Herd Life

Celestia is a growing filly within the herd, as she and many ponies struggle to just survive in their primitive times. Upheaval is soon to come, as new ideas clash with the old, when Celestia's parents join together in their struggle to move ponies into a new and unknown future, amid the dawning of the pony nation.
Contains: Stallion on Mare mating and impregnation. With lovemaking and experimentation later.
Online reading by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9RpH3CFcO8&feature=youtu.be
I do not claim ownership of the cover art. It is publicly posted art. Artist for Celestia: alasou

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2. Chapter 2

Author's Note:

I didn't plan it but here it is. Chapter Two. Sorry no clop. Just family stuff.

I bet you all a hundred bits that there are typo's. Tell me about them and I will fix them.

If you like the story great! If not... then not so great.

 

The snow had come down thick this year.

Struggling with each step, Dark Storm plowed his way through the thick snow drifts with his powerful legs. Sitting atop his back, he carried a strangely shaped log.

Earlier that year, the spring and summer had been wetter than normal, and the grasses grew thickly all throughout the shallow valley they called home for the past year. Seeing this, Dark Storm wondered if there was a way to store it for the coming winter when they would need it the most. Much like the squirrels he'd see storing their nuts. Can the same be done for grass?

This was a new worry for Dark Storm. Always before, a stallions job was to just watch over the herd and drive off predators that came to prey on unwary ponies and foals. But now he was taking on the responsibilities of caring for a pregnant mare and their foal. Never before had a stallion ever done this. A stallions job normally ended when he climbed down from the mare's back, leaving the mare to rise the foals.

This had always bothered Dark Storm. At first he had always followed along with what was expected. He had his small brood of mares he bred with when their heat came on. But then things happened that made him question as to whether this was the right way to do things. A few years ago, the same year that Celestia was born. A mare of his brood grew sick. Two days latter he discovered that the herd had left the mare and her young foal, Dew Flower behind when she was unable to keep up.

Ignoring the dangers, Dark Storm rushed back to try and find them. But once he arrived, all he found was a few scattered bones, with no sign of Dew Flower anywhere. This had hit him hard. Walking back, Dark Storm wept, and made a  promise that he would not allow this to ever happen again. The old ways of the herd needed to change, and he was going to make it happen.

At first, he tried talking to the other stallions, urging them to get more involved with their mares and seeing to their needs, as well as helping out with the care of the foals. Many of them laughed at him, and mocked his idea. But there were a few who listened to him and told him in private, that they would try to get more involved with their mares.

Happy that at least some of them listened and were doing something, Dark Storm made sure to visit each of his mares to make sure they were doing well, as well as spending time to play with his foals. But this all ended when a plague spread through the herds young foals a year latter, and killed almost a third of them, including five of his own.

Dark Storm was devastated. He couldn't stand the thought of just leaving them to be picked over by scavengers, so he took the bodies of his foals and painstakingly dug a hole with his hooves. Ignoring the strange looks ponies were giving him, Dark Storm buried them all together.

Once he had finished the grim task, he wandered off dead to the world.

It was then that Meadowlark came to him. She stopped him and wrapped her hooves around his head, hugging him to her chest. Feeling her comforting embrace, Dark Storm broke down and wept, collapsing to the ground. Meadowlark stayed with him, and continued to comfort him, offering what sympathies she could.

Meadowlark had always been special to him. He had feelings for her he didn't have for any of the other mares. Last spring he finally made the big step by taking her as his only mate. Letting his other mares find new stallions.

Now that he was caring for a family, he was worrying for things he never did before. Last summer, he spent months gathering the long grass that was growing so bountifully, and storing it in a small cave he found nearby. Now that winter was here in all her great fury, he was glad that there was a store of food he had ready to bring back to his family. But their supply was dwindling and much of it had gone bad with mold. Only the grass that dried out when he let sit in the sun for too long was still good.

