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[Attack!] The Party Ends (Open)

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The clouds that had been advancing towards the Empire seemingly stopped just outside of the heart of the city, leaving half of the city in sunlight and the rest in shadow. The edge of the advancing cloudfront roiled in a light brown that covered everything inside, as if the sun was caught within and not allowing the rays to escape to the world beyond. It was a sight equal parts beautiful and puzzling. After all, this was the type of vision one might see at the start of the day but not one you expected to see up close and in such a huge and rolling series of concentrated clouds. It looked anything but natural and everyting that the weather teams would try to avoid making. A few looked up and wondered what they were and still others just marveled at the beauty, but nopony really looked into what it meant. Not that at this stage it would have mattered much. The decisions had already been made and the die cast.

Bright flashes from within like lightning and a booming sound that many misheard as thunder, even as weather pegasi looked at each other in alarm. A pause. Another flash, another boom. Then another. Then two. And then a barrage of sound and lights from within, finally grabbing the attention of those below. Each light struck now with a different hue but hedging towards a series of dark oranges and flashes of incomprehensible blue and white. The sound of booms, cracks, splintering of great wood, and retorts most couldn't place. Some could and guards and other knowledgeable ponies alike started to run about, adding to the confusion on the ground and in the sky. The lights and sounds continued to increase in pace and fury for a few more seconds until it was unending.

And then silence. For a few seconds there was blissful silence, long enough that a few ponies started to look down and wonder just what had been that light and sound show above. It was then that the true nature of the event started to reveal itself. Falling out of the cloudform was a large airship...from the Royal Equestrian Navy. The REN Marelia fell out of the sky in fire, giant pieces of wood falling faster and faster and cracking against buildings down below until the airship itself impacted in the lower city. It was followed by another. The REN Stalliongrad had been broken in half, the bow and stern falling separately. Down below ponies screamed and scrambled.

Then, oars pushed through the edge of the cloud. First the oars and then, broaching the edge of the clouds which started to vanish, the bow...of three viking caribou longships! With tapestries woven from the finest Whitescar materials and multi-colored clan symbol drawn shields on their sides, the longships flew gracefully and powerfully across the sky. A mighty horn blew and then two more joined in, a deep boom that rocketed out across the city and into the hearts and minds of anypony unlucky enough to hear.

The viking caribou were on the attack!

---

It never stormed in the Crystal Spire. The Crystal Heart's magic radiated outward, keeping the entire city ever bright and pleasant. The fields were always green and fecund. Everything was always just as it should be thanks to the magic of love with which the heart resonated.

And yet, a storm had come all the same. A young crystal filly had noticed its approach and rightfully identified it as a sign of a coming evil, but in the excitement and good cheer of the fairetime, few others had paid the billowing clouds and the distant crash of thunder any mind. Now the storm was there, and there was little the ponies and others assembled in the main thoroughfare of the faireground could do but wade it out.

Tourmaline Glass, the said filly, could only stand awestruck and agape as a pack of winged creatures, over-sized hawks, each with a figure atop its back, flew down from the clouds and each let out an ear-splitting, shrill squawk as they descended just a short distance from her.

There were seven of the hawks, five of which had upon their backs sturdy viking caribou warriors--muscular bucks, bearded, gruff and haggard, with fierce and sharpened horns, brandishing swords and hammers as they swept down and leapt from off their mounts before pressing toward the ponies in the crowd with clear violence on their mind.

These five were followed in turn by a single unicorn stallion with a muted purple coat, draped in a long dark gray robe with a shaggy black mane and long, unruly beard. He was called Cyprianus Rune, though there were rumors that he had another name before her took that one. It was said that in the Maretonian city of Kastrot, from which he had originally hailed, he had been someone respected until resentment and desire drove him to crimes so wicked and so many that they could neither be agreed upon nor even spoken of in polite conversation. Hounded across many seas and continents by those who would see him slain or imprisoned for his deeds, he eventually wound up in the Southern Wilds of Whitescar, where he would stay for several years.

Wicked by nature and surrounded by greater wickedness still, Cyprianus had been consumed by pure evil in the Wilds. Pitch black curse magic now resonated within him, and violence and insanity could be seen reflected in his shaky black eyes. He had pledged himself a servant of the ancient tyrant Sombra and had used his wicked powers to aid in calling him back from the oblivion. Now, for no reason save his own wickedness and spite, he came with his chosen sovereign and his viking allies, intent to see the ancient once lost empire, which filled all lands with hope, fall and submit once more to darkness.

As the wicked sorcerer flew himself downward on his own winged mount and then levitated off of it just as the remaining rider descended and then quickly dismounted as well. This was another caribou—or at least it appeared to be--a little smaller than the other five, but clad entirely in heavy, murky gray armor with dangerously spiked shoulders and a thick visor attached to the horned helmet, obscuring all of the deer's face, even down to the eyes. This caribou carried a massive great sword, bigger than what was carried by any of the others and lurched forward with an unnatural gait.

“The time has come, my vikings, my berserker, my pets! For the king, we lay siege to this wretched city!” Cyprianus cackled as he and the others approached the no doubt horror-struck crowd, the great hawks circling ominously overhead. “Glory to Sombra!”

These words left Tourmaline Glass shattered. She continued to stand there, not so much afraid as she was overwhelmed by uncertain emotions. What was going to happen now? Was the darkness here to settle in for good this time?

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(ooc): Y'all KNEW she's going to fight!

Haywire noticed how the sky was suddenly getting dark. The blank flank filly had a familiar feeling of dread crossing her mind, a feeling she last experienced, during that Nightmare Night a few years ago when the changlings tried to take over Ponyville.

Now there was mixed chaos all around. Some of the ponies believed it to me just a stormy sky while others saw and heard what SHE just saw and heard, King Sombra was attacking with a group of caribou allies! It was a good thing the blonde filly had brought her saddlebags full of 'stuff' with her, she would be needing all her wits and gear to help save her friends.

"I'll be danged if'n I'm gonna take this without a fight!" Haywire neighed. "But first, gotta git whatever troops we can organized!"

The rust colored filly quickly hid under an abandoned pavillion. Looking around, she spotted Tourmaline still standing on the grass.

"HEY YOU!" Haywire shouted out, "GIT OVER HERE IF'N YA DON'T WANNA GIT CAPTURED!"

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Derecho may not have been a member of any military force, but he was a Stalliongrad Griffon, and had the heart of a warrior. The storm was unnatural, the lights and sounds were unlike any thunderstorm he had ever seen. When the battleships emerged from the clouds, he knew he had to act. Making sure his griffonness friend and her little pony charges were safely sheltered in a pavillion by the petting zoo, he took to the air. He bellowed in his loudest drill instructor voice to all the ponies below. "Find shelter! Take cover! To safety!" Many of the ponies were young, or just civilians, and he didn't want any of them getting hurt. But some were made of stronger stuff. To those, he shouted a rallying cry. "Take arms! If you have heart of lion, we fight!"

