• Published 8th Jan 2012
  • 10,850 Views, 882 Comments

Last of the Dragonlords - Fluttershy20

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

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Chapter 7

Fluttershy groaned in pain as she slowly opened her eyes. All her senses came quickly back to her as her eyes adjusted to the low lighting of the room she was in. She got up from the floor and noticed with a glancing look that she had been lying in blood – her own blood. She put a hoof up to her head and instantly flinched, her head screaming upon her touch. She brought her hoof down to see dried blood on it. She grimaced and wiped it off on the floor, then looked around to see where she was.

It was a small room, with a single but small window behind her. There was no bed so to speak, only hay was on the ground, which some of it was stained dark red from her blood. To her left was a wall of steel bars that separated her room from another, and in front of her was a dark brown gate. It didn’t take long to realise she was in a prison cell. ‘Probably brought here after being captured by that horse,’ she wondered.

She turned towards the window and tried to spread her wings to fly up there and see where she was, but somehow couldn’t. She looked behind and saw her wings were tied on her back by a strong, thick rope. She tried to bite it off, but found it to be too thick and too strong for her teeth. She then noticed her hooves were tied loosely together, and her bracelet and sword was taken away. She tried to bite the bindings on her hooves off as well but to no avail.

She sat on her haunches, hung her head low and sighed. A part of her was glad that her friends weren’t with her, that they wouldn’t be sharing her fate. Another part was devastated that she’ll probably never find Firewing, and her friends would never know what happened to her.

“Ah, you’re finally awake. For a while I thought you were dead,” a voice called out, seemingly from the walls.

Fluttershy darted her head about, looking for the speaker. When her eyes darted towards the other cell she found a horse, a stallion stepping out of the darkest corner and walked up to the barred wall.

Fluttershy had a good look at him. He was a lot taller than her, about as high as Princess Celestia, maybe a little taller, and he had a darkish grey coat with pinkish scars dotted across his body. His mane went down to his shoulders and his tail down to his knees, and was an almost silvery colour, and they seemed to shine in the darkness. His eyes were a dark blue and his face had a long scar going from his nose to his right eye.

“Where am I?” Fluttershy asked him.

“You don’t know?” Fluttershy shook her head. “Then it would be a honour,” he said in a sarcastic tone, “to welcome you to the finest city in Horsca. Andulusia.” Fluttershy’s eyes widened in horror, with good reason, and began to hope that the Andulusians were not as ferocious as they were reputed to be.

“What’s your name?” the horse asked.

Fluttershy looked into his eyes and saw a comforting smile cross his face. She had the feeling this horse could be trusted. “I’m Fluttershy,” she answered. “What’s yours?”

“Nice to meet you, Fluttershy, although it could have been under better circumstances. I’m Thowra.” He reached out a hoof that just about fit through the bars. Fluttershy put hers out and shook his.

“Nice to meet you, too, Thowra. And yes it could have been better times,” she said, smiling half-heartedly. Her ears suddenly picked up the sound of bells tolling, her head darting towards the window.

Thowra heard it too and sighed. “It sounds like it is soon time,” he said sadly.

Fluttershy looked back at him. “Time for what?”

Thowra looked into her eyes and gave her a grim look. “Do you Equestrians believe in an afterlife, Fluttershy?”

“Well… um, yes,” Fluttershy answered, confused about the question. “We believe that we go to a place that looks like ours but is perfect in every way. Why?”

Thowra raised an eyebrow at her. It didn’t take Fluttershy long to understand what he was implying. Her eyes widened and she collapsed onto her rump. “Oh, I see,” she said, her ears flopping flat to her head. She looked down onto the straw covered ground, realising today would be her last day on Terra.

Thowra nodded. “Afraid so,” he said quietly. Silence fell for little while, allowing for Fluttershy and Thowra to gather their thoughts.

“Where did you come from?” Thowra asked, breaking the silence.

Fluttershy raised her head again to face him. “I came from a town called Ponyville. Why?” she said, again slightly confused of the question.

Thowra sadly smiled. “A horse’s last thoughts should be of his or her home. I came from a small village near the sea called Baystone.”

Just then the sound of hoofsteps came from outside. Fluttershy went to the door and pressed her ear to the side, and overheard two horses speaking to each other.

“Are you’re sure this is the right decision, captain?” one horse, clearly a stallion’s, said.

“Of course I’m sure, sergeant. That pony has intentionally trespassed across our borders. Like all Equestrians before her who have done so, she will die at the guillotine, along with that Palominan scum,” another horse, a mare’s, said.

“But don’t you think this could cause a war with Equestria? You saw what she had on her leg, a bracelet with the seal of the ruler of Equestria herself, if they discover…” A hoof from the captain slamming into his open mouth cut off the sergeant.

“Another word of objection and you will be joining her. Do we understand each other?” The captain said simply. The sergeant only nodded.

She removed the hoof from his mouth. “Good. And besides, that bracelet’s already been destroyed. Now once she’s dead take the body and head in the woods. Dump it there and leave it to the wolves. Now get them outside,” the captain ordered. She walked briskly away.

Fluttershy backed away from the door and laid back down on the hay, waiting for it to open. When it did, the sergeant walked through and looked at her with sympathetic eyes. He was about the same size as Thowra, but was a dark brown in colour with a black mane and tail and had brown eyes. “Up, prisoner, it is time.”

With a sigh, Fluttershy walked over and waited for him to move out of the way. Instead he leant down and whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, I promise I will try to get your body back to Equestria for burial.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, giving him a half-hearted smile. The sergeant turned around and led Fluttershy through the prison, with Thowra being pushed out by another horse behind her. She felt no fear as she walked down the spiralling stairs to her death – if there was one thing she was never afraid of in her entire lifetime, it was dying.

At the orphanage, one of the carers taught her that death is natural, a thing we will all have to eventually experience. “Sure we will cry and mourn the loss of a friend or loved one, that’s normal,” she used to say to her. “But when you understand what I told you, then it will be less hard.” Fluttershy remembered that and stood by it. Her only regret being was that she wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to her friends.

She was led towards a small black door with a horse’s head on the front, which was green and its head was low as if it was going to charge. The sergeant opened the door and the sunlight blinded her. “Keep moving!” the horse behind her bellowed and pushed her forward. She nearly tripped but was caught by the sergeant. Her eyes quickly readjusted to the bright light and she walked with her head held high outside.

