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Thunderbuck

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Thunderbuck last won the day on May 14

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About Thunderbuck

  • Rank
    Parasprite
  • Birthday 11/19/1986

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Neither
  • Location
    in the trash.
  • Interests
    staying in the dumpster, like the trash I am

RP Characters

  • Main Character
    Thunderbuck (Stallion)
  • Character 2
    Stormstride (Mare)
  • Character 3
    Caramel(philly)

Role Play Information

  • RP Ready
    No

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  1. Lady Stromstride, of the House Cloud in the rolling hills of Kastrot, under the guidance of the patron noble of the land Lady Heart Stopper, sat to her desk with a heavy burden upon her heart. Her great title had come with a great price, so deeply burdening that she felt it unworthy all the riches her family lay surrounded by in this luxurious palace. The tear stains upon her cheeks still so fresh they glistened in the light of the torches dotting the thick stone walls of her study chambers. The mare swallowed hard against the lump in her throat and closed her eyes. Her magic barely controlled as she fought with the extreme emotions coursing through her body. She opened a drawer, withdrawing from it the quills, parchment and bottles of ink needed for her task at hoof. Her efforts were to be done as an act of love, remembrance, and kindness; but not in the name of her house. This task was too great for such a small thing, as it had saved so many lives, and brought back her ladyship from a brink of pain and suffering that was too terrible to speak of outside these silent walls lined with books, scrolls, charts and maps. The objects settled into place, as her husband came to the study to see her. The soft clop of his bare hooves on the rich wood floor drew her attention, turning her head to his sad but relieved gaze to find her here. She could see the sorrow in his eyes as well. There in the light was Feather Touch, her husband. Their kin had suffered greatly this day, and the final blow was dealt as she oversaw the burial of her younger brother. The end of the era of music was upon them all, with no light strokes of quill to lay new notes upon the paper. “I was worried for you,” his tender whisper came as a soft caress of her ears, as his wing extended out and gently caressed her form. No regal robe rested on her back today, for she felt unworthy such things as it stood. No gems nor gold sat on her ears and neck as they normally would have, leaving her a bare pony for her husband to see her. He moved behind her, with gentle hooves placing upon her shoulders and a soft kiss to her neck he let his face rest in the thick wave of her mane. “I know my love. I know you were worried. But I cannot rest yet. I owe him my life, and yours as well. I must record in the records what happened in his death. The pure truth, so that future generations will know not to make my mistake,” she whispered to her Pegasus. He nodded as he came around her front, nosing her neck before placing a soft kiss upon her lips. His soft gazed met her eyes as fresh tears welled within them. He slowly broke the kiss, before placing a tender hoof under her chin. “Not tonight my love. Come to bed. Tomorrow you can begin with breakfast. I will take Caramel to town with me. I have a delivery to a customer to make and she could use the time to cheer her up.” His soft voice lulled her tired and depleted senses. She relented to his request, giving a soft and slow nod of her head as her ears dipped back into her mane. With a quick blow, she extinguished the light of her desk candle and pulled the cover down to save her space of work for later use. Walking with him to their bedchambers, they passed a guard that stood beside their door. His helmet was removed and set upon the floor beside himself, revealing his face to them. It was Heavyhoof. Nodding to them, he opened the door. “Sires, she is already in the bed. The chamber maid tucked her in not but a moment ago.” He spoke softly, as if not wishing to wake a sleeping foal. They nodded their thanks to him, before Stromstride dismissed him from the night watch, ordering him to let all the other staff know to sleep tonight as no night watch would be needed. “With all due respect ma’am. You need us now, more than ever before. And I will be damned before I let my Lady try to sleep without her guard watching over her. You should rest, I will ensure the rest of the staff are asleep as needed.” She nodded to her captain, knowing his advice to be sound when hers was not. As the couple entered to the room with the closing of the door behind them, they saw the chamber maid setting out the last of the pillows for them. She bowed quietly before excusing herself to retire for the night. Stromstride saw her daughter was already asleep, though fitfully so. CaramelCream was such a tender foal, and could not fully grasp the situation at hoof that had encompassed her world. Feather Touch slid back the covers for his mare, watching her climb into the bed before he pulled the covers up for her. Taking his place opposite her, he pulled Caramel against his chest softly and allowed Stormstride to snuggle in with them. His long, delicate wings stretched forth, surrounding them in the warm fullness of the long thick plumage he had. She blinked twice, and the third time she fell asleep. No sooner had her breathing steadied than Caramel became calm with them. Gently pressing her face into her step-father’s chest, her small stubby horn gently gliding over the chest of the male with a rounded blunt tip. Feather Touch took a moment to enjoy the view of his family before closing his eyes and falling to sleep as well. His dreams were simple this night, of quiet moments past and present. Not of the events that transpired. However Stromstride was forced to relive those events again. And in the eye of her mind, she could see all too clearly the events that had led up to the death of her brother. ~~~~~~~~~~ Stormstride Cloud was in the courtyard, marshalling her troops. As usual, their performance was wonderfully perfect in pose, but they lacked the fluid grace to move quickly on the ground when in this formation. The troops were too close together, forcing them to stiffen their movements and make sharp jerks of their spears and hooves to avoid hitting each other. Stromstride called for a break, sitting to ponder over this matter with her captain, Heavyhoof. “You noticed how sharp the movements are? How they jerk to avoid hitting each other? I think we have them placed too close together. In certain formations it works well, but in this formation they cannot move fluidly. The unicorns have to watch to the left to make certain their spells do not collide. The earth ponies cannot effectively wield their spears or swords with their sides tucked so tightly. And I can see the pegasi touching wing tips in air, forcing them to watch for the wing beats of the others around them. This cannot work well for them. It makes them uncomfortable,” Stormstride muttered as she watched her guards stretch out stiff muscles. Heavyhoof nodded, “However if we move them too far apart, it will create openings for ponies to slide between and flank them. I dare not make them take more than one step apart now. They have the