I am Victorie, myn queene, I wered thas yen to sarui thee sans last.
Myn trouthe be thy, yef yow wolde, yeve me freendshipe or yeve me myn londes.

I trust my quill to guide you on Victory's tale, as all tales should begin, on the first days of spring. Once snow was gone once in a century one peaceful land would celebrate the name and reign of their Princess. Call that birthday if you will, all had forgotten why it was and what it meant. It is this weak will I fear, when time has come to tell the lost history, that you will see nothing but a stone hearted mare, because there was nothing but a stone hearted mare to begin with.

That day the day had turned to night, storms upon storms black on a black sky rolled their black strained whirls over the last gaps. It was a winged work and by that a tremendous one, rumbling afar it had plunged all in darkness. On the ground shined a constellation of lamps and fairy lights, the many candles of many subjects ablaze in streets and squares and fields and streams burning of those tiny stars waiting – she had a queen, she thought...

Lightning came illuminating the land, illuminating the mountains and the towers of white. It faded all in an instant, made dark a deeper dark for the eye. There was a breath, then in loud thuds thunder struck hearts and on the grass pearling with humidity many hooves stomped excited just as new flashes wild multiplied, covered all horizons. The gardens were lit by those endless blasts in all shades of life, spheres and spirals, showers and flares in a many-colored galaxy that pounded and pounded. Most were grouped at the tables with plates of fruits and liquors like fountains, their words covered by the loud claps of thunder and the clap of the flag. There was a flag, there were many, there was this one. Clouds were drumming like the days of Tartarus had come.

Squall by squall in a night back to night the empty gardens yielded, branches broken on the alleys, a heavy rain crackled on the leaves of bushes and trees, tore away their dim silhouettes. She had a queen, she thought. The flag clapped under a storm that threatened to rend it.

She had a queen, and she had been free.

Now exposed the soaked bristle was shaken by gusts, all she couldn't feel, cold water dripping from her numb body. She was nothing but that, broken, a hazy shadow defying the tempest. But she was holding the flag and holding on it, when it slipped she clung on it realizing, through the silent flag and her teeth clenched, that she was conscious. Her efforts were exhausted, she could hardly move, she could hardly stand yet she was standing. A cough escaped her lungs, suffocating as the storm pounded and pounded. She couldn't fall. The gardens in an engulfed obscurity let the last remnants of the winged work sky high break and wind, leaving way to the first moonbeams.

Morning had come and with it the shiniest of suns. All that was left from the celebration were scarce clouds and on windows frames the candles exhausted. In the awakening day the white towers brightened, reflected their roofs in infinite sparkles. The first rumors of life weighed nothing in the royal gardens.

Hooves tapped on the paved alleys, a lone trot exasperated troubled the singing of birds and what few animals there was. With blue eyes and a blue tie still noble in rout Blueblood took pride to make the toe strike on paved stones, another pride at avoiding the fallen branches and yet another not to sneeze. His pelt was soaked, mixed with mud and blades of grass. With only squirrels to watch him he still felt mocked, if not by himself, by all those inexpressive eyes from the gardens statues. That's when it struck him, when he tried to avoid debris of stone on his path, that the statue he just passed by was no more.

She had stood up the whole night, now under daylight she was still fighting, in unrest, as if the tempest never ended. He turned to see the mare, a bit frightened, the prince forced himself to frown in disdain and approach but carefully.

What he didn't see was the flag, the same flag that hung completely wet. This color was the same blaze of her bristle, as it was, a furious flame that a mane under the sun close to white trailed like a shooting star. She had two flanking her, two others curved in stone on her pedestal. All Blueblood would notice was the damage, the pelt whipped flat, streaked by water, a mess of hair on her bent back and the muscles tense that trembled, that trembled. It made him feel less sorry for himself. Why she could still stand, when she seemed beaten, he understood the moment he saw the hind legs still encased in stone.

A weak voice pierced through her deafened ears. Her queen! She felt, cold, she felt the warm touch of daylight and why her teeth were clenched, in a sudden wake the mare found strength to rise, straightened her back but hardly, but only slightly opened her eyes. Through the hazy veil she saw the garden, the many glimmers that blinded her sight. She coughed.

"Answer me!" Blueblood ordered one step behind. "What have you done with the royal statue!"