The air was cold, with a small wind that crept around Fluttershy’s body and crawled up her spine to the back of her neck. At first she thought it to be her nerves trying to get the best of her, but her confident side took over, allowing her to keep her regal posture, as she was lead out towards a structure of some sort.

It was a raised wooden platform, on it was a wooden structure that had a tall upright frame, and at the top was a curved blade, held up by a rope, and below the blade was a block for a head to lie on. Although she couldn’t see, she could hear the cries and calls of horses from the other side of the platform.

“Move up, prisoner. Nice and easy,” the sergeant said. Fluttershy complied and took small steps up the stairs leading to the guillotine. She was gently moved to the side of the stairs as Thowra was forcibly pushed up and placed next to her. In front of her was a mixture of horses, young and old, rich and poor, here to watch with glee and good cheer two equines die. Fluttershy looked to the ground, disgust visible in her eyes by what they considered entertainment. She could see as well in the sergeant’s eyes that he too didn’t like this. To her left stood a horse that was covered in black and wore a black mask to cover his face, and next to him was the rope that held the blade up.

The crowd grew silent when another horse appeared, she was fully armoured in silver armour, and had a weapon scabbard on her side. It was obvious to Fluttershy this was the horse the sergeant was talking to earlier.

“Citizens of Andulusia!” she called to the crowd. “True sons and daughters of Horsca!” This raised a few cheers from the crowd, she raised a hoof to silent them. “Today we will see the deaths of two cankers on this world. For one is a follower of the false ruler. Part of a blight on this beautiful land that will be cleansed in blood!”

She paused and waited for the cheers to die down. “The other is an Equestrian.” This raised a few whispers. “A weakling pony who will die today for her ignorance, and should have stayed in her pathetic home.” She looked back at both and sneered at them. “True Andulusian justice will be done today, as these two heads will be added to the walls.” This was again met with cheers and applause.

“Now first, the Equestrian,” the captain said, grinning all the while.

The sergeant nodded and looked at Fluttershy. “Move to the block, prisoner.” Fluttershy raised her head and puffed out her chest as she walked slowly towards the block, her eyes staring straight at the block and not at the crowd’s frightful, accusing gaze.

When she reached it, she lowered herself down so her head and neck were within range of a small wicker basket on the other side of the guillotine. “Lay your head on one side, pony,” the executioner whispered. “It’ll be quicker.” Fluttershy moved her head to so she was facing left and towards the mountains that separated her from home and her friends, all the while remembering what Thowra told her a moment ago.

“Goodbye, Twilight, Rainbow, Applejack, Pinkie, Rarity. And I’m sorry,” she whispered, hoping somehow they would hear. She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of content, and the entire world went quiet.

The captain sneered, then turned to face the executioner to give out the order, but then she suddenly let out a terrifying high-pitched scream.

Fluttershy opened her eyes to see the world was now on fire. She felt the bindings on her wings and legs burn off. She looked up and, with wide eyes saw the rope, which held the blade above her about to snap. She quickly dashed her head away from the block and rolled out of the way. The blade came down a second later, chopping only the air.

She got up and looked around. The first thing she noticed was the captain’s charred and smouldering body as well as the executioner’s and the sergeant’s, but no sign of Thowra’s. She looked away and towards the now burning city, horrified that such a thing could’ve happened, and wanting to know who, or what could have caused this. She had an idea but hoped she was wrong. Her eyes widened in horror when she locked eyes on the culprit, and her worst fears were confirmed.

A dragon, larger than the one that attacked Ponyville, and with a deafening roar and vicious claws, soared low over the city and breathed fire down on its screaming citizens as they tried to run for cover. Soldiers on some of the ramparts and high towers tried shooting crossbow bolts at it, only to find themselves on the sharp end of its claws and teeth.

Fluttershy realised that although she could help stop it, she reckoned she wouldn’t have another chance of life like now. She jumped off the burning platform, which collapsed behind her, and ran through the corpses that littered the courtyard. Her eyes stayed focused in front of her and never looked down, lest her eyes see the pleading and mangled forms of the dead horses lying there.

The city had become a death zone. Every building was a mass of flame and every street was now littered with dead horses, mares and stallions, young and old. Fluttershy darted through the burning streets and looked around for an exit. She considered flying out, but realised the dragon will probably pick her off as she flew over the walls. She instinctively crouched low when she heard the dragon roar overhead, its dark shadow passing below her and its great form blocking out the sun. It soared into the sky, and then dived back down, disappearing behind some buildings. Screams and cries came from that area seconds later.

She paid so much attention on where the dragon was going that she didn’t notice that she bumped into Thowra. He looked at her with mouth agape and wide eyes. She didn’t notice her saddlebags on his back.

“How did… how did you possibly-” he stammered, but was cut off by Fluttershy.

“I’ll explain later. Now run!” she screamed at him. Thowra shook his head, broke out of his daze and ran, Fluttershy close behind.

“This way!” he called to Fluttershy, darting down a small alleyway towards the northern wall. He was running quickly through the narrow streets of burning buildings that made up Andulusia. He looked back to see Fluttershy trailing behind. He groaned and then ran back to the pegasus and lifted her onto his back.

“Now hold on tight!” he cried. Fluttershy nodded and flung her forelegs around Thowra’s neck. Thowra reared up, and then broke into a gallop.

Fluttershy couldn’t help but be in awe by Thowra’s speed. She had only seen one pony go as fast as he was going and that was Rainbow Dash. But the cyan pegasus had an advantage as she could fly, but on the ground between these two Rainbow wouldn’t have stood a chance. He was veering with perfect timing around the street corners without slowing down.

She looked to her left to see a guard running from the dragon, only for it to catch one of his hind legs and dragged him away, while the horse screamed for help. They raced past soldiers rallying others to the defence as some fired crossbow bolts from their legs, one ran up to the creature and started slashing it with a sword in his mouth, but the dragon picked him up in its mouth and devoured him.

It noticed Fluttershy and Thowra making a break for it and roared. It took off into the air and with great speed landed in front of Fluttershy and Thowra, who reared up and kicked his forelegs out at it. “Back, you devil!” he yelled. The dragon narrowed its burning eyes and stared right through Thowra, looking at the pegasus on his back, who buried her face in Thowra’s long mane.

The dragon reared its head back and it looked like it was about to bring its fiery breath onto them. Fluttershy darted her head around looking for a way out. She spotted to the left a small opening among some burnt out buildings. “Go left!” she shrieked.

