A Chance Encounter...
Trees. All around you are trees. Who knew there could be so many trees in one place? The forest around you is an unsettling sort of dark. You can't remember how you got here, but it isn't like that matters at that particular moment: you are lost. Completely disoriented, you brush against low-hanging limbs and bump against tree trunks. The little bit of starlight you can see through the trees glitters through the canopy above; at least there's a little light to navigate by.
The sound of crunching underbrush draws your attention. Whirling around, you find yourself looking at a white horse. Only this isn't just a white horse; it has a horn and wings, and her pink markings are definitely are not those of any sort that you've seen before.
."Are you lost?" the feminine voice rings out, concern plainly filling her words. You manage to stammer out that you're a little disoriented.
."I can help you get out of here, if you'd like. But you won't want to when it's this dark out. It will be better to have light to navigate by, and the sun isn't that far off."
You tell the mare that you're okay, and will wait until light. But you want to know how she got here and how she knows this place so well.
."Me? This forest has been my home for as long as I can remember. My name is Larysa." After a quizzical look from you, she tilts her head to the side. "I suppose you'll want to know more, right? It can't hurt... And we have to pass the time anyway."
A little surprised by her willingness to talk, and even more surprised at this rare opportunity in front of you, you agree.
The Mare's Tale
."I don't remember much of my early childhood. I have no memories at all of my father, and only vague ones of my mother. We lived here, in this forest, while I was young. It was just the two of us here, until I was old enough to fend for myself. Then she left in the middle of the night, and it was only me.
."I know that sounds cruel, but truly, I didn't mind. It was not long after that that I heard my first calling and discovered my abilities. I could create new stars, and moons for new planets. I always took it very seriously--it was a lot of responsibility, and even as a young filly, I knew that. I tried to handle it with the respect it deserved. After all, it couldn't be any small thing to have so immense a power, could it? To this day, I don't know where it came from. I called myself a Moon and Star Watcher, from the amount of time I spent watching the sky and waiting for the next time I heard my calling.
."But that wasn't all I could do with my life. I knew that. So I traveled a little. I met some interesting others in my time. I suppose that's what it was that inspired me to found my herd. Just a small one, a place for others to find shelter and company. I decided we should all live here, in this forest. I'll never know how anyone found my little herd, but slowly, steadily, they did. We grew in numbers, and though we had our challenges, we were happy. Along that time I fell in love
. It didn't last; he left, and I was crushed.
."I healed. The herd was good; we prospered, and survived a lot of challenges. Over time our numbers waned a little. I found the time to do some traveling again, finding it good to spend some time out of the forest. I fell in love once more, with someone wonderful this time. But he left, too; and though it was no one's fault, when he returned, I found I was not the same. I couldn't feel the same as I had before. Things were hard for a long time. I don't know if I really healed, but I tried.
."And from there? Well, from there it was traveling or staying put. Meeting others for the most part and telling a story or two. I like to think I've led an interesting life through the experiences I've had, but... well, I'll let you be the judge of that. I hope I haven't rambled too much for your liking. Please, let's move on..."
Moon and Star Watcher
."I suppose I shouldn't just mention unique abilities and then not elaborate on them," the mare says. "It's a bit complicated, but I'll do my best to explain.
."I should perhaps start by saying that to my knowledge, I am the only one in the universe with abilities such as these. It starts with a calling. It's hard to explain, but it's like a song in your ears. This means a new celestial body needs to be created. When I hear it, the abilites activate. I am able to leave the constraints of the planet and fly into space, leaving oxygen behind and becoming immune to the vast temperature differences. I make a small spark--it usually forms just under my front hooves--which whizzes away to find its place in the universe, where it will grow to full size. From there, I return home.
."There are some lingering effects that last at all times from these abilities. Physically, I age much slower than those around me. I also seem to not be as affected by extreme temperatures than others. The rest of my life is completely average, other than always watching the sky, waiting for a new moon or star that needs to be created."
When the topic of family comes up, the mare gives you an apologetic look. "Like I said, I hardly remember. I can try, if you really want to know. But I'm not sure how fruitful it will be."
: "I remember her, but only vaguely. She cared for me until I was old enough to fend for myself, then left during the night. I don't know why she left, but I don't hold it against her. I hope she found her peace somewhere."
: "I never met him. I assume he was kind and admirable. I hope wherever he is, he's found my mother and they are happy."
."I have had many friends over the years. I count myself lucky to have met so many. As time passes, many have gone. For this reason, I sometimes find it difficult to truly call anyone a friend; but those who have earned that title I feel a great bond with."
: ."I loved him, once upon a long while ago. I can't say my feelings are the same any longer, but I still do consider him to be one of my closest allies. I hope he forgives me if I have hurt him… I never meant to. He deserves so much more than me."
