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Found 17 results

  1. The great expanse of sand and an unfamiliar city was a pleasantly new sight to the striped Equestrian's eyes. Saddle Arabia was nothing like Equestria: pale sands and buildings of golden stone with a unique architecture, broken up by little splashes of green plant life. The city she'd grown up in just seemed so dull in comparison, but she didn't hate it. It was just a nice change to get outside of Equestria's borders for a fun little trip for herself to break up the monotony and it brought her some enjoyment to be somewhere she'd never been before. Adventure. It was a little scary too. Yuna was here alone with nopony she knew, though she really didn't know anypony back in Equestria to start with. Avoiding the streets, the zony had flown up to glide gently while she surveyed the city from a pegasus's view, enjoying the sight of it from a different vantage point. The skies were a nice, clear blue with faint and distant clouds. Nothing to land on, and she would rather not cause any problems by landing on the roof of somepony's home. It would only be once she finally worked up the self-confidence that she'd finally bother to land in one of the emptier streets and holding out her half folded wings with a grimace. She didn't fly often, and that'd been.. a bit tiring in this dry heat. Giving them a shake and folding them over her saddlebags, Yuna hesitantly started down the street. She supposed that now while she was here, she'd have to find somewhere to sleep during her visit, and figure out where she'd be able to buy food. Did they speak a different language here? She only knew Equestrian! Maybe she didn't think this through all the way, but Yuna felt the trip would be worth it all because it was something new to experience.
  2. Sand. Sand everywhere. For the third time since coming out to the dig site, Princess Bluebelle tried to discreetly cast a little spell to banish every bit of grit from the interior of her fashionable khaki clothes. Her self-cleaning magic, developed over the years as the neat-freak of a unicorn royal dealt with the unavoidable contacts with the dirt and dust of the real world, was usually quite effective, but she felt now that there was always at least one bucking grain that was lodged somewhere sensitive. Perhaps it was just a psychosomatic reaction to seeing the vast plains of sand outside the habitable areas of Saddle Arabia. Normally, the Princess would never venture outside of the beautiful gardens, lush fields, and picturesque streets of the horse Sultanate, but as one of Equestria's most prominent diplomatic ponies, her visits usually were spent in the personal company of royalty or major leaders, the Sultana in this case. And among the duties this Sultana took upon herself was the ceremonial dedication and tourings of the many archaeological digs delving into the history of her country. And that history was fascinating, of course, but Bluebelle still silently lamented the geography. Still, ever the premier diplomat, she did not let her good grace or smile falter as she accompanied the ruler. "I'm afraid I haven't read too deeply into the myths surrounding this dig; your country just has so many. Wasn't there something involving some kind of... sphinx, was it?" Bright, curious eyes; interested smile, and temporarily pristine coat gave all present the impression of the Equestrian tourist, of the more respectful and respectable kind, of course!
  3. Roleplay Type: WoE Name: Distant Thunder Sex: Female Age: Mare Species: Pegasus Horse Eye colour: Storm Grey Coat: Brown Turmeric, black underbelly, gold speckling. Mane/Tail: Crimson Physique: Lithe Thunder has a lithe, body rather thin, built for aerial feats. Her larger than usual wings hang at her sides, providing her with balance when she trots about. On her muzzle she wears bifocal, which hang from a chain that is pierced into her ears. Her eyes became damaged after a scuffle at a young age, which never healed properly. She has a long, flowing mane, the crest of it kept in a fauxhawk style, while much of the rest of her mane remains braided. She has a black underbelly with a bit of gold speckling toward his back thighs which resemble the gold speckling of her wings. Her fetlock are rather fluffy and a patch of feathers at the shoulder of her wings tend to puff up when she is angry. Her wings are deep turmeric at the arms, draining into a deep gold that is soaked in fiery orange. The undersides of her wings are orange with gold speckling of down feathers, much resembling a fire. Residence: Saddle Arabia Occupation: Scholar of Architectural Anthropology Architectural Anthropology is the study of the relationship between ponies and their environments . She had become interested in other cultures when she became sick. Learning of the world she could not experience filled a void within her. With her brother away from her side she looks to take her studies across the globe. Cutie Mark: Grey Cloud, Three Descending Bolts departing at the center, the end points of the left and right bolt facing in outward from the center bolt. Unique Traits: Large Wings: Large wings aide in the mare's ability to generate thunder from her clouds without stomping on them with his hooves. They allow long distant flight, spending much of her time gliding, but due to their size she is limited in the aerial acrobatics he can partake in. Namesake: Distant Thunder is capable of stirring up thunderstorms from a distance rather than needing to be on her cloud to do so. Her larger than usual wings clap strongly, allowing this feat. History: On a dark and stormy night twin foals were born to a mare by the name of Night Wind and a stallion known as Torrential Storm. It was a difficult birth for Night Wind. To her were born a rambunctious pair of foals that were the pride of their tribe. With manes as red as fire and wings that glittered with clay, sand, and sun... they were seen as oddities with such large, tri-colored wings. The twins were born to the Storm Family, a respected bloodline from Saddle Arabia. Their tribe had many generations of artists and entertainers. They were once a