CANTERLOT - SHINE FAMILY RESIDENCE - ICICLE GLEAM (AGE 19)
Icicle Gleam quietly sits in front of the mirror in his room, gazing blankly beyond his reflection, beyond the wall of his room's mirrored counterpart. One could easily assume he was completely zoning out, if it wasn't for his carefully controlled breathing and the flickering movements of his eyes as he tries to keep himself focused. With a slightly shaky hoof, he reaches up and adjusts the tie of his suit. She would have liked seeing him all dressed up like this.
Narrator: A gentle knock comes from the door leading to the hallway, and the voice of his sister can be heard from the other side. "Icy? Are you ready? It's... it's almost time."
Icicle Gleam closes his eyes and bites his lip for a moment, then calls back in a strained tone. "I'll be out soon, Crystal... Just... give me another couple of seconds."
Crystal Glint sighs quietly to herself. "Alright, Icy... We'll be waiting downstairs, for you."
Icicle Gleam waits, listening for the sound of Crystal making her way downstairs. As the sound fades away, he rubs his forehead with a hoof and slowly stands up. He gives his suit one last look, making sure everything is perfectly set, before he glances at the window and out into the yard.
Narrator: It's a beautiful, sunny day outside. A light breeze is blowing through the window, carrying a light scent of philadelphus flowers into the room. Light occasionally flashes off of the glass covering a photo on Gleam's desk, and the melodious chirp of wild birds can be heard outside.
Icicle Gleam stares out into the yard for a few more moments before tearing his gaze away with a heavy sigh. His sight locks onto the photo on display on his desk, and he immediately regrets looking in that direction. His eyes quickly well up with tears and he roughly sits down on the edge of his bed with his face buried in a hoof.
Narrator: The photo bears a picture of Icicle Gleam and a pegasus mare around his age. The mare is wearing a set of highly polished Royal Guard armor, sans the helmet, which she's holding under her wing, opposite the side Gleam is standing on. The two look extremely happy, with both wearing huge grins. The photo seems relatively new, perhaps only a few months old. A small caption in elegant hoofwriting reads: "Thank you for always being there for me, Icy! Love, Sun Shield. Sunny."
Narrator: A few minutes later, the sound of somepony coming up the staircase can be heard beyond the door. The voice of his mom, Radiance, calls through the door a moment later. "Icy, dear? Are you ready? You don't want to be late."
Icicle Gleam answers in an extremely uneven voice, muffled by the hoof pressed to his snout. "I'm... dressed... But I don't know... I don't know if I'm ready..."
Radiance gently opens the door and steps in, looking at her son with sad eyes. "Oh... Icy..." She quickly trots over to him, magically turning the photo on the desk to the side as she goes, pulling him into a tight hug when she's close enough. "This is hard for you, I know."
Icicle Gleam sniffles and wraps his forelegs around his mother, burying his face in her coat as tears start leaking from his eyes. "Why...? Why Sunny, Mom? She was only nineteen..."
Radiance closes her eyes and nuzzles Gleam softly. ""I don't know, Icy... I don't know..." She rubs his shoulders and eases him to his hooves while still holding the hug. "I would tell you if I only knew, dear."
Icicle Gleam lets out a small sob and tightens his hug for a moment, before loosening his grip and leaning heavily on his mother.
Radiance releases the hug, but remains at her son's side, supporting him. "Come on, honey... You need to come along. She would want you there, instead of locking yourself away in your room like this."
Icicle Gleam nods shakily. "I... I know. I want to go, but I'm afraid..."
Radiance starts guiding Gleam out of his room, holding him close with her magic all the while. "I know you are, dear... But Sunny and I both know that you're a brave colt. You need to be brave about this. For her."
Icicle Gleam swallows a lump in his throat, then nods again. "I need to be..."
CANTERLOT - WHITEWOOD CEMETERY - TWO HOURS LATER
Narrator: The weather remains just as beautiful as before, with only an occasional cloud providing a small amount of shade on an otherwise cloudless day. The sky's brightness seems to simultaneously be at odds with, and helping lift, the mood that pervades the small gathering of ponies in the cemetery.
Icicle Gleam sits in the front row with his sister and parents. He's been silent ever since leaving the house two hours before. Now, his gaze is locked on a point just above the coffin, and has been for the past hour, as he waits for the viewing.
Crystal Glint wraps a wing around her brother's back and gently leans against him, silently trying to comfort him.
Radiance sits on Gleam's other side, allowing him to lean on her for comfort and support, literally.
