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Wandering in the Breeze: a Travelogue
Wandergust's Story
A Brief History of Wandergust, formerly known as Prince Teal Horizon

Born in Tall Tale to parents of distant nobility, Sunflower Shine (a Pegasus) and Arctic Star (a Unicorn), Teal Horizon moved with his parents to Canterlot while he was still just a foal, in order to receive the proper tutelage befitting his station of ascendancy.

At first, he was being groomed to eventually take on the role of magistrate and spokespony for Canterlot in one of the northwestern cities of Equestria, such as Vanhoover... but with the passing of a few moons since entering into the Royal Academy, it was soon widely known that although he may have been a prince by birth, Teal Horizon lacked the aptitude necessary for the tasks of ruling and administration.

Not only was that in itself an indication of his peculiar nature, those who knew him to any extent agreed that it was hard for anypony to gauge towards just what in life he held any notable potential. However, this apparent shortcoming was certainly not due to an absence of curiosity or a desire to learn on his part. By all accounts, he was an attentive student, as well as a frequent visitor of Canterlot's many libraries (where he often crossed paths with Twilight Sparkle, who was about the same age as him).

Additionally, he was known to be a very competent flyer, and possessed of a reasonable interest in the workings of magic... though while most magic students prefer to study and experiment as far as their imaginations will allow, Teal Horizon instead chose to adapt and apply his studies to more day-to-day -- and even domestically mundane -- purposes.

And yet, to many, this application of magic wasn't at all in contrast to his demeanor. He was generally very kind and polite towards all, but Teal Horizon was also plagued with considerable shyness, and some degree of awkwardness when it came to most social interactions. While he was afforded the gifts of a few friends, his peculiarities and inherent "other-ness" tended to prevent many of his friendships from enduring for very long.

This also contributed to a certain degree of teasing and ridicule he had to endure while studying at the academy, over everything from his appearance, to his mannerisms, to his overt air of deference and humility despite being a prince... as well as his Cutie Mark.

It is at this point, depending on who you ask, where the accounts of his past vary to some considerable degree, where his Cutie Mark is concerned. Those who know him well, even his own parents, can't quite be certain as to what his Cutie Mark was before the incident that changed his life took place. Some say it was a small picture of a landscape (be it a featureless plain or an ocean view) with the sun half-visible beyond it, while others claim that it was an unfinished map.

During an interview for this chronicle, Princess Twilight Sparkle -- the newly-ascended Princess of Harmony (or Friendship) -- insisted that it was the unfinished map that was his previous Cutie Mark, stating that she had been in the Royal Library at the opportune time to witness Teal Horizon have some manner of uncomprehending epiphany, while looking through a collection of maps and notes detailing the lands beyond Equestria.

But others are quick to disagree with her... and there are some (though far less personally-associated) ponies who firmly believe that Teal Horizon never had a Cutie Mark at all until after the incident took place, when he was a young stallion... and of an unusually-advanced age for receiving his Mark. Other (and more unsympathetic) ponies in the academy invariably seized upon this, to the point were he was often teased openly or called "Prince Blank Flank" behind his back (which could not be corroborated or attributed to anyone in particular, of course.)

It is possible that the incident had a much wider and greater effect on those who know Teal Horizon, such as altering or even erasing specific memories they had and how they have been interpreted... though most of the theories and speculation about the ramifications of the incident remain just that: theories and speculation.

Regardless of such specifics, the variety of conflicting accounts abruptly decides to return to a coherent limit, beginning with the incident itself.

A few weeks after Princess Celestia charged Twilight Sparkle with assuming her residency in Ponyville, Teal Horizon found himself afforded the previously-rare occasion of being able to explore the Royal Library at Canterlot in relative privacy. It was at this time that he first became aware, be it through a magical sense or sheer intuition, that there were secret and restricted sections of the library that were hidden by means of illusion spells and secret doors or passages.

While royal guards and library caretakers were otherwise preoccupied, Teal Horizon began to carefully thwart a few of these means of concealment, his curiosity finally getting the better of him. But upon following one secret passage leading to a lone book sealed away in a room of its own -- a small, dust-covered tome faintly exuding some strange force that he could neither comprehend nor describe -- Teal Horizon quickly covered his tracks, and excused himself from the library before his actions could apparently be discovered.

