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[WIP] Snowpone Tales

By HeavyHorse
Created: 2nd September 2021 09:29:19 PM
6th September 2021 05:17:32 PM

  1. Cirrus Wisp recounts a traditional snowpone tale to a curious foal:
  2. >"Why do the stars shine in the sky at night? Now that is a question I never tire of hearing, little one. Be seated by my fire and let me tell you why."
  3. >"It was long, long ago, when the world was still new and the sun had not yet roused from its slumber to cast its light across it. Above us, there was only the endless expanse of the night sky. Dark and cold, like our world, we thought little of it beyond the few times She graced us with Her presence."
  4. >"Our ancestors had only the lights of their fires to guide them but as the world shifted and shaped itself as it grew, mountains rose and thick forests sprouted. Even the mightiest pyres we rose could not shine above them, towards tired eyes seeking home and hearth, kith and kin."
  5. >"So what could we do, hmm? We rose our voices to the heavens and cried out to the Great Pony of the Sky - please, in your kindness and wisdom, light our way that we might never again be lost!"
  6. >"But what could she do? She was a pony of darkness and quiet, cold and calm. Not for her was the noisome sun, no. Still, on wings that carried her across her beloved night sky, she gazed down to us and heard our pleas."
  7. >"And wept bitter tears that there was naught she might do for us. Ah, but do you think we would still speak of her so if she did not come to our aid? Those tears, little one, were born of the warmth of her love for us. Yet even they could not hope to live in this world as we do."
  8. >"No, the cool winds of the world blew so hard that they wrapped her tears in an icy embrace. Before ever gracing the land, they froze in the night sky and have remained there ever since. But do you remember what Bright Earth told you?"
  9. >"Yes, it is not our fires but our love that warms us enough to live here. And it was only through Her love that Her tears shone, even through the ice."
  10. >"That is why the stars shine, little one."
  11.  
  12. ---
  13.  
  14. Cirrus Wisp answers a foal's questioning on where snowpone foals come from:
  15. >"Hello again, little one! Come, sit with me; I could use young hooves to help stoke my fire."
  16. >"Yes, that is why they gift me that wood. Sit close to my side, little one, and enjoy the scent with me."
  17. >"Now, what brings you to my hut this day? Oh? You wish to know where you come from?"
  18. >"Did I not tell all of you that tale three nights ago?"
  19. >"Haha! Oho, so they said they forgot that story and you should ask me, did they?"
  20. >"Then it is well my memory is so sure, is it not?"
  21. >"May I ask something of you in turn, little one? While I recount the tale, would you please take that comb and brush my mane? It has been too long."
  22. >"Yes, your mother herself gifted it to me. You see the intricate carvings? They are to thank the great fish from whom she plucked the bone."
  23. >"Hmm, such gentle hooves you have. The mark of a filly who is loved by her parents."
  24. >"That is where you come from, little one."
  25. >"No, not from hooves! From the love of your parents. Because of their need to love and to gift that love to a foal."
  26. >"But it was not always so. Not when the world was yet young and our place within it still unsure."
  27. >"Long, long ago, when the land still spoke so clearly to all of us, that was who we first turned to, in our need."
  28. >"She told us of the plants and the trees, the animals that walked upon her; how all life sprung from her warmth, just as it returns there in time when it grows cold."
  29. >"Our hearts overflow, Great Mother, tell us the secrets of life that we might know of how to create our own and share the bounty of our love!"
  30. >"What mother denies her children, little one? But our land is too hard and harsh for our hooves to work, so the Great Mother whispered to us of a secret."
  31. >"The almighty Sky blankets her in snow, to ease her to sleep through the dark seasons of the long moon. The most beautiful gift he may give her, a sparkling wonder that renews her beauty and splendour.”
  32. >”But snow is not alive, for life is the Great Mother’s to direct.”
  33. >”Still, if our hooves could not shape the land then they could shape the snow. Not so much to remove her blanket, no, so she told us that we must only create small ponies.”
  34. >”When their work was done, the Great Mother was so tired, waiting into the seasons where she should sleep. She breathed what life she could, the little snow ponies awoke and their parents rejoiced for the great gift they had been given.”
  35. >”Hmm? No, little one, you are not made of snow! Not all of you. Keep brushing and I will keep telling you the tale.”
  36. >”Now, the little snow ponies lived and shared in the love of their parents but they could no more move than the snow upon the hills and trees. They could not sit by the fires of their homes and families. And living as they did, they were mischievous little things, unused to the ways of the village.”
  37.  
  38. >”So we went to the Great Mother when she rose from her slumber and we asked, Great Mother, why do our children not follow in our hoofsteps? Why do they not share in our huddles?”
  39. >”Now, the Great Mother knows the secrets of life but the earth is still, is it not? It is the rivers and seas that move, always flowing and running and swirling. And it was from the ocean that the Great Mother was gifted with the secrets of movement.”