Lucent Skies sits at the end of the group, next to his wife, Radiance. He occasionally leans forward to check on his son, making sure he's... well... as 'fine' as can be in this setting.
Icicle Gleam sniffs a little, the only sound he's made for a while. His expression is much like how it was back in his room, when he was staring through his reflection in the mirror.
Narrator: A subtle change in the somber atmosphere heralds the start of the last section of the service being held for Sun Shield before her burial.
Crystal Glint looks up after a few seconds in silence, then nudges her brother gently. "The viewing is starting, Icy... Are you ready?"
Icicle Gleam shakes his head as a tear rolls off of his cheek. "No... I'm not."
Icicle Gleam sways a little as he slides from his seat and stands up. "...But I need to see her. At least one more time..."
Crystal Glint watches Gleam stand up, before standing up as well. "I'll come with yo-"
Icicle Gleam cuts his sister off by holding out a wing. "No. Sorry, Crys... I... want to see her by myself..."
Crystal Glint opens her mouth to say something, before shutting it again and nodding sadly. "I understand, Icy. Just, please, take it easy, okay... I don't like seeing you so unhappy."
Icicle Gleam rubs his nose with a fetlock, sniffing quietly. Without another glance, he slowly walks forward to join Sun Shield's family at the side of the coffin. He comes to a stop a few yards away from the back of the group, unsure if he wants to approach any closer than that.
Narrator: An earth pony, one of Sun Shield's cousins, hears Gleam approach. He turns around, then motions him closer, knowing that he and Sunny were dating. "Hey, Gleam. Come on..."
Narrator: A few more ponies in the group, particularly Sun Shield's parents, hear Gleam's approach and turn to look, before stepping to the side and waving Gleam forward. Sunny's mother watches Gleam with sad eyes. "Come over here, Dear, She would have wanted to see you again."
Icicle Gleam swallows the lump growing in his throat and angles his gaze down toward the ground below. He slowly pins his ears back as he makes his way over to the side of the casket.
Mrs Shield gives Gleam a gentle hug as he approaches. "I'm so sorry you have to face this, Icicle... I know how hard this is on you..."
Icicle Gleam shuts his eyes and leans into the hug, unable to summon up the strength to return it. "She... She didn't deserve this happening to her..."
Mrs Shield holds Gleam close in her embrace. "Shh... shh... I know, dear. I know. But what's done is done. All we can do now is..." She trails off, unable to finish the statement.
Icicle Gleam nods slowly, then eases his way out of Mrs. Shield's grip. Brushing at his eyes, he turns toward the coffin and steps forward, lightly resting his hooves on the edge and looking at the pony within.
Sun Shield lies peacefully within, her head resting comfortably upon a frilled, pure white pillow. Her face betrays no hint of pain or sadness, nor does it display any hint of recognition that her coltfriend is now standing at her side once again. A small, familiar, heart-shaped locket hangs from a fine necklace around her neck.
Icicle Gleam grimaces and fights the temptation to turn around and run away. He spends a few silent minutes just standing at Sun Shield's side, doing his best to control his shaking forelegs. Eventually, he pulls himself together enough to say something. "...S-Sunny... I... I'm so s-sorry..."
Crystal Glint walks up beside her brother, draping a wing around his shoulders as she looks at Sun Shield, on the verge of tears.
Icicle Gleam starts to shiver in the afternoon sun. "I... I never thought... I should have said..."
Crystal Glint nuzzles her brother softly. "Icy... stop."
Icicle Gleam continues, not hearing his sister at all. "I didn't tell you 'goodbye', I didn't say how much I loved you before you left to go north... I only told you 'I'd write'..."
Crystal Glint wraps her wing around Gleam a little more tightly, sniffling. "Icy, that's enough... please..."
Icicle Gleam lowers his head until he's resting his forehead on the edge of the coffin. "...D-dammit..."
Radiance slowly walks up and gently wraps a foreleg around her son's shoulders.
Icicle Gleam quivers at the touch and lifts his head slightly. "I'm... I just wish I was there... Maybe I c-could have... protected you... Maybe you'd still be around..."
Radiance looks up at the pony holding the services after a few moments.
Narrator: The pony watches Gleam with sad eyes for a second or so, then nods slightly.
Radiance gives Gleam's shoulders a slight squeeze. "Come on, Icy. It's time to step back."
Icicle Gleam nods shakily and, with effort, regains his hooves. He takes a highly reluctant step back and takes a gulp of air. "Goodbye, Sunny..."
