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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9. Chapter 9

The day was getting late, and Dark Storm knew he needed to get back. It's been seven days since the wolves started harassing the settlement, and each night ponies sat ready, as they waited with their new stone tipped spears, for the wolves to appear.

At first, the wolves were confused by the new structures the ponies built. They aimlessly raced through, as they searched for easy prey and found none to be had. Quickly, spear wielding ponies charged the pack, and drove them off.

As time progressed, it became obvious that the wolves were growing frustrated. They could smell the newborn foals, and all the birthing fluids that came with them, but whenever they dashed in, they were unable to find any foals to snatch away, and worse yet, angry stallions and mares would come charging in at them, forcing them to flee off into the night.

Dark Storm was proud of what the ponies had accomplished. Everywhere he looked, he no longer saw fear, but instead, ponies moved about with a new determination and drive to succeed, with their new way of life, that was being built here. All the homes had been finished and Brightstar was almost halfway done with the outer wall.

Where the cracked bolder sat, in the center of the settlement, a new structure was now taking form that Meadowlark had asked to be built. When it's completed, it will be the biggest of all the buildings that had been built so far, as well as using all the best ideas that the ponies have so far come up with. The building was going to be so large, that all the ponies would be able to sit under its roof at the same time.

Its walls would be made of stones, brought down from a nearby gully, and it's roof would be supported by the largest log beams that could be hauled in. The rain would be kept out, with the use of bundled reeds, from a nearby beaver pond, stacked in progressing layers, that was discovered to be much more efficient than the tree branches they had been using before. Already, homes all about the settlement were having their roofs changed over to the new roofing material, as fast as it could be brought in.

Adjusting his new willow pack, Dark settled it more comfortably onto his back, as he moved through the hamlet, until he reached his home. Leaning his spear against the side, Dark squeezed through the opening into the dimly lit interior. A couple of mares started bringing glow flowers up from a waterfall, that was downstream. The light they gave off was dim, but with enough of them, they worked well to light up the small space.

"I brought food," Dark announced, as he took his pack off, and set it down.

"Dark!" Strongbuck desperately called out to him. "Tell Dove that I'm well enough to go outside. I'm tired of being cooped up all day!" Strongbuck said, in a slightly hoarse voice. His voice still hadn't fully recovered from being partially crushed in a wolf's jaws.

Dark frowned and shook his head at the young stallion. "As I told you before, I am not getting involved in this. If Dove thinks you need more time to heal, then there is nothing I can do about it."

"As well he shouldn't!" Meadowlark said from her thick bed of straw. Turning, she glared over at Strongbuck. "Stop trying to get Dark to overrule your mate. She outranks him in these things, and he's smart enough to know that."

Strongbuck wilted under her sharp gaze, and quickly nodded his head.

Dove leaned over and nudged her hoof into Strongbuck's injured shoulder, causing him to flinch back with a whimper. "For that, you’re staying inside, one day longer."

Strongbuck's ears wilted down, as he looked down to pout.

"Where's Celestia and Ash?" Dark asked, noticing that the foals were nowhere in sight.

"Melodious recruited them for a job. They should be back soon," Meadowlark answered.

Dark noticed that Meadowlark's face looked tensed, and she kept shifting herself around on her bed of straw.

"How are you feeling?" Dark asked, looking at her with concern.

Meadowlark scrunched up her face as she rubbed her belly. "I feel tight, and achy. I think she's going to come soon. Perhaps sometime tonight or tomorrow."

Dark's heart leaped up in excitement, as the thought of the impending birth sent a thrill through his body. Dark had been anxiously wondering what his new daughter was going to be like. He hoped she would be sweet and kindhearted, like her sister Celestia was.

"Are you hungry?" Dark asked, turning to his willow pack.

"No, not really," Meadowlark said with a shake of her head. "Well... maybe a little... I don't know, I feel weird."

"Well then, I'll just leave some right here for you. Just in case," Dark said, pulling out some fresh grass, and setting it down on a large piece of bark, that was set out, to keep food out of the dirt. Turning, Dark smiled and reached into his pack and pulled out a small basket and held it up on the flat of his hoof. "I also brought some raspberries"

Both Strongbuck's, and Dove's ears shot up as they both looked quickly over. They licked their lips as they watched Dark carefully scoop some out onto the sheet of bark, next to Meadowlark.

