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Found 28 results

  1. Zeig

    Eastern Theme Image

    From the album: MLP Characters

    Obviously not a MLP character, but I'm putting it in this album because I want it to go with everything else, nyah ha. Theme image for the Eastern banner, with a nameless Qilin welcoming all to explore the lands of Long Guo, Neighpon, Polyneighsia, and Hesperia. I actually like how the design for this random Qilin came about - maybe she'll go up for adoption in the future, it'd be a shame to have her around only until a new banner replaces her.
  2. From the album: MLP Characters

    This one was easier than the GGG background, mostly because the shapes used are more vague and less defined. Inspired by the Guilin Mountains in China, though I really didn't do them any justice! (Because seriously, look at those mountains. So, majestic.)
  3. There he is, the stallion himself! This will be the hub thread for Prince Blueblood, the character, and all his eventual players! Currently, I'm the only player for everypony's favorite Prince here on the boards. Not sure how soon that'll change. Anyhow, thought I'd give a brief rundown on how I play him. First off, I take him to be the direct lineal descendent of Princess Platinum, inheriting royal status that way. He says he's the fifty-fourth Prince to go by that name, though it is entirely likely that his ancestors padded the numbers. If you're an upper-class unicorn, or connected with that world, he at least knows your name, and his family tree probably touches branches with yours at some point. Personality-wise, he is, of course, extremely vain about his looks, and is by instinct a little bit of a snob, though he has been working hard on getting better, really! It's just... he doesn't often have patience for common (and commoner) foibles. Not that he has all that better of an opinion of the lesser nobility. In fact, he's pretty much had to get over looking down on all non-royals, and it's been a bit of an adjustment process, to say the least. Unpromising adventuring stock though he is, he's also been involved in quite a few jaunts, journeys, and... hm, can't think of a good third J word. Anyhow! That's how he's made his first few real friends, and if you're a sailor like himself, chances are you'll get a chance to see his best side. There's been a lot of developments that have happened to him over the course of my RP's with him, but the most recently relevant one would probably be this: Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Thanks to a magical accident on the part of Twilight Sparkle, Princess Bluebelle is now also a thing! If you're at all interested in playing with the Best Prince(ss) on the boards, or have a few comments/ideas you want to throw my way, just let me know below.
  4. I'd started thinking about doing a Scooby do-esque role play involving a ghost ship, when I realized I know very little about ponies and their naval history, or if they even have much in the way of sea travel. Ponies do not fish, to my knowledge. I mean, why would they (beyond sport)? Unless there were some kind of fish that shed scales for fashion, or jellyfish that could be milked for jelly or something, they would never eat fish, so it would really limit their reasons to develop a lot of nautical technology. Not that they don't have it, obviously. Ships and shipping in ports is already something going on. But would they have a navy? Would they want or need one? Is anyone aware of/made any sort of seafaring ponies? (I'm sure there's some episode I'm forgetting) I don't know, just sort of spinning this topic to see others knowledge and opinion.
  5. The Veiled Garden & Bohemian Club: In the midst of Canterlot's low-rent district lies one of the quaintest and most fascinating bits of architecture in Equestria: a pub that is, in the most literal sense possible, inside out. It presents to the outside word a utilitarian and frankly ugly windowless facade of grey, crumbling stone. Above the only door is carved the name of the establishment, "The Veiled Garden." But if a pony were to walk through this door, they would immediately receive the impression that they had walked out into a spacious and airy patio, with a bar to the left, tables and chairs set out anyhow in the middle, and a slightly area to the right, reminiscent of a stage. The whole is covered by a latticed roof of wood, and beyond the supporting beams can be seen a garden. The garden is full of bushes, hanging plants, and flowers, which fill the air of the place with a fresh, sweet scent continually. The arrangement of the landscape, combined with a few strategically placed mirrors, gives the illusion of an open area in front of one, as if the whole were not enclosed within four stone walls in the middle of the city! The origins of this establishment are as singular as its design. It dates back to a time when the artistic world of Equestria was wholly dependent upon aristocratic patrons, and was therefore dictated to by their taste... or lack thereof. During one period, about 830 CY, the overall aesthetic demanded had become so apalling that the artistic community could stand it no longer! They began to congregate around a this pub, which was much more ordinary back then, in order to offer mutual commiseration and support. Over time, this developed into what would be known as the Bohemian club, a gathering of artists, actors, writers, journalists, and other reprobates. When a large commission would leave one of its members temporarily flush with bits, they would take them to the club, in order to support their fellow creative types making work of actual merit, as well as improving their place of meeting. Over time, this led to the gradual independence of Equestria's art community, which experienced a new florescence paralleled by the transformation of their headquarters into the Veiled Garden as it is today! Even today, the Bohemian Club still serves its original mission: to support the free play of art and ideas. Anypony engaged in creative work is eligible for membership, which entitles them to criticism, reviews, collaboration, and sponsorship, all of which are given generously. Even if one is not a member, they may still share a drink among those congregated around the Veiled Garden, which still holds the atmosphere of its original clientele, the origins of Equestria's first counter-culture. -Beyond the Tourist Trap: A True Globetrotter's Guide to the Real Equestria ​
  6. Vanhoover - City of Gardens Nestled in the foothills of the Hasufel Mountains between the Everfree Forest and the Great Nimbusgait Lakes, the city of Vanhoover is surrounded by natural wonders. With lakes, mountains and the mysterious Everfree just a short distance from its boundaries, ponies from all over Equestria come to take in its beauty by camping, hiking, and climbing. Among residents of the city itself, many artists take inspiration from their surroundings, and the Vanhoover Art Gallery boasts one of the finest collections of landscape art in Equestria. Vanhoover's citizens also take pride in their bright and colourful gardens of both edible and ornamental flowers found growing around every residence, and in containers or hanging baskets on every street and building. The area now occupied by Vanhoover was originally explored by pegasi from nearby Cloudsdale, who would deposit excess rainclouds over the lakes when not needed. Over time, word of the area as a natural retreat spread, and earth ponies and unicorns began arriving with the intention of living there permanently. Because the city can only be easily accessed by sailing across the lakes or flying, Vanhoover has remained relatively small compared to some of its neighbours, but the locals consider this part of its charm. Residents of the city have gained a somewhat undeserved reputation as nature-loving layabouts, but in truth, the ponies in Vanhoover have since the earliest days made every attempt to be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible because of the few routes that can be used to get there. Numerous artisans create items for locals and tourists alike, and several surrounding farms keep it from relying on imports in all but the worst years. If there is one downside to this otherwise idyllic setting, it comes from the city's close proximity to the Everfree Forest. As the weather in the forest is uncontrolled by pegasi, residents of the city frequently find themselves underneath heavy rain clouds that inexplicably drift out of the forest in the direction of Vanhoover on a regular basis. The rain tends to let up in the summer, but returns during cooler months, causing a great deal of extra work for local weather ponies. While the large amount of rainfall does wonders for the growth of the trees, crops and flowers, a few ponies speculate that the sheer number of clouds the city sees are the Everfree's way of expressing its disapproval at the location of the city. - The Hitchhiker's Guide to Equestria ​