nomadic tribe which eventually settled amongst the growing cities around Saddle Arabia’s culture of knowledge and philosophy. Because of their position as artists and entertainers, the family was able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. They often times saw to the weather management that was vital to the survival of the desert horses, but never strayed far from their duties on the stage and in theater. While some were raised as government officials, others were given permission to participate in academic studies and even fewer: the military. The family was very strict. Thunder and Lightning were raised to be entertainers, in part due to the tri-colored wings. They were seen as the perfect subjects for the stage and aerial dancing, or even serving as court jesters. They would not be allowed to decide their roles in life. They were larger than most of their kind, but not by much, though it was still enough to make them a little awkward and targets of bullying amongst younger peers. The Twins were very close, as twins were wont to do. Separating them was a fight. They were often set apart as it became so problematic that it was better just leaving them together. Thunder was the older sister. She was born first, but had been the last the cry. Lightning was the younger brother, born last and always the first to tears. They were raised with strict, binding rules, as were the generations before them. Colts did not cry, and fillies did not spit. The twins were stubborn and would often corrected or disciplined. Thunder was weak, many feeling her blustering was due to her weaker body. Though, in truth, it was something more sinister than that. Their grandfather, who was the current head of house, felt the current punishment techniques were unsuitable to train the young ones. Thunder was the ringleader to the pair and her actions always did to sent the young colt into mutiny against the elders' attempt at discipline. Thunder was often sent outside on the cold desert nights to separate her from Lightning for extra training. The pair would remain close even if all that disbarred them was a thin sheet of glass, making the attempt at separation pointless, though it did keep them quiet. Thunder eventually developed pneumonia from a cold that would normally be easily be healed from and ended up hospitalized. Thereafter she was often hospitalized and was unable to continue her training as an entertainer. Lightning was devastated. He was an asocial colt, only ever participating in activities Thunder did. He never understood why the adults didn't help Thunder. She and the colt never slept alone so, throughout her sickness they were forced to sleep apart, but Lightning crept into the room she was quarantined in or ran away to the hospital when she was too ill for the busy family to tend to. The made became increasingly outgoing, despite her illness and would oft escape the manor under the light of the moon as Lightning was their caution and she their confidence. With naught but anger after they had taken away her brother she was driven to a reckless attitude and behavior, trying to continue training despite her weakness. Afraid what others might say, or think of her failing to uphold the standards held by their family’s traditions: Thunder was sent to study Architecture at the institute where she would eventually develop a superiority complex and weaken herself if it meant outperforming others. Lightning had always been the one to act with due caution to discourage her more rowdy behavior so she could better respond to others. Bullying her peers by way of mocking insults eventually led to her removal from the school under the pretense of a wing disorder. Her larger wings were said to make it difficult for her to balance resulting in often falling down. Eventually Thunder came to believe this. She was soon able to go tutoring. Her grandfather secured a fine tutor for her through his connections. She studied, becoming interested in the architectural structures of ancient pony cultures around the world. When Lightning would visit her and tell her of all the different ponies in the world, she would be thankful knowing she could never meet them, being much too sick to travel. At her encouragement, and her own selfish desires to see the world through his brilliant eyes, she asked him to travel. In doing so she would lose her brother. The relations between Equestria and Saddle Arabia had allowed the nation to open their borders to those allied to the Alicorn sisters. Because of this he would have a much easier time in his travels. Since then she had become anxious, unwaveringly tense. She wanted to travel a while, meet faces and study the different cultures. Travel, study… to see everything Lightning did... Character Personality: Thunder is ill mannered, impolite. Her arrogance comes from ancient family traditions and a rich history that gives her a sense of privilege. Her weakened body is disregarded by her association with her noble house, allowing her to enter places others may usually be unable. Sometimes this pride is used to mock and act pretentious so she may get her way, but the fear of rejection fuels her to overblow her experiences and act self-centered. She is a cunning, seemingly uncaring pony but is a bit of a flirt with much anypony that passes her way. She can be a bit of an adventurous individual, obsessively driving toward knowledge, especially of other and unique cultures, which often time leads her into troublesome situations and deep, dank caves that nopony should be. She can become ecstatic over certain subjects and fly off chattering about them without notice of social cues indicating he should stop. Character Summary: A scholar that loves to learn and travel, she is a bit reckless and tends to disregard her responsibility to her family. Driven by a desire to see the world her brother loves the pegasus often goes above the sense of self preservation to try and show off or take. She is easily done in by challenges, her pride difficult to shake. Even still she can be caring when the situation calls for it, capable of using her body when not driven to fear how her sickness consumes her strength.
