• Dedicated to My friends and family
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Heartpoint lay in the clearing; the sun’s rays bathed her in a radiant light that caused her white coat to glow. To a passerby it would appear as if all light radiated from her. Her white horn spiraled up from the crown of her head and the tip seemed to glow.

Leadingspine lowered his sable head and pressed his muzzle to her cheek. “How are you, my love?” he asked softly as he drew back. He glanced briefly over his flank to view the other unicorns that waited in the small clearing.

“I’m fine Leadingspine. It will not be long now. Please, have Ivyleaf come to me now.”  She laid her head down over her forelegs.

Leadingspine turned and galloped across the short grass. When he returned a tall dappled mare trotted before him.

Heartpoint lay panting; the grass bed cushioned beneath her swollen belly. Leadingspine stopped as soon as he saw the pain wash over her face. He pawed at the ground. There was nothing he could do to ease her pain but he tried to mummer comforting sounds.

Ivyleaf turned to him, “Maybe you should wait with the others.” She advised him.

“No, I will stay.” He stated firmly and made a resolved effort not to let his distress show. He would not be separated from his lifemate at this crucial time.

Heartpoint’s tail twitched. Ivyleaf moved to stand at her tail. Leadingspine kept his eyes firmly on his lifemates face. He inwardly shuddered with each new reflection of pain in her eyes. He ached to press his face to her neck and just take in her scent. He didn’t move. He didn’t want to distract her. 

He saw the exact moment that her pain ended. The muscles in her muzzle relaxed. Her eyes cleared and a soft sigh escaped her parted lips on a soft breath.

“Heartpoint, you have birthed a fine colt.” Ivyleaf said. Heartpoint sighed happily again.  Heartpoint and Leadingspine turned to look at their offspring.

The colt lay in the soft grass. His coat was still wet and sticky. Heartpoint lifted her head and turned her body. The colt lifted but didn’t stand. She licked his muzzle, his jaw, and continued to clean him until his coat shown as brilliantly as her own. The colt had no horn; in its place was a small hard raised bump. She took special care as she cleaned this area. The raised bump was covered in a soft furry film that would slowly recede over the next month.

 Leadingspine stepped over to his family. He waited a moment giving mother and son a moment to bond. When Heartpoint lifted her head and looked at him, he understood the silent invitation. He leaned down and licked the newborn colt’s ear, then the new mothers.

The colt struggled to move. He pushed against the ground with his soft hooves. It took him a moment to stand and then another to gain stable legs. 

Ivyleaf rejoined them; Leadingspine had not realized that she had left after clearing the birth scene.

Waterdrop, Mightyoak, Mapleflower, Windrider, Moonshadow, Wheatshield, Ashguard, Redmoon, and the rest of the herd followed in Ivyleafs lead. Dewpetal was the last to come forward and lick Heartpoint’s face. After the gesture, she moved back shyly.

Everyone spoke at once; it was like roaring waterfalls in Heartpoint’s mind. She closed her eyes and concentrated her senses on the scent of her new colt. Ivyleaf called to the others, “It is time to leave the mew family alone.  We can meet them back at the home grounds when the colt is ready to travel from the birth ground.” She turned to Heartpoint and Leadingspine. “We shall see you at the home grounds at moon high.”

The others turned to leave with mummers of goodbye. The colt had decided that his hunger needed to be quenched and snuggled up to his mother. As he drank, the others left one by one. Ivyleaf remained after they were gone.

“He truly is magnificent.” She said to them both. “Have you decided on his first name?”

Heartpoint shook her head.

Leadingspine answered, “We think it best to know him better. Even first names have power in our minds, they can shape the soul.”

Ivyleaf nodded. “You will make good parents I think.” She turned and followed the others.

Left alone the small family remained silent except for the faint suckling sounds of the colt. Heartpoint bathed the colt’s ear and birth bump. Leadingspine lay beside them.

“We really can’t call him colt until his name day.” Heartpoint said softly.

“I thought we agreed it was best not to name him, until we knew his spirit.” He said as he nuzzled her neck.

She gazed at the star colored colt affectionately. “It will be for only a half moon.”

 Leadingspine sighed. “Very well” he exhaled heavily. “You know I cannot deny you anything.” He looked over at their colt. “What have you decided?” he asked her.

“He looks like a star. The light illuminates his coat and makes him glow. And did you see that he didn’t shy away when the herd came to show there respect?” her thoughts were full of pride. “I think we should call him Surefire.” 

Leadingspine nodded. It was a fine name for a colt, a bit large for one so small but it would be a private name until his naming day.

Surefire looked up as he finished eating. “It is time to test your leg, young one.” Leadingspine said. He stood and nudged the colt to stand.

This time the colt stood and found steady legs.

 A flutterby flew by, turned a summersault in the air, retraced its path, and landed on the colt’s nose. The colt tried to look at the insect perched on his nose. Heartpoint laughed softly as his eyes crossed. The flutterby moved its wings but stayed. 

Heartpoint stood to her feet. Her skin rippled.

The flutterby quivered its wings again. They grazed over the colt’s soft nose. He sneezed and shook his head dislodging the yellow flutterby. It flew away, without a second thought, the colt bolted off after it.

His parents watched as he frolicked in the clearing. Each step seemed to stir up something else for him to investigate. Heartpoint almost sprang forward when the small black snake slithered out from under a rock that the colt was sniffing.

Leadingspine grabbed a mouthful of Heartpoint’s mane. “No. He must learn,” he said through teeth and hair.

She stopped but gasped as the snake coiled. The colt tilted his head and the little snake struck. Shocked by the sudden pain in his muzzle the colt bolted.

 Heartpoint whimpered.

“It’s okay, love. It isn’t a clattersnake. But now he will know the serpents scent.”

The colt ran over to his parents. Heartpoint bathed the wound with her tongue. They murmured reassuringly to there offspring.

"Is all right, little one. The rock snake gives a mild bite, the pain will ease soon. But you must keep clear of the things that slither, not all do so little harm." Heartpoint explained affectionately.

" Come, my hearts." Leadingspine said as he turned to the home grounds. They walked slowly through the forest. Surefire stop frequently to investigate all the tiny creatures. His parents indulge him and stopped to wait and only called him away a few times. Surefire was fasinated by all the creatures that he saw and forest. The size of the creature not mattered all. However, he grew frustrated with the squirrels as he was unable to follow them of the trees. One squirrel, a large gray, chattered excitedly and angrily threw acorns on top of Surefires' head. Surefire stopped and tasted the Honey Vines after smelling them.

His parents joined him in this activity. The tiny sweet yellow flowers grew wild and abundantly. Surefires only tasted a few of the flowers, then turned to his mother and nursed contentedly as she ate her fill.

Soon they turned and headed to the home grounds.

The densly overgrown area at the edge of the home ground and Heartpoint mentally smiled at Surefire. "This is the entrance to the homeground."