The Mystery of Rorim Lake: What Was Lost

Published Apr 21, 2023, 4:24:28 PM UTC | Last updated Apr 26, 2023, 12:16:08 AM | Total Chapters 3

Story Summary

Star Atlas has finally returned after being gone for nearly a year. He invites Brave Storm to travel with him on his next adventure.

Jump to chapter body

Chapter 2: What Was Lost

Brave Storm felt a smile creep onto her face as she watched the newly emerged foal getting used to their legs and running around their parents. She was happy to watch the new life get used to the world around them that it took her a moment to realize that the foal only looked like one of the parents. Did it not take two to make a foal using this tree?

Her question would be shortly answered as one of the members of the expedition, a slender and colorful pegasus hybrid named Mango Magic, approached the tree. With guidance from Grovekeeper Night Glass, she tied her wish to one of the highest branches of the Mirror Tree. Shortly after, Brave Storm sensed a surge of Wild Magic from the tree, and the bud of a future foal was born.

“So, how’s this make you feel?” Star Atlas prompted, his expression hopeful for his sister.

“I’ve gotten used to the idea of adoption. I was adopted myself and I know better than most ponies that blood doesn’t matter for a family.” Brave Storm answered immediately. It was how she was used to responding to questions of the sort. But she felt a warmth in her heart and soul after she took a moment to process what the discovery of the Mirror Tree had offered for her. “But it’s nice to know that there’s another option for me. One that doesn’t involve me needing to be- well, yeah.

“But what about you?” Brave Storm redirected the conversation back to Star Atlast. “You look antsy.”

“I wanted to talk to Night Glass about the tree and I’ve been waiting for them to be free.” Star Atlas gladly took the invitation to talk about himself and his studies. “It’s not every day you discover an area that’s been hidden from Equestria and you get to ask living ponies questions. Trust me, you take any opportunity to have answers given to you when you explore ruins.”

“I still haven’t researched the history of the Knights of Equestria and Sword Dancer told me I can find it in the Canterlot library…,” Brave Storm grumbled out. She wanted to learn history, but she’d rather be told it. When she sought to read, she read for enjoyment.

“Oh, you really should though. The Knights have a rich and fascinating history. Did you know that you would have had to have slain a drago- oh, I think Night Glass is free. I’ll have to give you a rain check on that.” Star Atlas began his lecture and almost immediately cut himself off, rushing over to the elder Grovekeeper with Brave Storm in tow. “Night Glass, do you have a moment to answer a few questions?”

“Oh, sure! It’s nice to see you all taking such an interest.” the earth pony answered. They looked a little weary, but there was a lovely look of happiness in their eyes. As Star Atlas dug through his far more organized saddlebags for a notebook and pen, Brave Storm offered to escort Night Glass somewhere they can sit. Star Atlas is nothing if not full of questions and the Grovekeeper may be there awhile if they’re inclined to try and answer all of his questions.

“So, where would you like to start?” Night Glass prompted.

Before Star Atlas could even ready his pen, Brave Storm piped up. “How does the Mirror Tree work?”

“Hm, when a pony wishes for a foal, they can tie a paper slip to the mirror tree.” Night Glass begins, sounding as if they’re giving an answer that they had to give several times before. “The Mirror Tree borrows some of the essence of the pony and combines it with some of its own. Then it grows fruit and when the foal inside is ready, the fruit tumbles down and the foal comes out ready to greet their parents.”

“But how does it do that?” Brave Storm presses.

“I don’t know the specifics of that, dear. I just know that ancient magic is at play.” Night Glass answers, curling their eyebrows up at Brave Storm’s disappointed expression. “Sorry that I could tell you more, young miss.”

“Hey, you won’t find an answer to every question.” Star Atlas attempted to cheer his sister up with a smile. “If you don’t mind, I’m more interested in Rorim Lake’s history. And what do you even mean by the Mirror Tree being its ‘savior’ and that you wouldn’t be here without it?”

Night Glass closed their eyes as they released a long breath of air, leaning back in their seat. Brave Storm watched as Star Atlas prepared to write, his wings spread in anticipation and his eyes sparkling with glee. 

“Don’t forget your glasses.” Brave Storm reminded and Star Atlas quickly placed his spectacles on his nose.

“Rorim Lake is a pocket of safety among the wilds of Equestria. It’s a nice place to settle and spend your twilight years when you’re just not up for fighting like you used to be. I can only imagine that’s why our young like to leave. It’s a dull life for them.” Night Glass explained, weaving a story rather than giving a lecture. 

“Overtime the population of Rorim Lake dwindled to the elders and a few young ponies. We were on the brink of simply dying out and being forgotten. That’s when one of these trees began to change, growing faster than the others- the Mirror Tree. In nearly a year it grew to a tremendous size. It was already a tradition of ours to tie our wishes to the trees, but we saved our biggest and most desperate wish for this special tree.” Night Glass paused to catch their breath, but it added to the dramatic tension as well. “Our wish to be saved. To not die out. For new blood. And overnight the tree seemed to respond.

“It grew a mysterious fruit the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We waited together for it to fall, not knowing what we should do with it. And a few months later, the fruit tumbled, and just like you witnessed when you arrived, a foal appeared from the fruit.”

“Fascinating…” Star Atlas utters under his breath as he finishes off the rest of his note-taking. Brave Storm took a peak to see what he considered important. She couldn’t read it. She swears his writing gets worse every time she sees it.