Thowra looked left and saw the opening. With a smirk he darted towards the opening, getting out of the way from the dragon’s fire attack, which claimed another horse’s life. He leapt over some burning timber from the house and found an opening in the wall. He ran and jumped once more over the collapsed battlement and was out of the city.

“Phew!” the two equines breathed a sigh of relief as they landed on the grasslands. They were interrupted when a roar thundered across the landscape. They looked back to see the dragon soar back into the sky and continue its attack on the city. “We’re not out if this yet,” Thowra said, and then broke back into a gallop. Fluttershy clung on for dear life as they rode down the hill away from the burning city; Thowra spotted a cave and veered into there.

Once they were in the cave, Fluttershy got off of Thowra’s back and both had a moment to breathe, Thowra coughing the smoke out of his lungs. “Thank you,” Fluttershy said once she got her breath back. “I don’t think I would have got out of there alive.”

Thowra looked down at her and smiled. “That’s alright. It’s the least I could do since I got you there in the first place.”

Fluttershy blinked. “What?”

Thowra ignored her. “Stay here, I’m just going to check outside.” He trotted outside and disappeared from view. For a few minutes Fluttershy was alone. She still could hear the screams of the horses in the city and the dragon’s roar as it continued its ruthless attack, so she tried to cover her ears to deafen them.

Thowra returned later with a haunted expression on his face. He sat down opposite Fluttershy and his head hung low, still not facing the pegasus. “I’ve never seen such carnage,” he said quietly. “I haven’t seen a single horse leave yet, so I assume we’re the only survivors. I just can’t believe dragons are real.”

Fluttershy looked at him with concerned then surprised eyes. “You’ve never seen a dragon before?”

Thowra looked at her with sad eyes and shook his head. “Have you?” he asked

Fluttershy nodded. “Well yes, dragons are commonplace in Equestria. One is a friend, actually.” She noticed a suspicious look come into Thowra’s eyes and quickly added, “But they never attack anyone unless in self defence! A dragon from Equestria would never do such a thing, at least kill so many.”

Thowra’s suspicious look faded and he smiled. “Okay, I believe you.” A silence came between the two. “Do you know where it came from then?” the horse asked her.

“No… no I don’t, sorry,” she said, lowering her head to the ground.

“Don’t be sorry,” Thowra said. “If anything I should be sorry.”

Fluttershy lifted her head back up to look at him. “Why should you be sorry?”

Thowra bit his lower lip, but sighed and began to tell his story. “Last night, I was on a scouting mission for my Jarl. I was with two others and we were to see what was going on in the region. Unfortunately we were found and both my friends were killed, I managed to escape but the soldiers were now all over the area, I was eventually caught and thrown into the back of a cart. A moment later your unconscious body was thrown on board and we were taken into the city.”

He paused, his ears dropped and he looked to the ground. “If it wasn’t for me and my carelessness, you would have been safe and away. So I’m sorry.”

He waited anxiously for a reply, but nothing came. He looked up to find Fluttershy staring at him with warm and loving eyes. “It wasn’t your fault,” she said. “How could you have known I was there, anyway? You have nothing to be forgiven for.”

Thowra smiled and nodded his thanks to her. “So,” he changed the subject onto the pegasus. “What brings you to Horsca? Because, no offence, you don’t look like an adventurous pony.”

Fluttershy giggled, for the first time in ages it seemed to her. “None taken. You’re right though; I’m not one for adventure and excitement really. But I’m looking for a pony that came into Horsca, named Firewing.”

Thowra’s eyes widened in bewilderment. “You know Firewing?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Not personally, but I need to speak to him about something important.” She paused when she realised Thowra’s reaction. “Do you know him?”

“Yes,” the silver maned horse responded. “He came to Castilian about three weeks ago. Left after a couple of days stay to travel the country. He was a good pony and was wise beyond his years. Where he is now I cannot say, but Freya might.”

Silence then came to the world. The sounds of screaming faded away and the dragon’s roar started to fade away from them. Thowra stepped out of the cave and watched it fly off to the east. “It’s all clear! The dragon’s going away!” he called to Fluttershy. The yellow pegasus trotted out of the cave and stood next to the silver maned horse, watching as the great beast flew out of sight.

“Oh by the way, these are yours.” He gestured with his head to the saddlebags that were on his back.

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Where did you get these?!” She jumped up and snatched them from his back.

“I found them in a case inside the prison when the dragon attacked. When I got away I went back to see if I could find your stuff and mine. Unfortunately for me I could only find yours. I thought you were dead so I was going to return these to Equestria,” he said.

“Oh… thank you,” she said quietly. At first she thought he might be stealing them. She opened the bags to find all of her stuff untouched, even her sword bracelet was in there. Sadly, though, the bracelet giving to her by the Princess wasn’t as it was already destroyed. She put it away and put the bags on her back, then turned to look at the scenery in front of her.

When she first came to Horsca, she wanted to get through quickly and breathe later. But now she felt safe and felt she had the time to stand and stare, and she felt her breath being taken away from her. The day was a bright day, with large white clouds around the mountaintops, rows and rows of woodlands stretched down the hill, with different kinds of wildlife living around them, birds, butterflies and, to Fluttershy’s excitement, rabbits were hopping out of hiding and hopping across the grass to eat.

To her right Fluttershy could see a small stream leading down the narrow, stoned road that lead down the hill and out of sight. While behind her the sky was black with smoke from the fires of Andulusia, but apart from the cackles of the blazes, the city was silent.

Thowra looked at the stunned pegasus and noticed the dry blood on her mane. “Here, let me have a look at that,” he said. He knelt down and gently brushed Fluttershy’s mane away with a hoof, and grimaced when he saw the wound. “You were lucky not to have been killed.” When he moved his hoof and pressed onto it gently, Fluttershy jerked her head away and yelped. Thowra grimaced once more and apologised. “Come on, we need to get you to Castilian right away.”

“Will we get there today?”

“Maybe not if you were on your own. But I’m the fastest horse in Horsca, so I could get you there before the sun goes down.” He went down onto his stomach and gestured Fluttershy to climb on. With the help of her wings, Fluttershy jumped up and landed on his back, wrapping her forelegs around Thowra’s neck. “Ready?” he asked.

“Yes,” Fluttershy answered, it was never above a whisper but Thowra heard her. With a great cry into the sky he got up and started running, even faster than he did in the city behind them.

