The Festivals of Equestria

by Gabriel LaVedier

First published

Tales of the holidays in Equestria explained by the celebrants.

Party times are frequent in Equestria, but there are only a dozen state-wide official holidays. Those holidays have a significant meaning, connected to cosmic matters or points in history connected to significant yearly happenings. But as in the human world, there is the real story, then the fun and mythical story for added entertainment. As humans have Santa and the Easter Bunny, Equestrians have their own frivolous elements to celebrations, and stories about those fictional beings that reinforce societal values and link them to the holiday to justify the position.

(This is the first thing I finished since my aunt passed away. I've been out of the writing game for a long time. But it's time I crawl out of the mire and get back to the business of making socially-responsible pony fiction.)

The Legend of the Hearthkeeper (Hearths' Warming)

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Snow softly dusted down across the thatched roofs and cobblestone streets of Ponyville, like confectioner's sugar across a gingerbread village. The weather ponies had outdone themselves with the fineness of their flurries, the powdery drifts piling high but light enough to easily shovel away. Even notable curmudgeons like Cranky Doodle Donkey couldn't complain about shoveling it. He tried, but his wife shushed him fairly easily.

The light swirl of snow did not hamper the doings of the citizens of Ponyville. A small portion of that was sweeping the street of snow to make it easier on travelers, but the great majority of that activity was decorating for the coming Hearth's Warming.

Coniferous trees were carefully set up along the streets, and decorated with strings of various things. Threaded popcorn, electrothaumatic lights, or in Diamond Dog areas alternating glowing fungi and charged gems. Ornaments of blown glass, cut crystal and carved wood were sprinkled over the surface of the trees, the many figures creating a microcosm of dancing creatures and tiny objects to populate their pine-scented world. The trees were crowned with many figures, from the dancing Princesses, to the Heart-Fire of Friendship.

Other folk were decorating the houses and businesses. Mr. Cake was up on a ladder stringing gumdrop-shaped lights on his home, other items queued up to make Sugarcube Corner more festive and seasonal, more like a gingerbread home. His wife and foals watched from the street, bundled up against the cold. Other homeowners tossed cables across to their neighbors, each one adding pendant ornaments until the spaces between the houses were sparkling from the hanging decorations.

Golden Oak library was at its festive best, potent earth pony magic keeping the branches largely leafed, which kept it looking bright and full. Further, large decorations hung on the branches, lights twinkled in large strings and the top was crowned with a large Heart-Fire of Friendship, which was licked with a magical pink-colored illusory fire.

The inside was as beautifully decorated as the outside. The bookshelves has small ribbons tied into bows between each shelf, and sprigs of holly were placed above each shelf. There were no fewer than five Hearth's Warming trees in the downstairs portion, from the large main one showily decorated with a shower of tinsel and fine cut-crystal ornaments, to smaller ones with tinier decorations, including two Neighpon-style bonsai pines decorated with miniscule ornaments.

Twilight Sparkle regarded the organized chaos and smiled. Fortuna smiled on her, as Princess Luna was wont to say, that her chaos came in so well-directed a manner. But then, she had her own private Fortuna. Pinkie was hidden somewhere in the library, waiting to burst out in pride at the success of her decorating. “I know you're here somewhere, Pinkie...”

A rustle from the large tree drew Twilight's attention, the thing having caught her attention thanks to the collection of large, wrapped presents already arrayed beneath it.

“I wonder where you could be...” Twilight said, in her best coy voice as she slid along towards the tree. Her horn glowed as she grasped the branches, popping them open with a quick motion. “Gotcha!”

The opening of the tree branches revealed the source of the rustling to be Gummy and Winona, who had secreted themselves in the tree. Winona was bare as normal, but Gummy was wearing a knitted pink-and-pink ski hat and scarf. They appeared in the midst of a sort of loving embrace, Gummy in Winona's forelegs, his snout atop hers as she rested her snout on his body. “Oh... Winona. Gummy... I thought you were at Sweet Apple Acres, or Sugarcube Corner...” Twilight said, sheepishly.

“They were!” Pinkie cried, leaping from behind the stand holding up one of the bonsai pines. “But it's warmer in here and Gummy always loves seeing Winona, and the babies.”

Twilight was shocked by the sudden appearance, but got hold of herself quickly, thanks to being primed for it by her time with Pinkie. She just nodded slowly. “Understandable. But where are they? I know they're weaned but I thought they were still living with Winona.”

As though on cue one of the large boxes collapsed and released the six dog-gator children. They had grown some, but not overmuch, still small but near the size of Gummy as opposed to their birth size. They retained the elongated and flattened snouts, their ears perked and listening to all the sounds around them. Their eyes were large and yellow, very much like their father. Their mother came through in paws and heads and the tufts of fur at their joints.

On their release, Gummy and Winona came down from in the tree and herded the children together.

“They always come to visit Gummy when Winona comes over. Which is all the time. Except now, when it's snowy and the babies are sluggish,” Pinkie noted, reaching into the remains of the box to take out hats and scarves sized for the pups, getting each of them dressed properly.

“They do have a unique metabolism. They're almost lukewarm blooded,” Twilight said, peering at one of the hybrid children. “Their metabolism works to some degree to give them a base temperature that prevents torpor, but they still need external heat. They must be very glad to have a warm-blooded mother to snuggle with. Gummy, I'm sure, loves it too. The clothes actually work with them. But why did you dress Gummy? I told you he doesn't have body heat to hold in.”

“I know that, silly,” Pinkie said, pressing a soft kiss on Twilight's snout. “But I wanted him to match the babies. Plus I put heaters in them so he could keep perky!” She lifted Gummy's hat to show a charged gem at the top leading to small bands of coated metal strips that radiated a small amount of heat. “And there's one in the scarf.”

“Nice little heaters. Where did you get them?” Twilight asked.

“The Heliotrope topside market,” Pinkie answered. “The Dogs have everything.”

“They sure make enough of it,” Twilight said with a nod. She used her magic to prod at the fire and drop another log on it. “Are you going to stay for the story?”

“Of course, silly! I always want to be around you. Plus I love when you read, you get all brainy. And the kids ask questions and you're even more brainy when you answer,” Pinkie replied.

“I do like explaining story background. I understand these are fun stories for the young but there are meanings there it is better they understand,” Twilight explained.

“And I get to learn about this. Should be interesting. Cannonites don't believe in the Hearthkeeper. Just the Heart-Fire of Friendship. I learned some stuff but never read the whole thing. You don't have to put on a beard and the red hat,” Pinkie noted.

