Tears in the Snow

by Wintergreen Diaries

Chapter 1: Premonition

Load Full Story Next Chapter

Chapter 1: Premonition

Night had fallen over the Everfree forest, and the dense foliage blocked most of the moonlight. Trudging through the dark was a lone stallion, completely oblivious to the howls that seemed to come from everywhere around him. With each step, a small puff of snow appeared, quickly dissolving and soaking into the thirsty forest floor. His head hung low, the overwhelming burden of continuing to live becoming increasingly more difficult to justify. He came to a small clearing and looked into the sky, pondering for what reason he even continued to move forward. It was then that he noticed the howls were becoming more frequent, and the telltale rustling in the bushes told him that his worries would soon be over.

“I suppose, then, that you’re all hungry.” The first of the timber wolves stepped out of the foliage, snarling between howls to the rest of the pack. I’ve been walking for days, but I can’t say why. If there is hope, I can no longer feel it. So how can I justify fighting back? To these wolves, I’m a life giving meal. At the very least, my death could give another life, if only for a time. “Perhaps,” he started, looking out at the circle of wolves surrounding him, “this is for the best.” But if that’s what I really believe, then why is there still the urge to fight... “How much longer must I continue to cling to this life when it holds nothing for me?” he suddenly shouted, causing the wolves to temporarily halt their slow advance. “Tell me, Luna, now that you again control the stars; where is my guidance?” Whether a small glimmer of hope or just survival instinct, the stallion closed his eyes and heightened his senses, preparing to give the wolves a fight they wouldn’t soon forget.

"Twilight, are you still awake? You're gonna be a wreck tomorrow if you don't get some sleep!" Spike chided Twilight, stooping to collect the books scattered in a semi-circle around her. She placed a hoof firmly on the large, weathered tome she was currently reading, and looked up at him.

"I know Spike, I know! But I'm so close to completing my newest spell! Just a little more time. Why don't you go ahead to bed? I promise I will get some rest soon." Her pleading eyes got the better of Spike, who muttered something about not waking her should she oversleep. She levitated a scroll and pen over to her and reviewed the day's checklist, marking off the second to last entry which read, "Stay up late studying." She giggled softly, returning to her studies. The lights went out upstairs, leaving the lantern by her side as the only source of light in the house.

Her mind raced to string together the fragments of knowledge she had absorbed over the last few days. While seeing the future had always been considered to be trickery and hocus-pocus nonsense, she had recently begun to wonder if it might actually possible. "After all," she thought to herself, "if the sun and moon are moved by magic, surely a small glimpse into the future is possible, right?" Her mind, having reached its limit, told her it was time to call it a night. She stood up and stretched her limbs, now numb from laying on the floor for the last five hours. Twilight winced as the blood rushed to her deprived legs, causing a sensation akin to being pricked with a hundred needles.

As tired as she was, Twilight was eager to put her notes to use. She looked down at the last entry on her checklist - "Test Premonition spell for completion." She cleared her mind of any distractions, and began to focus her magical energies into her horn. The pieces of knowledge began to align in her mind, and her entire body began to glow a soft, purple hue. Her magic reached its peak, and she released the spell. Her vision went blurry, shrouded by a purple haze. Slowly, her sight returned to normal, but she was hardly excited. Nothing had happened. She sighed, staring mournfully at her nearly complete checklist. With great hesitation she brought out a quill dipped in red ink and circled the final entry. "Oh Circle of Incompletion, how I despise you," she muttered to herself, scowling at the paper to make sure it understood. She sighed again; none of the other checklists had understood either. With the dreaded deed done, she blew out the lantern and went to bed, making a mental note to add the last entry to the coming day's checklist.

Twilight's peaceful slumber was suddenly jarred as a scene began to flood her mind. Her view was racing over Ponyville, beginning at her house and heading into the Everfree forest. She could hear howling and growling from what had to be an unusually large number of wolves. She could feel her fear rising as she seemed to draw straight towards it. A terrible scene began to unfold, but she was powerless to stop it.

A single stallion stood surrounded by no fewer than ten wolves, arranged in a circle around him. His coat was a deep cerulean blue, with a pure white mane accented by a single streak of teal that ran all the way through to his tail, with two matching teal bands around his forelegs. He stood stock still in the center, making no attempt to flee. In fact, as Twilight neared, she could see he had his eyes closed. The circle tightened. Closer... Closer... A wolf leapt from behind, only to receive two hooves to the face. The others took the cue, and one after the other began to rush in for the kill.

