Born On A Rock Farm

by Aragon

First published

Inkie Pie was, without any kind of doubt, the most influential musician that ever lived. Born on a rock farm, her strange life would serve as both inspiration and cause for her songs. This is her story.

Inkie Pie was, without any kind of doubt, the most influential musician that ever lived. Born on a rock farm, her strange life would serve as both inspiration and cause for her songs.

This is her story.

Featured on Equestria Daily

Now with a fan sidestory! My True Body

Partially inspired by PonykillerX's art. The cover art was made by him.

Proofread by:

Neko Majin C
Octavia Harmony

To Selbi.


My mother’s blessing, my father’s pride, and a dead bird.

If anypony had ever asked Inkie about her life, that would have been her answer. She had done many things, but in the end, nothing mattered. The only things she really cared about, the only things that had truly marked her, the only things that had given her life, were just those ones: Her mother’s blessing, her father’s pride, and a dead bird.

Inkie Pie was not a normal pony. She never had a normal life, and she never wanted one either. She never had a lover. She never had a home. She never stopped bleeding. The only pony she could call a friend, aside from her family members, saw her only once.

Inkie Pie was, without any kind of doubt, the most influential musician that ever lived.

And nopony but her ever truly knew her story.


“She’s healthy, but... her hooves…”

Inkie always had the feeling that there were certain patterns, certain words, colors, or even images, that followed her. Some only appeared for a short amount of time, while some others would always be there, as a reminder. Of what, exactly, she could never be sure.

But of all the things that followed her, those five words were the most important ones. The first thing the doctor ever said to her parents when she was born, and the first words that anypony would say when they introduced her.

She was born too early. A small, grey filly, too weak to walk on her own when she came to this world. Her parents were afraid that she would not make it. Her birth wasn’t pretty—there was blood, she was crying, and there was pain. So much pain.

During the years that followed by, Inkie would always think that she could remember it. How the darkness turned into light, how the warmth of her mother’s body would be gone to be substituted by the chilly air, and how her four hooves would burn. The burning sensation never went away.

So when the doctor saw her, he immediately took her away from her parents, and tried to save her life.

He would find out pretty soon that Inkie Pie’s weakness was too great to kill her so soon.

“She’s healthy,” the doctor said when he finally went back to her parents, trying to calm them, to stop their tears, “but… her hooves...”

“Her hooves?” her father asked. “What… What is wrong with her hooves?”

Everything was wrong with her hooves. Absolutely everything. The medical details, Inkie never knew, or if she knew, she never minded.

Inkie Pie couldn’t walk without special boots, or that’s what the doctor told her. But she never listened. Instead of hard and resilient, Inkie’s hooves were sensitive, soft and delicate. They never developed the whole way through.

She was born too soon, so she was incomplete. She was not a real pony, or that’s what she always thought. She was less than a pony. She was a project, an outline, a ghost.

But she refused to wear those boots. Her parents argued with her, the doctors told her that it would only worsen her condition. She didn’t care. She’d been a friend of pain since the moment she was born. Why would she fear it?

So Inkie Pie never wore those boots and always walked barehoofed, feeling the ground with more sensitivity than any other pony. They were trying to make her complete, to turn her into a fake full pony, to artificially hide who she really was. So she refused.

Every step would be painful, and now and then the blood would appear again and it would mark the path she had walked. A trail of red hoofsteps, of bloody drawings in the land. She liked it. It hurt, but she liked it.

Inkie Pie was not a complete pony, and she never forgot. She lived her life as a fake pony. She marked her way as a fake pony. And she always felt pain as a fake pony.

Nopony ever understood that, because she never bothered to explain it.


Inkie Pie was born on a rock farm. The Pie family had a very long tradition of farmers in the family—they would dig the earth for the rocks, sculpt them, break them, move them, work them, destroy them, harvest them, and sell them. The work was hard, but it had to be done. They owned the only rock farm in more than a thousand miles around, and Equestria needed them.

Inkie’s parents would start working at dawn and would not stop till the moon was up in the sky. Inkie’s sisters would do the same, their bodies soon hardened and grew used to little scratches, to the hardness of the rocks. It was never a fun thing to do, but they did it anyway, and they enjoyed it.

But Inkie Pie couldn’t work. Her hooves wouldn’t allow her to do so.

Countless times she would escape from the house and go to the westernmost part of the fields, where she knew her parents wouldn’t be. The West Fields were not used anymore, as the granite was not in demand, at least for the time being. The Pies knew that one day granite would be useful again, so they refused to destroy the fields or try to harvest different rocks. Rock farming was a long-term business, and they always had to look forward to the future movements of the market.

But Inkie Pie didn’t know that yet. She just knew that nopony ever worked the West Fields, so she could be alone in there. And when told that she could never work the farm, that the hard physical work would destroy the fragile bones of her legs, that the pain would be unbearable, she didn’t listen.

With the rebellious spirit of a child that doesn’t know better, she chose to walk barehoofed to show everypony that she was a fake pony, but she refused to be treated as one. Both embracing and denying her disability, she would walk to the useless fields and she would try to break the rocks, to work the granite, to be useful.

Her parents had known better than Inkie Pie. She couldn’t do it. She lacked the strength, she lacked the tools, she lacked the body needed to work the granite. Day after day she would eventually pass out—sometimes because of the blood loss, sometimes because of the fatigue, sometimes because of the pain. Her father soon got used to finding the little bloody hoofsteps that lead from Inkie’s room to some random point of the West Fields, where he would find his daughter.