Despite the worry and hardship he now faced, he didn't once regret his decision. Every day, he got to see Meadowlark grow a little larger with their foal, and every night he loved resting his head onto her belly to feel the little life inside her move around. Even now, as he trudged through the freezing snow, he smiled at the thought that once spring arrives, he will be a daddy to a new foal. Every day he spent with Meadowlark and Celestia brought him new joys that made his heart soar in the heavens. Without a doubt he loved being a daddy!

A sudden light flashed behind him, causing Dark Storm to pause and look back with his ears alert for danger. Standing stock still, he rotated his head about and attempted to find the source of the flash of light. After a while, when nothing presented itself, he let out a relieved sigh and continued on.

He was almost back to their makeshift home. Already he could see the forms of ponies huddled under various trees and bushes for shelter, many of them standing or laying in small groups for warmth, tired from digging in the snow all day for the few meager mouthfuls of grass or roots that was found beneath.

Dark Storm had spent most of the day helping pregnant mares with their shelters, leaning branches against trees to create a small shelter beneath that protected them from the worst of the winds. While he worked on that, Meadowlark helped to gather lone mares together so none were alone for the cold nights. Dark Storm and Meadowlark didn't want a repeat of what happened last winter when ten ponies froze because they didn't have a shelter or anypony to be with to help keep them warm.

Brushing by a small pine tree, Dark Storm's hoof suddenly prodded into something soft that let out a startled yelp.

Taking a quick step back, Dark Storm looked down at what he had just disturbed. Huddled into a ball, a little charcoal brown colt looked back up at him from just under the tiny pine tree.

"I'm sorry, I didn't see you there." Dark Storm said to the colt. Something about the colt was nagging at him, and it took him a moment to finally place him. "Aren't you Celestia's little friend? What are you doing out here alone? Where's your mother?" Looking around, Dark Storm hoped that he wouldn't see a pony shaped lump under the snow nearby.

The colt's teeth were chattering so much, it was difficult for him to talk. "My mama said she had to worry about the new foal growing in her belly now, and couldn't take care of me anymore. She said I was old enough to care for myself now."

Dark Storm felt anger rise in his gut. This practice of kicking out a older foal to prioritize resources for a new foal wasn't new. Dark Storm had experienced it himself back when he was a little colt. He was lucky to have made it through that winter, others weren't so lucky. When spring had finally arrived, he was more bone than skin. To this day, he's never forgiven his mother.

Looking down at the colt, Dark Storm suddenly made a decision. Reaching his head down, he grabbed the colt's mane and crest in his mouth and lifted him up out of his little hollow in the snow. The colt didn't say a word as he dangled down from the stallion's mouth. Stepping forward, Dark Storm headed for home.

 

****

 

Celestia's stomach grumbled. "What's taking daddy so long? I'm hungry." She complained.

"He'll be back soon. Just be patient." Her mother said, grabbing her anxious daughter in her mouth and dragging her back to her forehooves. "Now hold still, you have a snarl in your mane." Trapping her daughter between her forehooves, Meadowlark bit and worked at the snarl trying to work it out.  

Hoof steps could be heard approaching from just outside their shelter. Dark Storm had worked on it for many hours to get it just right, leaning branches and logs all around the large fir tree, and kicked out all the snow under it to create a very large and nice hollow beneath for them to stay in.

The hoof steps stopped right next to the shelter and suddenly a head poked through a section of wall made up of pine bristles followed by the rest of the stallion, as he carefully forced his way through the branches.

"Here you go, I brought you something." Dark Storm said around something in his mouth, before he suddenly dropped it into Meadowlarks forehooves right atop of Celestia, who let out a surprised squawk.

Meadowlark looked down at the frozen bundle sitting before her and and blinked. "A colt!?"

"Well yeah. Didn't you say you wanted a colt?" Dark Storm said, taking the strangely shaped log off his back and setting it down.

"I meant the normal way." She said, jerking her head towards her large belly.