Hours had passed since leaving behind Andulusia, and Fluttershy was still having a hard time to hold on. Earlier they were forced to slow down several times so the pegasus could get a firmer grip, but other than that they had kept a good pace. They raced past small villages, isolated farms, small woodlands and vast plains that stretched in each direction.

Now with the sun beginning its descent below the horizon, Fluttershy could feel sweat pour off Thowra as they raced over a wooden bridge, the river’s current flowing quickly southwards. “We’ve just passed the border between the north and south!” he shouted. “It shouldn’t be much longer!”

Fluttershy didn’t answer, since she was close to falling asleep. Thankfully Thowra had slowed down a bit and the ride was a bit more comfortable so she could feel her eyes getting heavy and wanted to close them. But she knew if she did, she would probably fall off, so she clung on even harder and prayed they would get there soon. Thowra crested another hill and stopped to take a breather. Fluttershy realised he had stopped and looked at what he was looking at, her jaw dropping at the sight.

The city sat on a large hill, which sloped evenly down onto the flats, and then stretched for a while in all directions in the shape of an ellipse. A large, gleaming white wall circled the city, while at the top was a smaller wall built for the great hall. Fluttershy, through her heavy eyes, could make out some of the many buildings that rested on the hills sides. All of were made out of wood and had straw for roofing, but they stood proud and tall in defiance of something.

“Castilian, the greatest city in Horsca,” Thowra said proudly. He broke into a canter the rest of the way, allowing Fluttershy to rest her eyes and drift off to sleep. Thowra didn’t notice as he jogged calmly into the city, his passenger unawares of anything around her.

“Hey, look who it is,” a voice called cheerfully from the main gate when he arrived before it. “I was beginning to think you were dead.”

Thowra looked up and smiled at a chestnut horse looking down on him with a large grin across his face. “You keep thinking that and it’ll never happen, Breuna,” he chuckled. “You’re a jinx on me!”

“So what could I do for you today, old friend?” the horse, Breuna, asked.

“I need to see Freya immediately, and to bring a pegasus pony from Equestria to safety,” he said, turning around to show Fluttershy on his back.

“Is she alright?” Breuna asked, his voice expressing some concern. “She looks dead.”

Thowra’s eyes widened. ‘The wound wasn’t that bad, was it?’ Alarmingly he swung his head around to look at her, and at that moment she started to snore. It was more of a cat’s purr than a snore. With a sigh of relief he chuckled and looked back up at his friend. “She’s alright, just asleep. Now are you gonna let us in or not?”

“Well, if I was in charge then I’ll let her in. But you, no way. I ain’t though so unfortunately for me and the city I gotta let you in.” He moved away from the wall and soon the gate opened, the large doors groaning as they shifted away from him. Thowra shouted out his thanks and cantered through into the city.

“I’ll see you at Heimwart tonight then!” Breuna called as Thowra went through.

Thowra looked back up at him with a grin. “Looking forward to it!” Thowra then turned his head around and followed the path that led up to the fortress at the middle of the hill.

Many horses were giving him odd looks and glances as he went past; he ignored them and continued up the hill. Guards on duty saluted him as he went through the market place; dodging easily four young foals that were playing tag. He finally made it to the final gate and expected to proclaim himself before hoof before entering. Fortunately however he saw the gate wide open and he strolled right in.

He ignored the guard’s salutes and greetings as he raced to the front door. When he arrived he reared up and pushed the great dark brown door open, creating quite a stir inside as all heads turned on him as he trotted through. ‘It seems,’ he wondered. ‘That I’d just interrupted a meeting. Oh well, this is more important.’

An old mare rose from her chair and smiled. She was a lighter grey than Thowra and had a black mane and tail; her eyes were a cyan blue and seemed to have a soft, warm glow coming from them when Thowra stared at her. “Freya, my dearest cousin,” he greeted her warmly.

Freya walked down the stairs and wrapped her forelegs around the silver maned horse in a hug. “Thowra, it’s good to see you again,” she greeted him with a grin. She pulled away and went back on all fours. “What brings you back to Castilian? Was your mission a success?”

“I’ll get to that later,” he replied. “But first I need somewhere for my passenger here to rest comfortably.” He turned his body, showing Fluttershy to Freya, who gasped.

“Come, put her in my bed,” she said. She excused herself from the meeting and led Thowra through the dining hall and up the stairs, down the corridor and through doors with golden armoured warriors rearing up on the front. Thowra leaned over so Fluttershy gently slipped off his back and onto the large bed. She stirred a little, her hooves reaching out for something, but she was soon calm again. She rolled over and began to snore gently again.

Freya and Thowra watched her for a while, making sure she was comfortable. They then turned and left her, closing the door behind them. “She’s quite a pretty mare.” Freya commented on Fluttershy as they walked down the corridor back to the main hall.

“Uh… yeah, she is,” Thowra said. “She’s got a wound on the side of her head. It’s best to clean it when she’s awake, though.”

Freya nodded. “So why is she here? And you said you’ll tell me why you’re back.”

Thowra looked at her sadly and began his and her story. “I met her in the Andulusian prisons. We were both about to be executed when a dragon attacked.” Freya’s eyes locked onto his with horror written all over her face.

“D-dragon?” she stammered. Thowra nodded. “But dragons are a legend in Horsca.”

“Legends don’t destroy an entire city,” Thowra said.

Freya eyes widened even more. “Andalusia’s been destroyed?” Thowra nodded. “You’re sure?”

“I had a perfectly good view as the city collapsed around me with Fluttershy on my back,” he said, gesturing with a hoof to the room with the sleeping Equestrian. “And as far as I know, noone else escaped.”

Freya looked at him grimly. “Then we’ll have to keep lookouts posted all night and day incase the dragon attacks us,” she said as she led him back down the stairs and into a room with a large table in the centre.

On the table was an old, and torn map of Horsca, with writings of the different countries that dwell on its boundaries, as well as markings of the many towns and villages that make up the country of Horsca. “But the destruction of Andulusia could make things interesting,” she said quietly.

“What do you mean?” Thowra asked inquisitively.

“If noone got out of the city, then we could use the inevitable confusion to our advantage,” she said.

Thowra’s mouth opened slightly in surprise. “You mean to assault the south?” Freya nodded. Thowra shook his head. “Oh no, I don’t think this is the best move, thin…”

He was cut off when another horse, a chestnut stallion, walked in, speaking with a deep booming voice. “What’s going on here? A war council? Without me? I’m ashamed of you, Freya,” the horse said jokingly. He was much older than Freya; his mane was short and was turning grey, yet his brown eyes told anyone of that fire he had that still burned fiercely.