: ."I have known Haunted for quite a long time. He has been quite the trustworthy and reliable type, and I value that. It was the reason I promoted him to deputy of my herd. I count him among my friends, and I hope he feels the same about me."
: ."Tanre is truly one of the sweetest mares I could have ever hoped to meet. She cares so much for her family, going so far as rescuing them from the captivity she didn't feel treated them right. She can be supportive for even those she isn't as familiar with. I have a lot of respect for the strength she has."
: ."He thinks himself a failure, and it pains me that he does. I wish he could see what an incredible stallion he truly is. He has been hurt before, but he is still kind and caring. I truly appreciate his friendship, and I wish he could appreciate himself more."
: ."I've only just begun to get to know Haiku. She's mysterious, but pleasant to talk to. I believe she and I can be friends in time."
: ."My relationship with him is... interesting, to say the least. Still, he seems kind enough and I believe he has the potential to be a good friend. I would like to know him better."
: ."Our friendship is tenuous. He and Varen are something like enemies, and the two have very different morals. Certainly Zeaxia's goals could be seen in a poor light, but I truly believe that he is not as evil as the rumors I've heard. I promised him my friendship, and I intend to keep that promise."
: ."He's a good-natured stallion. He has some link to the stars as I do, but his beliefs about them and mine are vastly different. He is an interesting character to be sure. I hope to get to know him better."
: ."We knew each other a long time ago. More recently, a chance encounter brought us back together again. He's a shaman, very wise for his years. He's challenged me, frustrated me. But he has helped me a lot. I am eternally grateful for his help."
The Mare's Heart
."You heard my story," the mare says softly, clearly uncomfortable with the subject. "The times I have loved, I have also lost. And while some say that is better, I don't know that I can ever be completely sure. I'm not bitter. Not in the least, actually. If the time were right, perhaps I would love again. But that... that would have to be so exceedingly perfect. No, I don't know that it is for me ever again."
."Enemies?" The mare seems surprised at your question. "Oh, no. At one point in my life I might have said yes. But now, I don't think so. I don't like those who threaten or belittle me or my herd members. But I don't think there is anyone I dislike enough to brand as an enemy. There is no use to being hateful."
."If you're very lucky, you might see a small white rabbit scurrying about the forest," the mare smiles. "Her name is Juniper. She and I have had an understanding for some years now. She makes her warren away from where my herd might hurt ourselves from stepping in the holes she digs, and in turn I make sure she is safe in the forest. She's quite helpful at times. Truly a good friend."
The Moonlight Herd
."My herd!" The mare's face seems filled with joy when the topic comes up. "Yes, we call ourselves the Moonlight Herd
, and we stay here, in this forest. We're quite the eclectic bunch. I founded the herd when I was very young. Since then, I have watched it grow, and wane, and grow again. It's a place for anyone to find companionship and shelter. I consider them my family, and I would do whatever I could to protect them. I am lucky to have found so many wonderful friends there."
."I quite enjoy making little replications of my visitors, if I have time. They are only to be given to those whose likeness they bear, and they are only to be displayed and not used dishonestly for competitions. These are a gift, and I will revoke those that are misused. If you feel you can give one a good home, and if you have ever wanted to run among the stars, I'm sure we can arrange something
."Some have been kind enough to make small figures in my image. I cherish them and am quite grateful to all who have contributed. Do be careful, though, some of them are quite old and fragile."
."Over my life, I have been depicted many times. I am very grateful for all of the images drawn of me--I truly am not worthy of such displays of kindness. Though I have had many, I will show you a few here, should you like to see them.
All images by Bonnie. Drag to your URL for a full view. Hover over image for when it was drawn. For brevity's sake, only images from 2014 until present are displayed here.
."I have been lucky enough, in my time, to receive a few awards. I am very grateful and am humbled to receive these."
Hover over the award for a description and the date awarded. Larysa is currently goldbanned from the Beauty Contest until April 15, 2017.
The stars have faded, and the sun's light begins to flood the forest. Surprised at how much time has passed, the mare looks to you.
."I've kept you too long. It's probably best you get home now," she says, slowly leading you to the edge of the trees. You can find your way now; the trees no longer feel threatening, and you now know that the forest is only home to a mare and her herd. You look past the trees, readying yourself to leave. When you turn to tell the mare goodbye, the space behind you where she had been is empty. You are unsure if this whole experience is real or dream until you see a small scrap of fabric on the ground just before your feet. Perhaps you can use it to find her again. Will you take it?
Find Your Way...
You see, after the mare leaves, a bunch of colorful bits scattered on the ground in her wake. You get the sense that perhaps these links will take you somewhere else. You look back in the direction where the mare had left for a moment, then back to the ground. Do you try it?
(If you would like to do a uni link trade, please Neomail bfm12 with the name of your uni and your request! Keep in mind we only collect 50x50 patches, though!)
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