Fiery waves – the ups and downs of Summer Pride
Chapter 7: Family ties
We have ruled over the kingdom for más than 60 years together, but I never knew Landslide had such a dramatic sense. The destruction of Whisper Wind was a symbolic act. As the ancient phrase said: thus, always, to tyrants. First his fortress, then the tyrant himself. And the soldiers were quite thorough. The mighty towers collapsed and when daybreak came, the first rays of the sun shone upon a pile of smoking debris. Forever Wind's eagle nest was wiped off the face of the planet.
Landslide renewed the pact with the earth ponies and forged an alliance with the Griffon Kingdom as well. Our old enemies became friends... it was pretty hard to accept that. But they kept their word and fought with us against Forever Wind; this was the logical choice. The treaty was our best hope for a peaceful future and I would have done the same thing in Landslide's place. But we could not look forward, for there was a huge problem in our hooves: we had to decide the fate of Forever Wind. The earth ponies and the griffons scattered to the four winds and went back to their homeland they have fought for. We also began our long journey to Central-Unicornia as well; there was nothing left in those cursed mountains for us, but painful memories, traveling with the cold winds. The ruins of Whisper Wind are still there, up to this day, as a memento of our brother's treason...
The pace was slow, since we had many wounded and the pegasus prisoners also decreased our speed. It took us almost two months to reach the castillo of First Magic. During the way I only saw my brother once. Forever Wind was sitting in a caged chariot, his ankles were chained. He was completely disoriented, gazing into nothingness with glassy, lifeless eyes. He was pale and dirty and didn't really comprehend what was going on around him. I trotted beside his moving prison in hopes I'll have a chance to speak a word with him. But he was surrounded por armored unicorn guards and they did not let me close enough. They dicho it was Landslide's order, that nopony is allowed to speak with him, for his blasphemous words shall not corrupt another mind. He sat silently and didn't care about anything anymore. I was about to go back to the front of our long caravan, when he suddenly raised his head. Wind looked me in the eye and I saw the spark of recognition in him. A weak smile passed through his face, but he didn't say anything. My corazón was full of sorrow and pity as I looked back at him. Forever Wind was merely a shadow of his own self, broken, defeated and numb. I could not bare this sight any longer so I quickened the pace to put some distance between us.
The trial was just a formality. We all knew that. Only a few days after our arrival to the castillo of First Magic, the court has reached a verdict. Of course, as the Princess of Central-Unicornia, I was a member too, along with Whirling Abyss and Landslide.
It is very interesting, that although he was an earth pony, Landslide's right to the trono of Unicornia was never questioned. He was the King, therefore he was leading the trials. I've never seen this side of him before. He was... relentless, like a fast underground river, that rumbles in the deep with great power, but invisible from the surface until it erupts somewhere.
Forever Wind was charged with high treason, incendiarism and murder. In case of such serious accusations, it was tradition that the Elemental Court, consisting of my siblings and me has to reach a verdict por clear majority, meaning all four of us had to agree on the decision. Since the accused was one of us, this number narrowed down to three. I knew what Landslide will say even before he opened his mouth to speak. I saw it in his unforgiving golden eyes...
“Forever Wind!” Landslide exclaimed, as all eyes in the courtroom were hanging on his words. “We have examined all the evidence and heard the testimony of your several accomplices. tu have committed several heinous acts against the Crown. These atrocities are from the worst sins.”
He paused for a moment to clear his throat, but his voice remained neutral, I could not detect even the tiniest sign of emotion on his face. Everypony waited, holding their breaths back.
“It is my sorrowful duty to declare the verdict.” Landslide continued in the same, formal manner. “This court finds tu guilty in high treason, incendiarism and murder. The punishment for these unforgivable crimes is death. What say you? Does the Elemental Court agrees with my decision?”
“I agree.” Whirling Abyss dicho quietly and lowered her head in infinite sadness.
Landslide nodded a little then locked his unrelenting eyes on me. I opened my mouth, but I could not make a sound. I glanced at Wind, sitting on the bench of the defendants. I don't think he really understood the importance of this moment. He looked so helpless and meek and vulnerable... He must have sensed my vision on him, because he looked up and pierced his big, sorrowful eyes into mine. I heard the numerous other ponies in the courtroom whispering and the silence was getting awkward. I looked at Landslide. I knew he was expecting me to be the first who will agree on sending my brother to death, because he kept me a prisoner for two years and Landslide was counting on my emotions during the trial.
“Summer...” he hissed and furrowed a brow.
I looked back at Forever Wind once más and knew I have to say something. But the worst was yet to come. I recoiled in shock and horror as I've spotted something in his eyes... hope. That unmistakable spark resurfaced from the depths of his soul as he saw my hesitation. He actually thought I will save him from the scythe of the dark mare that eventually comes for all. I was there, I clearly sensed it. He came out of the numbness and clang onto this tiny thread of hope, like the drowning poni, pony clings onto the fragile straw. I've bitten my own lip and felt the iron taste of my blood in my mouth. My vision turned blurry so I closed my eyes and turned away from Forever Wind. I took one last breath before I spoke.
“I agree.” I dicho as tears rolled down my cheeks.
“Very well.” Landslide nodded and raised his voice so everypony could hear loud and clear. “Forever Wind. tu are sentenced to death por the Elemental Court. Your execution will take place tomorrow, at dawn. May the Creator have mercy on your soul! Do tu wish to say anything else to your defense?”