Twilight wanted to look away, but her vision sat fixed. Her horror quickly turned to fascination as his horn began to glow a brilliant blue, and after a few seconds a solid wall of ice had encircled him. The unlucky four that had leaped were met with quick and sudden stop, their unconscious bodies dropping to the ground. As quickly as it had appeared, the ice evaporated. The stallion used their surprise to run outside the circle and turn, leaving the remaining six in front. Two more charged. The stallion stomped each foreleg once, two pillars of ice shooting forth and impaling the wolves, blinking as a few drops of blood splashed his face.

He quickly reached to wipe it off, and this signaled the final wolves to attack. He closed his eyes and let the magic build, waiting till they were nearly on top of him. A long, sharp blade of ice encased his horn, and with one mighty arc he dispatched the remaining wolves. The stallion dropped to his knees, exhausted from using so much magic. Twilight's relief was short lived; at the edge of the forest, a single wolf came creeping forward. Twilight screamed in her mind, but he couldn't hear. It crouched low, preparing to strike while the stallion lay inert, his breathing labored. He didn't seem to notice as the wolf sprang into the air, teeth bared.

Twilight woke up screaming, causing a very concerned and very tired Spike to come rushing down the stairs. He tripped half way down, rolling down the stairs before landing painfully at the foot of Twilight's bed. He ignored the pain, his focus entirely on his friend, who was breathing heavily and on the verge of tears.

"Twilight, what is it? Did you have a nightmare?" Spike asked, staring up at her. Twilight grabbed him with her forelegs and held him close.

"Spike, it was awful. There was a stallion fighting wolves in the Everfree Forest. He used too much magic and collapsed. Then the last wolf, it..." she squeezed Spike closer, unable to finish the sentence. Spike was at a loss as to how to respond. He decided it best to just hold her until she calmed down, which took a few minutes. She sniffed and wiped her muzzle with a hoof, releasing Spike who sat down beside her. "It was so real, like I was actually there, but I wasn't able to move, I wasn't able to shout... All I could do is watch." Then it hit her. The spell. Maybe what she had just seen was a vision? Without a word she threw back the covers and galloped down the stairs and out the door. She heard Spike calling after her, scrambling to keep up.

"Twilight, wait up! Where are you going this late at night? Don't tell me you're going to Everfree, it's too dangerous!" he shouted, calling from the doorway.

"Spike, I don't have time to explain all the details, but I think what I saw was a glimpse of the near future. Just wait here until I get back, ok?" She didn't wait for his answer, gathering her energy and teleporting to the entrance of the forest. She paused for just a moment, staring into foreboding mass of trees and undergrowth. Even with the moon out, the forest was nearly pitch black. After casting an elementary illumination spell, her horn began emitting a bright purple light, repelling the shadows that shrouded the forest. Swallowing her fear, she plunged in at a full gallop. She couldn't recall the exact location from the vision, but a growing sense of urgency propelled her forward.

A chilling chorus of howls sounded from somewhere a good distance to her left. The vision flashed in her mind briefly as she recalled the circle of wolves just before they attacked. Not wasting a second, she made a beeline towards the source of her rising fear. She stopped suddenly as a blue flash lit up the trees in the distance. Her heart pounded in her ears, blood rushing from her sudden physical exertion. The first use of magic: the wall. "I don't have much time..." she said between breaths, her chest heaving. She plunged onward and saw a second, smaller flash. She squinted her eyes as she focused every muscle in her body into pumping speed into her legs. She saw a third flash just ahead of her. "C'mon legs, don't fail me now!" she encouraged her limbs; she knew she couldn't keep it up much longer.

As she burst into the clearing, time seemed to stop. There, laying on the ground, was the blue stallion from her vision. The wolf was in mid air, its razor sharp teeth shining faintly in the moonlight. The scent of the warm blood that was spread around the grass invaded her nostrils. Then time started to flow. Twilight, in an act of pure desperation, teleported herself between the wolf and the blue unicorn. Her sudden appearance caused the wolf to yelp with surprise, crashing into her. She fell back against the stallion, who didn't budge an inch. The angered wolf got back on its paws and slowly circled the pair. Twilight followed its movements, staying between the stallion and the wolf.

Suddenly the fatigue of both magic use and unprecedented physical activity caught up with her, causing her muscles to cramp and bringing her to her knees. The wolf quickly seized the opportunity to strike, jumping low, aiming for Twilight's throat. In a last ditch effort, she focused her magical energy and released it right before the wolf made contact. The unfortunate wolf was teleported behind her but was still traveling the same speed until a rather large tree trunk stopped the motion with dull thud. Its body fell to the ground, twitching slightly, then lay still.

Twilight turned and looked at the blue form behind her. His mane was matted, soaked with blood, mud and sweat. His breathing had normalized, but it seemed he was unconscious. Not surprising, after fighting for his life. Those spells he had used looked like they would be excessively draining to a unicorn’s magic reserves, even just the few times he had used them. Twilight knew that they couldn't stay, but she could barely move, let alone carry another pony.

