The Heart of Steele

by JasminePosey

First published

Canterlot Soldier Steele Schwert was destined to protect Equestria; her cutie mark made it so. And her son decided to follow in his mother's hoofsteps. But, as fate decides, her son is killed during a mission, and she loses the will to do anything.

Steele Schwert was going to be the #1 General of the Canterlot Royal Soldiers. Her son, her pride and joy, was even recruited into the organization. At one point, life seemed complete: a loving husband and child, a perfect job protecting her friends and family, and the respect of all of Equestria. But after the bombing, she was left with nothing: her son was gone, she was "honorably" discharged from the organization, her wings were gone, and she couldn't look at her husband anymore. The perfect life she once knew was gone. And she blames the organization for it, as well as hating herself for it. Then, years later, another criminal arises, with intent on dethroning the Princesses. Princess Celestia herself had requested Steele's assistance -- Will she refuse? Or, even after all the strife she endured, will Steele rise against this enemy? There's only one way to find out.


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When I was a little mare, I was always destined to protect the ones I loved.

It all started on the playground at school. A couple of older-grade bullies had gathered around my friends and I while were playing in the sandbox. The words they used to describe the lot of us were cruel and unnecessary. It surprised their leader when I popped him in the snout and told each of them off. It's not my fault my Mom and Dad taught me how to defend myself. And during our little celebration, a little gift was bestowed upon me.

A little heart-shaped shield appeared on my flank, with a little sword that lay over it. I was ecstatic. It was from that day that I vowed to protect everyone I could.

Fast forward years later, and I am signing up to join the Canterlot Royal Soldiers Assessment Program. The CRS was one of the highest organizations to be in, and the hardest to get accepted into. But I felt I was ready, and with the support of close friends and my parents, I was able to be accepted into it. I'll tell you, it was the roughest three years of my life. But, in the long run, it was worth it.

You see, I met my special somepony there; a kind and sweet gentlecolt named Bronze Schwert. Actually, when I first met him as my training partner, we didn't get along. He was a bit lazy in some cases, and was only into the program because his father forced him to be. After about two years of nonstop arguing and intolerance, the head of the program threatened to kick us out before the final exam. With our heads hung low and a few grumbles from Bronze, we decided to at least try to get along until after the program had reached its end. And for the next year, the training had gone smoother. We learned more about each other, talked a bit more, and even dated for a whole two years after the program (I had aced the exam, while he had barely passed). A short time later, we were standing at the altar, saying our vows.

About a year later, we were blessed with a beautiful baby colt, of which we named Gold. His name matched his eyes -- a breath-taking yellow with orange specks in them, and his coat was a light green. As Gold grew up, he was spoiled rotten, as all single children were. However, I didn't fail to notice his humble attitude towards life, or his unselfish acts towards others. I was proud to say that he was just like me. By Gold's 12th birthday, I was making my way up the ladder in the CRS. I had saved many lives even then, and was, as Gold put it, a Hero. It felt good that my son could look up to me and be proud. Bronze was no different either. Even though he had left the organization years before, he cheered me on. I couldn't have asked for more.

When Gold was finally old enough, he insisted that he joined the Canterlot Royal Soldiers. I was a bit skeptical about it, but Bronze urged him to do so. Gold was strong and determined, and three years later, I was saluting my son as he was handed his uniform, with tears of joy in my eyes and a proud feeling making my chest swell.

Then, that fateful day came about a year later.

We had received a letter from Princess Celestia herself, claiming that there was a bomb threat located near the Castle. There were hostages involved, and they wanted Princess Celestia to personally handle the situation. Instead, she put her nephew, Prince Blueblood, in charge of the mission, with me as second command. From there she allowed us to gather up our best men and proceed. I didn't want Gold to come, honestly. But Blueblood, being the conceited jerkwad he was, allowed Gold to join. And I had to keep my mouth shut, in fear of compromising my reach for the title of Royal General of Canterlot.

Either way, we all were armed and prepared, weary of the danger we were putting ourselves in. I felt a heavier burden put on top of myself, having the responsibility of protecting my fellow soldier and my son at the same time. But this was what I trained for, so I dared not to open my mouth. However, I did keep a closer eye on Gold.