Smiling, Dark Storm moved closer. "Well, if you don't want him, I can just toss him back in the snow where I found him."

Meadowlark suddenly wrapped her hooves around the frozen colt and clutched him to her chest as she lowered her head over him. "Don't you dare!" She cried out to him. "Oh, you poor thing! You're half frozen. What were you doing in the snow all by yourself?"

"His mother put him out to fend for himself." Dark Storm explained. His face suddenly taking on a dark look.

Beneath her, Meadowlark could feel the colt shivering. "That's horrible. Well I won't allow that! You can stay here for as long as you need."

She felt the colt move closer to her and press himself up against her. "Thank you." The colt said in appreciation through his chattering teeth.

Celestia's ears suddenly perked up at the sound of the colt's voice. Leaping over her mother's leg, she shot up to a little gap where her mother's neck bent down. Poking her head into the gap she looked in at the colt. "Ash!" She cried out out suddenly when she recognized the colt's charcoal brown coat. Shoving herself into the small gap, Celestia managed to work herself close enough to hug the colt.

Lifting her head, Meadowlark looked under herself. "Oh, so it's you!" She said to the colt in surprise. "You're all skin and bones! When was the last time you ate!? Never mind that, its been too long." Reaching her head down, she grabbed the colt by his crest and took him out and set him against the side of her large belly. "Celestia, lay against him and keep him warm. Dark, give him something to eat, would you?"

Celestia quickly scampered around and plopped herself onto the colt, and nearly cried out at how cold he felt under her. Gritting her teeth, she held herself in place without complaint, as she shared her warmth with him.

Dark Storm bit onto a nob and removed a section of bark that covered a hollowed area inside the log. Reaching in, he took out a mouthful of grass and set it down before the colt."Here you go." He said. Reaching back into the log, he took out another mouthful and set it before Celestia. "And here's some for you."

Celestia moved her share over to Ash. "Here, you can have my share too." She said to Ash. Seeing the state the colt was in made her heart cry.

Her father smiled down at her before he turned and took out a larger portion and set it before her mother. "Make sure you eat all of it." He said to her sternly, before taking out the last portion, and setting it before Celestia. "It was sweet of you to give him your share, but I don't want you going hungry."

Smiling at her father, Celestia took a mouthful and chewed. "Thanks daddy."

Ash took a mouthful and quickly chewed and swallowed, before he hurriedly took another mouthful.

"Don't eat so fast, you'll get an upset tummy." Meadowlark said to the colt.

Ash's ears drooped down at the soft rebuke. "Sorry." He said, before taking another mouthful and chewed it more slowly.

Happy to see him again, Celestia snuggled herself into Ash's side as she ate. The last time she saw him was last fall, just as the leaves were turning. Celestia's mother had allowed her to go off a short ways to play with him. Being the energetic foals they were, they endlessly chased each other around until his mother got fed up and sent them over to run around Celestia's mother's legs for a while, which they happily did.

She was almost done with her meal when Celestia glanced over at her father, where something suddenly caught her eye.

"Mommy? What is that on daddy's butt?" Celestia asked, pointing her hoof.

Curious, her mother glanced over to see what Celestia was pointing at, and her eyes widened in shock. "Dark. Look at what you have on your flank!

"What?" He asked, bending his head back and looking. There, standing out prominently on his moss colored flank was a series of six little stars arrayed in a circle. "I... I have a talent mark!" He exclaimed in surprise.

Still eating his meal, Ash paused and looked over, wondering what they were excited about.

Celestia got up and ran to her father. Climbing up his flank, she looked closely at the marks. "Talent mark? What's a talent mark?"

"A talent mark or as some ponies call it, a destiny mark. Happens very rarely." Celestia's mother explained. Next to her, Ash got up and quietly stepped closer to look for himself. "It happens to a pony who discovers their special talent, or thing they love. So many ponies are struggling just to survive, not many discover their special talent."