  40. >”That is where she told us we must go - to speak with the Fish.”
  41. >”No, little one, not the fish of the rivers, the mighty Fish from whom all others spring.”
  42. >”It was he who knew the tides of the seas, the mysteries of the rivers, the gentle swaying of the oceans. And it was he who we asked, noble Fish, you nourish us with your spawn that you send through the rivers, will you not tell us of the secrets of their movement that we might nourish our hearts with our children?”
  43. >”The Fish spoke to us of what we should know - that if our little snow ponies would try to move, they would return to the great blanket of the earth. For the Great Mother lies still and while she breathes life into the world, she cannot create all there is alone.”
  44. >”Now, have you ever heard the whisper of the rivers? Or the sighing of the seas? Of course, for that is the Fish speaking the secrets of movement to them, calling them unto himself that they might, with the aid of the almighty Sky, return to the mountains and flow through the land, nourishing it as its precious bounty does us.”
  45. >”And that was the secret he spoke to us - the words we must whisper to our children to teach them of movement.”
  46. >”And we rejoiced, for when they returned to the little snow ponies, their parents huddled about them and whispered the words. The snow moved! Their little ponies followed them to their villages, to join their homes and warm their hearts.”
  47. >”Ah but do you remember what I said? You are not wholly snow, little one. And you know well what happens to the blanket of the land when the season of the long sun graces the almighty Sky once more.”
  48. >”The little snow ponies took flight from the villages, fearful of how the fires would undo them and their parents wept. Once more, they were without their children.”
  49. >”But there was one yet that they did not seek the wisdom of. Only one other whose power and knowledge was great enough to perhaps aid them.”
  50. >”We took to the plains, where neither mountain nor forest may rise to obscure and we turned our voices towards the heavens.”
  51. >”Oh, almighty Sky - you hold aloft the sun and the moon, you guard the treasures of your Great Pony, you bless the Great Mother with your love and kindness, and carry the gifts of the Fish so all may share in them.”
  52.  
  53. >”We, your ponies, humbly beseech you for your wisdom. Our hearts, once full, grow weary with emptiness. We sought the love of the earth and she gave us new life. We sought the secrets of the Fish and he gave us new hope. We seek now your counsel, that you may give us a new future.”
  54. >”But the almighty Sky sits watching above all, little one. He had seen our plight and asked of the Great Mother and the Fish to share their secrets with us. He could not tell us himself, for we should learn where to seek wisdom and how to survive in those places.”
  55. >”So what do you think he told us, little one? That the earth and the seas had given us what gifts they could, what knowledge they could, but the Sky, as great as he is, could spare naught that might be of use to us. Not for this.”
  56. >”Instead, if our children were to truly be of us, we must give something of ourselves to them.”
  57. >”But what was left? We had given them our love, our wisdom, our homes and hearths.”
  58. >”Yet in spite of all we had given, they were still small creatures of snow. That was when a great shaman called the ponies to herself and told them of the most ancient tales.”
  59. >”How almighty Sky helped make us by breathing upon the forms that would become us, the icicles that formed from his breath softening under the love of the Great Mother. How Fish whispered to those upon our heads and at our backs, to flow and lengthen.”
  60. >”Our coats and tails are what help protect us from the cold, are they not? But our children had none. So what do you suppose they did?”
  61. >”If our children were to be of us then we must give to them of ourselves - coat and tail.”
  62. >”That is why you look like your parents, little one; they gave to you your coat and your tail, taking only the finest and softest hairs of themselves so you might have only the best of them.”
  63. >”No more were they children of the snow, they were ours. Just as you are.”
  64. >”And that, little one, is where you come from.”
  65. >”Hmm? Why are my mane and tail so long, then?”
  66. >”Hahaha! Your parents will tell you that it is because we shaman do not make foals of our own and so our manes and tails keep growing all our lives. But would you like to know the truth?”
  67. >”It is that they sail in the wind that the almighty Sky may speak more clearly to us, it is that they lie upon the earth and connect us to the Great Mother, it is that they flow like the great rivers and seas of the Fish.”
  68. >”And it is so that our children—for all of you are our beloved children—may sit at our sides and be with us, to keep it so long and straight. For it is your love that renews it, and our connection to the world.”
  69.  
  70. ---
  71.  
  72. A group of distraught foals seek Cirrus Wisp and hear of the fate of snowpone spirits:
  73. >”Little ones! Little ones, please, what is the matter? Why do you cry so?”
  74. >”Oh, so Winter Wonder told you of River Runner staying within my hut? In the years you have known her, she did not run quite so much as in those of her spring.”
  75. >”Yes, little ones, that is why you have not seen her join the others in fishing these many days. And it is why I had hoped to find all of you, to bring you to her.”