At first, the mission seemed successful. The hostages were removed, and there was no evidence of a bomb. However, the pony behind the event was nowhere to be found. We scavenged the area for any sign of then, and found none. What I didn't know, however, was that Gold had gone farther than he was a supposed to. From what he said over the radio, the villain had found refuge in the North area of the Palace Labrynth, and seemed to be holding what looked like a remote control and a bomb plate.

...I don't like retelling this part. Even now, years after it had happened, I still see everything; the fire, my fellow soldiers sprawled out in front of me, those who were too close to the impact who were burned alive. That smell still burns my nose. The pain between my shoulder blades...I can still feel it. Worst of all, I remember involuntarily slipping into that dark pit of darkness that haunts me to this day.

I remember the sound of the trumpet. The wooden box in the front of the isle was piled up with Marigolds and silver crosses lines with gold. There were others, too, but none had affected me more than that particular one. The nurse wheeled me up in my chair, to get closer to him before they put him in the ground. I sat there, staring at the wooden box that held the remains of my son. They handed me the flag of Equestria, folded crisply into a thick triangle. I held it tighter to me, unable to fully respond. They thought it was because the explosion left me unstable. That the impact that it had left on me had scrambled my brain. But I could think clearly. I could fully comprehend what had happened.

But it wasn't until the guns fired that I cried. Every shot ripped through my heart and left me broken.

The called him a Hero.

I called him foolish.

I had broken my solemn vow to myself, to protect the ones I loved, and the ones who loved me. My little colt, the one whom gave me reason to live, was gone. I couldn't look Bronze in the eye after that, knowing that I had failed. I hated myself. I wanted to throw myself into the ground and sleep forever with my son. I wanted to take his spot. Many times I had pleaded to God to give him back, but my cries landed on deaf ears. My baby was gone.

And it was all their fault.

Chapter One

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Thump, thump, thump.

I raised my head slowly from the arm of the couch, turning towards the door. Was that a real sound? Or was it just my imagination again?

Thump, thump, thump!

I stared curiously at the small little wooden door now. It wasn't my imagination this time, for sure. But what still confused me as to why somepony was knocking so urgently. Matter of fact, who would be knocking? I haven't heard the sound of a hoof against the door in a while.

The three-note sound rang out again, and I got to my hooves. I stood there for a moment, staring down at my legs. The knocking escalated to four notes, and this time, a voice called from outside:

"Steele? I know you're in there," they said. "Please come out! This is important!"

The voice made my blood boil, and my eyes water at the same time. The unbrushed violet-colored strands dragged behind me as I found the strength to storm up to the little wooden door and yank it open.

"What do you want Blueblood?" I demanded, my raw throat making my voice sound rough. In front of me stood the ever-proper Prince Blueblood. He looked older than I last remembered, and time had taken its harsh effect on him.

The blue-haired stallion seemed a bit taken back by my cold greeting. "Princess Celestia requests your presence," he said. I glared at him.

"What for?" I spat.

He levitated a letter in front of my face, of which I snatched with my teeth. I felt the urge to gnash it between my molars, but resisted it in curiousness to see why she bothered to send her nephew to me. It must've been quite the journey too finding my little cabin among the Everfree Forest.

"And by the way, Steele," he started.

"Don't," I stopped him. "Just don't,"

"But Steele-"

"Did you not hear me?" I snapped. "I don't care what you have to say, and I don't care what Celestia needs me for. Just get off of my property, now," I said slowly, struggling to keep my temper. Blueblood looked a bit bewildered. I backed up, slamming the door in his face. I was sick of looking at him.

I trudged back to the sofa, plopping down once more. The area between my shoulder blades ached once more, but I put off my medications for a bit longer. Now, I held the now-crinkles letter in my hooves. My name was scribbled on the front with fancy gold lettering. I rolled my eyes, tearing through the seal and unfolding the letter.


I know that it has been difficult for you these past few years. You may have been expecting another summoning to check your progress with your therapist, but I'm afraid this is not the case this time.

I fear that Princess Luna and I are in danger. A few hours ago, we received a letter stating that we were to give up our thrones, or suffer the consequences. I've already put the castle on high alert, and all the guards are prepared. But I must ask something of you.