“It's tragic that Cannonites kept the very conservative view. I understand the intellectual rigor of remembering the real story, but there's no harm in a fun story to go alongside it. Like the Bountiful Rabbit during the Bounty of Nature festival,” Twilight said.

“An egg-laying rabbit. That's funny. Winona kind of laid eggs, but not really,” Pinkie said, zipping around and arranging cushions around on the floor by the tree, before which she placed a large, squishy pillow.

“He doesn't lay them. The Spring Chicken lays them. He just provides the fecundity to produce spring life,” Twilight said, taking a glossy picture book down from a shelf with her magic. She squeaked in surprise when Pinkie appeared and kissed her on the lips, while pointing up at the holly above the shelves. “You know... that's going to get awkward sooner or later...”

“But not yet,” Pinkie said playfully as she zipped away.

Some time later both Twilight and Pinkie were dressed in costumes; Twilight as the Hearthkeeper in a red suit, faux-fur-trimmed red hat and puffy beard; Pinkie as the Hearthkeeper's wife, in a green dress decorated with polished stones, and a green felt hat with two fake reindeer antlers attached. Shortly thereafter the door to the library opened to admit a flood of foals and a few adults, enough to tightly pack the library.

The young, of many species, filled the library with happy squeals and chattering, seeking out cushions near the big tree. Diamond Tiara used her great emotional presence to part the crowd, taking two cushions and grandly offering one to a blushing Silver Spoon. The Cutie Mark Crusaders likewise got decent seats, Sweetie snuggling up against Scootaloo, while Applebloom leaned her head against Zecora. Big Macintosh and Miss Smarty Pants were there one row back, acting as chaperones. The rest of the cushions were swiftly claimed by the youngsters, and the rest stood around behind the rows of the seated. Spike kept order in the rows, having been the one who had led them all into the library.

Twilight cleared her throat, silencing the audience and drawing all eyes to her. “Ho-ho-ho! And welcome one and all to the reading of, The Legend of the Hearthkeeper, this version written by Joyous Jingle and illustrated by Lush Landscape. And of course, if you have any questions about details, classical interpretations or modern ideas about the story and the characters, please do speak up and ask. I studied the legend extensively, as a matter of national pride.”

“She just likes to talk really, really smart,” Pinkie fake-whispered, raising a small laugh from the audience.

“As I was saying...” Twilight said loudly, hiding a blush behind her fake beard and shooting an amused look at Pinkie. “The Legend of the Hearthkeeper, with expansion, explanation and live footnotes and glosses by Twilight Sparkle.”

- - -

There once was a time when there was no Hearthkeeper. When the Heart-Fire of Friendship was the only thing to be noted and celebrated in the cold darkness of the Winter Solstice. But the Hearthkeeper rose up from simple origins. From the snow and wind of the high north pole.

He had been just a normal pony, but one with a great and abiding connection to the Harmonious ways, as well as great strength in body and magic...

“Miss Twilight?”

“Yes, Pipsqueak?”

“I'm sorry to interrupt but... what kind of pony is the Hearthkeeper? I always see a different one in books and in movies and at parties.”

“No need for apologies. I encourage interruptions. To answer your question, there's no real answer. The Hearthkeeper has been shown as all kinds. He's strong like an earth pony, he's fast like a pegasus, and he's magical like a unicorn. Some make him an alicorn. There's even a tradition of him being a non-pony. He has the determined strength of a donkey, but also the mystical insight of a zebra. Very modern depictions sometimes resolve the question by making him a Changeling. He's never shown as a Dragon, and rarely as a kirin, and not as a Dog either but that will come much later. And not as a Griffin, for reasons I'll also explain.”

His name was lost to epithets and titles her had earned, but he was known as very kind and giving. He lent his great power and his kind heart to any cause that would bring joy to the world and help the disadvantaged, no matter how far away he had to go. His reputation had sent him far indeed, for the pony who would be the Hearthkeeper was near the north pole, having followed some personal feeling there. He had come from griffin settlements, some say from the very court of the High King himself, having rendered service and gotten a bag of shillings, as well as fine fur clothes, and a pointed hat, both in red and white...

“Oooh! Ooh! Twilight?!”

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“I always wondered why the Hearthkeeper wore clothes made out of fur. I know that griffins and Dogs make stuff out of fur but they eat the things they came from, and they don't want to waste any of it. Why would a pony have that?”

“A very good question I was hoping someone would ask...”

“Teacher's pet!”

“Don't say that about my fillyfriend or I'll..!”

“Diamond Tiara! Scootaloo! Settle down or you'll have to leave. Now... the answer is tied to the reason he is never shown as a griffin. Besides having different traditions, it would be less special to show a griffin in something so distinctive. Rendering a service to the High King is an unusual thing for a pony and makes him seem even more set-apart. As for why he had clothes from them, the griffins were and are a traditional folk. Besides paying those who gave a service there is also the tradition of a treasured object as the reward for performing a great feat. Usually this would be a ceremonial weapon, a drinking vessel, or carved totem. But fancy clothing would also be an appropriate gift, the level of honor attached based on the materials. The red is from fox fur, foxes being notoriously hard to catch. The white is from either ermine or snow rabbit. They only ever use that in gift material if it was caught in snowy conditions, the difficulty of catching either adding to the prestige of the garment. The colors, of course, are highly significant to griffins, red for blood and white for bone. Powerful iconography. Oh, and his hat is kind of pointy because his legendary magical skill led the griffins to give him something that was their version of a wizard's robe and cornuthaum.”

In those days the aurorae were dark and oppressive, wavering slowly in the sky most days of the year, looking frightening and intimidating. They were a sign of great evil, and the Hearthkeeper-to-be could feel it. The consuming darkness pulled him further and further towards the pole, rushing to an appointed meeting with what created the darkness. There at the north pole, the highest point on the axis, he encountered the real source of the evil. A large herd of reindeer, who thought and spoke like any other creature...

“Miss Twilight?”

“Yes, Snails?”

“Can reindeers really talk like ponies and stuff can?”

“No, they can't. In the real world reindeer... and that's the plural as well as singular... reindeer are classed among the non-sapient animals, which is why there are no issues with Dogs and griffins using them as food beasts. Traditionally, it was considered artistic license, with some scholars saying it was born from the traditional griffin myths of fae. Now, with information from Changeling refugees, we know the story is based on Pooka. That explains the green used in their clothing and their change to animals. They were Unseelie Pooka, meaning those from the bad tradition. But just like our citizen Changelings, who were also Unseelie, these Pooka aren't destined to always be bad.”