“Why does the Mirror Tree look so different compared to the other trees around the lake?” Brave Storm asked as she took a look at the new scenery. It was ethereal in its own right and made her dizzy if she looked at the lake itself for too long. She overall preferred Sumit’s Hallow.

“Oooh, good question, Brave.” Star Atlas approved.

“I’ve never thought about that. Although, I think I know what might have caused it.” Night Glass closed their eyes again and tapped their chin. “Many years ago, the Mirror Tree did use to look nearly indistinguishable from the others around Rorim Lake. It was simply larger, but hardly so after time was given for the other trees to catch up to its unexpected growth spurt.

“But a storm roared through our valley- a hurricane possibly. Terrible thing. The damages were minimal as the sturdy trees braced against the wind and shielded us and each other from most of the damage. None of them fell, but a lot of branches broke off.” Night Glass continued. “We were able to rebuild. And we were okay to have seen our smaller wishes have broken off the other branches and blown through the wind. We can wish again.

“But several of the Mirror Tree’s branches broke. Some of which were carrying fruit. We know we lost a few foals that day.” Night Glass sighs deeply and takes a moment to process their feelings. “I think the Mirror Tree sensed our mourning for those foals. It had another growth spurt shortly afterward, twisting upon itself and becoming sturdier so that it would never break again. We also keep our wishes to the lower branches, where they’re sturdier.”

Star Atlas continued to scribble down his notes and Brave Storm nodded, mulling over what Night Glass had given her. She wanted a more substantial answer, but she figured that when ancient magics were involved, Brave Storm would have to accept the surface-value answer. Maybe someday ancient magic will be understood and she can get the answers she wants.

She heard Star Atlas asking more questions, but having to sift through the details to find anything direct was taking its toll on Brave Storm’s attention span. She felt her mind wandering and occasionally tuning back into the conversation. A loud giggle caught her attention and she spotted the new foal surrounded by a few older foals. Nearby, the foal’s aging parents were keeping an eye on the group, one resting their head on the other’s shoulder.

Brave Storm was able to identify the jet-black coat of Nights Waste. Their long floppy ears had caught the attention of the foal. While they tried to nip at Nights Waste’s ears, they’d pull them away. Slowly enough to not make the foal feel bad, but fast enough so that their ears would still whip around. 

Alongside them was a red bat pony she recognized Nights Waste as spending a lot of time around- Cranberry. Cranberry was an interesting colt, who had a big heart that let nothing get in its way. Currently, he was playing with the foal by shaking his body so that the chains around him would jingle, dazzling the foal as the metal sparkled in dappled sunlight.

Finally, there was a striped unicorn that looked to be the oldest of the group. Brave Storm didn’t recognize her and figured her to be a Canterlot pony. While Nights Waste and Cranberry had the foal occupied, she was getting to work crafting something with vines. She encouraged the growth of existing dangling vines and got to work tying them together using knots that Brave Storm found to be rather complex. It took a little bit for it to take shape, but eventually, it was recognizable as a swing. She called the attention of her friends and they excitedly helped the foal into the DIY swing. 

Brave Storm settled in, knowing she’d be here for a while as Star Atlas asked more questions. She’d flicked her attention between trying to focus on the conversation, watching the foals play, and soaking in the scenery of Rorrim Lake. Laying a patch of sunlight during the late April day make her feel relaxed and eventually, she dozed off. All of her thoughts began to empty as she lazily looked around her. 

Occasionally she came back and found herself staring at her Cutie Mark. It resembled a large tree, scaled only by the clouds that hung around the middle of its trunk. Twisted by strong winds, but sturdy and thriving despite its rough life. Something that had felt so insignificant to her that she often forgot she had it. She couldn’t remember how she had gotten it and it was so generic and abstract she couldn’t figure out what it was supposed to mean to her.

Brave Storm frowned and she felt her head begin to buzz as thoughts flooded into her head faster than she could process any of them. Tree cutie mark? Trees are important to Rorrim Lake. The Mirror Tree bent and curled to protect itself from further wind damage. Why does her Cutie Mark have that bend in it? What’s with the cavity at the base of it? There was a storm here? Wait, her dream. The storm. Why is so scared of storms?

“How long ago did that storm happen?” Brave Storm asked out loud, interrupting the current lecture. Star Atlas looked frustrated, perhaps Night Glass was in the middle of some juicy detail.

“Oh dear, uh… A little over two decades ago.”

“And you said you knew a fruit was missing from the tree?”

“Yes. The mother was in deep mourning for a while.”

“What was she? Did she look like me?” Brave Storm felt herself yelling. When did she get on her feet?

“Brave Storm, what are you implying?” Star Atlas asked, pushing her away from the Grovekeeper. He looked worried. Suddenly his face lit up like it did when he managed to put the pieces together to form the full picture, but he looked more concerned than excited. “Do you think you came from here?”

“Uh, it was a zebra mare…” Night Glass answered. “It’s been too long for me to remember the details of how she looked, but I think she had green stripes like you.”

“Can you tell me more about her? What happened during that storm?” Brave Storm pleaded more than asked.

“I’m not sure how much it will help you, but if you think it would bring some peace of mind, I’ll do my best.” Night Glass promised. “You might want to get comfortable, this is a long tale.”

Post a comment

Please login to post comments.


Nothing but crickets. Please be a good citizen and post a comment for ToastyCinnabear