movements down for practice, however I am concerned how they would perform in actual combat.” He looked to his Lady, taking in the look on her face as she pondered his words. He could see her thinking, planning, and creating images in her mind of how she would face such a thing. “One half step. If we open their formation one half step each, that would provide them the room to move openly and cleanly. This also gives them room to maneuver their shields in place to their sides to prevent flanking on the left. With that done, the flanking would be from the right, where the spears and swords are,” Stormstride said to her captain, turning her gaze on him to judge his reaction to her words as she continued. “This would put that much more pressure there, however we can change the spears to bladed pikes, and shorten the length some. This would allow for a ride side sweeping motion with the long weapon and disrupt a flanking attempt yes?” Heavyhoof let the idea roll in his own mind, picturing it for himself as he pondered the effects of changing one weapon would do. The short pike provided the spear point they needed, and a blade that could be used to sweep aside and force flanking attackers to step back quickly. This gave a few precious seconds for the unicorns in the ranks to find and focus upon their intended targets, before unleashing a spell at them. As well, it provided the pegasi an open target to drop on with bladed weapons and cause damage from above with impact force. He did not, however like the thought that the left side depended upon the shields. A full charge would break the left flank easily, and he knew that would scatter the formation. “Perhaps in addition we could turn the outer two columns toward their flanks a bit. Giving them a wider field of range to the side and enabling them to turn and counter the leading edge of a flanking maneuver.” Stormstride had to agree, that would provide better protection and make greater sense. “Very well Captain. I leave it to you to work it out. I have other matters to attend to this week. Continue the practices at your discretion, and in depth training for those struggling to catch on. No pony of mine will be left behind.” Heavyhoof saluted and slid his helmet back in place, before turning to trot off to the practice ring again. Stormstride moved into her castle, walking the halls with a purpose. However, her lips wore a gentle smile as she greeted her servants and staff. In her mind, kind words were oft a better incentive than the sting of a lashing tongue. She felt that since she herself had once been very low in the world, she should not show these ponies any different treatment than she would show a friend. Her metallic shoes clicking on the stones of the floor through the carpet, drawing ever closer to the room she sought. Up a spiral stairwell, to the third floor of her castle, the mare walked slowly, but with purpose. Exiting the stairwell, she turned down the open hall with only a few doors available. The first was CaramelCream’s private bedroom, decorated with all the things a young philly her age would love and cherish; artworks she drew herself, streamers, a selection of dresses and jewelry, her own makeup stand, and dolls of all shapes. The second door was the bedchamber of herself and her husband, Feather Touch; a proud Pegasus with extraordinary wings, though he could never fly with them as the bones inside were too brittle. He was a most delightful masseur as well as aroma therapist. Across from that was the bath chambers for the three of them, with complete selection of scents and a large tub to soak in. That was her destination, and with it in sight she strode forward with a bit ore haste. Her private bath chambers awaited her with two mare servants, both of which were kindly and flirtatious. Though no advances had been made by either party, it was still a very pleasant experience to be spoken to as if desired by so many. She entered and found Feather Touch already inside the large tub, soaking as the mares massaged his wings gently. Smiling to herself, she came over and motioned them to be silent as she leaned to his ear and nibbled on it playfully. Opening his eyes he looked up, thinking one of them had been playing with him in such a manner. However, upon seeing his wife he smiled and relaxed into the water more. “Care to join me for a bath love?” he asked softly. “Yes indeed. I could use one after standing in the sun for hours with the guards for training. I think Heavyhoof has the proper idea on how to handle these matters, he merely needs a bit of encouragement to bring out his own ideas.” Feather Touch nodded as he watched her slide from her dress slowly, admitting to himself that he enjoyed the view of his mare and her form. As Stormstride came to the steps leading up and into the tub, she let out a long, low sigh of relief. The cool, clean water was filled with suds and carried a warm, inviting scent upon the air. Her steps into the water were slow, measured to help her adjust with the change in temperature without making her gasp in shock from the suddenness of it. Her eyes closed slowly with a deep, long and appreciative sigh as the coolness that enveloped her. Moving slowly to her husband to avoid sloshing the water about, she settled down beside him and closed her eyes while laying her head upon his shoulder. One of the mares came to her, using magic to levitate the bottle of mane cleaner over and begin working that thick gray and silver mane. The other moved to massage Feather Touch’s shoulders deeply and slowly over his neck. She could tell that in the last few months he had put on more muscle, though exercise and training with Stormstride. The Pegasus may be unable to fly like his brethren, however he had the muscles and strength now that could out wrest a unicorn in physical combat at the least. The mares continued to massage and wash their masters until Stormstride was ready to leave the bath. Stormstride had felt very strange the first several times she had another pony wash and dry her off like this, making her blush at her rather different anatomy. However, these mares didn’t seem to care and were very gentle indeed. The tender caress of a thick luscious towel handled by a slow, tender hoof was all the reason Stormstride needed to trust them now. They were trained by Feather Touch in spa and massage arts as his first pair of apprentices. They were treated well, and given rooms of their own in the castle in addition to their pay as reward for their efforts and attention to detail. Now that she was clean, Lady Stormstride moved to her husband and gave him a deep and loving kiss upon his lips. He accepted, pleasantly surprised by it and could not resist a soft snort of air when she broke the kiss to move away. Entering their bedchambers, the mare moved to her clothing racks and found herself picking out a black dress before she knew it. Donning it with a little levitation magic and the wiggle of her ample hips, she bid her husband good day until dinner in the evening. Her hooves then began walking toward the end of the hall, to a door lit only by one torch and locked by spell. As she approached, her horn glowed faintly and the door glowed the same, soon giving off the clanks and clicks as multiple locks built within the door opened and let the heavy ashen wood swing wide for her. No pony dared to enter that door without her personal leave to do