Wind just shook his head and I felt the flame of hope dying out in his corazón once and for all. I didn't open my eyes, I wouldn't have survived another segundo of seeing him, but I'm sure he was staring at me when he was taken away to his cell.
I couldn't sleep last night. I was just tossing and turning in my cama with my boisterous conscience. I was gazing at the clock, but the minutos felt like hours. I kept telling myself that Wind was a war criminal and a tyrant and responsible for the demise of hundreds o thousands. He waged war against his own kind, he took away two years of my life when he kept me locked up in his fortress. My brother who turned everypony against him in his insane, pointless crusade... and yet he was still my own flesh and blood. I knew what he's done was unforgivable and he deserved this fate. Yes, he could only blame himself for what happened... despite all of these indisputable, solid facts, deep down I knew what we were doing was wrong as well...
I got up from the cama and put on my robe, for the night was cold and starless. First I wanted to visit Landslide.. I wanted to beg him to change his mind and spare our brother's life. But I knew how he was. He was as massive and timeless as the earth itself beneath my hooves and once he made up his mind, nothing could change his decision, not even his own sister. Then the thought emerged. The moment I comprehended it, I instinctively knew I'll have to execute that inner command.
So I went to the library. The temple of knowledge was dark and abandoned at this time of the night, but I knew my way around the place. I've spent years studying ancient tomes here, when I was younger. This time, I was looking for a specific book. After a while I found it. I put it on the mesa, tabla and opened it in the middle. I acknowledged with a little pride and excitement, that I remembered correctly; the spell I was searching for was right there. I quickly read it and memorized it at the shimmery, scarlet light of my horn and left the library.
I trotted down to the catacombs where the prison cells were located. When I saw the light of the torches I slowed down and moved very carefully, not making any noise. The cells were full of pegasi, most of them were asleep. I peeked out a little and spotted several guards, playing some card game at a large round table. My horn began to glow as I recalled the spell I've just learned. A dainty, red and transparent tendril of magic emerged from the tip of my horn, slowly coiling around in the air like a snake. The gauzy material grew and grew, finding its way to every being down there.
“Hey, tu smell that?” one of the guards called out.
“Huh?” another one replied, sniffing the air. “Yeah, it smells like roses...”
Then he collapsed. The others jumped up in shock, kicking the round table. The heavy, wooden furniture fell over with a loud bang that echoed in the dark tunnels, but nopony woke up to the noise. Soon, the rest of the guards were on the cool, moist floor as well. A grin of satisfaction passed through my face as I waited for a couple más seconds. When I stepped into the light, everypony was in a deep sleep. I walked through the narrow corridor, looking into each cell in both sides. I've found my brother in the last one. He was too asleep, but I fired a tiny magic beam at him. It was the counter spell. He immediately came to and stood up with a rapid move. He looked around confusedly.
“Oww, my head... dizzy...” he groaned. “What the heno, hay happened?”
“Wind.” I addressed him coldly.
“Summer?” he blinked perplexedly. “Is that really you? What are tu doing here?”
“Shut up and follow me!”
As I touched the bars, the iron melted and turned to blazing liquid. That was the only way I could get my brother out of the cell, because the bars were encantada and acted very much like those griffon runes. They were not as powerful nevertheless and could not resist my enhanced magic that was fueled por Fire. Wind looked at me with an obtuse, unbelieving expression and didn't move.
“Come, tu fool! We don't have much time before the guards wake up!”
He nodded and followed me into the dark labyrinth of the catacombs. It was a dangerous place, one could easily get lost, never to be found again. The underground tunnels muffled every sound, nopony could hear the cry for help. But I knew where I was going. My breathing accelerated as I quickened the pace. My brother was right behind me, following the gloomy red light of my horn. I don't know how long we've been down there, I lost track of time, but eventually I felt the fresh air once again. I led Forever Wind outside the castillo walls and we surfaced on a secluded spot, where the guards couldn't see us.
“Go.” I dicho shortly.
“Summer...” Wind began. “I don't know what to say... thank tu for doing this! tu saved me! I know tu took a high risk... this means tu still amor me..."
“You stupid, arrogant, worhtless pile of trash! I hate you!!!” I roared and slapped him in the face very hard. “You've brought great shame to our family! I too am ashamed to call tu my brother! But unfortunately, nothing can change that. This is the only reason why I helped you. Now get the heno, hay out of my sight!”
“How can I ever repay you?” Wind asked, rubbing his cheek where my hoof struck him.
“Now listen to me very carefully...” I dicho on a frosty, sharp voice, moving up to his face, piercing my eyes into his. “Run, Wind! Run and never return! If I see tu ever again, I will end tu with my bare hooves, do tu understand?!”
Oh, he understood. His eyes grew large and I literary felt the fear emerging in his twisted soul. He saw something in my cold esmeralda eyes that night that made him shiver. As I dicho before: fear and admiration... always an effective combination. And I have to admit, I liked it. His wings fluttered nervously, then he took off. I watched his shrinking figure, until it disappeared on the horizon, then sneaked back to my cama chambers undetected. My brother kept his end of the bargain. That was the last time I saw Forever Wind.
It's really quite ironic... because not much later, I ended up just like him. I guess it runs in the blood. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...
The Castle of First Magic