Meadowlark reached out and nuzzled Dark, and kissed him. "You be careful tonight," she said, looking up into his eyes.

"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine," Dark assured her, giving her slanted smile.

Turning, Dark looked over at Strongbuck and Dove. "There's plenty of raspberries, so you're welcome to take a share. Just leave enough for Celestia and Ash."

"Thank you," both Strongbuck and Dove said together.

Dark started to leave, when Strongbuck suddenly called out to him. "Please, watch out for Bell Flower for us!" He said looking right at Dark. "I just wish, I could be out there with her."

Looking at the two he saw the worry they both had for Bell Flower's safety, and Dark gave them a reassuring smile. "Don't worry about her, she's a tough one. It's the wolves that will have to watch out for her."

Just then, Melodious came in. When she saw Dark she smile at him. "Oh, good evening Dark," She greeted him. "You heading out to stand night sentry?" Following behind Melodious, Celestia and Ash came in, carrying two baskets with Melodious' two little colts curled up inside, on their backs.

Dark grinned down at the sight. So that's what Melodious recruited them for, he thought as he looked down at them. "Yes, I am," He answered Melodious, as he watched her take the baskets off the two foals backs, and set them down.

Once he was free, Ash rushed up to Dark and looked up at him. "Can I come with you!?" He asked. "I have a spear I can use!"

Dark lowered his head down at the colt, and set his hoof onto his shoulder. "I have something more important for you to do. I need you to stay here and watch over everypony here," Dark said seriously to the colt. "This is very important, and I am counting on you to keep them all safe, alright?"

Ash met his gaze and saw the seriousness in Dark's expression. Drawing himself up a little taller, Ash gave Dark a nod.

"Good," Dark said, giving Ash a pat on his shoulder. "Now grab your spear, and wait right here next to the door. If any wolves stick their head in,  give em' the sharp end of your spear, and let them know they're not welcome in our home."

Ash gave a nod and dashed off to get his spear, which was leaning against the far wall.

Wrapping his hoof around Celestia, Dark dragged her closer for a hug, and kissed her. As Ash returned carrying his spear, Dark did the same with him. "Remember, I'm counting on you to keep them all safe," Dark reminded Ash, before he turned and stepped out.

Walking through the hamlet, Dark saw ponies returning from a day of hard work. There were smiles and laughter all around, as ponies stood about talking to one another about what they've been doing, with many of them pausing to wave or say hello to him as he passed.

At the edge of the settlement, Dark arrived at the end of the unfinished wall, where a group of ponies had gathered to wait for him. As he approached, they all quieted, as they turned to face him.

"Good evening, everypony," Dark greeted them as he came to a stop. Off to the side, Dark noticed Bell Flower standing with Strongbuck's spear, held it the crook of her leg. "Things were quiet last night, but don't expect it to continue. The pack was seen earlier this afternoon, by the three hills to the south, and Happy found some mysterious tracks, in the western woods, he can't make any sense of."

"Like what?" Mustard Seed asked.

Dark gave his head a shake. "He doesn't know. The only thing he would say, was that whatever made those tracks, was about the same size as a pony, and could climb trees."

"That doesn't sound like wolves," Morning Sky said.

"Of course not!" Mustard Seed snapped back at Morning Sky, as he threw his shoulder into hers. "Happy knows what wolf tracks look like, stupid!"

"That's enough!" Dark barked out, folding his ears back. Mustard Seed quickly ducked his head down, and clamped his mouth shut. "Now, it's going to be a full moon tonight, so there will be plenty of light to see. If you see anything, don't hesitate to call out the location, and never go off by yourself. Understood?"

Dark waited until they all nodded. "Good. Now, Morning Sky and Bell Flower will be with me tonight, the rest of you split up into groups of three and take up positions from here all the way over to where I will be, over on the east side. Make sure you all stay within sight of one another, and never get separated."

Turning, Dark walked up to Bell Flower. "You sure you want to do this?" He asked her.

Bell Flower hefted her spear, and gave him a nod. "I owe those beasts something in return for what they did to Dove's beautiful face, and for nearly taking Strongbuck from us."

