relaxed a little and continued along the thin path. “Then… what used to live here?”

“Mostly creatures from the mini Ice Age, roughly ten to twenty thousand years ago,” Firewing, answered. “When it finished, many of those creatures died out, and this place remained the same ever since. It’s why it’s called the Frozen Steppes. It’s also the perfect hiding place for those who don’t want to be found. A pony or horse could get lost here very easy, if they want to that is.”

“But we won’t, right?”

“Of course not. All you do is just follow the mountains to the east or west of us, and you’re basically back or close to civilisation,” he said, then adding, “Oh, mind your step here.”

Fluttershy stopped and looked down. The water (if she could call it that) that had spread over the path in front of her was a thick, dark black that bubbled every now and then. With a little help from her wings she hopped over and was soon behind Firewing again.

After a few minutes of walking through pits and nearly falling into the sticky marshes, the two finally arrived at what seemed to be a large bricked mound. It was circular in structure and rose a few feet from the ground, with dark green moss dangling from cracks. While around it, four grotesque statues stood in each corner of the area around it, sitting in a relaxed pose.

Firewing climbed up the mound and was at the top soon enough. He turned around and held out a hoof. “You coming up, Fluttershy?” he called to the pegasus, who was looking at the structure with a mix of curiosity and fear.

“Is it safe?” she asked shakily.

Firewing rolled his eyes. “I promise you it is safe, and I also promise that this is where your answers lie.”

Fluttershy’s ears pricked up. Her answers to the questions she wanted to know, the whole reason she was here, was up there. She broke into a canter and raced up the slope, soon appearing next to Firewing, and she took a good look of her surroundings.

Around the small stretch of land that made up the mound, the area was filled with bogs and marshes. To the east was the highland range, the mountains looking vast and tall in size. While behind them, to the west, was the Ragged Mountains Range, the place she and Firewing had walked, flown, or galloped from the previous evening.

It had taken them the rest of that evening and most of the morning to arrive to where they were now, mostly due to Fluttershy and her wings tiring out quickly. So Firewing was forced to go at her walking pace for some of the journey, until her wings recovered and was able to fly at a galloping pace once again.

It never frustrated Firewing, who remained calm and considerate every time Fluttershy was unable to go on flying, and forced the two to go at a slower pace. “Don’t worry, Fluttershy,” he said once, after hearing numerous apologies from the pegasus. “I was never a good flier myself. My wings tired out way quicker than most pegasi’s. It isn’t your fault all the same, remember that.”

Fluttershy was confused but didn’t say anything. As she walked through the marsh she kept reflecting back at what Firewing said, and what he could have meant. “Earlier when you said it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t fly well, what did you mean?” she asked after a moment of silence, on the top of the mound. “I thought it was because I was unable to fly well because of my shyness.”

Firewing shook his head and smiled at her. “I noticed in the fortress that you had some underdeveloped feathers in your wings, probably from birth. They don’t exactly stop you from flying, just hinder it and tire you out a bit quicker. Did your mother suffer from the same, or your father even?”

Fluttershy’s ears went down and she looked away. “I never knew my mother, or my father.”

Firewing’s eyes widened. ‘Could it be the same pony,’ he thought.

Fluttershy noticed him staring at her for a little longer than she would like and hid her face behind her mane. “What is it? Is there something behind me?” she asked.

Firewing shook his head and faced towards the centre of the structure. “Nothing. You just remind me of somepony I knew. Somepony I lost long ago.”

Fluttershy ears flattened and walked up to him, placing a hoof on his shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

He looked at the pegasus next to her and smiled. “It’s okay, Fluttershy,” he said, and then turned back towards the centre, rubbing his hooves together in anticipation. “Now then, let’s get this open shall we?”

Fluttershy looked at the centre of the roof, then back at Firewing in confusion. “Um… but how? It doesn’t look like something that would open.”

Firewing chuckled. “That’s true, but all you need is the right words.” He faced the centre of the building and in a loud voice said, “Åpne deg (open up)!” At once, a square shaped part of the roof faded away from the rest of the building, revealing a flight of stairs that descended into the darkness.

Fluttershy’s jaw dropped. “H-how… did you do that?”

Firewing laughed. “Magic.”

Fluttershy tilted her head to one side. “You can use magic?” She had heard of some incredibly talented pegasi and earth ponies that can use magic. It was a rare thing in Equestria for a pony that isn’t a unicorn to have that ability, and yet not only can Firewing seem to possess it, but used that language that she thought only she had.

“Sort of, Fluttershy,” he replied, bringing the pegasus back into focus. “This place was built by unicorns thousands of years ago. The entrance is protected by an enchantment that makes a pony or horse think there’s nothing there, when in reality there is something.” He noticed the gormless look Fluttershy was making and sighed. “It’s hard to explain. A unicorn would explain it better on how illusion spells work.”

Fluttershy immediately thought of Twilight, and how she would react to such a thing. She knew also Twilight would probably make less sense of it as well. “So… we go in there?” Firewing nodded. “Where does it lead?”

“It will take us under the plains into the Highlands somewhere, inaccessible from anywhere else. It should take us about a day or two to walk through it all, but thankfully there’s a place I know where we could stop,” Firewing answered, pointing towards the mountains to the east of them.

Firewing brought out a match and a torch that he placed in the pouch on his left side. He lit it up and proceeded to walk down the stairs. “You nervous, Fluttershy?” he asked upon noticing the lightly shaking pegasus.

“Yes, and no,” she answered.

Firewing smiled comfortingly. “It’s okay to be nervous, but there’s nothing down there that will hurt you.”

“It’s not that,” Fluttershy said with a shake of her head. “It’s… well I know it’s a silly thing to be nervous about. But… I’m here and… well, I don’t know what to expect.”

“Well I’ll give you a hint. I’m glad you enjoy history so much because this is gonna be one large history lesson.”

Fluttershy nodded and, with a gulp, placed one hoof forward. Then another with her hind legs responding, and another until she was next to Firewing, who was waiting for her at the top of the descent. With a nod the two proceeded down the steps, the torch on Firewing’s side lighting the way for them.

“Well the first thing I think we should start on,” said Firewing as they neared the end of the descent and was coming onto even ground, “is the language you have no idea about. The language is called Dragonian, the first language of the dragons.”

Fluttershy stopped as she felt her heart skip a beat. She looked up to Firewing with wide eyes. “D-does that make me part… d-d-d-d-dragon?”

Firewing chuckled, tilting his head left and right as he spoke. “No… and yes.”

“What do you mean?” Fluttershy enquired, tilting her head to the side in confusion, and worry.