  4. From the album: Rex's Art

    The first official design of Thunder. Though I've drawn her many times this is the first properly colored piece for her. She'll be apped along side Lightning who is being reapped for some editing.
  5. From the album: Rex's Art

    V5 of Lightning's design. A noble scholar from Saddle Arabia
  6. Of all potential setting that our adorable ponies and non-ponies could explore, one is unfairly underutilized despite the obvious potential it has. I am writing of course, about Saddle Arabia. For some reason it's constantly omitted from various adventures (despite having more ancient ruins on the square mile then everything else) or other shenanigans. Making OC's from the place doesn't deem popular either, I myself having only one in memory (Hi Pretzy!). So without further ado's but hopefully with some clever guidance from our Staff and Loremakers, it's about time to brainstorm kicking up things a little in the land of doozie dunes and striking sands! Humbly presenting first idea - with further ones from other users, as well as realized threads that will be added in the opening post, in addition of information about them. * Extraordinary Erg Encounters - desert suddenly isn't so desolate when a group of characters meet in the middle of it - including one quirky wildlife photographer. [Signup, Up to 3 People]
  7. It was not often that Wordsworth Psmith, of the Canterlot Psmiths, traveled alone. When he traveled for work, he accompanied Prince Blueblood as a confidential secretary and social advisor. When traveling for pleasure, he preferred to bring a friend or two along. Unfortunately, the only window of time when his boss could allow him some much needed vacation time did not coincide with any holes in the schedules of his list of friends and acquaintances. But, such were the vagaries of life, and as he would always say, "Such things are not to be complained about with idleness, but endured and triumphed over, with whatever means or allies come to hoof. The strategist is ever the adaptist...." And he would then go on like that for a full ten minutes or so. Regardless of whether anypony was actually listening. The upshot of it was, he threw a dart at a map, and as a result had booked himself a first-class ticket on an airship headed towards Saddle Arabia! Not that he hadn't been aiming for the place; the culture of these strange, southern Equines had all the fascination of the exotic, and had even informed his last Nightmare Night costume. And, for somepony as talkative as himself, the notion of a country that was practically rules by debate made him feel as if he would be coming to a kind of Utopia, or at least a home-away-from-home. Which brings us to the present, where the young unicorn stallion was elegantly draped over a deck chair, monocled eye scanning the horizon while active lips pontificated to the empty air. "Solo travel brings with it freedom, the soaring of the lonely eagle is constrained by no considerations save those in his own head. And yet, does the eagle find joy, or melancholy? Do we not all gladly pay our liberty in coin for society, as one would pay a bit for bread? What is the meaning of this strange adventure we call civilization, if it is not that?"
  8. From the album: OC Art

    Unimaginative title is unimaginative. Haven't really been motivated to draw anything recently, but I happened to get into a discussion with someone on Skype over the look of the Saddle Arabian horses shown on the show. More specifically, how I really did not like how they were designed. Someone then challenged me to try designing one, which inspired me enough to give it a try. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how he turned out (though I only just now realized he kind of uses Katsuo's hair design, only in a curly variation). Something bugs me about it though...I think maybe the head is too large for the slender body/legs. But I'm not sure. Either way, there's this guy, who may actually get apped in the future. Don't think I'll actually RP him at all if I do, but a character application? Maybe, maybe~
  9. From the album: Regular Cast Pics

    Probably seen this on the side bar now, but this is a larger image of the same. Enjoyed making this; the challenge was to get as many species as I could without it becoming cluttered when shrunk to sidebar size. For the curious, the reason for no yaks was the picture was completed before Party Pooped came out. Why Cheerilee? I always imagined her as the tourist type, going on trips (mostly in the summer) to various places in Equestria, collecting images and souvenirs for herself and for future school lessons.