Dark could see the determination and rage in her eyes, and decided to just let her be. Looking over at Morning Sky as she stepped up to them, Dark set off to the east end of the hamlet, with the two mares following just behind.

 

* ** *

 

Ash narrowed his eyes, as he hefted his green pebble. He had a good feeling about this one. Taking in a breath, Ash held it as he let his pebble fly, as he tossed it. His green pebble arched though the air and struck the rim of the gourd bowl that they had set out, and bounced onto the ground just behind it.

Letting out a groan of disappointment, Ash sat back on his rump and glared at the offending gourd, he could just make out under the dim light of the glow flowers.

Strongbuck let out a light chuckle, and patted the colt on his back. "You almost had that one." He then reached into his gourd and took out a blue pebble and dropped it onto the flat of his hoof. "Now watch and learn how it's done." Biting the edge of his tongue, Strongbuck flicked his hoof forward and tossed his pebble. With a resounding thunk, it bounced off the front side of the gourd. Strongbuck's face fell in mock despair.

Celestia hefted her light pink pebble for a moment, then gave it a toss. With a nice gentle arc, it, much to the others’ dismay, fell right into the gourd.

"That's three in a row! How do you do that?" Ash asked, shooting Celestia a disbelieving look.

"Oh, it's easy," Celestia said with a smile. "I simply aim for the gourd."

Strongbuck let out a guffaw.

"Ash." Dove Song called out, from beside Meadowlark. "Would you please bring Meadowlark some water?"

Ash quickly hopped up, and crossed over to where they kept the water. Taking the straps that ran around the neck of the gourd with his teeth, Ash strained a little as he lifted the gourd, and carried it over to Dove. Setting it down, Dove then slid a bowl over and helped him pour the water into it.

Ash watched as Meadowlark leaned down and took some grateful gulps, and noticed that her face looked strained. When she lifted her head back up, she let out a groan as her face took on a pained look, while her breath huffed out.

"Mama!?" Ash called out to her in concern, as he stepped closer. "Are you alright!?"

Dove Song stopped him with her hoof. "She's fine. What she is going through is normal," Dove assured him with a smile. "You see, Meadowlark's going to foal soon."

"Mama's having the foal!" Celestia cried out, when she overheard.

"What? Now!?" Strongbuck exclaimed, as a slightly panicked look came to his face.

"Everypony, calm down," Dove said to them sternly. "There's no need to panic. What Meadowlark needs right now is for everypony to be calm and relaxed." Turning to look down at Ash, Dove gave him a little nudge. "How about you go sit with Strongbuck and keep him company. He looks like he's about to faint."

"I am not!" Strongbuck complained.

"You are too!" Dove snapped back, giving him a sharp look. "Now shut up, and let Celestia and Ash keep you company."

Ash felt Dove give him a nudge with her hoof, as she urged him to go to Strongbuck. Giving Meadowlark a concerned look, Ash reluctantly crossed over to Strongbuck and sat down next to Celestia. A moment later, he felt Celestia shift over so her side was pressed against his.

Meadowlark let out a grunt, and dragged her hoof across the ground as her face scrunched in pain.

"Shouldn't we get Papa?" Celestia asked.

Strongbuck looked down at her and shook his head. "No, I'm sorry. It's already dark out, and it won't be safe to search for him."

"I have my spear," Ash said, looking over at his spear that was leaning against the wall next to the door. "I can go get him!"

Strongbuck stomped his hoof down onto Ash's tail to keep him from running off. "Oh no! If I let you do that, Dark would tie me to a post outside, and let the wolves finish me off," He said shaking his head emphatically.

Ash let out a resigned sigh, and glanced at his spear. He knew he could find papa, he wasn't afraid of some stupid wolves.

 

****

 

The night air was chilly, and Dark let out a tired sigh, as he kicked Morning Sky's leg to wake her back up. Nearby, Bell Flower stood alert as she scanned the edge of the forest.

"I think I saw something," Bell muttered, squinting her eyes.

The full moon sat high in the sky, and its soft light bathed the land, making it easy to see whatever moved in the open. But the forest across the meadow, was cast in dark shadows that could easily hide anything that lurked within its depths.

"Where?" Dark asked, moving over next to her.