Sometimes, he would find her still conscious and would try to stop her. Sometimes, he would be too late, and they would go to the hospital. Then she would stay there for two or three nights, until finally she would go back home, weaker and with bandages on her hooves, but never wearing the boots.

But it didn’t matter to Inkie Pie. She didn’t like working with rocks. It was painful, it was boring, and it was dull. But she still wanted to do so.

Day after day, week after week, she would work her best to break a useless rock in the abandoned West Fields, trying to prove that she was worth it, that she could create something, that she would do something. If she had succeeded, it wouldn’t have mattered.

But she never succeeded. She never broke a single rock.

And as her father kept on finding her unconscious at the end of a little path made of blood, he decided that his daughter would not die like that. A Pie would never be defeated by a rock. It was better to fly from battle than to die in it.

So he took Inkie Pie one morning, and they went to the city together.

To the music store.

Father's Pride

Only a few ponies in Equestria got to know Inkie Pie well enough to think about her relationship with her father. And between them, only the ones who already were part of the Pie family ever understood how it worked, and how it marked Inkie forever.

Igneous Rock was a peculiar stallion. He never talked unless you talked with him first, he never smiled unless he was with his family, and he never cared about abstract or non-practical things. Born a farmer, raised a farmer, and always a farmer, Igneous loved his three daughters as a father, but he never gave them any respect. They had to earn it from the stallion himself.

Blinkie Pie was a natural farmer. Her ability to work the rocks was at least as good as her father’s, maybe even better. She understood early that her little sister could not work, and as a result, she worked twice as hard. The day she finally managed to do it, the day she showed that she could manage the entire farm on her own, was the day she earned Igneous’ respect.

Pinkie Pie wasn’t a natural farmer, but she could do much more. The day she discovered who she was, she became a hurricane of energy, of good feelings, of happiness. When she noticed that her sister had to live with a burden that nopony could lift from her shoulders, she made sure to make her smile, to make her dance, to make her happy, to be happy for her. The day she finally left home to become a full mare by herself, the day she noticed that she did not belong in the farm but out in the wilderness, the day she left them to live a life that nopony else in the family would understand, was the day she earned Igneous’ respect.

But Inkie Pie was not a farmer nor a hurricane of energy. Inkie Pie was a weak filly that could barely walk. She could not make her family’s lives better. She was a useless pony, a ghost. She was incomplete, but she refused to let her disability dominate her. Instead, she embraced it, and suffered it at its fullest. Inkie Pie tried to be as honest with herself, as authentic, as possible.

That never earned Igneous’ respect.

Because even though Igneous Rock loved his daughter with all of his heart, he was proud enough to recognize Inkie’s pride and understand it. He never made her life easier than Blinkie’s or Pinkie’s. Both her sisters had worked hard to become who they were, and that had turned them into adults for Igneous. They had done something more than just living. That was not the case with Inkie. She was trying, but it was not enough.

The fact that one morning, without explaining to anypony why he was doing so, he brought Inkie Pie to the city and into the music store, would remain always as a mystery. What did Igneous see in his daughter to recognize the gift of music in her, nopony ever knew. But he did, and that’s what mattered to Inkie Pie.

“She’s healthy,” Igneous explained to the clerk when he looked at Inkie and her bandaged legs uneasily. “But, her hooves…”

“I see.” The owner of the store was an old stallion with white hair and grey eyes, that took Inkie by the shoulders and put her in front of a display of countless instruments. He explained to her how they worked, he showed her the way they were played and the way they sounded, and then he let her choose.

“Take whatever you want, and bring it home,” Igneous told her. “It will be yours and yours alone.”

And Inkie looked back at her father and saw the way he was looking at her, and then she looked back at the instruments.

She understood what Igneous was telling her. She did not belong on the farm. She was not a rock farmer, and she would never be. She was weak, her hooves were fragile, she could not endure the pain as she thought. Something less practical, something less respectful than physical work—something abstract and harmless, like music, which her father had never understood or tried to—would fit her better.

Inkie felt Igneous’ pride, the way he wanted his daughter to be worthy of something better, the way he wanted her to live a life in which she would not be useless. The way he wanted to protect her but still understood that she had to grow as a pony, to be free, to be by herself.

Her disability, her illness, her weakness forced her to take a different lifestyle. There, in front of a thousand different instruments, gentle and delicate as her own hooves, she felt the urge to rebel one last time against everypony’s will.

And, after looking at Igneous’ eyes for what felt like years, she turned back and pointed a particular instrument to the old pony that owned the store. A black guitar with metal strings.

It was too heavy, and she couldn’t carry it without feeling even more pain than usual in her hooves. The strings were too hard, too thin, and could cut her easily if she wasn’t careful enough while playing it. The instrument required a strength and energy that Inkie did not have.

She chose the only thing in that store that she knew would hurt her. She didn’t listen to the old pony’s advice and just looked at her father.

Inkie chose to keep doing that to herself. To keep suffering, to keep being broken. She had to give up farm work, but she would not give up pain, because it was already part of her.

Igneous saw his weak, lonely child rebelling against him. He offered her a helping hoof and she refused it, choosing instead to do things her own way, even when that way was obviously wrong.

And he smiled, bought the guitar, and watched as Inkie walked back home while bleeding from her tiny hooves, the black instrument hanging from her back.

And that day, Inkie Pie finally earned Igneous’ respect and became an adult.

Mother's Blessing

Inkie Pie did not know about empathy, but she knew about pain. She never understood the difference between physical and mental pain, however, as for her there was no real distinction. Pain was absolute, simple, and omnipresent. She didn’t think about it, because she never needed to. She just felt it.

