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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6. Chapter 6

Strongbuck wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his fetlock, before he levered another stone onto his pile.

Over the last couple of days, ponies have been busily working on the new structures that Brightstar designed, quickly erecting nine of these new homes within the first day, with more ponies coming forward and offering their help on the second day, where it was now believed that another twelve would be completed before the sun set.

Strongbuck moved over to another stone, and started to pry at it with his hoof. As he worked, Strongbuck felt a sense of satisfaction for what he was doing for the herd, and for Dark Storm. He hoped that it would make up for his weakness for giving into pressure, and failing to support Dark Storm when he needed it the most. The shame and remorse he felt whenever he thought about how he backed Thunder Step, and stood with those that mocked Dark Storm, drove him to work all the more harder, as he pushed himself to the very limits of his endurance.

Strongbuck admired Dark Storm, and his mate Meadowlark for what they've done for the herd in the short time since they ousted the previous alpha, Thunder Step. What they've accomplished so far, is beyond anything, any pony in the herd could have comprehended was possible. It was like a light had suddenly shined onto their lives, filling their hearts with hope.

Prying the stone loose, Strongbuck kicked it over to the rest of the stones he had piled up, and stood back, sizing up the pile. Figuring he had enough, Strongbuck moved to another clever creation of Brightstar's, and  stepped between two long poles made from young aspen trees, and lifted it up.

The previous day, when Brightstar saw ponies carrying stones on their backs, he suddenly started muttering to himself as he paced, deep in thought. He did this for a short while before he gave a happy jump, and quickly began to assemble a new contrivance to allow ponies to move things around more easily. It consisted simply of two long poles strapped together on one end with long strips of willow bark. The back end that dragged on the ground, had a  frame structure built across the two poles, to allow it to hold the stones in place.

Settling the poles into position along each of his sides, with the points up at his withers. Strongbuck leaned forward and started to drag the sled forward. The work he was doing also gave him a chance to be away from the mares for a while. Dove Song, constantly followed him around and liked to rub up against him, while Bell Flower liked whispered strange things she wanted him to do to her. Pausing, Strongbuck shook his head. Why would any mare want a stallion to do that, to her other hole? He'll never understand mares, especially those two mares.

Pulling the sled into the meadow, Strongbuck looked around and marveled at all the new homes that were being made. Many where already completed, while others where just being started, as ponies began to erect the long poles. Dragging his load forward, Strongbuck brought it to a large pile of stones, and lowered the poles off his back, setting his load down.

Ahead of him by the split boulder in the center of the meadow, Strongbuck saw a new structure was taking form that looked much larger then the others. What was that? He wondered.

Quickly he unloaded his stones onto the pile, before he set off to find out what the new structure was. As he approached, he saw that it was about thirty steps long, and eight steps wide. Already, long poles had been set up to lean against each other, as ponies strapped supporting poles with willow bark, lengthwise down the length of the structure to keep them together.

Seeing two foals dragging a pair of smaller sleds, walking by. Strongbuck held his hoof out to stop them.

"What are they building?" Strongbuck asked, indicating the large structure.

The charcoal brown colt looked up at him. "Papa wanted a place to store food for the winter, and he said it needed to be reeeely big!" The colt said, holding a hoof way off to the side to indicate size.

"And we're helping!" The white filly next to him added with a proud smile.

"That's right, and a wonderful job you two are doing at that!" A voice said from just behind Strongbuck.

Strongbuck knew that voice! Turning, he looked back at Dark Storm, as the stallion smiled down at the two foals. Panic suddenly shot though his body, and locked up his limbs. Quickly Strongbuck managed to bow his head down and look at the ground. "Father." He said, trying to show respect.

Suddenly a hoof came down onto his shoulder, causing Strongbuck to look up and see Dark Storm smiling at him. "Strongbuck right? I've noticed how hard you've been working over the last couple of days." Dark Storm said, lowering his hoof down from his shoulder. "You've gathered and brought back twice as much stone than any other pony, and I want you to know I appreciate the hard effort you've put into this."

