Well, I’m a small horse. I know that sounds wierd, and I’m sorry. I have been a small horse all my life, and I have no clue what a big horse might look like. Wait, I take that back. I remember going to a museum, I think, in foal school, when I was very young. We saw this display, well it was a skeleton of a really big horse. And the sign under it said “full size horse.” None of us, even the teachers were even close to that big. That makes us all small horses, I think. And I remember there was a skeleton of a smaller horse in that same display. The sign said “pony” maybe. Well, it was small like us, but everything about that pony was big, it’s neck was big and short, it’s legs were twice the size of mine, it’s head was huge. Well, looking around… I was probably the smallest, but, we were all more like a small version of that big horse, and not that stocky little pony. Well, you could draw a line from the top of the larger horses’ head straight down to where his nose was. The rest of us weren’t like that at all. I could actually see the nice curve from my eyes down to my nose, I don’t know. We are all small versions of that nicely proportioned, big horse, but with gently curved faces; does that make any sense? I don’t think it matters.

So I live in a land filled with other small horses, well small horses and magic. I know that sounds wierd too. But that is my land, my life. I don’t think I will get another one…

And my name doesn’t matter either. Soon after I was born, my mom and dad got caught in a raging blizzard. For hours, they did their best to crowd around me, to shield me from the icy wind, the snow, to try to keep me at least a little warm. From their description, maybe it is a wonder any of us survived. But we did. And I was a very small, well compared to the rest of us even, from that day forward. Maybe it affected my growth, I don’t know. I was always the smallest mare of any bunch. At school, that was the worst. I was always reminded about how small I was. Always. Well, I’m still on the small side, I don’t know. And, they said my eyes were too close together. I don’t know about that either. I am not sure how they could tell, not that it mattered. I’m a Unicorn, but magic came slowly for me, very slowly. So the other colts and phillies at school made up all sorts of names for me. I was teased a lot for just about everything, anything. I think the teachers gave up trying to control that. So, I didn’t, don’t want any name. I’m just a noname mare. You can call me that, noname, if you want. Or useless; I got called that a lot, too. Light blue coat (because of that blizzard, maybe), and light brown mane and tail, blue eyes… I think I’m about as normal as they come, normal enough that I always needed to be reminded about it. Life was just hard for me growing up. Well, it has been, for a while, I guess. I was born clinging to life, and since then…

We lived in some big city. The school was big, and the other phillies and colts were mean. Did I say they teased me mercilessly? And my magic lessons at school… I almost always had to stay after school was done, so I could try to practice my magic, to catch up. Other Unicorns would use their magic to pick weeds and throw them at me while the magic teacher wasn’t looking. They could already use their magic to pick sticks, rocks and stuff up and throw them… I would be lucky if I could lift the magic practice sheet at the end of the day… I could barely even MOVE a small flower… Well, one of the main problems… A big colt named Red was the ringleader, I guess. He couldn’t fly, he couldn’t do magic… Maybe he felt left out or something, and decided he needed to take it out on me… And every chance he got, especially when we all went somewhere together, Red would walk behind me. As soon as he could, he would get just one of the hairs from my tail in his teeth, then jerk his head violently to the side, ripping that one hair out… It hurt like mad every time; of course I cried out, then cried loudly. And by the time I turned around, by the time the teacher turned around, Red was just standing there with this look on his face like “What… What did I do?” Of course everycolt around him was laughing… He could simply call my name and I would cry, because I knew what would happen. Something always did… I told my parents, but… My dad said his dad was well-placed in the army or something, the horses that keep the rest of our town safe. There was probably nothing anyhorse could do to try and help him see that his colt was… Well, I didn’t feel very safe around Red…

My mom and dad worked hard, trying to make ends meet, and put food in front of me. I am an only philly. I think that, as hard as taking care of me was for them, they just weren’t ready to try to add another. But my dad especially, he just did not want to leave the city, his family, his job, stuff like that. Well, I put up with this as long as I could. My mom always spent time hugging me as I cried soon after she got home from her job. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom and dad, and I’m sure they loved me. School was just a nightmare… I had to even stay an extra year, and I still got teased a ton. I was still the smallest of… And the weakest in magic… Well, I think you get the picture.

When I was done with school, I was done with the big city. My mom and dad expected this, I think. I was full grown (four and a half years old). I will freely admit I had plenty to learn still. I just had to leave. Over a period of about a month, my mom and dad sat with me, talked with me a lot, and tried to prepare me for life in the big horse world, my dad called it. I listened, I really did. And I was not too sure exactly where I would go, except away. I knew I would miss my mom and dad, but I told them a number of times that I would come back and visit them, let them know where I was. I didn’t just run away. Mom and dad fully understood what was going on. My dad sighed at one point, and said that city life wasn’t for everymare. I guess that was me. The day before I left, mom and dad took the day off from their work, and we spent the whole day just crying together. I think this was as hard on them as it was on me. But we all knew I couldn’t stay. Besides, I needed to forge my own path; my dad said that a few times. That is what mares and stallions do as they grow up, he said. Forage my own path, that might work better for me; I just wanted away from this city, away from any city.