Before the incident, you were destined to become the highest ranking soldier in Equestria. Your skills and your courage helped you to rise above the rest. I have faith that your urge to protect Equestria is still inside you, and I ask that you will step up to protect the land once again. I shall be waiting for your reply.

- Princess Celestia

I trembled slightly with anger. I scrunched up the letter into a ball and hurled it towards the wall. It bounced off the green wallpaper and fell to the ground, causing minimal damages. My breathing grew heavy and I bit into a pillow to try to avoid hurting myself again. The space between my shoulders burned and itched violently, matching my mood.

After all that they forced me through, they think I'll jump when they say to? I was already discharged from the Canterlot Royal Soldiers, therefore I didn't have to take orders from them anymore. I'm not the same mare I was before. I don't take orders from anypony anymore.

The sensation on my back bloomed, making me fidget and grimace in pain. My dark purple eyes glanced towards the bottle that lied on the floor.

My medications for my mood swings and the aches.

I hesitated. I hated taking those pills. They made me feel nothing for hours on end, forcing me to rest and calm myself down. I didn't want to be relaxed anymore. No matter how relaxed I get, no matter how much it soothes the pain on my back, it will never erase the memories. It will never make my wings come back.

It will never bring my son back.

I swallowed, focusing on the pain than the memory. But it was useless. The gate had been opened, and all the memories flashed in my mind:

His smile.

His eyes.

His voice...

Before I knew it, my vision was blurred with tears. The pain between my shoulders were drowned out by the pain in my chest. I had relived a thousand and one memories in the time span of a few seconds. I stumbled to my feet, collapsing in front of the bottle of pills. Tears dripped to the floor as I struggled to open the safety cap. Two green pills fell into my hoof and I swallowed them up without water.

I laid on the floor, feeling a wave of calmness wash over me. The pain in my back subsided, and my mind grew fuzzy. The memories were locked into the back of my mind once more. I curled around myself, my tears drying around my eyes. I didn't fight the drowsiness that soon followed after.

Chapter Two

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The little colt in my arms squirmed impatiently, taking in the new world around him. He had stopped crying a while ago, and was now making short little squeals as he tried to look around. I was a mess of emotion; happiness, relief, exhaustion, and pride, among other things.

"He's beautiful," I glanced up to see Bronze beaming down at the two of us -- his wife and newborn son, curled up together in the hospital bed. He leaned forward to kiss my forehead, then his son's.

"Congratulations to the both of you," the doctor came in, wearing clean scrubs again. He approached the bed, checking the liquids hooked up to the IV in my arm, then looked the both of us over. "Gold is a healthy young colt. He doesn't appear to have any issues, so you'll be able to go home within the next few days,"

"Thank you Doc," Bronze sighed, nuzzling me. I smiled softly and looked down at the tiny creature. Gold was grabbing my hoof, bringing it closer to his mouth. His little mouth tickled my skin, but I watched him in fascination as he made an effort to knaw on it.

My eyelids fidgeted. I clenched them shut, not wanting to let this precious moment slip from me again. But, despite my efforts, I found myself staring at the darkness that was encased against my eyes.

I was warm. And comfortable. I almost didn't want to move from my position. But I forced my heavy lids to open, shifting my body to sit upward. A blanket was draped around me, tucked in at some places. I wasn't in bed either, but rather lying on the couch with one of the pillows fluffed up beneath my head. To my confusion, there was also a mouthwatering smell drifting through the air, making my mouth water a bit.

I got to my hooves, tossing the blanket over the back of the couch. The living room had been cleaned up a bit; the pills bottle that was once lying on the floor was now sitting on the coffee table, and the paper from Princess Celestia had been neatly folded and placed beside it. I continued into the kitchen, where I concluded the source of the smell was coming from. Sure enough, a pot was boiling on a stove that I hadn't used in years. But there wasn't anypony in the room. I approached the stove and took the wooden spoon beside it and stirred its contents, making more of its delicious aroma rise into the air. I inhaled it deeply; it was a soup, made from the buds of buttercups and daisies, with a special broth mix of milk and honey. It was familiar to me, a dish I hadn't eaten in the longest time. I was tempted to take a taste of it, but refrained.