"Th-thank you." Strongbuck stuttered out, shocked that Dark Storm had not only noticed him, but also knew his name.

"Celestia, Ash, I want you to take a break and eat something, and mama wants you two to come and visit her. She's been feeling lonely since she's been stuck, resting, in our new home." Dark Storm said to the two foals.

"Yes papa." The two foals said together, and as Strongbuck watched in stunned amazement, Dark Storm bent his head down and the two foals moved forward and kissed him affectionately, while Dark Storm kissed them both back, before they hurried off, dragging their little sleds off with them. It was a sight Strongbuck has never seen before. A stallion showing and receiving affection from foals. Is this what it meant to be a father?

"So, how are those two mares of yours, I hear that they can be a bit... wild in some ways." Dark Storm suddenly asked, turning back to Strongbuck.

Strongbuck's heart began to race in his chest, as his apprehension suddenly shot up. "I ah... they're good." Strongbuck replied, swallowing.

Dark Storm seemed to sense his trepidation, as he looked closer at the young stallion. "Is... everything alright?" He asked in concern.

Strongbuck looked around as he struggled to make some excuse, but when he looked back at Dark Storm and saw him looking at him with true concern, Strongbuck let out a sigh and shook his head. "I... don't know how to be a stallion to them. They whisper things to me and nip me in some sensitive places that make me feel really excited, but... I have never been with a mare before, and the things they want from me is just so... strange." The young stallion explained. "When they press in close to me and tell me all the things they want to do to me, and have me do to them, I get overwhelmed and scared, and  I... I don't know what to do!" Strongbuck exclaimed hopelessly, as he flopped his rump down onto the ground.

Dark Storm blinked at the young stallion a moment before he nodded his head and sat down next to him. "I think I understand." He said. "Those two are coming onto you pretty strongly aren't they?"

Rather then answer, Strongbuck only nodded his head silently.

Dark Storm let out a long breath. "Bell Flower and Dove Song are passionate mares, and they are very close with each other, as close as two mares can be." He said, looking over at the young stallion. "When you stepped forward and offered yourself to the herd, they saw something in you that they valued enough to not let go, something none of the other mares saw."

Strongbuck shot a look over at Dark Storm. "What did they see in me?"

"I believe what they saw, was a young stallion willing to be brave enough to follow his heart." Dark Storm said.

Shaking his head, Strongbuck turned his head away as he was filled with bitter remorse. "I was a coward!" He exclaimed. "You were the one who was bravely following his heart! I just stood back and let them mock you, while I cowered amongst them!"

Feeling tears starting to come to his eyes, Strongbuck suddenly felt Dark Storm's hoof settle around his shoulder. The touch of Dark Storm's hoof sent waves of shame coursing though him, and he almost flung the comforting hoof off him, to run away.

"Strongbuck. You could have stayed with Thunder Step, but you didn't." Dark Storm said softly, to the young stallion. "You followed your heart and stepped out and stood right next to Thunder Step, and offered yourself to the herd, in complete defiance to Thunder Step. Dove Song and Bell Flower saw this and decided that you were worth keeping. They've never had a close relationship with a stallion before and this is all new to them, so forgive them, and be patient with their overenthusiastic affections, they are just trying to get to know you better. Just sit down with them, and talk with them honestly, let them know how you feel. I'm sure that once you all open up to one another, things will get easier."

Wiping his fetlock across his eyes to dry them, Strongbuck nodded. "Thank you. This really helps." He said gratefully.

"Anytime you need advice, just come to me." Dark Storm said, looking over at the young stallion.

"I think... I'll go look for them now, I've been avoiding them, and I think I may have hurt their feelings." Strongbuck said, feeling regret for the way he'd been treating them.