“Don’t worry, Luthor,” Thowra said, turning to face the newcomer with a smirk. “You haven’t missed much.”

“Thowra, my young friend, how’ve you been,” Luthor greeted him warmly, placing a hoof on his shoulder.

Thowra returned the gesture. “I’m good at the moment. I’m glad to see the old dog hasn’t laid down his legs yet.”

Luthor snorted. “I’m not that old, and I still can give you a complete rump kicking.” Thowra chuckled at this.

“Alright, you two, we can have this later, but right now we’ve got other matters at the moment.” Freya said, drawing attention back to her.

“Really, Freya. Like what?” Luthor asked. Thowra told him everything, from the dragon attack, the escape, to the destruction of Andulusia. Once he’d been told Luthor moved to the nearest chair and sat down, his eyes showing his shock. “Really, noone survived?”

Thowra shrugged. “I’m not entirely certain, but I saw noone walk out of the northern gates when I was there. So I’d assume yes.”

“I’ll send out warnings to all towns and villages. But how does this involve me?” Luthor asked.

“I was getting to that,” Freya said. She reared up and pointed to the south of the country. “If, and that is a big if, the Andulusian family died in the attack, then their armies would be confused and leaderless, correct?” she asked. Luthor nodded. “Well, I propose to launch an all-out attack on the south.”

The room went silent. The two stallions looked at each other with concern and then back at Freya. Eventually Thowra was the first to speak up. “Freya my dear cousin, don’t you think this is a bit… risky?” Freya gave him an odd look. “I mean there’s no telling what their strength is at the moment. On one hoof they could outnumber our forces by thousands and we would walk right into them, and the causalities would be enormous, even at equal strength.”

“But on the other hoof!” Freya countered. “They don’t know what our forces strength is either. And with their leaders possibly dead, their generals would try to take over as ruler, fighting each other in the process.” She paused. “And besides, war is nothing but risk taking.”

Luthor nodded. “I see your logic, Freya, but I must admit I have my doubts.” Freya gestured for him to continue. “For one thing not all of the Andulusian family was in the city at that moment. Their youngest daughter was out around the camps.”

Freya snorted a laugh. “That little tart can’t tell what’s her left from her right. Let alone command an army.”

“Yes, but she’s admired by the soldiers. They would follow her to the death if she says so. She could unite the generals and lead them to a defence, and they would gladly follow her,” Thowra added.

Freya shook her head and waved a hoof dismissively. “I don’t think so. Them Andulusian generals have always had the chance to conquer us, so why haven’t they?” She waited for them to give a response, to which none came. “Because they hate each other! They constantly bicker like a married couple about who should do what. And now with the family dead, it’s feasible they would challenge each other to become ruler. We must take them down, now. I don’t think we will get another chance like this, ever.”

Thowra, after a few minutes of silence, sighed. “I will respect your decision, Freya. Whatever that may be. But please take into consideration our thoughts and concerns.”

Freya nodded. “I will think about it for a few minutes. Please wait outside whilst I come to my final decision.” The two stallions nodded and went outside, leaving Freya to think this over.

“Do you think she’ll say no?” Luthor asked Thowra as they waited. Luthor was sitting down on the stairs, his old legs making him unable for him to stand in one place for long, while Thowra paced back and forth in front of him.

Thowra shook his head. “There’s no doubt in my mind what her answer’s going to be, Luthor. And I hope it’s a risk that I would see pay through in the end.”

“Aye she’s headstrong, Freya is. But I’ve never seen her this prepared to go into battle before. It’s like-”.

“Like a lion has fought its prey for so long, both are tired and wounded. But the lion sees a weakness in the prey and strikes at it, hoping for the killing blow,” Thowra interrupted him. “Is that what you were going to say?”

“Well, no,” Luthor replied. “But that was good anyway.”

The door swung open as soon as Luthor stopped speaking. He rose from his seating position and Thowra stopped pacing. Freya walked out with determination written all over her face. “General Luthor.” She turned to face the warhorse.

“Yes, Freya?”

“Send our fastest messages out to all towns, villages and cities. Warn them of the dragon attack in Andulusia but don’t panic them. And send the message of muster to all able-bodied stallions and mares to arm themselves and come to Castilian. Summon the fyrd and the horsecarls. Tomorrow at noon, we go to war.”

Luthor bowed his head and cantered out of the building, Thowra watched him go then looked back at Freya with sad eyes. “And what of you, Thowra?” Freya said. “What will you do?”

“I will go back to Andulusia in the morning to find and see if the family was indeed killed today. I’m not one for wars like this, not any more,” he answered.

Freya nodded sadly. “Is there anyway I can make you see sense and stop?”

Thowra shook his head. “My mind is made up, Freya. And no matter how much I love you, you won’t make a difference to my decision.”

“Well, at least you will be here tonight,” she said sadly, and then looked up at the ceiling. “I’m gonna check up on your friend. Fluttershy was it?” Thowra nodded. “I’ll see you tonight then.” They brought their nose together in a nuzzle and then turned away from each other. Thowra headed towards the kitchens, while Freya went to look at a certain yellow pegasus who was stirring.

Fluttershy slowly opened her eyes, with a soft moan escaping her lips as she realised her head lay on a comfortable pillow that was twice the size she was used to. She sat upright and looked around.

She was in a bedroom, not a cell thankfully. Wooden in structure and very spartan in furnishings; a single wardrobe in a room that could take about five pony sized wardrobes, and a single door with a golden horse on it. While above her was a sword, about three times as long as hers and had a handle with teeth holders to wield it properly on it.

Her eyes soon turned to the door as it unlocked and opened. “Eek!” she squeaked in alarm and dived under the covers, hoping whatever it was wouldn’t notice her.

“It’s okay, little pony, you can come out of there. I won’t hurt you,” a soft, motherly voice spoke from the door.

Fluttershy slowly moved the duvet off her face to look at the horse that spoke to her. A fairly old mare stood at the door, a dark grey with a black mane and tail. “Welcome to Castilian, Fluttershy,” she said as she walked to the bedside.

Fluttershy tilted her head to the side. “You know my name?”

