The colt stared at the pink mare who was rolling in the oat field. He chewed on a dried oat stem, which he occasionally moved from one side of his mouth to another. He casually turned around and went back home. A short while later the colt and his father approached the mare, who was standing on widely-spread legs and hyperventilating at their approach, gauging them with wide green eyes. The colt's father had a straw hat that sat high on his head and reached upwards like a beige tower. "I don't know!" the mare said in hysteria upon being asked why she was there. "Jeanine," she answered as her name. “My voice is different!” Pa and son both looked at each other. The colt said her name was strange and received a pap on the snout for his efforts from his pa. His father told him to not be so rude to a guest. They made their way home with the pink mare on the father’s back. The mother helped fill her stomach and slake her thirst on food that, while she was familiar with its base ingredients, tasted different radically different on her new taste buds. She was mightily confused indeed, when the kindly old mother placed the bowl and spoon in front of her. She stared dumbly at her pink hooves and made a face like she was about to cry, when the mother told her to use her horn, and at Jeanine’s confusion, was presented a mirror and a tap on the instrument in question from the old mom. She shook her head, having no idea what she meant. So the old mother took the spoon in her wing and fed Jeanine without further ado. The trio had to hold and catch her multiple times, outside near the chicken coop when they brought her out to try walking. They gave her space when she burst into tears of happiness upon taking her first few steps on her own. She didn’t explain to them why, and they didn’t ask. Her new body was not very strong. It was skinny, it needed muscle and fat. The family figured she was a magic experiment gone wrong.
A week passed under the care of the kindly but quiet family, for whose shelter she gladly worked the farm with her strengthening body and coordination. The paper came late, this far in the country. The headlines were already made. Jeanine and the family were stunned speechless. Jeanine agreed when they suggested she head for the embassies already being built to shelter and aid the newcomers to this land. Another week passed before the four made their way to a village on the outskirts of Fillydelphia to stock up on some groceries the family could not produce themselves, and it was there that Jeanine parted ways with grateful tears. They’d given her bits and enough oats to survive on her own for a while. The ride into Fillydelphia proper was smooth but slow. She’d hopped into a carriage taking numerous townsfolk to and fro the enormous port city. She had to answer many questions about her arrival as she was an obvious one of these new “transients,” but disappointed most of those riding with her, her story being lackluster to say the least. She omitted the part about her death at all times. It was finally her turn to be interviewed at the Fillydelphia embassy for trans-dimensional arrivals, nearly a full two weeks later, as the embassy was not yet truly open until then. The mare that interviewed her was patiently kind and clearly not from the city, as her accent was demonstrably from elsewhere.
“North Carolina,” she stated as to her place of origin. The mare asked if that was her country, and Jeanine corrected her with a snicker that the mare found to be less than tasteful, and it proceeded more dryly from there. “Jeanine,” she said as they finally came to names. The mare pushed her papers to one side of the desk and opened a book, then told Jeanine that the Equestrian government recommended that “ponies like her” should strongly consider taking a new name, to better fit within society. The book was a book of common names from all areas of Equestria, and for various species of peoples, and then explained to her how the naming conventions differed, that it is usually two words for a name, and that either the first or last one is related to what that pony is good at, and that the other name was related to their personal colors, or appearance, and sometimes personality. Jeanine read through the list of names pertaining to photography, sounding out each one, until she came to the middle of the M section. “Moire,” she repeated again.
The mare asked what else after confirming she liked it. There are typically two names. Jeanine stared blankly at the book, and slowly shook her head. “Can I choose the other name later?” The mare explained that it’s not uncommon for ponies to take only a single name, and that it’s quite easy to change one’s name, but not cheap. When Jeanine left with a potential job at a low-on-its-luck newspaper who was one of the first that began accepting the transients, an apartment that would remain free for a time, and the new name Moire, she felt truly different. She felt like the human that entered that building had gone, and that a completely new person, a unicorn pony named Moire had exited. She felt like a child finally graduating university, like a child who had finally grown into an adult woman. She was so giddy that her beaming smile stayed stuck on her face all the way to her new home. She didn’t mind the nagging questions from passersby about her missing cutie mark. She never did add another name on. She felt like she had grown into being Moire. It felt natural, like she had been born as and had always been Moire.
------------------------------- Post above was made in 2018, but is about what happened three years (IC and OOC) prior to the post below, which was made recently --------------------------
Moire knew this dream was different from others. It was a nightmare. It was a deathly dark night and she and Bubbles were walking on the road alone. Moire was very nervous but she couldn’t place why. Bubbles was acting strangely. She didn’t want to move from the center of the road. Bubbles wasn’t talking much, and it wasn’t because she was in one of her sad moods, but like she no longer had anything to say. Moire wasn’t enjoying her company, and that struck like a lightning bolt deep within her soul as foundationally unsettling. The road was black with a cracked and faded yellow line in the center. It was silent except for a distant rumbling, distinctly the sound of tires on asphalt. She tried willing Bubbles to want to go home, but there was no response, and this caused her to feel a profound sort of sadness. The rolling sound grew until it roared. It was very slow coming, the light, but it did come round the corner far ahead on the road, illuminating the spikes of dead trees, then the road itself, and finally its source made the bend. Moire couldn’t move. Whenever she tried running away, it was like her chest could only jerk around a bit. When she tried screaming for Bubbles to help her, it was naught but a mumbling moan in her throat. She didn’t feel defeat. She kept trying until the inevitable ascent from sleep. Her eyes open before her mind is even aware, and just as awareness reaches her, she feels her hoof reach over in the dark. She knows what she will find, and it eases her into unwilling wakefulness just as she hoped it would. The hoof departs from Bubbles’ sleeping shoulder and reaches up to wipe sweat from her face. She’s just glad she didn’t disturb Bubbles. It has been a long time since she’s had a nightmare, but the memories of waking to Bubbles shaking her in the middle of the night are fresh and horrible. She does fall back into regular, nightmare-free sleep after a nervous hour of late night wakefulness.