Rather than having a female leading them, as was and is very common, they were commanded by a huge, powerful buck, his coat dark black and his antlers notably more enormous, and pointed, than any other. When he changed forms from reindeer to his true chitinous form he was shown to be the darkest green possible. He also kept his antlers, to remain intimidating and dominating.

He called himself Dead-Heart, and told the one who was to be the Hearthkeeper that he had cast down their queen and broken free of their allegiance to the court. He had led them to the pole, and he would lead them forever as they survived against the elements and raided the griffin lands to steal emotion. They would exist on their own and no one could stop them. They could take, because giving was wrong.

“Though a modest thread in earlier myths, that idea of survivalism and selfish taking was always there, as Hearth's Warming has always been about togetherness and mutual aid. This is almost prescient, and seemed to anticipate the small-hearted wretches that are Randomoids. As this is a more modern version of the tale it not only includes an explicit Pooka identity, it emphasizes that Dead-Heart is very Randomoid-like.”

But the Hearthkeeper-to-be knew better. He had been steeped in the ways of Harmony all his life in Equestria. He had served harmony and understanding with all his strength, magic and cunning. He had seen the power of that connection. Of sharing and caring for others. He had just shared that lesson with the Griffin Kingdom in the course of performing his service for them.

He told that to Dead-Heart. Loudly, strongly, powerfully, in the midst of the howling storm created by Dead-Heart with the power of his hate and commanding rage. He defied the selfishness and angry hatred for the stability of society and caring for others.

Dead-Heart denied it could be so and issued a challenge to the future Hearthkeeper. He would fight him, and defeat him, and prove the ultimate power of his selfishness. He offered any reward for his defeat, proudly giving over anything without knowing what it was going to be. In his arrogant pride he was not afraid to offer anything, even if he didn't have it.

While there was no greed in his heart, the stallion agreed to the fight, because he had one reward in mind that Dead-Heart never could have envisioned. He boldly stepped forward to the battle, not for himself, but for those suffering under Dead-Heart. He was so giving of himself and his skills that he was ready and willing to fight for others, as was right.

Not for ego, not for treasure, not for glory, not for the adulation of those who saw or the hateful anger of the one he defeated. He gave of himself because it was right. It was the harmonious thing to do. The proper thing to do. All the values that had informed his life were on the line, challenged by a being of pure evil which had proposed that only cruel madness could triumph.

The two fought, in a grand manner. Magic and brute force clashed in great, sparking showers of light and sound. The aurorae wavered, roiling and dark, but lightening at the edges, in nicer colors. The pastels of Equestria, the beautiful softness and the bolder shades too, seeped into the waving lights, pushing out the wicked darkness Dead-Heart had pushed into them.

At long last the aurorae burst forth into grand color, and beauty. The strength of Harmony had destroyed selfishness. Dead-Heart was cast down into the snow, battered and beaten but unwilling to admit actual defeat. Too weak to take back his offer and make it stick, and knowing he could not call on his swarm to fight for him, he proclaimed a temporary victory, and said he would let the stallion have his prize for a year, so he could continue the battle that had not truly ended.

The prize of victory was the freedom of the swarm. Dead-Heart was to leave them be, walk away and never terrorize them while they were under the protection of the agreement. All the oppressed Pooka came under his care, if only for a year, until Dead-Heart came back to claim them again.

Dead-Heart stormed off in his rage into the snowy wastes, screaming that he would defeat the stallion in a year's time. The swarm left behind first did nothing, then rushed on the stallion and embraced him, drawing in the warmth of joy and happiness that he seemed to radiate. It fed their emotion-stomach, being a pure and free feeling, rather than the stolen happiness they had been taking from griffins at Dead-Heart's command.

With the Pooka to care for the stallion knew he needed shelter for them and himself. They had been nomadic, and never had a standing home. Using his magic he raised stones from under the polar ice shelf, to construct a large lodge. Though empty, it was sufficient to protect them from the cold.

The only thing of any decorative nature in the lodge was a huge stone hearth, whose fire was actually molten rocks cradled in the stone andirons. He didn't sleep at that time, using his magic to refresh the flaming stones, while the Pooka slept in warmth and comfort, in an amount they had not known in ages.

He tended the molten hearth for a time period he could not identify, because it was the solstice, though he could hardly tell. The longest night of the year, even if day and night were meaningless at the pole in winter. It was the middle of the long night, when the sun never rose...

”Mith Twilight!”

“Yes, Twist?”

“How can the thun not rithe? Pintheth Thelestia bringth it up every morning.”

“An excellent question. It's the consequence of our world being a sphere, or an oblate spheroid. The sun moves around the planet, drawn by Celestia's power. But the planet is tilted, and varies the tilt over the year. In the winter, in the northern part of the world, the very highest point of the magnetic pole and an area south of it to a certain point is tilted away from the sun at all times. Griffins call it Fomoire's Threat or Balor's Bane, after giant monsters said to exist in ancient times. They thought it was one of these giants taking the light from part of their nation. The middle of this time period is the solstice, the longest night of the year, when we celebrate Hearths-Warming.”

It was the middle of the long night, when the sun never rose and the cold dark was banished by the Heart-Fire of Friendship. But there at the north pole there was no Heart-Fire to bring the warmth of friendship. Only the newly brightened aurorae, waving over the stone lodge being warmed with the lava in the hearth offered light to the land.

The stallion was focused on his task, keeping the warmth flowing, when he noticed a presence at his side. One of the Pooka workers had awakened and was shyly observing him use his power. “You have great power. No wonder you could defeat Dead-Heart.”

“I defeated Dead-Heart because I cared enough. The cause was right and I went forward knowing there was a cost to losing. The cost to you and the others,” he replied, looking to the Pooka. She was looking slightly aside, blushing in the warm light of the lava.

“What... what do we call you? You saved us and we don't even know your name...” the Pooka mumbled softly.

“My name... I have had a few names, in my native land and titles given by others. I was born, actually, as Crisp Crinkle, and my family were simple cooks. But that name, it hardly inspires the awe that can be necessary in some of my actions. I think we can keep that between us. But what about you? What is your name?”

The Pooka worker looked away more, hiding her face with a holed leg, though glancing through one of those holes to Crisp. “We've... we've had our names stripped for so long. Dead-Heart called us horrible names or just pointed to us. But I remember, my name was Saana Klåsa. Um, the first is my family's name. You can call me Flicka Saana.”