“All in good time,” he said. “Now come on, this way,” he said as he trotted into the darkness, with a rather frustrated pegasus behind him.

The few minutes that passed seemed to go on for hours to Fluttershy. The walk was done in complete silence with only the crackle of the flames and the soft breathing of the two pegasi to break it. Fluttershy began to feel claustrophobic once again, and thought for one moment the walls were beginning to close in on her, but soon realised it was just a trick of the light.

The walls themselves were featureless and black, with only the glow of the fire lighting them up into a fiery orange Fluttershy liked to see when the sun was setting. The walls were also damp, with little drips of water coming from the bogs above them slipping down the crevices in the rocky walls.

Finally the small passage widened, revealing a tunnel that disappeared into the darkness. The design was very similar to the one she and Firewing had to go through in the fortress of the Ragged Mountains. But while in the fortress both sides of the walls were decorated in carvings, this time it was only the left side, with the same pictures and events she saw in the fortress.

The last time Fluttershy saw these she never knew what was really happening. This time, however, Firewing was going to tell her everything. They stopped before the first carving. It depicted three dragons on the top of mountains, their wings spread wide and their heads high and noble.

“These carvings, and the story I’m about to tell you,” Firewing began, “began over ten thousand years ago, when the first races appeared. The greatest of these were the dragons. They thrived in the highest mountains and the deepest forests, gathered together in harmony.

“For you see, at one time the dragons were not the greedy, destructive creatures they are today. No, they were once a proud and noble race, greatly respected by all the other races, and yet rightly feared.”

Fluttershy’s ears were right up as she listened with great interest. Firewing pointed her to the next carving. There were three dragons, looking down on several peoples, ranging from ponies to griffons. “When the first mortal races developed the skills to civilise and grow into great kingdoms, the dragons made it their aim to guide and protect us, from others and ourselves.

“And so began the Reign Of Dragons, also known by those who remember it as ‘The Golden Age’. When there was a dispute between two races, let’s say the griffons and the zebras; the dragons would intervene and negotiate a peaceful settlement between the two. To all races a dragon’s words were of great wisdom and power, so a single word from a dragon would stop entire armies of thousands clashing into each other.

“This continued for around five to six thousand years, but although the dragons were powerful they could not be everywhere. Many cities and castles fell and all races had begun to feel some resentment towards each other.”

He and Fluttershy walked past a few carvings, each detailing some of the greatest events in pre-Equestrian history. From the rise and fall of the first earth pony kingdom of Akkad, to the civil war of the griffons. Even some scenes were of pegasus ponies fighting unicorn ponies, most likely over the littlest of disagreements. But out of ten of these sorts of scenes, eight of them had a dragon stopping the battle and the two sides lowering their sword from their mouths or from their legs.

“Things were great though,” continued Firewing. “Until one great and terrible event happened.” He stopped before a carving that Fluttershy instantly recognised. It was the exact same one she saw on the pillars in the tomb of the fortress back in the Ragged Mountains. “The Great War began.”

Fluttershy looked at Firewing with sad eyes. “How… how could people be this cruel?”

Firewing drew a sad sigh. “I wish I knew, Fluttershy. I wish I knew.”

“But how could such a war start?” Fluttershy asked, dismayed at the thought of all those races hurting each other at probably the pettiest things.

“No one actually knows how it started,” Firewing replied. “There’s one theory, however, that suggests a race called draconnequus manipulated them all into starting it, for their own entertainment.”

A draconnequus? The name sounded familiar to Fluttershy, and when she finally recognised it her blood ran cold. “Discord,” she hissed, the name coming from her lips like venom. She hated that creature with all her heart; he corrupted her, her friends and nearly tore them apart, Equestria along with them, and now the idea that he might’ve helped start a war for his own and his races amusement just made her hatred for him rise. Thankfully though he was now locked away in some dark and horrible place to rot in stone, and could do no harm to anypony else.

Firewing looked at her with alarmed eyes, not expecting to see such anger in the calm mare. “You’re familiar with that name?”

Fluttershy nodded with a sigh. “Unfortunately yes. Me and my friends were the ones who put him back in stone.”

Firewings eyes widened. “Wait a minute, you and your friends are the bearers of the Elements of Harmony? The most powerful weapon in all of Equestria?!” Fluttershy nodded meekly, making Firewing grin. ‘This is one special pony indeed,’ he thought. “Wow,” he said. “I never expected in my entire life to ever meet a bearer of the Elements! What Element do you represent?”

“I represent the Element of Kindness,” Fluttershy answered.

Firewing whistled. “Impressive, I would love to know though how an Element bearer is chosen.”

“I’m not sure either, but I think we’re getting a bit off topic.”

“Oh… right. Hehe, sorry,” Firewing said, grinning sheepishly. “Anyway, the Great War affected everyone on the planet. Ponies, minotaurs, hippogriffs, griffons, zebras, you get the general idea.”

“But why didn’t the dragons intervene?” Fluttershy asked upon noticing the dragons seemingly relaxed nature, and yet were weeping great rainstorms of tears as they watched the events below unfold.

“They would have if there were only two nations at war, instead it was all of them. The dragons realised that if they intervened they would be seen as picking sides, so they decided to stay out of it, and prayed it would stop.”

“And did it?”

Firewing shook his head. “The war lasted for many long years, never once faltering. It was said that the blood shed during the war was enough to cover the entire kingdom of Equestria, maybe enough to actually flood it. And that blood had stained every inch of land on this continent. Every field, mountain path, forests, places that are now cities was a sight of a great and bloody battle.”

Fluttershy began to feel a little queasy; all this talk of blood was by now getting a bit too much for her. “Um, I don’t want to sound mean or anything. But can we talk a little less about blood?”

“Ah sorry, I do get a bit carried away sometimes,” he grinned sheepishly while rubbing the back of his neck with a hoof. “Well the war continued until one dragon, their leader, had decided that enough was enough. He ordered his people to launch an attack on all races and oppress them until they were no longer able to fight again.”

Firewing pointed Fluttershy to another carving, this one depicting a large dragon in the foreground of the carving sending other, smaller scaled dragons to war. It seemed to the yellow pegasus a bit hypocritical of the dragons, to stop violence by creating even more violence. But their intentions were good enough she reasoned and she could slightly respect that for that part anyway. “And did it work?”

“I’m afraid not,” Firewing said solemnly. “It was a disaster. The elder dragon's son was killed, and the others were forced to retreat, leaving the elder dragons son’s body to be paraded about as a trophy.”

Fluttershy placed a hoof on her mouth in shock. “That’s horrible!”