    © Characters © Hasbro Artowrk © Brianblackberry

  10. WAKR - CITY OF ENDLESS MINES AND JEWELS Wakr is a city that on the front face of things looks like it houses little more than an administration building and some guard posts plus lodgings, an all together unassuming place for a weary traveler to rest. These looks can be deceiving no matter which one of the three dozen entrances to the city are chosen by the traveler, as Wakr is a mammoth city buried deep in the mountain Each entrance has a large city administration building, some guard posts, lodging, and massive roads coming In and out in order to facilitate trade and travel across the breadth of the range. Its unique design would give one the impression that it is the most heavily populated city in all of Saddle Arabia but this is not so- as with everything, looks can be deceiving wherever Wakr is concerned. A mining city like no other, it is the capable engine of Saddle Arabia's economic power and one of the most influential energy producers in the world. Each entrance leads into a series of expertly hallowed out caverns which house the vast majority of the populace. Each cavern has been measured out to the the same size and the same number of Saddle Arabians lives in each cavern, give or take a few dozen here or there. Here is where most city life takes place, with shops and bazaars in the vast open area giving way to large public races and other events when the time is right. Smaller caverns are positioned alongside for special facilities and the palaces of the city's many civic leaders. Smaller tunnels lead to and from the caverns, taking the character of side alleys and smaller streets. The seedier elements of a city can be found there but in all things Wakr is structured and the city is one of the safest in a land known for safety. The most common tunnel however is the mining tunnel, dozens of which head deeper into the mountains. There they mine many of the important resources that fuel Saddle Arabia's growth, but they also mine beautiful jewels and diamonds. The mines themselves are resplendent and stunning arrays of light and color contrasted with the dirty work of mining. Each operation is owned either by a conglomerate, city official, or even individual families seeking to strike it rich. Meritocratic societal standards look down upon bosses who can't keep their employees safe and while mine work can never be made completely safe, truly terrible accidents are rare despite the constant work of the mines. Workers who show themselves as being among the best are offered plentiful vacation time topside with their families, occupying some of the lodging to be found at a city entrance in great luxury. Mine operators can earn considerable loyalty this way and a well-run and happy community is often able to produce at a higher level, aiding the city and Saddle Arabia at large, Wakr is run in a somewhat unusual manner for a Saddle Arabian city. Every city entrance and inner cavern constitutes a district, and each district elects two sets of representatives. The first set head off topside to the administration buildings and run the district, the second set head to the deepest part of the city where every road leads. One giant council hall deep in the mountains is where all major city-wide decisions are made. This system rewards good civic behavior, financial acumen, and intelligence in a manner unique to Saddle Arabia by placing the decision-making power into the hooves of the workers and common horses who see for themselves the effect that the candidates have had. The result is a well-run city that is constantly churning at the top in the best ways, allowing for the city to constantly evolve itself. The stony face of the city hides the churning evolution in its bowels- as with all things Wakr, looks can be deceiving. - A Journal Between Lovers: My Travels and Travails, by Flowing Stars
  11. Puerto Aguila - An Island of Storms & Pirates Few dens of villainy have earned a reputation as infamous as that of the island Puerto Aguila. Lying off the coast of northeastern Saddle Arabia, the inhospitable Puerto Aguila has been periodically occupied and abandoned numerous times throughout the annals of history thanks to dangerous waters and tropical storms. Currently, the so-called Vile Isle is an occasional sanctuary for pirates and all other sorts of criminal scum, provided they don’t get shipwrecked in the process of reaching the island. Nearly all legitimate mariners fear sailing near Puerto Aguila, for the surrounding waters are among the most hazardous of all seas. Two globe-spanning oceanic currents collide with one another in the vicinity, producing turbulent waves year-round. Closer to the shore, rocky reefs create surf breaks that make the already treacherous waves tower to gigantic heights. Assuming a sailor can navigate through these initial obstacles, they still have to face the final challenge of passing through a gauntlet of craggy seastacks and ship-swallowing maelstroms. One glance at all the shipwrecks around Puerto Aguila‘s outer gauntlet indicates just how many sailors have been defeated by the cruel ocean. Making matters much worse, Puerto Aguila lies directly on the path of storm-bearing prevailing winds. Generated in warmer oceans to the south, tropical cyclones are then guided northwards, frequently striking the island with their full force. For months at a time, a succession of these cyclones besiege the island with relentless rain, fierce winds, and even worse waves than usual. Consequently, Puerto Aguila itself is a barren piece of land; its shoreline defined by rocky beaches and steep cliffsides, and the interior a bleak patchwork of rock formations mixed with caves. Despite its proximity to Saddle Arabia, the Arabian horses wisely choose not to bother settling the island, instead leaving it as a sanctuary for sea birds and other marine life. The wishes of Saddle Arabians have not stopped others from using Puerto Aguila for varying purposes. In the Pre-Classical Era, the island was a stronghold of the notorious Sirens; creatures who bedeviled sailor and landlubber alike with their enchanted voices until their purported expulsion by Star Swirl the Bearded. Generations after these Sirens vanished off the face of the earth, the expansionist griffons of Aquellia turned Puerto Aguila into an outpost for the securing of trade