“I think I could call you Klåsa,” Crisp said with a smile. “But my name... we'll keep that between us. To your folk just... call me...” He looked to his work, thought of what day it likely was and realized a new title. “Call me the Hearthkeeper.”

”The name was meant to resonate with Equestrians, who see the name as wholly legitimate. It also suggests humble origins that makes the Hearthkeeper egalitarian, someone who used the freedom of Equestria to its fullest. As to the Pooka worker, the name is a fanciful one, but with some mind to various north Equestrian dialects like Hästish or Hesturish, as seen with the spelling, such as using A with a ring and double A's, and Flicka as a title, which is Hästish for 'young female.' By rejecting the diminutive, likely something imposed by Dead-Heart, and using her plain name, he is showing her a great deal of respect.”

The long night meant that there was no sun to let folk know when to rise or when to sleep, but the Pooka knew for themselves when they had slept enough, though they did lay about for a long time, luxuriating in the great warmth of the lava flowing in the great hearth. Comforted and warmed, the Hearthkeeper then had to think of how he could feed them. Expressing this question to Klåsa, she shyly told him about a great and forbidden secret that Dead-Heart had discovered. In an ice cave not too far away from the pole, at the far end of the corridors of jagged, magic-saturated ice, was a chamber of icy mirrors saturated with the welling magic of the location.

When strong magic was applied to the mirrors they became like jelly, then like a standing liquid, allowing passage to many, widely separated locations on the planet. Dead-Heart had forbidden the Pooka from going near them once he had discovered that, because they allowed them a way to escape from him. With him defeated they could use the magic ice mirrors. But now that they could, they had no reason to flee. They had feared Dead-Heart; they had only affection for the Hearthkeeper.

He asked for Klåsa to show him to the ice caves and the ice mirrors, gently using kind words and smiles to counter her blushing and stammering. She was finally convinced to lead him, after he made extra lava flow through the hearth, to keep the warmth high and constant while he was gone. She led him through the darkness and snow, warmed by the touch of his fur-wrapped body and helped in navigation by the light from his magic.

In the ice cave they walked casually through the twisting spans, the magic-saturated ice glowing faintly in response to the Hearthkeeper's luminous magic. The beautiful sight made the atmosphere more special, adding beauty to a simple natural formation. They found the mirrors, he experimentally used one to reach a lush grassland and bring back food. But what really mattered most to him was the time he spent with Klåsa.

”This experience, and the implication of it, form a large portion of side-stories on the Hearthkeeper subject. The blossoming romance between him and Klåsa has made for many classic short stories, movies and two-act plays. In fullsized origin stories like this the whole thing is left to the imagination, and their relationship is just assumed after that. She is, after all, in songs and stories, the Hearthkeeper's jolly and loving wife.”

The Hearthkeeper knew, as a matter of honor, he had to be available at the pole to fight with Dead-Heart. He couldn't just take the Pooka and leave or he would be no better than the wicked drone. In addition, he discovered that the Pooka swarm had grown too used to the environment. They were saturated in the magic, suffused with it. They didn't think they could move anywhere else. Those two facts tied them to the pole, and to the stone lodge the Hearthkeeper had raised.

Thanks to the magic ice mirrors they could access the far places in the world, to decorate their new home, to gather food, and look in on society. But as they had predicted, they could only be out for a few hours before they felt distinctly uncomfortable and generally weaker. The time, however, was sufficient. In that time the Hearthkeeper also had time to construct a system to keep lava circulating in the lodge, without him constantly using his magic. He also made it more homey, adding walls to create rooms and added floors and areas, making it into a real home for the swarm, who grew happier and more delighted with the Hearthkeeper's care.

The year wore on, and the Pooka found themselves growing bored, having no one to make happy but each other and the Hearthkeeper. When asked what they enjoyed, they stated that like all Pooka, they liked to make folk happy. They enjoyed entertaining, and making toys to make children joyous, because children were far more abundant with joy. Something in that statement struck the Hearthkeeper, as he also thought of his future fight with Dead-Heart. Or more properly, the time of the year it came. Hearths-Warming Eve and day. A day of fellowship, friendship, happiness and generous sharing between all.

They were sitting around, largely idle when not gathering things, decorating the lodge or working the indoor gardens filled with hardy tundra vegetation. They were eager to do more, Pooka being unsuited for long idleness which was the way of more patient fae, whose emotional consumption benefited from slow setups. Pooka could only do long-term activities if there was going to be a great payoff that would create huge bursts of happiness.

The Hearthkeeper made the suggestion one day, that they should use some time as they had suggested: Building toys. Toys that would be given out freely to foals. Thanks to the magic ice mirrors and careful control of the magical input
they could reach any place in the whole of Equestria, incredibly quickly, and look in to see what kind of toys were really lacking and could be delivered.

The Hearthkeeper offered to deliver every toy personally to every place, thinking his power and skill could do it. Klåsa was the one who talked him out of that, knowing he would be very tired after fighting Dead-Heart. She suggested that he could deliver some of them, while the rest of the swarm took on a version of his form and attire, to deliver them all near-simultaneously.

”Pooka, remember, specialize in fae form-altering magic that makes them very good at making them look like animals, though larger versions. They can become ponies, but they are very bad at it, which is true of other non-Changeling fae. When one tries to do something that they are not specialized in there's usually an indication. For example, Pooka retain some animal trait no matter what, usually from an animal they are very familiar with, or Fir Darrig will always be at least slightly scary.”

This went on for a long while, a cycle of toy-making, harvest, battle and delivery, the swarm standing before the portals while they absorbed the happiness and joy of all the young of the world as the perfect cap to Hearths-Warming day. Nothing needed to substantially change, except that the Hearthkeeper married Klåsa, giving him an even more powerful reason to fight and triumph against Dead-Heart.

The routine was broken when the magical aura of the lodge was disturbed, something that the Hearthkeeper could feel quite well. He knew every bit of the lodge's mana-envelope, and knew there was a disturbance below. It was not DeadHeart; he knew the feel of the monster too well. It was something completely unfamiliar. He also never would have come slinking up from below, he would come roaring up in fury as he did every year.

Loud scraping and cracking from the stone foundation announced the arrival of something, as did the spreading pits and cracks. The cracked section of stone before the great hearth burst out in a shower of dust and bits of stone, while a huge, dark blue figure emerged.

