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Element of War
Author's note: Wrote it for a class
Sergeant Violet, reporting for duty. All’s clear on the Eastern Front. Western? Check. The sky starts to glow red like blood soaked rubies, meaning their strike will happen at any moment. I check behind me and start to count off my numbers. I count off a striking 1,004 people when I first start to feel the rumbling that is off in the far distance. Leading the astounding pack is none other than Queen Celeste herself. At the beginning Princess Lily, Celeste’s more beautiful younger sister, left her sisters side, risking herself to help the Elements, the rebellion group created to help overthrow Celeste from her dictatorship. So now the queen is forced to lead every attack on her own. For now at least.
I look over at the silver clad, light skinned girl who started this war. Her bright ruby hair was grown out, swinging gracefully down her back, and her bangs plunged down over her eyes. She is directing a young silver haired girl, who has the job of sporting our flag. The flag has 3 standing androgynous white silhouettes on a cover of black. Silver stitched stars hang around the people who have no faces, and sport no clothing. A silver moon rises above the three united silhouettes.
I now see the opposing side’s flag rising above the horizon. Sam, the girl who started the war, calls out quickly to Princess Lily, who then commands the few magicians we have left to lead on the attack. We all make quick eye contact before the leading army charges forward. Next stands our back-up line, each soldier sporting the heavier weapons, the ones that can help the more defenseless peasant who wanted to help us win this terrifying war...
I don't want to be here of course. The bloody battle is about to ensue. Seeing all the helpless people who are fighting for me and for Sam. Oh, I can't bear to see it. But I have to help lead the army. And I have to stand up for myself and the rest of Columforth. It is what my friends would have wanted, after all.
Its been almost four years since this bloody war has started for Columforthian freedom. The war broke out on March 14th. The Clash of the Roses happened in Lillington. Celeste sent bombers to destroy the city, and to kill innocent people. She knew that neither Sam or I would be there, due to her removal plan she conducted only months before. Many died in the battle, including several princesses, one of which was the generous Princess Cadenza. No one truly knows what became of her. They saw her one second, and the next she was gone.
Then I start hearing the first battle cries. They are coming from both sides of the field. I resist the urge to run by remembering that I was here by choice, and head out into the battle alongside the army. Most of these men and women are my age and older. They have families at home, little children and husbands and wives that are anxious to see their loved one again. But most of them won't be heading home this time around.
The cries of agony start to surround me. Decapitated people lay strewn about the half frozen ground, their warm blood already finding its way into the moist ground. I am merely there for support. I could never kill anyone, even if they hate me so much that they themselves try to kill me first. Unless that person was Queen Celeste. I dive under a beam of light that shoots my way. I notice a woman that is still alive. She has had her right leg badly damaged, and a gash has brought her eye out of the socket. It is still hanging by a strong nerve. Blood oozes down her face, and over the first layer of blood lays a thick coating of dirt. Her pale purple hair is soaked through with blood and sweat. I place the broken girl on my back and run through the crowd. She needs help. She can survive this if she gets help now.
“Nurse Bridget! Q-quick! This lady needs urgent care!” I cry out as soon as I reach the already bursting tent. She looks at me quickly and points to the old water spout. Right, I have to clean her off. She is in shock the whole time I am cleaning her, not uttering a single word. A blank stare came from her one good eye. The blood stops running from her other eye, but the damage on the leg may not stop bleeding anytime soon. I clean off the hanging eye carefully, as to not scratch it at all. I push her onto my back, and rush back into the room. Nurse Bridget takes the broken girl into the tent. I walk quickly to the water spout and steal a drink before going back into the ravenous battle.
I’m running towards a young man who has just fallen. His skull has been crushed by a club, rendering him unconscious. I place the frail man on my back, hoping to get him to the tent lest a spell hits him too. I get halfway to the tent when something cold hits me and the young man. I tumble on the ground and drop the poor boy. I get up and feel the slight trickles of blood going down my face. I start picking out a large thorn out of my hand.
“Where do you think you are going Violet? We have some unfinished business to attend to from our last meeting,” The melodious voice freezes me in place. I quickly turn and duck, as she shoots a gun at me. Her nose was fixed from the time I saw her. Queen Celeste takes a half step towards me and I glare at her threateningly. This causes her to burst into laughter.
“You think I am joking, Celeste?” I snap at her, “Because I am not. This man needs help, and no one, I mean NO ONE is going to stop me!” I place him back on my shoulders and sprint across the battlefield, attempting to escape the furor that was the Queen of Columforth. I frantically look back every now and then only to see her shooting away at helpless people on the battlefield. This man is not going to even survive the rest of this day because of my doing.
