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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4. Chapter 4

Author's Note:

The name, Berry Shrub. Was very kindly provided to me by Sora2455

There are some typo's in the herd and they need to go!

If anyone else would like to offer any names, please send them to me privately and I will give you credit if I use it. I only ask that you don't steal the name, and it needs to fit in with the times of the story.

Ash pawed his hoof across the ground, digging furrows into the soft rich soil. Glancing to his side, he saw Celestia doing much the same. Their eyes met and narrowed at each other, as they each glared at each other.

Looking forward, Ash let out a snort as he pawed his hoof across the ground one more time. His eyes looking out across the meadow.

Suddenly, Celestia leaped forward. "Go!" She cried out, racing off ahead.

She was already moving before she said go! Celestia was always such a cheater! Ash dug in his hooves and shot off after her. Stretching out his stride, Ash soon came up behind Celestia, his muzzle almost touching her tail as it streamed out behind her, with little clods of dirt peppering his face as it was kicked up from her hooves.

Swerving to the side, Ash kicked his hooves harder as he attempted to pass her, but Celestia suddenly veered into his way, blocking him. Such a cheater! Ash swerved to the other side, and Celestia again veered into his path, while letting out a giggling laugh.

Letting out a snort. Ash lunged to the other side, and just as Celestia moved to block him, he turned and moved back the other way and quickly pulled up next to her. Celestia scowled at Ash, as he gave her a grin.

Looking ahead, Ash could see the finish line. The large cracked bolder in the center of the meadow. Lowering his head, Ash quickened his speed and was surprised to see Celestia matching him stride for stride. With both their breaths huffing out from their shared exertion, they both shot forward towards the gap between the two boulders.

Neither pulled ahead of the other as they closed on the gap, their shoulders would bump as they jockeyed for position. The gap was only big enough for one of them to pass through at a time, and Celestia showed no sign of slowing or turning away. Ash glanced at her in concern. If one of them didn't pull ahead or the other slow down, they would likely run right into the bolder!

They were moments away, and Ash suddenly made up his mind and slowed his steps, and let Celestia pull ahead just as they both shot through the gap. Slowing down, Ash trotted to a stop as he caught his breath. Celestia was hopping around him in happy celebration, as her tail swished about.

Ash's eyes followed Celestia as she circled him, until she suddenly stopped just before him, and bent her head close. "You look grumpy, are you sore you lost?"

Ash let out a sigh, and shook his head. Even though Celestia cheated, they both still ran a hard race, and had fun with neither of them getting hurt. "No, it was a good race and you won."

Suddenly, Celestia leaned in and pressed her lips to his. Ash's eyes shot wide as he stared forward at Celestia face, while she pressed herself into him with her eyes shut. The shock of their lips meeting shot pleasant tingles all through his body, and as she pressed into him, he began to realize just how warm and soft Celestia's lips were. Letting his eyes drop shut, Ash leaned forward and returned the kiss.

The moment their lips parted with a smacking pop, Ash sagged weak kneed to the ground as he let out a satisfied sigh.

"That was a reward for being sweet." Celestia said, licking her lips.

Ash could only mumble as he tried to respond. His head felt like it was in the clouds, as everything suddenly became really warm.

 

* ** *

 

"Why haven't I ever heard of this before!" Meadowlark exclaimed to Bell Flower. Sitting in the shade of a tree, bordering the meadow where Celestia and Ash played, Meadowlark chatted with a small group of mares that came to sit with her, while they all enjoyed the new spring air.

"We figured you knew. A lot of the mares do it when they feel the itch come on strong." Bell Flower explained. "Dove Song likes it when I give it a little nibble at the very end. She lets out the loudest whinny."

"Bell Flower!" Dove Song exclaimed blushing. "She doesn't need to hear that, just as she doesn't need to hear about how you almost drown me, every time I get you to reach the shudders!"

Listening to the pair, Meadowlark's ears started to burn.

"So, what was it like when a stallion gave you the lickings?" Bell Flower asked, leaning in with a smile.

Meadowlark, nibbled her lip as she thought about it. "It... it was... amazing!" Meadowlark said with a happy sigh. "Dark was so tender. He held himself back, and only worked to please me. The feeling of his large tongue had me moaning in moments, and when he found my happy spot, I thought I was going to melt. It was all so wonderful." All the mares sat quietly as they listened, some began to shift themselves about as they flicked their tails about excitedly. "Afterwards, when Dark laid down with me, and softly groomed me. I felt so much contentment that I just wanted it to last forever."

There was a collective sigh from all the mares.

"You are so lucky to have him." Dove Song said enviously. "When my heat comes, Furious Charge shows up and without so much as a hello, he's on my back, poking himself around inside me for a good few pushes, then he's off to the next one. And I haft to spend the rest of the day with my tail stuck to my hind leg."