Derecho turned to look when he heard the war horns blow. Caribou, of course. He had heard of the viking warriors, but never encountered one before. Their sharp antlers and heavy hooves aided them in battle, but their greatest strength was in their sheer numbers. They could be taken down in one-on-one combat, but an army would be difficult to defeat.

The griffon may be a fighter, but he was not a soldier. He nodded towards the young REA mare and the Wonderbolt stallion. They were trained for this sort of thing, and he was not. Therefore, he decided to do his very best to protect the children from harm. He swept low, flying over the square and making sure that all the young ponies had been taken safely to shelter. Then picking up a chunk of the broken flagpole, he stood defiant on his hind legs, unfurling his wings and brandishing his makeshift weapon.

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Thunder, lightning, and explosions tore through the sky with a violence that Sugar Star had never known. It rattled her down to her very core, shaking her bones and turning her guts into a pit of snakes and worms. This was wrong. ‘Glory to Sombra?’ The crystal ponies had opened their gates and their hearts to allow Equestria to celebrate with them and share in the happiness they had been building since Princess Cadence pulled them from the villain’s darkness. And now there were airships and bombs, and warriors on the backs of giant hawks (they had to have giant hawks, didn’t they?) had descended upon the festivities to drag the ponies of the Crystal Empire and Equestria back into the black shadows of chaos.

With a quick glance in the direction of the Spire causing her nerves to twist into a tight fist, every last trace of the silly, blushing mare disappeared from the specialist’s countenance and the soldier within her came to the fore. She stood with her wings aloft and face drawn in a vicious scowl, stepping wordlessly towards the little crystalline filly to put one hoof protectively around her and draw her back, away from danger. Quickly, Sugar’s eyes flicked over the scene to try and get a feel for the enemy. The unicorn would certainly be trouble, and the warriors were not to be taken lightly. Her greatest vantage would come from the sky, but the sky was full of giant bloody hawks. So the first thing to do would be to go after the hawks. Or the second thing, rather.

“Get to safety now, little one,” Sugar Star said softly, lowering her head so she might look Swirly in the eyes and offer a warm, reassuring smile, “We were wrong not to listen to you, but for now trust in us to keep you safe. I’m no mystic, but I am a soldier, and these brutes have seriously ticked me off.”

She would not turn her back to the enemy, but Sugar Star had heard the little red filly behind her pipe up and this had to be addressed. She turned her head to the side (one eye on the enemy, one eye to glare at the foal, “All fillies and colts get yourselves someplace safe. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and for Celestia’s sake don’t try to fight this enemy. The rest of you, please assist where you can, but again – no unnecessary risks. This won’t be an easy fight…but it’s one we’re going to win. We will not allow these monsters to get away with the actions they have taken against us all today.”

And with that, Sugar Star was in the air like a shot, heading to a nearby stand and ripping a large banner from the display, tying a thick knot in one end before bundling it and holding on tightly. The fabric was good – thick, sturdy, and weatherproof. It would work well. Without a moment of hesitation, she turned about in the air and flew up, up, above the hawks. They were large and fearsome creatures, but she was much smaller, faster and more agile even with her awkward bundle of fabric she handled. She was, after all, trained for times like these.

When she was up above she dropped down on the first hawk she would target, unfurling the torn banner and using the weight of the knot she had tied to swing the fabric around the beaked head of her enemy to blind it. With hooves and teeth she pulled tight on both ends of the banner, then jerked the massive bird’s head back to send it careening into another hawk. In its panic, her blinded bird began to savage at its companion and the two began to scrap with each other. Good – let them take each other out of the battle so she could preserve her strength.

Sugar pushed off the huge bird and flew back to reassess, barely reacting as the two hawks she had marked off shrieked and crashed in through the roof of a nearby building. Crystal showers fell to the ground with the damage, but luckily nopony was standing beneath to get caught by the sharp debris. Even luckier still, the birds did not get back up. But now there were hateful, avian eyes upon her from the rest of the feathered fiends. That trick would not work twice – these were intelligent creatures she was up against. Time to think of a new strategy.

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Soarin' had been having a ball of a time with the fillies and providing a sense of joy for the day. Without the need for a great amount of physical exertion he was able to relax and have fun with the ponies around him. While the crystal filly was certainly a hassle due to her personality if that was the worst thing she experienced then all in all it was a wonderful day, wasn't it? But no, life would never allow the stallion to rest. The storm broke overhead after a series of violent cracks and thunder that were getting him more and more worried as the seconds passed. He wasn't a weather pony but the way they were acting was in a mix of alarm and...oddness. Soarin' wasn't beyond thinking it was a simple misunderstanding however in opposition to all evidence before the next chapter in Equestria's darker history was opened.

First one REN ship and then another fell out of the sky in flames, the many lives within extinguished. Soarin' stood up and watched in horror as one of the ships came to a stop in the city, a whole neighborhood going up in flames. And then the longships appeared out of a nightmare, each oar pushing the ships along as if in some nightmare dreamscape. Oh no. Oh Celestia no. Not the Caribou. Mountains of muscle, born with axe and shield in hoof in a land where they weeded out the weak joyfully. They had been a thorn in the side of all civilization since time immemorial and now they were here to break their fury against the Empire. Just then an explosion rocked the Spire and a terrible sucking sound of dark magic was heard from the heart. In a matter of moments the party had turned into a horror show.

Then the Hawks showed up, containing a horde of berserkers, an angry unicorn, and of course seven pairs of giant talons and wings. Soarin' was dumbfounded for a moment before he got a hold of himself, a dull sense of terror being steeled rather then enabled by a sense of duty to the Crown. He was not ready for combat but then again there were several things he could do. Evacuating the kids was important. Fighting off the attack was important but he thought futile directly. He was more prepared for the third option- find a way to eject them all using his pegasi magic.

“Fillies and colts, follow Sugar's advice. Anypony here with weather control experience, follow me. If you can't help evacuate or can't help me, fight the caribou as they come. Go! Go! Go!” Soarin' bellowed as he took flight into the darkened skies, his powerful wings taking him further and faster as he went to go find the weather team some ways away...but what he found was not to his liking. Several of them were now falling with several others carrying bloody daggers, a fact Soarin' saw much too close as they lunged towards him.

“HAIL SOMBRA!” they yelled and now Soarin' was in a knife fight! Bad move for them...

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It was true, that Kahz was a changeling. It was also true that he was, to the core, a Loyalist to Chrysalis. Logically, this would put him in the position of an enemy to ponies, and politically, this was true. Personally, he bore ill will to neither them, nor anyone else. A bug had to eat, and of course it was very unfortunate that things were the way they were, but one had to make the best of it, and after all, one couldn't sacrifice the good of one's own community to the benefit of another. That was tantamount to treason.