Firewing nodded in agreement. “Oh it got worse, though. The dragons banished the elder dragon from their kingdom, for violating the sacred order the dragons had stood by for centuries. Before he left, the dragon promised revenge on his fellow dragons, and swore to destroy all life on the planet for the crime of existence. As he so called it.”

Fluttershy couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She felt a bit sick at the thought that such a creature harvested such malice against everything. “So what happened next?”

Firewing motioned for to her to follow him. They passed several carvings depicting more battles, and even more peace gatherings that ended not so peacefully. Eventually Firewing stopped in front of a carving that depicted something that made the yellow pegasus shiver.

“I-is that the same… dragon?” she asked. The carving depicted the elder dragon from before, except this time it was fire manifested in flesh. It wings, scales, horns and even his eyes were depicted to burn brightly. While below him, layed the charred remains of so many creatures.

Firewing nodded. “The dragon learned forbidden, yet ancient magic in his one hundred years of exile and isolation from the rest of Terra. When he emerged, he returned not as the great dragon he once was, but as Heimdallr, the self-proclaimed illuminator of the world, and he was going to purify the earth, with fire. Heimdallr began a brutal path of destruction across the planet. He incinerated entire kingdoms and left no survivors in his wake. He was very good when it came to that.”

Fluttershy looked closer and recognised those burning, evil eyes as the same ones she saw in her nightmares. So Heimdallr was who she, Twilight and Princess Celestia had met in her mind. She backed away from the carving in fright. “You recognise Heimdallr, don’t you?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Uh… yes, sort of. I was shown a prophetic vision, that’s what the Princess called them anyway, of him attacking and burning Equestria.” She put a hoof across her face. “He made me watch my own friends die!”

Firewing put a comforting hoof on her shoulder. “So you had them as well, huh?”

Fluttershy looked into his eyes, her own were as wide as saucers. “You… had them, too?”

Firewing nodded. “I’ll talk about that later, but now back to this.” He turned his head back towards the following carving, this one depicting a large group of dragons engaging the larger and more powerful Heimdallr, while below them were dragons falling to the ground dead.

“By now a dragon named Vidarr was the elder. When he heard of the war of genocide by Heimdallr he was devastated. He spent a few days sulking until finally he ordered his finest dragons to find and defeat him. As you can see, it didn’t end well for them.

“Once he defeated the elite dragon warriors, he turned his attention to the dragon race itself. Using a magic spell some theorised he learnt from the draconnequus race, he somehow managed to manipulate every dragon’s heart, making his or her greed for everything too strong to stay. The resulting spell nearly destroyed the dragons, and the kingdom they lived in was shattered. After that day the dragons only came together during the great dragon migration, and that is a once in a generation event.”

“So how was Heimdallr stopped?” Fluttershy asked. She realised quickly that he was stopped somehow, or else she, or anyone for that matter wouldn’t be alive. Firewing motioned to look at the next one. When she did she gasped. It depicted the dragon Vidarr, with a large group of earth, pegasi and unicorn ponies. The ponies were all wearing heavy armour, and the one at the front was a pegasus with a long cloak that draped across his armour.

“By now Heimdallr had wiped out at least four races across the world. After he learnt the spell of manipulation from them he turned and slaughtered the draconnequus race, leaving only one survivor, and the hippogriffs were getting dangerously close. Vidarr, in his desperation acted fast. So he summoned a large group of the finest warriors of pegasi, the most powerful unicorn mages and the strongest earth ponies together.”

“But why ponies? Surely a griffon is more powerful than a pegasus.”

“Correct, Fluttershy. But Vidarr saw ponies as the born survivors. There was more of them, no matter how many Heimdallr had killed, and they would go on for thousands of years. To him they were the perfect candidates.”

“For what?”

Firewing walked over to the next one. By now they were reaching the end of the tunnel and would soon have to travel through a small passageway between the rocks again. “For this,” he said, indicating with a hoof to what was happening on the carving.

Fluttershy walked up alongside him and looked at it inquisitively. Vidarr was gone, while the ponies that were standing there had looks of bewilderment. “Using ancient, forgotten, and forbidden magic, Vidarr transferred parts of his soul into each and every one of the ponies present there, all two thousand of them.

“Vidarr was killed in the process, but what he gave the ponies was phenomenal, and should be impossible. Each pony gained a greater sense of hearing and sight. They could speak Dragonian, impossible for anypony else to try, only write. And they could use the ‘dragon stare’, a powerful ability to order and calm any living creature just by using the eyes.”

Fluttershy’s heart froze once again. The ‘dragon stare’ sounded awfully familiar to her own stare. Was it the same thing? “But… I have something that’s like that. I’ve had it for ages.”

Firewing glanced at her, and then turned back to the carving as though she never talked. “The ponies then set about trying to find and hunt down Heimdallr. They eventually found him over present day Horsca, and engaged him. The battle was long and hard, with magic raining from the skies and the ground, the pegasi swirling around him, and the deaths of so many pegasi falling from the sky. But after over two hours of fighting, the earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns managed to bring down Heimdallr and send him crashing to the ground, dead.”

As Firewing spoke, Fluttershy pictured in her mind the battle taking place. “After celebrating their victory, and mourning their dead, they buried the remains of Heimdallr in a large tomb and built a giant lake around it, so it could never be found. The battle against Heimdallr was the first recording of the Dragonlords, the greatest group of warriors who ever lived,” Firewing finished, his head held high.

Fluttershy didn’t know why, but she felt something in the air the moment the word ‘Dragonlords’ was said. She felt her coat stand on end as a shiver crawled through her body.

“Um… well, that was fascinating and all,” she said, putting on a polite smile. “But…”

Firewing turned to face her with a raised eyebrow. “But?”

Fluttershy’s ears went down and her head lowered. She knew she’ll sound silly after saying this but she could not let it pass. “But, what has this all got to do with me?”

Firewing gave her a deadpan look, then pointed to the small passage leading out of the tunnel. “See this path? Would you awfully mind walking through it for me please?”

Fluttershy moved to stand in front of the dark passage, looked through and gave Firewing a look of bewilderment. “Um… is that it? I mean, why me first?”

Firewing looked at the passage, then back to Fluttershy, then back to the passage again, this time a bit longer as if he was trying to remember something. “Oh yes!” he exclaimed, making Fluttershy jump. “I forgot about that.”

He walked past Fluttershy to the right side where he revealed a chain lever dangling from the wall. Using he teeth he pulled it down, and the passage lit up as flames rose up from the ground and the walls, creating an inferno.