routes. Or at least they attempted to; throughout the centuries, Aquellia would abandon the island after a devastating natural calamity, return years later to try again, and repeat the cycle over again when a particularly nasty cyclone struck. The last time the Aquellian Republic deserted Puerto Aguila a few decades ago, it left behind a military airship field, modest dockyard, and a network of fortified bunkers. Although heavily damaged, this infrastructure remained fundamentally intact, giving nefarious and daring minds the means to take piracy to a whole new level. Ambitious buccaneers from all corners of the world converged on Puerto Aguila, transforming the island into a safe haven for sea and air pirates of all stripes and colors. These brutes lack the means to keep the dilapidated structures of their island hideout well-maintained, and many ships have been decimated while voyaging to and from the Vile Isle, but those pirate captains and crews who do thrive on Puerto Aguila rank among the most hardy and skilled sailors of the known world. From their nigh-impregnable port of call, the pirates of Puerto Aguila stalk trade routes from places as far away as Seaddle, outmaneuver the authorities, and return to stash their plunder in caves and abandoned bunkers. Despite brutal conditions and general lawlessness, life on Puerto Aguila is relatively tolerable for these band of outlaws... so far. The more wise pirates among the bunch however expect that one day, a great power like Saddle Arabia or Aquellia will come to put the bandits to justice. Others spread rumors of sirens taking secret refuge in Puerto Aguila’s sea caves, waiting for the perfect moment to take back their ancestral home. If it is true that the sirens have somehow reemerged back into the world, that does not bode well at all for anyone stuck on the island..... ~Mane's Intelligence Review: Dangers to Global Friendship & Harmony
  12. Saddlelon - Knowledge is its Treasure No doubt exists of Saddlelon’s position as one of the world’s great cities, and a cradle of ancient civilization. Being the oldest and most populated metropolis in Saddle Arabia, Saddlelon displays much of the country’s rich history and culture front and center. Hence, it’s apt to say that if the Sultan’s seat of government in Manephis is Saddle Arabia’s hard-thinking brain, then Saddlelon would surely be the beating heart pumping vibrancy into horse society. It was only natural that Saddlelon achieved greatness thanks to a dominant position on the lower banks of the Shatt al-Iblis. With the river flowing right through the middle of it, the city provides convenient access to the seas lying to Saddle Arabia’s east and south. Groves of palm trees straddle the river shores to the immediate east and west outside of Saddlelon’s outer fortifications; a series of two decorative brick walls surrounded by a moat filled by the Shatt al-Iblis. The city itself is densely packed with untold scores of buildings, interspaced with wide squares and vibrant parks. Equine architects devoted great care in erecting every aspect of Saddlelon; they arranged the streets in orderly grids and lavished attention to aesthetic design on all structures both grandiose and humble. Commercial markets line the major thoroughfares while residential districts are built around, or even within, Saddlelon’s numerous and massive libraries. The metropolis’s citizens take great pride in maintaining the network of archives that many scholars deem to be the largest body of knowledge in the known world, as well as being directly responsible for first cultivating the meritocratic principles upon which Saddle Arabia is built upon. All the local libraries act as satellite institutions of the Palaces of Thought: the four terraced ziggurats (two on each side of the Shatt al-Iblis) towering over the rest of Saddlelon’s skyline. These massive ziggurats house Saddle Arabia’s premier academic institutions, where spacious lecture halls, bustling workshops, and state-of-the-art laboratories are set aside for every conceivable skilled trade and academic discipline imaginable. All four ziggurats are connected to one another by a ring of open-air trotways. While marvels of engineering in of themselves, it is the beautiful arrays of flowers and other greenery lining these linking trotways that earn their reputation as the world-renowned Hanging Gardens of Saddlelon. Knowledge is not the only treasure that can be found here. As the primary metaphorical bridge between the realm's urban centers and its vast arid interior, Saddlelon is the city most exposed to cultural influences from the Great Desert’s nomadic tribes. Caravans from the west canter in and out of Saddlelon daily to conduct trade, making it a respectable commercial hub in its own right. But some of these nomadic horses choose to settle down in the city, and through them comes a diversity of tribal fashion, food, music, literature, and poetry not seen anywhere else in Saddle Arabian. And as it turns out, tourists rather enjoy the convenience of experiencing everything that the country offers without taking a long trek into the world’s biggest desert to do so. ~Beyond Equestria: A Traveler's Guide to Mysteries and Wonders of Maretonia, Saddle Arabia and More
  13. GALLOPOLI - CITY OF ENDLESS DOCKS Gallopoli is one of the most active ports in the world and certainly the longest. While other Arabian cities think of themselves as wondrous homes to great philosophers and thinkers, Gallopi centers itself as the economic and trade hub of Saddle Arabia and this is true. Its ports operate year around at all times of the day and night, a slickly efficient port system allowing seamless transition from the day trade to the night. Gallopoli as a result is a city that never sleeps and is renown the world over for not only its large trade but for its night scene, which is just as active as the day! The whole city is based on the trade from the ports as well as the extracurricular funding that flows into small businesses in the area as a result of sailors and merchants visiting the city. It is a long city at that, stretching across the coast of Saddle Arabia for a considerable length. Dozens of docks and shipyards are arranged along the way and the city behind each dock is structured often the same, with the same style of businesses and lodgings behind each port. Whenever a new dock is