The horse nodded and sat down next to the bed. “My cousin Thowra told me who you were. My name’s Freya Palomino, Jarl and ruler of the northern provinces of Horsca, and it is a pleasure to meet you.” Freya moved her hoof up for Fluttershy to shake.

Fluttershy moved a hoof up to shake hers, but suddenly drew it away and started apologizing. “I’m sorry, your majesty, I should be more formal than that.” She started getting out of bed, but a firm but gentle hoof from Freya pushed her back down, whilst another took Fluttershy’s little hoof in hers and shook it.

Fluttershy was a little confused. “Yo-you don’t want me to bow before you?”

Freya shook her head and grinned. “Oh no, sweetie. I am a horse like everyone else here. I drink, I eat, I sleep, and I burp and fart. Why should I be treated differently than those I look after?”

Fluttershy didn’t know how to answer to that so kept quiet. Freya continued. “I am more of a shepherd than a queen. I guide my flock to their needs, and hope they do the right thing.” She leaned closer. “And speaking of doing the right thing, I would like to look at that wound of yours.”

Fluttershy nodded and brushed her mane away from the large wound caused by the horse’s kick. Freya grimaced when she looked at it. It was quite big, and was already showing signs of stitching, but dried blood along its surface kept the horse from seeing the full extent of the healing. “You were truly lucky not to have been killed,” she said. “How did it happen?”

“It was the middle of the night. I was running from the sounds of fighting, and then I felt something hit me hard on the head. I went down, then was rolled over and saw a horse standing over me. I tried to get away, but the horse hit me in the same place, knocking me out,” Fluttershy answered.

Freya smiled comfortingly. “Well you’re safe now, noone will hurt you here, you have my word.” She turned to the door. “Flatberta, dear!” she called through the door. Out popped a young mare about the same age as Fluttershy; she was white with spots all over her.

“Yes, Freya milady?” she curtsied to the grey horse.

“Could you get a flannel and a bucket of water, please?” Freya asked. Flatberta curtsied and was about to walk off. “Flatberta,” Freya called again to her. The spotted whit horse turned her head around. “I told you many times there is no need to curtsy me,” she said with a smile. Flatberta nodded and trotted off.

“So young,” she mused aloud. She turned her head back to the pegasus, who watched the small conversation with great interest. “Now tell me, what would a young pony, who lives in the most peaceful land in the world, want to come to this forsaken place?”

“It’s a long story actually,” Fluttershy replied. Freya grinned.

“Ah, then the story can wait for tonight. As a guest of honour at Heimwart I’m sure you would entertain us on your tales of travels,” Freya said.

Fluttershy gulped. “Guest of honour at…” Then she suddenly realised. “What is Heimwart?”

“It’s a feast of honour we have to celebrate our home here, and a gathering of close friends.” Now Fluttershy was worried. An untold number of horses would be at a dinner party of sorts, and she would be the guest of honour and worse, she would have to speak! She felt the butterflies in her stomach go wild.

Her worrying was thankfully cut short when Flatberta returned with a bucket in her mouth she placed it by Freya’s side. “The flannel’s already in the bucket, Freya,” she said. “Is there any more you wish of me?”

“Thank you, Flatberta. You may help with the arrangements tonight,” Freya smiled approvingly. Flatberta giggled with joy and cantered out of the room. Freya dipped her mouth into the bucket and picked up the flannel. Fluttershy moved her head and exposed the wound made by the horse last night, and the grey horse gently placed it on contact with the pegasus’s exposed skin.

Fluttershy closed her eyes and tensed up in pain as water trickled down her face. Her head screamed in protest from any touch no matter how gentle it was. “Sorry,” Freya said through gritted teeth.

Eventually the wound was cleaned up and the grey horse could see the full extent on the mending process. She was surprised though at how quick it had closed, and how it was returning to a pink scar, which would be covered by her coat later.

“You’re going to be fine, Fluttershy dear,” she said. “What about the other side?”
Fluttershy shifted her whole body around so Freya could have a look at the other side. It was merely a bruise from where she had hit the ground. “You’ll be alright. Just try not to run into any more Andulusian soldiers,” she said with a grin.

“I won’t,” Fluttershy replied. “Thank you. It does feel better after that.” She put her hoof on the side and pressed where it was. It didn’t hurt as much as it did, so that was one good thing.

“My pleasure, my dear.” Freya rose to her hooves. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I must prepare for the feast tonight.” She walked away. That’s when Fluttershy remembered in the cave when Thowra spoke of Freya maybe knowing where Firewing was at the moment.

“Wait!” she called. Freya stopped and looked back at her. “I was wondering if you could help me?”

Freya smiled. “Of course, child. What could I do for you?”

“Do you know where I could find a pegasus pony named Firewing?” Freya’s smile faded and her eyes went wide in fear and discomfort.

“You know him?” Freya asked.

“Well no, but I need to find him, it’s important,” she explained. Freya put a hoof on her chin and thought long and hard.

“Can you walk?” Fluttershy nodded and hopped gracefully out of bed, walking up next to the Jarl. “Then come with me,” she said. Fluttershy took to the air and flew next to her; the only sound came from the flapping of the pegasus’s wings, as they went along the wide corridor and up a small flight of stairs, leading out into the low sunshine.

Fluttershy felt the cold air touch her face and her mane blew in the wind as they stepped out onto a balcony, which sat on the top of the great hall, overlooking the entire city and the countryside that surrounded it.

“Firewing came here around three weeks ago, told me he was searching the mountainsides for this cave of a sort that went into the mountains. He said something of importance was there but didn’t say what,” Freya explained. “He was a kind fellow, but there was something about him that didn’t seem right, and his eyes made him-”

“Look older,” Fluttershy finished for her. Freya nodded. “Which mountains did he mean? If you don’t mind me asking that is.”

“Oh, those ones. The Ragged Mountains we call them, mostly about the tops. They’re bent out of shape but look sharp as the hardest steel,” she said, pointing to the set of mountains. Fluttershy looked and a shiver went down her spine.

The mountains were tall indeed, way taller than the one she and her friends went up to ‘encourage’ a dragon to leave. The tops weren’t even visible as low cloud covered them, but Fluttershy could easily see about halfway to the top of one the mountains was covered in snow, as was the rest. ‘One cave,’ she thought. ‘One in one of around half a dozen mountains!’

“Has anyone else been to this place?” Fluttershy asked, hoping they had so it would make finding Firewing easier.

Freya nodded and the pony’s face lit up. “But noone has ever come back to tell us where it is and what’s there.”