Quartz Pie was an honest mare that never stopped feeling guilty for Inkie’s illness, always thinking that somehow, her daughter’s hooves were her fault. She could not keep her baby inside of her long enough, and Inkie would always suffer because of that.

Inkie understood that. She always told her mother that it wasn’t true, that she didn’t need to think like that, but it never worked. Quartz kept seeing Inkie’s disability not as a failure, but as a punishment, both for her and for her daughter. And where Igneous stood tall, proud and respectful, she would kneel down to help Inkie as soon as she could.

Forced to work from dawn to dusk to keep the farm moving, she was the first one screaming when Inkie passed out, the first one telling her she had to give up, and the first one that would end up hurt when Inkie refused to listen to her. Quartz Pie treated her daughter with pity, love, and guilt, and she always tried to be the best mother she could be.

Knowing that her entire existence was a cause of suffering for her mother, Inkie always had to fight an inner conflict, that of her pride forcing her to live a full life and that of her mother’s love forcing her to be safe and quiet. She would always end up hurting herself, too selfish to let her own safety get in the way to prove the world how a fake pony like her could live, and the pain would always be greater the moment she saw her mother’s eyes.

When Inkie Pie came back from the store with the guitar, Quartz felt both relief and anger. Relief, as her child would not try to work at the farm anymore. Anger, because Inkie would end up hurt by the guitar anyway.

Inkie didn’t know how to play it, and nopony ever taught her. She just sat down and tried to play it.

A horrible sound came out of it, her hooves hurt, and she started bleeding. She kept on trying.

And Quartz looked and told her to stop.

And for the first time, Inkie listened to her mother.

She hung the guitar on her wall and stopped playing, but she didn’t go to the West Fields either. She had given up the farmer life the moment she got her instrument, but she couldn’t start a new one without her mother’s approval.

Somehow, it was different. Inkie knew from the very beginning that she could never break the granite, that she could never achieve anything in the same way her parents and her sisters could. The only reason why Inkie tried, the only reason why she kept on fighting that hopeless battle against herself, was pure determination, pure pride, pure pain. She had done that because there was nothing else she could do, and because she refused to think less of herself.

But the guitar was not the same. Inkie didn’t know how Igneous had known, but she knew he was right—that black guitar, that instrument of torture, was the key for her to live. It was a painful way, but it wasn’t hopeless, and it could easily be her only chance to ever achieve something. That guitar would mean changing her entire self, turning into something different. She couldn’t do that unless Quartz accepted it.

So for many months, the guitar hung upon the wall, and Inkie grew up just a little stronger, just a little healthier, just a little better than before. She would obey her mother and be careful. She would wear the boots. She would not hurt herself. She would do nothing.

Igneous didn’t say a word, and Quartz was left alone with her decision. Inkie Pie was finally listening to her, she was finally taking care of herself. For the first time in her life, she didn’t have to worry about her child, and the guilt disappeared, if only just a little.

Only then she realized that she had always seen Inkie’s rebellion as an attack, as an insult. Only then she realized that she had always believed, if only in a subconscious level, that her daughter was angry with her because she had given her a weak and delicate body, and used it to punish her.

And only then Inkie realized that maybe she had been doing exactly that.

So life was good, and life was safe, and for a long time Inkie gave up on her own life for the sake of her mother’s mind. She buried her pride and showed her love for Quartz. She would smile more often, talk more often, and she would never look at the guitar on the wall.

But Quartz did. Every night, before going to sleep, and every morning, before going to work the fields, she would go to Inkie’s room to remember that she was safe now, and then she would look at that black, heavy guitar. And she would think about what it meant.

It meant giving Inkie the opportunity to grow, to maybe become something greater than herself, or maybe suffer the most crushing defeat that she would ever experience. It meant giving up everything she had been clinging to and realizing that Inkie was more than a simple disability, more than her daughter. It would mean recognizing Inkie’s existence, and seeing that her motherly love was not enough.

And she didn’t know if she could do that.

Until she did.

One morning, she finally saw it. Inkie had to live her own life, and that guitar meant just that: a chance to be herself. It meant pain, it meant learning something completely new from scratch, it meant risking her health every single moment that she played it, but that was exactly what Inkie wanted. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what Inkie needed, too.

She didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and neither did Igneous. She walked to her daughter and looked at her straight into the eyes.

“You’re healthier than ever before,” Quartz said with that soft voice of hers. “But, still… your hooves…”

Inkie said nothing, but looked at her own legs. Her hooves, covered by those boots she hated, were stronger, but still too weak. Playing the guitar wouldn’t be impossible, but would surely be a challenge.

“Just be careful, okay?” Quartz said, hugging her daughter and resting her head upon her shoulder. “Be careful. I’ll always love you.”

And Inkie nodded, and they told each other everything they needed to know, everything they needed to say. Inkie took off the boots and burned them in the fireplace, and she never wore them again. And that same morning, she said goodbye to Blinkie and to Igneous, she took all the money she had and then some more her mother gave her, hung the guitar on her back and walked away. Her hooves, which hadn’t touched the ground in years, started to bleed sooner than expected.

Neither Quartz nor Igneous worked that day. They just sat on the porch, looking at their daughter’s red hoofsteps until they couldn’t bear it anymore, and then they sat there a little more. Only Blinkie kept on, knowing that even then, the rocks had to be broken, sculpted, and moved. The sweat hid her tears.

Dead Bird

Inkie realized that morning that she hadn’t been free until she was away from her parents. She also realized that freedom was a word with a beautiful sound, but its meaning wasn’t exactly as pretty.

