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A Wedding of Northern Lights (Pretzel, Dusty, Open)

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By the time all the invitations were sent out, the event was no longer very much of a surprise.  It was no secret that Chieftain Sigrun of Clan Askr and Vakstyra Halvard of Clan Breen had hit it off very well ever since their first meeting in the Saarvergerg Arena, and fast became more than friends.  The fact that their homeland was split by a civil war, however, intruded inevitable delays on anything official. Not to mention the somewhat complicated politics involving Clan Breen’s public neutrality in the matter of the war, while Sigrun and Clan Askr were very much on the side of the Loyalists.

 

Many tedious months of politics later, however, and Halvard had finally managed to shift his Clan’s position, and considerable resources, behind the King’s cause.  As these were not inconsiderable in amount, the ceremony itself would be made a fairly extravagant affair, the marriage of the two now seen as a symbol and lynchpin of their clan’s alliance.  Which meant, of course, that their wedding was now further delayed by the amount of planning that had to go into it…

 

*Good thing I’ve never been one to shy away from logistics.*  Halvard mused, smiling as he completed the last double-check of the mead supply.  Sigrun wasn’t one for fancy and frou-frou, thank the gods, but an abundance of guests required an abundance of food, drink, and space.  Running his eyes over the hall, and comparing the numbers on their guest list, he pursed his lips.  *Well…. Two out of three isn’t bad.  Hope the foreign guests don’t mind the crush.*

 