Several mares in the group nodded together knowingly.

Flicking her ear back, Meadowlark heard the sound of little hooves trotting up to her from the side. Meadowlark suddenly felt two foals pressing themselves against her pregnant belly. Turning she smiled back at the sight of Celestia and Ash pressing their heads against her belly as they both tried to feel the foal inside her move. For some reason, the foal in her belly was most active during the night.

"Did you two have fun?" She asked.

"We raced to the split rock." Ash answered.

"And I won!" Celestia chimed in, rubbing her hoof along her mother's belly. "When is the new foal coming?" She asked.

"Oh, very soon now." Meadowlark answered. "It should be around when the moon is full."

"Meadowlark... I think there are some mares to see you." Bell Flower said, pointing her hoof out.

Looking over, Meadowlark saw a large group of mares with their foals walking across the meadow towards her.  A mare, Meadowlark recognized as Berry Shrub, one of Thunder Steps mates, walked just ahead of the group as she lead them up to her.

Curious about what was going on. Celestia and Ash quietly settled down next to her side, as they watched.

Berry Shrub came to a stop just before Meadowlark, with the rest of the mares standing just behind her.

"Good day, Berry Shrub." Meadowlark greeted her. "What brings you to me?"

Berry Shrub, looked nervously at Meadowlark for a moment before she finally spoke. "We... we all want to... ask for your help."

Meadowlarks ears perked up in surprise. "Help!? What can I do to help you all?"

Berry Shrub licked her lips as she glanced back at the mares behind her. Many of them looked somber, while the rest just mostly looked anxious. "We want to stay here, but our stallions are leaving with Thunder Step. If we joined Dark Storm's herd, they would see this as an affront, and most certainly attack Dark Storm to take us back."

"We heard how you and Dark Storm care for foals, even those not your own." A mare suddenly said, stepping forward with a filly not yet ready to be weaned by her side. "We want to leave our foals with you, to live here under your mate's leadership." She said, nosing the soft blue filly forward.

Other mares stepped forward, pushing their foals ahead of them. There were so many of them.

Meadowlark suddenly felt like the foal inside her just kicked her in the guts. "Do you know what you're asking!?" She asked, then turned her head to look at the rest. "Do you all know what you're asking?"

The mare nodded her head. "We believe they will live a better life here. We... we believe that with you and Dark Storm, they will... live."

Meadowlark looked out at all the mares as they held their foals before them. So many foals. Some were so young they still needed the teat. All of their mothers looked to her for hope, hope to save the future for their foals. She didn't know what to do. She wanted to do it. She wanted to take all their foals. But that would mean they would never see their mothers ever again. The thought of it made her want to cry.

Closing her eyes, Meadowlark thought about what Dark would do. It wasn't hard to know, that he would take them all. Even if it meant his life, he would do it. Meadowlark desperately racked her brain for some kind of answer. Then it hit her. Meadowlark opened her eyes as the solution came to her. Dark can't save them, but there is another pony that could. Her.

Meadowlark awkwardly clambered up to her hooves, and looked out at the waiting mares. "No. We will not take your foals from you." Meadowlark said with a firm authority that begged no argument.

All the mares suddenly looked dejected, with some of them looking like they were suddenly about to weep.

"What I will do, is take you all." Meadowlark continued. All the mares suddenly looked at her in confusion. Meadowlark ignored them, as she turned and looked at Bell Flower and Dove Song. "Spread the word among the mares that are staying, to meet by the bend in the stream, at first light tomorrow. All of them, leave no mare out. And make sure that they do not speak of this with any of the stallions, including Dark Storm. This is mare business."

Bell Flower and Dove Song, looked at her in surprise at her sudden change. But then they both respectfully bowed their head down, before moving off to do as she ordered.

Looking back to the gathered mares, Meadowlark lifted her voice up so they all could hear. "All mares who wish to leave their stallion and remain here, are to seek me out at the bend of the stream, at first light. I will be there waiting for them."

As the mares started to leave, Meadowlark turned to the mares that had been sitting with her in the shade. "I need a group of volunteers for an important job." Every mare in the small group rose and bowed their heads down to her. Meadowlark gave them all a grateful smile before she looked down at Ash. "Ash, do you remember where that cave is, where papa took you, when he had you help him?"

Ash gave a nod. "Yes, mamma. I remember."

Meadowlark smiled and set her hoof onto his shoulder. "Good. I have a job for you. I need you to show these mares here where that cave is. Can you do that?"

Ash stood a bit taller as he gave a nod. "Yes, mamma."

"Good." Turning back, Meadowlark addressed her volunteers. "Now. Tomorrow, this is what I want you all to do."