I finally get to the tent without the Queen directly behind me and place the poor thing on a cot before Bridget snaps at me for taking care of a soldier without her knowing. I run out of the tent and back into the battle to find more injured people.
“Violet! Stop helping the injured! You need to fight this time! We need all hands on deck this time and they will be helped by the nurses!” I heard Sam’s voice behind me.. “And.. This can’t.. go.. ON!!” she yells out as she fights off a rather large brown haired man.
“Oh but Sammie...” I start saying
“NO VIOLET!” she spits out, “I don’t want to hear it! Go... Fight!” She beats down the large man. She wipes the sweat off her brow and glares at me, then runs back off into the battle.
The battle only lasted 3 days. Well, not only 3. Three is a long time for a battle and it felt like an eternity of days. We lost about half of our troops, and we only started out with around 1,500 people. I look west, near where the battle was taken place. The ruby red glow still lingers menacingly over the distance. Behind me lie the ruins where people lived in pre-columforthian eras. I know we have to go that way soon. Samantha wants to speak with Queen Chrysalis about her joining our side.
Our packs are settled in the rusty wagon. We say our farewells to the few ponies we know. I go up to the last of the Ripper Family, Tate Ripper. I know we won’t be knowing each other for much longer, so I confess my feelings for him while Sam is speaking with Lily about the next raid.
“Uhm.. Tate” I shyly mutter, “May I have a quick word with you?” He nods and walks to the nearest empty spot with me. I break down crying, and hug him with all the might I have left, “T-tate, I want you to know that I...” He places his large hand over my mouth, shushing me.
“Violet, you don’t need to speak. I know what you are about to say,” and he leans in and kisses me. Tears stream down both of our faces as we are then dragged apart by our crew. I am leaving for another country while he stays and fights for our rights as people, “Violet! Be careful! I will make sure nothing happens to me on the field! I promise!” I am now in the wagon. It is slowly starts to move. “I will wait for you Violet!” he shouts. Then we start off. I can’t bring myself to say anything back to the gentle giant.
The road is so rough. Rocks are falling around us. Not badly, but enough to break one of the windows on the already rickety cart. The night sky is glittering with millions of mispositioned stars. The full moon is slowly rising, shining light around us. Samantha is sleeping on the opposite side of me, and the guards are resting on the top of the cart, keeping eye and allowing us our privacy. I lay down on the floor where there is less of a chance of me falling. I grasp a picture of me and my friends in my small hands. I let the tears stream silently down my face as flashbacks haunt my mind.
Flashbacks of the most amazing times, like meeting Pinkamena, and learning that Sam was the reason for all of my best friends meeting. And flashbacks of ghostly dreams. Celeste forcing her guards upon me. Raping me. Tearing my hair out of my head. Ripping my arms out of my body slowly. And then placing them back on with their dark magic. The ropes and the knives that were frequent in my days. Poisoning me, and giving me antidote later. And starving me. I shudder from the most vivid of those memories and start to let hoarse cries out to make sure I don’t wake my only living friend from the old days.
I deserved it all I suppose. I snuck out of my secure home to help a criminal in the eyes of Columforthtian law. I supplied her with food. Water. I would have given her a place to stay in my cottage if Celeste hadn’t sent her guard dogs to sniff out the homes of Lillington and residents of Rosedale. But there was nothing else I could have done. I am, or was, the Element of Kindness. It is in my nature to do so. I help anyone in times of need, regardless of who they are. I do it on the battlefield too.
I wake up on the floor being shaken by a very confused Sam.
“Violet!? Why are you on the floor? Did you fall or something? And your face is covered in dry tears! Are you ok?!” Sammie panics. I wipe my eyes out sleepily, and stand up. But as soon as I do, my knees weaken and I fall.
“I-I’m fine Sammie,” I say as I pick myself back up, “Just a bad dream, I suppose,”
“No dream could make you cry out the way you did Violet! There is a stain on the floor, for God’s sake!” She points to the spot where my head rested all night., handing me a brush and a handkerchief. I start brushing my long pink hair out and I explain what I was thinking about. I leave out the days I spent in the towers of Remminglot. She gets up and sits on the other side of the cart, looking out the window at the now barren landscape. The flush green fields turn into boulders and dark red dust. It is turning into something more fierce and intimidating. Instead of large purple snow-topped mountains, there are black and red spires crawling out of the otherwise flat landscape. A thick, slightly glowing light green fog rests only a few miles ahead of us. Broken chains lie on some of the rocks with signs in the language of the changelings resting atop of them. Ahead lies a half broken gate, one that looks as if no one has travelled to this land in many, many years.
