My Little Dovy,
Friendship is your Thu'um
Prologue: The Adventurer
The wagon wheels turned in the sweltering heat, carrying its passengers towards their fate. The beads of salty water rolled down their faces, dropping on the wooden floor with a hiss. One pony in particular was destined to change everything. The fate of everypony in that wagon rested squarely on his shoulders, but not a single one of them knew it. He had waited a long time for a moment like this. A moment to be a hero be a hero for all to admire and look up to. A being with worth, not just promise.
This 'He' was on the side of the road, unconscious and covered in bruises, though there was no sign of any fight in the dirt around. Above him were the broken branches of many trees. The splinters of what remained of them lay in the ground or in his side. A small trickle of blood flowed from his mouth, and a fly crept across his eyelid. His clothes were nearly absent, except for the strings of a tan stitched shirt and torn wool shorts two sizes too large. Even in this sorry state, the figure would be imposing standing up, with toned muscles coursing throughout his body and a complexion that would suggest that of a scholar.
The puller of the cart turned around the bend, fully exposing his eyes to the gruesome scene before him. His pupils widened, darting around looking for any signs of leftover danger. Unhitching himself and running over to the body, he bent over to inspect it, his armor clanking as he moved.
"Oi! Cornelius! We've go' ta wounded lad over 'ere. He steel seems ta be breathin', but it seems that a bloody troll was poking him with a branch fer a while."
"Well what are you waiting for, a tip? Put him in with the others!" Cornelius barked, lowering his hood to better glare at the earth pony. "He obviously needs medical attention, and we are headed to the largest military center around. He can be hospitalized and questioned there."
"Are ye sure it es okay ta move 'im? 'E might be..."
A yellow glow surrounded the body. It proceeded to stiffly lift into the air whereupon it was deposited into the cart. Cornelius turned back to the cart, magic aura fading from his horn. "Next time just do what you are told, Alroy."
"Ye don' need ta tell meh every time I'm jus' foosterin." Alroy yelled back, hitching himself back in place in the cart with more force than he knew was necessary.
"just get there on time." Cornelius said with a wave of the hoof, the sleve of his robe billowing behind. "I do not want to displease the general."
With that, the cart started moving down the dirt path again. The sun shone, the dust flew, and the unconscious one on the floor was forgotten by the others in five minutes. They all had their own worries. Except Alroy, who scrunched his eyebrows looking back at the broken branches. He turned forward, pulling those in the wagon towards Canterlot. Without another look back, Alroy put one hoof in front of the other and pulled the cart forward.
In the distance, a figure sat looking at the wagon being pulled away. A smirk grew across its face. That sorry excuse for a hero was not even able to survive a short fall, let alone defeat an entire army. It will be pleasing to kill him in front of everypony's eyes.
But he will have to get there first. Heroes are not put on a pedestal the moment they are born. They must knock others down and rightfully claim what is theirs. Slaves to the eyes and ears, the rest are. With no true aspirations to endure what the others have to get on top, they lazily live out their everyday lives and wonder what is out there.
There will be blood, tears, and death by the time everypony comes to know the dovahkiin. The dragon in a pony's body.
The silhouette of Canterlot came into view. The sun was setting behind it, and the moon began to appear on the opposite horizon. The ponies in the cart looked at each other, as if this was going to be their last time seeing each other.
Something made the eyes of the unconscious pony lazily open. Blurs. Colors. He moaned. Sounds. Voices. "He... finally." "I... way... Cant..."
He just lay there. Still as a ribbon at the end of the finish line, waiting for the runners to finish their race. Waiting for everything to catch up to his head.
It was obviously a short race. His eyelids opened like a door kicked by an orc. He jerked his head and looked around him. Colorful horses. Short, colorful horses, sitting in a cart pulled by another horse. Blue horses and green horses. Sitting horses. A horse with a purple mane.
"Hay, are you awake?" One of the horses asked.
He was hallucinating. Someone was using strong illusion magic.
"You had a mighty fall there." Another said. "We saw the branches on the ground around you. How did you even get up there? I see no wings on you."
"He is awake then." Another horse with what was apparently mages robes stated. "At least he'll be of some use now." He chuckled through his teeth.
Talking, colorful, intelligent, possibly dangerous horses. This is fine. He can handle this.
Handles aren't what they used to be. The figure on the ground tried to get up, to run away and comprehend what is going on. He struggled to his feet, kicking madly. He had yet to realize he now had four.
His body managed to get onto two legs easily enough and he wobbled there for a split second. There was a certain unfamiliarity with standing up for some the cart hit a rock and he somersaulted over the side of the cart, landing on his side with a yelp of pain. The bruises were still fresh, and the force of the impact alerted him a rib was out-of-place. But something felt different. He couldn't tell what it was though.
Besides the change in landscape of course. There wasn't a speck of snow in sight. The air was a tad humid, and the air was hot with the mid-day sun. He shook his head and took another look. No snow. Nothing but dirt and plains grass. And a mountain in front of him. Not to mention a… castle on the side of–
A magic took a hold of his body. He could feel it holding him in place, only able to swivel his eyeballs. Taking off from the ground, he found himself face to face with the hooded horse. It had a horn on its head. Like the single horn of a goat, except not crooked, just a single spinning length.
"It's great, isn't it? Casting magic? Not that you would ever know." The horned horse mocked. Bringing him closer. The smell of digested hay reached his nostrils, and scrunched his face. "Look at me, peasant!" The horse commanded. He opened his eyes a squint, looking into the horse's pupils. Those eyes…
His eyelids snapped open for the second time in five minutes. There was something wrong with those eyes. It just could not be…
"Listen." The horned horse said. "If you want help with those injuries, stay completely still and don't do idiotic things. I don't know if it is normal for earth ponies to not do idiotic things, but I do know they want to stay alive. So hang on to your pants and stop wasting my time." With that the magic released him. He fell to the ground of the wagon, knocking his breath out.
He laid on the ground, motionless. He thought of breathing, and began the life-sustaining process again. It was impossible. Nothing, not even Sovngarde, could have readied him for this. His countless adventures, speaking to gods, did nothing to soften the blow. The people of Skyrm had once shouted his name. Armies had fled in his path, he wore the bones of dragons as his armor, and the dark creatures of the night shied away from his light.
He had seen his reflection in the horse's eyes. Was it even his reflection? Was what he saw true? It really could not be. But it was.
He was now a horse.
"Everypony alrite back there?" A strange accent asked from in front of the cart.
Strike that. He was now a pony.
Whatever a pony is. Looking at his hooves, he couldn't tell the difference.
"We're almost ta Canterlot, Heart of Equestria and home to Celestia." The accent said again. "Shine ya hooves and try not ta sweat like a donkey."
What in the name of Talos is wrong with this place?