[oneshot] Statue

Apr 26th, 2017
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  1. >You're an aspiring archeologist pony on your first big expedition after graduating.
  2. >And after a three day journey taking you deeper and deeper into the increasingly untamed jungle, you think you're finally getting close to what you're looking for.
  3. >Sitting down on a large rock, you take a moment to catch your breath.
  4. >Even though it's around noon, most of the sweltering sun is blocked by the thick roof of leaves far above, leaving the forest floor with only a bit of murky twilight.
  5. >Doesn't help the heat though.
  6. >Or the humidity.
  7. >Or the annoyingly huge insects buzzing around, trying to sting and bite you at every opportunity.
  8. >So why, you keep asking yourself.
  9. >Why would you willingly put up with all this?
  10. >After taking a long, satisfying drag from your flask of water and wiping your face clean of the sweat and dirt with a handkerchief, you carefully unfold your map from your saddlebag.
  11. >You smile, gently following the entwined trails and pathways with your hoof.
  12. >You must have spent dozens of hours brooding over them back in the twilight of your study, trying to unravel their hidden secrets and locked-away entrances - you actually think you've got them memorized by now.
  13. >Still, it never hurts to double check.
  14. >And there - in the heart of this godforsaken forest - lies the reason for your expedition.
  15. >A village.
  16. >Not a large one, mind, if these charts are anything to go by, but there it is.
  17. >And once you knew what to look for, the evidence just kept piling up, leaving you traces and hints like breadcrumbs scattered throughout history.
  18. >An ancient civilization.
  19. >No one seemed to be able to clearly identify anything about it, but it was - unmistakably - there.
  20. >Here.
  21. >Or around here at least.
  22. >You didn't find any villages yet, but that doesn't surprise you.
  23. >Older charts suggest that the jungle has been spreading rapidly in the last centuries, and even if it hadn't, you doubt traces of huts and houses would survive long in these conditions.
  24. >Still, you should be able to find something.
  25. >Life is bound to leave traces not so easily reclaimed by nature, and you can almost feel yourself getting close to them.
  27. >After a bit more resting you continue pushing forward, feeling the air around you slowly - thankfully - cool as midday turns into afternoon and afternoon into evening.
  28. >The sun has long vanished behind the horizon, leaving you with the quickly swelling sparkle of moonlight making its way through the overgrowth.
  29. >Another uneventful day it seems, and you're about start arguing with yourself if you should begin your return trek tomorrow, when an unfamiliar shine rips you from your thoughts.
  30. >There, a few meters in front of you between the tree trunks, something that shouldn't be here catches your eye, the scattered moonlight touching it with an eerie, almost unnatural glow.
  31. >A statue.
  32. >A statue of a pony.
  33. >You gallop towards it, nearly tripping over your hooves from excitement.
  34. >This is it.
  35. >This is proof.
  36. >Proof of this once being a place where ponies lived.
  37. >You stop in front of the statue, quickly dropping your saddlebags and equipment in an attempt to get out your tools.
  38. >You can feel your own heartbeat pounding in your chest and you see your hooves shaking when you slowly, gingerly reach out to touch the processed stone.
  39. >It's cold to the touch and oddly smooth.
  40. >Examining some more, you quickly pull your sketchpad from your bags and begin taking notes.
  41. >This is incredible.
  42. >The statue depicts a mare, that much is clear; a unicorn with an evenly-cut mane and tail, about life-sized and fairly detailed.
  43. >Very detailed.
  44. >Her eyes seem to sparkle with unshed tears; her mane and tail are incredibly lifelike.
  45. >But it's her expression you can't wrap your head around.
  46. >Her look of shock; of pure, unfiltered terror.
  47. >Her eyes are wide and her mouth slightly agape, an almost dumbstruck expression if it wasn’t for the panic clearly written all over it.
  48. >A shudder runs down your spine as you quickly scribble more and more data into your notebook.
  49. >Why would somepony make a statue like this, and to this detail no less?
  50. >Statues are supposed to be celebratory or glorifying, are they not?
  51. >Or intimidating even.
  52. >This is neither.
  53. >This is a mare moments away from her demise, the true nature of her circumstances just now dawning on her, but too late to be of any real assistance.
  54. >All her realization is causing is solidifying her panic, as she - in the last second of her existence - pieces together what the rest of eternity would be like for her.
  55. >After scribbling notes and probing the statue for a while longer, you sink down on your makeshift camp, still mustering the mare frozen in time.
  56. >The moonlight is still hitting her, making her features all the more pronounced in the stark relief of light and shadow.
  57. >Another shudder creeps up your spine as you turn to lie on your side and close your eyes.
  58. >Regardless of its eeriness, your find just brought you a major step closer to unraveling a bit of history seemingly forgotten.
  59. >You’ll properly catalogue it in the morning and see where to go from there.
  60. >Sleep comes easy to you.
  61. >You dream of a purple-eyed mare stuck in eternity, waiting out the eons in darkness and silence until the end of the world will finally absolve her of her curse.
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