He was broad and tall, stooping over, on two heavy paws and two huge hands. His blocky snout was turned to regard the flowing lava, underbite grinding a little and moving his jutting fangs. His perked ears twitched lightly at the sounds of shock from the Pooka that had come in to see what was causing the commotion. The pockets of his dark red vest were clattering with gems and little metal tools, while a belt on his waist held two large, well-used forge hammers and a smaller, more delicate hammer.

He turned his gaze on the Hearthkeeper, who had started to come up to him. “Was tracing magma flow! Not natural. Not right, have flow away from convection systems. Not hurt flow, crew have fixed. But wanted see what happen. Not good have disruption.”

The Hearthkeeper regarded the strange interloper with a cautious eye, approaching without menace. “Who are you? And what are you, sir?”

The huge Dig Dog thumped a meaty fist on his chest and stood proudly. “Name is Kampfite, Aventurine District, Bauxite Colony. Master smith, master gem cutter, master matrix enchanter, master collier. Am independent inspector of unknown. Strong Dog, can survive much danger. This strange mystery, so come. You are who?'

“I am the one known as the Hearthkeeper, the bringer of gifts across Equestria. I know much of this world but I do not know your kind. I would like to know more.”

“Would like know too. This strong earth magic. Ponies good at magic but did not know how strong. Must learn in case more do this.”

“Very few ponies could do what I do, but your questions deserve answers as well. Dearest, could you please escort Mr. Kampfite to an open room?”

“I'll do it, I finished my toys for the day.” One of the workers stepped forward to Kampfite's side.

“Thank you, fae. Dogs see in tunnels but not know well. What is name?”

“Kråmpa. Saana Kråmpa.”

”This is why, I said before, that the Hearthkeeper is never a Diamond Dog. Since the integration of the United Colonies the minor elements of an indistinct being who gives low-grade fuels like peat and lignite to create a thick smoke to punish bad foals was explicitly given the identity of a Diamond Dog. He was originally just a stern and serious follower, then a blacksmith who made weapons and enchanted gems for the Hearthkeeper to aid in the fight against Dead-Heart. Other writers wanted a stronger motivation for him to stay and fight with the Hearthkeeper besides his magical power over lava which first brought him. You see it here, of course. He meets Saana Kråmpa, and eventually marries her, becoming the Hearthkeeper's bother-in-law. Quite an interesting and very clever political allegory of showing a union between freed Unseelie fae, Diamond Dogs and ponies...”

“Miss Twilight?”

“Oh! Excuse me. I'll file that away for a dissertation. Yes, Zipporwhill?”

“What's a collier and a matrix enchanter?”

“Well, a collier is a miner, most especially a coal miner, which is an important distinction to make. A master can gauge the quality of a coal seam from a single sounding, and know how far it travels before it becomes a different quality and where the line lies. They also even know how likely diamonds are to be in any seam. As for the matrix enchanter, that's the term for a gem enchanter. Though very rough, Dogs have the ability to enchant gems and do so with a great skill to the limit of their magic. Scholars are actively researching their capacity and helping to develop the fine control of that, though they are already good with the selection of gems, naturally capable of picking out the most perfect ones for the necessary task, which is why the thaumatic engineers coming out now either are Dogs or are trained by them.”

“Are Dogs magic?”

“How do you mean that, Silver Spoon?”

“Daddy said hiring Dog miners was the best thing he ever did. He told me he stopped hiring in-mine assayers. They lick the ore and give him the breakdown faster and more accurately than they used to. Is tasting things magic?”

“That's a fascinating and ongoing question. Thaumatobiology is a complicated question for all species. There may be some thaumatic assistance in refining the capacity to taste proportions of elements as parts of minerals, but it is very much biological because it can be trained. Err... we got off topic. I do that.”

“All the time. It's cute!”



A large forge was added to the lodge, staffed with Kampfite and several apprentices who were tested and tempered in the fire of his gruff but unquestionably great tutelage. They made metal and stone toys, and thaumatic toys or thaumatic parts for the toys made in the main lodge, while Kampfite alone made or repaired weapons used for the yearly battle. He also took frequent trips through the ice mirrors to find peat and lignite for the bad youths that had earned the smoky punishment.

The routine did not change, no matter the additions and changes in relationships. The Hearthkeeper fought DeadHeart alone, but with magical weapons at his disposal, such as charged darts and stars. A secondary forge was set on the ice, pumped by the apprentices, Kampfite hammering metal with a desperate speed, Klåsa and Kråmpa deftly tossing them out for use or picking up the broken or discharged ones.

After each victory the celebration became a parade, the Pooka drawing a sleigh filled with the presents to the ice caves, before getting their assignments. The mad rush would then begin, taking on the Hearthkeeper's form, taking bags of gifts through the magic mirrors and distributing them with all possible speed. Kampfite and Kråmpa distributed the peat and lignite to the naughty ones, because there were never really that many deserving of that.

- - -

“When the task was done another, greater celebration happened in the lava-heated lodge, with the Pooka basking in the warm glow of freedom and the happiness of the young, whose joy they could feel from the far reaches of the world. With the bright aurorae waving over them like their own version of the Heart-Fire of Friendship and their own flag of a peaceful nation, everyone was happy and joyous. The End,” Twilight said, closing the book with a smile.

“Wasn't that wonderful? Isn't she just the superest and nicest... est... bestest marefriend and book-reader ever?” Pinkie loudly asked of the audience.

The audience cheered, stomping appreciatively on the floor. The appreciative sound made Twilight blush deeply and smile a bit sheepishly under her fake beard. “Well, thank you! This appreciation is so wonderful! I love reading and sharing knowledge. So to have an audience appreciate it... if you want more information about the Hearthkeeper and company, including depictions in media and history you can stay here.”

A sudden, stony silence followed the offer of additional information, which strained Twilight's smile as the awkwardness grew. “Or... you can all head to the party at Sugarcube Corner!” Pinkie chirped, breaking the awkward silence with a happy leap.

That suggestion was met with wild cheering, and a general mad scramble out of the library, leaving the library empty save for Pinkie and Twilight. Even Gummy, Winona and the pups had rushed off with the rest of the crowd.

“Well... it seems that learning is appreciated to a point,” Twilight noted, dryly.

“Hard to compete with Mr. and Mrs. Cake's treats. I almost rushed off too,” Pinkie said.

“Why didn't you rush off for the party? You love parties. I thought you were hosting that party, actually,” Twilight said, with a tilt of her head.