laid down this pattern is repeated behind it, and the various merchants, dock managers, and families who run the docks rarely desire to make changes. Not only is it an efficient way to do it, but most see the even ground as a challenge. Competition to create the busiest and most profitable port is fierce and power in the city lays on the broad shoulder and cunning mind of the Arabian able to bring the most wealth to bare as a result. Some groups are able to own more than one port and they are considered the true powerbrokers of the city, but it truly is a team effort. A well run port is nothing if not for the work of the business owners behind docks who help siphon more money into local coffers. The length of the city is as unique as the depth of it, which is quite small. After one gets past the neighborhood of the dock the only thing remaining are some of the various trade offices that police the roads in and out of town, each port being home to its own highway network that allows trade to swiftly move from the dock to other cities of Saddle Arabia and vice versa. A visitor can walk from the start of the docks to the outside wall in only a few minutes barring congestion and outside the wall small farming projects and some educational and military facilities are the only signs of life aside from the twisting and turning transportation networks whose vastness can boggle the mind. This odd design- incredibly long and without much depth- is unique in the world and allows for easy travel for visitors. Indeed, mixed in with the patterned style of neighborhood construction, one can quite easily find food, lodging, entertainment, and fine shopping within a hair's distance from one another no matter where he or she may be. Arabians who live here even outside of the major merchants tend to be focused on profits and other signs of efficient advancement. This can come off as a greedy to a visitor but it is not the case. Gallopoli is a service-centered city for visitors and is more than happy to haggle and cut a fine deal while charitable donations to the poor can be a series of competitions between the wealthy to see who can appear to do more. The net result is a city more than willing to bend to reasonable demands and aid the poor and unfortunate in extravagant ways, making it a popular destination for the downtrodden. Crime that may result from this influx is kept low thanks to the swift actions of law enforcement, who include the best guards and detectives in Saddle Arabia. Gallopoli is still the most dangerous city in Saddle Arabia but that has more to do with rowdy sailors from abroad and less to do with the well to do Saddle Arabians who run this city of commerce. - A Journal Between Lovers: My Travels and Travails, by Flowing Stars
  14. DUFLY - NEVER GROUNDED! Of all the cities in the hooved world nowhere has verticiality been such a trademark as it is in Dufly. A coastal city in the northeast of Saddle Arabia, Dufly's history is replete with contact, war, and friendship with Griffon colonists, adventurers, military figures, and leaders from Aquellla. The ancient griffon empire used to be a colonization machine which planted seeds from Unyasi to Maretonia and beyond, but in Saddle Arabia they encountered something different. Large, intelligent, advanced and confident, Saddle Arabians did not kowtow to the griffon advances no matter the aggression. Several air and naval skirmishes did not turn out well for the Griffons and after several generations of off and on campaigning, Griffon ambitions for Saddle Arabian land ended. Instead of expansion, Griffons sought to establish a powerful trading partnership and nowhere has Griffon influence been as obvious as it is in Dufly. Originally a small settlement, Dufly grew as contact with griffons increased. As Saddle Arabian resistance proved more and more effective it became a symbol for dissident griffons and as a result the griffon population grew in great scale, and soon the way the city was laid out started to change. Buildings started to add floors instead of expanding horizontally in accordance with standard griffon city planning. Saddle Arabians at first disliked the change and more than a few early city meetings ended in Saddle Arabians tearing down a building and rebuilding it in a proper manner. However, after a major naval battle happened off of the coast of Dufly that saw a significant effort by Dufly's legendary Minister Jameel to persuade a portion of the Griffon fleet to rebel work, attitudes changed. The newly rebelled Griffon fleet was commanded by an elder Griffon captain who had fallen in love with the beautiful Minister, all of whom needed a place to stay. Dufly now had an influx of griffons and in gratitude allowed the greater whole of the city to be changed to match more traditional griffon architecture. Generations later, the city is perhaps the second largest in the world that has such griffon inspired architecture. Large skyscraper type cylindrical towers stretch out over a vast landscape, each one build to support the other to the extent that even if the bottom floors of the building are taken out it can still stand. These supports also act as large walkways and roads for the horses of the city to traverse from one place to another. Griffons and other flight enabled creatures don't need these for travel, but instead decorate the underside of the supports with beautiful paintings and gardens. Creatures from all corners of the planet come to experience the swinging gardens and beautiful tapestries that dot the city but it is not only these things which make the city famous. In a nation that values efficiency and education, few places can claim to have such an edge as Dufly. It is home to several of the most powerful and well thought of educational institutions. Technological development is also centered on Dufly, with some of the most advanced airship designs and technological philosophies being born here. Cultural power is apparent to visitors from a great distance as well, as two huge statues flank the city. Each one is the size of the largest structures in height though both are of much greater length and width, and both are statues of ancient Arabian legends. Sculptors throughout time have put their whole lives into their construction and while both are finished, whole teams dedicate themselves to maintaining their glory. They in many