However, his own innate curiosity would not allow the matter to be laid to rest... and on the following night, he snuck back into the Royal Library, returned to and entered the small room housing the lone book... and discovered that the book itself was sealed with magic. But again, the force involved in sealing the book eluded a proper definition; it was, by Teal Horizon's own estimation, magic that was neither light nor dark in nature... and yet was somehow both.

Not sure what to make of this, but resolving to try and break the sealing enchantment on the book, Teal Horizon went through every spell and combination of spells he could think of; magic meant to release enchantments or open things that were closed... all of which failed.

Eventually, after exhausting his mind and with frustration mounting, he decided to give up on the endeavor, and instinctively emptied his mind of all thoughts, apart from wishing fervently that the book would stay closed.

At that moment, that same ill-defined magic manifested from the book, and established a link between itself and his horn... And with no small amount of shock and fear, Teal Horizon knew that an event was being set into motion, and that there was no stopping any of the consequences.

In a blinding flash that paradoxically flickered between light and dark, the layers of dust that clung to the book were dispersed, and the book -- its cover featuring only a golden apple with a strange symbol on it -- calmly, and even casually, opened of its own accord.

This was the first thing that Teal Horizon became aware of after opening his eyes: seeing the book for what it was, its contents written in a language he had never seen before, and detailed with symbols and illustrations that he could neither recognize nor even attempt to comprehend.

The second thing he realized was that his horn felt... concernedly different, which he fully acknowledged as much the next time he saw his own reflection -- in the moment he realized that his horn had been broken off halfway. Shattered, perhaps, by the feedback of magical energy that proved too much for him to channel properly.

As he stood there, back once again in his room with the book he'd "liberated" from the Royal Library, trying to come to grips with what he'd done and what potential effect a broken horn would have on his magical ability, a shaft of moonlight came in through the window... and a letter materialized on the desk where the moonlight fell across.

A royal summons from Princess Luna.

Though it had not been long since she had been released from her former self as Nightmare Moon, she had little trouble in resuming her royal duties as overseer of the night in Equestria... and a nighttime incident such as what had transpired would not have escaped her notice.

Reluctantly, he answered the summons... and after making his way to Princess Luna's balcony lookout, these were the words she spoke to him:

"Greetings to thee, Prince Teal Horizon.

Since thou art most certainly aware as to why I hast called upon thee, I believe I must be honest with thee… in that I, nor do I doubt my sister, are truly certain as to what thou hast unsealed this night.

The only thing to which I can attest is that the book thou hast opened was discovered in the domain that Discord once claimed as his own, after Princess Celestia and I confronted him and imprisoned him in stone. Curiously, though, while the magic it casts off is connected to him in some unknown way, it would seem that Discord himself magically sealed the book, at some time in the past.

Knowing not what this meant, my sister and I deigned to hide the book away, for fear of what could happen if the book became a possession of Discord's once again. And while Discord yet remains in the statue, he may have senses at his disposal we cannot anticipate... and he may now be aware that the book has been unsealed.

As such, while the damage to thine horn, and the potential effects on thine magic that are yet to be fully determined would ordinarily be punishment enough, because the look in thine eyes tells me thou hast already thought a great deal already about the subject to which I am referring... in all likelihood, it could be that there are consequences to thine actions this night that cannot be easily predicted or deduced.

Therefore, as part of thine punishment I must charge thee with a task: until such a time takes place as my sister and I can determine that the book is neither a cause of harm to others, nor a tremendous boon to Discord... thou must set out from Canterlot and travel throughout Equestria, and beyond if need be… seeking whatever answers there may be as to the nature of the book. And in the event of Discord ever being released, it will be thine responsibility to prevent him from reclaiming it, should he seek it out."

Seeing the despondent, but nevertheless understanding and accepting look on his face, Princess Luna's tone lost much of its regality and formality, as she recalled some of the lessons she learned after the recent Nightmare Night celebration in Ponyville.