“I'm so good at throwing and running parties I can make it happen without even having to be there, and enjoy them by knowing that others are enjoying them,” Pinkie said, bouncing happily around Twilight. “Besides, there's one thing better than a party with super-delicious treats.”

“Oh I think I can imagine...” Twilight whispered, a smile spreading across her face as she looked to Pinkie.

Pinkie had already picked up all the holly from around the library and was holding the whole mass over her head. “My cute Hearthkeeper, to make the season warmer. This is even better for togetherness than pushing up Holder's Boulder. But you know we need to go to the rock farm some year to be with the family.”

Twilight used her magic to hold up the mass of holly, walking slowly over to press her snout against Pinkie's. “Here in Ponyville, in Canterlot with my parents or on the farm with yours; the 'where' doesn't matter if I'm with my happy little Pooka.”

The Legend of Ceresfest (Oktoberfest/Autumnal Equinox; Chapter by Kipakuta)

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The roads that radiated out from the Crystal Palace, were lined with large brightly colored tents and booths bearing a variety of patterns and attractions. the main roads themselves were kept free of obstructions, allowing a clear view of the Crystal Heart. The fields between the roads had been designated for large scale attractions. One of the fields had a bandstand featuring some of the local bards who still played pre-interregnum instruments. The second field had been set aside for a few carnival rides. A third was cleared for a mock combat tournament. The fourth had animal pens for the small sheep that the Crystal Ponies harvested their wool from, as well as other animals indigenous to the cold climate. The fifth field was left as a place for fairgoers to rest.

In the aftermath of Sombras' defeat, the Crystal Ponies had taken celebrations like these seriously, committing themselves to fully enjoy the events. The foals were even more enthusiastic than their parents, since lines were short, and admission was free for locals. This meant that they got to play and ride more than visitors from other realms.

Princess Luna wandered along a row of game tents, exchanging pleasantries with others whenever they greeted her. Her young grand-niece, Flurryheart, rode on her back, marveling at the games, foodstands, and trinket displays. Luna had taken her niece on several of the carnval rides already, some of which Flurryheart had ridden twice. They had also participated in a few of the booth games, and Flurryheart had won a small plush version of Pinkie Pie from a 'Dunk Sombra' game.

"Midday approaches," Luna said as she passed through the central plaza, to head down another road. "What does her highness wish for her dinner?"

Flurryheart looked at one of the large signs displaying pictures of various food items. "The iron meal."

"The Iron Will meal?" Luna corrected. "A slice of deep fried pizza and 32 ounces of crystal berry root beer. Your mother would surely not approve." She grinned to Flurryheart. "As the young princess wishes, so shall it be." Flurryheart cheered. Luna cantered down the center of the road until she found the right booth.

"Welcome, your Majesties." The cook bowed as Luna approached.

"Greetings, fair citizen," Luna replied. "We shall have two Iron Will meals."

"And for Princess Flurry heart?" The cook took two slices of cheese pizza and dipped them in batter.

Luna blinked. "I meant 'we' in the sense of my niece and myself."

The cook nodded. "Yes, I just thought that it was your standard protocol." She dropped the slices into a fryer, then scooped some shaved ice into waxed cups. "No charge for her young highness, and it seems odd to seek your Majesties' coin."

"Art thou allowed to accept tips?"

"If your Majesty wishes to be generous with her bits, I am not one to object," The cook poured their drinks, then placed them on the table. Luna counted out the full price for their meals, then gave the coins to the cook. She swept the bits into a cashbox, then used a wide mesh spatula to scoop the pizzas into waxed paper trays. "Many thanks, and may you enjoy the rest of Ceresfest."

"Aye, that is our intent." Luna levitated the trays and drinks.

"Bye and thanks," Flurryheart waved to the cook as Luna headed to the rest area.

- - -

"Auntie Luna?" Flurryheart looked to her aunt after they had selected a spot and started eating. "Why aren't there more alicorns like me n you?"

"Do you mean like how Celestia and your mother seem to be too reserved. They are who they are."

"Nooooo," Flurryheart shook her head. "I mean ponies like us, who gots wings n horns."

"Aye," Luna rubbed her chin. "There are the fae, and know I of spells that can change ones form. But I take your meaning." She draped a wing over her niece. "You are a natural born alicorn, something that has never occurred before. I know this because I have a friend who knows a lot of what transpired before Discords' rampage."

Flurryheart tilted her head. "That was thousands of years ago, right?"

Luna laughed. "Yes. three millennia does fit the criteria for 'thousands,' But shall I tell you a story."

Flurryheart nuzzled Lunas' side. "I like stories."

"We start way back with the rise of the great empires. The four tribes: Merae, Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns, spread out across the land and the oceans. The magics they had learned in the dawn of civilization had proven useful in forming communities around lakes, rivers, and beaches. Back in those days, we rarely ventured far from sources of water, and kept in contact with the fourth tribe."

"What about Alicorns, Crystal Ponies, and Breezies?" Flurryheart prodded.

"Patience, young one," Luna lit her horn and created a sequence of illusions. "With their communities growing and merging into grand cities, Ponykind began to experiment with their newfound abilities, discovering what they was capable of, and what the limitations were. Time and practice lead to new talents. Earth ponies developed the arts of mining and rock farming, pegasi perfected their control over weather, Unicorns, codified their magic into spell concepts that could be taught and shared, and the Merae refined their hydromancy. The ancient philosophers set to writing their ideas and discoveries, thus forming a basic understanding of 'magic.' before then, it was an unnamed power. This is what enabled pony ascension. The first of those who would meld the traits of all the tribes into their being. The Pterakorna."

"Terra corna?"

"The ancient words for wing and horn," Luna reached over and ruffled Flurryhearts mane. "What they call an alicorn, in other words. Every pony had the potential, but the process was kept as a secret. Never taught, only discovered, time and again. This kept their numbers low."

"Why didn't they want others to become pteracorns?"

"As they had magic of all the tribes, the Pterakorna were given great reverence. You have seen how ponies treat me, my sister, your mother, yourself and your sister. The alicorns of old reveled in this adoration. Few in number, given great power and influence, and not yet aware of the full responsibilities of their state of being, the Pterakorna were still ponies, and each had their own goals and dreams. They cooperated, they bickered, they were leaders, they were schemers, they gave favor, they took it away. Each held the interests of themselves and their own herds first."

"They sound like idiots," Flurryheart snorted.

Luna chuckled. "Short-sighted fools, maybe, but in no way could they be considered unintelligent."