  7. The Velvet Strand - Picturesque Home of the Perytons Sloping out of the western waters of Cirrus lake is a large series of tranquil, hilly islands that is home to the peryton race known as the Velvet Strand. This island chain is arguably the most tranquil area in all of the known world. Surrounded by shallow, clear water which mirrors the world around it and lush with silvery grass and countless wildflowers, these verdant islands are bright with life and harmony. The air, the flora - even the dirt of the Strand is pure and beautiful. This is thanks to the innate magic of the peryton who have been living here since the formation of the Great Nimbusgait Lakes. When living together in herds, their passive magic acts upon the world of its own volition. It purifies land, air and water and breathes life into everything around their herds. After countless generations living on the Velvet Strand their magic has transformed it into something wholly irresistible: a fact that they are very aware of. In order to maintain the natural beauty of their islands, very little is done to alter its pristine, natural state. Aside from a network of silvery aspenwood bridges which connects even the smallest islands of the Velvet Strand, there is no modern construction to speak of - at least not on the surface. Homes and businesses here are all built into the hilly slopes of the islands, the entrances completely grown-over with flowering vines. A home or business address is defined by the district names carved into the nearest bridgepost and the type of flower growing upon one’s door. Even the interior decoration is rustic, the mentality of “less is more” very apparent in peryton tastes. Being a species known for its undeniable natural beauty has certainly influenced the way they view the world around them. If something is not beautiful in its own simplicity then it is simply not beautiful: no amount of dressing up a wooden chair with velvet and jewels could improve upon the colour of the wood nor the artistry in its grain. Minimalism is key in their design and architecture: too much ornamentation is viewed as tacky and tasteless. This very same mentality has resulted in very little curation of the flora of their islands (excluding those northernmost islands dedicated to agriculture). A lack of forested areas or modern construction results in the Velvet Strand appearing surprisingly nondescript from a distance - even trees are a rare sight here. For any who are unfamiliar with the peryton homeland, it would even be easy to believe the islands are uninhabited. Of course, drawing near the islands would still pull any traveler in - they are home to the largest herd of peryton in the known world, after all. The natural magnetism of their magic and the sheer size of their herd beckons any travelers who venture near the islands like a siren-song that lives in the very air of Cirrus Lake. The true splendor of the Velvet Strand, however, can only be viewed at night. Sitting in the middle of still water that mirrors the sky and home to thousands of fireflies that are drawn to the flowers which bloom here, a clear night on these islands can only be described as otherworldly. Above, below, and all around you is starlight. Wading into the shallows of Cirrus Lake at night, it is easy to feel as though you are suspended in the night sky itself. There is very little to distract one from the lovely vision of the stars beyond carefully-tended torches near the bridges and the tiny, glowing fireflies which float around you. It is no wonder that the peryton who live here are so eager to preserve the natural beauty of their islands - to detract from such an experience would be tragic, and it certainly would not help with tourism. Many travel to the Velvet Strand just to experience a single night on the waters of Cirrus Lake, and having experienced it I can certainly understand why. Equestrian Travels Volume 4, Journal no.136 penned by Ryx Blackwing, Aquellian Archives ​
  8. Perytons - Creatures of Enchantment Sprawling along the western rim of Cirrus Lake is a chain of low-lying islands known as the Velvet Strand. The gentle, grassy slopes which rise out of the shallow waters are home to the peryton: flightless, winged deer who have made their home in the Nimbusgait lakes since they first welled up with water. While there are no solid records of where exactly these mysterious creatures came from, a favoured legend amongst them and their pegasi neighbours tells of a forbidden romance between a famed pegasus general and the princess of a herd of whitetail deer. After entering an arranged marriage under the command of her father, the princess often wished she could fly far away, to a world where she was free. Every night she gazed at the stars and wished to be one of them, and every so often, when granted a taste of freedom, she would venture to the western shores of Cirrus lake. Here the shallow waters grew so still that they perfectly mirrored the shimmering expanse of the night sky, so the whitetail princess would wade into the waters and close her eyes, dreaming that she was a star and far away from her life. One night, a pegasus general famed throughout the world for his ruthless tactics and cold command of pegasi armies spotted the princess wading through the waters. He instantly fell in love, and it was not long before his affections were returned. Once every three months they would meet in the waters surrounding the Velvet Strand, until years later they were discovered. The princess was cast out from her home in the Everfree forest and left to fend for herself in the wilderness. Desperately wishing to help her, the general abandoned his rank and his home to live at his banished princess’ side on the Velvet Strand. It was their love that gave birth to the peryton race, so the story goes. Whatever the truth may be, the peryton race has proven itself to be a vital entity in the Nimbusgait lakes. Though individually they appear to possess no supernatural talents beyond the ability to walk on clouds, in groups the peryton are armed with precious, life-giving magic unlike anything else in Equestria. Their collective magic is passive, and the larger a herd is the stronger its effect upon the world. It is difficult not to notice the change in the air and the water around a group of peryton: murky water slowly turns clear, smog and fumes transform into sweet, clean air, and wilted plants spring to life and flourish once more. Simply by coming together, peryton have the ability to purify and revitalize the world around them. It does not happen overnight, and the area of effect is limited to where the herd dwells, but this magic has been purifying the waters of the Great Nimbusgait Lakes for countless years. There is a reason the waters of Cirrus Lake are famous for being so clear and pristine, and that reason lives on the Velvet Strand. Because of their uncanny magic, life amongst a herd of peryton has a quietly enchanting atmosphere. They regain their energy faster among their own kind and are much less susceptible to illness, while the lingering feeling of magic weaves its way through everything and everypony. Indeed, it is not just peryton who feel these effects when living near a herd, and as such it is not rare for ponies and other creatures to find themselves drawn to the winged cervidae. Being near them is cleansing for all life, and for sentient species the effect is mental and emotional as well as physical. Being in the company of a single peryton is quietly uplifting, but the effect a herd has can heal many kinds of hurts. Peryton are well aware of the effect they have upon other creatures. Thanks to this, they possess a natural sense of self-importance and arrogance. Vanity and selfishness go hoof-in-hoof with peryton, so when the enchanting appeal of a herd is removed and one must deal with them individually, their charm quickly diminishes. Even so, peryton still retain a certain magnetism when separated from a herd. It is not uncommon to hear stories of those lost in the Everfree woods near the Great Nimbusgait Lakes being drawn down a safe path after catching a fleeting glimpse of a mysterious, winged deer through the trees. Even without the intention of rescuing lost wanderers, their natural allure has helped many travellers and earned them something of a heroic reputation in heavily wooded areas. Scholars who excel in the field of Aetheric Theory have long puzzled over this peculiar brand of magic. Though much of it remains a