I put the spoon down and turned, looking around the kitchen. It was swept and clean as well.

"I hope you don't mind." A voice made me jump. I jerked around to look at the source.


I felt my anger bristle again. "I thought I told you to leave? What are you still doing here?" I demanded him. Once again, he was unaffected by my blunt anger.

"I never left. You don't fully understand the situation that my aunts are in. I saw that you were passed out on the floor, and wanted to help. It's the least I could do."

"I don't care." I said. "Get out."

He stood firmly. "I can't do that Steele. This means too much to me to let your stubbornness lead to the Princess's downfall."

"Of course you would care!" I sneered at him. "This is your family we're talking about. But let it be somepony else's family, and you don't give it a second thought!"

He flinched a bit at this. "That's not true. I did care about Gold. He was a good soldier."

"A good soldier?!" I spat. "He died, Blueblood! You let him go and die without even considering the fact that he wasn't going to come back!" I felt tears start to prick at my eyes, and I hastily wiped them away.

"He knew the risk, Steele. We all knew the risk. He died for a good cause."

"Oh really? We still haven't found the pony responsible for the bomb. How dare you say he died for a good cause! I wish you had gone instead of him!"

This time, he took a couple steps back, his eyes widening slightly and his ears falling back. I breathed heavily, closing my eyes and turning my back to him. "You don't understand." I muttered, sitting on my flank with my head lowered. The tears pooled up behind my eyelids. "You won't ever understand this pain I've gone through, and that I continue to struggle with. Not until you've lost someone close to you."

"You're right. I won't understand. But, I do have a daughter now. And I wouldn't be able to live if something happened to her." He said quietly. Guilt flooded through me then. My own ears flattened against my head.

"I'm sorry." I muttered. "How old is she?"

"She just turned one." He answered.



I nodded. "That's a really pretty name." I stole a glance over my shoulder at him. He was looking down. Yes, he had aged since I'd last seen him, but there was now a mature air about him. A protective one; one that a parent would have. It made me see Blueblood in a different light.

"I've never forgotten that day. I'm so very sorry for your losing Gold. I did consider his safety that day, but he would've done the same thing, whether I had given the order or not. He was just like you, Steele. Brave, courageous, smart-"

"Ignorant," I added, shaking my head. "And so very, very stubborn."

Blueblood nodded. For a moment, he was silent. Then he spoke again, choosing his words carefully. "I know your feelings towards me and Celestia aren't the most positive, but the whole of Equestria is depending on you. If the Princesses fall, Equestria will too. Don't do it for me, or for her. Do it for Equestria. For yourself. For Gold."

I pondered this silently. I was being selfish. They needed my help, whether either of us liked it or not. And ever since I was young, I vowed that I would protect the ones I loved, whether I was a soldier or not. I've already broken that vow once; was I willing to risk failing again?

"You still have some time before Celestia takes the matter into her own hooves." Blueblood said softly. "Let's eat while you think it over, alright?"

I nodded quietly. This new side of Blueblood was both frightening and comforting, much different from the excessively arrogant jerk I had worked with years before.

It was a nice change.

Chapter Three

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My eyes were shut tightly. The gentle wind that enveloped me tossed my mane back, wrapping my whole body in a chilly, but refreshing embrace. I truly missed the feeling. I always thought the air tasted sweeter up here. In my mind's eye, I envisioned myself; wings gliding effortlessly through the air, propelling me forward into the clouds, everything getting smaller as I rose higher. I began to feel my heart lift in my happiness.

That happiness was cut short when I opened my eyes. I wasn't flying. I was sitting in a carriage that Celestia had sent for me once she received the news of my arrival. It was pulled through the air by two guards, each dressed in similar golden armor. Their wings flapped almost silently, pulling me and the carriage over the Everfree forest.

I sat back. As I watched the guards, the nubs on my back twitched. I released a heavy sigh, glancing over the edge of the carriage at the trees below. The day was still fairly young, as the sun had yet to reach the middle of the sky. The trees began to grow thin as we reached the edge of the forest and started to pass over a small town. A multitude of white fluffy clouds passed in front of me; I raised a hoof out and dragged it through a nearby cloud, covering it with little dew droplets. I let out another short breath, closing my eyes again, letting the steady sway of the vehicle try to soothe the worry and uneasiness in me.