so, and for good reason. The Lady Stormstride was an able bodied mage, and crafty enough to know how to branch out her list of spells as she needed. Her personal library was now quite large, though tiny compared to the public library in the town around her castle. This was, however, far more dedicated to magical arts; of both the profound, and the profane. She had collected spells, tomes, scrolls, tablets and more detailing her family history. Spending time compiling it into notes, organizing it to form a proper time line, and learning all the secrets of her ancestors. Their burial tombs were her targets, and with good reason. Many of her ancestors had never been brought home for burial, and as such their personal journals and artifacts lay with them where they died. This displeased the mare greatly, as she longed to plunge deeper into the knowledge they may have held. However the room held a darker secret, one that frightened even Stormstride herself. In her collection of books and scrolls she had acquired the personal journal of one of her unknown ancestors. A stallion who had no name in the history books, and whose deeds were scratched away lest they tempt someone to unleash him again. Stormstride did not believe in the dead rising like that, however she did know that they could influence the darker corners of a pony’s mind if left open to suggestion, and this stallion was indeed very dark. His works were similar to all her other lost kin, but that he used dark magic to fulfill his means. His own lightning was not blue or white as the other ponies of the Cloud lineage, but a dark black or violet color. His eyes were tainted a blood red, from the power inside him; and with the shape of a dragon’s eyes due to his evil nature. These things did not appeal to Stormstride, what she sought was his source of power and his breadth of knowledge. His journal hinted that he had found and secured a source of power that rivaled an Allicorn. A power he had learned to control, and harness through sheer will power, and turn it against those that stood against him. However, he simply vanished one day and left the House Cloud to fall into disrepair and squalor until Stormstride came forward to take it back. So great a power inside him, he could even force an allicorn to back down in battle, and that drew her in. She had to have that power, if her plan was to work. As she closed the door to her chamber behind herself, the journal lay open already on the desk. She levitated a tray over, following it with her usual red wine and fruit. She felt snacking lightly while she worked these long hours would help her keep focus, and it oft did. As she sat her flank upon the thick cushion and leaned into the back rest of her chair, the journal levitated to her in the grip of her magic. Her eyes picked up where they had left off as she levitated a quill to the side. Dipping it in ink, she began to make notes of things most important. So far, her research had led her to discover that her dark ancestor had, in fact kept very detailed notes on places he had been, and things he had done. She had drawn from modern maps the locations of places he had been, things he had seen, and things he had done. Sites that by now were eroded and worn mostly away could still show marks where battles happened. She smiled to herself as she thought that possibly one day soon she would know what power he had gained, and how he learned to use it. Her eyes danced over the pages slowly, taking time to sip her wine or nibble a bite of cheese between paragraphs, and recording information in short hoof all the while. Then her eyes dipped to the bottom of the page. There was a break, as if he had paused to think and continued with a different thought. This was significant to say the least. The fluid writing in his journal was flawless, and to find such a glaring flaw could only mean it was intentional. Setting aside her wine glass she straightened up and began to reread the page, searching for a clue to what he meant. Her eyes hovered over the page, back and forth from top to bottom in an effort to understand the method. Her search was rewarded at last, with the discovery of what looked like writing but without the ink, as if some pony had continued to write after their quill was dry. This gave her a moment of pause, a she set the journal down. She could only be certain if she tampered with the journal, however that might destroy any evidence she had. She needed to make a print of it, something she could put under the microscope without taking the page out. However, she dared not allow another pony to look on the pages to copy, lest they discover something of value and pursue it for themselves. She was thinking in silence when she heard the soft approach of hooves outside the door. Pushing herself away from the desk she stood and moved to open the door in greeting to whom it was, most likely it was Feather or Caramel coming to summon her for dinner. However the heavy knock told her it was some pony much larger than her husband or child. Arching an eyebrow she slowly opened the door, looking outside to see one of her guards standing there at full attention. “Madam, there is a messenger here for you,” he said softly. “Oh, yes. Tell them I will be down in a moment. Probably just the latest dispatches from Lady Heart Stopper. See to it the messenger is paid and offered water and food,” she stated calmly. He saluted her and turned on hoof. His quick march back the way he came told her it was urgent enough to warrant her attention. She quickly moved to the desk and closed the journal, her spell marking her place for her as she turned and downed the rest of the wine in her glass. Walking quickly back to the hall she shut and locked the door, before heading down the hall to the stairwell. Her metal shoed hooves clacked on the stone until she came to the rug, the duller clicks filling the halls as she walked with purpose and speed. Coming to the entry hall she looked the messenger over, no common Kastrot delivery pony before her eyes but an actual Equestrian messenger in full uniform. As she came to the pony, she heard them speaking to the guard, detecting the feminine tones and soft words of curiosity. “Good afternoon. I hope I have not kept you waiting too long,” Stormstride said as she drew near enough to be heard properly without raising her voice. The messenger before her now, she saw it to be a Pegasus mare of light build and lean tone. Her voice light, almost bubbly like a fine Champaign, and with a soft perfume about her that told of some ladylike qualities. This would certainly be a lovely addition to her growing community, thought Stormstride as the messenger made her introduction. Then she produced the letter, not rolled like a scroll as proper Maretonian summons, but made from one friend to another. Smiling as she read the name over, she saw it was from Blueblood and Psmith. They were often in touch about events where they would like to procure a sampling of her wines for the ponies present to taste and examine. Though this was a rather thick envelope for such a simple request, she figured it would be in the letter anyway. Looking to the messenger mare again, she smiled and took the letter, setting it in the folds of her dress. “Have you traveled for long? You seem rather tired,” Stormstride said softly, smiling at the mare with a simple soft look. The simple pleasures of freely