For untold centuries, their reign had endured. They turned aside all violence and lived in near-perfect peace, painting smiles on the souls of their enemies. Then, three had been born who were immediately branded as outcasts, even as mere cubs. The symbols they bore had no place in Tenderheart's Utopia; and after they learned to walk and talk they were quietly dumped onto the far edges of the Forest of Feelings.

Utopia was not what it appeared to be.

Then, as Secret Bear Stared down the misunderstood wizard called No Heart, she felt a Secret rushing in to fill the void left by the Stare. It was harrowing, especially since she was one of the few who would immediately understand it. After returning home she wrote it down, and asked Tenderheart Bear and Cheer Bear to call a meeting. "I have a dark and beautiful Secret to share," Secret Bear said.

So, in the Sacred Redwood Circle in the Forest of Feelings, the Care Bears had gathered. "What is this Secret you wish to tell? How may we bear it for you?" Tenderheart said majestically.

The pink bear looked shyly at her feet. There was the urge to make the Secret incomprehensibly cryptic, but it's message was far too important.

"Three prodigal sons have I,

and they ride side by side:

The Fierce, The Black, and The Wicked are their names.

Mighty messengers, an unknown rage.

One rides through the air, laughing as he dies;

One with powers of evil, dark knowledge inside;

To avenge and fulfill a betrayal of trust,

One spurned by all for carnage will lust.

Witness their coming, sharpen your sight;

No voice of mercy no evangels of light!"

"Your Secret was so dark, Secret Bear. Are you sure you finished it?" Cheer Bear asked skeptically. However, she was one of the few who instantly knew the Secret's meaning.

"Yes..." Secret Bear said.

"Then we must store up our happy thought and memories. A Sharing Feast tonight!" Announced Tenderheart. He too was one of the few who knew the Secret's meaning.

-Later, amidst splendor and rejoicing-

Tenderheart Bear took a sip of water from his dandelion motif cup, and set it down. "Cheer, my love. We must... talk."

"Yes, dear. But what shall we say? They are sure to notice our absence."

"I shall say we are going to make love; such sweet and passionate love as has never been felt before, so we may ready ourselves for the Secret. And then," Tenderheart said with a wink, "We shall." As Care Bears knew it, "making love" really had little physical contact. The two or more Bears would touch a paw to another's belly badge, letting their feelings(related to their specialties) flow and mingle, until a certain level of emotion and understanding was reached. Tenderheart, though, was referring to the... deeper kind which was less known by Care Bears.

Cheer smiled, as Tenderheart Bear excused them from the table. They lightly skipped through the forest, coming to their favorite hollow at the base of an orange tree. Tenderheart opened the door and they stepped inside the cozy room. "She lives," Cheer said immediately.

"Her life was not in danger," Tenderheart answered. "But Secret Bear must be kept... silent until the ordeal is over. And at all costs, she must be kept away from 'The Fierce, The Black and The Wicked'. At all costs."

"Of course, and I'm sure you know the true Secret must remain hidden. We would stand no chance if it were to be revealed."

"The hearts of our empire must remain unbroken."

"Yes," Cheer Bear said, seductively leaning back against the door. "But they must not... harden, either. Our current methods are flawless, we must show them love."

"The Secret did not speak of them showing such mercy." Tenderheart Bear growled, moving in close to Cheer. "There's always... tough love."

"So what if they... breach our defenses, we still have never lost a battle."

"But we may not recover if... they fall."

"I expect we would have no problem... raising them up again. We had no trouble... riding the wild horses out of the forest." Cheer Bear laughed softly, and wrapped her arms around Tenderheart's neck. He almost opened his mouth to reply, but was stopped by Cheer pulling him in closer. A wonderful heat came from their belly badges coming into contact, a tender warmth spreading through Cheer from her belly; an intense happiness buoying up Tenderheart's spirit. Cheer gasped slightly as Tenderheart Bear directed his warm feelings up to her chest, and gently pressed her into the door. Tenderheart's breaths quickened as Cheer's euphoria expanded in him all the way to the roots of his fur...

-Meanwhile, far away on a windswept plain-

"Where else is there left to go, Flameheart? We are banned from Care-A-Lot, and only three of the horses have accepted us; we've clouded over that particular Rainbow Bridge."

Flameheart Bear looked at his black-furred companion, whose good eye stared off into the distance as the wind ruffled his ragged cape. "Say what you will, but we were left. To die. We may have been rejected by the oh so virtuous citizens of Care-A-Lot, but we have each other; we have Shady, Wind Whistler and Heart Throb."

Shadowheart Bear looked over from Shady, a pink ponie with a yellow chartreuse mane and tail. "He's right, Flameheart; and you're right as well. But all this time we've made a place for ourselves, so it really makes no difference where it's done. I say we go for it." Shady nodded her agreement, though she doubted just the six of them could do it.

Wind Whistler, a light blue pegasus with light pink hair, spoke. "Wrong, I say it does make a difference." She said, looking at the light green furred Shadowheart Bear. "But I think the Forest is the right place. We deserve a home, and none better than the one we started from. My rider?"

Moonheart rested his paw on the handle of his sword. "A thousand times, yes. For the Forest of Feelings we ride! Heeyah!" Wind Whistler raced away, faster and faster until her hooves danced in the air as she flew.