mystery, Canterlot researches have discovered that it is a peryton’s antlers which connects them to the magical community of a herd. The antlers behave similarly to lightning rods, attracting magic that is naturally present in Equestria and channelling it through the peryton. Though they are most similar to whitetail deer in appearance, unlike their wingless cousins both male and female peryton have antlers which they do not shed. It has been observed that breaking off an antler nullifies their natural magnetism and can even lead to ostracization from their herd. They are prideful creatures and their antlers are their greatest source of pride. Seeing one of their own so disconnected from the essence of what makes a peryton a peryton causes a great deal of discomfort, making it difficult for them to know how to behave around those whose antlers are broken, or worse yet those whose antlers never grew in. In modern Equestria, peryton have taken full advantage of their passive community-based magic. The Velvet Strand is famous as a spa/resort destination, where creatures from all walks of life go to relax, rejuvenate, or even to heal. They excel in careers designed to help with de-stressing, and it is common to see peryton across Equestria running spas, salons, massage therapy clinics, yoga classes, and other businesses of that ilk. The best summation one could make of peryton is that they are beautiful, irrevocably self-involved, and most importantly: they are uncommonly enchanting and irresistible. Equestrian Travels Volume 4, Journal no.137 penned by Ryx Blackwing, Aquellian Archives ​
  9. The Tenochtitlan Basin - A Land of Ruins and Mystery The Tenochtitlan Basin is a large, remote region within the area of the continent commonly referred to as the badlands. Located due north of the Roughrider Ridge and the Painted Pinto Desert, across the Forest of Leota, it is isolated from Greater Equestria by both forest and mountains. Because of this, few ponies are known to have visited the basin, and the line between what is myth and legend and what is fact has been blurred. Interest in the region by scholars, would be adventures and common enthusiasts of literature has been considerably piqued of late, however, as its history and legends have served as a foundation for the popular Daring Do series of novels by author A.K. Yearling.The Basin is a historically autonomous region, that has never been regarded as a part of Equestria, Aquellia, the Crystal Empire or any other nation. In the ancient past, it was the site of a great Empire ruled over by a figure known as the Quetzalcoatl Empress, who was said to be a practitioner of dark magics, creating in her time a number of powerful magic artifacts that allowed her complete control of the ponies of the basin, who she put to work for her constructing numerous elaborate and ornate fortresses, temples and pyramids. The Quetzalcoatl empire collapsed some time thousands of years ago, though the exact details of its downfall are not known. Some of the area legends suggest that empress succumbed to her own greed and destroyed herself with one of her own spells, while other stories relate that some of the ponies she had enslaved to her dark cause rose up and struck her down in her sleep. Whatever the case, by the time Equestria was taking root as a great kingdom, the Quetzalcoatl Empire was already long gone. Until recently, the Empress' dark imprint had remained on the basin in the form of her artifacts and their magic.Intense heat plagued the region and little was allowed to grow. For ages, scholars considered the region irrevocably cursed. This, combined with the isolated nature of the region, is thought to have kept the tribes of ponies who have inhabited the basin since the fall of the Empire relatively primitive. The ponies lived as nomads in the basin, traveling from water source to water source to find food and were forced to learn how to defend themselves against would be attackers. Tenochtitlan ponies are, unsurprisingly, far more aggressive than Equestrian ponies as a result. There are thought to be a number of tribes in the region, all with their different attitudes regarding the legends of the past and what they mean for the future. According to recent accounts, the basin's climate has shifted considerably quite recently. This is thought to be the result of the exploits of anonymous adventurers who have recently taken interest in the region. The discovery of a relic known as the Amulet of Atonement, which when utilized projected a powerful dispelling magic referred to in legends as the Radiant Shield of Razdon, lead to the end of the Empresses long hold on the land. A fictionalized account of these events directly informed the plot of one of Yearling's novels. Since then, the region's climate has become considerably more hospitable, however, many of the natives still have lingering concerns over the region's future. The Rings of Scorchera, dark remnants of the Empresses magic are thought to be capable of dispelling the Radiant Shield when gathered at a ruin known as the Fortress of Talikon, while a popular prophecy of the natives foretells the rise of a monster king called Ahuizotl that would come to the basin and rule it for eight centuries. Both of these stories factor into Yearling's novels, the latter of which forms the basis of the Daring Do series' central antagonist. ~Canterlot Research Journal ​
  10. Chamroshes - Griffonkind's Unique and Illusive Kin Chamroshes are a rare intelligent species closely related to griffons, with the head and wings of a raptor but with the body of any variety of wolf or dog. Emphasizing their resemblance to griffonkind, they are often widely and popularly referred to by the alternate name of cynogriffons, which most are happy to accept. They vary in color, shape and size just as griffons do and are in fact often times very easily mistaken for griffons. The average chamrosh is smaller than the average griffon, being about comparable in size to a large stallion. Despite this, they are very often as physically capable as or more physically capable than their griffon cousins, but are often said to have less stamina, exhausting themselves with greater ease. Chamroshes are not native to the continent, hailing from across the Reintight sea in a land far to the west beyond the deserts of Saddle Arabia. Only small numbers have reached our shores, almost all of which have settled within Aquellia's borders where they blend in with greater ease. They are known to prefer making their homes in wooded areas and among the mountains as opposed to in the larger griffon cities. The greatest populations of charmoshes on the continent can be found in the forests just off the Clopton Shores and high in the Talonclaw and Tarpan Mountains. Though closely related to griffons and even able to interbreed with them, producing either griffon or charmosh offspring, charmoshes are known to be quite different culturally. They are known to be more in tune with the natural world than griffons and are more at home living simple and rugged lives than they are in modern cities. They have a keen respect for ponykind, who with their magics are able to direct nature, but are generally content to live apart from both ponies and griffons in small familial packs in the wilderness. They are very proud creatures, as griffons are, but value collective strength more than they do individual strength. The average chamrosh believes that none in the pack should ever be forced to stand alone and resents those who call undue attention to their accomplishments. Chamroshes also value the use of cunning and intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to resorting first to physical strength. Their philosophies dictate that violence should be used sparingly, and never against other intelligent beings, save to protect one's self or others. Confrontation with other species is thus something they actively seek to avoid, though when pushed they can prove especially ruthless. They are perhaps more aggressive carnivores than their griffon cousins, and are regarded as incredibly ferocious hunters, a good sized chamrosh pack working together in harmony even able to subdue hydras and other large feral beasts.~Canterlot Research Journal ​