Fluttershy could feel the heat on her coat, but fire didn’t scare her, not any more. “Well? Are you going to walk through it or not?” Firewing said to her with a raised eyebrow.

Fluttershy replied with a smirk, and then cheerfully trotted through the burning path. The flames danced around her as she trotted, their touch was warm and relaxing, just like the first time she stepped into fire in her cottage miles away from here.

She made to the other side and shook off the ash and soot that landed on her coat on her travels. She turned around and began searching for a lever or chain lever that would shut the fire off so Firewing could come through. She began to panic when she couldn’t find any.

“Firewing!” she called back through the tunnel, hoping her voice would be loud enough to be heard over the heavy cackle of the flames. “I’m through, but I don’t know if I can shut if off this side! What should I do?!”

Just as she finished speaking, the pegasus himself appeared through the flames and joined her. “Phew,” he breathed as he brushed off with a hoof some of the soot that had fallen on him. “Well that was lovely. I’m sorry, Fluttershy, did you say something earlier? I think I’m going a little deaf in my old age.”

Fluttershy didn’t say anything; instead she walked up to the pegasus with wide, disbelieving eyes, and prodded him so hard on the side he nearly fell over. “You’re okay? I don’t understand? How can you be okay?”

Firewing shrugged. “That’s one of the benefits of being a Dragonlord, I suppose. You walked through it okay, though.”

Fluttershy opened her mouth to speak but shut it again upon realising what Firewing just said. Her eyes widened. One of the benefits of being a Dragonlord? Wouldn’t that make her? “Does that make me…?” she worded her thoughts, already dreading the answer.

Firewing nodded. “Yes, Fluttershy, you possess the abilities of a Dragonlord.”

Fluttershy couldn’t recall the hours that had passed by since they left the tunnel and moved into a small passage with a sheer drop on the right side, disappearing into the darkness. She stole glances of statues of earth, pegasi and unicorns ponies on the left side, all in armour and looking proud in their pose, but she ignored them. Her mind was a whirlwind of activity as she tried to process what she had just been told.

She was a pegasus pony that would literally never hurt a fly, and now she couldn’t get around the fact that she is the descendant of an order of warriors given enhanced abilities by a dragon thousands of years ago.

She couldn’t believe it, a part of her refused to believe it. And yet, it all made complete sense to her. The ability to be fireproof was a dragon ability since she’d seen Spike perform it several times, their eyesight and hearing was more powerful than anypony on the planet. So maybe she was a Dragonlord? And if she was, would that mean she would have to fight, and kill something?

She shuddered at the thought. The idea of killing a pony, or any creature for that matter repulsed her. She was not a killer; all she wanted to do was to help creatures, not destroy them. So knowing that she was born from a family of warriors and trained killers made her feel somewhat cold. She placed a hoof on her head and groaned as she started to feel a headache coming on.

“I have a few questions,” she said, breaking the silence.

Firewing stopped his humming and looked at her. “Then fire away.”

“Firstly, why the name ‘Dragonlords’? We’re not master over them, are we?”

“Well after the defeat of Heimdallr, the ponies gathered together to decide a name for their new found order. After a while one pegasus came up with the idea of ‘Dragonlords’, to say that they can defeat what once was the greatest warriors on Terra. A bit boastful I know but it stuck. So in a sense we are and in another we’re not.”

“And another thing, when I tried out the Dragonian language on my friend Spike, he didn’t understand a word.”

Firewing gave her a confused look. “Whose Spike?”

“Oh… yeah, he’s my friends baby dragon. An assistant given to her from an egg by Princess Celestia,” Fluttershy answered. “So what I’m saying is, why didn’t he understand it, if it’s a language for dragons I mean?”

“Ah, I see. Well firstly Dragonian died out when the dragon kingdom died. The only reason Dragonlords can speak it is because when Vidarr sacrificed himself his soul went into each of the ponies, it included not only his abilities, but also his language.”

“Okay. Two more things, my ‘stare’ sounds similar to the ‘dragon stare’. Why was it called that and why did I have it before I was a Dragonlord?”

“Some ponies have abilities, like greater hearing or the ‘dragon stare’, from birth. It’s how Dragonlords out in the world find new members. The ‘dragon stare’ was the one you were born with. And the ‘dragon stare’ was called that because dragons once were able to use it and send entire armies running. Fortunately not any more.”

Fluttershy nodded in understanding. “And you said I have the abilities of a Dragonlord… so… does that make me one as well?”

“Yes, and no,” Firewing replied, tilting his head to the left, then to the right. “While it’s true you have the abilities of one, the Codex states you’re not officially a Dragonlord until you have passed the test.”

Fluttershy tilted her head slightly, her eyes narrow in curiosity. “What sort of test?”

Firewing hesitated. He knew that just by looking into her eyes he saw Fluttershy was not the violent type. He knew this test would be hard on her and knew she would not like it. But she wanted to know and he wasn’t going to lie – he was a terrible liar. “Firstly, when a Dragonlord finds a potential recruit, somepony with something that gives them away like your ‘dragon stare’, they’re taken here, and placed on the fire.”

Firewing pointed to the left of him, Fluttershy took her eyes off and followed the other pegasus’s hoof. She gasped at what she saw. At the centre of a large pit that plummeted into the darkness was a white stone tower, with the remains of ash and blackened dust lying all over the top.

“A potential recruit is placed at the centre of the circle,” explained Firewing, pointing with hoof gestures towards the tower. “The circle is filled with wood and then set on fire. The pony would then rise from the ashes and walk through the fire, only to collapse and sleep for a month. We call it a rebirth; you die in the fire then rise up again.”

“Like a phoenix,” Fluttershy whispered.

Firewing nodded with a grin. “Exactly.”

Reborn. Fluttershy thought of the word, especially to her now, as a miracle and a curse. She was given one more chance to see the world, but also condemned to fight many of its creatures.

That is, if there wasn't a way out of it.

“So what’s the test?” she asked once again, with a hint of impatience.

“I’m getting to that. Anyway, the pony wakes up after a month of sleep and after a few days rest and training is given a test. They have to find, and then defeat a dragon, to prove they are indeed masters over what once were the greatest warriors on the planet. You see, it is an old belief, that if a Dragonlord can defeat a dragon, they could defeat anything, making us the greatest warriors on Terra,” Firewing finished, his voice not hiding his pride.

“So… I have to find and kill a dragon?” Fluttershy said, already planning on backing out.

Firewing shook his head. “No. Originally it was to kill one but after a while it was seen as hypocritical and vulgar. It became practice to find and defeat a dragon, preferably to wound one, with killing one a choice if all other ones have been exhausted.”

