Chester wasn't much comfort for the tiny foal tonight, no matter how tightly she gripped his plush body between her forelegs. Not yet old enough to have earned her cutie mark, the pegasus pony had barricaded herself under the bed with her trusted alicorn friend in an attempt to hide from the thunderstorm overhead. As another flash of lightning tore its way across the sky accompanied by a ground-shaking blast of thunder, she flinched and hugged the doll closer.
Though the sound and flashes still reached her in her sanctuary, the bed frame around her was better than nothing. After fidgeting a little to find a more comfortable position on the hardwood floor, she risked a moment to look up at the nearest window where she could see the rain was coming down in torrents, striking violently against the glass windowpane like a volley of bullets. Some pegasi instinct deep within her was nagging at the back of her mind, making her feel that a palpable evil was radiating from the storm itself. Something felt terribly wrong, though she couldn't put a hoof on just what.
As she watched the sky from her hiding place, she noticed a pegasus darting about the thunderhead, doing something as it went about. Having been raised by earth ponies, she'd never actually been up there to see just what the weather ponies did, but she knew they didn't normally rush about like that. And then, as the cream colored foal watched the sky, a brilliant and terrible flash of lightning rent the clouds. As the light passed, a limp figure silently plummeted out of the sky.
Bordering on panic, the foal timidly climbed out of her refuge. Gripping her plush toy tightly under a wing, she crept towards the room where her parents were sleeping. Suddenly another blast of thunder sounded, catching her in the open. Breaking into tears, she ran quickly to her parent's room, hoping they could do something to make this all go away. Upon entering their bedroom, she found them both still fast asleep, oblivious to the monstrous weather outside.
Sitting down next to their bed, she cried, "Mommy, Daddy, wake up!"
As she sniffled back some tears, she noticed something peculiar. The sound of the rain hitting the walls and windows had changed slightly. Curious, she glanced over at the window and tilted her head in bewilderment at the sight of little balls of ice bouncing playfully off the glass and window frame while the lightning and thunder continued. Mystified by the sight, she walked up to the glass for a better look, but just as she reached the window, the strange little balls stopped falling.
Standing unsteadily to reach the window ledge, the foal looked over the fields outside. That feeling down inside was back again, screaming for her to run, and run far away quickly. But, looking over the world outside of the farmhouse she couldn't see what would make her feel that way. Nothing appeared to be happening. In fact, nothing was happening; no wind blew, no rain fell, no blade of grass moved.
Then something went clack, startling her enough to make her jump back away from the window with a yelp. Hearing the sound again, she stepped forward and peered out the window to try and see what was making the odd sound. It turned out to be nothing more than the shutters on the sides of the window. They had started to blow in a light wind, making the clacking sounds as they bounced against the side of the house.
In the distance, the blades on the farm's weathervane had started to spin and there were ripples in the grass field nearby. A moment later the rippling began to become frantic, and the clacking of the shutters became a steady harsh tapping. As the foal watched in fascination, the sky was lit by a sheet of lightning. While the thunder echoed overhead, she saw something reaching down from the clouds like a terrible claw. Recoiling from the window as if the cloud was looking back at her, she hurried to the beds again.
Rearing up to reach the sleeping figures, she prodded the closer one with her muzzle and squeaked, "Mommy! Daddy! Get up Mommy!"
The sound of the blowing shutters and rolling thunder was soon accompanied by an ominous dull roar. Glancing back at the window, the pegasus watched as the weathervane was crudely torn free from its foundation and sucked away into the gut of the storm. Highlighted in the lightning filled sky, a towering funnel was looming closer.
"Mommy... Daddy... please wake up!" Starting to cry again, she put as much effort into shaking her parents awake as her small size allowed, but they remained motionless through her pleading.
Hearing a sudden loud bang, she spun around to face the window, just in time to see the shutters tear themselves off the outside of the window and fly away into the roaring darkness. Tears streaming down her face, she jumped and screamed at the prone figures in a last desperate attempt to wake them.