For her, freedom meant nopony to rebel against. She had always disobeyed her parents, and after purchasing the guitar, she had rebelled against herself for Quartz. But now, no matter what she did, she would not crush anypony’s desires. Inkie did not like that, but there was nothing she could do about it.

She knew that staying on the farm had never really been an option, but that didn’t mean that she had a place to go in mind. She had hit the road without thinking about it, and now the road threatened to return the hit twice as hard. So Inkie chose to walk, ignoring the burning in her hooves and the pain in her back and never looked behind.

Playing the guitar was still a mystery for her, and the money would run out at some point. She had no shelter, she had little food, and she wouldn’t survive without a home for too long. For the first time in her life, Inkie was free to do whatever she wanted, which meant that she was free to die, and nopony would stop her or take care of her if she collapsed.

And then she realized that she didn’t want to die. Even though she had always thought that she was so used to pain that she could not feel a thing, she found out that she still took life for granted, that she still was afraid of dying. She had not told her story, she had not lived her life, she had just started, and she was already in danger. But she couldn’t go back to the farm, to safety. Quartz had let her go, and she had to let herself go too.

She didn’t know if she wanted to do so anymore.

So for three days and three nights, Inkie Pie wandered the land without a clear direction in mind. She couldn’t walk all day, or else she would collapse, but she would always push herself to the limits. She would only sleep a couple hours every night, too afraid to stop and rest for real.

For three days and three nights, Inkie Pie did not dare to look up or down, to gaze at the sun and clouds or the moon and stars, to look to her sides and look at the land. She could only look forward, trying to see a goal she could reach, trying to guess where the end of the road was.

For three days and three nights, Inkie Pie forgot everything she knew about the guitar that hung behind her back. The instrument was not a tool for her to use anymore; it had become a simple weight, a load that was slowing her down, that did nothing but weaken her and force her to walk slower. She hated the guitar. She hated her father for buying it. She hated her mother for allowing her to go.

She never ran in circles, her hoofsteps acting as a guide for her to know the way back home at any moment, but she was not sure she could make it. She hadn’t seen a single building, a single pony since the hour she had left the farm, and her food was running low. She had money, yes, but money was useless on its own. Going back meant dying, and going forward meant diving into a mystery.

Inkie Pie had never felt so scared.

And finally, at the dawn of the fourth day, when she thought she had gone too far, when she had chosen to leave the guitar behind and run until she would fall and die, when her food ran out and realized she couldn’t make it, she found a little thing that blocked her path.

A dead bird on the road.

It was an adult red bird, with big and beautiful wings and a peaceful expression on its face. There was no blood around it, and he did not look injured. Inkie Pie, with her bloody hooves and her weak body, looked more dead than it did.

So she sat by the bird’s side and looked at it. It was not the first time she had seen a dead animal, but it sure was the first time she tried to understand what it meant.

And it meant nothing. There was nothing to understand. That bird had died because eventually everything has to die, and that was not a bad thing, she thought. Even the healthiest, happiest pony will be gone at some point, and eventually he will be forgotten.

And that wasn’t bad either.

That bird looked happy, or at least satisfied. Inkie thought of all the things it could have done with its life. Maybe that bird had a family, maybe it had a bunch of little children that didn’t need it anymore. Maybe it had done incredible things for a bird, or maybe it had done nothing too exceptional. But it still looked satisfied.

Maybe that bird had tried to achieve some kind of goal during its life, or maybe it hadn’t. And it didn’t matter at all, because the bird had died anyway.

Inkie Pie accepted the fact that she would die that day. And once acceptance came, the fear was gone. Only then she realized that she hadn’t been looking forward because she was looking for a goal. She had looked forward because she was too afraid to look behind, because she had thought that death was chasing after her.

But that wasn’t the case. Death didn’t chase after anything. Death was an absolute, something that would always come, and running from it made no sense.

She hadn’t seen any goal because there was no goal to pursue. Inkie just needed to live, to forget about death and to never think about it, because she was going to die anyway. And it didn’t matter when. Her time would come whenever it needed to.

And just then, once she finally accepted that she was going to die, once she gave up all fears, once Inkie Pie finished her three days and three nights of grieving, she truly looked forward for the first time.

And she saw the lights of a city in the close distance.


When Inkie Pie entered that city, she knew nothing about playing the guitar.

Finding food and shelter was easy, but she found out very soon that she was too weak to continue her journey in less than a week. She needed rest, she needed energy, and she needed to think.

So the first thing she did when she woke up the next morning, once she felt a little better, was getting the black guitar, hanging it around her neck and shoulder, and start strumming its strings.

They felt as cold and sharp as she remembered. Its neck was a little too long for her, and her left hoof was too weak to press the strings without cutting herself. The body was a little too big, and she had to twist her body in a way that made her back ache. Playing it was extremely uncomfortable.

Inkie didn’t really mind.

Inkie knew nothing about music, but the old pony at the store had taught her how to tune her guitar. Every string had a different sound. The more they were to the left side of the guitar, the thicker they were, and the lower its sound would be. If she pressed the strings against the neck, the sound would be higher. The first and last strings gave the same note.

The guitar was a completely different world by itself. Inkie liked how it looked like it was alive, yet it was mechanical, soulless. It didn’t matter what you were feeling or thinking when you played with its strings, the guitar would create the same sound. The guitar wouldn’t sound better because she was hurting herself more, neither would it sound worse.

It wouldn’t show anypony what was inside Inkie’s mind, no matter what she did with it. If she wanted to express herself with it, she had to do it on her own. The guitar gave her a sense of intimacy, and at the same time it exposed herself. It was something that caused pain and joy.