His voice was a bit broken by the night, hers felt like ripped chords: "Real" and with a broken smile: "Yow seyde", she breathed, "real".

"You won't answer? Fine!" He grinned, frustrated. "I will call the guards!"

"To Tartaros with thy wards!" The sudden yell choked in her throat, only a painful sound escaped her lips, extinct. She couldn't repress on her lids shut a burst of feelings, of feeling weak, her legs trembled to hold but barely. She had been miserable yet strong all this time, now on this movement of anger the prince could see her distress. This, he felt, was others responsibility, yet he was the only one here. The noble stallion did nothing but wait for her to speak again, face hidden by her foreleg.

"Telle me" she asked with renewed strength. "Who wok me?" Her eyes, slightly open, glared at him sharp. "Are yow myn wayte?"

Whatever that meant her tone was still angry, so he pondered: "Say, would a... wait be a good thing... or a bad thing?" She growled a "pertelyche" good that made him decide she wanted him to be her savior: "Oh! Then yes. Yes, it is me! I'm your Prince, Blueblood", he proudly hooved his chest, "and I accept your eternal gratitude."

"Swiene" she whispered between clenched teeth. "Yow fals and fealoun" she kept saying, in vain attempts to yell, each of her syllables scolding the stallion, "ye lixt horte myn eers. Thy nam I wol not knowe, for ay obeye noon bot myn queene." Her voice appeased as she continued, for herself, as her grip on the flag staff fastened: "This londes is pesible, verraily that mot be hir trauel." Like a marvel.

"And… is that a good thing?"

She gasped, then hissed: "Swich surquidrye!"

He feared for an instant that the stone trapping her hind legs would break, an unwilling fear that added to his wet state and frustration. "How rude!" Blueblood simply stated, and to make sure he would not have to hear one more word from that blazing mare he turned back and left. She couldn't see him leave, her head too heavy and weak, only the birds returning on branches and singing told her when she was alone. She felt the jolting pain that slashed her enduring smile, her whole body burning from the muscles torn apart. It was all that kept her eyes open, against exhaustion, and allowed her to see the quiet gardens. So she was smiling. It was as she said, so peaceful that she wanted to see royalty in it. She so needed to believe it.

On the hedge edge would be a fall of flowers as pure as her, a soft and tender color. She would pick one in the morning, when dew would be fresh, and graciously, her queen would raise it to her thin muzzle. Then, very slowly, the queen would turn to her. And she would remember what she looked like. They would recognize each other.

Maybe that was the most painful to her.

Shadows on the pedestal had slightly moved, a feeble breeze breathed in the gardens. She heard it, the clap of the flag, one, twice, scarce. A thought crossed her mind, a silent one that deepened her smile, suddenly interrupted. On the alley were new sounds of hoofs, numerous, three or four or many more echoing in her head. Just one cling of metal shook her, so familiar, that of an armor. She tried, desperately, to stand as straight as she could, she spat against her own weakness. Those were guards, and among them, the mare's chest was like a furnace, among them she felt a softer pace.

Her efforts only made her slip a little more, the flag staff almost escaped and she felt, at her hind legs, a renewed jolt. But she had turned her head and through her clouded sight the mare saw those armors of gold, then, there she was.

"Myn queene..."

It was as if she only breathed, yet the Princess had stopped. First so bright, all the mare could see was the flowing mane and tail like northern lights, but it was her, her queen not by horn and wings but by her slim legs and the pure lines of her neck, of her muzzle and eyes. She was a queen not by grace but by dignity, the sun as her mark and shining even under her own craft. The mare couldn't repress her tears, once she recognized that face, once she read on it an expression so worried, so concerned.

"Queene Celestie..." The blazing mare weakly smiled.

The Princess approached, followed by her guards, when she noticed the hind legs her horn immediately began to glow. Magic enveloped the stone, warm and soft, for an instant, for instants, for a few seconds it lasted lulling on the cracks until in a sudden burst the stone ceded, leaving the legs free. With nothing to hold her anymore the mare closed her eyes and fell, felt in her fall the pain going away.

She had hit the grass before the guards could catch her, the flag fallen aside out of her reach. They surrounded her, hooves stomping on the flag, they got her up flank by flank and carrying her between their wings the guards took the unconscious mare. "Please," Celestia asked them, "carry her to a guest room." They nodded and went as she stayed behind, near the now empty pedestal, hooves in the remains.