Fluttershy’s heart sank and she visibly slouched. She looked back at the mountains and felt close to giving up. If many have gone that way and not come back, what chance does Firewing have? ‘What chance do I have?’ she thought.

‘What!’ her conscious shouted at her. ‘You’re going to give up? Here? When you were so close?’

‘You, I mean, I heard Freya,’ Fluttershy’s thoughts said back. ‘It’s dangerous there.’

Her conscious snorted. ‘And has danger stopped us before? We who went eye to eye with a Cockatrice, arguably the most dangerous creature in Equestria, and made it shrink in fear? This won’t stop us, and we doubt it would stop Firewing.’

Somehow, her conscious spoke sense; she faced the deadliest monster in Equestria and won. She looked back at the mountain and narrowed her eyes in determination. “How long would it take for me to get there?” She turned her head back to Freya.

“A day, a day and a half, depends on how quick you walk and if you’re a pony or a horse,” Freya replied. Fluttershy sighed; the more time it would take getting there the less chance she would have in finding Firewing, but she had no choice. Yes, the road is dangerous, but this whole trip from Detrots to Horsca has been. From the moment she crossed into Horsca she knew how dangerous it could be, but yet she continued.

“May I leave tomorrow for the mountains? If that’s alright with you,” Fluttershy asked Freya, who looked disappointed but nodded her head.

“As a guest you are free to leave the city when you like, my dear. Just promise me you’d come back though, when you’re done with him,” she said with hoping eyes.

Fluttershy smiled. “I will try, Freya,” she said truthfully. She didn’t know what it would bring, even getting there wouldn’t be easy. But she will try, trying like she did for her friends when they needed her.

Freya looked back and noticed the sun was starting to slip over the horizon. “Come, my dear. The Heimwart is about to begin,” she gestured for Fluttershy to lead the way, who trotted down the stairs with a small smile on her face. Freya followed soon after, wondering what could have driven such a sweet, innocent looking pony to do this. Was it out of fear of something? Was it the seeking of knowledge? Or both?

A large group of thirty or forty horses were now in the dining hall, standing around a large U shaped table, greeting each other with a leg on the shoulder, and talked about the day. Some had some form of attire like a cloak of sorts; others were as naked as the day they were born.

But there wasn’t any ‘richer is better’ sort of attitude like Fluttershy saw in Canterlot that night for Twilight’s birthday party, with the exception of Fancy Pants, of course. Here they were all talking and laughing as close friends would, and it made Fluttershy smile.

Her eyes locked on a familiar horse and she beamed. “Thowra!” she called. The silver maned horse heard her and smiled. He didn’t have time to respond as the pegasus leapt into the air and wrapped her forelegs around his neck, giving him a hug.

“Thank you, Thowra. For getting me here I mean,” she said softly. She raised her head to face him and gave him a light kiss on the cheek, before moving her head back to his chest.

Thowra eyes darted around, hoping for someone to help him out with this. Breuna, who was next to him, couldn’t stop sniggering when he saw his friend go red. Thowra’s eyes met Freya’s, who gestured for him to wrap a leg around her. Thowra nodded and wrapped his right leg around the hugging pegasus. “You’re welcome,” he said.

Freya chuckled and rose onto her hind legs, and then clapped her hooves together. “Okay everyone, Heimwart is about to begin!” Everyone moved to the seating arrangements they were given and sat down. Fluttershy looked along the table and realised she didn’t know where she was sitting. “Fluttershy dear, over here,” Freya called. She saw the black maned horse sitting on a big chair with an empty seat next to her, the opposite side sat Thowra.

She breathed a little easier, knowing she’ll be beside two friends she made in less than twenty-four hours – a new record for her, she believed. She jumped up and sat down; it was a surprisingly comfortable replacement for a cushion she was use to back in Equestria. At this moment she realised she was facing the entire group in the hall. She gulped and started to sweat, remembering what Freya told her earlier about telling a story – her story.

Her thoughts and fears were thrown aside for a moment when the starter meal came. Fluttershy and the other guests were the first ones to be given the soup, followed by Thowra, and finally Freya. Fluttershy tilted her head to one side; she had never seen this kind of soup before. It looked like tomato soup, but she could tell from the smell it wasn’t tomato. It also had green herbs of some sort floating on top.

The pegasus looked around to see if she should eat formally or the way she does at home when no one’s looking, greedily. She saw a black-coated horse dive his head in and take big sips. She leaned over and took a sip, then another, then dived her head in and drank it down very quickly, burning her tongue in the process. Luckily there was some water nearby and she gulped it down to.

She suddenly hiccupped; she put her hooves over her mouth and blushed. “Sorry,” she said to Freya, who was trying, and failing, not to laugh.

“It’s okay, my dear.” she said, chuckling all the while. The empty bowls were taken away and in their place were a large plate of cooked vegetables, steamed potatoes and a thick stew with garlic herbs. Everyone dug into his or her meals while Fluttershy hesitated, she had eaten everything else but the stew didn’t look familiar to her.

So she took a small sip of the stew and immediately scoffed it down faster than Applejack did at an eating competition she remembered watching one time. Once that was taken care of she gorged on the potatoes and salad, until her stomach couldn’t take any more. She leaned back on the chair, patting her stomach when she finished. It was delicious, and tasted… well she didn’t know. It was new to her, even though she had them before; something seemed different to her about the food.

She forgot about it when she let out a quiet but quick belch. Again she went red and put her hooves over her mouth. “Oh dear, oh I am so sorry,” she started, but a laughing Freya shushed her.

“It’s okay, Fluttershy. It’s actually very polite to belch at Heimwart, especially as a guest of honour. Means it was good food. Ha, you’ve only been here for a day and you’re a true Horscan already,” she said. Fluttershy bashfully looked away and went redder at the compliment.

Once everyone had finished his or her meals Freya rose up from her chair and brought everyone’s attention to her. The room went silent. “My dearest friends and drinking buddies.” This was met with cheers from the group. Freya, with a small smile, raised a hoof and silence fell again. “Today we have a special guest joining us from Equestria. Please give warm welcome to Miss Fluttershy, a pony who’s travelled so many miles to get here.”

All eyes soon locked onto the pegasus, who shyly waved a hoof. “Hello,” she squeaked. Cheers and the clapping of hooves met her ears and she smiled.