At least the native guests wouldn’t.  After all, it isn’t a party until everybou’s up in each other’s faces!  Whether from joy or fighting really depended on the mood and the mead. Hopefully, this all wouldn’t be too much…

~~~

 

While Caribou weddings weren’t exactly the same ceremony as one generally saw in the southern lands, there was a general commonality between them, in that the groom and bride didn’t come alone.  Each would bring either a close relation, or a close friend, representing all the relationships surrounding the pair that would intertwine.

 

Halvard had thought long and hard about who he would bring, but ultimately settled on what he felt was the best, and only choice.  “Are you ready, Calder?”  The bull called out to the one whom he had come to think of as a son.  This was not a trivial question, as the younger bull had many quite legitimate reasons for being nervous about publicly appearing back in Whitescar.  Halvard had strongly encouraged him to come out with him, though; partly for his own good, to face and conquer the demons of his memory, at least in some ways.  

 

The other reason, however, was one he wouldn’t say to his adopted son, as it had to do, again, with the politics of the situation.  Calder wasn’t exactly a stereotypical bull, in many ways, but Halvard felt that what he himself was fighting this civil war for was to make a place for caribou like his son.  This was a public show of solidarity for the family, and the gods have mercy on any who’d have a problem with it!

 



Pretzel and Dusty's characters will post first, then I'll have a prompt ready to welcome guests!

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Sigrun had stared down many mighty beasts that roamed Whitescar, She'd routed rebel armies, fought of raiding trolls, and even debated an emperor.... But now was the only time she could ever say she'd felt this particular brand of nervous. This was without a doubt one of, if not the biggest day of her life. She could feel her heart thumping inside her chest, providing a steady rhythm to her nervous pacing. The dress she felt so comfortable in when she went to pick it out with Calder was suddenly feeling right around her. Hoping to keep herself calm, the chieftain took a series of deep breaths to calm her nerves. 

 

"Stay calm... things'll be fine." she muttered to herself as she looked out the window over the gathering outside in the streets of Barn, "There's no rebels, no enemies, no armies, just the people of barn, our clans and soon the queen and more. No reason to be nervous at all." The cow heaved a sigh, realizing her self consolatory words were only working her up further. She sniffed at the air out of the windowsill, Halvard and Calder were already here: Wonderful. Their presence did help to sooth her nerves but still she wished that Limi could attend, and that Ylva wasn't so busy back home. Still, the sight of the her big blue beloved gave her that bit of courage to step out.

 

Once she felt calm enough, Sigrun would come down to meet Halvard first. The bull would feel a strong embrace from his side when Sigrun crept up on him, "I won't lie, My love. I've never been happier or as skittish as I am right now." She admitted with a nervous smile on her muzzle. The dress she and Calder had picked was a simple, flowing, emerald green outfit. While weddings overseas might be more elaborate, caribou ceremonies tended to be more practical. On her head was a flower crown, merely decorative of course: she wasn't going to risk a fit on this day. A kiss was planted on Halvards cheek, "I would still not change a thing though."

 

 

 

 

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Was he ready? No. Calder was past nerves and well in to the deeper parts of ‘sleeping with a blade under the pillow’ as of late. Well he was overjoyed Halvard wanted him here he had many reasons to be scared, many of them marking his body as much as and dreams. Yet here he was in Whitescar. Well none will know it on this wonderful day a timer was starting. This news will move like fire of course it will, this was a big deal. But he was in it. Spinebreaker will hear of it and care for one tiny, small detail no other bull will ever make note of. Calder was in it. The fear of that alone almost made the young bull break down into tears, yet he pushed them back as he’s done so many times. He was going to do this.

 

Opening his eyes he looked away from the window at Halvard as his soon to be wife shows her love. He was more use too ehr now, going out shopping with her helped a lot. She was caring and loving, almost as much as Halvard was. Both of them showed him more love than he’d ever known. Like a family…More so than he’d let them know. “Ye Halvard, I’m ready.” Calder says forcing a smile. He was not dressed up at all, fearing looking ‘unbull like’ he’s refused dress like he did back home. No amount of pushing made him move on that, sound other bulls he was just too scared to be his self.

 

Moving away from the window he moved easy. A full year with only three legs has trained him well. Moving, sitting and so on was a more easy movement for him, most of all with his one back leg become much more strong over time to handle working alone. “You know, at no point in my life did I think A bull like me will be… Here. like this. Knowing ones like you two.” He says looking at them both. “From eating moldy bread to this? Fate is odd and so are the gods. Maybe more bulls down on luck need to lose a leg, maybe the gods enjoy it. Speaking of that I have a new story for how I lost it! A sea monster! Took my leg and half the ship! Than I beat it up!” He floofled his chest out in pride.


“And that is how I lost it and saved a full fleet. Bet the calf's will love that story.” one thing to never change in the year was Calder's compulsive lying about everything. But thanks to Halvard he has gotten better at telling him when when he was. Most the time. Snagging the young bull up in lies was a weekly game with the young bull and one he can’t seem to stop. It is easy to understand why Calder believed the god of lies and mischief cursed him.

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Halvard nuzzled his soon-to-be wife as she embraced him.  "What need is there to be nervous?  All the hard work's been done already."  The hard work being the negotiations and logistics, as far as the blue bull was concerned.  All of this theater and celebration?  That was a reward for a job well done! 

He stepped back to get a good look at Sigrun in her dress.  This was the first time he had seen her fully decked out in it, and he had to admit that Calder really had an eye for this sort of thing.  He himself was wearing a fur-trimmed robe in a matching color, clasped with a silver sigil of his own clan's Runes.  He was also crowned, in holly and mistletoe woven around his head.  "You look wonderful!  Thank you again, Calder, for your fine eye.  I should send you next time we're trading in cloth!"

 