“Why would you come out here in the dead of night? It’s just plain stupid...” Twilight whispered, staring down at the stallion. Her eyes suddenly met his as he peered up through half lidded eyes.

“Death... wouldn’t be so bad.” She took a step back as he struggled upright, his legs shaking violently as he took a few steps before falling to the ground. “I have nothing left. No home, no friends... and no hope. Tell me, mare, if these things were stripped away, how would you feel?”

“Well, I... I don’t...”

I’m sorry. You don’t deserve this, whoever you are. I’m only spreading my pain to others, just like what’s been done to me. No, I won’t continue the cycle! I won’t become like one that... “Please, forgive me. Just leave me before you get hurt.”

“Are you crazy? I’m not going to just leave somepony who needs my help!”

“Give your help to somepony with a will to live!” he suddenly shouted, struggling once more to his hooves. “Why... why are you wasting your effort on me? How can you possibly expect me to hope after searching for so long?” Twilight couldn’t wrap her mind around somepony feeling so lost, so dejected that they wanted to die. Even at her worst, when her friends abandoned her during Discord’s reign of terror, she had never wished for it to end, not like this. She refused to believe it. “And why... why can’t I just give up? It’d be so much easier...” His legs buckled, and he didn’t rise again, the involuntary and steady loss of magic sapping his strength, slowly leading him to unconsciousness. The last thing on his vision was the lavender mare looking down at him with concern. He tried to speak but couldn’t find the strength, and a darkness clouded his sight as everything went black.

Twilight sat down beside the stallion, placing a gentle hoof on his back and yanking it back as it burned from the sudden decrease in temperature.

“Magic is supposed to be purposeful, controlled. Something that only happens when you want it to, and how you want it to. But this,” she whispered, watching as small tufts of snow appeared from a faint glow around the unicorn’s horn, “isn’t something he could possibly be controlling. What’s happened to you?” The temperature around her was dropping as the snow became more intense, and if something wasn’t done soon, his body would likely destroy itself. Bowing her head, she began releasing a generous portion of magic from her horn, bathing the forest in a bright lavender glow. Manipulating the spell, she raised the temperature around to around ninety degrees. After several minutes, she touched his side again, only to find that it was still freezing cold, even though the air temperature had improved significantly. There was only one thing that she could think of, one last option that could possibly save his life; a direct transfer of magic.

Stooping down, she rolled him onto his back and stood over him, too anxious over his declining health to note how awkward the situation would have been at any other time. “Listen. I may not know your name, but I will not stand by and let you give up on life. If nothing else, I can be your friend, and show you that there is yet reason to live.” With that, she lowered her head and touched her horn to his, and was immediately bombarded with an overwhelming sorrow. She snapped her head back, her heart pounding against her chest as the fear faded as quickly as it had come. “You’re not going to beat me that easily.” She established the connection once more, bracing herself as she was again flooded with emotions that weren’t her own, like being tossed into a stormy sea.

Gritting her teeth, she ignored the invasion and began to pour her magic into his horn, wrapping it in her own aura. It took much longer than she had expected it would, and she was breathing heavily as she broke the connection, falling atop the stallion’s chest and finding that, while still quite cold, his body temperature had risen significantly, and the release of magic had slowed to a trickle. “You really are... a pain in the flank, mister.” A rustle in the bushes snapped her back to reality, but she was already on the verge of collapse. “Nothing else for it, guess you’re coming home with me,” she muttered, summoning her magic and casting a teleportation spell, though not with nearly enough intensity as she had intended, and she landed in a heap atop the still slumbering stallion just outside the forest edge. It had been a very long time since she had exhausted so much magic so quickly, and her eyelids drooped lower and lower as her limbs relaxed, letting sloth claim victory over consciousness. Hopefully morning would bring some answers.

“So, this is to be my end.” The blue stallion stared at the snow rising all around him, burying him up to his neck. The biting cold had long since sapped the energy from limbs, which housed no feeling save a slight burning sensation as the freeze became complete. He closed his eyes and waited for the snow to rise higher, past his head and towards the sky, entombing him in a land of purity and emptiness. A sudden flash bid him raise his tired head upwards, as the sky flooded with a lavender hue that repelled the clouds and lessened the storm while melting some of the snow, freeing his forelegs. “What... what is this?” The sky returned to its usual threatening gray, but the snowfall had all but stopped. As he became able to move again, he reached a hoof to his chest as a soothing warmth suffused his limbs. He stared in disbelief as a small tendril of blue flame sparked to life, flickering in the slight breeze but not fading. “I see. So this is why I couldn’t give up just yet... I still... have one last glimmer of hope.”

Next Chapter: Cerulean Estimated time remaining: 5 Hours, 20 Minutes
Return to Story Description


Login with