The Gossamer (old fiction)

I’ve been thinking about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic all day. It’s a show I keep meaning to watch, because I’ve heard such good things about it, and I loved My Little Pony when I was small. MLP:FiP seems like it fixes so many of the things I didn’t like (for I always have complaints about what I love), and covers over the rest over with both style and substance. But I haven’t gotten around to watching it to find out yet!

Anyhow, in digging through some old writing on old hard drives, I found this. I think it dates from about 8 years ago. Since I’ve been too out of it to post this week, I thought it might be fun to share this. ¬†Structurally it lacks almost everything I’d put into a story today, but perhaps I was aiming for a different aesthetic?

(The ‘stay tuned’ at the bottom is also from the original file.)

There are worlds layered like pages in a book.

In many of these worlds, Cinderella is not a person, but a role. In one such land, she is their Cinder Queen, born and reborn every century among the ashes, sought out by her Prince-Consort and raised to magnificence and glory. She is their conscience, their angel of compassion, their dove of mercy, but it is her Prince-Consort and his father the Regal who rule this land. She is the guardian of children, and of young women, and she may intercede on their behalf. While she reigns, her command on such matters is law.

But the exiles are not human, and the Prince and Regal do not listen to her pleas on their behalf.

They are odd creatures, fragile, with spindly legs. They resemble the sturdy, squat horses of the land, but we shan’t call them ponies… no, let us call them the gossamer. They come from the south, a tired, ragged band, telling stories in the cadenced speech of the fey, of a dark castle and how it crumbled and set them free. Ten lands they claim to have passed through, seeking a home, and in each they were told, “Try the next land, they’re much nicer than we are.”

“How will you earn your keep? Will you pull for us?” asks the Regal dubiously. “We have fine oxen. I do not think you could compete with them.”

The leader, flame-red, says, “We are tired and hungry and weak from years of service, Your Highness. We could not outpull your oxen.”

The Regal rubs his beard. “Well, you’re fine looking creatures. Perhaps you could find service as the steeds of noblemen.”

The leader, flame-red, says, “Our legs are thin, and our strength is not in our back, Your Highness. The weight of grown men would break us.”

Exasperated, the Regal says, “What do you have to offer, then? We cannot simply take you in out of the kindness of our hearts!” (Though of course the Cinder Queen had insisted they could do just that.)

The leader, flame red, shakes out her mane and it flows like a sheet of silk down her neck and back. “We have beautiful hair. You may comb it.”

The Regal snorts. “Off you go, then. I’d tell you the next kingdom is nicer, but there is only the sea to the east, the stone to the west, and the snows to the north. Take your pick.”

The Cinder Queen goes to the flame red leader and wraps her arms around the gossamer’s neck and leans her head against the gossamer’s head. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, and, “My name is Julie.”

The flame-red leader puts her head over Julie’s shoulder. “I am Kindle. Be at peace, little cinderella. This was no more than we expected.” (This does not make the Cinder Queen feel any better.)

They choose the snows to the north. Kindle, their flame-red leader, remarks, “Perhaps they will welcome us.”

“I’m sure they’ll appreciate your long silky hair,” says the Prince-Consort.

The are exiled from the kingdom during the yearly celebration of the Cinder Queen’s ascension, the green borders of the kingdom sealed against their kind. Julie watches as the brightly colored shapes trudge into the snows, until the colors reflecting from the snow can be seen no longer.

They walk north. They lean into the wind and snow, and they walk and walk, until at last the butter-yellow one stumbles, and falls. The other stop, and two more fall to their knees: sky-blue, sea-green. “Tiara,” says Kindle. “Robin. Flute.”

She sighs. “It is time, my gossamer.” The icy wind cuts across them, blowing her words away, and so she shakes out her hair. The others follow , and banner after banner of luxurious silken color is swept out by the wind. Slowly Robin and Flute climb to their feet, and even Tiara rises and the brightness of her hair streams out in the wind.

And the wind stops.

As their hair, tangled and wind-knotted, settles into place, their colors reflect from the still snow. They move, tiredly, and their colors twinkle back at them. Then, the sun comes out, and the snow shines. There is a great groan of ice and a tinkling noise and the colors shatter as the snows slide apart and a misty valley appears before them.

“Welcome,” the snow tinkles. “Be welcome. Be warm, and walk among us, so that we may reflect your beauty. We will eat the cold as you ate the wind. Be welcome.”

And this is how the gossamer came to Snowshine Valley.
(Yet To Come: Julie discovers children are vanishing from her kingdom! The Prince-Consort earns a name! The gossamer plant a garden! Details on gossamer variants and where they come from! But does the gossamer hair get untangled? Stay tuned to find out!)

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