It would probably be pretty clear to Calder that the older bull was making an attempt to keep his spirits up.  Halvard knew full well what risks his adopted son and protege was running in returning to Whitescar.  The fact he was willing to come at all was a statement of confidence in his new family, and Halvard had to respect that.  Even at the exaggerated taradiddle Caldr gave him, Halvard only answered with a chuckle.  "Oh, save those tales for when the mead flows!  Speaking of which, we'd better get into our places, the guests will be arriving soon..."

 

****

"Come one, come all!  One day only, see the two greatest champions of Whitescar pitted in the most tense, exciting, and dangerous match of all time; MARRIAGE!  Nyahahahah!"

 

Alright, so perhaps Chipper Demise had not been the wisest of choices to greet all guests coming into the longhouse hall.  The young unicorn necromancer had his ways of... unsettling those around him.  Still, it made an unforgettable statement, and given how the young one had been responsible for saving Sigrun's life on at least two occasions, they could hardly grudge him his participation!

 

The hall was spacious, with two long tables set with an aisle and platform between, where the actual ceremony would take place.  Seating was informal and unset, save for the bride, groom, and their immediate family.  Already, mead was on the table, ready for the guests to begin their spontaneous toasts to the happy couple, who were currently separated at each end of the hall.  They would approach each other only when the ceremony proper would begin...

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                                                           TwiBanner_zpsvi6knv7w.png&key=ebd9a6bf92

Twilight Sparkle had to move heaven and earth to come here. More accurately, she almost had to move the sun and moon to do so. Luna had been against her coming this far north with so little security. One of those rare times when Luna had led a more direct opposition to one of Twilight's plans, though the Princess of Friendship understood full well why. She was simply worried about the many possibilities that such a situation offered up, and many of them weren't appreciably positive. Celestia's opposition had been less stringent yet more shocking to Twilight. She had been open to the idea of Twilight going to Whitescar in principle yet as the time approached she had been more...apprehensive about it. Still, when it came down to it, Celestia knew how important it was to Twilight to go to the wedding and she wasn't going to stop her. And indeed, it wasn't as if Twilight would have been stopped by anything short of a planar shift or aetheric meltdown.

Twilight really liked weddings. A lot.
The glamour spoke to something inside of her even if she wasn't the type of mare to usually care much about it. The significance of the actions, the commitment, the declaration of such public and eternal love...these things, more than the glamour, touched her deeply. Maybe it was her deep and abiding connection to the magic of friendship. And maybe, just maybe, love was simply the most romantic form of friendship? Hmm. Probably a stretch. She didn't want to step on Cadance's territory, after all. Still, she loved it all. When it was a friend, as distant in distance as she was, it was even more special. She had an idea of what her wedding would look like. She could only hope her betrothed enjoyed the sight of waterfalls in the background of an elegant ballroom because it was happening. As long as it was early morning so they could read their books later- what a honeymoon she had planned!

She calmed her thoughts as she approached, her aether-protected bubble keeping her warm as she flew deep into the cold of the Whitescar winds. Her light blue dress flowing gently due to the flapping of her own wings. It was a long flight. Luckily she had been able to convince Rainbow Dash and some other pegasi of the importance of this event and so she had some wonderful aero-streams to help take the load off. That and Alicorn endurance! Never underestimate it. She arrived to the sight of the wedding in good spirits. As expected it was a crowded affair. Didn't need to be down on the ground to see that! She came to a landing not far from...the wedding crier? Well, she was not one to pass judgments. Maybe it was Caribou custom! A unicorn colt, to boot. Strange, but not unpleasant. Such was her excitement as Twilight entered the longhouse, her eyes soaking in every sight and sound!

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Chipper had kept his eyes on the aetheric bubble as it arrived, his normally-lidded eyes almost half-open in wonder.  It wasn't... could it be...?  Once the sheen of magic split, revealing the identity of the occupant, his jack-o-lantern grin split even wider with glee.  "Princess Twilight Sparkle!  Of magic!  Siggy told me about you!"  He was practically bouncing in place.  "They told me you know all about it, even about my kind of magic!  I hope so, not many ponies seem to like it when I talk about it, so it's been hard to learn.  I don't know why, I always show them the friendliness of my pets, isn't that right?"  He looked over to the bird perched on his shoulder, a crow that he had very recently worked his brand of magic on.  For a zombie, it looked almost whole, as Chipper had gotten to the poor creature soon.  The wounds would never fully heal, but at least the eyes and wings were still almost pristine.

 

"Caw-craak."  The corby replied, beady eyes watching the alicorn, alongside the hopeful ones of his master.  Despite being a member of a caribou clan now, Chipper was a unicorn, one alienated from his tribe.  His kind were the bearers of articulated magic, and he'd been talking for himself for so long, he'd arguably driven himself crazy!  Even with the kindness of his new family, then, he still felt... empty.  Though useful, there was some kind of validation, or acceptance, or something he couldn't name, that no bou here could really give to him.

 

But maybe Twilight Sparkle could?  Either now, or later, when she was out of the snow...

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"She knows much, much more then that...." said a recognizable voice, coming from above.

And moment later, an familiar figure of Swift Squall leaped from the roof above, churning upwards petals of still fresh snow.

 

"Hello miss Sparkle. Fancy seeing you here."  noblepony greeted the Princess, but the tone of his baritone indicated that it was no surprise for him at all.