THIS, though... this was different. The very magic of it was sickening, though he didn't know if this was personal revulsion, or the result of his being a species that had to feed upon love. The brutality of the Caribou, also, repelled him as much as the valiance and courage of his 'enemies' attracted him.


A bitter look of irony and envy came across 'Heart Sight's' features as Derecho made his recruiting call, though. He'd already broken his chitin at the leg, and had to disguise it as a more pony-like injury. It was unlikely that he'd have been any help un-injured, though, given how bent out of shape his physical form was already. "Heart of a lion, I've got. Unfortunately, it came packaged with the body of a broken doll." He spoke through obvious pain, looking over to see the filly he'd talked to at first. "Looks like you saw this coming. Any ideas on what the likes of us can do?"

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Flux had been having such a great time too, and then these meanies had to go and ruin the party! What was their problem, and who was this Sombra? The name sounded somewhat familiar, but she wasn't sure. No matter, there were meanies about, and these meanies needed to be punished for their meanieness.

The 'unicorn' frowned at the attackers, casting a glance at Kahz as he said he wouldn't be much help in a fight. She would be more useful, as she knew how to fight and her body wasn't crippled like Kahz was. Flux looked back to the meanies, striding forward without hesitation, walking up next to the other pony and griffon combatants. She may not be all that strong, but she would still try her best.

"Hey meanies! Stop being meanies, alright? Otherwise we'll have to punish you!" Flux cried out to the attackers as she stood there with the others.

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Tourmaline wasn't able to react for a while, even as she heard another filly call out to her. She was too overwhelmed, too broken and lost in emotion. When the guardsmare she had long spoken to urged her along, she found she couldn't even speak a word. She realized then that she was terrified. All of this was happening. These things she had anticipated, perhaps even to some extent wished to see come were here and seeing them they were too much to behold. At the guard's urging though she finally managed a nod and then ran over toward where the other filly hid under the pavilion.

Once there, she stared outward. Her eyes locked on the face of the robed unicorn with his black hair and beard. He looked rather like a villain from one of the many novels she had read, the wicked sorcerer there to spread destruction to all. His presence was chilling and though the force he was surrounded with, six caribou warriors, one clad fully in armor, and seven gigantic hawks, was far from a full army, it seemed insurmountable.

"What do we do now?" Tourmaline asked, helplessly, looking at the other filly. That was the imperative question. For all the books she had read, for all the truths she had learned, Tourmaline was still but a helpless filly after all. That fact was realer to her in that moment than perhaps it ever had been.

---

A cold, unsettling smile crept onto the face of Cyprianus as he watched the ponies come to stand against him. Ponies could be surprisingly bold for how weak they were. He delighted at the thought of seeing any one of these strong-willed fools survive even a day in the Southern Wilds, where he had learned his wicked magic.

There were some warriors in the crowd, members of the REA. One enterprising pegasus mare took out two of his pet hawks with a clever move. The sorcerer balked at this feeble performance. He could use his magic to make the hawks as big as two ponies, but he could not increase the size of their bird brains. It was no matter though.Though he was not his king in terms of power, among unicorns of this era, his way with dark magic was near matchless. It would be long before he exhausted his arsenal of tricks.

"A most feeble performance," he said through a dry, croaking laugh. "Submit, you fools! I am Cyprianus Rune, acolyte of the true king Sombra and one who has given himself entirely to the blackest of magics! I will make this city kneel to my liege while he takes care of your princess and the Crystal Heart which protects you..."

"You, there, in the sky!" he started, pointing toward the pegasus mare in the armor of the guard. "You think you've done well to eliminate two of my seven pets, but you'll find with my arts, nothing stays eliminated for long..." The long-bearded unicorn pointed his horn in the direction of the fallen hawks and a blast of black and purple magic shot out toward the structure into which they had fallen. The beasts were lifted upward into the sky as the dark magic enveloped them. One of them, which was still for a few last moments alive let out a desperate death wail. In time, both birds began flapping their wings again, a dark energy pulsing from them both, flesh melting from off their bones, a hollow nothingness reflected in their dead eyes. "It is as the king says: you cannot kill that which is already dead!" Cyprianus cackled as the two reanimated hawks flew at their attacker anew, clawing and biting at her with a mad and desperate hunger unlike what they exhibited before.

The remaining five hawks all circled the male pegasus in the strange uniform and fire red female and began to swoop and swipe at them with incredible ferocity. "You think to turn the skies against me, but I would not count on this plan coming to pass. It is my pets which will rule these skies this day, not you winged ones..."

His eyes went next to a unicorn mare who threw out a rather childish taunt, a limp and lame male, and a male griffon who all seemed interested in getting involved in the fight. The wicket stallion clicked his tongue and sighed. "You all would be wise to submit willingly. My sovereign’s orders are not to harm his subjects to be where I can avoid it, but if you resist us, damages may come. These caribou, you see, they are looking for an excuse to kill..." he said as the five standard caribou warriors he had with him encroached upon these would be resistors. He then pointed his hoof at the one of them clad entirely in the heavy armor, brandishing the massive blade. "And this one, my berserker, you'll find, has been drained of all sense and reasoning save a lust for mad violence." The armored warrior lurched forward as well, dragging its sword along behind it.
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Ryx winced as the sound of scraping and crunching ripped through the air again. Another crystal building falling apart, causing sharp shards and splinters to fall to the ground with an oddly pretty tinkling. The pretty sound, though, was complemented poorly by the shriek of ponies who were caught in the vicious, painful rain. The gryphon winced and ruffled the mane of a shivering young filly whom she had shepherded to safety. There were quite a few ponies huddled around her, in fact, ponies whom she had guided to safety once the storm rolled in and revealed the attacking caribou. She hadn’t set out to rescue this many ponies – indeed she wouldn’t even say she rescued them, exactly, merely guided them someplace relatively safe – but they had all instinctively flocked to the care of something that was large, deadly, and very kindly towards them.

But what now? She didn’t want to leave the ponyfolk alone, but seeing as she really was large and deadly she figured she may as well put some of her bulk to use. Ryx was a veritable titan of a gryphon, very large and heavily muscled, to the point where most who met her would assume she was a male until she spoke. Thusly it would be unspeakable for her to stay in hiding with scared ponies. With a sigh, the black gryphon deftly removed every shiny golden stud, hoop, cuff, and band from her body. As fond as she was of her jewelry, its glinting would make her very easy to spot in the skies. Perhaps she would never see her precious gold pieces again, but gold was a lot less important than the lives of ponies, gryphons, and whatever other creatures had made their way to the Empire for the faire.

“Take these,” she said softly to the nearest pony, “Where I’m going they’ll just get me killed, probably.”