  11. A Pony's Farm Friends - Common Intelligent Ungulates Who Have Happy Homes on Equestria's Farms The many farms of Equestria offer the perfect opportunity for a number of other intelligent hoofed mammals to live in harmony with us ponies. In return for various useful resources we can get from them, such as milk and wool, these friends are given space to live content lives, safe from the dangerous creatures that lurk in the wildernesses across the land. The most common such creatures are cows, sheep and goats.Cattle - Cows are perhaps the hooved friends most common and most associated with Equestria's farm. They are larger and stockier than ponies and posses distinctive horns and often have spotted coats. They are plentiful in Equestria, which is good because female cattle are capable of producing great quantities of refreshing milk. Farmers throughout Equestria are happy to keep cows around for their milk, which is harvested and sold across the continent in grocery stores and markets and sometimes made into cheese. Cows are typically very friendly and talkative, but can be quite docile and easily frightened; when one is scared, they are known to start stampedes. Male cattle are called bulls and are generally tougher than the females both physically and in terms of demeanor, though are known to be even more stubborn and likely to act recklessly. Bulls are often valued by ponies for their strength, and often help us by pulling our carts. Cattle are said to be closely related to the buffalo who inhabit the western stretches of Equestria. Cattle also bear strong resemblance to minotaurs, leading some to believe there might be a connection between the two. Sheep - Sheep are also common across Equestria's farms. Sheep are shorter and smaller than ponies, and their bodies are covered in a distinctive thick white wool. This wool is what sheep give us in exchange for being able to live on our farms; it is very warm and soft, making it perfect for making into fabric which ponies can make into clothing. Sheep also produce some milk, which some farmers will gather and use as they do cow's milk. Male sheep are called rams, while the females are known as ewes and the children lambs. Due to their slow manner of speech, sheep are sometimes seen by ponies as not being very smart, despite being able to converse freely, though this is not always the case. Some sheep posess large horns on the sides of their head and can be quite strong. Following the return of the Crystal Empire, a lost variety of sheep has been rediscovered which bears wool of many bright colors and is less than half the size of the sheep of Equestria. This strange breed is not capable of speech as other sheep are. Goats - Goats are closely related to sheep, but generally somewhat larger and taller. Most posses horns on the top of their head, that sometimes grow rather large. They are not as commonly found on farms as most varieties do not possess the useful wool that sheep do. Not having quite as much to offer, goats often have to find employ elsewhere in Equestria working odd jobs. Some farmers do keep them however, making use of their milk and their work. Male goats are called billies while females are called nannies and the children are known as kids. Goats are known to prefer using nonverbal communication whenever is possible and are able to communicate effectively with one another through simple bleats. Despite this, they are fully capable of speaking when they need to and are often fairly smart. ~ The Everyday Wonders of Equestria: A Brief Guide to Common Places, Creatures and Things for Fillies and Colts of All Ages ​
  12. Sea Serpents - The Rulers of the Deep There is much debate regarding the powerful and imposing creatures known as sea serpents. Many scholars consider them to be simply a variety of dragon while others believe they are distinct unto themselves, the similarities between the two being mostly superficial. What is clear is that, like their possible kin the dragons, sea serpents are a type of creature of which ponykind still knows staggeringly little. Sea serpents are rare to see, their homes hidden underwater, and every bit as large, threatening and difficult to attain information from as dragons are. Like with dragons, researchers have been forced to rely heavily on conjecture based on what can be immediately observed.Sea serpents are, like dragons, reptilian in appearance and covered with razor sharp scales. They grow to similar sizes as dragons, towering over ponies and most pony built structures and are thought to be similarly long-lived. The general shape of sea serpents differs considerably from that of most dragons, however. As their name suggests, their shape is comparable more to that of a snake than other reptiles, with very long, serpentine bodies; unlike snakes however, they still posses working limbs, notably their clawed arms. Their general appearance is thought to vary widely, but often includes full manes of hair in addition to their scales, fins and spines. Though their name might suggest that they live only in Equestria's seas, sea serpents in fact are known to make use of all of Equestria's waters deep enough for them, whether fresh water or salt. In addition to all of the seas surrounding the continent, sea serpents have been spotted in the Great Nimbusgait Lakes, the swamplands of Aquellia and in most of Equestria's major rivers. Despite all the sightings, based on the lack of meaningful interactions ponies have had with them, sea serpents are still thought to be quite rare--though ponykind really has no way of knowing for sure given most likely live deep underwater. Given this choice of theirs to make homes below water, even less is known about sea serpents than their apparent land based counterparts in terms of society and manner of living. Sea serpents, like dragons, are an intelligent species, fully capable of speech. They are not known to form hoards of treasure as dragons do, though it could just be none have yet been discovered. It is unknown if they are effected by greed as dragons are. While every bit as powerful and imposing creatures as dragons, from what contact we have had with adults, sea serpents do not appear to be quite as difficult or antisocial as adult dragons almost invariably are. Though other large serpent like beasts are known to exist in and out of Equestria's waters, such as the multi-headed hydra and the quarry eels, only the sea serpents appear to be fully intelligent. ~Canterlot Research Journal ​
  13. Changelings When you can be anyone or anything, who are you? Until recently, changelings have appeared regularly only in myths, legends, and old mares’ tales. Any prior historical references were short, sparse, and lacking in detail. Since the attack on Canterlot, however, new information has come to light. The changelings that attacked Canterlot have a very characteristic appearance: their bodies are roughly equine in shape, having four legs and a mane and tail. The changelings in Canterlot were seen to have different body shapes and sizes, much like ponies. Unlike ponies, however, their bodies are not covered in hair, but instead a shiny exoskeleton-like skin, much like an insect. Changelings appear to bear the marks of decay on their bodies; their limbs are pocked with holes and dimples, their manes and tails are wispy and brittle-looking, and their wings appear torn and ragged while still granting them flight. A shell-like structure covers their backs where an ordinary pony would wear a saddle. A changeling’s key trait is his or her ability to shapeshift. Scholars of magic suggest that this ability is a “glamour,” a special spell built specifically for deception. Changelings appear to be able to cast glamours naturally. During the transformation, all of the physical features of the identity they steal are recreated perfectly, down to the last hair. The glamour, however, is merely cosmetic. It only alters the changeling’s appearance and does not grant them access to the individual’s personality, memories, or unique mannerisms. Close friends can easily unmask a disguised changeling who is acting “out of character.” Changelings appear only to be able to assume the form of somepony close to their size. Most changelings appear to be within the same size range as ordinary ponies, save for the queens. Based on what is known about Chrysalis, queens stand taller than their broods, being proportioned more similarly to alicorns than average ponies, though her physical traits remain similar to lesser changelings. Like the smaller changelings, Chrysalis showed marks of apparent decay, with pocks in her wings and her legs and a crooked twisted horn upon her head. Her wings and mane and tail were similarly ragged and worn-looking. It also appears that queens can extend their glamours into powerful charm spells, preventing all but the most strong-willed of individuals from seeing through their deception. The actions of Chrysalis and her brood left a lasting mark on Equestrian views of Changelings in general. Since the only recent contact with changelings was during the Canterlot attack, very little is understood about changeling motives other than their overwhelming hunger for love. This hunger seems to be an intrinsic part of their culture, leading scholars to ask questions about where it came from in the first place. Due to the visibility of Chrysalis’ attack on Canterlot, It is easy to assume that changelings are malicious creatures willing to do anything it takes to acquire love, even if their methods are less than scrupulous. Still, there are some scholars who are reluctant to believe that Chrysalis and her hive should serve as a benchmark for the species. Scattered reports suggest that there are other extant hives ruled by other queens whose methods differ from those of Chrysalis and her brood. Some even say that these other changelings already walk among Equestrian ponydom today! These claims, however, are unsubstantiated and require further investigation, research, and perhaps diplomacy. - Canterlot Research Journal ​