offered friendship and a few fineries would often win the hearts of the simple ponies from Equestria. After all, they were barely able to imagine the wealth some pony in her position could hold, let alone her patron’s wealth. “Um. Yes my lady. I flew here straight off the boat, one solid day and one night of flight. The prince said it was a rather urgent matter that was contained in the letter. His aid offered triple pay to get it here on time.” Stormstride smiled with a soft laugh, knowing that was like Psmith to a T. She nodded and sent a servant to prepare a guest room for the mare to rest in. “Come now, you should stay and rest. A solid day of flight must certainly tire out your wings and back. I can have the guest bath prepared for you, and a bed chamber as well. Once you have time to recover, I can have food sent to you, and let you take time to recover while I write a reply for you to take back to Prince Blueblood.” Stormstride was trying her hoof at temptation now, and had gotten more than one or two on her hook. In fact a large portion of her house staff and guards were once Equestrians, and this mare would make a fine addition to the lady’s own little collection of ponies. Stormstride saw the look in the mare’s eye shift a little, knowing her resistance was too thin to say no to an offered bit of rest and food. All she had to do was get the mare to take this bait and it was all over, easily able to get them to migrate to her side, become her staff with ease. However the Pegasus shocked her with a polite, but firm rejection. “I am afraid I must decline My Ladyship. I have other messages that must be delivered without any delay. His majesty would never have it if I failed to perform my duty properly,” came the calm, but almost regretful reply. Stormstride had to admire the spirit in this one, able to withstand an offer that had easily turned others before her into the mare’s staff or servants. “I understand you fully my dear. Then at least allow me to offer you something to eat for your journey. I cannot in good conscience allow you to be out in our lands with no supplies after all. And an inn can be so expensive in other areas.” Stormstride cooed softly. Sending the guard to have a packed luncheon made for this mare, the Lady took the time to open her own little coin purse and place a few bits in the hoof of the messenger, “I’m certain the broker at the docs will change those to Equestrian for you. If he doesn’t, send word my way and I will compensate you fully.” The mare nodded, tucking the bits in her bag, allowing Stromstride a brief moment to see that not only was the bag actually fully of scrolls and letters for delivery, but most all of them had House Platinum seal on them. Perhaps Blueblood was getting married and wanting to show off a bit to the others he had met at her wedding a year ago. That would actually be rather enjoyable, taking a break for a short week of rest and travel. That was, provided that Celestia kept her distance from the Lady and her family. It was such a pity Blueblood had to be related to that mare. When the guard returned with a sack that had an assortment of fruits, cheese and a couple bottles of wine aside a water skin, Stormstride levitated it for the mare to help her get it on and settled. Now with the weight balanced she smiled, gave a polite bow and left quietly. The guard returned to his post at the door, allowing Stormstride the peace to step outside a moment and enjoy the warmth of sunshine in her gardens. The soft melodies from behind the fountain drew her ear, listening to the talented music of the only pony on her lands that could perform three instruments at once. Her younger brother sat quietly, making music via his magic, while using his hooves to conduct gently. Stormstride found a warm place to seat herself, on a moss covered stone bench, and reclined to listen to his sonnet. A beautiful combination of violin, French horn, and cello soothed her ears and lulled her into a peaceful place in her mind. She soon found herself humming along with the tune, which made your younger brother smile behind his mask. The others in the garden lounged as well, taking time to enjoy the sweet scent and soft tones around them in the late afternoon. The wisteria was in full bloom, its grape like flower bunches handing low and full to drape their scent like a cloak around those under them. Such was the warmth of the moment that Stormstride did not realize she had fallen asleep until Thunderbuck himself woke her with a gentle hoof. “Sister, it’s time for dinner,” his soft voice said from behind that mask. The ornate representation on the carved and polished wood looked almost lifelike in its plainness. Stormstride stretched with a great yawn and a pop of her neck as she stood. “Oh my. It seems I was lulled to sleep in the sun again. Your music is most relaxing Buck,” She smiled to him a she said that. Her soft voice a tender reminder of the fondness of siblings. She gently lifted his mask, looking at his blushing face. Her smile was more than he could have bargained for. And she was quite polite about it as well. She let the mask lower back slowly as they walked inside, knowing he was still shy around other ponies. The mask helped him, and oft made for quite the impression at his performances. Even Heart Stopper herself felt the mysterious nature of it was very alluring when combined with his unique styles of music. Tribal music blended seamlessly with orchestral concerts created a form of music all its own. As the siblings went to the dining hall, they were joined by the Captain Heavyhoof, the Winery Manager, and the Accountant of the House. Caramel and Feather Touch were already seated at their seats, politely talking as they waited. Though the conversation was little more than a father doting over his daughter and showing her the love in his heart for her. As the ponies came to their seats, Thunderbuck slowly slid his mask up and lay it on the table beside him. He had come to trust these ponies present. They never pressured him for an answer to a question, and left him to his own devices and space most of the time. As the first course was brought forward, the conversation shifted to expenses on the winery and vineyards. Discussion of methods of harvesting grapes faster than by hoof, and yet gently so not to bruise them and ruin the wine. Stormstride could suggest no other method, though Thunderbuck put in that perhaps placing a minstrel in the field with the workers would help them along with a lively tune provided to entertain them. The accountant looked to Feather Touch asking his opinion with the arrival of the second course. On the conversation went, shifting topics to schools and teachers, profits, harvests and stockpiles for the coming winter, possible weather changes and how to avoid anything seriously damaging to the crops. At last it fell to personal interests, birthdays coming up, plans for vacations and the like. It seemed here every pony present had something to add to the conversation, suggestions to answer questions and ideas for their own plans. It was with the arrival of desert that at last Buck asked for permission to travel again. Though his sister always kept a traveling budget prepared for him, she knew he wanted to ask permission like a gentlecolt before spending the money. She nodded and inquired his destination, which surprised her when he answered. “The Crystal Empire. I