Before the stallion could argue the gryphon bounded out from the shelter of a still-intact building and leapt skywards without hesitation. She’d get a good idea of where to go once she had a good vantage point from the air-

Oh. She wouldn’t have to fly very high to find a direction after all. Not even a kilometre away, she could spot large hawks being lifted into the air with cursed magic, their flesh melting off of their bones as if they’d been stewed for a while. Ick. And just like that, undead bird skeletons were assaulting an armoured pegasus while still-living hawks made to attack two other flying ponies. Well, that decided it – she knew where to go. Ryx flew up high, pounding her massive wings to carry her body up high. Once she was up she began her dive, making straight for the animated skeletons. Those foul things had to be taken care of. They were an insult to bird kind!

The golden-coloured pegasus was already bleeding by the time Ryx arrived on the scene, deciding to get straight to the killing – or…unkilling? How does one even kill a dead thing? – the skeletal hawk. There was no option for stabby kill-kill with these, considering they had no blood to bleed. Instead the huge gryphon vied for grappling and scrapping in the air with the monstrosity, using beak, talon, and feline claws to try to pry the bones apart at the joints. If she could separate all the bones and send them flying in all directions, it would probably be very taxing to try and piece them back together properly with magic. Hopefully.

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Necromancy. First giant hawks, now necromancy and undead giant hawks. This unicorn, this Slippery Ruin character, was nopony to laugh at. Sugar Star felt ice grip her heart and immediately shook her head. That wouldn’t help. Fear could hone her senses, make her more alert and flood her body with adrenaline, but too much would bring about death very quickly. It was time to draw her sword.

The mare managed to get her blade unsheathed just as she was rushed by the two skeletal monstrosities. With their dead flesh pooled in the ruins of the building they had destroyed just moments ago, these things were much faster, fancier fliers. And they couldn’t tire, either, since they were powered by the blackest of magics. It took everything in her power to parry them and fend them off with her blade, let alone get in a hit. Once, twice their talons grazed her flesh. The wounds were mostly superficial, but they stung. A lot. And bled as well.

Sugar Star was worried. She wanted to know how the rest of the fight was going – if Soarin’ and the others were managing to work some weather magic, if those still grounded had been assaulted by the caribou. She knew those brutes were making their advance, but how fared her friends on the ground?

The third graze and Sugar let out an angry yell, and then all of a sudden she only had two hawks to face. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a massive gryphon rush into one of the undead birds that had teamed up on her. Excellent! She looked to be trying to pull the skeleton apart piece by piece, and that was exactly was Sugar decided she would attempt to do with her foe. Finally, with just one hawk to deal with, she could begin to fight back. It didn’t make things easy by any means, but she was managing to slash her blade less desperately and more fiercely. Every now and again she would dart upwards or make a dead drop from her position in the sky, flitting about her foe as best she could to try and slip her blade between bones and pop them apart. It was difficult – she had muscle and flesh and armour to carry on top of her skeleton, after all, - but she was managing better now.

“WE,” she yelled between blocking and attacking, “WILL. NOT. SUBMIT. You will rue the day you called on the fury of Equestria. You will not underestimate us.”

The specialist was determined. She would defeat this undead beast and after that she would go for Slippy Room – and there would be blood.

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Derecho watched the battle in the sky from the ground. Even though he could fly, it was better to let the specialists handle the airborne attackers. The ponies stuck on the ground needed protecting, too. He saw with some satisfaction that one of the pegasi had taken down two of the enemies giant hawks. Unfortunately, they did not stay down for long. Dark magics animated their corpses. The griffon's stomach twisted and his heart lodged in his throat. This was not good, so very not good.

"Focus!" he chided himself. "These young ones need you to be strong!"

The dark unicorn regarded the few ponies on the ground with malice. "You all would be wise to submit willingly. If you resist us, damages may come." A small phalanx of caribou warriors started moving towards them menacingly. Oh, this would not stand. Derecho's eyes flashed as blue and cold as a glacial lake. He leaped into the air and landed, three feet on the ground in front of the small band, still holding his length of broken flagpole. He stood again, wings outstretched to shield the ponies from the oncoming caribou. Holding the pole in his foretalons like a stave, he screamed a warcry. It was designed to make the enemies blood run cold at the sound, a combination of a raptor's shriek and a great cat's roar. The griffon's tail lashed behind him, his crest was raised. He stomped and clawed the ground in front of him. He was angry.

"Submit? To you? Nyet! Never! We shall never kneel to a pony like you. Take your armies and your magics and leave, now! *insert very rude remark about the evil unicorn's mother in aquellian here* "

Derecho's heart thumped loudly in his chest, the blood singing in his veins. He might die here, but by the goddess, he would take a few of these b*tards down with him.

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Red Cedar had wondered what had made the bigger impression on him at first - the sound like cracking thunder or the sound of the hoof of 'Heart Sight' snapping like a twig. He was no expert on injuries of the equine structure, but the noise sounded a little too fibrous to be that of a broken bone.

But then came the remnants of two airships falling from the sky, one of which Red noted sickly bore the name of his hometown on it - a too-close-to-home reminder that Stalliongrad itself was rather close to where these near-animals came from.

Then arrived the twisted unicorn wizard and his pets and bodyguards. Twisted could be the only word he could use to describe anypony working to place Sombra back in power here, or anywhere else, if he understood his history. Luckily, their attention was on the members of the REA present at the festival. Strong an Earth Pony as he was, he was no soldier, and he was not certain he could take on any of the brutish caribou to either side of the sorcerer.

The colour drained from his face as he realized, however, that the REA ponies weren't the only soldiers here. There was another, right beside him whose life had been devoted to protecting and advancing her fellow creatures. And she had more than once expressed an interest in his continued well-being. He didn't want to think what they could do to one changeling.

Looking quickly to 'Spring Breeze', he said softly, "We need to get him out of here," nodding to 'Heart Sight'. "He doesn't stand a chance out here otherwise."

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Flux simply tilted her head at the lead meanie, a unicorn pony, as he brought back a couple hawks as skeletal things. He then demanded that they give up. She giggled at that, waving as the caribou approached. A griffon landed in their path, holding a part of what looked to be a flagpole. Flux bounced up next to him, frowning at the meanies.

"No, I don't think so. You're meanies, and I don't want to let you win." Flux said, standing next to the griffon.

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'Spring Breeze' was midway through helping 'Heart Sight' up when she saw the pieces of the two ships fall, causing her to freeze and feel the sensation of her blood running cold. Though perhaps due to not knowing the history of the Crystal Empire, the possibility of an attack here hadn't entered into her wildest imaginings. It wasn't until a flight of giant hawks deposited armoured warriors, and a unicorn that she assumed to be in charge of the lot, that her brain finally managed to arrive at an emotion.