cases portray the grandeur that is Dufly and it is further reflected in the mannerisms of the horses who live there. By and large, horses in Dufly look at life as a bit more of an adventure with few things ever actually hard and fast. This has always allowed them to push the envelope in technology and scale but also makes them a haven for adventurers and travelers. While the majority populace are still Arabians, it has the largest population of griffons and hippogriffs in the land. Saddle Arabians tend to view the griffons and hippogriffs as one of their own, and there is no hint of special issues in society or government. The only non-Arabians to have any government position in all of Saddle Arabian are Duflyian griffons, who make up a third of the city's leadership. The ports are covered by stone and concrete and are considered the safest in the known world, allowing it to be the launching off point for any number of Saddle Arabian expeditions and trips abroad. Likewise, any traveler seeking to see the sights and sounds of Saddle Arabia could do no better than to start in the city of stone in the sky. A Journal Between Lovers: My Travels and Travails, by Flowing Stars
  15. MANEPHIS - CITY OF SULTANS Manephis is the capital of Saddle Arabia and a city that experiences near total change with every cycle of leadership. It is also the smallest of all the major Saddle Arabian cities despite its location along a rich delta which provides superb arable land for the cadre of farmers who are the only permanent populace. Large farms and irrigation projects surround the city but it is not for their large scale production that the city is known. It is the home of the Sultan and the government of Saddle Arabia and it is from Manephis that the efficient and swift-moving mechanisms of the wealthy state of Saddle Arabia moves into action. What separates Manephis from other capitals is not this simple fact as that can be said to be true of all capitals, but it is the population and manner in which it changes that gives the city its unique flavor. A new Sultan, once given his power, immediately has to fill all government positions. Everyhorse he picks moves to Manephis along with their families. Attached to this are all the aides and functionaries of the departments who follow in the hoofsteps of the officials, and there are needs that must be fulfilled. Following certain patterns and theories of a comfortable life, the Minister of Public Safety approves a certain amount of immigration in the form of workers, store owners, and entertainers. Law Enforcement and military officials bring their contingents as well. The city can swell from only a few hundred to many tens of thousands of horses in a relatively short time as a result. Once the mass moving in ends, the city can remain remarkably stable or the next ten years. Horses leave and are replaced. Diplomats from other nations are recalled by their home nations and their position filled. The entirety of the city save for the farms outside of it is one giant palace, arguably the largest structure on the planet. Everyhorse and every function of both the city and the state happen inside of it. Open air markets are held in giant courtyards and stores may be mistaken for rooms in other palaces. Medical facilities are shared by the Sultan and the cultural facilities are side by side with royal archives and the departments of government. One can bump into the Minister of Finance as he leaves his lodging and a short trot down the hall is guaranteed to be filled with officials and celebrities of every stripe. Living space is not small, however, as on average a family of four can expect on average to live in housing the quality and size of nobility from most other cities. Supplies and availability of funds and resources are carefully considered and the city has been capped in terms of population. Consumption and quality control are watched over closely, and as a result, even the poorest amongst the citizens of the city live a life of relative luxury. Of course, Manephis is not a paradise resort but the palace of a Sultan who earned his position. The Sultan expects those allowed into Manephis to share the same meritocratic drive as the Sultan does and those who fail in their jobs or simply do not live up to expectations can be removed from their positions and the city to be replaced by one of the many willing and able Arabians who are ready to clamber over the failures of others to reach new heights. It is a city of near endless work, as everyhorse from Sultan on down to the street sweeper is instilled with the meritocratic drive that enabled them to get the positions they now have. The lazy, meek, and confused are quickly rejected and replaced with the tireless, aggressive, and intelligent. Yet after a period of ten years the overwhelmingly vast majority of residents vacate the city as a new Sultan takes charge. It is during these times that the city is as quiet as a babe at rest, whole sections of the city seemingly abandoned. Only guards and a bare bone staff remain to keep the city secure and going in preparation for the new leaders to take charge while farmers from outside the walls toil as they always have and will. Such is the way of life in Manephis, capital of Saddle Arabia. A Journal Between Lovers: My Travels and Travails, by Flowing Stars
  16. The Pharaoh's Vale - The Eternal Legacy of Saddle Arabia Few travelers have ventured into the Pharaoh's Vale and not return awestruck. From ancient history to the present day, the Vale has served the role of the final resting place of Saddle Arabia’s most renowned leaders, heroes, and intellectuals. A genuine contender for status as a Wonder of the World, the entire necropolis exists as an everlasting testament to the achievements of the Saddle Arabian people. The Pharaoh's Vale sits approximately halfway on the overland route between Manephis and Saddlelon, within the shadow of the Antlion Mountains. The vital waterway known as the Shatt al-Malik originates here, allowing life to flourish on the river’s shores in what would be an otherwise desolate region. The smaller gullies that dot the sides of the Vale meanwhile remain dry for most of the year, save for the occasional flash flood. Originally, tradition held that each Saddle Arabian ruler (known in ancient times as a pharaoh) was entitled to be buried in the Pharaoh’s Vale. Yet