"Why wouldn't they want other alicorns as company?" Flurryheart stood up, almost knocking her pizza tray over.

"Recall how you feel whenever ponies make a fuss over your younger sister."

"Skyla? I didn't like her at first, but she's family," Flurryheart sat down and lowered her voice. "And grandma says that ya can't choose your family."

"She is a wise mare," Luna smiled.

Yeah, I guess I can see what you mean. Everypony makes a fuss over Skyla, and I thought Mom and dad were gonna get rid of me, but now I know that's not true."

"You're very special to them." Luna gave Flurryheart a small embrace.

Flurryheart hugged in return. "Well what about Crystal Ponies?"

"Let us now turn our attention to Ipponia, on the northern shores of the Marediterranian," Luna created an illusory map, showing the location. "The many communities that had settled around the Neighdriatic gulf formed into a loose alliance, in four centuries they would become vassals of the Etrotscans."

"Auntie Luna?"

"Yes child?"

"You're stalling."

Luna blushed. "Apologies, but I merely wish to set the scene." She waved aside the current illusion and created a new one.

"This, is Hecate, Born and raised in the Illyrein mountains of Western Ipponia, Hecate knew them well. She had spent her youth studying both magic and jewelsmithing, eventually excelling in each. Much like her Unicorn parents, Hecate knew how to appraise gems and stone, often taking the best for herself, and imbuing them with enchantments. Thus decorating herself with these amulets, she would draw the attention of ponies. Many courted her, offering extravagant gifts and showering her with wealth."

"She sounds kinda like Auntie Rarity."

Luna leaned over. "While Rarity does revel in luxury and being the center of attention, she is also the Bearer of the Element of Generosity. Hecate was not. Indeed, the Harmonic Elements did not exist at that time."

Flurryheart thought for a moment. "Does she find the Crystal Ponies, or do they find her?"

"Neither. She is one of your ancestors."

Flurryheart blinked. "You serious? One of my great-great grandmas?"

"You, your mother, and every Crystal pony born in the Empire. Or so I've been told," Luna snickered. "My friend may keep a secret from time to time, but she does not tell you something that isn't true."

"I think I'd like to meet your friend someday." Flurryheart smiled.

"And someday you will. Shall I continue?"

"Oh, sorry." Flurryheart blushed and shivered.

"Are you cold?"

"A little."

Luna lowered her wing to cover Flurryheart, trapping a bubble of warmth around the filly. "With money freely given, Hecate would have new mines dug in the mountains around her family home, hiring ponies to grow and harvest gems and crystals. Under her guidance, these mines produced an abundance of valuable treasures, which were sold or enchanted. Her homestead expanded, as more mines were dug, and more mountains were brought under her control."

"The accumulation of wealth allowed Hecate to afford many luxuries: Perfumes, spices, fabrics, food, and more. Already having the affections of ponies who admired her beauty, Hecate parlayed the status of her ascension to influence the rulers of the cities of Western Ipponia. Though she had her choice of suitors, none measured up to her expectations and she remained unmarried. "

"Wait," Flurryheart held up a hoof. "If she doesn't get married, she can't have foals, but she had to have foals, cause we're here."

"Indeed, and that brings us to another," Luna created an illusion of another pony. "Born to Earth Pony farmers, Ceres developed an affinity for plants. She learned how to best till the soil, how to plant seeds, what each type of crop needed, and how to care for them. As a young mare, she would travel from farm to farm, helping with their plantings and harvests, advising on how to breed crops, and helping with the preparation of flour and fruits. Under her care, plants would sprout faster, grow stronger, and provide larger bounties than other ponies could entice from them."

"She sounds like Aunt Applejack."

"Given that ponykind has been around for ten thousand years, I suppose a duplication of personality traits is inevitable."


"Let that pass," Luna waved a hoof idly. "Let us return to the story. As Ceres' name became known among the various farms of Southern Ipponia, she drew the attention of the lands rulers. As she visited their palaces, she was asked to demonstrate her talent for them. The unicorns marveled at the crops that Ceres produced, and bade her to develop tastier versions of common crops. The creation of a wheat crop that made for a softer bread, lead to Ceres' ascension."

"Softer bread?" Flurryheart tilted her head.

"Yes, originally, bread loaves were dense and rigid, You could throw one like a discus, and cause injury with it."

"That's silly."

"Ask your aunt Pinkie about weaponized pastries sometime." Luna snickered.

Flurryheart giggled. "You think she'd like this?" She held out the stuffed toy.

"She may even throw a party for it. A 'Flurryheart won a stuffed toy me' party."

"She's fun."

"That she is," Luna agreed. "Now Ceres preferred tending her crops to ruling over ponies. Even after her ascension, she spent her days in the fields, practicing her talent with different plants. Other farmers came to work for her, which lead to her farm growing in size, which in turn lead to more fields for growing new crops. She took one such farmer as her husband, and had several foals."

"Is Ceres one of my great grandmas too?"

"She is. One stallion in particular is your great great grandfather. Though born as an earth pony, Proserpine had inherited part of his mothers talent. Small plants would sprout from his steps and bloom, only to wither away unless they were tended to."

"What kind of plants?"

"I would assume that they were flowers, ferns, and sprouts, since they were small," Luna glanced around. "Though grass and clover are possible as well."

"That's a good trick for when you're hungry," Flurryheart rolled onto her side, "You want something to eat, just step, and there you go."

"I have heard that some ponies have that talent. I do not know if they use it in such a manner."

"Did he become an alicorn too?"

Luna shook her head. "Proserpine spent his youthful days tending the fields with his mother. Though possessed of great strength, he knew how to be gentle, and animals would flock to him. Of all Ceres' children, it was thought that Proserpine had to most potential to ascend. This did not interest him, as he lacked ambition. He was content to toil in the fields, stopping occasionally to socialize."

"Why didn't he want to be an alicorn?"

"I would imagine that he saw how others made demands on his mothers' time, and didn't want the same treatment. It's a lot of responsibility to be an alicorn. There's more to the role than just having ponies dote on you. Much like being a princess."

"I just give orders, and ponies hafta do what I say."

Luna lowered her voice. "Wanna know a secret?"

"Yeah yeah." Flurryheart nodded.

"Not everyone is going to agree with you. What would you do if someone refuses one of your commands?"

"I don't know."