  14. Buffalo - Nomads of the Plain Buffalo are typically nomadic tribes as part of a larger community. Most buffalo tribes do not communicate with their other tribes other than for the occasional trade. Some smaller tribes have settled and become farmers, but for the most part they are nomadic gatherers who give back what they take from the land. Those tribes that are still nomadic usually have traditional paths known as “stampeding grounds,” that they have used for many generations. The structure of the tribe is very simple with a chieftain sitting at the top. The position is often passed down in lineage. The other positions of the tribe are often built upon tradition, there are those that are in charge of history and stories, maintaining camp, and naturally gathering and replanting the food they had gathered after. There are also craft based jobs, such as pottery and headdress makers, as well as the food preparers.The buffalo believe very strongly in the land, and whatever they take they put back. They are also very peaceful, choosing to often discuss their problems if the opportunity presents itself rather than take any other action. But let's talk about the buffalo themselves. like their habits what they are like and their special attributes. Buffalo are in general very stocky and muscular with horns for both males and females, though the males tend to be bigger and have bigger horns. It should be noted that buffalo calves do not have horns but they start to develop when they reach adolescence. But one shouldn’t let their size mislead, they tend to be very agile and very fast, which may surprise most ponyfolk. One could hypothesize that it is due to their natural lifestyle and constant moving about. They also sometimes wear traditional face paints and feathered headdresses (though more often the feathered headdress, with the chieftain wearing usually a more elaborate headdress). Their coats aren’t as extravagant as pony coats either. They are very rough and rugged looking, often being earthy colours, rather than colourful pastels. Their coats also get longer and more shaggy in winter months. Overall the buffalo have a rich and vibrant culture that is heavily tied to the land they live off of. The land provides for them and in turn, they protect the land. To them, family, the tribe and the land are all held in high regard and all three are treated with the utmost respect and care. ~Encyclopedia Equestria ​
  15. Diamond Dogs - Equestria's Stalwart Miners Diamond Dogs are rather interesting and unique creatures with features much like those of an ordinary canine, but which stand on two legs and are fully capable of speech. These creatures tend to live in dense camps in gem rich areas, sometimes staying there for years upon years, still mining in areas that their great grandparents had been mining in, only leaving when every last gem, ore, and coal has been removed from the land.Then and only then will the Diamond Dogs move on to a new area, but not before filling in their tunnels and making sure to plant trees, or whatever fauna is indigenous to the area so that the land can heal from their work. Diamond Dogs are almost always found in packs, but what they are actually like varies from pack to pack. Some packs are as big as three youngsters going off on their own, while other times a pack is a rather large group, all working together for the good of the group. An Alpha is usually always in charge, and can vary from pack to pack, usually by showing superior skill in areas that pack particularly values, be it strength and brawn, or craftiness and wit. The Alpha, be they male or female, normally shows these skills via their work ethics and is picked by the whole pack to lead them. An Alpha oversees the pack, planning places to mine, scouting them first, and in general makes sure the pack is happy and healthy. Being born to an Alpha does not assure that their pups will be given the same title. Gems are a valuable resource to the Diamond Dogs but they are not the only thing that they pursue in the mines--they also go after ores and coal to power their cities. Mostly they rely on steam and coal burning for energy, which they use for cooking, powering wind mills for flour grinding, and whatever else they need, the same way ponies rely on magic. Gems however are the bread and the butter, being used for trading, tool making, and even crafts. Young diamond dogs might display their most prized gems in a collar around their neck as a display of their findings, and mining prowess; Diamond Dogs prize gems for their beauty but also for their strength. Some clans only use diamond tipped pickaxes and spears because diamonds don’t break and last a extremely long time; some might even be using a diamond tipped pickax given to them that has been passed down for generations. Hunting and gathering is a crucial skill for any Diamond Dog worth their gems to have, since EVERYONE needs to contribute to the pack to make sure they are all healthy and happy, thus capable of doing even more work. Their diets, being omnivores, is rather diverse, and like the Diamond Dogs can vary from region to region. Some that live more near the coastal side of Equestria might live off a diet of fish and crustaceans, while those that live in packs in dense forests might survive off of produce they can forage or grow themselves due to the dense and diverse vegetation. ~Encyclopedia Equestria ​
  16. Seaponies (Equus Hippocampus) Physiologically, Seaponies are a fair bit longer than their terrestrial cousins, though that is mostly due to their long, flexible piscene tails, boasting a chest, forelegs and hooves similar to those of the common pony, as well as a similar neck and cranial structure, though their eyes are generally more sensitive to light, and their ears less capable of mobility than their land-cousins. Many Seaponies also boast gills along the sides of their necks, allowing them to stay underwater almost indefinitely. However, like their earth and sky-bound relatives, they still boast colourful seal-like coats, manes, and cutiemarks. Seaponies are largely known to be a vivacious lot, full of playful energy, curiosity and whimsy. Living either in small communities or in families, they roam the oceans as they like, living anywhere that happens to suit their fancy. Though they lack the magical prowess of unicorns, the climate control of the pegasi, or the dexterity of the gryphons, they are nevertheless largely happy and content with their lifestyles - with, of course, the occasional exception. Just as Earth ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns each have their own realm of expertise, Seaponies have some capacity to both empathise and communicate with other aquatic life. Their voices able to emulate a great many oceanic mammals with practice, and can do so to effectively communicate with each other and with other intelligent sea creatures. It is not uncommon to hear a Seapony emulate dolphins, seals, or even whales whenever the mood might strike them. Being a largely nomadic culture, usually only settling briefly to raise young, most Seaponies lack access to technology of their distant earth-pony cousins, much less that forged by unicorn or gryphon. As such, the passing of a sea-faring vessel is always cause for more curious Seaponies to surface and inspect the wonders passing by. Rather than relying on construction, civil services or trade, many instead make their living not by innovation, but by exploration and improvisation. Given their taste for oceanic vegetation, of which great abundance can be found, it is fairly easy for even a lackadaisical, wayward Seapony to keep herself fed. Finance and commerce are generally not as important to Seaponies as they are to their land-bound relatives. Although the nature of a saltwater habitat isn't particularly easy on items of value, there is still much in the way of art to be found throughout Seapony culture. Although