The morning is good to Moire. The two share oranges in the brisk porch air outside their front door. Moire pours Bubbles a cup of yesterday’s leftover mulled cider and warms it for her with a spell. She departs Bubbles with a very passionate kiss that she loves to see surprise her. She didn’t tell her about the nightmare, but she still allowed the feeling of it to empower her love. Moire, however, has a very specific job to attend to away from home despite the weekend. She promised it wouldn’t take long, though she knew Bubbles wouldn’t mind anyway if it did. When Moire arrives, the docks smell of fish foremost, and secondary chemically, for several crates of haircare products bound to the spa’s storeroom were being unloaded from the flatbed cargo ship that got roped into the harbor. She bid good morning to one of the dockhands, a pony that used to be a human, and that human was once an animator for a major movie studio. She waits til most of the workers and ship crew depart the deck before she hops aboard. It’s easy to remember her way to the control room. It’s her third time on the same ship, but this time she isn’t going anywhere. The first time she was on it was her first time to Outer Hayven, when she departed Fillydelphia on a month-long assignment to document the lives of the town. She smiles longingly at the small guest room she lived and frequently vomited in during the voyage here and back. She’s got queer sealegs. She was so excited, she thought it was the beginning of her new life as a world traveler and adventurer, a photojournalist with an important mission, but her heart turned out to have other plans. She stares longingly through the window at the sparse market square beyond the docking zone.
She remembers, too, staring through the same window when she left the town behind on the trip back to Fillydelphia, back to the newspaper she worked for. Her hooves sound off cling-cling on the steel floor, she ponderously heads further down the ship’s musty corridor. Her life in Filly after leaving Outer Hayven was absolutely mundane in comparison. She spent most of her time carousing a particular rooftop bar or walking the city streets just for something to do. She’ll truly never forget seeing Stray Shot just show up one day. He carried a letter from her best friend, reading it tore her heart to shreds. She quit her job, then and there. Just like that, it was as if Outer Hayven came back, knocking hard at her door. It wasn’t as if she had a choice to let the knocking go unanswered, either. Adventure came straight away, as is the nature of Outer Hayven. She remembers a chase through the narrow alleys of downtown Filly, a stolen train toy. She also thinks back to the Octavia and Vinyl Scratch plushies she has on a shelf back home, they are souvenirs from that time.
The captain is fumbling with his wings in the control room. He’s old, seen a lot and his eyes look it, but Moire isn’t more than an acquaintance to him despite his familiarity. He greets her apathetically, mentions he doesn’t recall booking her for a voyage, and struggles to reach far enough without having to move his whole body just to turn down speakers playing a dreamy, lonely song with lyrics that sound like “… snow is falling in Manehattan…” He chuckles hoarsely and mentions that he heard on the radio earlier that snow really is falling in Manehattan today. Moire smiles and nods politely. She takes a seat nearby. She opens him up with the right words here, a polite chiding there. She reaches into his personality and listens with her heart. He says after a while that it wasn’t the radio he heard it from, but a letter by owl from his daughter, an actor residing in the big city. He doesn’t see her much but she’s all he has left. His wife fell from the ship long ago, and now the sea’s the closest thing he’s got. Moire thinks back to her first day in Equestria, after she died on that fateful day. It was a bright field on a crisp morning. The golden hour had not even passed by, but she screamed down at her body and had to wait for the boy of a family to come walk her home to his house. She stayed there with the kindly old couple and their young son for long weeks, learning to walk and operate a pony’s body, experimenting with magic along the way. They were a quiet family, but not disconnected. They were kindly beyond all, it was so different to what she had always known. Generous to the core. To the very last moment they were generous, they paid to have her brought to the Embassy in Fillydelphia, the nearest one to their farm house. It was there, where she lied about her experience, that she landed a newspaper job.
Going back and thanking that family is a daydream she greets kindly whenever it appears. It’s a wish she’s held down for a long time now, and one this old pony’s story has helped to rekindle conviction for. She tells him, this familiar stranger, her story, or at least a summation of events. Her family. Her accident, her disability. Her death and rebirth in Equestria. The job, the town, her friends, her adventures, the dragon she danced with however brief. The sorrows she thought she overcame with love. Chronology goes missing in her explanation. There was a city of diamond dogs. There was a portal in the woods. There was a monster in the antarctic. There was a crazed knife-wielding mare in Las Pegasus. Ghosts and ghouls she befriended, a dragon’s heart she helped to warm, and many friends who kept her partly sane and very definitely happy. She didn’t even realize he was listening and caring until she was almost done. She describes how her girlfriend makes her feel, how even simple mornings can compare to the bizarre and great things she’s seen before, and even outshine. It’s not just love, it’s who Bubbles is.
They share in broken things, she explains to him, that they’re both halves of completely different coins, whose edges left jagged from completely different kinds of halvings seem to fit pretty well together. When she leaves, she bids the dockhand goodbye. She always greets this particular dockhand, because he has an interesting story. When the day came that the humans appeared in Equestria, she left behind three children. She, now unwittingly forced into the pony body of a he, is a father to a foal, and has decided to take the second chance to stay away from from drugs and to live a simple life away from the animation studio. He doesn’t know it, but Moire has mentally interviewed him time after time. She doesn’t know why she does it, but she enjoys it. When she gets back home, she tells Bubbles everything. They finish the last of the little bottle of cider together, and Moire pulls out a bunch of maps from underneath the bed, spreads them out on the floor, and picks out the one with the Fillydelphia outskirts on it.