"Just something to think about," Luna returned to a normal speaking volume. "Eventually, Proserpine wanted a plot of land for himself. Ceres offered him the finest among her fields, but he chose to start anew elsewhere. With a small stipend, he headed to Western Ipponia. His hope was to make a name for himself, rather than rely on his Mothers' reputation and holdings."

"What's a stipend?"

"That is like an allowance, but you only get paid once."

"That's terrible," Flurryheart flailed a bit. "So his mom just gave him a few bits and that was all he had?"

"I do not recall what the currency was, but it was about a hundred bits worth."

Flurryhearts' eyes widened. "A whole hundred? That's a lot."

"It does seem like a huge amount to one who is still young."

"So what happened to Prospine?"

Luna recreated the image of Hecate. "Midway through her second century, Hecate had grown lonely. Pleasures that she had once enjoyed now seemed hollow. Though she was well known, and admired for her status and talents, Hecate wondered if anypony could see past that. Opting to travel alone, she began her search.

Near one of the cities on the plains, she chanced upon a stallion seeking land to call his own. He was strong of limb, and didn't fall groveling at her hooves, like so many had done before. His countenance attracted her attention, and Hecate could forgive him his mortality. She marveled at the way plants would spring up in his wake, and at his way with animals."

"So Hecate and Proserpine met and got married?" Flurryheart clapped her hooves.

"That did not happen right then," Luna paused to take a few sips of soda. "Hecate invited him into her home, to witness her wealth and holdings. He marveled at the intricate craftwork, and enchantments, but desired none for himself. She invited him to her table, but he found the food flavorless. She showed him her entourage of mares, which he declined as well. Finally, she offered him his choice of land, in exchange for his companionship."

"So then they got married?"

"Almost," Luna cleared her throat. "Half a year after her son had left, news reached Ceres' ear about her peers' upcoming wedding. Knowing Hecate to be rather particular in her desires, Ceres was curious as to who had finally touched her heart. Leaving her land in capable hooves, she traveled to Western Ipponia to meet with her fellow Pterakorne."

"Hecate didn't tell her?"

"Nay child, The Pterakorna did not tolerate each-others' company, as we do."

"That's stupid," Flurryheart stuck her tongue out.

"Indeed, many arguments between the Pterakorns often resulted in grand conflicts between empires. But that is not our concern."

"So what did Ceres do?"

"Upon entering the gilded halls of Hecates' palace, Ceres took notice of the new additions. Pots and terraces filled with plants of all types now lined the pathways, adding a warm ambience. Her special talent being agriculture, Ceres sensed a familiarity emanating from the plants, and her demeanor darkened.

Upon being confronted, Hecate was unapologetic. Hecate had told her of how the stallion was unique among the ones she had known, how he had declined her treasures, and saw past her facade to her true self. Ceres cursed Hecates' wealth, claiming that her own was greater. Hecate wondered if Ceres spoke the truth."

"That sorta sounds like Applejack having an argument with Rarity."

Luna burst into laughter, startling some of the nearby ponies. Flurryheart joined in.

Several minutes later, they had calmed down enough to speak. "I shall have to relay that one to Twilight," Luna said.

"Can we finish the story?"

"That is uncertain," Luna nuzzled her niece. "There have been many interruptions, and I may have lost my place."

"You were gonna mention the wedding."

"Ah yes. We must step back a space." She created another illusion. "Proserpine came to detest his bargain. While he had his farm, it was one of the few places where his magic worked. The hard rock of the mountain mines, and the glittering halls of the palace negated his special talent and he felt anguish. Still he worked to please his benefactor, giving her the fruits of his labour.

His heart filled with hope upon meeting with his mother again. Within her embrace, he felt warm and safe. He expressed his sorrow, and hoped that he could return to her domain. Ceres conceded that he could visit, but that his place with with Hecate. He resigned himself to the truth that she needed him and his talent.

Ceres told Proserpine about the bargain she made with Hecate. The elder Pterakorne had agreed to let Ceres host their wedding. Proserpine expressed joy at being able to return home, and told Ceres about how much he had missed the farms of Southern Ipponia. Hecate told him that she was curious about his mothers' empire, and wished to see it for herself.

Ceres toiled to make the final harvest the biggest of the season. As the guests of Honor, Hecate and Proserpine were forbidden from work, but were still allowed to watch. Seeing how the harvest worked, Hecate gained a new appreciation for her food. seeing how happy the field workers were in their labour, she gained a new appreciation for her servants. Seeing her betrothed smile, she gained a new appreciation for him.

The wedding was declared to take place at the end of a long festival, and attendees began arriving from all parts of Ipponia to witness. Many delicacies were prepared and offered, and Hecate partook of each. Many events occurred over the course of two weeks, and Hecate participated. On the final day, she conceded that Ceres had indeed spoken truth.

The wedding was one of the largest yet seen in Ipponia, with other Pterakorna witnessing it. Both Hecate and Proserpine admitted a love for each-other, and promised to remain true. Though mortal, Proserpine would always have a place in Hecates' heart, and he remained steadfast till his final days."

Flurryheart gave a sigh of contentment. "And they lived happily ever after." She looked to Luna. "That's such an awesome story."

Luna wrapped one leg around Flurryheart, pulled her close, and rubbed a hoof around her horn. "I did not say I was finished, Princess."

Flurryheart eeped, squirmed, and giggled. Luna let her go. "There's more?"

"Indeed. Did you never wonder from whence the Crystal Heart came?"

Flurryheart looked towards the hub, where the Crystal Heart rotated above its' pedestal. "I never thought about that."

"Hecate took one of the best jewels of that years harvest, and constructed her most elaborate talisman ever. Once she had it properly carved and enchanted, she helped Proserpine imbue it with his magic."

"So they created the Crystal Heart together?"

"Aye, It contains both of their essences."

"What about Crystal Ponies?"

Luna motioned about the area. "When Proserpine and Hecate combined their talents, it lead to a new type of magic. A merger of vitality and gemcraft. In addition to their descendants who became the Crystal Ponies, the Heart also enables the cultivation of crystal berries, and crystal sheep."

Flurryheart looked at herself. "So I'm part crystal? Wooow."

Luna nodded. "It would also explain how you are able to eat gems like dragons and Diamond Dogs."

"Speaking of gems, can I get a tourmaline truffle?"

"Only if you also get one for your mother."

Flurryheart crossed her front legs. "I guess I can do that."

Luna stood, took the empty cups and trays with her magic, then levitate Flurryheart onto her back. "Come, let us enjoy this festival in Ceres' name." She disposed of the used dishes, then to to the air.