A quick look-over made it clear that Squall forwent from his usual choice of garb and decided to 'go native' for the occasion. As if in contrast to Sparkle's method of protection from elements, swordpony's duster was replaced by heavy winter cloak with fur of unknown beast adorning the edges and collar, the cloth bound to unicorn neck by stylish brooch. Noblepony also wore a breastplate that was beautifully adorned with elaborate engravings while still remaining completely practical. The rest of his garb was similar in appearance, with only blade hanging from his side, and it's scabbard showing Equestrian origin.

"Flying here all the way from Seaddle, and alone to boot...Bold." noblepony mused, while making emphasis on a certain word. "That said, the trip surly provided plenty of sights. How do you like Whitescar so far Miss Sparkle? It's....different, isn't it?" he asked before turning to the younger stallion.

 

"And You....I remember you. You are a friend of Sigrun's boy...." noblepony recalled as he closed his eyes for a moment. "...I heard he wouldn't be attending the occasion. Such shame. A child should be allowed to witness mother's happiness." Swift recalled. "And I afraid I wouldn't be able to stay long to see him either. Can you tell him then that I apologize for what i said during our last meeting? I should chose my wording better back then, nevertheless if they were dictated by concern or not. Concern that in retrospect appears unneeded. Can I ask you of this favor, Mr....?" businesses-stallion paused.

 

The appearance of undead bird was a bit unexpected....but while Squall couldn't speak for Twilight, for him it was not a first meeting with necromantic arts. Still, it wasn't really a sentient creature he was animating, so it was borderline case between creepiness and oddness.

".......Oh dear, so you practitioner of that spell-school. Err.... In Saddle Arabia they call you kind 'Tomb Sleepers', and in Unyasi 'Mound Talkers' since they usually stick to communication only...." Swift said - unsure where to follow from his little bit of trivia - before turning to alicorn mare for assistance "Sparkle, a little help?"

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A wedding! Balder had never been to a wedding before! At least not the more traditional Caribou weddings anyway. His clan had smaller, more spiritual ceremonies that lasted only about an hour at best. They were nice and all, but the young bou couldn't help but to be enticed by the idea of the 'real' thing! So when he managed to receive an invitation to Sigrun's wedding, how in the world could he decline! First thing was first though, he had to make a stop back home to Kareheim to see his family. It had been a while since he left to travel Equestria and the lands beyond, so there was much catching up to do before he returned. However even that would have to hold off! Once he explained that he had a wedding to attend, his parents were quick to gussy him up, much to his protest and chagrin.

 

The next day with hair combed, antlers bedecked in rings and charms decorated with stars, a dark blue, starry vest slapped on, and gifts wrapped up and tied to his back beside his bow and Balder was eventually able to get free from the doting and fancifying and make his way to the wedding!

 

Unsurprisingly the place was absolutely packed when he had gotten there. As expected it was full of mostly caribou, most that Balder hadn't met before, but the curious part was the...almost eerie unicorn, the flashy entrance of the Princess Twilight! Gosh he'd have to see if she would have the chance to meet with him after the wedding! And the flamboyant almost over dramatic entrance of another unicorn. Was that just a thing unicorns did? Fancy entrances for fanciness sake? For now the calf would place all but one of the three wrapped gifts he brought onto a table with the rest. The third would be presented to the couple after the wedding. For now Balder would just....uh. He would. Stand there...he guessed. 'I really should have thought ahead about this.' he thought to himself. Not really knowing anyone here besides Sigrun was going to make things a challenge, that's for sure.

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Sigrun gave a small chuckle at Calder's latest story for his state, "One day you'll just say the trickster god himself swooped in and snatched it up. Not matter the story you go with we'be sure to have your back Calder." For now Sigrun wasn't sure she could give the newest addition to their family a hug just yet so she instead would gently pat his shoulder, being careful not to throw him off balance. 

 

"Perhaps I'm just being somewhat paranoid, My love. It's been a while since I've had a pleasant gathering like this -not- end up in a fight of surprise attack by rebels of somekind ... " She forced a smile and again nuzzled the bull's cheek, "I suppose I should calm down... Barn is by far the most defensible place in Whitescar." Stating that last part aloud was mostly for her own benefit at this point. Ribbons of mist wafted from her nostrils as she let out a sigh. Time was fast approaching for the pair to be separated until the ceremony, while customs dictated that Halvard and herself be separated until the hoof-fasting; there were no rules against moving about to talk to the guests.

 

"I'll be sure to follow up Chipper's greeting with one of my own then." The cow again kissed Halvard's cheek, "See you at the ceremony... and Calder keep him out of trouble for me."

 

The group that Chipper had approached seemed to have a very familiar purple member in it's midst. Princess Twilight had come after all! This was wonderful to see, especially after the sacking and mending of the crystal empire all that time ago. The bride of the hour bowed her head forward slightly, "It's good to meet you, Princess Twilight. Your sister has told me so much about you... I'd hoped to introduce my son to you today but he seems to be running late." A cloven hoof was offered to the alicorn, being especially careful not to touch the pink bubble surrounding her.

 

At this point, Chipper had made himself at home amongst Clan Breen and Askr alike. Sigrun herself surprised the young necromancer with a hug from the size that lifted him up a bit off the ground, "Chipper! You're not hoping to capture the heart of the newest princess are you? You're a handsome pony but from what I hear her first loves are ink and parchment." She set the smaller pony down  and gently pat the head of his avian companion, "Really, I'm glad your hear... and thankful for all you have done."

 

 Sigrun would give her old friend swift a small smile, "It's nice to see a lively swordstallion like yourself making your self so at home in Whitescar. I'll have to ask you to refrain from your usual rooftop strolls though." She held up a hoof a moment, seemingly appraising the noblepony, "I think you've grown a bit since I last saw you! Has your sword swing grown any stronger?"