Dark Storm smiled and gave a nod. "That's a really good idea. Those two are special mares that deserves a good stallion to bring some added love into their life. Just remember to keep following your heart."

Strongbuck smiled and nodded. "I will." Standing he trotted away, to search for his two mares, and set things right with them. He had to admit, he did kind of like the attention they gave him, as well as they also smelled really nice.

After asking around, he was told by a mare, who kept smiling and looking at her cutie mark, that looked like a pair of shaped stones strapped to a stick, that Dove and Bell were off in the western woods, getting logs. Leaving the mare to continue to admire her new cutie mark, Strongbuck headed off to search the western woods.

Finding them turned out to be much easier than he thought it would be. He simply followed the sound of something repetitively striking a tree and soon found Dove Song standing alongside Bell Flower, who was holding something in her mouth. It looked like a pair of shaped stones strapped to a stick, just like the image of the other mare's cutie mark he had seen earlier. As Strongbuck watched, Bell Flower swung it against the trunk of an aspen, and with each swing of the sharpened stone, pieces of the tree was chipped off, slowly creating a notch in the aspen tree.

"Do you think he hates me?" Dove Song asked, as she watched Bell Flower work.

Strongbuck paused just behind a bush as he listened, with his ears perked up.

Bell Flower paused to look over at Dove Song. "Of course not! What is there to not like about you!?"

"He's been avoiding me so much, I can't help but think that there is something wrong with me." Dove Song said, dejectedly. "Do you think that its because he may have found out that I'm... that I'm.. barren." Her voice shook, as she reached a hoof up to rub at her belly.

Strongbuck felt a shock run through his body, when he heard her words. He had no idea she had been hurting so much.

Bell Flower spat out the tool she held in her mouth, and rushed over to Dove Song. "Don't say that! Your not barren! You've been with foal, twice!"

"But I've miscarried both times! What stallion would want a mare that can't carry a foal!?" Dove Song shouted back as she began to cry. "He hates me, I know it! He knows I can't give him a foal, and he's right to hate me! I'm a worthless, barren mare!"

Strongbuck struggled with his feelings, as his heart hammered in his chest. His gut felt like it had just dropped down to the bottom of his hooves. Taking a deep breath, Strongbuck touched his hoof to his chest as he thought about what Dark Storm had said to him. Follow your heart.

Letting out a breath, Strongbuck moved forward and stepped around the bush.

When Dove Song saw him she let out a gasp, and her tear streaked eyes widened in horror. "Strongbuck! How!... how long have you been there!?" She exclaimed, as Bell Flower whirled about to look back at him in surprise.

Now that he had revealed himself, Strongbuck didn't know what he should do. He opened his mouth, and found he had no idea what to say to her. No words seemed adequate for him to express his feelings to her. Giving up, he did the next thing that felt right. Stepping up to Dove Song, Strongbuck reached out and planted his lips to hers.

The moment his lips touched hers, he felt her draw back slightly, but then she paused and held steady as she let him kiss her. Her lips were warm, and trembled against his, as he pressed into hers a little harder.

Breaking from the long kiss, Strongbuck nuzzled her along the side of her cheek. "I don't hate you" He said. "I don't hate ether of you." He reached over and kissed Bell Flower, and was surprised to feel her meet his kiss eagerly.

"I'm young and stupid, and your attentions frightened me." Strongbuck explained. "But Dark Storm talked with me and opened my eyes, and I see now what a stupid fool I have been." He looked over at the two mares, meeting their eyes. "I made a promise to you Dove, back when you walked out to me, during that day. You asked me if I would do my best to make you and Bell happy, and I've been letting you both down, and I'm ashamed of myself for doing that. I want to see you happy, I want to see you both happy, and I will do my best to make sure that happens from now on."

Dove Song smiled, and nuzzled him on his cheek. "There's that brave stallion I was so attracted to, I was wondering where you went."

Bell Flower moved over and nuzzled him on the other side. "You know how to say the sweetest things."