Moments later, the wall began to shudder as the winds whipped at it like a series of blows from a wrecking ball. Bracing herself for the inevitable, the little pegasi screamed in blind panic as the wall disintegrated into wooden chunks and the full force of the storm broke its way into her home.
* * *
As she jolted awake, the first thing Honeynote was aware of was that she was screaming bloody murder. Drenched with sweat, she panted as her heart pounded against her chest. Looking about in the darkness of her bedroom, the young mare slowly pulled off the covers and tried to regain her composure. It had just been a nightmare. A vivid and frightening one, but still just a nightmare.
After a brief stretch, she turned to the nightstand and checked the clock resting quietly in Chester's worn plush hooves. She still had a good six hours before Celestia would raise the sun and her first day with the Ponyville Weather Patrol would begin. First things first though: as long as she was awake she might as well get some tea to quiet her nerves before she settled down for the night again. A few moments later the pegasus was sitting in the peace and quiet of her own kitchen, sipping freshly brewed chamomile tea and flipping through a scrapbook.
One of the first pictures she came across was a family portrait, showing the three generations that lived on her parent's farm. Taken a few months after her birth, it showed a pair of proud, though clearly worn out, earth ponies with their baby pegasus snuggled down between them. Her father's mane wasn't nearly as well kept as she'd remembered, but then again having a new foal in the home tended to push minor things like that aside for a while. Behind them stood her grandfather; an older pegasus stallion who still seemed as strong as ever despite being a good thirty years older. Looking closer, she noticed that he'd managed to position himself with his "good side" facing the camera. He had always been a little self-conscious about his bad wing; once, when she was very little, she had asked him about it and he'd gone quiet. When she'd tried to get him to answer, her father had intervened with a lecture about how it was rude to point out other pony's differences in public.
As she thought about life on the farm where she'd grown up, Honeynote's mind drifted back to the events from her dream. Farm country like that was typically flat for miles, which gave pegasi like herself a large uninterrupted area to fly around in. She never really took advantage of this; the same landscape that gave birth to such freedom also birthed higher winds, and as a result storms tended to be fiercer than they would be in areas like Ponyville where buildings kept the winds somewhat tamed. Naturally, this meant that she'd seen more windstorms growing up than your typical Ponyvillian had seen in their lifetime.
Taking another sip of her tea, she turned another page and smiled back at the tiny foal pictured. The picture on this page had been taken during her second birthday party, moments after she had received Chester as a birthday present from her parents. He was to be both a friend during the day and a guardian to keep the angry skies away at night.
Thinking back, Honeynote couldn't help but notice the silliness of such a thing. A tiny plush toy would be in more danger than her if something had actually happened. But, one couldn't fault a child for such beliefs; back in those days she still hadn't flown higher than a few feet, and the sky was a mysterious place only the brave Weather Patrol dared to venture.
Being one of the few pegasi in her hometown, she had little concrete knowledge about the sky; just the remarks and rumors the other ponies shared with each other. Some ponies attributed moods to it, saying it sometimes was angry or feeling mean for whatever reason. At one point she'd asked a friend at school what caused thunderstorms; the filly had replied that her mother had told her thunderstorms were just Celestia bowling in the clouds, but that didn't seem very likely even back then.
Turning over another page in the scrapbook, Honeynote came across a souvenir of a particularly notable memory. It was a silvery badge, partially melted into a scrap of charred fabric. While the badge number embossed on it had been misshapen beyond readability by the damage, it was still possible to make out the phrase "Halterbrook Weather Patrol" across the rim. Putting her empty cup aside, she ran a hoof gently over the fragment. Thinking about what she'd promised its previous owner made her feel a little better, as it presented her future as an honor to uphold rather than a challenge to beat.
Having seen all that she'd wanted, she gently closed the scrapbook and sighed deeply. Tomorrow morning would put that promise to the test, and that was a responsibility she wasn't sure she was ready to take. Returning to her bed, she climbed under the soft covers. Sleep started taking her away again almost immediately, as if she'd never woken up.
I'll tame the sky for you grandpa.