“Well looks like we are here...” Sam swings her long red hair into a side ponytail. She is wearing a white ruffled lace collar and a cuffed shirt under a fancy skinny long sleeved black coat. Her pants are black also, barely hanging off of her thin, athletic body. She doesn't bother putting on any jewelry on besides a necklace. The one with her Element in it.
“So you are telling me that I can bring my subjects into your war and feed off of Celeste’s loyal subjects?” Chrysalis paces back and forth through her hall. Broken shards of glass litter the ground outside. One wall is half crumbled in and green glowing spider webs hang from the ceiling. The white walls are covered in a thick coating of black mold, and dirt covers half of the white stone floor, hiding it from pony eyes. A chandelier hangs from the center of the room, sporting a giant misshapen green crystal and swirling black patterns carved into the rusty metal as well as the grey and white candles made by the people of our country.
“Yes, I am saying you will have full reign of your army and will be allowed to take the lives of anyone that is fighting against us. We will give you shelter, water, and will supply weapons if needed and military uniforms,” Sam stood in front of the Queen of the Changelings without fear. I stand there like a good girl and wait for them to get done.
“What do you think, sweet one?” She stops in front of me, sliding her finger slowly along the curved lining of my face, “You seem to just be going along. Is there anything else there can be offered?” I look up, shivering with anticipation, wanting to see home again.
“I-I believe that your help will be greatly appreciated. You get to allow your subjects to feast upon the love that sheep have for their beloved ruler, which is indeed a strong love. You are allowed to keep the weapons after the war, and I believe Samantha and I were talking about fixing up your country and funding your needs until you are back up on your feet,” I look at Sam who is writhing in angst. She hated the idea from the start, but I knew Chrysalis wouldn’t budge until we offered something of the sort. As I would have guessed, the Queen’s eyes lit up with joy. We had won her side in the war.
We still have a few days left here in this country. We have to attend another meeting with Chrysalis, and will have to gain the trust of her people. I walk around the desolate area, looking for something to do, but there is nothing. I take a trail-looking road down to a brighter area. The cloud cover allows no sun to escape into this region. While I walk, I start to hear a set of footsteps behind me. I take a quick look and see a tall, skinny man.
He has long, scruffy black and brown hair that reaches his eyes. Under the shining hair lie a pair of glowing blue and green orbs. He smiles to reveal a set of fangs, and his pale white body walks faster to catch up with me. He sports a roughly worn jacket, and long pants that look a little big on him. His shirt is fairly simple, with an unknown white logo half faded away.
“So what's a pretty little Columforthtian doing way out here in no man’s land?” He slyly says as he creeps up next to me. Blushing, I tug at my silken blue and black dress.
“It is no matter for you, sir,” I say matter of factly as I continue on my way. But that doesn’t stop him. He grabs my hand and walks with me. I pull my own hand out of his, blushing even more. “I have a special someone already sir! I would rather you not...” He cuts me off by stopping and looking down at me, glaring questioningly with his large green eyes.
“I am not trying to show affection towards you, princess. I am merely showing common courtesy to a elder,” he whines. I explain what it means back in Columforth. “I did not mean it the way that your country does ma’am. I apologize for upsetting you in any way.” He bows, making me blush even more. “Oh, by the way, I’m Terish,”
“Violet,” I nod in response.
After a while we start to walk back to the main hall, where Sam and the Changeling Queen were having a brunch of greens and hearts. They both wanted me there, but my vegetarian diet disallowed me to attend. We walk silently through a ruined looking town.
“Do you know why our country looks the way it does, Violet?” He suddenly says to me as we pass a dead flower on the broken street. He levitates the dead flower as I nod my head slowly, “It’s because of your queens actions. Queen Celeste sent bombers to kill off our country because of our supposed cannibalistic views. We are of a different race. We feed off of the aura of love and hearts they are stored in. We bottle it with our magic, and drink it when need be. Even I have to unless I want to die, though I am highly against it.” My eyes open in surprise. I had stumbled upon a changeling who hates the way he has to eat too. But, unlike me, he is forced to do it anyway.
“Y-you don’t like being a changeling?” I ask awkwardly.
“Of course not, ma’am! Why would anyone even need to change forms anymore? There is no point to it, even in a war... Which reminds me... Why are you here in our country, especially when you and your friend are fighting a war in Columforth?” He changes into Sam, flushing her bright red hair over his (her?) shoulders. My eyes widen in fright. How did he know about me and Samantha? He obviously sees my shock and changes back to himself. “I know, of course, Violet,” he bows again, “You are a Princess in the eyes of our people after all, and as you are infamous around Columforth, that means that some word of your uprisings hit us at some point or another.” He lets out a distressed laugh. A spontaneous idea hits me.