paints and parchments are rather fragile and difficult to preserve underwater, the art of mosiacs, sculptures, and contained swirls of colour still exist. Much of what art exists underwater is vibrant and cheery, there to keep spirits afloat amidst the depths and dark stormy days. Not that all sea-mosiac art must be cheerful, but the majority of it remains so nonetheless. As for music, much of Seapony performance relies on percussive instruments. Though a few undersea heat vents allow for the shaping of metals, only a small collection of steel drums, chimes and tubular bells exist, often kept under public ownership by schools and amphibiatheatres. There have been some experimental adaptations of land instruments, but very few have managed to last for more than a few years even with nearly constant maintenance in the salty seawater. As for the Seaponies' history, that remains yet unexplored; not being one of the major land-races of Equestria, their part in history remains largely unwritten in Celestia's historical vaults, or even their own. Seaponies on the whole don't keep very many records of their history or transactions, having to rely on carving and embossed scrolls in order to keep anything written down for more than a few days. Land-made paper and parchments don't really work underwater, after all, and ink is washed away by seawater over time. However, there are rumors of stashes of history and Seapony diaries being hidden away on secret shores. That which is important is carved or carefully assembled by those of talent and patience, but the majority of Seaponies leave very little writing in their wake, leaving seapony history largely kept with storytellers and legends passed from generation to generation. -Richard Canterborough, Blue Planet ​
  17. Dragons - The Fearsome and Mysterious On the subject of dragons many researchers are surprised to find just how little ponykind conclusively knows. Acquiring reliable information on the subject is, by observation, exceedingly difficult as dragons on a whole tend to be too proud and too generally uncooperative to lend themselves to pony research, even for the rare pony bold enough to ignore the obvious dangers of approaching one. As such, most of the currently known information regarding the species is observational and based almost entirely on conjecture. All the same, there is still much about dragonkind that is immediately apparent. Dragons are a moderately rare species of sentient, intelligent reptilian beings known to be incredibly long lived--though the exact extent of their lifespan is unknown. They are born from eggs, and when first born no larger than a newborn foal. They are known to grow quickly, however, and the vast majority of known dragons are considerably larger than any pony. At the largest observed, dragons are known to tower high over trees and buildings, though the limits to just how large they can grow are presently unknown. According to wisdom passed to pony scholars from zebra sages, dragon growth is in at least some capacity tied to their propensities for greed. It is said that even dragons young in years can grow considerably and quite spontaneously with the onset of intense greed. It is believed that this is only one component of their growth, however, and that dragons can grow large gradually from age as well. Dragons vary greatly not only in size but also in shape. Pony researchers have in general made no real effort to classify dragons by shape, as significant biological differences between them would be near impossible to determine. The one distinction that is made, as it is clearly apparent, is the presence or absence of wings. Dragons thus tend to be grouped into two distinct categories: winged sky dragons and wingless earth dragons. Due to some similarities in appearance and physical characteristics, some researchers consider sea serpents as a third category of dragon, which they dub sea dragons, though others believe they should be classified separately. Aside from the presence or absence of wings, sky and earth dragons are thought to be quite similar though earth dragons seem to be rarer. Some argue that this is only because sky dragons are more visible due to flight, however. Incredibly formidable creatures, few creatures are known to exist which could ever hope of matching a dragon in power. Even excusing their generally immense size, a dragon's weapons are manifold. Their claws are impossibly sharp, capable of cutting through most known materials with ease while their teeth are thought to be somehow sharper still. Dragons can also breathe flames at will and their rock hard scales make them virtually impervious to the elements or anything that might mean them harm. Dragons are believed to be capable of eating and digesting virtually anything they come across, but, luckily for ponykind, precious gems seem to be their preferred food. Dragons generally live in the more mountainous regions of the world. The Badlands Region north of Aquellia and Equestria seem to have more dragons than most regions, though dragons have been spotted everywhere from the Raptorclaw Canyons to the Roughrider Ridge and Unysasi's Mwamba. Though intelligent and perfectly capable of conversation, as creature prone to intense greed, most larger dragons elect to live in isolation, keeping hoards and sleeping for decades or even centuries at a time. As such there is not a dragon society in any real sense, though they are known to congregate at times together--the most notable such occasion being the Great Migration, an event which occurs every few years in which sky dragons flock to the Dragon's Peak Region north of the Roughrider Ridge. Events like the Great Migration are thought to be especially important for teen and young adult dragons who have not given completely into greed yet and still choose to form social groups with each other. ~Canterlot Research Journal ​
  18. Hippogriffs - A Symbol of Amity Between Disparate Kinds Part pony and part griffon, the hippogriff is a unique species that has been found in Equestria for well over a millennium. As the early pony tribes migrated southward to flee the wrath of the windigos and settle what would come to be known as Equestria they invariably would come to encounter the Aquellian griffons inhabiting the western edge of the continent. Initial encounters between the two were often precarious--the gentle and peace loving ponies finding themselves at odds with the proud and fierce griffon hunters. Yet, the two races, both intelligent and neither malevolent, would other times find a way to put aside their differences and act for their mutual accord. On rare occasion, this rapport between the two would lead to further mingling between these differing species. The first hippogriffs came about as an inevitable result. A hippogriff is at first glance similar in appearance to a griffon. The two possess nearly-identical bird-like feather-covered front halves, with powerful beaks, talon-like claws on their forelegs and strong wings to support flight. Unlike griffons, however, the back half of a hippogriff is indistinguishable from that of a pony, bearing hooves on the hind legs and a pony's distinctive tail. With their pony halves, hippogriffs are generally faster runners than griffons, with far greater land stamina. Generally larger, heavier and less aerodynamic than griffons, however, they typically are somewhat slower at flight. Hippogriffs are also generally more docile, congenial creatures than griffons, finding it much easier to live in pony dominated cities. While omnivorous just as griffons are, hippogriffs are exceedingly more likely to subsist on a diet with no or little meat. It is common for them to go along with the common eating habits of wherever they call home. Any species of pony may breed with a griffon to produce a hippogriff, with no notable differences being discerned in the resulting offspring. While hippogriffs may breed with each other, the hippogriff is still mostly thought of as a crossbred species. They are generally accepted by both pony and griffon kind, and as such are able to live full and happy lives within both Equestria and Aquellia's borders. There are no known major, predominantly hippogriff settlements, but large populations of hippogriffs can naturally be found in cities and towns where pony and griffon contact is at its greatest. Beakbreak city, Rockwington and Stalliongrad specifically are thought to have the greatest hippogriff populations, but as populations continue to move and expand, hippogriffs have come to inhabit major population centers all across the continent. ~Encyclopedia Equestria ​