Turning, Strongbuck brushed his hoof along Dove Song's cheek and met her eyes. "I want you to know that whether you give me a foal or not, I'll always be there for you, I'll be there for both of you, I promise."

Dove suddenly lunged herself forward and hugged him tightly, as she buried her face into his neck and cried. Her tears soaked into his coat as he gently held her with a hoof. He followed his heart, and now she was crying into his neck, was this supposed to happen? Strongbuck wondered, as he felt her shuddering against him.

Bell Flower moved in and kissed him on his cheek, before she wrapped her hoof around both of them.

They all stayed like that for a while, before Dove finally released him, and pulled back as she wiped at her eyes. "You really are the sweetest stallion. Please don't ever lose that."

Strongbuck gave her a smile as he shrugged his shoulders. "All I did was follow my heart." Turning he looked over at the tree, Bell Flower was chopping at when he arrived. "How would you two like me to stay and help?"

"That." Bell Flower said as she gave him a playful nip to his flank. "Would be wonderful." She then picked up the strange stick with the sharp black stone strapped to its end.

"What is that?" Strongbuck asked, eyeing the tool curiously. He remembered the mare by the settlement who had a cutie mark with a pair of them on her flank.

"This?" Bell Song asked, holding up the tool.

"Green Clover thought of it. She calls it a wood chopper." Dove said, stepping up to his side.

"Is she the one with the cutie mark of a pair of these wood choppers, on her flanks?" Strongbuck asked.

"That's her." Bell Flower said giving a nod of her head. "She noticed how a certain black rock, flaked off sharp pieces when she struck it with her hoof, and she strapped a stick onto it so it could be swung into a tree."

"And I was there to see her get her cutie mark, when she chopped down her first tree! It was amazing! There was a flicker of light on her flanks, and then there they were, a pair of wood choppers!" Dove said excitedly. "I wonder if I will ever get a cutie mark?"

Suddenly Dove moved over and planted a passionate kiss onto Strongbuck lips, and began to move her lips against his as he pressed in harder. Strongbuck's head felt like a swarm of bees had suddenly flown in and were now buzzing in circles. The sudden touch of her tongue as she slid it into his mouth to swipe at his tongue playfully, nearly made Strongbuck knees collapse under him. His body began to shiver with uncontrolled excitement, as Dove abruptly drew his lower lip into her mouth as she suckled it for a moment, before she released it with a wet pop. She drew her head back, and looked back at her flank and frowned. "Darn! I didn't get a cutie mark in kissing!"

Bell Flower stood watching, wide eyed at the scene as it played out before her. "Dove! By the stars! Watching you two made me ether ready for a good hard rutting! Or I just peed down my back legs!" She said, giving her hind legs a shake. "Look at what you've done to poor Strongbuck!" Bell Flower exclaimed, nodding her head at the young stallion, with heavy amusement in her voice.

"Oh my!" Dove said, her eyes traveling down Strongbuck's overly excited body, to his now fully erect stallionhood, that dangled down between his legs.

Strongbuck stood their awkwardly as the two mares openly ogled his aroused stallionhood. He felt his heart hammering in his chest, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stop his body from shivering. The two mares were now looking at him with a lot more interest, as they both stepped closer.

Bell Flower began to nuzzle and nip at his side, as Dove licked the other side of his neck. The young stallion felt his stallionhood start to throb under him with a powerful need, as he turned his head and sniffed at Dove's neck, taking in her lovely scent. Bell Flower moved closer, and brushed up against him, as she turned herself and flicked her tail into his face.

Letting out a snort, Strongbuck reached his muzzle out and sniffed at Bell's dripping desire, before he gave her a strong lick up her aroused slit, that made her whinny with lust, as he tasted her juices.

The sound of rustling leaves and the tiny snap of a twig, suddenly caught his attention. Lifting his head up from Bell's rear, Strongbuck suddenly looked about as he sensed that something was wrong.