  76. >”Perhaps not now, though. River grows tired and must rest, little ones, but you shall see her soon.”
  77. >”Ah, little Niveous, I almost did not see you! What would your mother say if she saw you without your scarf? Ah-ah, do not think to squirrel away in my mane or tail this time! I do not think your mother will believe if I tell her that they have knotted again, haha!”
  78. >”Hmm? Now that is a worthy question. Would you please, all of you accompany me - there is something you must all see, and things I must tell you.”
  79. >”Now then, do any of you remember the tales told by the other tribes on our travels?”
  80. >”Which ones? Why, those of the journey we must all undertake when the time for us to join our forebears in the great meadow of star and snow has come.”
  81. >”And first I shall tell you of the tales our friends to the far north hold dear, for it is towards them that we must all make our way when that time comes.”
  82. >”There is a band of great mountains that lies near the eastern shore of the northern seas. And within those mountains are caves that few from outside the northern tribes have ever been within the walls of.”
  83. >”Have I? Haha! Of course I have! I have walked the many deep and secret places of this land, little ones. The journeys that all shaman must venture on, to meet with the many spirits that guide us.”
  84. >”But in all of our lands, the spirits are only heard to sing there!”
  85. >”Oh yes, little ones, I have heard their songs. As have all those of the far northern tribes.”
  86. >”So close to the seas, the winds are far stronger than even those of the great tundra plains. And it is those winds which draw the spirits of their parted, to the place where what they call the kuhugaq, the great icicles that hang like the branches of trees, draw down from the cave ceilings.”
  87. >”In times long past, they say, the first snow pony spirits of the far north could find no place where they might find peace, where they might sing their songs.”
  88. >”But so close to the sea, they gathered unto themselves the waters of the rivers that flow into them and took them to the caves.”
  89. >”There they spun them and shaped them into the most beautiful glittering spires. I have not yet had the privilege of seeing it myself, but our friends say that twice each year, the sun graces the caves and the light that spills forth can be seen from Snowpitt!”
  90. >”Hmm? Now little ones, have I ever told you a tale that is not true?”
  91. >”Whether that is the case or not, the spires of ice are known not only for their beauty but for their sound. For it is through the kuhugaq that the spirits sing to their tribes.”
  92.  
  93. >”With those great winds at their backs, they raise their voices and are carried into the caves. Around and around the spires, creating music which even the greatest snow pony kylysakh players cannot hope to imitate.”
  94. >”Songs of comfort and reprieve, of the joy shared in their company, and the hope for their children.”
  95. >”So long as the great kuhugaq of the caves yet persist, they say, they shall never be without the voices of their beloved.”
  96. >”Now that is true, Evergreen, we do not have caves of our own but neither do the snow ponies of the tundra plains.”
  97. >”For theirs are neither the seas, nor the forests, nor the mountains, but the great meadows and rich rivers and lakes.”
  98. >”Theirs are the fields that in the summer, burst forth with the great bounty of the earth. Theirs are the clear waters and beasts of the land that sup from them.”
  99. >”But it was not always so that they lived as they do, alongside the noble ice wolves they hunt with. There was once a time when they did not know of the words to speak to them, to calm their spirits and seek their favour.”
  100. >”It was then that, when one of their number would pass from this world, they would be taken by the wolves.”
  101. >”Oh yes, they would have their sculptures, just as we do, but it is still a sorrowful thing, to have those we love taken from us before we might perform the proper rites.”
  102. >”Now, the snow ponies of the tundra plains speak more clearly to the Great Mother of the earth and so, the wolves being of her making, they went to her and asked what they might do.”
  103. >”And the Great Mother told them, go into the warm meadows and reach into the earth. Let her welcome their beloved into her, that she might hold them and keep them, guard their spirits until they make their journey.”
  104. >”But even doing so, the wolves still came, still hungry and sought to take the ponies who had not yet passed to her.”
  105. >”So the ponies of the plains went to the Great Mother once more and they asked of her, why do your wolves come to us so? Why do they take from us and not from the beasts of your land as we do?”
  106. >”But it was not the Great Mother that answered them. The spirits of their beloved, now resting within her, knew many of her secrets and spoke of them. They told their children of the words to call forth the wolves, to calm their spirits, and to commune with them to share the secrets of the hunt.”
  107. >”That is why, little ones, if you go to the tundra plains, you will see their hunters with great ice wolves by their sides. Though we do not take the beasts of the land for ourselves, their wolfen friends must, and must be shown how to and how much they must take, without robbing it of too much.”
  108. >”And it is why, in all our lands, none know more of the plants and growing things than the snow ponies of the tundra plains.”
  109. >”What of the great mountain ponies? I am afraid that is a tale for another time, little ones, for we are almost where I must take you and there is time yet for only our own humble story.”
  110.  