“But wait.” Fluttershy said, holding up a hoof. "I’ve taken care of two dragons in my life, don’t they count?”

“Sorry but no,” Firewing said with a shake of his hoof. “For some reason they are part of your old life, or ‘past life’ as it was called, and they won’t count as helping you pass the test. Every Dragonlord, no matter how old they are, has to take it.”

Firewing gestured for Fluttershy to follow him through a small passage that was just big enough for the two to walk alongside each other. “So…” Fluttershy began but hesitated, trying to think of a way to word what she wanted to say out of fear of causing offence. “What if… you didn’t want to be a Dragonlord? What if you wanted to lead the life you once had?”

“Ah, a good question, Fluttershy,” Firewing said with a smile. “A Dragonlord doesn’t have a choice really. They are born with it; these abilities are a gift handed down from father or mother to their children. There are times, though, which are called retirement periods, where you can have a few years off and lead a normal life for a while until your ready to go back.”

Fluttershy felt her heart drop into her stomach, her ears fell flat and she prayed Firewing couldn’t see the devastation in her eyes. “You mean… there’s no going back?”

Firewing shook his head. “To do so would be to kill yourself, and believe me its been tried. Like I said, it’s part of your blood, your heritage. It’s a part of you no more than the cutie marks on your flanks.”

Fluttershy didn’t listen; instead all she heard were the sounds of death, not a physical death but one of a life never to return. Her life, her once peaceful, sweet, loving life, tending to her animals and enjoying the time with her friends, laying on her back in the fields watching the clouds go by, listening to the sound of birds chirping, now gone. It was but a distant memory, taken away in a spilt second by a dragon with fire coming out of its mouth. Fluttershy walked behind Firewing sulkily with her head and ears low to the ground.

Another half an hour later they made it out of the plain passage and arrived in a huge chamber, where two towers attached together resided. The first one was smaller with a gate leading inside; while the other behind it was so high the top half disappeared out of sight. The walls were old and were deteriorating in some places. Moss hanged from the sides and the gate was nowhere to be seen.

“The tower leads up into the highlands,” Firewing said as they walked towards the front entrance. “We’ll rest here for the night and in the morning, set off to find the next key.”

Fluttershy was relived to say the least. She recalled she hadn’t slept in two days and only now began to feel tired, and the headache was getting worst. She hoped there were really comfortable beds. She felt like she could sleep for days, maybe even months.

As they walked into the first tower, Fluttershy expected it to be full of Dragonlords; a few alchemy tables stood where unicorn ponies would stand by and experiment on potions. A forge fully lit and a weapon rack full of swords, spear, bows and crossbows, all of them filled by what would now be her family.

Instead, it was empty. Barren of life, and it seemed like it had been for a long time. Fluttershy turned to Firewing and gave him an odd look. “So when do I meet other Dragonlords?”

Firewing’s ears went down and his eyes gave away his sorrow. “I’m afraid you won’t, Fluttershy,” he sighed. “For you see, the Dragonlord order has been in a rapid decline for a long time now. The only other Dragonlords I know around today… is you.”

Fluttershy’s jaw dropped. “So you’re saying… we’re the last?”

Firewing nodded solemnly. “For a good fifteen years I always thought I was the last of the order. So you can imagine my surprise and joy when you came along claiming these abilities.”

Firewing walked further into the room, allowing Fluttershy to enter the cold, damp tower. “One thing I forgot to mention is, that as part of the training veteran Dragonlords take a newer member under his or her wing and guides them until they’re ready for the test. I would be honoured if you would allow me to teach you, if you’re alright with it that is?”

Fluttershy gave him a half-hearted smile. ‘It’s not like I have any choice now do I?’ she thought. “Yes, I would like that.”

Firewing smiled in return and began walking up the stairs towards the taller tower, Fluttershy followed close behind. “I don’t understand though,” she said. “How can we be the last Dragonlords? You made it sound like they were… well, invincible.”

“Hmm, I guess I did didn’t I,” he said, mostly to himself. He turned to face Fluttershy with sad eyes. “In a way we were, but like one wise mare I know said, ‘we’re only ponies, we make mistakes.’” He said with a wink, making Fluttershy giggle and blush. “No one is truly invincible, Fluttershy. As for the decline of the order I cannot say why. Over the past few hundred years, Dragonlord fortresses have been destroyed, leaving no survivors. I can’t really say how but I fear dragons may be responsible.”

“How could you come to that conclusion?” Fluttershy asked. “Dragons are passive aggressive, they only attack unless attacked themselves.”

“It’s to do with these keys,” Firewing answered quietly, continuing to head up the stairs once more.

He guided Fluttershy into a large circular room that lay at the top of the stairs. At the furthest point from the door was a large fireplace, the remains of ash still visible from the bottom. Around the room were beds, three of them were broken or rotten away, but a few others were still surprisingly in good condition. While at the centre of the room was a long, thin wooden table with rusty plates and cutlery resting in a holder at its centre. The table was still in great condition with no sign of rotten wood.

“We’ll rest here for a while, then once we’ve rested we’ll go on,” Firewing declared. He turned to face his yellow companion. “Have you eaten at all lately?”

A growl from Fluttershy’s stomach gave him his answer. Fluttershy blushed crimson red and shied away behind her mane. Firewing couldn’t help but chuckle. “Why don’t you and get some rest, while I’ll find something to eat. Deal?”

Fluttershy nodded and moved towards the more comfortable looking bed. The moment her eyes rested upon it did she realise how long she’d been going on without sleep, and how tired she really was. She took off her saddlebags, and hopped on one of the beds, collapsing under the dusty covers and falling to sleep so fast she didn’t even hear Firewing leave.

A few hours later, Fluttershy awoke to the smell of steamed lettuce and hay, and something else she couldn’t put a hoof on. She smiled as she felt her headache had gone, her head feeling light and not an array of activity for once. She lifted herself out of bed to see Firewing working around the fireplace with a spoon in his mouth stirring the small pot that rested just above it. His face was so close to the fire anypony that didn’t know him would fear he would get burned. But Fluttershy knew working around fire wasn’t a problem, not for him or her anymore.

She got out of the bed and yawned, then after stretching all her legs, walked up the table. “Good morning, Firewing,” she greeted the other pegasus warmly.

Firewing jumped, banging his head on the arch of the fireplace. “Ouch!” he scrambled out of the fireplace with a hoof on his head and looking at Fluttershy with an annoyed expression. “Seriously Fluttershy, did noone teach you not to startle other ponies?”