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Nervous as Calder felt, hearing compliments about his eyes for good clothing and clothes did make him happy. All of that was really do to the old mares back home he has taken to spending time with, they started it. Two times a week they hanged out at parks or other places over some tea. It really was pleasant, good tips for his fur as well. “You think so? Thanks.” He says with a soft smile as he felt a hint safer, than giggles as they both remark about his story. “I like that! How can I add that in… hrm.” He makes a thinking face, then starts laughing more. “I promise I will not try it. Yet. When I can make it sound better maybe~ Don’t want to upset the trickster god. They may make me lie even more.” He winked and nuged Halvard. “Keep the old tree out of trouble? I think it’s going to be the other way whenever I am around.”

 

---

 

Calder stuck with Halvard as the party slowly got going as the gusts came in, he already found the mead and wasted no time getting to drinking to help give him some courage in a mug. “I’m telling you Hal, we need to start some drinking event. Winner gets crowned ‘King of mead’ or something. We’d make a killing on it, so many bulls and even cows will want that pointless name.” He says between gulps of mead. “Maybe even make some silly crown for it and merchandise. We’d be swimming in coins.” He looks about the grand hall, pretty spares for now but growing fast and.. Oh, it was...! “Hæ! Taillit spark!” He shouted in greeting, well he was still rather… scared of her. He felt safer nowadays, and this was on… well, not his land. Nore hers! So even hoofing. He just hope he remembered her name, some part of him was screaming he messed it up somehow.

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It took Twilight a second to recognize just what the smaller, unusual unicorn was speaking of. When she did, it all made sense. Chipper Demise. Necromantic scion of a disgraced Equestrian family who lived in the famed Southern Wilds. It was clear he was seeking some sort of...validation, perhaps. Poor colt. Practicing a taboo school, isolated from his own kind, alone and in need of love and support. The caribou had treated him well and done everything they could but the heart of each and every Equestrian beat to a harmonious rhythm. Done so alone it could be...tragic. She was about to speak when the next guest arrived.

Swift Squall. He was an interesting fellow. Knew a little about a lot and a lot about a little, which made him an excellent companion most of the time until he wasn't. His vast knowledge base and abilities meant he had his hoof everywhere. Plus he was marrying her Captain of the Guard. Talk about playing with Fire! “Nice to see you, Squall. I thought you would have brought Fire...nonetheless,” she said, turning to the little unicorn. “And you must be Chipper Demise! I've heard plenty about you. I know all about your school of magic, the necromantic arts, known otherwise as the Plane Walkers," she said, answering Squall in a round-about fashion, "It must be tough practicing magic in a land like this, but you are part of a family all the same. Would you like to sit at my table?” she asked, keeping the subject of how unusual and taboo the magic in question was out of her mouth for now.

Sigrun arrived next. The Cow of the Hour as it was looked fantastic in her dress. Caribou and dresses never really went as well as a pony and a dress. Something about the near-universal extent of their heavy, packed muscles and bulges marking them as somewhat more difficult to really dress up to Equestrian standards. Nonetheless, the beauty of her station and the glow of her joy was enough to marl her, and indeed everypony who laid eyes on her that day, as wonderfully blessed. “Sigrun! I'm happy to be here. I wouldn't have missed this for all the world. You look radiant!” Twilight said, only barely keeping her fillyish love affair with the glory of weddings contained. Barely.

Happening upon Twilight at this time, in her mood, was Calder. He was a peculiar but pleasant little bull who had a bit of fear in him regarding the magic that Twilight had. It wasn't a shock. Many caribou had an innate distrust of the magical powers that unicorns and pegasi possessed. It was a little ironic given their history but such was life: A species born for war it seemed that had aggressed the Equestrians for untold generations feared the powers of the creatures they aggressed, despite the equally innate peacefulness they possessed. Calder was trying and that was enough. “Hæ, Calder of Clan Breen!“ She said, smiling and pleased to see him. “Nice to see you well. Could you show me to my seat? I need a proper caribou to show me my way and I can't think of anybou more qualified.”

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Halvard was well aware that Sigrun's statement about the defensibility of Barn was for her benefit, but he also hoped Calder would take reassurances from it as well.  The young bull had reasons to be wary of his fellow caribou, but when the chips were down, you could really count on good fortifications!  "That's the spirit, love!"  He laughed, sending her on her way with a perhaps-too-low pat.  "Don't let the colt freak them out, now!"

 

No one needed to know the blue bull all that well to tell that he, too, was happy, happier than he had ever been in his entire life.  He'd grown more expressive, over the years; long marches on patrol with the Vakstyra can rob a bull of his communicative power, but since becoming more involved with Sigrun, he'd expanded his political and mercantile experience and connections, making him altogether more sociable.

A good thing, too, because he now had a younger bull around who really shouldn't be kept guessing about how the older caribou around him feel.  He smiled down at Calder, listening to his idea of a contest.  "Indeed, but why stop there?  I am planning to export fine examples of our brewing; we could make the winner the face of our new business!  It's a pity we don't have those machines the southlanders use to label their products..."  He rubbed his beard, thinking.  It was a good idea, worth considering, and it was important that Calder knew that Halvard was taking him seriously.  If the bull proved himself open to ideas, perhaps the younger one would open up to him on a deeper level.  *Oh, my son... do you know how I've come to think of you, lately?*

 

And so he sat there, waiting to see if any guests would come their way... and it seems one had, bearing gifts!

 

"Allo there, Balder, was it?"  Halvard hoped so, he had to rely on his memory for names and faces quite a bit, in his line of business.

 