Bell let out a little whine as she noticed he was no longer licking her, and turned to complain, but upon seeing Strongbuck's sudden alert stance, and quickly retreating stallionhood, she wisely stayed quiet as she looked around too. "What is it?" She murmured.

As Strongbuck felt Dove press in close to him, he rotated his head around and looked all about. The forest was now deathly silent, as he noticed all the birds had gone silent. A flash of gray suddenly caught the side of his eyes,  but when he looked nothing was there, another flash of brown drew his attention to the other side. Lifting his head higher Strongbuck sniffed the air, it was faint but he caught the scent of something. Something musty.

Panic suddenly shot though Strongbuck as he shoved his muzzle into Dove's side and pushed her. "Run!" Turning he rammed his shoulder into Bell Flower's side as he shoved her to follow after Dove. "Run! Now!"

Both mares didn't question him, as they both shot off, heading back towards the settlement. I was such a fool! Why didn't I bring my spear! Strongbuck berated himself as he followed after his mares. A flash of gray to his side relieved itself to be a wolf darting off to their side as the wolf followed along with them. To the other side, Strongbuck caught sight of several more white and brown streaks as more followed along.

The trees and bushes shot by the fleeing ponies as they bolted through the forest. More wolves started to reveal themselves as they closed in to their right side. Dove and Bell saw them and turned away, trying to keep their distance. Strongbuck noticed this and realized that the wolves where purposely forcing them to turn. They were diving them away from the rest of the herd!

"Dove, Bell!" Strongbuck shouted out to them. "They are driving us away from the settlement! We need to turn into them!"

"What!? Go into them!?" Bell shrieked, her voice sounded panicked.

"Trust me, and follow behind me! I will lead us through them. I will keep you both safe! No matter what happens, I will protect you both!" Strongbuck desperately shouted out to them. "Now, turn!"

Strongbuck turned back to his right, and surged forward ahead of his mares. The wolves were caught by surprise as the ponies suddenly charged directly at them. Many scattered out of the way, but one wasn't fast enough and Strongbuck let out an enraged stallion roar, as he bowled the wolf over, and trampled him under his hooves.

Flicking his ear back, Strongbuck risked a glance back and was relieve to see that both Dove and Bell still following behind him, but a moment later his heart sank when he saw wolves quickly closing in behind them.

"Keep going!" Strongbuck shouted as he swerved to the side and slowed, letting the mares pass. Striking out with his hoof, the wolves that followed, dodged to the side and avoided his strike. They were just to quick! Ahead of him, Bell lashed out at another wolf that ran up beside her, but that one too, quickly dodged away.

Strongbuck realized that they were not going to make it. There were just too many of them, and they were too quick. Looking ahead at Dove and Bell. Strongbuck let out a resolute sigh as he realized what he needed to do. I'm sorry, please forgive me. Strongbuck turned himself away, and ran off away from from his mares, as he headed deeper into the woods.

"Strongbuck! What are you doing!?" Bell shouted, when she saw him running off alone.

"Keep going, and get to safety! I'll lead them away!" Strongbuck shouted back, tears streamed down his face as he looked one last time at Dove and Bell and met their eyes. Goodbye.

A quick look showed that his plan was working, as he saw the wolves suddenly turned and followed after him. The wolves knew that a lone stallion would be a easier kill.

His breath huffed out in great puffing breaths as he swerved around trees. Wolves were now all around him, and closing in. Strongbuck knew that there would be no getting away from this, and in a very short while he would be dead. Thoughts of Dove and Bell, making it to safety and living a long life, lifted his heart, and kept his hooves moving.