She didn’t try to play any song at first. She only knew the ones Pinkie had sung when they were younger, and those were not songs she could create with her guitar. The instrument had a soft tone, a metallic voice that sometimes seemed to speak and sometimes seemed to cry. It was harsh, and it wasn’t as much a melody as a series or chords.

Eventually, she chose the three chords she liked better and played them. Using those three chords as a base, she realized she could sing whatever she wanted, including Pinkie’s songs. So she tried to hum them, and they fit, but they had a different feeling.

She tried to change the key she was singing in, and they had yet another different feeling in them.

Her voice wasn’t the same as the guitar. It would sound weaker or stronger depending on how she was feeling. But even at its weakest, the guitar would be there to support it, never leaving her voice alone.

At some point, she finished all of Pinkie’s songs, and then she tried to sing something else. The words came easily to her tongue.

By the time she felt strong enough to go on her way, her hooves were weaker than ever. The strumming had practically destroyed them, and she never walked without bleeding a little ever again, but never enough to pass out.

She didn’t bother. She had learned a little, just enough to create the skeleton of a melody, and she had learned to sing whatever came to mind, rhymed it or not. She was armed with three chords and the truth, and nothing else.

When Inkie Pie left that city, she knew everything she had to know about playing the guitar.


The days passed by, and soon the money went away. But Inkie didn’t think that was a bad thing. Every now and then, she would end up walking into a new city. and there she would find shelter and play. If she didn’t get shelter, she would sit down in the first bench she would see, and then she would start playing. Sometimes she would try to find new chords, but it was difficult. Sometimes she would just play.

Soon she noticed that some ponies would stop to listen to her. And now and then, they would toss money, and she would accept it with a smile.

She never sang Pinkie’s songs again. Those were not hers, and she wanted to sing something that she owned. Instead, Inkie’s song would sometimes be about a little story she knew. When that happened, she sang about a little bird in the road, about an indestructible rock, about a little filly who didn’t know better, and about the sister that left and the sister that stayed.

Now and then, she would refuse to tell a story, so the songs would be about images, about nonsensical pictures that came to her mind. When that happened, she sang about the color of the sun when seen across the window of a hospital, about rebellion against one’s own desires, about pride and approval, and about empty fields against the sunset.

And lastly, sometimes she would sing about her pain, about her weakness, about her pride, about her death.

As time went by, her hooves became a little stronger, and her body became a little weaker. She didn’t need to look at the guitar while playing, as she could feel, better than anypony else, the strings of the guitar. Her voice got steadier, darker, softer. Her hooves moved faster.

Inkie Pie continued travelling the land, never talking to anypony, never trying to reach a goal. She just enjoyed her walk, forgetting about her pain. She enjoyed the view, forgetting about her loneliness. And she enjoyed her guitar, her music, her songs; never forgetting that she was not a musician, but never caring about it either.

Those were Inkie’s happiest years. The first one was harsh, yes. Sometimes, she would end up with almost no money, and the pain in her hooves would burn more than usual. But she survived, and as time went by, she had less and less economical problems. Ponies would always toss money at her when she was finished, as long as she played at least two songs, and the crowd would be bigger every month.

She never really cared. Inkie Pie played for herself and herself only. She was too proud to sing about anything that wasn’t related to her, and too aware of the death to do anything but enjoy her life.

Inkie Pie became a travelling musician, and her ability with the guitar reached incredible peaks. Nopony ever knew if she noticed this.


From the mouth of a filly, a legend was born.

Many years later, hundreds of historians and music researchers would study Inkie Pie’s neverending journey and the enormous influence it would have over the Equestrian culture. What at first started as a simple travelling musician that did nothing but play songs nopony had heard before and then walk away, soon turned into a rising tide of cultural awareness and somewhat philosophical movement.

Soon, ponies who lived in the town she was visiting would do anything to go to one of her “concerts,” as they called what Inkie did—sitting on a bench and playing to whoever was there. For a pony that lived the way Inkie did, that was already something, but the real cultural movement didn’t start until ponies started following her between towns, if only to listen to her songs a little more. That fine line was the frontier between successful and important musician: soon Inkie Pie had what would later be called a “cult following,” a group of loyal fans, all of them musicians at first, that would never try to bother their idol but would always listen to her, and eventually, write her songs down.

“Inkie’s Band,” as that group of fans ended up being named, would eventually be fundamental for the later studies of Inkie’s career, as she never left any written document of her songs. Some ponies speculated that she never really thought about her songs as “music” per se, so she never felt they were worthy of being immortalized in a paper sheet, but the general opinion was that Inkie Pie didn’t know how to read music, simple as that.

How Inkie’s Band appeared was, unlike anything else in Inkie’s life, something easy to figure out by the musical erudites that came after her, if only because its founders wrote everything down. It all started when three members of the Appleloosa Band worked as the judges of a little musical contest for foals. As they graded the younglings’ voices, they soon found out that there was one filly that stood out among the rest.

Even though that little filly didn’t win the contest, there was something in her voice that they couldn’t really describe. Some called it “happiness,” some said it was more like “acceptance,” and at least one pony said it was “selfishness”. Even though her voice wasn’t the best one and certainly she had a hard time keeping certain notes in tune, her performance was the one that really stuck with the judges.

When asked about her singing, the little filly pointed at Inkie Pie as her inspiration, and explained who she was to the judges. And that same afternoon, Inkie Pie’s band was created and its members hit the road looking for red hoofsteps.