And that emotion was rage. Whether genuine or as a defensive reaction to fear she couldn't tell, but all that she could think of was that for once since her exile, she'd been truly and unconditionally happy. And then here comes along these caribou to RUIN EVERYTHING! And not just for her, for everypony else who came to the Faire! All of that, and for what? 'Spring Breeze' couldn't even get a clear goal from them. Much as she'd come to dislike Queen Chrysalis' approach, at least in that case the goal had been something necessary. But here...

She shook her head, as her training overcame her anger. Above all else, the last thing one wanted is to enter a fight angry. It lead to stupid mistakes, and in this case, more than just her could be hurt if she screwed up. Heart still pounding, she stopped a took a few breaths to steady herself, watching the crowd as she did. While there was of course a fair amount of panic, a couple of them seemed to rallying in front approaching cluster of caribou, while a pegasus of apparently some station (though not one she recognized) tried to organize a group for the air.

She even spotted Flux among the former group.

'Spring Breeze' didn't join either group immediately, knowing that she would be at her best while she had the element of surprise, and didn't want to commit herself before she had a sense of the situation. Her patience was rewarded, as she watched the mage revive a couple of previously downed hawks with some truly vile magic. She also heard him describe the, 'berzerker' he called it, that he'd brought with him. Something resembling a plan started to form in her mind.

"We need to get him out of here, he doesn't stand a chance out here otherwise."

Red's comment brought her back to the present. She looked back at him, concern evident in her expression, not uncertain about what to do. That last thing she wanted would be to put him in danger, either by embroiling him in combat directly or not being there if he suddenly came under attack. But she couldn't abandon the rest of them either, not when her unique (among Equestrians) skill set might give their side an edge.

'Spring Breeze' gritted her teeth as she looked forward once again. She knew what she had to do, even if she hated the decision. If Red wanted to help, she'd certainly keep an eye on him. If he didn't or couldn't then he could get to cover and hopefully stay safe, but either way she couldn't abandon the rest. She doubted she'd be able to forgive herself if she didn't at least try.

She begrudgingly nodded, knowing from Red's wording that he wouldn't like this answer. “Then get him, and anypony else who needs help to the building. Hole up there, and holler if you need a rescue.” She looked back and her features softened a bit as she added, “Stay safe.”

And then 'Spring Breeze' bounded off to join Flux and the griffon on what passed for the front line, which seemed to be just the three of them now that she'd arrived. Ideally she'd have preferred a larger group on the defense, but for now at least they would have to make due. Arriving next to Flux, she stood in a combat stance and kept her voice low as she informed the other two of her observations. “He brought a powerful idiot to the fight. So, a bad idea to fight it directly, but on the other hoof I doubt it will be any good at anything else. Such as not hitting it's allies, for example. I figure we can use that to get at the mage.” She left it to their own imaginations how best to go about it, though she had a couple particular things in store. Her working theory was that as he was both the mage and the leader, taking out him could bring the whole formation crashing down. Literally in the case of the few of the fliers.

'Spring Breeze' took to the air, hovering a short distance off the ground to gain a height advantage, and bracing herself to either lead a few warriors away or leap into an opening as needed.

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“Stay safe.” The words echoed in his ears even after 'Spring Breeze' had galloped off to join what was likely a certain bloody battle. Red winced when he heard them, knowing full well why she chose to do what she did, but wishing he could have convinced her otherwise. "Stay alive," he said after her, not knowing if she heard him, but hoping she would come back to him intact.

With that, he hoisted a hoof underneath the shoulder of the injured hoof of 'Heart Sight', hauling him over his back, and then trotting towards the entrance of a nearby building, trying to ignore the further blasts coming from the direction of the crystal spire in the centre of the city, or the crashing of huge formations of crystal to the ground below. Calling to Tourmaline Glass, who looked paralyzed with the situation around him, waving his hoof in front of her face to break her self-imposed trance. "Come on!" he called. "This is no place for any of us!" trying to usher the small filly into the building as well and out of the line of sight of any caribou wandering outside.

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Kahz grunted in pain as Red Cedar hauled him onto his back, but he refrained from complaining. He knew as well as any pony or changeling that he was of no use to the combatants. His eyes, though, he always kept open, and focused upon the action. If nothing else, he could provide a detailed report for the Hive on how this turned out. Witnessing how ponies dealt with an invasion like this was valuable intelligence.

Just as valuable, though, was the interaction between Red and "Spring." While Kahz couldn't tell if the stallion knew that his lover was a changeling, there was no doubt in his mind about the sincerity of that exchange. "Heh, that's a rare mare you've got there." He murmured, maintaining a brave face through the pain as he was deposited with the other young fillies.

He looked out, watching Flux join with the ponies, and the griffons too. Their spirit was strong, but so was their foe. Although it made him sick just to watch it, he had to acknowledge the tactical value of being able to still fight when you were actually dead. This could go either way...

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Cyprianus Rune smiled at the display of resistance put on by the male griffon with his warcry and waving of the battle flag. When a unicorn mare joined him with some perhaps less powerful for their childishness but no less strongly delivered words, he laughed. Their resolve was echoed by the guardsmare in the sky, who had thus far survived the attack of the undead hawks by the intervention of a strong-bodied, muscular griffon.

"If you will not submit, you will die," the dark sorcerer spoke with his eyes focused on the male griffon with the flag. "Vikings!" He shouted. Two of the five vikings in his unit encroached upon the griffon and the unicorn at his side, swinging their hammers mightily in the direction of the pair. Another two of the warriors, two brandishing swords, chased after a pegasus mare who seemed to be up to something as she split off from the group. "As for the thing you said about my mother..." he said, smirking as he turned from them. Deciphering languages was an easy thing for his arcane arts. "Indeed she was... which was why she, like so many others needed to be sacrificed for the sake of truth..."

Cyprianus looked then toward the red earth pony stallion who was fleeing with another unicorn stallion, this one with an injured misshapen leg. This wasn't an option. Whether limp and lame, young or old, all would submit before the glory of the true king. Cyprianus would have it no other way. "Berserker! After them, make them all submit!" he shouted.

The berserker, wordlessly, soundlessly, unable to speak or even think for the curse that Cyprianus had put on it, shambled after the two who were fleeing toward where they were hiding with the children, still dragging its massive sword. It swung the sword mightily shattering the crystal structure which was their cover effortlessly. It seemed to look for a moment from face to face before raising its sword again.

"N-no! N-no!" Tourmaline Glass mouthed desperately too stunned to move as the sword came to loom over her. Then, without a second more it began on a quick downward arc right toward the crystal filly's head.

In the skies, the skeleton hawks continued to battle the guardsmare and the muscled griffon, the ferocity by which their claws and beaks move unabated, even as increasingly crucial bones were split off from their skeletal frames. The other five hawks, continued to circle the stallion in the uniform and others in the air.