“And since the sun has now set over the horizon, I now suggest a tale of daring and great feats. Fluttershy, as the guest, would you be so kind as to tell us one, please?” Freya sat down and looked to the pegasus, who gulped and shivered slightly. “Take your time, dear,” Freya whispered.

Slowly Fluttershy rose and started to speak, quiet at first but under Freya’s encouragement grew louder. “Well, I was born in a town called Cloudsdale, a city that is made entirely of clouds. I met a pegasus pony named Rainbow Dash there and we became friends, not close yet but I will get to that later. After learning my special talent I left the city and moved to a small town called Ponyville, where I met Applejack and Pinkie Pie, two earth ponies, and Rarity, a unicorn. We only knew each other by name for the first two years I lived there, and never truly connected. Until one day when a unicorn brought us together, and our lives changed for the better.”

She went into how Twilight Sparkle came to the town, how she and the lavender unicorn, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Pinkie Pie, trotted into the most dangerous place in Equestria to take down Nightmare Moon, a creature who wanted to bring night time eternal. She told in full detail every moment, her voice brimming with confidence as she went into the tale. Once that was done she went into the story of her life after Twilight decided to stay, from encouraging a dragon to leave Equestria and take a nap someplace else, running for dear life from a Hydra, a monstrous four headed creature. Staring down a Cockatrice, the rescue of Rarity from the diamond dogs, to Discord, the break-up of her friends to their reunion and defeat of the evil spirit.

“Our lives soon took a peaceful turn, we celebrated things together, chased my friend Applejack across the desert because she wouldn’t tell us why she wouldn’t return after a trip to a rodeo in Canterlot. Battled an army of changelings who’d invaded Canterlot, and many other things. But then, one day that started out with a day trip with Rarity, turned into a few minutes of screaming and destruction I never thought I would ever see.” She went on to the dragon attack on Ponyville. How she got separated from her friends, how she found Twilight on the verge of death, and how she met the most terrifying dragon to exist. “I was scared, but I was so angry. This dragon had attacked my friends and destroyed the town without a second thought. I waked up to it and scolded it, hoped that my words would force it away, like last time. That was when he breathed fire on me. For a few seconds I felt pain, and then nothing. Everything went black, and then seconds later everything returned to normal, then black again.”

Fluttershy told them how she woke up a month later and how she had changed. How she was able to walk through fire without a single burn, the ability to see and hear beyond the norm, and how she could speak and understand a language that nopony seemed to understand, except one.

“I was told by Princess Celestia that Firewing could tell me where it originates from and what does it mean. So I started this journey to find him, to get answers that nopony else can, so I could return and live the life I wanted to have. One of peace and quiet,” she finished and sat back down, awaiting everyone’s reaction.

Thirty to forty horses sat in silence, their stares gormless as they looked at the pegasus in a mix of wonder and awe. Fluttershy looked towards Freya who sat there speechless as well. Thowra on the other hoof put his hooves together and started to clap. Freya was broken out of her daze and started to clap as well. Soon the hall was alive with cheers and applause from theses great horses. Fluttershy smiled and bowed her head modestly. The Heimwart gathering then continued into the night.

Fluttershy had excused herself later in the evening, saying she was tired. Freya was all right with this as she began a speech on the oncoming war that lay ahead, and some songs were being played. The pegasus could still here them from the balcony where she sat, gazing at the mountains which were now a black silhouette in the far distance. The songs being played had a beautiful tune, but were yet sad and mournful, and Fluttershy hated sad songs, mostly because they made her sad. She liked the more cheerful tunes that spoke of life and beauty.

The air was mild and the wind soft as it hit her coat, her mane flowing gently in the breeze, whilst above a cloudless night showed Fluttershy one of the most spectacular sights she’d ever seen. The sky was a beautiful colour of green and red, like a wave out in the ocean, flowing gently across the calm sea. Her eyes went wide and her jaw slackened, amazed by the sight. “Twilight would love this,” she said to herself.

“An Aurora Borealis,” a voice came from behind her. Fluttershy looked back to see Thowra standing there, a big smile on his face he walked up to the pegasus and sat down beside her. “They are a rare occurrence here in Horsca. But legend says that they also tell the future.”

“Really? How?” Fluttershy asked.

“Green for good and red for evil. Both are out tonight so I would say great and terrible things are about to happen to us,” he said.

“Really?!” Fluttershy said alarmingly.

Thowra chuckled. “I don’t know. Such things are just legend now. Fairytales.”

“Do you believe them?” Fluttershy asked.

The smile faded from Thowra’s face. “After today, I don’t know what’s legend and what’s not anymore. So I’m not sure,” he replied.

Silence fell between the two equines as they stared at the sky, watching the aurora swirl and dance in the sky. “During your story, I noticed that you never said anything about your friends on this trip. Didn’t they come with you?” he asked.

Fluttershy looked at the silver maned horse. She looked back at the door, and began telling him why they weren’t with her, when they should’ve been. Thowra widened his eyes as she finished. “Wow,” he said, unable to say anything else.

“You must think of me as a monster now” she said quietly, her eyes watering as she thought she’d just lost another friend.

Thowra laughed and put a foreleg around the pegasus. “No, Fluttershy, I don’t think you’re monster. What you did, some might not understand. But I do, do you know why?” Fluttershy shook her head. “Because of today. If they were with you, they would probably be dead. So in a way, they owe you their lives.”

Fluttershy wiped her eyes and looked at the grey horse. “Thank you, Thowra,” she smiled.

“You’re welcome. Heck, I have done worse things for love than you did.” Before Fluttershy could ask what, Thowra changed the subject. “So your friends, would they have woken up by now?”

“Yes, they should on their way back to Ponyville by now, I hope,” she answered.

Thowra put a comforting hoof in her shoulder. “Don’t worry about them. They are safe, and that’s all that matters. Just concentrate on why you’re here, okay?” Fluttershy nodded and with that the grey horse turned to leave. “Well I’m off to bed. A long day ahead tomorrow and it’s an early start for me. I’ll see you in the morning.”

As he left, Fluttershy called back to him, “Thowra!” The horse turned his head and looked at her. “Do you think they might forgive me, for what I did to them?”

He thought for a moment. “If they are anything like you said, then I’m certain they would forgive you. Goodnight, Fluttershy.” And with that he left, the only sounds he made were his hoofsteps on the wooden floorboards.

Fluttershy looked back into the stars and the dancing lights above, lost in thought, and wondered whether her friends were seeing this beautiful display as well.