My dad had a pretty good knowledge of the areas around our city, and he directed me to the west. He said there were some big cities on the way, but I could just go around them. Further past those cities, he thought there were some smaller towns and such. He knew that is where I wanted to go. I think he knew that is where I belonged. The next morning, we hugged and cried buckets, then I forged onward. I headed west. Honestly, I wasn’t even in a hurry. It was spring, and the weather was nice. As soon as I left the city I grew up in, I started crying. It wasn’t because I missed my mom and dad; I already missed them fiercely. But the teasing… I was free… I walked slowly, away from that awful place, becoming calmer with each step away that I took. I didn’t ever want to go back. Like I said, I wept for the longest time, most of the first day on hoof. The horses that had made my life an absolute nightmare, from as early as I could remember… I was leaving them behind… for good…

Dad had bought me a pulling wagon. It was basically flat, and had two large, wooden wheels attached cross-wise to a good sized piece of wood under the flat part. The pulling harness was easy to get under and into. And when I crawled out from under the harness, the wood slanted forward. And I could push the harness up and slant the wood backwards, but that just dumped everything off. Still, it was pretty easy to work with. The weight of the wood was centered over the stick thing that held the wheels so it was pretty light to carry, to pull. And, by now, I could (barely) do that with my magic. My mom (also a Unicorn) felt I had a lot of magic potential, it would just come slowly. But my magical ability was clearly still growing. The big flat part of the wagon had a small raised wood ledge along the front and sides so anything I put on the flat part would not so easily fall off. My small horse coat and some food went along the front of the wagon, along with some seeds that dad gave me. He said I could probably grow some nice food, besides the grass I would find along the way. He couldn’t grow stuff here in the city, but I guess he had come from a smaller city, and knew some things. I had no idea where I was going, and so didn’t ignore anything like that. I would just have to wait and see.

Like I said, I wasn’t in a hurry; I just wanted away, away from that city of tormentors. Wow, spending that first night under a tree, and watching the stars; that was a totally new experience for me. And, for the first time since I could remember, I could actually sleep. It was just so amazingly quiet. And that first night actually ended… Well, I think I woke up around noon the next day. I didn’t travel very far that second day as a result. But the further I got from that city… It was like my whole insides began to just unwind. I didn’t get any bigger, my magic didn’t get any better, and my eyes, well… But I was… Life was becoming so much more peaceful for me. For a while, with each passing day, I think I walked slower and slower. I skirted a huge city one day, and just stopped after I had made my way around the hill it was built on. I could have kept going, but again, I was in no hurry. Well, that night, a fierce storm blew through, and I cowered under my wagon with my stuff, as the rain, the thunder… The next day, I decided that I really couldn’t take my time. It was almost summer, but I really needed to get someplace safe. I needed to find my new home.

I noticed as I walked west, away from that huge city on a hill, that, well, I saw fewer and fewer horses as I walked. This told me that fewer actually lived in this area. Maybe a week later, I did find a small town. I stood on a slight bluff, and could see most of the town. Aside from a castle off in the distance, the town looked small, much smaller than the seemingly endless city I had left. I smiled. Now, if I could just find a place to stay. I did end up in town near sundown. A friendly mare struck up a conversation with me, and said I could spend the night with her. I tried to not notice, but her eyes were… Well, I don’t know what the other mares and colts at school were talking about, but this mare’s eyes were all over… Well, she was very friendly, and let me spend the night at her house. I assured her that I would find a house for myself the next day. I hoped I would, anyway.

The next morning, I left, and basically wandered around in the fields, the meadows around this tiny town. Near sundown, I found a small, deserted house; it was clearly a small horse house. It needed work, to be sure. It had two rooms, and was empty. I spent that night in there, and just looked around. I would start working through possibilities for this place, but then I had to remind myself that I didn’t know who it belonged to, or if I could even afford it. Still, I slept well, anyway.

The next morning, I was on a mission. The spire of the castle made locating the town from way out here, very easy. I left my wagon there at that house, and walked quickly into town. At the center of the town was the most official looking building I could find. It turned out that the ruler of the town, I guess, she lived there. I explained my trip, then described the small house I had found to her. She smiled, and called over another mare. She asked this other mare about that house, using a name that I don’t even remember. The other mare said quickly “Aww, take it. Nohorse has lived there for years, and it is about as vacant as can be. The old stallion who used to live there died maybe ten years ago. It is pretty far from town though.” She said this last with some concern. I just smiled. “It will do nicely, and thank you.” I carefully stamped one of my front hooves in the thing of ink, then on some piece of paper, and the place was mine. I walked straight back out to my new home, far off in the middle of nowhere, laid down in the biggest of the two rooms, and then started to think through possibilities again, for real now. This big room had a fireplace, which I knew I would need this winter. Well, the whole house needed a roof before the winter too. I would need help for that. But the rest… This would do nicely. Just me, and quiet…

I relaxed… I softly cried myself to sleep that night.

————–

1. The Background Music for this entire story is entitled “The Divine” from the “Forever Today” add-on for the original soundtrack for the “Seekers of Adoulin” expansion for Final Fantasy XI, and is copywritten by Square Enix. Players of FFXI will recognize this tune immediately, and this tune is fitting since a lot of this story takes place in the dead of winter. Please purchase this tune, and play it softly in the background while you read each chapter.

2. This story, “CSR Princess” is vol. 14 of the Chronicles of Summer Rain, and is copyright 2017 by Shysage

 

 

 

 

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