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Flux simply frowned at the unicorn as he spoke. Why were meanies like this? They were always trying to make others follow them. It was sad, really, that they had to force others to follow after them. Even so, there was a more pressing matter in the form of one of the meanies approaching and swinging a hammer at her! Flux rolled out of the way of the hammer, taunting the caribou as she got back on her hooves.

"Oh come on, is that the best you can do? I bet you can do better than that! Here, try again." Flux said, standing still as if presenting herself as a target. When he tried again, she dodged out of the way again, giggling. "Whoops, sorry. Here, try again." And once again she dodged out of the way before hopping on top of the hammer and smiling at the caribou, tapping him lightly on the nose before giggling again and hopping off. "Tag! You're it!" She cried, giggling still.

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"If you will not submit, you will die."

Two of the vikings approached the griffon and his pony companions, hammers raised and ready. Derecho was reminded at once that this was nothing like the bar fights and wrestling matches he engaged in back home. For one, everyone involved was stone cold sober. And secondly, the caribou had armor and weapons, all he had was fur and feathers. But he did have a flag, that had to count for something, right?

Since the sorcerer did not seem fazed by the initial rude remarks, Derecho kept them coming. He swore a blue streak, saying phrases that would get you killed back home. He insinuated that the dark unicorn had done 'things' with his mother after she was dead, because he couldn't get any other mare to even look at him. He suggested that the unicorn's stallionhood had shriveled up and fallen off after the deed was done. He challenged that the stallion was in fact a weak gelding, hiding behind the strength of his conscripted caribou army, and maybe he should come down and fight for himself? Et cetera, et cetera.

As the caribou warrior heaved his weapon at the griffon, he held his flagpole up to block. The hammer struck hard, breaking the pole into two pieces. Before the viking could lift his weapon for another swing, the griffon clapped his talons on either side of the caribou's helmet, still gripping the broken flagpole pieces. The resounding clang disoriented the warrior long enough for Derecho to do a little aerial flip onto his opponent's back. Hind claws digging in to the armored shoulders, he gripped the antlers and pulled upwards, twisting, wings flapping, trying to pull the viking off balance and topple him backwards.

From this vantage point he could see that the earth pony stallion was carrying another wounded pony away, and to his horror, the berserker following after them....

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Marzipan had taken shelter with the other foals and fillies when the attacks began. She had been beside herself with fear. But her friends at her side had given her courage. Her parents would be horrified if they knew what was happening. Her cousin would be worried sick. But they weren't here right now, and something had to be done. When the strange lumbering creature began attacking the hiding place of Haywire and the other filly, Marzipan had flown over to the closest food stand. Which just happened to be selling pie. It was a shame to waste good food, but she needed something to distract the monster.

The beserker's sword was raised over a small crystal filly, about to drop on her head and cleave her in two. When suddenly, *SPLAT!* a crystal berry pie hit him right in the face, juice dripping down his armor and obstructing his vision. *SPLAT!* Another pie. "Ai, over here, you cretino! You want fight? I give you fight! Sporco parassita! Traditore!" Marzipan was hovering over the pie cart, one hoof full of pie and the other making rude gestures. Not that she could take on the demon deer on her own, oh no. She flitted back and foth, trying to draw the armored creature away from the cowering fillies so they could run to a safer spot. Once they were safe, she would run, too. Besides, Purple Haze had a plan, and it involved both Marzipan and Sunrise Beach finding some very important supplies...

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There were times in Ryx’s life when she wished she wasn’t so large. Most of those times were shortly after she sent foals crying to their mothers or the one time she wrecked a china shop with her tail and an unfortunate twitching of her wings. Ponies who weren’t used to gryphons often feared her or at least regarded her with suspicion thanks to her sheer girth, but this was a day she was grateful to be large. Her muscles, her wingspan, and her talons were very useful in combat (especially since she lacked proper combat training and thusly only knew how to throw her weight around and act viciously) while her thick feathers and fur helped protect her from the raking claws of the skeletal hawk she faced. It didn’t stop the blood from flowing, but it kept most of the wounds superficial. Excellent!

Slash, bite, raptor shriek, tally-ho! She was doing quite well, if she did say so herself. It wasn’t an elegant display by any means, the giant black fiend of the skies screeching as only a bird of prey can and scrapping fiendishly with her bony foe, but elegance was not something she was overly concerned with at the moment either. Each bone that popped out of place and fell to the ground or went flying off into the distance was a success, and Ryx continued to maul the skeleton until all that remained was an enchanted pair of large, confused wing bones fluttering around in a circle.

Excellent! Now…where next? The entire battle felt a little desperate, and honestly Ryx felt as though help was needed in each corner of the ring. Oh dear…but no time for hesitation. The beserker would be her next target. After all of the hissing and spitting that vile unicorn had done, he would sick his pet warrior on a little filly? Nothing could be more rotten or cowardly. Those ponies needed more than pies to help them win this one! Perhaps they’d be glad to accept the help of the gryphon’s talons.

Once more, Ryx let out an avian shriek (a booming and loud one, at that, in hopes of unsettling the enemy!) and pointed downwards, rushing into a dive. She outstretched her birdy hands, reaching for the helmet of the berserker. Just before she crashed into them from behind, she tugged off their helmet to expose some soft bits and savage them with her beak a little. Hopefully she could do some damage before the armoured warrior started getting on the with the stabbykillkill bits.

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One thing was reassuring: the bones that fell from her foe were not being magicked back into place. Sugar Star hissed as a talon grazed her shoulder once more and darted to the side, slashing with her blade to pop one wing out of place. She was hoping, just a little, that the action would ground the bony hawk. It didn’t – not that she was surprised. The bones were kept in flight with black magic and not feathers, after all. So it didn’t really help, and in fact it just served to make her foe faster.

Celestia’s flaming knickers, this thing needs to go down! She thought, spinning in the air to avoid a very fatal blow. The winged mare drew in a sharp breath as a talon whistled past her neck. At this point she realized a second reassuring thing: at least these hawks weren’t sentient. The pegasus had the feeling she would be a lot less alive right now if the hawks were very intelligent. After struggling a little longer she had finally declawed and debeaked her opponent, and with one last angry swing of her blade she watched with momentary relief as the remaining bones showered upon the ground.

A quick scan revealed a very dire scene, but not a hopeless one. The black gryphon who had saved Sugar’s hide was now helping Swirly and some other ponies below by taking on the berserker Slippery had mentioned, one of the gryphons from earlier was defending other ponies in need of aid, and Soarin’ and a red mare were engaged as well. All of them needed more assistance, but she would have to have faith in them, because one thing was very clear: Slippy was much more vulnerable now and he had to be taken out.

