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My how the weather in Canterlot had changed. Just a few weeks ago, Ice Storm was happily in her element. It was still nice and cool, bitterly cold for most ponies. That was then though. Now it felt like the Canterlot Weather Team was trying to get an early start on Summer and skip spring completely. It was really, really hot, and very, very balmy. So much to where Ice would start sweating the moment she walked outside of her shop. True, she was a mare that was equipped to counter this type of extreme weather for a short period such as an evening or two, but there were others that wouldn't. Then again, she also understood that there were ponies out there that would find this kind of weather acceptable. In fact her wife was one of those ponies. With her being a fire mage, she could handle the temperatures in the upper extremes just as easily as Ice Storm herself could be at ease in extreme cold. It definitely had some perks, and sometimes it was impossible to see inside their windows. She also really couldn't say to much about it either as they did have some really, really cold days this winter. Cold enough to where the mare of ice herself was feeling a bit chilled. It was only fair that there was some warmer days as well for normal ponies to recover from such a cold spell. Having just finished in her shop for the evening, and not having to go into the observatory tonight, Ice Storm started making her way towards the park. She would probably head towards the observatory at some point that evening anyway. She loved being there. There was so much to look at and take in. Most ponies would call it studying, but she called it inspiration, and a desire to know. She could see so much more of the stars and the sky from the observatory that the constellations that were here from the surface of Equestria while grand, were minimal in comparison. The more she looked through everything though, the more she realized just how lucky they were that things worked the way that they did here. From what she had studied, most planets orbit their systems stars, but that didn't seem to be the case here. Deep inside she wanted to know why, but at the same time, she didn't care. There was a balance here, and things that could be know that, in the grand scheme of things are better left unknown. The one thing that she knew right now though, was that it was just out right hot! She might have to go the the observatory anyway just to be inside. A small flick of her magic, and anypony that walked by her would instantly see a sheen on her coat from the moonlight. That sheen would be caused by the reflection of the moon off of the thin sheet of ice that was constantly coating her. It was just thin enough to be sustainable without any issure, and the fact taht it was made with her magic meant that she could allow it to conform to her body, and be flexible instead of rigid like ice usually is. It was the perfect way to keep cool on a balmy spring evening in Canterlot as she made her way to the hill that she grew up on when she first came to the city. She didn't know why, but she was always drawn to this hill. No matter where she went, or how far away she was. This one spot in all of Equestria constantly spoke to her, pulled at her, and left her to ponder on the events that led her to where she was today. There wasn't anything fancy about it either. Just a standard oak tree, and a hill that overlooked most of the park. Yet once again she found herself in its presence. She gave a gently smile as she laid her blanket out on the grass. This was even more important now so that she wouldn't get grass in the ice that she was channeling and ultimately get it stuck in her coat. She could easily get it out with a shower, but she'd already used all of her hot water for the shower she just took and knew there wouldn't be any left by the time she got home. A small part of her couldn't help but wonder if it was the steam from her shower that helped make it so muggy outside tonight. Surely one two hour shower wasn't enough to do something like that right? Once she was satisfied with her placement, she laid down herself on the blanket and looked to the stars, zoning everything else out as much as a professionally trained tactician and scout could. She was almost always completely alert to her surroundings and ready for most any surprise. However, that sometimes made it hard to relax because she was always on guard to expect something. It was Equestria after all. There was never a dull night. She had enough secret missions under her belt to acknowledge that. In fact, that would be what she would reflect on tonight. AS she looked up to the stars, she reflected back to the time that she was in Whitescar, right after WRAITH had released what she now called the Rage Plague on Askr, turning their allies into mindless, enraged, monsters. However, just like every disease, it always has a cure if you're willing to work hard enough to find it. Thankfully they did before it created too much of a catastrophe. She remembered taking a good hit that fight as well. She was good at defenses, but that was when she learned not to be over cocky with her defenses. Just because she can manipulate the density of the ice around her, and can make it stronger than most steel, doesn't mean that it can't be broken. She found that out the hard way in that fight, but even then her hoof was force, no one on that team looking back had much in the way of any good ideas with how to deal with the infected bous. With a small sigh, she let her head hang while she lay next to the tree, still deep in thought.