Why did they do that? Everypony had his own answer to that question. Some said that the way music sounded after listening to Inkie was different, was better. Some said that it helped them see the life in a different way. And some said that they didn’t know, but they felt like they had to. Those songs, they said, didn’t sound like anything else they had ever heard.

The most amazing thing about Inkie Pie’s music was that, from a purely objective point of view, her songs weren’t very good. Inkie sure knew how to play the guitar, as anypony who ever saw her playing would testify: her hooves caused her pain but gave her the ability to feel the instrument in such a personal way that it was merely an extension of her own body. However, she lacked the theoretical knowledge to create anything complex.

What stood out in Inkie Pie’s music, what turned her into a pony that could move more than a thousand ponies, was the message behind it. Her songs were not repetitive, and would evolve with time—her earlier works would sing about pain, childhood, her family, and the like; while with the years she would end up singing about life on the road, about music itself, and about changing the guitar strings because she would bleed on them now and then. And once, but only once, she sang about dreaming. However, the general theme was always the same. The general feeling would always be the same.

Inkie Pie would sing about how life is life, and how there’s nothing to do to change it. She would sing about death being just another part of life, about pain and how it changed one, and about accepting who you were. Inkie Pie composed some of the saddest songs in Equestrian archives, but nopony would ever say that what she played wasn’t happy music.

And even though not everypony would be touched, musicians who had listened to Inkie’s music would change their sound, sometimes without noticing so themselves. But the songs would never sound similar to Inkie’s: hers had a particular sense of pride, of teenager rebellion, something that was so incredibly personal that couldn’t be imitated. Instead, they would put just a little bit more of themselves into their compositions.

That artistic wave would shatter the musical world, and even though not everypony would be part of the Inkism movement, it would create a clear point of reference. Musicians and experts would forever talk about Music Before Inkie and Music After Inkie to understand that radical change in the way ponykind understood how to sing songs.


One night, Inkie Pie had a dream. When she woke up, she headed to Canterlot.

She had never headed to any particular place since the very moment she had left the farm, choosing instead to roam the land and enjoy the journey itself. But for once, she knew that there was something she had to do. Or rather, somepony that wanted to see her. Her time to walk aimlessly through Equestria had come to an end. It was time for her to end it all.

It was a long trip, but Inkie made it. She had her Band to help her, and more than once she ended up using a carriage instead of just walking to the city. If she had been younger, she would have declined such a luxury, but the years had turned her softer, or maybe she had just turned a little wiser.

She entered the city at night, and her Band didn’t follow her. They knew that there wouldn’t be an Inkie Pie concert in that city, and she needed the privacy. And when Inkie finally got to the castle, the pony that had called her in her dreams was there, waiting.

Princess Luna was everything Inkie could never be. She was tall, with strong hooves and wings, with a steady figure, and a powerful voice. She was healthy, healthier than Inkie would ever be, and there was no sign of weakness in her. Standing right next to the goddess, Inkie Pie looked smaller, frailer, more insignificant than ever.

“Good night,” Inkie said when their eyes met. She nodded instead of bowing, as the guitar’s weight was still too much for her back. “It’s an honor, Princess.”

“Inkie Pie. The honor is all mine.” The princess did not bow at her, but she smiled. “I’m glad you accepted my invitation.”

“I had no reason to ignore it,” Inkie replied, “and countless reasons to accept it.”

“I see.” Luna turned around and pointed at the insides of the castle with her wing. “Shall we, then?”

Inkie Pie had never seen a castle before. The walls were higher than anything she’d ever seen, the tapestries were marvelous, the carpets were soft and didn’t hurt her hooves. However, it felt empty—its great halls and huge corridors were cold and lifeless, their hoofsteps resonated with an echo that reminded her of the mountains. It had nothing to do with the towns she had visited so many times, with the road and the cities, with her old rock farm. For the first time in a long time, Inkie Pie felt homesick of the house that had seen her grow.

Luna lead her to a quiet balcony right under the moon, where the stars could be seen without a single cloud to obscure the view. Both sat at the small table that laid there, gazing upon the food and drinks that somepony had put on it before: wine, bread, and fruit.

“I was expecting a bigger feast,” Inkie said with a smile when Luna poured wine in her cup. “I’m glad I was wrong, however.”

“Royalty calls for great banquets and sophisticated meals,” Luna agreed, taking her own cup and raising it. “But this dinner has nothing to do with royalty, Inkie Pie. I’m afraid it has more to do with myself as a pony than with my position in society. A toast?”

“For the big feast that never was, and the relief that gives to my stomach.” Inkie Pie raised her cup too, and both drank the wine. It was sweet and red, and Inkie felt it going down her throat and dulling her sense ever so slightly. Then, she got a slice of bread and bit it. “You called me in my dreams,” she said after swallowing. “You asked for my presence in private.”

“And you answered.” Luna’s eyes shined under the moonlight. “I’m the guardian of my subjects’ nights, Inkie Pie, and I’m the one who takes care of what they dream and what it means. I protect, but sometimes I just watch and learn.”

“Oh.” Inkie smiled. “And you learned from me?”

“No.” Luna took an orange and carefully peeled it with her magic. “Not from your dreams, at least. But I learned from the ones that listened to your songs.”

“I see.”

“You changed them, Inkie Pie. You changed the way they looked at themselves.” The princess put an orange slice in her mouth and chewed it slowly. “I’ve seen many things in my long life, but very few are able to make a pony think about herself.” A little frown appeared on her face as she said those last words. “I am the first one who knows that.”

“Everypony makes mistakes, Princess,” Inkie replied. “And I believe that everypony deserves to be forgiven sometimes.”

“Even by herself?”