Blueblood managed to encourage me to at least check out the situation that was threatening to take place. After careful consideration, I accepted, but made it clear that I hadn't accepted lending my services to the Princesses just yet. I hoped that message reached them just as fast. I wasn't ready to go back to that. Blueblood said he understood, and several hours after he left, I received a letter from the Princess, saying that she was grateful for my understanding, and promised a carriage to arrive the following morning before noon. Sure enough, half an hour to noon, the guards were at my door. I barely had time to collect a few things, including my medication, before I was forced out my own home. And here I was now, waiting to arrive at the Canterlot castle. It wouldn't be long now, so i tried to occupy my mind with something else besides Celestia or her issues.

Bronze came to mind instead; the thought of him was so sudden, I visibly pulled back as if it had physically hit me.

I purposefully tried to avoid thinking about my husband at all costs in the past. But here he was now in my head, the vision I had of him looking just as strong and handsome as the day I met him. Of course, back then I didn't really think of him as such. Still, the thought of him now was bittersweet -- it made my heart clench and my chest ache and my stomach sink, all at the same time. I truly did miss him, but I'd never tried to ponder if he had ever missed me. I was unable to look into his eyes and ignore the resemblance he shared with our deceased son. I didn't doubt that somewhere in his mind, he blamed me for Gold's death. After all, I was undoubtedly Gold's inspiration to become a soldier for Equestria. Without me, he might still be alive today; in fact, I bet Bronze sometimes wishes that I had died instead of him -- I know I did.

It made my throat tighten with the thought, and I had to blink away the tears that threatened to spill over. It became harder to breathe. I hoped I didn't have to face Bronze at any point during this visit. At least not anytime soon.

The castle came into view. My stomach began to do somersaults, tying itself in knots, while my throat dried out quickly. I swallowed, tightening the shawl around my shoulders that hid the nubs on my back. I felt embarrassed to show them, and instead of wearing bandages, my therapist suggested I wore a cloak over them, even going as far as to buy one for me himself. It wasn't all that bad-looking, and flattered the color of my coat. It also helped to cover my cutie mark.

I also felt the leftover anger from my last meeting with Princess Celestia wash over me, which added to the uneasy feeling that pooled in my gut. It made me begin to regret making the trip.

The carriage landed in front of the main gate of the castle. I reached out to grab my bag, before it was swiped from out of my reach by a pair of castle workers. I climbed out of the carriage after them, prepared to take my belongings from them, but a guard stepped out in front of me as they disappeared into a different entrance. I grumbled, looking up at the fellow.

"Steele Schwert? Follow me, please." He said, turning and leading the way towards the main entrance. I spared a glance towards the other entrance, but gave it, following the stallion. I'd take it up with Celestia when I saw her. I was perfectly capable of taking my own luggage with me -- I was wingless, not weak. Nonetheless, I held my head high as I trotted behind him, despite the growing dread that weighed me down.

The inside of the castle was familiar to me, and it was, surprisingly, a sight for sore eyes. The clean smell of the interior was a sort of comfort for my uneasiness. I'd been here many times during my service here, back when I pledged my loyalty to Equestria. I could say I had a better sense of the castle than most of the workers here, which said a lot. The heart of the castle, the throne room, was emoty when we arrived. The guard grunted to me to wait here, as he went on alone, probably to let Celestia know of my appearance.

I stood in place as he left, letting it sink in that I was about to face Celestia again. It wasn't the fact that she was a Princess that got to me -- that hardly affected me anymore. No, it was how our last meeting went that unnerved me. Needless to say, it wasn't very good.

Instead of sitting around, I walked along the wall, admiring the elegant details that I hadn't seen in so long. The stained glass windows were always my most favorite feature in the entire castle; they told a sotry many decades ago, up until the present day. It never ceased to amaze me by the particular details the seemingly simple designs had. The story of Discord, the Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony, was by far my most favorite part of history. The evil tyrant of Equestria, now turned family man by his wife, Maria Firestone, his tale always fascinated me. It was exciting when I got to meet him in person a long time ago back when I was still in service, and he was temporarily added to the team during a special mission. His wife and children I never knew personally, but I've heard plenty stories about them from Twilight and her friends, who had become very close with the family.

