Bit of art I had to do after reading a submission to Thirty Minute Pony Stories by The Descendant. Links to TMPS, and The Descendant on dA and FiMfiction below, in that order, followed by the submission the art's based on.
TMPS => [link]
TD on dA => [link]
TD on Fimfiction => [link]
“As a Mother”
Written by The Descendant
The War of the Witches, my child? Why would you wish to hear of that old thing again? Can I not entice you with tales of some foreign land, of some gentle race beyond our borders or, perhaps, of some sweet pastured place now lost in time?
No? Ah, yes, your curiosity suits you. It certainly complements your mark. Forgive your sovereign though if she chooses this evening not to tell you stories of great battles. No, tonight is not for flags flying above armies of brave ponies, or of mystical blades wielded by those of races enthralled by Hydia and her daughters.
No, child, not tonight. Tonight, I beg, let your sovereign lay to rest something that has long, long sat behind her eyes…
Deep and tall were the woods that stretched along the ridge where five ancient pines, each as old as Equestria, rose to the sky.
In that desperate second summer of the war it was Draggle who found the weakness of our lines, and as Luna’s army sat and licked its wounds following the murderous Seven Days Battles it was I who led my ponies deep into those woods.
Deep and dark was the magic of Discord, and even those long years after my sister and I had cast him from his throne and placed him in his prison of stone did his curse upon this land remain, even as it does to this day. Not only upon the land that we cherished, but also in the hearts of those we had once loved.
Lies he whispered into the ears of my godmother, and so she too was turned against me… he hardened her heart, gave her permission to lie. Oh, Hydia, whom I had once loved…
There deep in the woods we were beset, the army of Draggle catching us in the open, three races of ponies locked in combat with the races my godmother had poisoned with her lies. There before me stood Draggle, calling upon the magic of the earth, her hair seeming aflame.
“Celestia!” she called, her voice loud above the din of battle, “Here then we meet again! Come, embrace me and my magic, topple me if you can!”
“What fate would you have of me, you whom I once trusted? You who once held me and assuaged my fears… cousin! Friend! Sister!” I called aloud even as the ground shook with the might of our magic, as soldiers from both armies looked on aghast. They threw down their weapons and looked upon us as magic deep and powerful flew among them, crashing off of rocks and splintering ancient trees.
“What has my godmother, your mother, told you that has risen such hate for me in your heart!?”
“Only of your wrath! Of your desire for power, for dominion over all these races!” hissed the fiery-haired witch, her spite wrapping around us in tangible tendrils of magic.
At once my magic dropped and, seemingly stunned by my act, did hers as well.
“Is that what my godmother, Hydia, your mother, has told you?” I asked, my voice falling down into a whisper.
“You believed it? You, Draggle, whom once bandaged my knees… who held me on starless nights, who looked over my sister when she was ill?” I asked, the feeling of loss pouring out of me.
“Yes,” she answered as her staff thrummed with malice, leveled at my head.
“Cast your magic over me,” I begged, lifting my eyes to hers, “Here then, curse me, make me show my true heart’s desire… it is in your power, and I supplicate myself. Prove to yourself whom lied to you… your mother, or I.”
Emotions flew over the face of the witch. My defenses lowered, my magic at its greatest ebb since before Discord had arisen. All she had to do was utter a word and I would be dead, laid out there in those deep woods, Luna alone standing between the witches and the end of Equestria.
Yet, with a tremble, she lifted her staff, and the curse fell around me… and my true desire laid there bare before her, the two armies, and whatever Providence saw fit to look upon it.
I felt the rustle beneath my wing, and as the nose poked up to me I felt the tears begin.
“Momma?” came the little voice, “Momma, why are you crying? Don’t cry, momma.”
I lowered my head to nuzzle the perfect creature laying there beside me, brushed my head up and down past his wings, kissed the space beneath his tiny horn.
“Momma is just so happy to see you, My Love,” I said as he lifted his head to mine, giggling as I wrapped him tighter to me, “Momma is so very happy to see you…”
There I sat cradling my child, rocking him back and forth and singing to him the lullaby my own mother had sang to me when Equestria was not so old.
Draggle fell to her knees, her staff collapsing at her side. Her hands went over her mouth as the truth of her mother’s deception crept over her.
“She… she lied to me… she lied, Celestia, she lied…”
I said nothing, just let the feel of my child wrapped in my forelegs drift through me, watched his eyes sparkle as soldiers from both armies looked on in wonder.
All too soon the magic of the witch began to fail, drip out of her as the shock of the truth streamed over her.
“Momma, momma what…” spoke the blessed little form, fear growing in his eyes.
“Shhh, shhh…it is alright, it is alright. Momma loves you, momma loves you so very much, Dearest,” I whimpered as his body faded away, as the little form returned to magic that sank deep into the earth.
My head wavered, my eyes streamed with tears. At that moment I pushed my head to the ground, begging the deep magic to bring the happy phantom back to me… grant me the child I have never allowed myself.
Draggle, in that moment, in any of those moments, could have wiped me away. Her magic was almost as great as mine, and in my loss she could have undone all.
Yet, she removed her hands from her mouth and lifted them towards me…
But, she recoiled. With that she stood and looked into my eyes as I lay piteously upon the ground, my loyal ponies making their way to me, trying to lift me.
With that she, and the whole of her army, disappeared back into the tall pines. Doing so they left the few dead and a weeping alicorn, a supposed goddess laying on the pine needles, as proof of their presence.
Forgive your sovereign as she wipes away these tears. Does it surprise you to think that I, an aged immortal, should still dwell upon such things?
May I ask, why do you think that all of the royalty of these races that make up my little ponies are my “nieces” and “nephews”? Why do you think that, over these ages, I have taken students to my own teaching, kept them close to my chest as they fell asleep on summer’s nights?
We are as mothers to our little ponies, Luna and I, watching over them as they come again and again and again in the great tides of life that you call generations. Yet, of the two of us, it is I who most linger in the thought of that title.
Yet, the true title is denied me, by my own choice. If we see you all as our children, well… what mother would bed one of her own sons? The thought itself is too disgusti…
I-I stray from our conversation, and I am sorry. Forgive me. I wish… I wish to thank you for letting me share this tale with you, as it has sat upon me for a great long while.
Yes, a great long while indeed.
Have you had enough to eat?
Here, please, do take another cookie, or some sweetbread, child. Are you eating better than when you first came to Canterlot, are you sleeping well?
Yes? Oh, I am so glad to hear it. That is so wonderful…
… that makes your sovereign so very happy.