“Especially by herself.”

Luna nodded. “And what about you? You walk the land and play songs, and everypony seems to know your name. Yet nopony seems to know you. Did you ever do something that needed forgiveness?”

Inkie chuckled. “I’m afraid I can’t tell. I’ve done many things, Princess, but the vast majority of them were done when I was younger.”

“I have also done many things. And most of them were not to be proud of.” Luna rested her hooves on the table and looked at Inkie, who took a piece of fruit and quietly ate it. “Everypony seems to forgive me. My sister told me she was sorry for what she had done, when she had done nothing wrong. My subjects respect me and adore me, even though they should fear me. The pony who can change your life comes to me without any kind of doubt, even though she should run away from me.” Luna sighed. “And I can not forgive myself for what I did in the past. What can you say to that, Inkie Pie? What can be said?”

“Honestly?” Inkie finished the piece of fruit and took another one. “I can’t say anything. Nopony can. Not even you.”

Luna stared at her.

“Our lives have been very different, Princess. But then again, everypony’s life is a story on its own.” Inkie licked her lips. “I am not, however, an expert in anypony else’s life. I only know about mine, because it’s the one that I had to live.”

“I see.”

“As such, I don’t know if I can help you.” She looked at Luna in the eyes. “What you did in the past is done, and nothing can change it. What you will do in the future still hasn’t been done. The only thing that matters is the present, and I don’t see you trying to attack me. Instead, I see you offering me a nice dinner. I have nothing to fear.”

“The past doesn’t matter, then?”

“The past matters, and so does the future.” Inkie shrugged. “I believe, however, that the present is far more important.”

“But why?”

“Because the present is everything we have.” Inkie pointed at the sky. “The moon is beautiful. The stars shine above us. The food is delicious. There’s nothing else we should worry about tonight.”

“So that’s what I should do?” Luna shook her head. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop remembering it when they talk about Nightmare Night. I can’t—”

“Then don’t do that. When they disguise themselves so you don’t eat them, remember what you did.” Inkie sighed. “But don’t think about what will happen next year. Don’t remember what happened the last. Nothing lasts forever, Princess, but a lot of things are very short.”

Luna said nothing.

“I know what pain is,” Inkie said. “I’ve known that all my life. It’s never been pleasant and it will never be. But suffering what I have to suffer is easier than remembering the one I already suffered, or thinking about what the future will bring. And when you think about it, it doesn’t really matter anyway.” She sighed. “I was once very afraid of death, Princess, until I realized that there was no reason for me to be. I am alive. Why should I fear death, then?”

“Because it will come,” Luna said. “Because it always comes.”

“And I’ll face it when it comes,” Inkie said, “but until that moment, there’s no use. The past turned you into what you are now, Princess, and that’s the only thing it’s worth for. When it comes to you, the past has nothing to do, while the present is everything you have.”

“So I don’t need to feel guilty? Just because at this very moment I’m not trying to kill everypony?”

“If you’re right and everypony else has forgiven you, then yes.” Inkie nodded. “That’s exactly what I mean.”

“Inkie Pie,” Luna said, “I don’t think you understand my position here.”

“And yet I believe I do.” Inkie smiled. “Because you’ve come to me in search of advice, even though I can’t tell you anything. I’m a weak filly, a simple musician that walks Equestria and sings silly songs. There’s no way I can be wiser than the Princess of the Night.”

Luna laughed. “I am pathetic, aren’t I?”

“Pathetic? No.” Inkie shook her head. “Confused? Yes. You are suffering and you don’t know if you’re worthy to stop doing so. But everypony else has forgiven you, and you clearly want to forgive yourself.” She shrugged. “Not forgiving yourself would do nothing, while living in peace can bring you happiness—something that you want.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“For me, it is. But what do I know?” Inkie took another slice of bread. “I’m just a musician that once accepted death. And once you get the important things, everything else seems to be of lesser importance.” She raised an eyebrow. “You became jealous and attacked your sister, but you won’t do that anymore. You learned, you tried to move on, you failed. Maybe you should try again.”

“And if I can’t?”

“Then try again, or don’t try.” Inkie finished her bread. “Life is short and the present dies quickly, Princess. Your blame is yours to carry, and your problems are yours to solve. If I tried to change your life with simple words, I would do nothing. The only one that can do that is you.”

“You can show me how to do that,” Luna said. “You can explain me how you did it.”

“I am doing so. Accept that you’re the one who really matters. Realize that the past doesn’t exist, and the future might never come. Enjoy the present. You’re not asking me for help because you feel guilty of what you did. You’re asking me for help because you’re afraid of feeling guilty in the future.” She took her cup and drank some more wine. “What I say is: if you feel guilty in the future, do it. But don’t think about it now, as it hasn’t happened yet.”

Luna sighed and drank wine too, then turned to the moon. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll forgive myself.”

“Try to forgive yourself now, and don’t worry about the future. That’s all I can say.” Inkie left the cup on the table and put away the plate. “Well, not exactly. There’s another thing that I should add.”

The princess turned around to look at her. “It being?”

“Only you can forgive yourself. But at least I forgive you.”

She stared at her for a while, not saying anything. The moon kept on shining, the stars kept on glimmering, and for what felt like hours, neither of them moved.

Then Luna got up and kissed her on the cheek. “Thank you,” she said. “Thank you very much.”

That night was one of the most important ones in Inkie’s life. It was the night of her last dinner, the only time she ever saw the one pony she could call her friend, the first and last time she ever went to Canterlot.

And it was the night she sang a duet for the first time.


When the sun came up that morning, Inkie Pie knew that her time had come.

