The City in White
Tales Of Los Pegasus
6. The City In White
They came in great rafts made of wood and fibers and rope and woven fabrics. They came from what would one day be called Egypt and France and Africa too, and they crossed the great sea despite terrible odds and arrived on the southern continent. They came across the ice bridge to the north from what would one day be Asia, and from Europe in barks and they met and fought and conquered and lived.
In waves they came, each new people staking their claim, the breeds intermingling until new breeds of Man arose. Reddish of skin, or brown, or pale, the took to the plains and the forests and the ice and the jungles and they filled what would one day be called the North and South Amerizones.
Like tides of flesh they swelled and retreated, taking land and lives and all the goods that could be made from each other. At times one people would rise to dominance, only to perish, conquered under another. They carved their gang symbols into the rocks as petroglyphs to mark where other gangs must not go, and they raided and slaughtered and murdered and stole, and in these acts assured their own survival at the expense of those considered other.
They killed and ate the shaggy mammoths and stacked their bones to make cities. They bred by the millions across the two great landmasses, the north and the south, and built their trade and their empires and their vast metropolises and their mysterious mounds.
And to the west of the Northern continent, in what would one day be called the Western Production Zone, in the subsection once called California, in the desert land surrounded by mountains and sea, they thrived and set down their villages and eventually, their cities of wood and reed and thatch and grass.
Their bodies grew and lived and died and went into the earth, endless generations thus, and their blood spilled in war until the next wave came from over the sea in great ships from Spain and Portugal, to conquer the land conquered endlessly before.
In this world so harsh and dire, there was no magic, but only matter. But there are cracks in everything, and nothing is without flaws and holes and breaches, so that tiny rays of color occasionally, rarely, fell through, into this gray and silent realm.
From the warming trickle that came thus, through the cracks in reality, the land took on dim awareness, so dim, so faint. It felt the blood and the pain and the sorrow and the ending, oh, the terrible ending, that washed across it like an ocean of tiny creatures, Men, struggling so against the world, but most of all, against themselves.
Toypurina had seen the Great White Dog Mother in her dream again. Because she was Yo-vaa-re-kam, because she knew the ways and could see the things that others could not, she knew that the dream was important. For eight nights now, she had seen the Dog Mother, thin of leg and tall, with a long muzzle like the fox or the elk, but loyal and true like the dog. The Great Dog Mother was strange, too, for she had a a curious line of what should be hair rising out along her head and neck to her shoulders, but it was not hair, it was light, the colors of morning and dawn. So too was the Great Dog’s tail strange, for it was long and flowing, and also made of the same light.
Stranger still was the Great White Dog Mother’s paws, for they had but one toe, and were clad in beaten gold. Gold also were the adornments – the Great Dog Mother wore a chest piece and a ring of gold upon her head, where also the creature had a horn. But strangest of all were the wings, white of feather and large, that grew from the sides of Great White Dog Mother, and which could carry her high into the sky of her world.
In the dreams, Toypurina had heard Dog Mother try to speak to her, but the words were strange, they were not the words of the Hahamog’na Tongva, they were not the words of those who lived in Yaa – they were strange words, of strange sounds, but the feelings had much to say.
In the feeling of the Dog Mother’s words there was kindness, and love, Toypurina had no doubt of this. And also sorrow too, and concern, though she knew not of what the problem was.
On the ninth night, the dreams stopped, and Toypurina saw the Great White Dog Mother no more. But the dreams inspired her, and she felt blessed as she called to her those who would strike against the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, and the brown-skinned invaders that had destroyed their crops with their great beasts, and raped the women of the Tongva. The Dog Mother was watching. The Dog Mother one day would come.
General Kearny had decided to act on the report of his scouts, the Mexicans had set up lines at the ford across the San Gabriel. He had made sure that his troops were arranged in a hollow square, a fortress of men surrounding the artillery and supplies in the center. It would be smart, to wait a day, and so he made his orders known.
But Commodore Stockton saw an advantage, the Mexicans could be taken, and the action must be swift. But the crossing was treacherous, because of the quicksand, and because the Californio artillery was well placed. But there was one fortune, despite the blood mingling in the Rio San Gabriel and mixing in the sand – the Californio had not sufficient ammunition, and of what they had, the gunpowder was inferior. Stockton dug in with artillery, while the General began the assault.
It took mud and blood and intestines crawling from open bellies, but in the end, on Wine Street, the Army of the West had secured Los Angeles from the brown people who had taken it from the red people who had taken it from the earlier red people, who had taken it from the brown and black and pale people who had sailed across the vast ocean.