Fluttershy looked away bashfully. “Sorry, Firewing, I just thought you might be able to hear me, since we have the same hearing is all.”

Firewing took his hoof off his head and chuckled to himself. “Yes, but not everypony is as young as you are. When you get to my age you’ll probably start to lose your hearing.”

Fluttershy looked at him with a heavy dose of confusion. Firewing looked a pony in his thirties or late forties. So why would he be losing his hearing at his age so quickly? ‘Unless he plays really loud rock music,’ Fluttershy mused with a small giggle.

“What’s so funny?” Firewing enquired.

“Nothing,” Fluttershy said with a shake of her hoof. “Just thinking, do you like rock music?”

‘An odd question,’ Firewing thought, raising an eyebrow, ‘but a fair one.’ He nodded. “Oh yes, my favourite band of all time is the ‘Crazy Horses’. Brilliant bunch, went to see them live once.”

Fluttershy put on a wide smile. Although she didn’t look it she was quite the rocker, always head banging to some rock song that she bought or heard from earlier when she was alone, being too shy to do it in front of her friends. But something puzzled her greatly and her smile faded. Firewing went to see the ‘Crazy Horses’ live? But they were around about seventy years ago!

“Ho-how… how could you have seen them live?” Fluttershy asked. “I mean, I know some of their stuff but by the time you were probably born they had spilt up and died.”

Firewing chuckled. “Well how old do you think I am?”

“About thirty?” Fluttershy queried. Firewing laughed and shook his head.

“Nice for you to think so, but I’m a little bit older than that,” he said with a rising of a hoof.

“Forty?” Another shake from Firewing’s head.

“Sixty?” The other pegasus shook his head again.

“You can’t be over eighty?!” Fluttershy by now was in disbelief.

Firewing shook his head for the final time. “You really want to know?” Fluttershy nodded quickly. Firewing sighed. “I’m one hundred and sixteen years old, Fluttershy.”

If Fluttershy thought if her jaw could detach, it would be running for the hills by now, screaming. Words tried to come out of her mouth but to no avail. Firewing loved the look on her face though, and found himself on the floor laughing.

“Oh, Fluttershy… you crack me up,” he said between breaths. He rose up from the floor and took a seat opposite the yellow pegasus, who still hadn’t moved when Firewing revealed his age.

“I should’ve mentioned this a bit earlier,” he explained, “but due to the fact Dragonlords have a small part of dragon DNA inside their blood, our body clocks slow right down, so that we age at the same rate as dragons age.” He saw the look of confusion on Fluttershy’s face and groaned. “It means we live a bit longer than normal ponies.”

Fluttershy now really thought her jaw would fall off, and her brain would break out of her skull and run with her jaw. Live longer?! “So… we’re immortal?”

Firewing shook his head. “Nopony is immortal, not even the Princesses are. Them and we just live longer and age far slower than others.”

“How long?!” Fluttershy demanded.

Firewing shrugged. “The oldest Dragonlord lived for over a thousand years. A unicorn he was, you may have heard of him actually…”

Fluttershy didn’t hear the rest; her mind went blank, then into overload once more as she tried to process what she had just been told. Up to a thousand years! That meant she would have to watch her friends… her animal freinds… her town…. die and change around her while she lived on. Now she knew how the Princesses must feel.

Firewing stopped talking and frowned when he saw tears stream down Fluttershy’s face. He walked over and wrapped his legs around her, Fluttershy returning the embrace. “Shh, it’s okay, my dear,” he cooed softly, rubbing a hoof down her back. “It’s not that bad, really.”

“But it is,” Fluttershy wept. “I’ll have to watch my friends grow old and die, my animal friends and their families as well. The town I live in, in time would become unrecognisable to me… why did this happen? Why couldn’t I just have a normal life?” She buried her head in Firewing’s chest once again and continued to cry.

They remained like that for a few minutes until Firewing spoke up. “I know from experience it ain’t easy being told you will live longer than your friends, or even some of your family, or the fact that you're part of a warrior order dating back before Equestria. In fact, when I was told I locked myself away in this very room and cried for hours.”

Fluttershy instantly stopped crying and brought her head out of his chest. She looked at Firewing with a small smile on her face as she dried her eyes. “Really? You?”

Firewing merely chuckled. “Oh yeah, when I was introduced by my mother to the order nearly one hundred years ago. Those early days weren’t pleasant. But I learnt to carry on with life. I might lose many friends in my lifetime, but I know I will gain hundreds more by the end, and hopefully my memories will be filled with great ones of all my friends. And yes, your hometown will change, but everything changes, Fluttershy. We may not like them at first but we get used to them, maybe even love them.”

Fluttershy knew in a way Firewing was right. Changes were always happening in their lives, and she shouldn’t shy away from them, but embrace them. And she will make so many more friends in her now extended lifetime. Well, she hoped anyway.

She began to feel a little better already. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. “Thank you, Firewing,” she said softly.

“You’re very welcome,” he said with a loving smile. He sniffed the air for a second, and then gasped. “My spinach puffs!” He lunged towards the fireplace and dived a hoof over the handle of one of the pots and brought it to the table.

“Phew,” he breathed after checking inside. “Saved them, just in time by the look of things.” He picked them out and gave three to Fluttershy, who smiled in thanks.

Fluttershy looked at the food in front of her with curiosity and caution. She had never heard of spinach before, and wondered whether or not she would like it. ‘Well,’ she thought. ‘We all have to try something new at some point.’ She gave one a sniff, a blow to cool them down, and then picked one up in her mouth and started chewing.

The taste was exquisite, new and refreshing. She swallowed and felt new energy go from her stomach across her body, her weak legs re-gaining their strength and her wings wanting to take off on their own. Before she knew it Fluttershy was diving into the others on her plate, while Firewing looked on with an amused expression.

“That good, huh?” he laughed.

Fluttershy nodded and swallowed another mouthful. “Oh yes, these are gorgeous. Where did you get them?”

“I picked the plants up from my travels in the south, beyond the Equestrian desert,” Firewing answered. “I haven’t had time to cook some in a while and since we’re here, I thought we might have a treat.”

The two continued their meals in silence; the only sounds were the crackles of the fire, and the sound of munching from the two ponies. “Firewing?” Fluttershy broke the silence.


“These keys you keep talking about,” Fluttershy said. “You first mentioned something about them in your diary and then you said something earlier about them and their involvement with the Dragonlords declining. I was also wondering if they are connected to the nightmares we both had, so what are they?”

Firewing put down his drink and looked at her with solemn eyes. “Around two thousand years ago, before Celestia and Luna came into this world, a unicorn Dragonlord discovered something horrifying, that only he, the Primarch and his captains were well aware of.”