have never been there, and would like to travel there to see what sorts of musical instruments or such they have available. I know it is too far to go by cart, so I was thinking of taking a train,” and that was where Stormstride had to speak her own thoughts. “You know I have no objections to that Buck, but this time I must insist you take two guards with you. I know, their armor is off putting to most, however I think we can forgo the heavy armored earth ponies in favor of a pair of unicorn guards in light armor. Heavyhoof, is that possible?” “Certainly my lady. I have several unicorns that are due some down time. Perhaps they would like the opportunity to travel to the Crystal Empire with Sir Thunderbuck and see it for themselves. I can propose this to them tomorrow morning before duty roster is posted. That would give them time to pack and prepare for the trip if Sir Thunderbuck would delay a day for them,” came the captain’s reply. Buck nodded his agreement, knowing his sister would not relent this time. He knew that between the Empire and Equestria there was a vast distance and it would take many days by train to arrive, and over that time, any number of dangerous things could happen. This being said, he planned to travel lightly, carrying only minimal coin to trade with and wearing the breastplate his sister had commissioned for him. He was never really used to the weight of it, however it did provide protection and matched his usual outfits. After the meal ended, Buck withdrew to his small cottage on the courtyard grounds. He loved his home, it being tailored specifically to him in its construction. The walls had plenty of space for all his various musical instruments, a workshop installed in the side for him to work and repair any instrument he found in his travels, and a small but luxurious bedroom for himself. Though to his credit Buck’s personal definition of luxury consisted of little more than a thick warm bed with covers, a fire place for cold nights, plenty of windows he could open for fresh air and light, and a personal tub he could bathe in. Moving to his bedroom, he sat his mask upon the place holder on his desk and sat to his musical sheets. He had been composing a number he wished to complete for his sister. Something he hoped would touch her heart, and inspire the peace he knew once existed there, and hoped still did in some small manner. He had seen the look in her eyes, heard the tone of her voice before. He knew what happened to ponies that crossed her, and he did not like it. His sister had once been kind, forgiving to a fault, and loving. But now she had grown cold toward those not of her mindset, and callous in her methods of dealing with them. One such pony served in their house, as a floor scrubber in the kitchens. She knew that he was not being mistreated, as a matter of fact he was likely living much better than he had before when he was a commander of the REA barracks in Canterlot’s middle class district. However, he was now a mere floor scrubber with no status or standing even in Maretonian society; he was little more than a paid slave. What was more, he was blind. Thunderbuck knew better than to question his sister on these matters, as they affected her in personal and deeply harmful ways in the past. This was her retribution, her justice against those that wronged her. The stallion was free to leave any time he wanted, however where would he go? Home to his father was one option, however that relegated him to a life of social parties he had no love for. A second option was back to the dessert where he was found, however he had not the power left in him to survive alone in the wilds like that. The third option was to wander Maretonia as a pony for hire, but with his blindness he would be begging before the week was out, and forced to return to Stormstride; and she would be even less generous than before. Taking a deep breath, Buck put quill to paper. His drafting of notes humming along from his lips as he listened to the various instruments in his mind. The soft, loving melody was low, and sweet to him; kindly caressing his emotions and tugging them toward gentle thoughts. His eyes closed as his magic continued to move the quill of its own accord. His humming staying soft, he continued this way for near and hour when he felt his head begin to tip forward slightly. He stopped his work, slowly lowering the quill to rest upon the desk and looking how far he had come. He found he had nearly finished two-thirds of his work on the violin section in the last two hours. He set the parchment down, and stood slowly. Stretching as he moved to the tub, and turned on the hot water. Indoor plumbing was a wonderful thing to have, he mused to himself in his mind. Watching the water rise, he slid from his vest and overcoat. Folding them neatly and laying them on the chair nearby, he moved to the tub and sank himself in deeply. Once the water reached his neck, he turned it off and just relaxed into the warmth that surrounded him. His magic gripped a bottle of scented, liquid soap. Adding a touch to the water, he brought over a sponge and a back scrubber. Leaning up just enough to let them begin working he looked to the walls of his home. So many instruments lined his walls, more than he could ever play in all his life. And yet he knew each one by heart and loved their individual sounds. Then his eyes cast to the workbench where a broken trumpet sat. He smiled, knowing that he had all the brass piping to fix it being delivered in the next few days. He had taken it apart, salvaging what pieces he could by having a blacksmith repair them. Those that could not be saved he had melted into metal balls for use later in smaller repairs. Thunderbuck sighed deeply, as his body relaxed in the warm bath. His body coming clean of the sweat of the day, he chirred and let out a pleased snort that blew some bubbles off the top of the water. Deeming himself sufficiently clean, the stallion stood and unplugged his tub, letting the water drain as he turned on the overhead shower. Using it to rinse himself off a bit before levitating a towel over. As the water drained away, he stepped out on his plush bathmat, using magic to move and wipe the towel over himself. Once sufficiently dry, he moved to his bed while levitating the towel to the drying rack by the fireplace. He had learned to cast magic fire, and had enchanted heater rocks to hold the flame at a constant but low heat. The towel would dry by this flame, without any chance of it burning. He sat upon his bed and pushed the thick warm fur covers back, smiling at the deep mattress that greeted his eyes. Moving into his bed, he pulled a candle over and let his magic tilt it over the open fireplace to light it. Setting it upon his nightstand, he snuggled deep under the covers and pulled them up to his chest; relaxing as his magic gripped the book on the other pillow. Opening to his saved place, he began reading once again a great work of Maretonian fiction; fully knowing that in the morning he would rise early to pack a case with two small instruments and some clothing for the trip. He smiled to himself, ready for a new adventure in a land his hooves had never touched before, a land of plenty, hidden in the veil of ice and snow.
  2. Ok so.... Issue has risen up. Contract at work is renegotiated. This means a paycut back to minimum wage (Seattle, WA min wage is $15 hr)  