Bell Flower, lifted her spear and pointed it out. "Over there, by that tree with the hollow half way up. I thought I saw something move just under it."

Dark focused out, and watched where she had indicated. At first he didn't see anything, but just as he was about to give it up as just her imagination, he caught a flicker of motion.

Turning, Dark lifted his spear and brought the butt down onto a log with a resounding “crack!” Quickly, more cracks followed as the rest of the guards sent the alert signal down the sentry line.

Dark felt his heart start to race, as Morning Sky danced nervously nearby. Bell Flower only looked angry as she let out a snort.

It wasn't long after that the wolves appeared. They loped out into the field, as they circled around, and Dark turned to whack the log with his spear butt three times, to signal the others, that the wolves were on the move. Looks like things weren't going to stay quiet tonight.

 

* ** *

 

Celestia wrapped her hooves around Ash's neck as she held onto him. She was scared. Her mother was laying on her side as she let out great labored breaths, while Dove sat with her, as she continually offered encouragement.

Celestia's heart nearly stopped when a great gush of fluids poured out of her mother's slit, soaking into the straw. "What was that!?"

Dove glanced around. "Her water just broke, it won't be long now."

Celestia gripped Ash tighter, as both her excitement and anxiety rose. Her mother looked like she was in a great deal of pain, as she let out long moans, and gasps. Occasionally her mother's body would jerk, as it looked like she was hiccuping, but Dove assured them that it meant she was just having contractions.

Her mother, let out a long groan as her tail lifted. Celestia could see something start to push out of her mother's slit. "I see something!" Celestia called out, shaking Ash in her excitement.

Again, her mother let out a long groan as she bore down and pushed. Celestia saw the bulge push out of her mother's birthing hole a little more as it moved out. It looked strange, like it was covered in something.

"Why is it red?" Ash asked.

"What!?" Dove asked hurriedly as she whirled about. Quickly she moved back and looked at what was coming out of her mother's slit. The look Celestia saw on Dove's face when she looked down at the red bulge pushing out of her mother, terrified her.

Dove looked up. "Meadowlark! It's a red bag, you need to push! Your foal needs to come out now!" Dove cried out urgently.

When her mother heard Dove's words she let out a mortified cry. Celestia didn't know what this all meant, but she could tell that something was very wrong.

Her mother cried out as she pushed, her face contorted in agony. The red colored bag pushed out further, before it suddenly broke and a little dark blue hoof came out. Grasping the hoof with her mouth, Dove started to pull. After a few tugs, a second hoof appeared. "Meadowlark, you need to push! Hurry or you'll lose the foal!" Grabbing the second hoof in her mouth, Dove started tugging again.

Celestia wanted to bury her face into Ash's neck and hide. Her mother wailed in pain as the foal slipped out a little further.

"Meadowlark! You need to keep pushing! Even if it hurts, you need to get her out!" Dove shouted before she grasped a hoof and pulled. Soon more came out and Dove quickly let go of the hoof and bit the fleshy covering, and tore it open, revealing a little snout. Using her hoof, Dove slid it down the soft folds of the foal's nose, forcing birthing fluids out.

Pausing, Dove held her ear close to the foal's nostrils and listened. After a moment, she quickly turned to Celestia's mother. "She's not breathing! Push, now! As hard as you can! Push! Push! Push!" Grabbing the foal's leg as far up as she could, Dove began to tug and wiggle the foal, and after a moment, the foal shifted and slid out all the way to her hips as more fluids poured out. With final tug, the foal slid the rest of the way out and flopped into Dove's hooves.

"She's out!" Dove cried out, as Celestia's mother collapsed down in exhaustion.

Celestia felt like her heart was about to break at the sight of the unmoving little dark blue foal. "Why isn’t she moving!? Shouldn't she be crying!?" Celestia frantically asked.

Dove ignored her, as she set the foal down and tore the fleshy sack all the way off, and clamped her mouth over the foal's nostrils to suck more fluids out. Turning her head, Dove spat the fluids out, before pressing her hoof down onto the foal, she began to vigorously rub the foal's body. "Breath! Please breath!" She pleaded with the foal.