There was, however, a new window in the room, seated at the very edge beside the thrones. It was blank, which made it stand out from the others. I couldn't help but to stare at it, curious as to the story it would eventually hold.

"Steele Schwert. I didn't believe you would actually come, yet here you are." A gentle, almost motherly-like voice said. I turned to see both of the princesses standing a ways behind me, neither of them seeming to notice the empty window. They continued towards me with long graceful steps. My eyes unintentionally locked onto Celestia's fair wings, which were folded at her sides. Once I realized I was staring, I pulled my gaze away and bowed my head to them, out of respect for their titles.

"Trust me, Celestia, I don't believe it either." I said in a neutral tone.

She smiled kindly. "I must say that I am pleased that you accepted to help us-"

"Excuse me, Princess," I interrupted as politely as I could manage. My tone still sounded a bit cold in my ears. "I didn't say I would help you. I told Blueblood that I would scope out the situation and gather some information first before I made a final decision as to whether I would help you or not. Apparently that part of the message was lost in translation."

Her smile faded. "I see. Of course." she sighed softly. "Well then, follow us, and we'll talk about it."

# # #

"We received these less than 48 hours ago," Princess Luna explained to me, using her magic to levitate a small bunch of scrolls across the table to me. "Each one was sent an exact hour from each other."

The three of us sat in an empty bedroom, a plain wooden table set up between us. Guards were posted at the door and at the windows, all of which were closed. The room was dark without the natural light to illuminate. As a light source, Celestia created a glowing ball of magic aura to allow us enough light to read over the papers. I looked down at the papers, which now sat comfortable in front of me. I took one of them in my hooves, unrolling each scroll one by one. Each had a short but threatening message scribbled on it.

Your wicked reign is soon to end.

Your weak guards aren't going to be enough to stop me.

The choices you've made have caused suffering -- You shall pay for every single one of them.

I set down the third scroll, unable to read the few that were left. The pit of dread in my stomach seemed to grow heavier, and I had an urge to vomit. My brow furrowed in thought; each message was vague, yet descriptive enough to be targeted towards anyone in the royal family, especially the Princesses.

"Have you gained any other information about the situation?" I asked grimly.

"Upfront, we had suspected you at first," Luna said, making a nervous shiver run down my spine.

"But the scrolls were sent by means of magic, which you do not possess." Celestia finished. "We do have a suspect that we are fairly sure is behind this deed."

"If you have the suspect in mind, why am I here?" I asked, sitting back on my flank with my hooves crossed over my chest. "All you have to do now is gather a group of guards to capture said suspect. I obviously don't need to be here."

"The guards aren't able to handle this level of threat, Steele." Celestia said solemnly. "I know that this is asking a lot of you, and I understand that you've a strong distaste for the royal family, but..we desperately need your help." She hung her head a bit in a pleading way.

I was taken back by the fault in her princessly composure. I took in the realization that this was a serious threat to them, more serious than any had ever been. It was serious enough to the point that they were willing to beg for my help to keep them safe from whomever was threatening their lives. I swallowed dryly, fighting the mix of pride and disgust from their actions.

"And how am I supposed to help?" I asked lowly. "I've been discharged from service. I have little to no knowledge of the situation, as well as who I'm supposed to be up against. My strongest feature, my wings, are gone. How am I supposed to help you? After everything, how can you expect me to willingly put my life in danger for your sake?"

"We've asked ourselves the same questions. In fact, they plagued us for a short time," Luna said. "Much consideration has been put into this, and a lot of planning as been done in such a short time. We believe we have the solution you're looking for."

"Your agreement to assist in this will allow us to make some adjustments for your position to be restored, temporarily if you wish, into the Canterlot Royal Guards," Celestia added. "And a solution is being developed as we speak to restore your greatest trait."

I couldn't help but perk. "You can give me back my wings?" The sisters glanced at each other.

"Not us personally, but we've enlisted the help of a few sources to do just that."