And the tiny cracks that fed the liminal life of the land gave it also liminal consciousness, and so it was that Los Angeles, ever changing sides, was drenched still more in blood and sorrow and pain and loss, the endless lives disappearing beneath the desert land. Los Angeles wept, in its own shadow way, but none could truly hear save the last of the shamans and curendero and brujería who called the land haunted or cursed.
The liminal awareness of the land, fed by the tiny drops of light and life from beyond, had finished weeping, filled now with the bustle and business of millions of consciousnesses, the humans that lived in the tall buildings that set heavily on the ground, and who rode in the poison-fumed carriages that rumbled ceaselessly, through day or night, upon the black ribbons of oil and ground stone that sealed the soil from rain or life.
Millions of dreams and hopes and wishes now fed Los Angeles, a cacophony of wants and needs and power and greed. Gangs roamed and little wars were fought in the streets, even beside moments of precious and innocent joy. The liminal spirit in the land became confused, spun in a thousand directions at once, by millions of minds, a maelstrom of terror and wonder and yearning. Water was brought and grew rice in the deserts, and oranges in the deserts and drink to the millions. The city expanded to the mountains and over the mountains to the sea, and the bowl of the mountains held the fumes of the carriages and the sun vanished behind a poison cloud that never left, a red polka-dot against the gray.
When the economy of the world collapsed, the great technology that sustained the millions began to fail and to wither away, and once again the liminal soul of Los Angeles felt the sorrow and the pain and the misery of the dying and the weeping and the lost.
The starving millions could not flee, for there was nowhere better to go. They fought among themselves as Men do, and once again Los Angeles was returned to tribes raiding and scavenging and struggling and conquering. The Great Collapse had brought the world to its knees, the nations frail and hollow shells, the people lost and desperate.
Then came the Austerity War, where the power of the sun itself melted holes in the ground, and made craters where none could ever walk again. Poisons and diseases ravaged the world, and Los Angeles was drenched, again, in blood, as it always had been, through ancient ages past.
Then came a change.
The world had pulled together, the nations formed as one. The Worldgoverment had risen, and gone were all the feuding nations and all the divisions. The Earth became one great plantation, though little could be made to grow. The Last Harvest and the death of agriculture had not been the end. Tiny machines, the size of specks, could weave molecules to make food and shelter and cloth and machine, and this revolution had changed the world.
The faint soul of Los Angeles felt the return of hope, however small, as the ruins were torn down and the favelas grew. Shacks piled on shacks, home for endless teeming millions, so many voices, all fed, all watered. This was the Golden Age of Man, a time without war, a time without hunger, where the population soared, billions after billions, all crowding together, thanks to the miracle of the little machines.
The bodies were not as often sent into the soil, now, instead they were recycled in vats to become more clothes and food and water and machines, but Los Angeles still felt their passing, the falling into the eternal dark of all the tiny sparks of mind. The foundation of Los Angeles was sadness and conquest and blood, and the developing awareness of the land, fed by those tiny breaks in the fabric of the universe, had grown such that it sorrowed for the creatures that had companioned it.
It had heard their prayers to the empty dark, it had heard their screams as they fell into the blackness. It had listened to the whispers in their minds, of how things should be, could be, would be, if only, if only.
But then, suddenly, offshore, to the north, there was a light. The faint ghost of the land found its almost-awareness focused intently upon it. That shine, that color, it was the very stuff of life, it was bright as the sun above, a concentration of the same energies that seeped through the cracks in reality, the same energies that had brought the soul of Los Angeles into being. It was coming. It was coming. And it was life and light in a dead and dark place.
It grew, the light, the source of life, it expanded and expanded, larger and larger, coming ever nearer. It was a sphere, a great shining globe, half in the ocean and half above, and it was to the west and to the north and it was coming nearer as it grew.
The soul of the land, the spirit of Los Angeles grew greater and more aware with every passing month. The humans, the millions upon millions above had begun to change. Where before they were grey and dark and hollow shades walking in short lived misery and sorrow, now they were increasingly becoming shining stars of the same color and light that Los Angeles had arisen from. They trotted now, on hooves, the very touch of which tingled and tickled the growing soul of the land.
For the first time, Los Angeles felt true joy above it, completely innocent and sweet and growing, and the joy made the spirit of the land yearn to be more. To be more than desert. To be more than concrete and steel and plascreet and blacktop. To be washed clean of the endless ages of conquest and blood and sorrow and loss. To touch the growing fount of magic and become eternal, for now Los Angeles knew that nothing in the dark and gray world lasted forever. Not the planet, not the sun, not the stars above.