In an act of desperation, Dove clamped her mouth over the foal's muzzle and blew air into her. "Breath!" Dove shouted with tears falling down her face, as she started to vigorously rub the filly's chest again. Again she breathed into the filly mouth, and set her ear onto her chest and listened. After a little while, she let out a whimpered cry and sat back, with a mortified look on her face.

"I don't hear anything," Dove said mournfully, tears streaming down her muzzle. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Stepping back, Dove moved over to Strongbuck and buried her face into his good shoulder and cried, as he wrapped his hoof around her, and held her close.

This wasn't supposed to happen! Celestia thought, as her tears streamed down her face. She could feel Ash's body shaking next to her, as he wept.

Through blurry eyes, Celestia stared at the still form of the filly. How could this have happened!? She was supposed to have a little sister! Her mind shook with the finality of the moment. The life, the precious little life that hadn't even started yet, was gone. Never having drawn a single breath.

No! Celestia thought. I will not allow this to happen! Leaping forward, Celestia ran up to the filly. Pausing next to her, Celestia took a breath and set her hoof onto the limp filly. Closing her eyes she let her senses flow free, and felt nothing. The filly felt dark and cold inside. No! Please no! Pushing her senses down further, Celestia desperately searched, until she suddenly sensed something. It was tiny and dim, but as she focused on it, she found a tiny little star, flickering weakly.

It pulsed slowly, and with each pulse it grew dimmer, and she knew it was only a few moments away from dying out. She needed to do something! Within herself, Celestia felt the warm pulsing of her own ball of light. Was there a way she could use it? She wondered. Focusing her will into herself, she strained to push some of the warmth from her light, to the tiny little star that was just a breath away from vanishing.

It hurt! Agony wracked her body, as it felt like she was tearing herself apart. Ignoring the pain, she strained harder, and forced some of her warmth to flow into the dying little star, which started to pulse a little brighter. Encouraged, Celestia gave even more of herself, and was overjoyed to see her sister's light grow even more brighter. The pain she was feeling was excruciating, but she persisted, and continued to pour even more of her warmth and light into her sister. Her mind and heart felt like they were going to explode, and just as she thought she couldn't take anymore, she bore down, and forced herself give even more, until everything suddenly exploded into agonizing light!

 

****

 

Bell Flower gripped her spear, as a wolf snarled and snapped at her, only to dash back when she thrust her spear at him. Bell snarled in frustration, why won't they just hold still for a moment, so she could stab them!? Nearby, Morning Sky was having the same trouble. Every time a wolf ran up, it would just snarl and snap at them before running back to safety.

"What are they doing?" Bell Flower wondered aloud. "It's like the wolves aren't even trying."

"Look!" Mustard Seed suddenly cried out. "The moon! It's bleeding!"

Bell Flower paused a moment to look up at the moon, and let out a gasp. Sure enough, the moon looked red. What did this mean!?

All about, ponies began to mutter worriedly among themselves. "What are all you youngsters griping about!?" Sage Brush bellowed to the panicking ponies. "Haven't you ever seen a eclipse before?"

An eclipse? Is that what that is? Bell thought for a moment, before she turned her attention back to the wolves, and jabbed her spear at a wolf that came too close, and managed to get a glancing slice along his side, before he jumped away.

"Annoying pests!" Bell Flower shouted in frustration as she stomped her hoof. Why weren't they trying to get past? What were they doing? Bell looked out at the wolves as they continually harassed the ponies. Something about this seemed familiar. Wolves were smart hunters. They would work together as a unified pack to overcome any prey that was too much for just a lone wolf. Often times they would choose to go after the weak, who were too sick or old to fight back, even going after the young...

A chill suddenly shot down Bell's spine. Quickly she scanned around her until she found Dark.

"Dark!" Bell shouted as she rushed up to him. "It's a distraction!"

Dark turned to her. "What are you talking about? What's a distraction?"

"What do wolves do when they go for the young!?" Bell asked hurriedly. "They harass the mother, and when she busy fighting them off..."

"Wolves sneak in from behind and...!" Dark's eyes shot wide. "Sage Brush!" He shouted at the older stallion. "Stay here with all the stallions and keep the wolves back!" Turning, Dark shouted out as loud as he could "All mares, come with me! Wolves are in the settlement!"

Above them, the moon began to darken.

 

 

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