 

****

 

Dark Storm lifted his head and let out a yawn. It was going to be morning soon, and he needed to be at the split rock before any ponies started to arrive. Next to him, Meadowlark softly snorted in her sleep.

Reaching out, he gently, so as to not wake her, kissed her on her forehead. Careful to not jostle her, he lifted himself up. Pressed up against Meadowlarks shoulder, Celestia and Ash lay tangled together as they slept. Bending down, he gave Celestia a kiss, and without hesitating, he also gave Ash a kiss as well.

Stepping lightly, Dark quietly left.

As Dark's hoof steps faded away, Meadowlark lifted her head up, and nudged the two foals. "Wake up you two, it's time."

Dark could see his breath in the cold morning air. The stars were slowly fading as the sky gradually grew brighter. Standing just in front of the cracked stone, Dark waited. It wasn't long before the first of the stallions started to arrive. Three stallions, Dark recognized as some of his greatest supporters, Birch Bark, Evening Breeze, and Brightstar, walked across the field and greeted him before they stood with him to wait for others, who soon began to show up in ether small groups or just by themselves.

As the sun crept close to peeking over the horizon, Dark looked around and saw that he had a large group of stallions standing with him, but not a single mare. Even Meadowlark was missing. Where was she? Could she have slept in?

As the sun crested the horizon and cast its light through the crack in the stone, right onto Dark. It became clear that no mares had shown up. Many of the stallions started to mutter among themselves worriedly, that all the mares might have went to Thunder Step. Dark knew that this could not be true. Meadowlark would never leave him for Thunder Step. But one worry was eating at him. Could Thunder Step and his stallions have snuck over and herded the mares away with them? This seemed unlikely, as there was no way he could have done that without at least a few getting away and rising an alarm.

The rumble of many hoof steps suddenly came to them. Looking across the meadow, a large group of stallions lead by Thunder Step emerged from the trees, followed by a group of mares. As they drew closer, Dark could see that the mares that followed behind Thunder Step was much too few to account for all the missing mares.

Thunder Step and the stallions with him had their ears pinned back angrily as they advanced, with some of them brandishing spears. The stallions with Dark suddenly shifted worriedly as the obviously enraged group of stallion approached. Some of the stallions around Dark closed in protectively.

"Where are they!" Thunder Step shouted angrily coming to a stop. "You've taken them, and we will have them back, or we'll stomp you all to the ground!"

Dark shook his head, confused. "I don't know what you mean?"

"Our mares! A group of them vanished, and you've taken them!" Thunder Step snapped, as he stomped a hoof.

Suddenly the pieces started to come together. Meadowlark not coming, and all the missing mares. Meadowlark, what are you up to? Dark thought as he almost smiled.

"We have done no such thing!" Dark shouted back. "Look around, our mares are missing as well!"

"Liar!" Thunder Step roared. "You have hidden them somewhere!"

Dark let out an enraged neigh and threw his head back. "I am no liar!" He bellowed. "I am telling the truth when I say no stallion with me has taken any of your mares!"

Thunder Step let out a snort and took a step closer. He looked on the edge of charging Dark.

"Thunder Step, look!" A stallion near him exclaimed pointing off to the side.

Emerging from the trees, Meadowlark walked out. Followed by a large group of mares. Her large frame made it awkward for her to walk quickly so she took her time to approach the two groups of stallions.

As the mares approached, Dark noticed that Celestia and Ash were nowhere to be seen. In fact, he could not see a single foal among the group of mares.

Coming to a stop, Meadowlark let out a sigh as she shifted her stance to try to ease the weight on her hooves. Lifting her head high, she looked out over the gathered stallions.

"I am a mother!" Meadowlark suddenly said, projecting her voice over all the stallions. "Behind me, stands all my daughters!" She shouted out.

Many of the stallion in both groups looked around among themselves in confusion.

"As a mother, I care for my daughters, and I am very displeased with all you stallions for failing them!" Meadowlark continued. Many stallions on Thunder Steps side began to mutter angrily. "For your failures to care for my daughters, I have taken them all back! And I henceforth kick out all stallions from my herd!"

"How dare you!" Thunder Step shouted taking a few angry steps towards Meadowlark. "A mere mare speaking to stallions in such a way!"

Dark started to move forward to block Thunder Step, but paused when he saw a sudden shift of the mares behind Meadowlark, as they moved forward and placed themselves before the outraged stallion.

"Be very careful, Thunder Step." Meadowlark warned the stallion, her voice taking on a dangerous edge. "My daughters love me, and a mare will very easily kill anything that threatens her family. Even a stallion."

Thunder Step shied back a step at all the menacing glares, that many of the mares were now giving him.

Meadowlark looked out past Thunder Step, to the rest of the stallions. "As a mother, I need a worthy mate to be a father to all my daughters. Who here is worthy to be that father? Who here offers themself to me and my daughters to be judged?!"