Suddenly he felt teeth sink painfully into his right haunch, as a wolf bit down into him. Letting out a scream of pain, Strongbuck failed to avoid a tree and painfully slammed off of it with his shoulder and tumbled painfully to the ground. Before he could get back up, another wolf dashed in and sank his fangs into his shoulder. Reaching over, Strongbuck bit as hard as he could into the back of the wolf's neck and tore him free of his shoulder. Feeling the wolf's bones crack in his teeth, Strongbuck flung the mortally wounded wolf into another wolf, as it charged towards him.

Momentarily free, Strongbuck managed to climb back to his shaky hooves, but another wolf suddenly grabbed at his fetlock, causing him to stumble and fall back down, which allowed another wolf to dash in and clamped it's jaws around his throat, choking off his breath.

Struggling feebly, Strongbuck weakly kicked his hoof, trying to dislodge the wolf from his throat, but it was useless, he didn't have the strength. Everything was fading away, as his life was choked out of him. He could feel the wolfs fangs sink into his neck as the wolf clamped down harder. He could hardly see anymore, as the colors faded from the world. This is as far as I go. I'm sorry Dove, I'm sorry Bell. I wish... i...wish...

Suddenly he felt his throat get released, and he managed to draw in a shallow breath. There was something happening around him, as he felt a wolf scramble over him with its clawed paws scratched his ribs. He managed to hear a wolf let out a scream of pain, with more furious sounds of violence happening all around him.

Blinking his eyes, Strongbuck managed to make out a pair of shapes dashing around him as they attacked the wolves. Who would be crazy enough to attack wolves? Everything began to fade, and Strongbuck let out a breath as he felt himself fall into darkness.

 

****

 

Dark Storm heaved up another log and held it in place, as ponies moved in and began to wrap strips of willow bark around it, as they tied the log into place. Stepping back, Dark wiped at his brow, and smiled all about. Everything was coming together, as more and more ponies came to help. Word had already spread, that several ponies had gotten their cutie marks this day, and Dark couldn't be happier. If this continued, every pony in the herd would have a cutie mark before the first snows at the end of the year.

"Dark!" A distant voice shouted out.

Turning, Dark Storm looked out at Birch Bark, as he galloped as hard as he could towards Dark.

"Dark! Wolves have been spotted!" Birch Bark shouted as he skidded to a stop.

"Where!?" Dark exclaimed, feeling his heart suddenly start to race.

"The western woods. There were ponies in there gathering wood." Birch Bark answered quickly. "The wolves are howling and there are sounds of a struggle."

Dark felt his gut drop. "Hoof Strike!" Dark shouted out, to a red stallion standing nearby. "Gather all the pregnant mares and foals, and put them in the shelters with guards surrounding them. They must keep them safe at all cost!" Dark ordered. Hoof Strike bowed his head down and quickly dashed off. "Birch Bark, gather what ponies we can with spears. We are going into the west woods!"

"But it's too late, there's no way any pony could have survived a full hunting pack!" Birch Bark exclaimed, hopelessly.

Dark whirled about and glared right into Birch Bark's face. "We will teach those wolves what happened if you hunt ponies!" Dark snarled. "Now gather your spears!"

Turning, Dark marched down towards the western woods, his eyes burning in rage.

With his spear held in the crook of his leg, Dark waited for the Birch Bark to signal that they were ready.

Next to him, a stallion shifted nervously as they looked out at the woods. "I think I just saw something!" The stallion exclaimed, pointing his hoof.

Dark looked out and indeed noticed something moving deeper in the woods. Shifting his stance, he brought his spear forward as he clamped it in his fetlock. "Ready yourselves!" Dark called out, and heard ponies shift as they brought their spears forward. Would the wolves dare attack such a large group of ponies in broad daylight?

Dark gritted hit teeth as he watched the woods. The movement appeared and disappeared as it moved closer, until suddenly two ponies stumbled out of the woods.

Dark felt his heart leap up into his throat at the sight of the two mares. Bell Flower was leaning wearily into Dove Song side, as she helped support her, as she carried Strongbuck's limp body over her back. They were all covered in blood.

 
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