Celestia rubbed her hoof over her father's mark. "I think it looks cute, it should be called a cute mark, or maybe a beauty mark." Turning she looked at Ash. "What do you think?"

Ash paused and blinked at her question. Scratching at his head, he thought about what she had said. "They're both good. How about you combine the two words." He offered helpfully.

Celestia scrunched her face as she thought about it. "A bute mark? No. That sounds stupid."

"How about ceauty mark?" Ash offered. Combining the first part of cute with the second part of beauty.

Celestia suddenly brightened and smiled. "That's it! Cutie mark! Daddy has a cutie mark!" Hopping down from her father, Celestia tackled Ash and hugged him, smooshing her cheek into his. "Thank you Ash, you're so smart!"

Dark Storm and Meadowlark both laughed as they watched Ash's vain struggle to escape from Celestia's grasp. Turning, Meadowlark looked at her mate. "She's right, cutie mark does sound better."

Dark Storm's face took on a indignant look. "I am not telling ponies that I have a cutie mark on my flank! That would be embarrassing!"

Celestia suddenly released Ash, and he tumbled to the ground with a thump. Looking up at her father, Celestia started to pout. "Daddy? You don't like it being called a cutie mark?"

Dark Storm looked down at his daughter, and suddenly knew he had lost. There was no way he could ever deny her when she looked up at him with that face. Letting out a sigh, Dark's head dropped down in defeat. "Okay,... daddy has a cutie mark."

Celestia's face broke out in a beaming smile, and she rushed forward to hug his neck. Now it was Dark Storm's turn to pout. Celestia has been getting all too good and getting him to do what she wanted.

Meadowlark reached out and nuzzled Dark's cheek as she smiled at him. "Its adorable the way she has you wrapped around her hoof."

"Daddy! So what is your special talent?" Celestia suddenly asked.

Meadowlark nodded and looked at Dark. "She's right, what is it that you discovered about yourself?" She asked, looking at his cutie mark, trying to determine from it what it meant.

Dark Storm rubbed at his chin as he thought about it. When was it, that he got his mark? He suddenly remembered the flash of light. That must have been it! So, he asked himself, what was I thinking at that time? Running his thought through the moment, it suddenly came back to him. Letting out a groan, Dark suddenly turned red, and dropped his head down to the ground before he covering his head with his hooves.

Concerned, Celestia moved closer to her father and lightly touched him with a hoof. "Daddy? What's wrong?" She asked.

Dropping his hooves off his head, Dark Storm slowly lifted his head up and looked around. He took in Celestia and Meadowlark, as well as Ash Cloud for a moment. With his face still beat red he let out a sigh. "I...I...thought about how much I loved being a daddy!" He said in a rush.

Meadowlark smiled and leaned in to lightly kiss Dark. "That's  wonderful, and nothing to be embarrassed over."

"That's right!" Celestia chimed in. "I have a daddy with a special talent for being a daddy! That means I have a double special daddy!"

Dark let out a guffaw, and picked up his daughter and gave her a big kiss. Setting her down, he suddenly picked up Ash and kissed him too, before he blinked and looked at the startled colt. "Why did I just kiss you?" Dark asked, blinking at the colt for a moment. Suddenly Dark shook his head. "Doesn't matter, time for bed."

Setting the colt down, Dark moved over and laid himself down against  Meadowlark and curled himself around so that she could rest her head onto his shoulder. Celestia, despite all the excitement she just had, let out a yawn and crawled into the hollow space next to her mother's chest.

Lifting her head up, Meadowlark looked over at Ash as he looked for a place to lay down. Smiling, she reached over and bit his mane and dropped him down down with Celestia. Lowing her head back down, she let out a little happy sigh as she closed her eyes.

With Celestia tightly curled up against him, Ash found himself both warm, and with a full belly for the first time since the snows had fallen. Closing his eyes, he was asleep almost instantly.

 
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