So what to do? Just diving down into the mercy of a crazy murdermage wasn’t exactly a good plan. She had her armour, a sword, a knife and three bows tucked away, and…and glitter! She had glitter! And a fair amount of the stuff, too. Not that she had been planning on using it. Sometimes, Sugar Star just liked to have pretty things hidden away under her armour. And pretty things usually meant bows, or glitter, or ribbons. Today she had glitter. It wouldn’t win this fight, but it would help her die less quickly. Maybe. She hoped.

With a tight grimace, the winged mare pulled three smallish vials of glitter from beneath her armour and smashed them open with her hooves, then with her sore and scratched wings began to whip up a little whirlwind. She was no weatherpony, but no pegasus worth her salt couldn’t at least work a little magic with wind and clouds. Her glittery whirlwind soon swallowed Slippy and his remaining caribou. Quickly, Sugar Star pulled out her knife, threw it in the unicorn’s direction while thinking –that one’s for Swirly – before she flew into her own sparkling maelstrom and rushed the wicked stallion with her sword.

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Slash

Slash.

Slash!

The brainwashed weather team were not trained fighters and Soarin' could tell. Unlike some of the guards he had the pleasure of working with during cross training regimes, the weather team were unfocused and wild in their strikes. That made them lesser threats, but still something dangerous to worry about. Luckily, Soarin' was no simple flier. There was a relatively simple way to handle them and he was just the type of pegasus to handle it. He gave some air and space to the weather team who advanced and advanced, slash and cutting all the while. But every time he moved backward, Soarin' let his powerful, powerful wings crash against the air with his thousands of ailerons subtly shifting the air. Each powerful flap changed the minute air pressure of the area.

The idea was simple. Each flap was creating multiple contradictory wind patterns and the change in air pressure meant wings without a certain level of power were less able to impact the weather patterns in the area. And more importantly, less able to handle the wind. He would create a ball of contradictory wind patterns that would impact all caught in it, rendering them useless. They would eventually simply fall out of the sky, hopefully buying Soarin' and others time to implement the larger plan. So Soarin gave space and air, moving in a circle pattern and then vertically. It wasn't long before the center turned into a swirling, sucking mass of wind that pulled the weather team in. For a few seconds the wind grew more and more intense, smashing them into one another again and again before it stopped, and the weary team was sent hurtling to the ground below. Success! And just in time.

A red mare had followed him. Good, hopefully she had weather control magic or experience. Soarin' got close, “Okay, here's what we wanna do: Cascading Wind Tunnel, big enough to suck all of this into a tornado and sent it anywhere but here. It'll be hard but I think we can get it. Just need to hit the constructive bullhammer loop into the deigos pattern three times, then work in a few centrifugal force redoublers and spatial wind containtment. Keep that up and we can do it, but-” Soarin' began before A GIANT HAWK appeared and nearly took his head off, the viking on top following with a large battle axe that missed him by inches. He fell back in the air, looking up. Gosh. Of all the things.

“We can't do it with these things- yikes!” he was interrupted by the snapping maw and grasping talons of the beast. Great. He went from a knife fight to a monster fight. ALL HE WANTED WAS TO RELAX and drink.

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The beserker's massive blade continued downward even as its visor was filled with crystal berry pie. It was bold of the filly to intervene, but she had no way of knowing that this berserker did not fight with its senses, for all sense had been robbed from it. It was only through the force of the repeated onslaught of pies that Tourmaline Glass' young mind full of all its useless knowledge and fanciful dreams was spared the fate of being cleaved in two. One of the pies happened to hit the blade of the sword, throwing it just off target so that it came down just to Tourmaline's right.

Tourmaline remained too frightened and helpless to move, however, and it was perfectly apparent from the lack of response to the attack that being covered in pies would not stop the berserker for long. That was when the massive griffoness swooped down, having succesfully destroyed one of the skeletal hawks. She grabbed for the berserker's helmet and with all her great might wrested it and tossed it aside before letting out a flourish of her beak.

Her helmet gone, the berserker was revealed to be a caribou cow rather than bull. Her face bore strong and stately features. There was a tuft of speckled white fur below her neck and her antlers were very large and prominent for a female, and also very sharp. There was nothing in the way of emotion reflected on her face, even as the griffoness' beak sliced into it just under the eye and should have brought pain, while a curious purple magic wisp seemed to pour out of the caribou's eyes and quickly evaporate. There was no sign that she breathed, or felt, or was aware of the things around her, but she did not have the look of death about her either.

The curse-afflicted caribou cow,picked herself upward quickly and then threw herself at its mighty foe, jabbing her in the side with her antlers and then sweeping at her with the spikes on her heavy armor.

"That one looks especially strong..." said Cyprianus as he observed the large griffoness from a safe distance. "You! Go and aid the berserker!" he commanded to the viking who was not engaged in combat or giving chase to anyone.

"At once, Master Cyprianus!" the gruff viking responded, hefting his hammer and doing as told. He stopped in his place at the sight of the berserker's face. "Wait a second... isn't that the--!"

"That is no one now but my puppet!" Cyprianus fumed bitterly. "Go now, and see that she is not destroyed. She is too valuable a toy to be lost here."

"Right..." the unsettled viking grunt responded and then proceeded to charge at the griffoness and swing his hammer at her mightily.

Satisfied that this would make all the difference, even against the powerful foe, Cyrpianus turned to survey the rest of the battlefield. One of his skeleton birds had been destroyed by the large griffon, but the guardsmare still was presently struggling with hers overhead. His other hawks continued to assail the uniformed pegasus and the other weather ponies, keeping them from using the weather to their advantage.

His vikings seemed to be struggling more than he'd suspect. One was grappling with the male griffon and had just succeeded in toppling him to the ground. Another was being treated for the fool by the childish unicorn mare, and seemed an increasingly frustrated and clumsy for it. Cyprianus growled. The Red Jarl had said that all of the vikings in his unit were the best around, but he had long been convinced that he had taken the best men for himself, doubtless even leaving the King with scraps. These vikings truly were lowly dogs, in it for themselves and not for any true respect for the true king. If it had been his way, he would have instead made an army of beasts from the Southern Wilds as opposed to relying on a singly one of them.

Not wanting to see failure, he sent a command to one of his hawks using his magic, telling it to cease hounding the pegasus in the sky and instead assist in stopping these two. With its wings spread straight, it swooped down at high speed, talons aimed right for the male griffon's head while his viking opponent struggled to get back up. It meant one less hawk for those in the air to deal with, but Cyprianus was sure it would not make so big a difference.