  19. The northern reaches of Equestria holds many questions for all. A vast expanse of frozen tundra, ravaged by howling winds, deathly cold, and dark, jagged shadows have turned many explorers and would-be adventurers away. Those that set foot too far into the north simply became a part of it, to never be heard from again. For the last thousand years many mysteries lay beneath the deep snow, behind the jagged mountain tops that served to separate the land of ice from the rest of the world. Until now. A new chapter for the North has begun, the Crystal Empire, recently rediscovered and saved from the clutches of King Sombra- once again shines as the gem of the North! Recent cooperative efforts between Equestria and the Crystal Empire have made great galloping strides in returning the ancient city to its former glory. As legends have it, The Crystal Empire once spanned a distance larger than Equestria's borders today- but most of the Empire and its lands still lay in deep slumber beneath a deep coat of frozen snow. Only the central city, also known as Crystal Spire remains. It is said that wendigos, dragons, and worse still lurk the frozen wastes that once belonged to the Crystal Empire; perhaps hidden amongst those wastes are safe havens to be found where the original three pony tribes once passed through. There is much to do- knowing this, Princess Cadence and Shining Armor have taken it upon themselves to help restore the Empire to its former glory, and to bring warmth back to the homeland of the Crystal Ponies! Since the events leading to King Sombra's defeat and the reactivation of the Crystal Heart, trade has sprung up between Equestria's Capital, Canterlot, and the Crystal Palace, bringing in much needed resources and traffic to the isolated city. To aid this effort, a high-speed railroad has been constructed through the northern mountains that separate the borders of Equestria and the Crystal Empire- cutting what would be weeks of travel time into a day-long trip. For the first time in a thousand years- the Crystal Empire is open to everypony! Adventurers, traders, and ponies empathetic to help are all making their way to the Crystal Empire to find their place in this exciting new frontier! ​ Locations: The Crystal Gates- The gates into the Crystal Empire, one of the empire's most unique and important features. The Crystal Plaza - The Central Crystal Plaza and the podium at its core where the precious Crystal Heart is kept. The Crystal Markets - The Crystal Empire's Market District is one of the busiest and most important places to know. The Crystal Palace - The home of Cadence and Shining Armor. The Crystal Empire Farm District - Homeland to the cute little ewes, and fertile farmlands of the Crystal Empire. The Crystal Empire Arts District- An entire district dedicated to the artistic talents of the Crystal Ponies. The Crystal Empire Residential District - Where all the crystal ponies make their homes. ​ Map of the Crystal Empire:
  20. Jane

    Weather Ponies

    Here's a bit on how I think the weather works in Equestria; feel free to comment if you feel like something doesn't quite fit with canon or if your ideas differ greatly from my own. I figure that managing the weather for a gigantic nation like Equestria is no easy task. It's probably a huge operation composed of many teams and departments, and it's mostly government funded. The centre of these operations is Cloudsdale, though Canterlot has some say in the operations as well. First of all, the Pegasi don't have to control the weather. In Aquellia, for example, the weather is left to its own devices as it is in the Everfree Forest. The clouds do form naturally and move at will. But the Pegasi can control the weather due to ancient magic and have been doing so since the days of the three tribes. It started out that they just pushed the naturally-formed clouds around, but they later developed methods to create the clouds themselves. Sometimes being a weather pony involves collecting and arranging clouds to form showers, but a lot of the time, it also involves clearing the clouds. Sometimes these clouds were made in Cloudsdale and have just escaped the storerooms, but a lot of the time these are stray natural clouds that have formed and cause problems. Pegasi have access to magic of their own: the magic that allows them to fly, for example, also affects the weather. They can use this magic to slow or speed up winds, raise and lower the temperature of the air, and cause or prevent thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornados. Because the forces of the weather can be dangerous, there are various levels of teams involved in the management of the weather. At the top, you have the meteorological engineers. These are Pegasi who are highly skilled in weather magic as a result of having a university degree in the study of the creation and formation of meteorological phenomena; both how it works naturally as well as what Pegasi can do to modify these natural behaviours. My OC, Whirligig, dreams of one day becoming a meteorological engineer. And then you have the various teams beneath them; field weather ponies. A university degree is not required to be a field weather pony, but an apprenticeship is. If the meteorological engineers are the architects and designers of the weather, these guys are the carpenters, electricians and other manual tradesponies who make the weather happen. They are often broken into teams and sent to towns all across Equestria. Each team has a supervisor who makes sure everything runs smoothly, as well as five or six ponies who form the team itself, though the size of the team varies based on demand. Ponyville's weather team is supervised by Rainbow Dash, but there are other Pegasi underneath her who also help out, as seen in look before you sleep and Hurricane Fluttershy. My OC Stormwing is a field weather pony for the town of Trottingham. Then you have the weather factory and its workers (as well as various levels of management within the factory. Obviously there are going to be some Metorological Engineers overseeing operations here as well, and then department managers and quality control). A lot of Equestria's weather starts life in the factory. Here clouds of all types are made in addition to Rainbows, Snowflakes and electrical systems. There is also a great deal of testing and research done in the factory in close association with the University of Cloudsdale. This research includes the formation and operation of tornados, as well as the containment of storm systems. In between the factory and the field teams, there are also delivery ponies who work with the factory. These are teams of Pegasi who 'carry' the weather systems created in Cloudsdale to all the towns in Equestria. Clouds are usually corralled and transported that way, with special measures taken when it comes to electrically active clouds. Rainbows are tinned and carried in this manner. When a rainbow is to be used, a field weather pony has only to open the can and pour the liquid rainbow across the sky. The story of Snowdrop fits in nicely - snow began life in the same way rain did. It wasn't until Snowdrop came along that hoof-made snowflakes were introduced to Equestria. Clouds are made in the usual manner, then infused with hoof-made snowflakes before being sent out to the rest of Equestria. I'm still trying to work on my wind theories. I've read a few fanfics where there was a tornado creation section in the weather factory, but Hurricane Fluttershy suggests that Tornados can easily be made in the field with a lot of wing power. I'm thinking maybe tornados are made in the factory and then, like rainbows, somehow transported to the rest of Equestria when needed. I don't think they'd be needed often though, except maybe to assist with moving water when ponies aren't keen on breaking records by doing it the old-fashioned way. Obviously the use of more dangerous elements would be heavily monitored. Cloudsdale itself doesn't have weather systems the same way the rest of Equestria does. They don't have gardens so they don't need precipitation the same way, so they like keeping their clouds in tact (I figure a lot of rain in Cloudsdale would damage the clouds the city is made out of. Cloudsdale does have its own team of weather ponies, but their sole responsibility is keeping the stray clouds out of the city.) Anyways, I just felt like sharing this. I'm not trying to create lore for the WoE, and I don't expect everypony to agree with me on this, but this system will probably be referenced by OCs in some of my RP posts. - Jane