“What did he discover?”

“He had a nightmare, Fluttershy. Similar to the ones we both had, and came to a conclusion, which shook him, and the order to its very foundations. Heimdallr was still alive.”

Fluttershy gasped in horror. “But… he’s dead. How can Heimdallr be still alive!”

Firewing shook his head grimly. “No one is truly certain, but the Dragonlord that discovered this made a theory. Whatever he did to make him the way he became, he transferred a part of his soul to that place for hiding. A while after Heimdallr was defeated and supposedly killed, that one piece of his soul found its way back to his body, reviving him.”

Firewing paused before asking, “Now tell me, Fluttershy. What do keys do?”

“Keys… unlock, things?”

“Yes, and?”

It took a while but Fluttershy realised it with a gasp. “And they lock things as well!”

“Exactly!” Firewing beamed. “So the unicorn set about creating these five keys, each with a enchantment that would weaken Heimdallr's magical abilities. All five would disable them altogether, making him slightly easier to take down. I have three at the moment, we just need to get the fourth, then find the fifth, only then would we know the location of Heimdallr’s tomb, then take him down.”

“And… exactly how are we going to do that?” Fluttershy asked.

“With these,” answered Firewing, bringing up his right leg and sword bracelet, where the blade inside shot out into the air. The blade was a dark metallic, with ragged edges like sharp teeth. “‘Drage bane’, Dragonian for ‘dragon bane’ swords. It looks old but it’s sharper than anything on the planet and can pierce the tough hide of a dragon with ease, this should take down Heimdallr. At least I hope so.”

“And if not?”

He remained silent for a moment. “If not, then the world will burn before the end of this year.”

A grave silence fell between the two. ‘So not only,’ Fluttershy thought. ‘I’m a Dragonlord, but one of two ponies that could save the world from an evil dragon that wants to burn it.’ It sounded like something out an old fairy tale, and yet, it was true. Fluttershy couldn’t deny it as a lie. She had seen Heimdallr himself and knew full well what horror he could unleash unto the world if he was allowed to escape his tomb.

Fluttershy looked up from the ground and stared at Firewing. “So… how long have we got?”

Firewing shrugged. “To be honest I don’t know. It’s been my belief; as well it was Starswirl the Bearded’s belief that Heimdallr knew he couldn’t beat us in an open fight if he escaped earlier. He’s been biding his time for centuries…”

“Wait,” Fluttershy interrupted him. “Starswirl the Bearded was a Dragonlord?!”

Fluttershy knew the name of the famous unicorn from Twilight Sparkle, who rarely ever stopped talking about him. He was arguably the world’s most famous unicorn, a creator of over two hundred spells and was one of the founders of Canterlot city and the school of magic.

And now, it seemed, she stumbled upon Starswirl’s secret hobby. Fighting evil. “Oh yes,” Firewing replied, zoning her back in. “He was the Primarch of the Dragonlords for a long time before he abdicated. He was also the one who discovered Heimdallr’s survival. It also explains why he was able to live so long, from the a few hundred years before Equestria to the third Equestrian era.”

Fluttershy nodded her head in agreement. It had always baffled Twilight about why he was able to live so long, it even baffled Princess Celestia and Luna Twilight had said to her once. But now Fluttershy knew why, and had to say she found a new admiration for the powerful unicorn.

“And anyway,” he said with a small frown. “How did you find my diary?”

“Eep” she squeaked. She lowered herself to the ground. “I’m sorry,” she muttered quietly. “I just really wanted to know where you were going and I had to look through to see where you might’ve headed, oh please don’t be mad at me.”

‘So that’s why she managed to find me easily,’ he thought. Firewing chuckled. “It’s okay, Fluttershy, great initiative on your part I must say. But I want to know, where is my diary now?”

“Oh, it’s with me,” Fluttershy replied. “I took it with me when I left Canterlot to see if I could use it to learn more about you. I’ll get it out for you.” She got off her chair and walked over to where her saddlebags rested. She opened up the right pouch and found the books nestled inside. She picked them up with her teeth and laid them on the table in front of the other pegasus. “There you go,” she said with a smile, leaning back into her seating position.

Firewing stared at his book, the dirty dark red cover with a flame on the front, with sheer joy in his eyes. He moved the book over to look at the next one, and both he and Fluttershy gasped, the latter in shock, the former in a mix of surprise, and horror.

Below the diary rested Fluttershy’s medallion, with her name etched on the side. “Oh my,” Fluttershy said, as she reached over to take it. “That’s mine, must’ve got stuck between the two books, sorry. Could I have it back now, please?”

Firewing ignored her; instead he picked up the golden medallion in his hooves and looked at it with wide disbelieving eyes. “Where did you get this?” he asked hoarsely.

“One of the carers at the orphanage gave it to me when I was fourteen. Now please give it back to me?” she asked pleadingly.

Firewing still ignored her. He began putting the pieces together: her name, her age, her looks, the fact she was a Dragonlord, and now this. It was now impossible that this pony wasn’t the same one.

He threw the medallion back into Fluttershy’s hooves, who embraced it like a foal would embrace a precious teddy bear. Firewing meanwhile stared at her with wide eyes, which read both sheer joy, and sheer shock.

“I was beginning to think I would never see this day,” he said, making Fluttershy look up at him and stare into his eyes. “The day… that my daughter would come back into my life.”

Firewing had expected many emotions to be fired his way when this reunion, if it ever happened, came. He mostly expected anger, anger for abandoning her, and he would accept it. He’d least expected joy, and sadness.

But what he didn’t expect was Fluttershy staring at him void of emotion. She looked as if he just said something normal to her. After a while Firewing wanted her to say anything to break this tension.

In Fluttershy’s head, however, a whirlwind of activity took place. A mix of emotions raced through her: joy, sorrow, confusion, and mostly anger.

Firewing leaned over and sighed. “I know it will be a bit difficult to understand at first…”

“Darn right it’s difficult to understand!” Fluttershy bellowed, making Firewing dart backwards. “But it’s easily remedied because it’s not true. You can’t be father, you just can’t!”

“But I am, Fluttershy, I should’ve recognised your name as that of the daughter I left…”

Abandoned is the better word I believe!” Fluttershy shouted, her anger beginning to rise as her voice cracked. “My father died, my real father would never have abandoned me by choice! How can you say such a horrible thing?!”

“It’s true,” Firewing muttered.

“If it’s true then what about my mother!” she yelled. “What say did she have in my abandonment?!”