    This has left me with an issue. I have a short fall on rent and other expenses by about $100. (i only lost $1 hr. Other ppl lost like $5 hr) 

     

    So to make ends meet I was considering short story commissions. No trades or requests at this time. 

    Anyone think this is an idea worth something?

  3. As the kiss ended, Stromstride and Feather Touch stepped down to meet the crowd. Most of which was still cheering. Having now been pronounced As Lord and Lady Cloud, they seemed to enjoy the moment. After a bit Stormstride broadcast her voice with a soft spell that let them hear but not be deafened. "And now... The moment we all can enjoy together. The Reception!" Several of the local nobility that did attend chuckled and nodded as they began to move toward the food. Coming to her friends, Stormstride smiled and motioned the guard near Earth Writer to come over. He did as bade, and upon arriving removed his helmet. An Earth pony hidden under all that gear. He smiled and hugged her softly, shaking hooves with Feather gently. He nodded to the others and smiled, "Stormy, you want to introduce me?" "Oh! Sorry everypony. This is Heavyhoof. He and I served together in the same barracks. Apparently after I left Canterlot, Celestia herself came to the barracks and cleaned them out. Sent them all over to give them some different perspective. After I got things here settled for my ancestral home I heard. Those that were discharged by their new captains have found a place here in my personal guard. And judging by the looks on some faces I think the armor works its own magic, wouldnt you agree?" Feather Touch shook his head and sighed, "Darling, don't frighten the guests away. We still have the wine tasting we set up for them after the reception." "OH! I almost forgot that. I'm sorry. Heavy, remember to make certain the other guards attend as well." He saluted and flipped his helmet back up and on. Turning on hoof he marched back to his spot and remained there. "Pity Heart Stopper hadn't shown. I was so wanting her to be here. I think she would have certainly approved of the decorum inside the castle." Giving a light bow she turned to go join the group of other nobility that were chattering over the food provided. Feather Touch remained behind, his eyes showing a hint of emotion, concern of some kind. Then he looked to them and it was gone. Smiling and taking a deep breath he spoke, "Would you like to taste the local fare or stick with the Equestrian foods you know best? She had the chef specially prepare a small but delightful selection of Equestrian foods she was familiar with you might find appealing. As well, I think she saved a bottle of brandy specifically for you all. OH! I almost forgot." He turned and called out. "Buck! Come and eat!" THe stallion on stage paused from his music, and lowered his various levitated instruments. As he started off the stage, Feather leaned over and whispered to Blueblood "He gets so wrapped up in his music he can forget to feed himself sometimes. We have a guard specifically assigned to him when he goes traveling to make certain he eats and gets sleep. Unicorn chap, I think you might like him. He's rather handy with sleep spells and making quick meals of barely a few ingredients. I think he came from the same place as Heavyhoof." As Thunder moved to join the group, he slid his mask up, almost without hesitation. Pausing to smile and wave at the group, he took a plate and began to make his selections. As the servants walked the table, refilling cups and fetching extra food, one could see this knowing look passed between them all. The nobility of Kastrot may not treat their own servants like good friends, but Stormstride obviously did if their uniforms and jewelry was any indication. All of them had full pony pedies and were wearing gold or silver jewelry and tail bangles. Feather led the group to their seats, which was beside his and Stormstride's seats. Thunderbuck sat at the end of the table. Stormstride took her time to eat slowly. She was enjoying the variety. CaramelCream was busy enjoying more of the desserts, as her pudgy middle told tale of already. Feather Touch paused form his food from time to time to interject his opinion with some of the more lax nobles. Stormstride commented to Naj softly, "So Caramel says you and she met back in Stalliongrad when she and Buck were performing. I was wondering if you would indulge me in telling me how that was?"
  4. Around them, the animals of the night had scattered, frightened away by the distant flames and Dawnguard's sudden and dramatic cry. The only thing that remained was a single owl, stoic and unmoved in these late hours. Though it did turn its head to watch the other animals move away in a hasty retreat. The avian hooted softly, fluffing it's feathers as it stretched a wing out to groom slowly. It watched the three go about their business. At the place where the flames had scorched the earth deeply, a few ponies had taken up shovels and begun to bury the hot sands. Having dug a trench some days back, the few scooped up small loads of the hot grains, and carried them to the small length and deposited them. But they had left the twisted statues of the sand coyotes as a warning to all ponies that came and went. A warning that reminded all of the dangers of the desert. the pale glow of the eyes told that they coyotes had not been killed, but frozen in place. Whatever magic that created their bodies was not undone. They were locked in place, melted into grotesque and frightening poses. As if some unholy beasts were rising up from the sands. Flashfire listened to them working from his cart. He could tell there was another pony approaching. and the soft voice of the mare told him it was the town nurse. She tended his wounds, and left him to recover quietly. Minor injuries that would likely heal with no medical attention. Still, the stallion did not turn away her efforts. He understood their concerns. He had been the only pony they knew to stand up to the beasts and drive them away. They wanted him to live, and continue to protect their small patch of land. Their town was running down, short of supplies and with no connection to the rest of Equestria. A dwindling population due to attacks or ponies foolish enough to strike out into the desert on their own had further caused them issues. He himself had only found the town on accident. There was no listing on the maps of such a place. And Flashfire began to see why. Their ways were different. They did not welcome outsiders, nor did they follow the rule of the princesses. Their ancestors had struck out to make a place for themselves away from Celestia and her rule. They created a place free of coin, of travel, and of interruption. But they also were too far from military assistance and steady communication. They had no trade abilities with other settlements that were close. Only the passing buffalo tribes, whom kept their secret, ever came through. The town was tiny, and well hidden thanks to the way it was built. But with the approaching party, they would soon be discovered.
  5. Oh that't true. Stormstride knows it. But her method is to not let them get close enough to see it. She prefers to keep the enemy at a distance. She can take them at close range. But her preferred them at a distance with a strong lighting burst.
  6. From the album Pony Refs

    This lovely piece was created by our own Discord player RexDraco. (is best discord ever) A bit of background on this piece. Stormstride is a bit of a bitter pony toward most others. Indifferent toward their suffering or emotional state until it directly impacts the well being of one of her own family or direct friends. She's seen several battles, and finally had enough of the inadequate armor that the normal REA soldier is issued. She commissioned a private suit of armor. Not made of the golden alloys as the normal armor, but this was to be made of Silver, Moonstone, and Malacite. A gleaming silvery metal alloy with a slight green hint in the reflection pattern. Each large circle is a gemstone she had placed into the armor. Each stone is enchanted to draw in any magical energy around it, and channel it up for her use as a weapon of shield. She can store excess energy in the gems, or use them to absorb a fair portion of an incoming unfriendly spell. While she will still take an impact from that spell, its power will be greatly lessened. Looking to her hooves there is a set of horseshoes permanently mounted to her with hard steel screws going through both sides of her hooves. Painful at first yes, but once healed it did not bother her. These shoes provide her a single enchantment. She can channel her magic through them to immediately summon her armor and various weapons to herself. This provides her with a slight, but distinct advantage in the event a peaceful situation becomes aggressive. "Never let your armor get dirty. Never let it collect dust. Never leave your weapons soiled. Because when you fail to take care of your armor and weapons, they will return that favor in kind," Stromstride Cloud, speaking to her honor guard during training.

    © Stromstride is copyright to myself. All depictions of her, or any other of the Cloud family lineage are the express intellectual property of myself.