Spring is here and the Elder Tree Teahouse wants to celebrate! Come join in an afternoon of fun, tea and sweets! And if you’re brave, tackle the Tower of Tea Roses for a chance to win a fantastic prize! You could win one of three mysterious, enchanted prizes: a violin, a traveler’s cloak, or a cutlass! What a lovely spring day! The sun was shining brightly in Canterlot, its cheerful rays chasing away the few remaining shreds of winter. Though the air was still a little crisp, the breeze was balmy and fresh, promising new life. All around Elderflower’s gardens little buds had formed upon vines and flower bushes, and the leaves of her elder tree had even begun to unfurl a little. The mare beamed happily - typically that tree, towering even above the high roof of her tea house, was the star of her garden. That wasn’t the case today, however! Sticking up like a sore thumb on one side of the gardens was a gargantuan rosebush, its massive tea roses the size of an average pony! Today this was the star in El’s garden. Any unicorn with a keen sense for magic would be able to tell quite easily that it was riddled with magical energy. It had reached its incredible size through long spellcasting sessions and its blooms and thorns had been touched with enchantments as well. It had taken so very much work to put all of this together! The willowy mare never would have managed this on her own: she had her parents, some friends, and Moondancer to thank for the marvel towering cheerfully in her garden. El took a deep breath, a peaceful expression on her face. The scent of the tea roses was everywhere and it made her hopeful that this day would be a success. The huge event that she had planned and advertised for months was finally here! Even though this celebration of spring would definitely bring about a much more lively atmosphere than the Elder Tree Teahouse usually saw, it would no doubt be a perfectly wonderful day. She hoped so, at least! Really, really hoped so! Humming, the mare brewed her first pot of jasmine tea in anticipation for the day’s first arrivals. The delicate floral aroma was almost lost in the perfume of the tea roses, but it tickled her fancy nonetheless. El always had been a fan of jasmine teas. Her little fairy wren, Blue, was perched on her horn as always, trilling a cheery tune to match her humming and behind her brewing station, a table with three glass cases protecting the event’s top prizes sparkled in the sunlight. Beneath the cases were a pale and enchanted violin, a soft blue cloak that looked like water, and a black cutlass with blue runes glowing along the blade. Laid out neatly around the cases were consolation prizes: luck potions, sweets, trinkets, and jewelry. It was a pretty impressive spread! She had a certain Stalliongrad mare to thank for these wonderful gifts - the day wouldn’t be half so attractive to Canterlot’s citizens without them! Sipping at her first cup of jasmine, the mare gave her set-up one final, scrutinizing look. There were low tables surrounded by cushions dotting the grounds, and each table had pretty ceramic cups resting upon them. Between the rosebush, the tables, the prize stand, and her brewing station, the gardens were quite full! She had no doubt things would get lively once some of her guests appeared. When they did appear at the front step of the Elder Tree Teahouse, they would find open doors and a sign which pointed them through the back doors. A short walk through the tranquil wooden building would bring them into the open gardens, where countless varieties of plants were growing, most in full bloom or covered with buds. Overall it was a peaceful atmosphere they were entering, with the one exception at this point being the massive, looming rosebush which cut into the sky. At a glance, it looked to be about 3 stories high! And of course Elderflower herself would be there waiting to greet anypony who wanted to come and celebrate the start of spring with a bang! Her brewing station was directly in the line of sight of anypony coming through that back door, so she would be the first thing they would see. Knowing this, she bore a warm, pleasant smile that was permanently etched into her expression and a cast iron teapot waiting to be poured.
The image the April banner is based on, time for planting new seeds! As you can see, when I do a banner image, I draw the whole bodies, even though the banner is too thin to have a whole body in there, but it allows for better management of proportion and movement of characters.
© Characters © Hasbro Artowrk © Brianblackberry