as the people of the realm developed and refined the meritocratic principles that came to define Saddle Arabia, the enlightened citizenry began exercising the power to decide who earned the honor to be laid to rest in the Vale. Ergo, any Saddle Arabian citizen deemed to have made an immeasurably beneficial impact on society can have a tomb erected for them in the necropolis. Notably, most tombs within the Pharaoh’s Vale are open to the public. Older pyramids reside on the valley floor or near the entrance to the Vale; statues and obelisks are also plentiful. As land started running out, laborers instead started burrowing into the rocky sides of the adjacent gullies. Aside from housing burial chambers, these sites typically put the belongings of the tomb occupant on display and dedicate wallspace for written engravings explaining the occupant’s great deeds in life. In many respects, Saddle Arabian tombs are museums in all but name. Guards and visitor accommodations are plentiful everywhere to maintain the necropolis’s viability as a national landmark. There are some areas however that are closed to the general public. A number of the earlier burial sites are occupied by legendary beings, most notably genies. Except in the most dire of need, contact with these powerful yet mischievous genies is not advised. Other underground complexes were not built as tombs at all, but rather as proving grounds designed to test the mental acumen and inner fortitude of would-be Sultans. And while never officially verified by scientific experts, rumors attest to numerous tombs that remain hidden, protected by powerful curses and reanimated mummies. Should one of these hypothesized cursed tombs be unearthed, who knows what that could spell for the Pharaoh’s Vale? ~Beyond Equestria: A Traveler's Guide to Mysteries and Wonders of Maretonia, Saddle Arabia and More
  17. Saddle Arabia - A Primer on Power Saddle Arabia, a nation of constant competition and advancement and one of Equestria's greatest allies. Southwest of the Neighples Delta and west of Unyasi, the beating heart of the Saddle Arabian Empire lives among the shores of the great waterway that separates the nations of Saddle Arabia, Unyasi, and Equestria. In this remote and closed off region, hidden behind the great Antilion mountains, eight golden cities stand out as beacons of activity, ports beckoning to any nearby vessel while among the mountains and plains bountiful farms and industrious mining cities a great amount of wealth is generated. Nowhere can this be found in greater amounts than in the rich river deltas, which is known as Equinox. The Equinox is the region most well known to Equestrians, but the nation as a whole continues on far to the south. The Great Desert covers more than ninety percent of Saddle Arabian landmass and lives up to its name. It touches ancient seas that Equestrians have no knowledge of. In this enormous landmass live more than a hundred different tribes of Arabian horses who brave the harshness of the land. These tribes choose to live a life of adventure and danger in this arid landscape. Beneath the sands under their hooves dwell great worms and beasts that occasionally burst forth, competing with the many small predators that hunt to survive in this foreboding climate. Even in this harshest of climates stand architectural marvels; fortified cities carved out of the very rock that serve as temporary shelter during the worst of the coat-tearing sandstorms that plague the region. These towered fortresses of stone stand grand and monumental, easily dozens of stories tall surrounding and protecting the precious oases inside their walls. Saddle Arabia is populated by Arabian horses, known internationally simply as Saddle Arabians. They have a built a society that focuses on their scholarly spirit. Their lack of any magic- unicorn, pegasi, earth or otherwise- and the ability to fly has forced them over the eons to push the limits of the mind and the imagination to compensate. It is no wonder that they built a unique civilization that focuses on their scholarly spirit as a result. Society is structured around learning and scholarly work, with public seminars and debates garnishing as much attention as great sporting event in other nations. The cultural arts as well as the sciences are encouraged from the youngest age and across the board Saddle Arabia is always looking to the future rather than clinging to the past. The result is a nation that is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. They are ruled from the capital of Manephis. More akin to a single palace that contains hundreds of smaller buildings connected to it, Manephis sees a lot of turnover; every Sultan rules based on merit, which is decided upon once every ten years. Every city as well as the two largest nomadic tribes send a delegation of their best and brightest to the Chambers of Testing in the Pharaoh's Vale, where for a full month they undergo a series of rigorous ethical, moral, economic, philosophical, political, and social examinations. The size of the delegation is dependent on the economic and social progress of the cities. The tests serve to find the top candidate from each city and tribe who then spend at least one week debating one another after which they must all agree on one candidate who then becomes the new Sultan. The power of the Sultan rivals that of a Princess of Equestria, but no matter his greatness or skill he or she may not serve more than one term as Sultan unless the cities agree to forego this rule due to an ongoing crisis. The harvests, gems, and other wonders of Saddle Arabia are exported to help establish trading partnerships with all known nations. It enjoys warm relations with both Equestria and Aqueilla and would be quick to defend either. Their defense is provided by the well-funded and exceptionally well-trained warriors of the Saddle Arabian Self Defense Force, which takes their desire for philosophical and technological advancement to the logical end for military means. While small for the size of the nation, it uses advanced technology than and contains a soldierly devoted to the study and application of tactics, strategies, and arms and possessing of a very high caliber of character and intelligence. - Long Winded, Equestrian Scholar: The World Around Us, Third Edition
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