  7. At this point there was no hope of Firestorm keeping himself in check. He trotted down to the main entry hall, checking that things were in place. Though he did not see the bucket over the door, he did not open it. He rubbed his hooves together, waiting for the first guests to actually make it inside. this was gong to be so much fun. He couldn't resist a chuckle as he watched the happenings in the court yard. Already some pony had discovered the effect of the bubbly drinks. They were floating. An earth pony clearly not touching the ground. Though going no higher than a half a foot off the dirt, they were laughing and rolling in the air. Several foals were present with their parents. Most of the guests in attendance didn't even notice Twilight and Pinkie. They were absorbed in what the noble had presented them in the courtyard. Foals were chasing after balloon animals. And it seemed the balloon animals were actually running. One Pony yelped in surprise as a streamer landed on them, and then began to slither across the ground like a snake. Even flicking out a little paper streamer tongue. But soon laughter replaced the surprised yell as more descended and began tickling the surprised pony. There was magic here. Lost of it. If one were to look closely, they would see it was controlling most of the inanimate objects. Over by the food table a group of ponies began laughing and calling out about something rather funny. A look would have shown a pegasus not only flying upside down, but in reverse. Most of the ponies in that group had several blue spots appear on them. One unicorn was trying to levitate something and her horn was looked like a sparkler going off. Even one of the house staff had blue spots on him. Though he looked rather tall now. Almost as tall as a fully grown allicorn. It was obvious now that there was poison joke in the blue cupcakes. But apparently every pony taking one seemed to get a kick out of it. Though when another servant came by with cups of juice, and the group managed to stop laughing long enough to get a drink, the effects seemed to wear off. As they approached the front door, there were two ponies there. Other nobles, but younger ones. Still young enough to enjoy a party it seemed, as they were conversing about past parties and upon noticing Twilight, they both paused from their conversation to give polite bows of their heads toward her. Then let her keep going as she appeared to be with others at the time. Over the noble's heads floated a rather fat looking balloon. One of them managed to look up in time to see it and then it just burst, showering them in a pile of glitter that was far too much to have actually fit in that balloon.both of them burst out laughing and shook their manes and faces off.
  8. going to close this thread up now and finish it out with the current players.
  9. ((OOC: Just gonna go with it for now. Assume no one else will join)) Caramel smiled and giggled up at Naj. Feather Touch looked at Naj a little confused, before it dawned on him. "OH! You mean Buck. He's not her father. He's her uncle. He had custody of her at that time." Feather Touch smiled and nodded to them, spreading his wings a bit to stretch them. The impressive span of his wings reached almost two ponies in length. But as he folded them carefully, he sighed with a smile. "Well I should get to my place. Don't want to keep the missus waiting you know." Giving a bow to them, he began to move off. Caramel lingered with them long enough that she noticed one of the servants coming toward them. He made a motion for Caramel toward the courtyard. "Oh! Must be time." Several other guests had arrived, though most were of minor nobility like Stormstride herself. The foal smiled and skipped a bit. "Come on! I can show you all to your special seats!" Leading them on, she brought them to their places of seating. Which was more or less the same for every other pony. More simply in design, but quite a comfortable seat. Helping them find their places she bowed and hurried off to the back aisle. Picking up her flower baskets, she levitated them in her magic. Buck, brought up his various instruments, and began playing. The air hummed softly with the vibrations, which were her cue. She could feel those vibrations, and began walking down the aisle, tossing flower petals. The scents soon filled the air, a lightly sweet scent. Feather Touch stood at the podium with the pony presiding over the marriage. He was a local magistrate, and seemed rather happy to be here. No doubt that was partly because it got him away from his other duties for some time. As Stormstride began her walk down the aisle, she smiled. Her veil covering her face in the traditional way. The long train of her dress trailing behind her. Smiling she took enough time to nod at ponies as she passed. Soon coming to the podium and turning to face Feather Touch. There was happiness in her eyes. She smiled, and it was obvious she was already crying. Feather Touch beamed, practically glowing. As the magistrate began, Feather and Storm only partly listened. Both having been lost in each other's eyes. CaramelCream stood to the side, having emptied her baskets of flowers, she had levitated up a plush pillow that had a pair of highly polished tail bangles. These were not the plain silver kind most ponies got, but solid gold and encrusted with gems. Gleaming in the sunlight, the jewelry was more than just wedding bands. They were symbols of status as well, proclaiming that the pony wearing them was married and wealthy. Caramel stole a glance at Blueblood and his group. They were set just far enough from the other nobles that they would have a better view, without being at an odd angle to the wedding. There were a few empty places as well, but not the private box. Which was reserved for HeartStopper and her troupe. Though the only pony there was Earth Writer and one of Stormstride's own guards. Though....the armor of the guard was strangely different from the standard. He was the first guard they could actually see. And he did not look friendly in the least. Full plate armor, layered and tightened to look more like dragon scales than metal. It was also made of a darker colored metal, and layered with furs and horns from various wild animals. He bore no shield, but a lance and on his side rested a heavy sword. His face was completely hidden by the helm, which only had openings for his ears, eyes, and nose. Odd that there was only one guard for the entire castle. But then the magistrate spoke a bit louder. "Do you, Feather Touch, swear your life to your beloved mare? Honor to her, service to her life, and seeking only her? Enduring the pain of sickness and the joy of health? Until beyond death and the end of all time?" "I do, forever and always. I swear my life, and my love to my beautiful mare. Loving her for all time, placing her above all others in the world. Seeking only her happiness and love in return."
  10. thinking about something new and unusual. a clockwork pony. something one of my own ponies would make as a party gag. but it goes off the rails. Any thoughts?

  11. As they discussed, time moved ever onward slowly. The inching of the moon across the sky, the twinkle of stars and the faint sounds of the night. It was not much longer that the fire by the buffalo camp died away, and the sounds of their music ceased. They seemed to be headed to sleep for the night as well. However, on the far distant horizon, something was active. Something was bright and glowing. Flaring up, before vanishing into the blackness. It seemed to be far away, still many miles distant and just over the horizon. And the glow was not a natural one. It was too brilliant a red. Far to red to be from any normal thing. This blinking, glowing thing had its origin in magic. And then a pillar of flame shot up from the spot. It lasted but a single, brief moment. Lighting up the place it was bright as midday before vanishing again into the dark night. It did not blink again. But it left a faint glow upon the place it had been. As if so warmed by whatever it had been that it made the desert there glow red hot. The direction it came from, was where the buffalo indicated the blinded pony had wandered. Flashfire sat panting softly, having just expended a good deal of magical energy. He was sweating, surrounded by glowing hot sands. His own protection spells and enchanted shoes keeping his hooves from burning as he wandered back toward the cart he called his house. No pony around would dare step outside at this time. Not until morning when the sands had returned to a more reasonable temperature. They knew the stallion. He had been with them only a short time, but he had proven himself trustworthy. He offered work in exchange for food and water. A fair trade to these ponies. He had his eyes hidden by a thick red sash he kept tied around his head. Blindfolded as the day he walked in pulling his cart. He moved back toward his cart, slowly clambering inside to rest. In his wake, many of the sand coyotes were frozen in place. Crystalized by the sheer hear of the flames. Locking their sand bodies and melting them into statues, often disfigured in their attempt to run.
  12. At the train station, there was a rather large coach loading several ponies. The coach was easily the size of a small bus, prepared and ready for the ponies to be taken to the party. It had a sign on it that read "Party at Fire Manor." Behind it, a smaller coach, with a few ponies standing beside it. One was an REA soldier. He spotted Twilight and Pinkie, moving toward them. "Your majesty," he gave a quick bow and then stood straight again. "Lord Firestorm sent his personal carriage for you and the other ponies of nobility. If you will come with me please?" He motioned toward the smaller coach. Though it looked normal on the outside, the inside was literally like a small play place. The seats were bouncy, the ceiling of it had dancing lights of several patterns, there was happy music playing, and the windows had decorative things hanging from the inside. As the nobles entered, some of them took notice that Twilight was coming. Others wondered whom her curious companion was. They were the few regulars that often attended the parties of Firestorm. While they were dressed very nicely, they were more friendly than most nobility. The ponies pulling the coach all had drink caps, shades, and comfort harnesses. Firestorm seemed more to care about comfort and pleasantries than formality. Firestorm smiled to Discord as he went to prepare something. Chuckling to himself and moving to the window to watch the guests arriving. The first thing they would encounter is the courtyard gardens. Normally they were vibrant and full of color from the flowers that were free to take. But now they had the added benefit of balloons, streamers, and offered treats and drinks to get guests to mingle. There was the large open space in the center around a small fountain. It was not an extravagant fountain, but it was pretty to look at. And now the color of the water was running a strange purple color. It smelt deeply of honey and cream. A sweet scent that tickled the nose. If one were to taste it, it would have the flavor or fruit and cream with a hint of honey and nuts. As the large coach pulled up, Firestorm made certain to open the window and step out on the balcony. Smiling at the ponies and waving to them. Indeed, this was going to be a party to remember for years to come.
  13. any players still interested aside from Blue and Derp?
  14. Spending the night in the gym alone. Its peaceful here at night. Like no one really notices me unless i ask for help. Almost like this place is a safe haven. They even have a room specifically for persons like me that work overnight. Room is dimmly lit like night time. Awesome gym. 