  111. >”We, little ones, the ponies of the forests and the mountains, the plains and the seas. We may make our homes in the forests for much of the year but we still must move with the seasons, ever onwards to visit our friends across the land.”
  112. >”We have neither warm earth nor freezing cave, the great heated springs of the mountain tribes, nor the deep glades of the tribes that live always among the trees.”
  113. >”So what do you suppose it is we may do, little ones, when we must seek the counsel of the spirits of our forebears?”
  114. >”That is why I have taken you here to see this.”
  115. >”No, not merely stones, but a cairn. This is but one of many that dot our land, that mark our way from mountain to sea, to forest and plain.”
  116. >”For you see, little ones, when first our tribe set hoof to the snow and to the earth and to the rock and the ice, we were happy and glad for no other tribe would carry with them so many tales of what they had seen and done. None would know the land as we do.”
  117. >”But every journey must eventually reach its end, must it not? Each year, when we meet with our friends and those we love in Snowpitt, we rejoice for we have walked our track and may rest.”
  118. >”Even so, there are those whose journey must end before that time. Those for whom the call of almighty Sky to the greatest journey of all can no longer be put off. Just as we must begin our journey anew each year, so too must those who depart from our sides begin another.”
  119. >”And so, when that time came and we had no place where we could call our own, to call upon the spirits of our beloved, we did what the ancient shaman had taught us: we turned our voices to the heavens.”
  120. >”Now, almighty Sky may see all, little ones, but our land is so vast and we are so many that in turn, he asked something of us. That we take the stones of his beloved, the Great Mother, and mark the places where the spirits of our beloved have left us.”
  121. >”In doing so, almighty Sky would watch over them and keep them, that none may take them from us. The Great Mother would reach through the rocks and soothe the spirits, that they would wait for the right time.”
  122. >”When is that? Hmm, none of you are yet old enough to know of why we sing the great Song of Snowpitt, are you?”
  123. >”Then let us return to the village, children. I believe that we may have afforded River Runner the time she needed to rest.”
  124. >”Now, those of you with your marks remember the day where I presented you with your carving, do you not?”
  125. >”There are many reasons why we sculpt them, little ones, but for us, the tribe of many places, they hold a special meaning.”
  126. >”Our tracks take us past many old places, past many remembered cairns. But where the other tribes may always lie close to the spirits of their beloved, for us it is not so.”
  127. >”For us, the carvings are a remembrance, a small portion of their spirit kept with us to warm our hearts and watch over our huts. To guide and guard us on our long journey to Snowpitt, to where they are delivered.”
  128.  
  129. >”For each year, when the tribes come together and old friendships renewed, we share also the memories of those who have left us. We, the shaman, deliver our carvings of wood and stone and ice and steel to the great keeping place of Snowpitt.”
  130. >”It was on the first of those nights, so it is said, that the shaman of our tribe turned her head upwards and began her song.”
  131. >”For almighty Sky had spoken a sacred secret to her - that we, his children, were not meant to forever remain of the land that he and the Great Mother had created for us. As our parents long to warm themselves by our sides, so too does almighty Sky seek his children to return to him when their time here is finished.”
  132. >”He had spoken to our shaman of the song she must sing, to call forth across the land to the cairns. To tell the Great Mother that her work in holding the spirits was done and she must release them.”
  133. >”But one voice, even that of a shaman, is not enough to reach across the land. She rose it higher and higher, hoping that the spirits may hear her pleas and come to her.”
  134. >”It was at her peak, when she felt she must instead call out to almighty Sky and ask how she had failed that another rose his voice to join with hers. And another after. A family joined them. A village.”
  135. >”Our tribe raised their voices as one and called out across the land. But we, too, were not enough.”
  136. >”Instead, we had stirred the hearts of the other tribes’ shaman and they too began the song. Their tribes followed, feeling within them the stirring of the desire to see their beloved once more.”
  137. >”As one great voice, we called out - return to us! Return to us! Your work is done, your home is here, return to us!”
  138. >”And from the caves and the plains, from the high mountains and deep forests, and from all across the land where we had built our cairns, the spirits stirred and swept along on the currents of our song.”
  139. >”They re-joined us all in Snowpitt, on that blessed night. The first where almighty Sky lit his fires to show the way to his children, that they might return to him.”
  140. >”Their journey in this life had ended and that of the next had begun.”
  141. >”Ah, but little ones, do not look so sorrowful!”
  142. >”For do we travel only ever onward, never pausing for rest? It is true, each year almighty Sky lights his fire to help guide the spirits but even they too must pause to rest. And it is at those times where they meet with us once more, to share their wisdom, their courage, their love.”
  143. >”So, when we return and greet River Runner, do not be sad. All of you have long lives yet ahead, many years to travel to Snowpitt. To sing its song and to see her, once more.”

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