But the bright bubble that grew was eternal. In it all things lasted forever. The sphere in the sea was life, and time, and brightness and color.
The will of Los Angeles now moved, unseen, through the streets. It saw the concrete removed, and the soil brought to life. It watched as the heavy buildings became covered in green, and the sky above be swept clean by the colorful new creatures that had once been humans. The humans had changed. They had transformed, and in that transformation had become beings of light and color and life.
Los Angeles now had a want, a desire all of its own. It wanted to transform too. It wanted to be like the humans and be changed into something of that light, that color, that joy that it felt. The shining sphere in the ocean was growing, it would come, it would come, it would come.
Los Angeles was alive now, she knew it. She thought and felt, though none could hear her, or see her. But it was alright. It was enough. Her life was their life, and in each of the ponies that walked upon her, touched her body with their hooves, they caressed her, loved her, knew her. For the first time she felt truly loved, and yet there was more.
The Barrier, the great bubble, the sphere of light and color was at her border, pushing beyond the sea and into the continent itself. Los Angeles felt it, she felt her edges her beaches her substance being transformed. As the golden and shimmering boundary swept over her, including her within itself, she felt her land come alive. Her very soil gained a soul, Her dead rocks were infused with life and began to grow, Her air tingled with the stuff of mind and spirit. The darkness was pushed back as the light came, and Los Angeles gave herself willingly, joyfully, to the advancing wall that filled her with such abundant life, such powerful awareness.
Ventura and Oxnard had already been caressed and taken by the Barrier, now Thousand Oaks was slipping into the honeyed light. Los Angeles felt the despoiled land expand as it entered the sphere of light, she felt her substance exploding into endless tracts of new land, fresh and green and alive – oh the life!
Los Angeles had lived in darkness, suckled only on the most microscopic of teats, tiny drops of life force leaking from outside the universe of night, but the Mother had come, the Great Mother had come, so bright, shining, and past her gates, born anew, the city found every single thing had life within it.
The stones lived, the bricks of her buildings, inside them coursed rivulets of magic, the stuff of life itself. Her soil stretched into rolling hills as it entered the sphere, all alive, all growing, one day the hills might become mountains, the stone become boulders. Thousand Oaks now truly was a forest again, as large as several earthly continents, and yet still she grew, as the loving touch of the great sphere passed over and through her, changing her, transforming her.
The humans, she now understood, had been ponified. It was a pony universe, with pony lands, and a pony soul. Los Angeles herself was joining the humans, she, the land, was becoming ponified too. She was becoming a pony land, made of magic itself, granted a soul, like everything, be it sky, or ground or water or tree within the expanding Mother.
Anaheim, Corona, Riverside, San Bernardino, she was enveloped now, swallowed up, she was no longer part of Earth, she floated no longer on magma, hot beneath her crust. She was Equestria now, and Los Angeles Dreamed.
The Mother, the white and shining and perfect land was there, and with her the enfolding sky and moon too, and they spoke in lithic tones to her stone ears. They sang songs of welcome to Los Angeles, and embraced her new rivers and forests and paths and hills and lakes. There was no sorrow here, no endless layers of bones and blood and grief and horror. No waves of conquest washed over the land in this place, and here even the passing of flesh meant not an end, but a beginning.
Los Angeles wanted to speak her gratitude, but she was only newly alive, and had no words of her own. But she needed none, for in her Dream, her two Mothers, the land and the sky, had only love and welcome to offer, and needed nothing from her but that she relax and welcome her own endless blessing.
The source of life and the sweetness of night enfolded her, and became one with her, and Los Angeles happily gave herself to become Equestria, no longer alone, no longer starving in the dark, but feasting instead upon a banquet that would never end, and never be lost, and always be bright.
Equestria hung within an arch of magic-pigmented sky, growing, for it was alive.
It was shaped like the conical upper half of an egg shell, the apex the location of an ancient ruin in the Everfree, the very place where the Equestria first began to crystallize and form.
Down the curve lay Canterlot, and Ponyville and Manehattan and all the pony lands, and beyond them further still the lands provided to the Griffons, when they arrived, and to the Dragons who none, not even they, seemed to know the origin of.
Farther still, down the curve to the ragged edge of the egg shell that was Equestria, shrouded in cloud and mist were the exponential lands, the growing border, ever expanding the parabolic cosmos. There, laying content at last, vast beyond all comprehension, was that which had once been Los Angeles, soon to be joined by her sisters and brothers, the rest of the sad world lost in the universe of dark. They would all be together soon enough, alive with love and light and magic, land enough for everypony, and every other living creature too, sharing in the joy of beingness together.
And no longer would they fear the dark again.
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