  21. [colour=#000000]The capital city of the Crystal Empire is known for its many diverse and specialized districts. One of the most frequently busy of these districts is the market district. The commercial center of the Empire, the market is home to a wide variety of shops and businesses catering to the needs of both the Crystal ponies and the now burgeoning tourist trade alike. A hotbed of activity, the market enjoys more hoof traffic each day than any of the other districts.[/colour] [colour=#000000]The businesses that can be found in the district are as varied as the Crystal Ponies themselves. Tourist shops have popped up closer to the train station selling crystal-themed trinkets while produce markets and general stores cater to the locals. A wealth of restaurants, workshops and specialized boutiques find themselves frequented by all visitors to the district. The Crystal Spa deep within the district with its unique and rejuvenating crystal mud baths is a particularly notable local landmark. It is said to be a favorite spot even for those within the palace.[/colour] [colour=#000000]Though usually bustling, during Crystal Faire times the Market District slows down almost entirely. Most shops are closed during the event, the merchants and artisans who own them flocking en masse to the Crystal Plaza to set up shop there at the heart of the festivities to better attend the droves of fairgoers. As lively as the fairgrounds are, some specialty shops can do more business during the Faire than they do the entire rest of the year.[/colour] [colour=#000000]~Canterlot Research Journal[/colour] ​
  22. Dominating the skyline of the Crystal City, the Crystal Palace represents the strength of the collective hopes and dreams of the Crystal Ponies.Its spires appear to be carved from one enormous slab of crystalline stone, blessed with both beauty and magically-reinforced stability. The Palace straddles the intersection of all major roads running into the Crystal City and serves as the centerpiece of the entire empire. The structure is large enough to accommodate all of the amenities of a royal dwelling. Luxurious guest rooms, expansive ballrooms and commons, and well-stocked kitchens provide all that a Princess and her entourage could possibly need. The pedestal of the Crystal Heart resides directly below the palace at the confluence of all roads. The palace itself acts as a focus for the power of the Crystal heart (and by proxy the Crystal Ponies), projecting the shield dome that keeps out the harsh cold of the north. Though the palace grounds are accessible to all ponies, facilities are generally kept guarded unless a formal function opens them to the public. ​
  23. [colour=#000000]Juxtaposed with the harsh and barren Arctic terrain surrounding it, the Crystal Empire abounds with lush, green land perfectly suited to farming. This is of course possible due to the powerful magic of the Crystal Heart which creates a protective field to shield the empire and its fertile soils from the cold. Upon these bountiful farmlands the crystal ponies have built a proud and distinct agricultural tradition.[/colour] [colour=#000000]The empire farmlands are situated in the wide open areas areas between the city and the outer perimeter set by the gates. The land itself is quite hilly, but exceedingly fecund and easy to tend, even for crystal ponies who lack the connection to the land that earth ponies possess. Numerous farms populate the region, producing for the Empire more than enough food to feed its populace each year.[/colour] [colour=#000000]Crystal Empire farms grow a wide variety of produce, including the region's most popular staple crops: crystal corn and crystal berries. Much of the what is produced on Empire farms is region specific and often having a somewhat crystalline appearance. This is generally thought to be a result of the crystal pony magic in the air having seeped into the land.[/colour] [colour=#000000]Farmland not used to produce food for the crystal ponies is often utilized instead as grazing ground for the distinct breed of small, vibrantly coloured sheep prevalent in the region. These sheep are prized in the Empire, as their wool is vital in providing warmth to ponies who venture outside of the Empire and must face the harsh elements outside the Crystal Heart's protection. As a result of their value and charming appearance they have become a cherished symbol of the Empire,.[/colour] [colour=#000000]~Canterlot Research Journal[/colour] ​
  24. [colour=#000000]The Crystal Empire Gates are sure to be the first thing to draw the attention of any visitor to the Empire. Four identical gates exist around the Crystal Capital, marking the cardinal directions along the outer perimeter and looming over the major highways leaving the city. Each gate is comprised of two angular, crystalline towers each standing many ponies high. Between these towers three diamond shape crystals are suspended in the air by the gates magic, adding to the distinctive appearance and mystique of the structures.[/colour] [colour=#000000]While striking, the Empire Gates' purpose is not a purely aesthetic one. The exact mechanics remain unclear, evidence suggests the gates play a critical role in extending the magic channelled into the Crystal Heart to the land and keeping out the harsh winter elements. Additionally, entry into the magic field protecting the Empire is only possible by passing through the gates. Despite the magic they hold, the gates mark approximately the point away from the center of the empire at which the crystal coat effect for non-crystal ponies during Crystal Faire times will cease. [/colour] [colour=#000000]The gates play an important role in Crystal Pony culture. Accounts from Empire residents suggest that more gates might have existed at one point, marking a greater territory once held by the Empire in the distant past. While only the four main gates are currently thought to exist, they stand proudly and remain a nonetheless important symbol of the empire, its solidarity, ingenuity and defenses.[/colour] [colour=#000000]~Canterlot Research Journal[/colour] [colour=#000000]Further inside the crystalline gates resides a recently constructed train station, which connects via long train tracks to Canterlot, Ponyville, and beyond. Since it was built after the Crystal Empire came to find peace, it is made with wooden materials imported from Ponyville, with accents in compliment to the surrounding structures of the Crystal Empire. Here, ponies from all over come and go; many sit at shiny crystalline benches quietly reading papers as they wait for the next train to come.[/colour] A blow of heat steam and a long whistle indicate the approach or departure of a train. ​
  25. The winds of destiny blow through two worlds, connected by the past, connected by the hearts that reside in both... [Equestrian] The story begins with Black Moon's arrival on a distant, ancient mountain residing outside of Canterlot, where he was told to arrive to obtain his orders by the Empress's daughter, Princess Floweressa, a full-blown Night Child. After arriving on the mountain-top, two Nightingales sacrificed themselves and brought the crystal to life, allowing Black Moon and Floweressa to converse on opposite sides of the dimensional barrier between Coltara and Equestria. Having been given his orders to weaken Equestria by any means necessary, he now begins his plotting to bring down the peaceful nation from the inside...and the Forerunners were born. After the fourth brutal beating of a noble in Canterlot, captain of the Royal Guard, Shining Armor, found a mysterious note at the crime scene. Having his hopes raised for the first time in weeks, he had to note taken to be analyzed. With that, he left to explain the Celestia his suspicions of the recent violence in Canterlot, and also explain about the note he had found. [Coltaran] It begins with Silvan Dragoran, Prince of Ravens and son of the Empress Tulipia, visiting the mining/militaristic city-state of Coltan's Rest for inspection. With the increasing rates in crime, death, rape, and other non-desirable events, Silvan has taken upon himself to discover what is happening, and who is behind it. With his oldest and most trusted servant and guard, Silvertongue, beside him, he has traveled to the graveyard outside of the city, to visit an odd stallion by the name of Gallows Gale, who is said to be able to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Is this Silvan's chance to find out what has been happening? After speaking with the mysterious (and odd) Gallows Gale, Silvan was shown a special sort of Ro'Maga, that allowed communication with the dead. However, there was a price for doing so, but Gallows did not know of it. After convincing Gallows to join him on his journey, Silvan and his new companion, along with Silvertongue, his loyal guard, left the hills surrounding Coltan's Rest and went to the mountains in the east, heading for their next destination.
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