He glowered as he turned to see how the others were progressing in chasing the pegasus they pursued, but just as he did some strange and misty something filled the ear, reflecting light all over the place? It didn't feel like magic or look like anything he had ever seen before. He emitted a wave of magic to disperse it quickly, but just as it distracted him, a knife flew suddenly forth. It was from the guard who had just slain the other of the skeletal birds. He saw it only when it was too late for him to teleport away or otherwise deflect it. Instead, the knife connected with his upper right foreleg, bringing forth blood and much pain. He fumed with a yet unseen rage. How dare these accursed ponies wound him!

"You will pay dearly for that, you wretched fool!" he shouted as she came at him with her sword. A purple beam shot out of his horn, right toward the mare with tremendous force. It was a torture curse, the kind that which would stop a pony square in their tracks and bring about howls of excruciating pain if it connected. If it did not, though he had confidence he would not miss, Cyprianus was quite prepared this time to teleport to a safe distance away to lick his wounds a moment.

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'Spring Breeze' was at first pleased when she saw the two vikings charge at her with swords. Not only was that two less to either guard the mage or pressure the rest, and all it would cost her was time. She was airborne in an urban environment, she'd have to get very sloppy for them to pin her down. She kept them at a distance for the moment, flitting around the air and keeping them from doing anything useful.

Her pleasure died quickly though when the mage sent the berzerker after Red, carrying 'Heart Sight' into the cover of a building. One swing of the creature's sword smashed a large hole in the wall of the structure where the two, along with a few of the foals.

'Spring Breeze' had changed direction before she could even think about it, fear and rage overriding her reason for the moment. Angling toward the ground to build up speed, she ignored the warriors pursuing her she galloped at full tilt toward the berzerker as it raised it's sword once again. Her distractions had carried her too far away. The realization spurned her to move faster, but even despite that she wouldn't make it in time.

She was spared the tragedy by timely pies in the berzerker's face, of all things. Another, inventive filly had thrown pasty at the creature, while it wouldn't hurt the thing it threw of its aim buying precious seconds. It wasn't quite enough for 'Spring' to make it in time, but it was enough for a massive specimen of a griffon to start a fight with the berzerker. A risky prospect perhaps, but it at least shifted the thing's attention to a hardier target.

Even with it now occupied, 'Spring Breeze' didn't intend to give the berzerker a moment's respite. The rational part of her still needed it for her plan, such as it was. But more than that, it had tried to hurt Red Cedar, and a number of other non-combatants to boot.

Distracted as it was, 'Spring' was free to deliver a rage-fueled strike to the back of it's knee, before her momentum carried her several steps past the other side of it. She doubted the hit would cause a lot of damage, but her goal was more to knock it off balance at this point anyways. With her immediate panic passed, she remembered that her plan involved keeping the berzerker's attention on her.

'Spring Breeze' whirled around and assumed a combat stance once more. For the moment she'd have be on the defensive, avoiding the heavy strikes while keeping track of the two vikings in pursuit of her. She ginned savagely, hoping they'd be foolish enough to follow her into range.

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Purple Haze was in shock at the attack. What was this? Wasn't the power of this fair supposed to keep out meanies and bullies? For a few moments, all she could do was stare. And stare. And she stared a bit more as Derecho darted forward to be all heroic and battle the invaders, fighting off warriors with proper weapons armed with nothing but a flagpole. Her heart thudded in her little chest as she let out a twitterpated little sigh and a goofy grin.

But those undead giant birds, and the Carribou getting real close to her - that got her moving, diving into cover behind the pie cart with her two besties, away from the other little colts and fillies. Her mind scrambling around one concept: "I hate bullies." That, and the stories of battle from the highlands' past. One thing in particular - a claim, a legend ... no invader could take the highlands. One army was rumored to flee in terror without a single blow landed ... if ...

She grabbed her two friends and pulled them close.

"Oi've a secret weapon from th' highlands! It'll scare these beasties away roit quick! Already scared one army off, an' Oi bet we kin do it again! But Oi need some stuffs! Marzi? Oi need ye tae hie off an' scrabble up any o' those crystal flugelhorns ye kin carry! Oi need loik four er foiv of 'em, but'd be good tae have a spare! An' Sunnie! Oi need ye tae hie off tae onna those craft tents an' find a lil' bellows fer those lil' forges! Maybe th' glass shop? Oi dinno. Find one! Oi already spotted onna th' things Oi need! Ready? BREAK!"

She ducked out from behind the pie cart where they'd been hiding, and saw Marzipan's bold defense of the others. "Ha!" she cried, seizing up a pair of pies of her own. "Good job, Marzi! Back tae th' snows, ye roit buncha scrawny hatracks!" One pie away! Then two! Now a pie fight was something familiar, and those two carribou trying to help that berserker fell back to the ground. She hurled a whole bunch of them, including a few aimed at the grip of that massive berserker blade, hoping to make it all slippery! What a waste of tasty, tasty pies... she'd never even gotten to TRY them! But she was too busy darting past the downed carribou warriors to gallop to where the band had been standing, and their dropped instruments. She *knew* she'd seen somepony playing a recorder over there...
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Red watched in horror as the berserker swung downwards in the direction of the filly he'd been trying to direct to safety, but thankfully the only splatter was that of crystal berry pies in the face of the attacker from a resourceful young pony off to one side. A few blows from one of the griffins and a swift kick from 'Spring Breeze', and its attention was diverted elsewhere after that. The thing moved ponderously slow for an insane killing machine, but that might be to everyone's benefit in that case. At any rate, he wasn't about to stick around to figure out what it - or she - was going to do next.

Trying the more direct approach, Red grabbed both Tourmaline Glass and Haywire by the hooves out from under the wreckage of the pavilion left by the caribou warrior, shoving them bodily in the direction of a more sturdy crystal building. "No time to stare, move! Get to safety!" he called before galloping to the building himself, still carrying 'Heart Sight' across his back. Getting into the building, finding a convenient room to duck into and get under the level of the windows, he let 'Heart Sight' down off his back.

Red wasn't sure this was the best spot for, well, anything, except hiding and helping the injured, so, he decided to make the most of whatever seconds he had. As it was, he was concerned he may have to run out there again if 'Spring' or any of the others were injured themselves. Turning to 'Heart Sight', he said "All right, look. I want to do something for that hoof of yours so you're not so helpless, but I can't do it without seeing the real injury. Drop the disguise." he said firmly, looking into the other 'pony's' eyes sternly to show he was neither joking nor unaware.

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Flux kept dodging around the blows the hammer-wielding meanie was directing at her, giggling with every miss and taunting him by standing still until the swing came. It was actually getting easier as the caribou became more angry and clumsy with each miss and each taunt.

"C'mon, meanie, is that the best you can do? This is fun!" Flux said, dodging around another blow before grabbing the caribou's neck and giving him a playful little kiss. It lasted all of a second before she broke it and swung herself onto the caribou's back, resting her forehooves on his head.

"So, how's your day going?" She asked nonchalantly, resting her head on her forelegs.

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