"This task... it is a tremendous burden for one such as you to carry, untested as you are. But fear not, for though your journey will take you beyond the familiar, you have already proven yourself capable of stepping forward into the unknown... of wishing to understand and accept what few others can... and though your path is your own and none other, you will not necessarily be alone in your journey.

Not only do I sense that you will meet and befriend many citizens of Equestria and beyond, there is another task I shall charge you with. You will also keep regular correspondence with me, informing me of your general condition, as well as that of the book... and if you like, you may write to me about your travels, as well anything you have learned that you feel to be of importance.

I have watched many things transpire in the nighttime hours, Prince Teal Horizon... so I am aware that within the bounds of Canterlot, you have few whom you call friend, and who call you as much in turn. In that regard, among others, we are much alike.

Therefore, as a gesture of friendship, I wish to aid you when I am able... beginning with providing what guidance I can in retraining some of your magical ability. With your horn broken, perhaps irreparably so, I fear that many spells will be beyond you now... but with proper study, concentration, and practice, you may be able to once again exercise some magic that at least most Unicorns are capable of.

You will be afforded some time to prepare for your journey, and I hope that you will be able to spare some of the nights ahead to consult with me."

Over the next few days and nights, Teal Horizon did gradually regain some small degree of magical ability under Luna's tutelage -- enough to maintain decent telekinetic power for most manual tasks, as well as focusing an adequate amount of magical light to illuminate dark spaces. However, unlike even most Unicorns, Teal Horizon required considerably more focus to evoke and maintain these abilities... and most times in the back of his head, he worried that they all stood a much greater chance of failing.

For a time, he remained somewhat downtrodden by this while preparing for his journey... until the evening before he was to set out from Canterlot.

In the hours before Princess Celestia's lowering of the sun in deference to her sister, a strong breeze made its way through the avenues and courtyards of Canterlot... including one courtyard where Teal Horizon was walking around, deeply lost in thought.

It was then, in a moment that caught him completely unaware, that he found himself starting to hear, feel, and even sense the wind in a much different way than before. It was almost as though he began to hear the "voice" within the wind, though it was something that was less heard and more felt or sensed... and much to his surprise, he began to feel as though he could "speak" to the wind in return.

He found that, by exercising a small amount of magical energy on his part, he could communicate with wind -- summoning it and asking it to perform certain weather-related phenomena, depending on the circumstances. Moreover, he also quickly learned that the wind could carry other unheard "voices" within it, such as the "voices" of plants... and by having the wind serve as a sort of translator, he soon realized that he could indirectly communicate with plants as well.

After raising the moon for the night, Princess Luna became aware of what had taken place in the courtyard, and set out to speak with Teal Horizon about this new capability -- which, as far as she knew, was a rather uncommon occurrence, and a gift that deserves as much care as it does wonder.

"It would seem that you have gained another friend to accompany you on your travels, Teal Horizon. I trust that you will be worthy of this, for I can see that it has already changed you in ways you may not yet understand."

Uncertain as to what she meant, Teal Horizon looked at her, puzzled... and then looked at himself as per her indication.

His Cutie Mark -- whatever it had been beforehand, or if there had not been one to begin with -- had become an image of a few leaves borne upon the wind.

"For such a thing to take place, not just the change but for it to happen at this point in your life," Princess Luna continued, "it can no longer be referred to as a 'Cutie Mark', but instead as a 'Legacy Mark'.

Ever since you unsealed the book, you have taken actions that have altered your own destiny... and because of that, your fate is more of your own making now than many ponies in Equestria. What you do from now on -- the legacy you inherit, and the one you will yet leave in your wake -- shall be in your hooves."

"In that case, Princess Luna," he responded, "perhaps the next step, in making my own path, is to leave behind the name of who I was. My horn is broken, so in some respect I am no longer an Alicorn... and therefore no longer a prince.

And so, from this moment on... with you as my witness, I hereby relinquish my name, Prince Teal Horizon, and abdicate the title, ascendancy, and inheritance that accompanied it.

As of this evening, with my Legacy Mark and my journey awaiting me, I shall from now on be known as... 'Wandergust'."

The next morning, after saying his last farewells and packing his saddlebags, Wandergust departed Canterlot via the city's main gate.

And time will yet tell when, or if, he ever returns.

~=~ End ~=~

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