“Y-you can come back with us if you want...” I whisper nervously. His eyes light up.
“What?” he anxiously asks. “I can? Oh god... Wait.” He is taken aback for a split second. “Wait, wait, wait... What’s the catch, Princess?” His eyes slowly dim down again.
I look at the desperate young man sincerely and say, “You just have to watch over Sam and I until we give you leave, which shouldn’t be long.”
“Your war... It is almost over?” His eyes perk back up, his grin widened.
“I wouldn’t ask this of you if there weren’t the possibility of us winning and of you living to see your country back to the way it was before Celeste.” I smile at him and we race back to the fallen ruins that were once his Queen’s palace.
I wait among the newest additions of troops who are entertaining themselves by turning into different brightly colored celebrities that inhabit this sick country. The sky is a sparking opal, changing colors with every step I take. This trick was created by some of the new troops, as they can use and mold magic, something most of the people of our country cannot do. They thought the blood red the sky turns before an attack looked too dark, and I agreed with the team, allowing them to change the color that it naturally turns to when danger awaits. A fire bolt shoots over my head like a comet. I scream loudly and curl into a tight ball, attempting to protect and hide myself from the danger. Sam screams out orders to the unruly team, which causes them to shudder and quietly obey her words.
She rubs my shoulders softly, causing me to sit up. I have tears running down my face, and dirt plastered in my sweaty hair. I shake terribly as she calms my mind.
Terish runs up to Sam with a message. She mutters something quickly in his ear and he runs off. I am back on my feet in only a few minutes, cleaned up. “I have to go talk with Chrysalis about her troops. Tate is on his way right now, sweetie,” The ruby haired girl hugs me tightly and smiles. “I will hopefully see you and Tate later, okay?” I nod and she leaves. The team of changeling troops I am watching over start turning into her once she is gone to make fun of her seriousness. I start watching them intently, not caring what they do at the moment.
I hear a familiar voice calling to me faintly from where I am watching. “Violet! Darling!” He runs up from behind me and hugs me tightly before I can turn to see him. His face burrows into my messy hair as he tries to plant a kiss on my cheek. “Are you OK? Sam said you freaked out earlier.” I look at him with teary eyes. This is the first time I have heard anything from him since I got back. Nobody even knew if he was still with us. I tear myself from him to allow myself some room to cry, but I end up running back into his arms a few seconds later for comfort.
“Where were you, Tate? You’ve been gone the whole time I’ve been back!” I cry out. His fluffy tangerine hair brushes my face as he kneels down to my level. He picks my chin up and smiles at my eyes.
“I had to fight for you little one, as you and Sam are so close to winning. We can feel it! Do not worry about me, just worry for your new troops.” He picks himself up and kisses my head before he walks away without another word. I look after him for a split second before turning to my troops. Half of them see the little episode and change into him and me, mocking us harshly. I remember my silver handgun and mount my horse. I pull it out and shoot it up in the air 2 times.
“You, all of you!” I glare at them harshly as I place my gun back into its hilt, “Get yourselves into position, now! You are under my authority, not your own!” I look at each and every one of the changelings who were mocking me and Tate. “All of you who were mocking your commanding officer will be punished accordingly after the battle.” I turn the grey mare around to face the western horizon. Her leather saddle is very pretty, decorated with flowers and vines. I run my fingers along the lines nervously, awaiting the oncoming battle. I hear the horns from the opposing side and signal to my troops that the time has come. The time has come for war.
“Come with me, child!” shouts Queen Celeste as she tries to grab my hair. I duck under her long flowing blonde hair and take a stab at the opening in her armor. I only get a little cut before she kicks me ten feet away. I wipe the blood from my mouth as I get back up on my feet. “I can make your life better if only you surrender! I can compensate for everything I did to you!” She smiles warmly like a mother would at her newborn child. My right eye starts swelling from her earlier blow. I spit at her feet.