THE FROZEN NORTH - 'A WEEK LATER'
Icicle Gleam trudges through the snow-laden plains, shivering slightly as he draws his heavy cloak about him. His breath leaves a glittering cloud of frozen vapor hanging in the air before it gets whisked away by the ever-present winds that pervade the land. He continues walking, unsure of what he's searching for, conscious only of the fact that he needs to keep going, that he has to keep going. In spite of walking for what felt like hours, he hasn't felt tired yet, nor has he felt hungry or thirsty at all.
Icicle Gleam silently surveys the landscape as he goes, occasionally taking a moment to dust his goggles free of snow before continuing on again. His ears twitch slightly under his cloak's hood, trying to catch the sound of something above the howl of the wind over the desolate plains.
Narrator: A scream echoes from far ahead. Loud, bloodcurdling, and drawn out.
Icicle Gleam immediately flares his wings open without a second thought, flinging his cloak open as he launches into the air. After spending a moment being buffeted by the wind, he shoots forward toward the source of the scream. As he draws closer, a sound of metal being struck by heavy objects reaches his ears, causing him to pick up the pace.
Narrator: In the distance, a group of ponies, distinct against the snowy ground only due to their cold weather armor, fights against a group of shadowy creatures. Not one of the ponies seems able to land a strike.
Sun Shield 's voice can be heard above the din of the battle. "What are these things?! We're not doing a thing to them!"
Icicle Gleam shivers as the voice reaches his ears. He quickly angles toward the group and flies as fast as he can. His cloak tears free from around his neck and quickly vanishes into the blizzard.
Sun Shield continues to battle against the creatures to no avail. She deftly dodges any attack that heads her way. Before long, however, her squad is whittled down to about half their original numbers, and she begins showing signs of fatigue.
Icicle Gleam folds his wings tightly against his side, allowing gravity alone to speed his descent to the ground. "Hang on, Sunny! I'm coming!"
Sun Shield looks up toward the voice, and the distant speck that is her coltfriend. "Icy! What are you doing?! Get out of here!" She stops yelling just in time to dodge another attack.
Icicle Gleam pins his ears back, attempting to gain any speed he can. "I'm not leaving you again!"
Sun Shield snarls as she pushes her assailant back. "Icicle! Get out of here!" She flinches as a claw grazes her armor, "You're going to g-- AAGH!"
Icicle Gleam 's eyes widen in horror as his marefriend gets sent tumbling from a direct hit. "Sunny! No!"
Sun Shield hits the snow-covered ground a few dozen yards away, leaving a trail of compacted snow dotted with bright red. She stirs feebly.
Icicle Gleam hits the ground hard and immediately charges toward Sun Shield, not taking notice that the other fighters have vanished. He skids to a halt at her side.
Sun Shield coughs weakly as she turns over onto her side. A small trail of red drips from the corner of her mouth. "D... damn..."
Icicle Gleam reaches out to try and hold Sun Shield steady, distinctly aware of the patch of crimson that's slowly spreading out from underneath her body. "Sunny, don't move. Come on, I'll patch you up, get you back home."
Sun Shield ignores Gleam's plea as she fumbles for the locket hidden beneath her armor. After a moment, she manages to pull it out and flip it open with a shaking hoof. She gazes at it with a smile, even as her breathing starts growing ragged.
Narrator: Inside the locket is a photo of Sun Shield and Icicle Gleam. The photo itself is tiny, but large enough to see the two are embracing each other happily. The edges of the photo are now tinged red from blood.
Sun Shield continues to stare at the photo for a few moments before she slowly looks up at her coltfriend, smiling as warmly as she can. "...I'm sorry... Icy." I love you..."
Icicle Gleam dusts snow from Sun Shield's armor, looking for the source. He shakes his head firmly, "You'll be fine, Sunny. Just... just stay still..."
Sun Shield closes her eyes for a second before opening them again. She weakly bumps Gleam's hoof with her free wing, no longer have the strength to speak.
Icicle Gleam looks up at Sun Shield, finally meeting her eyes as he continues blindly searching for her wound.
CANTERLOT - SHINE FAMILY RESIDENCE - JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT
Icicle Gleam 's eyes snap open as he gasps for air. He quickly looks around the darkened room from his position on top of his pillow. As his senses return, he clenches his eyes shut again and rolls onto his side, trying to quell a sob as he draws his blanket tightly around himself. He remains curled up and crying until he finally drifts off into a hopefully dreamless sleep just before dawn.