My Little Pony: Painted Feathers

Chapter 1: Life

Many ponies live by choice, but there are some that live for necessity. They live off the land with lives that have remained unchanged for over one thousand years. They cultivate their land, hunt for meat, and live their lives in peace and harmony away from the troubles of Equestria. They are a semi-nomadic tribe of griffons known as the Ani'i.

Their home is the rainforests on an island to the far south of Equestria. It is said to be the most beautiful island in all the kingdoms. A pure paradise of peace and harmony. No pony or griffon has ever ventured onto the island, and few know of it's existence. They have rejected all things modern, and live the traditional ways of hunting and gathering.

The Ani'i griffons have feathers and fur the color of polished wood, and grey beaks that turn a darker grey toward the tip. Because they are farmers and hunters, they are considered to be semi-nomadic. The yam harvest brings everyone in the village together, young and old. Yet where there is a harvest of yams, finding meat has been tough.

There was talk among the village that they may have to move again if they do not find meat. A hunting party had left for the forest three days ago, and some of the villagers feared that they would come back empty-taloned. Still, there is work to be done around the village as the women cultivated the land for yams, one of the staples of the Ani'i.

It was another day on the island for a young Ani'i she-griffon named Ri-Ri whom was gathering yams to the village. She is the daughter of Chief Yanu whom was out hunting with the village men. In the ancient language, Ri-Ri means 'Free Spirit' and she is one. The Ani'i see no need for clothes, and use tools made of iron and stone for daily tasks.

She is a skilled hunter, but Chief Yanu wanted her to stay back and tend to the harvest. With her work done for the day, Ri-Ri went out to the great cliff which was her favorite place on the island. Along with being a great hunter, she is also a great swimmer. The young she-griffon closed her eyes feeling the breeze flow through her fur and feathers.

Ri-Ri turned, and walked back to the village. She then got an idea for a little fun. She turned, and ran toward the edge and dived off the two hundred foot cliff. Meanwhile, the hunting party were coming back home to the village. The old gods of the hunt have granted them good fortune as they caught a wild pig tied by the ankles to a bamboo pole.

"O great chief, where may I find your daughter?" asked Koa, one of the young village men and one of best hunters in the village,

The chief soon heard and saw a splash as Ri-Ri gracefully entered the water talons first. The chief chuckled, "I would say the lake would be a good place to start," The other hunters laughed, and so did Koa. The she-griffon came up to the surface, and saw the chief, "one of our ancestors must have been a fish, it is good to see you, my daughter,"

The chief hugged his daughter and nuzzled their beaks from side to side as that is their traditional way to greet family, "It is good to see you too, father," said Ri-Ri, and the chief handed her his spear, "it looks like the gods smile on you on this hunt, you have caught a pig," she said, seeing the work of the hunters, "I could have gone with you,"

"I do not doubt your skills in the hunt, you are skilled as the best of the village men," said Chief Yanu, "the spirit of your mother is truly within you, Ri-Ri, she would have said the same thing you did, but meat is scarce in these times, it may not have been the work of the gods that brought us this meat, just luck, it may not feed the village, I fear"

Ri-Ri has a black double chevron tattoo on her forehead. One goes from her forehead to her middle of her eyeline, and the other is a smaller one directly behind the larger tattoo. She earned her mark when she was fourteen when she made her first kill as a hunter. Now eighteen years old, she has turned into the most beautiful of she-griffons.

She often carries an arm dagger above her right front talon for protection. Ri-Ri also carries one of her father's spears when she goes on a hunting party. When they returned to the village, the yam harvest was bountiful. The village was preparing each other for the evening's festivities as the women groomed each other, and painted their bodies.

They painted dazzling designs on their bodies using a black pigment made of charcoal and animal fat. Ri-Ri's coat and feather were dry by then, and she was motioned by one of the village women to have her body painted, "Such healthy looking thighs, may you prosper with many children," she said, and gave her a teasing tap. Ri-Ri laughed as well

Some of the village elders got a laugh too. A black zig-zag pattern was painted all over body to prepare for the Evening of the Great Harvest. This is her home. Some of the women were nursing their hatchings while the men prepared the meat to be roasted over the coals. Ri-Ri helped roast the yams with the other young women of the village.

The Shaman Ra'a'na presented himself to the village at the bonfire in the center, "Let us give thanks the spirits of our ancestors and the gods for this bountiful harvest, though meat is scarce, our spirits have persevered through these times, know that our ways of life will be forever eternal, and will remain as such until our time has come"