So she got her guitar and walked away from the castle, and Luna followed her without saying a word. When her hooves finally touched the street, they started to bleed immediately.

Inkie Pie had been feeling weaker and weaker lately. Her stomach wouldn’t allow her to eat as much as she used to when she was younger, her head would ache after an hour or so of music, her hooves would burn more than usual. At first, she dismissed those facts without an afterthought, but eventually she had to accept that she was growing old.

That particular morning, she thought about her childhood again, about that rock farm that she hadn’t seen in such a long time. The castle had made her homesick, but there was no way she could go there now. It was too far away, and she was too weak.

There was no use in thinking about it, then.

Inkie Pie met her Band outside Canterlot, and they followed her in silence too. She never looked back, choosing instead to walk in a straight line without stopping at any point. The crowd that was following her was bigger than usual. Maybe it was because Luna herself had joined them, maybe it was because everypony could feel that there was something strange in the way Inkie walked. It didn’t really matter.

There were no stops that day. Inkie kept on walking, always in a straight line, always looking forward. Luna was by her side, and sometimes she would use her wing to block the sun from Inkie’s eyes. Her Band was, for once, completely quiet.

With her walking so close, Inkie couldn’t help but think about Luna and what they have been talking about. Inkie had been a product of her own past; from the very moment of her birth, she’d been doomed to be herself. A pony with weak hooves, a filly that couldn’t work with her family.

How many traits, how many parts of her own nature were just a simple evolution of what had always surrounded her? After all, what was Inkie Pie? She was a musician now, if only because her father had seen that in her. What if she had been able to work the rocks? What if Igneous had seen a painter, or maybe a doctor in her? She was proud, because Igneous had been proud before her. She was a rebel, because Quartz had loved her to death. She was a leader, because ponies had chose to follow her.

Maybe if Inkie Pie had lived a normal life, things would have been different. She was nothing else than the accumulation of a series of random events. But if only one of those events had changed…

She smiled. Then she would be different. But that didn’t really matter.

After all, life wasn’t about being oneself: life was about being happy. Inkie Pie had found early that just being Inkie Pie, just being at peace with herself, she had accomplished happiness. But maybe that wasn’t the right way to do so. Or maybe there wasn’t a right way to be happy.

If she had been born healthier, chances were she would have never become a musician, but Inkie didn’t see that as a bad thing. She would have been something else. Maybe she would have been happier, maybe she wouldn’t. As it hadn’t happened, she could never know. And it didn’t matter.

Life had been what it had been, and she had lived it how she had lived it. If there was such a thing as luck, then Inkie Pie wasn’t sure if she had been lucky or unlucky. And that was it.

There was no revelation, no world-changing words. Inkie Pie thought about what it meant to be alive, and what it meant to be herself, and it meant nothing. She was what life had made of her, and she had made her life the way it was. If there were missed opportunities, then there was no reason to cry for them.

Eventually, the sun went down, and the moon was raised by Luna. Inkie felt tired, more tired than she had ever been, so she stopped and turned around, facing her Band.

She got her guitar one last time.

And she started playing.

Inkie played many songs that night. She used everything that she had learned along her way to do so: every chord that had made her hooves bleed, every thought that had inspired her, every memory that lived with her. The guitar answered to her commands as always: mechanically, without life, as a simple extension of her body.

The strings hurt her hooves, as cold and sharp as ever. Her throat was dry and her voice trembled. Her back ached. Her stomach was empty.

She sang about the sad times and the happy memories, about her childhood and her teenage years, about her adulthood, and about her death.

Even during her last moments, Inkie Pie was unable to sing about anything that didn’t relate to herself.

The concert went on for most of the night. And with every song, Inkie would feel weaker and her hooves would bleed more. The strings soon got stained, and the sound became almost unbearable.

But she didn’t mind. She kept on playing. Even when she could no longer feel her hooves, even when her voice broke down and she could barely whisper. She used every little bit of energy left in her, she forced her body to the very limit.

And finally, she passed away. She never stopped singing.

The moment she fell to the ground, the Band broke the silence with their screams. Some tried to help her, to bring her back to life, but it was useless. She was gone.

Inkie Pie was buried in that same spot, the one at the end of that trail of bloody hoofsteps she had created when she came out of the castle. As the years went by, many ponies would say that it was completely impossible for a mare as weak as Inkie to walk such a long way in twenty four hours, as she would have passed out due to blood loss after just a couple miles.

But nothing they could say changed the truth, and the ponies who had seen her swore that she was there.

Inkie’s tombstone was made of granite, courtesy of her parents. They used a rock stained with blood, but they never explained whose blood it was. It wasn’t hard to imagine it, though.

And after that day, life went on. Many cried for Inkie’s death, many didn’t. It didn’t really matter, anyway. Or at least, that’s what she would have said.

Inkie Pie’s legacy went on for many, many years. The musical world would never be the same after her appearance. In the sky, Princess Luna created a new star that same night, one that musicians all over the world would look at when they felt like they didn’t know what to do.

Granite turned back to be one of the most marketable stones in the kingdom, something that greatly benefited the Pie family, owner of the biggest granite fields in the world.

And in the middle of a field, many miles away from Canterlot, at the end of a bloody trail that came from the very doors of the royal castle, laid an elaborate tombstone, under which rested Inkie Pie, the most influential musician that ever lived.

Her guitar was buried with her.

Author's Notes:

Dedicated to Selbi, who lately it's suffering a writer's block. I hope this helped, if only a little.

Also, in case you want to know more about this story, follow this link!

Check the fan-written sidestory too!

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