Dark felt like he had been struck by lightning, Meadowlark was stealing the herd! Dark had thought he couldn't love Meadowlark any more than he already did, and now she does something like this. What a mare! Stepping forward, he paused next to a furious looked Thunder Step, and faced the wall of mares. "I, Dark Storm, offer myself to be judged!" He called out.

Meadowlark gazed out at him, her face unreadable. "Daughters! If you find Dark Storm worthy to be my mate and your father, let him pass. But if you find him lacking, then kill him."

Holding his head up high, Dark stepped forward to the wall of mares, and just as he reached them, they suddenly stepped aside letting him pass through.

Stepping into their midst, he felt a muzzle touch him lightly on his neck. "Father." A mare said with the touch. Another mare touched him from the other side. "Father." With each of his steps, a mare touched him with her muzzle in greeting.

"Father."

"Father."

"Father."

Once he passed through, he looked ahead at Meadowlark, who met his gaze lovingly as he stepped up to her. "I find you worthy, and accept you as my mate, to be the father to all my sons and daughters." She said, before she reached out and pressed her muzzle to his with a kiss.

For the first time ponies witnessed this, and a stir ran through all the mares and stallions at the new sight.

"My daughters are lonely and need mates to be fathers to their sons and daughters. Fathers who will care for and provide for their offspring!" Meadowlark called out. "Are there any stallions here who offer themselves to us?"

Birch Bark was the first to move. Stepping forward he stopped before the mares. "I, Birch Bark offer myself."

"Do any of my daughters accept him as a mate, worthy to be father to their foals?" Meadowlark asked.

A mare stepped out and approached Birch Bark. When she stopped in front of him she suddenly reached out and planted her lips to his as she imitated the kiss she witnessed just moment before with Meadowlark and Dark Storm. She then turned and lead him into he herd, joining a group of other waiting mares.

Another stallion stepped forward. "I, Brightstar offer myself." He said nervously.

Dark held his breath. Brightstar had always been pushed around by the other stallions, especially the ones closer to the top. And had never had a mare to be his mate.

At first, no mare moved forward. Then suddenly a mare walked out and pressed her lips to his and kissed him. "I Berry Shrub, accept you as my mate and father to our foals." She then turned and lead a stunned looking Brightstar into the herd, soon to be joined by other mares as they gathered around him.

One by one, stallions stepped forward and offered themselves, and one by one a mare stepped out and accepted them into the herd. None who stood with Thunder Step offered themselves, until a young stallion who looked like he was barely old enough to be considered a stallion, suddenly shoved himself out and rushed forward. He gave Thunder Step a fearful glance as he passed him.

"I...i...i, ah.. I Strongbuck o-offer m-myself." The young stallion said shakingly.

No mares presented themselves to take him in. Thunder Step glared down at the young stallion and smirked.

As the young stallion started to turn away, a mare abruptly stepped out and approached. The mare bent down and whispered something to the smaller stallion, who listened and when she finished he looked up at her and nodded. The mare then kissed him. "I Dove Song, accept you as my mate, and father to our foals." She turned and lead the young stallion into the herd, where Bell Flower moved over and joined them, whispering something to the stallion that suddenly made him blush red.

Meadowlark let out a gasp, then groaned. "They are going to eat that colt alive."

A few more stallions from Thunder Step's side came forward to try, but none were accepted. In the end all the stallions from Dark Storms side was accepted with only the one from Thunder Step's side.

When it was all done, a little over a half of the total stallions was now part of their herd, with a good one third of the mares choosing to go with Thunder Step.

"It is done! Those of you who have not been found worthy, depart now and never return! You are all banished from our land!" Meadowlark declared with a finality that rang out over the herd.

Suddenly a small shape darted past Meadowlark and Dark Storm. When Meadowlark saw the small shape she gasped. How did Ash get here!? He's supposed to be with the other foals, safe in the cave!

Ash rushed forward and stopped just before the wrathful looking Thunder Step. Looking up at the stallion, he took a breath. "Father!" Ash called up to him. "Please tell mother,... please tell mother, thanks, for raising me as much as she did. Goodbye father." The colt turned and rushed back to Meadowlark and Dark Storm.

Thunder Step scowled and turned, returning to his now much diminished herd. Passing through them, he walked out across the meadow and disappeared into the trees, the rest of his herd quietly following after.

Meadowlark let out a long tired sigh. "I need to lay down! My hooves and my back are killing me!" She turned and slowly waddled back home. "Dark, come with me and rub my back. Ash I don't know how you got here, but find Bell Flower and tell her that it's safe to bring down the mares and the foals that we hid up in the cave."

"Yes mamma." Ash said, then darted off.

 
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