Firewing found his voice again and leaned towards Fluttershy’s face. “Your mother had nothing to do with me leaving you at the orphanage. I only did what I did because I love you!”

Fluttershy just shook her head, fighting back tears of anger that were threatening to spill. “You never loved me! You couldn’t have loved me if you left me there! What kind of love do you have for me if you dumped me there?!”

Firewing leaned back and sighed, his eyes watering. “I do love you, Fluttershy. I always have, even after all this time. It’s just that sometimes… sometimes we’ve got to be cruel to be kind.”

Fluttershy’s breathing steadied and she leaned back in shock. She recalled her use of the same words she used to Brewman after she’d drugged her friends and left them sleeping in Detrots to go after him.

She started shaking her head and stepping back towards the door. “I need some air.” She muttered before galloping out of the room, slamming the door behind her, and running up the stairs in a fast sprint.

There were tears in her eyes, but she wouldn’t cry, not for this. She only once had tears in her eyes in a rage and that was back in the orphanage, the place her ‘father’ had dumped her in.

She kicked the door down with her hooves and ran until she was at the edge of the tower. She placed her head onto one of the merlons and fought back tears that threatened to rise, which she won. She looked up and with a gasp, saw her surroundings.

In front of her, in the west, were the vast plains of the Frozen Steppes, while on the horizon was the Ragged Mountains, their towering structures dominating the skyline. Behind her was a small muddy path that led deep into the Horscan Highlands.

While some of the mountains looked an easy climb, others were too steep but most were deceptive. Alongside the path tall pine trees with dark green leaves. While inside them, the singing of birds can be heard, and the calls of other animals, although it was hard to make out which due to the noise.

Fluttershy rested her head on top of one of the merlons and sighed sadly, closing her eyes. The headache now had returned and she felt it throbbing against her skull. She opened her eyes when she felt something land on her nose. It was a small bushy robin that looked at her with concerned eyes. “Hello, Mrs Robin,” she greeted the little bird with a small, sad smile.

The robin made a few tweets, which the animal loving pegasus understood. “Oh, were do I begin?! In one day I’ve been told I’m part of an order that specialises in killing things. A great evil dragon is returning from the dead to incinerate the world. I’m going to live longer than most ponies. And to top it all off, the pony I came here to look for claims that he’s my father!

“Now I don’t know what to do, whether to just run back home like a coward, or go to him and talk it over,” she finished with a heavy sigh and laid her head once more on the merlon. She looked into the eyes of the robin. “What do you think I should do?”

The robin started tweeting and chirping, while Fluttershy listened intently. “You think I should talk to him?” The bird nodded, followed by a few more tweets and chirps. Fluttershy sighed. “You’re right. I shouldn’t run away from my problems, if anything that would just make them worse,” she smiled at the robin. “Thank you, Mrs Robin.”

The bird bowed her head and took off from Fluttershy’s nose, disappearing into the thick canopy of the trees. “I’ll give it an hour,” she said to herself. “Then I’ll go back down there and demand some answers.”

She rested her head on one of the merlons and listened to the birds. Around half and hour later Firewing emerged from the tower. He was clean shaving and the small flock of hair that covered his eye had gone.

“A beautiful day, isn’t it?” he commented.

Fluttershy whisked her head around, looked at him then turned back around with an “hmph!”

Firewing ears went down as he walked up alongside the yellow pegasus. He sighed. “Look, Fluttershy, I understand that you won’t forgive me. I can’t even forgive myself. So I’m not going to say I’m sorry, or beg for your forgiveness. But just know I did what I did was because I loved you so much.”

Fluttershy ignored him; she stared blankly towards the Ragged Mountains, wondering where her friends (her former friends she had to keep reminding herself) were at the moment, and how much she wanted them here with her.

She then noticed her medallion resting in front of her. “You dropped it on your way out. I was wondering if you ever tried opening it?” Firewing asked.

Fluttershy merely glanced at him. “How can it open?” she said quietly. “It’s too thin.”

Firewing smiled. “True, but like I said earlier, you just need the right words.”

He turned towards the medallion and whispered in Dragonian, “Åpne.” The medallion split in half, making Fluttershy jump out of her coat. When she recovered, she looked at what was inside and gasped.

It was an old picture, with Firewing and a pegasus mare on his right side. She was beautiful, a dark grey coat with a blue mane and tail in the same style as her own. Her bright moderate cyan eyes seem to shine like sapphires and a joyful smile was across her face. It didn’t take Fluttershy long to notice she was heavily pregnant as well. Pregnant, she realised, with her.

She was at an almost loss for words. “I-is…is that my…?”

“Yes, that is your mother, Fluttershy,” Firewing said, failing to notice the tears in his eyes as he looked at a picture he hadn’t seen in over twenty years.

“What was her name?”

“Rosemary,” he answered. “Her name was Rosemary.”

Fluttershy placed the medallion onto her chest. “Rosemary,” she breathed with a small smile. The name sounded like one an angel would’ve been given. She looked back at the picture and looked from her mother to her father. Firewing just looked the same as he did today, only with slight less hair on his head.

She couldn’t deny it any further, Firewing was her father. And although she wasn’t angry to know him, she was still confused as to why she was left there. ‘I’ll ask him later,’ she thought.

Firewing looked away, unable to look at the picture of his love anymore. Instead he looked to where the sun was. “Well,” he said. “The sun's on it’s way down, I best get going. I’ve packed you enough food and provisions to get you back home.”

Fluttershy looked up and turned around to face him. “You’re leaving?”

Firewing nodded. “Yes, I understand that you don’t want to be a Dragonlord, nor do you want to probably see me again. So I think it’s best we part ways.” With that he turned to head back down and leave.

“Stop!” Fluttershy cried out. Firewing stopped and turned to face her. “I want to help. I won’t be able to go to sleep knowing Heimdallr’s out there threatening the world. And… I don’t want you to leave me again. So let me help, please?”

Firewing thought for a moment. If Fluttershy came with him he would not only have to concentrate on finding the keys, but now he would have to look after his daughter and make sure she gets home safe. Eventually and reluctantly he nodded. “I’d appreciate the help, thank you.”

Fluttershy grinned and before Firewing could stop her, jumped and hugged him. Firewing was taken aback for a second, but he returned the gesture and wrapped a leg around his friend. ‘No,’ he thought. ‘More than a friend. She is my daughter.’

“Come on then, let’s get our stuff and get going. We need to cover a lot of ground before tonight,” he said, letting go of the yellow pegasus and began trotting down the stairs.

Fluttershy followed quickly behind. “Okay, daddy,” she whispered.

Firewing couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.