“I will never join your side Celeste! Never!” I run at her with my sword and attempt to cut her face. She ducks and drags me to the ground. I punch her soft face and jump back on my feet, grabbing her long hair, “You wanna know what you did to me? Way too much. I have sympathy for your followers, but not for you. I feel bad for them because you are brainwashing them! I do not have a problem telling you, showing you what you did to me!” My eyes gleam as I insert the blade into an opening in her armor. I slowly dig into her shoulder, rejoicing in the revenge that I had been awaiting, “You cut my hair off, all of it, taking part of my flesh with it,” I cut off chunks of her hair. “You are going to suffer for what you did to me! To my family! And to my friends!” I cut her arm off, letting her cry out her newest melody. It was sickening to the other people who had quickly gathered around us in the few minutes I was with her, as they forced me off of the Queen, “This isn’t over Celeste! It will never be over until your blood fills the rivers from here to lands overseas!”
I think about the other day very hard. I didn’t know what I was doing. I still don’t know. I see people rushing around me, falling around me. I wish to help every single one of them. To get them back to their families once and for all. I want Celeste to leave, to just give up. We are so close to winning this war, but with each battle we win, she comes back stronger. That doesn’t mean that we are lesser than her, but she just brainwashes people who are caring for their children. Forcing them to leave those poor young souls by themselves.
I hear from Sam that I cut off her arm during our last battle. To tell the truth, I don’t remember doing it at all. But pictures of the one armed Queen soon reach me, leaving me speechless. I never realized that I could be capable of such murderous actions. Well, that is, until now.
“You will die for what you did, youngling,” she says, her stone cold grey eyes pierced my soul. “You must pay for your actions against your rightful queen,” She has me pinned down in an abandoned hut that lie on the side of the battlefield. I spit in her face again. The person holding me, a tall skinny black and blue haired man, shifts his dark mask before tightening his grip on me. I struggle, refusing to look in either of their eyes. She starts to run her sword up and down my legs. The cuts start getting deeper as the minute passed. I try to contain myself, but instead find myself biting the hand of the man restraining me. He swears and loosens his grip slightly. I fling myself up and kick him down, leaving him unconscious. I face towards the startled queen who is still holding her long blade down. I reach into my armor and grab my spare pistol and aim it right at her head.
“Tell my one f**king reason I should let you live Celeste!” I command her. Her eyes pleaded for life, but behind that mask lies her own revenge, “You sicced your guards on me, to rape me, to hurt me, and to try to kill me!” I shoot her foot. “TELL ME!”
“Kill me then, it means noth--” I shoot her before her words are done, knowing that they were going to be lies. I am walking towards the door when I start to get dizzy. I grasp onto a crate to hold myself up. I see the blood pooling around my legs onto the hard dirt floor. I get a little sick at the sight of the blood-soaked floor. The room spins in fast circles as I fall into a deep, black abyss.
I wake up inside a white room. It takes a minute to regain my thoughts, and I then see the silver tray tables with medical tools on them. I scream loudly, and struggle against the light restraints holding me in place. Tears run down my face as I remember the times in Celeste’s castle towers. It is happening again, I just know it.
While I scream hysterically, Sam sprints in, causing her to trip and fall on the IV cords hanging around the bed. I see her and calm down a little bit, but I am still frightened. Did she sell us out? Did the queen brainwash her? She gives me the biggest grin. I immediately shut up and ask her what happened.
“We won the war Violet! We won! Because of you! You shot Celeste, which released some kind of spell on the people! Everyone on her side dropped their weapons, and looked around completely dazed!” She jumps around like a little girl in a candy shop.
“S-so... I helped end it?” I stutter out quietly. “I shot the queen?” I ask, incredulous. I stand up quickly, attempting to look outside, this causes me to fall over.
“You’ve been out over a week Violet,” She helps me back up, “Oh by the by, you have a few guests... Hold on, be right back!” She places me on the bed and runs back out of the room. She returns shortly with a pretty little outfit and wheel chair. “Your country wants to see you.”
I roll outside, where I am greeted with a billion cheers. Standing to my left is Terish, smiling so much his fangs are showing fiercely. And to my right is Tate, who picks me up almost immediately and then kisses me in front of the whole of two countries. Chrysalis comes up behind us to congratulate us on our success. I hug her from Tate’s arms, thanking her for her and her country's support. I am placed back into the wheelchair. I wheel myself up to the edge, and start to thank the countries support, both ours and the changelings. I am talking with Sam to the country about how we are going to change it for the best, where a dictatorship will not be tolerated under any circumstances. But before we can finish, a ringing crack snaps the air. A gun has been fired, but before I can duck and save myself, it imbeds itself into my throat. I gurgle loudly as I slide to the marble floor. I hear faint screams and shouts around me. I never thought I would die this way. I start to fade into the blackness. I want to say goodbye to Tate. I want to give release to Terish, and to thank Sam for always being there for me.
But before I can, I am gone in the dark abyss.