  15. ((OCC hold on to your flanks. This post is gonna be a doozy)) Firestorm gave pause at that question. he had had an answer for how to ensure the guests were going to come. In short, he didnt plan on all of them coming. not all of them would. That was the purpose of such a huge list of guests to invite. To ensure that many ponies would come no matter what. Even if he had to run the districts on hoof, handing out fliers to every pony he saw. But that question. it troubled him. He had no pony to leave these works too. Laying down his quill he leaned back. Looking at his beloved collection within the tomb. "I had hoped at one point my son would take after me. But he took after his mother. And it would be a burden to him to leave this to him and expect him to carry it out as I have. He enjoys social gatherings. But forming a party like this is beyond his ability and his certainty. The stallion looked toward the window. He was thinking as a thought dawned on him. "Perhaps there are ponies, to which I could leave proper copies of my work. Ones that would use it, or preserve it until such a time as it is called for again. At the galloping Gala, I once saw several mares that were out of place. And very lively indeed. I believe they were the Princess Twilight and her company of friends. Though there are others here in Canterlot as well. Knowledge of delight is a thing most dear. Perhaps... as a precaution that my time comes before one can be given this torch to carry... I should instill a copy of my work in the royal library. That all may indeed have the chance to look upon and delight in such as these works. And..." a small smile crept upon his face as he turned to Discord. "A copy for you, my friend. Something tells me you would have much delight in seeing and playing with such things as I have in here." The stallion returned to scribbling down his list. Three full pages before he was done. Then he moved to the list of invitations he had haphazardly put together. Cleaning the list up properly, and magically levitating over a box of proper invitations. He set the magic quill to work writing them out. That done he turned to the cart. Levitating Discord's forgotten up onto the cart and replacing it with a fresh clean cup. Filling the new cup and refilling his own he sat back. "And perhaps this party shall indeed be the best one of them all. I am calling for all ponies, both common and noble to come. For all ages to join. I want no being, pony or otherwise to be left out." As the invitations were filled out, they levitated over to a large mail bag. Settling themselves in neatly. It seemed the stallion was no stranger to inviting large crowds and had multiple mail bags, each labeled for various towns. The largest for Canterlot of course, but others for places such as Manehattan, Ponyville, Cloudsdale, and Fet Loch. Soon enough all the bags were being filled. And no sooner were they filled than a pair of servants appeared with push carts. Loading them up and taking them away after replacing them with empty ones. And still more invitations were being written. Firestorm looked upon the chimera before him. A gentle smile upon his lips, as if looking at an old friend. "You greatly remind me of a friend I once had when I served in the guard. He was always so full of mischief and life. Always ready to have fun and even at his own expense have a laugh. Oh he was a chap to be certain. A head full of ideas that one. And always smiling about something. Tis a shame he passed on some years ago. He would have loved to have met you." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The date was set for a week from the day the invitations went out. During that time, the manor was being prepared. Extra chairs brought from the attic, tables from the storage room, and a large order for balloons was placed. Several chefs arrived from various places, bringing with them their entire staff. One would never believe all of them would fit into the kitchen. Though the kitchen took up the entire basement of the manor. A full larder stocked just for these occasions and right in the middle of it all the stallion of the manor himself. Covered hoof to horn in flour, cooking right along side them all. Aside from all that, other ponies that lived on the manor worked. The garden staff trimmed and decorated the gardens and entrance way. The house staff prepared the inside of the manor. Placing decorations, hanging lighting, and placing streamers. The massive call for so many guests was not unheard of. But the scale of this party was new. they had never known their lord to invite so many ponies. And their new guest was very interesting. Many of them were curious of him, often stealing glances or asking each other curious questions of his persona and placement. He was unique, and very interesting. As the party drew closer, Firestorm became more feverish in his efforts. Putting his very soul into this. though in his times to take a break, he spoke to Discord. Getting his opinions of matters and the plans for the party. Even going so far as to test the poison joke muffins. The effect was to turn his mane a bright lime green. He had good chuckle at that, before it wore off. The dose was so low that it wore off before an hour was up. Still giggling about it, the stallion set to work. He had allowed discord to engage and help wherever he thought it was a good idea. Even offering him the tomb to read should he want to get ideas. And when the week was up, the day of the party was at hoof. Firestorm took that day to relax, allowing his staff to do the same. The house was ready, the treats made and set. The decorations in place. All that remained was to wait for evening when the guests would arrive. Firestorm sat in his office, taking tea and looking over some notes. The cake was enchanted to spray sweet cream on any pony that decided to cut into it. The balloons were full of confetti and would make funny noises when popped. The replies form the guest list were promising. While a few nobles would be joining, it looks like ponies from all over were coming. Ponyville especially had sent two replies. One from Princess Twilight no less. And another form a fellow party pony, Pinkie Pie. Firestorm could hardly believe his luck! he practically pranced for an hour upon hearing the news. Now that it was time to take a break. He had bathed and put on a fresh set of cloths. Though these were not the normal wear of a noble. These were brightly colored, flashy and mismatched. Festive and happy colors, mixed with the decorations that hung from his mane and tail. Firestorm himself was like a living party favor.