~~~

 

Chipper, meanwhile, was having the time of his life.  He was really a sociable pony, and all those long years alone in the southern wilds had only solidified a need for the company of others, an almost desperate one at times.  It was one of the reasons that he practiced the magic he did; he couldn't stand the thought of having his friends taken from him... 

 

But now was not the time for sad thoughts!  Right now, there was a very silly green pony in front of him, and Chipper was laughing.  "Nayahaha, of course he's not going to miss it!  He's just a little late, is all."  He dropped his voice to a lower register, but still pitched in a way that everyone around could here.  "He's missing his own special somepony.  I kind of do too, Mei's really neat!  Oh, and I'm Chipper!"  A statement true in every sense of the word, especially now that Twilight Sparkle had noticed him!

 

"Yes!"  His normally-lidded eyes sprang wide with joy and he jumped with all four hooves, pony-pronking in a way that looked eerily similar to Pinkie Pie.  "I wouldn't call it a plain, though; it's more like a mountain!  I can't climb very high, though.  Sometimes my friends climb so fast, I can't catch up with them."  His ears and smile drooped, just for a second, before returning.  "But not Featherhead, here!  He's a slow little birdie, who doesn't like to leave his friends, aren't you?"

 

"K-kaaawwww..."  The bird in question gave a sepulchral croak.

 

It was here that Sigrun arrived, lightening everypony's mood.  Chipper had to laugh at the suggestion of him romancing Twilight Sparkle.  "Nyahaha!  I can bathe in ink and dress myself in parchment.  I won't even mind the papercuts too much; If you're fine with blood, I'm fine with ouchies!"   Yes... a somewhat dark and demented Pinkie Pie, with Fluttershy's love of animals.  That was Chipper Demise in a nutshell.

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Fire Walker had been going through a rather tiring process that came with the rather epic transition of a major career upgrade. She would leave her job in the Royal Equestrian Army and join up with Princess Twilight and other brave ponies to be part of the Twilight Guard. Among her many responsibilities, she would help guard the rapidly growing village of Ponyville. It was no longer a sleepy little cow town, it was now exciting and alive!  As she ran a hoof through her mail, which would be the last she would pick up from her office in Canterlot, an rather fancy envelope fell to the floor.
 
“A wedding invitation?”, she muttered to herself after she tore open the envelope, “Chieftain Sigrun of Clan Askr and Vakstyra Halvard of Clan Breen...That’s still a thing.”, she had remembered hearing about this during the last time she spoke with the always impressive Sirgun. She had her people had gone through hell and back during the last few years and a royal wedding would help lift the spirits of her Caribou. She also recalled that Sigrun’s hubby to be was rather yummy. The invitation was for her and an ‘one’, but she had a feeling her own husband to be, Swift Squall probably already had his invitation. Now this trip to Whitescar they would have to plan...As long as her schedule permitted her to do so...
 
***an assortment of days later.***
 
Whatever she had for breakfast sure did not agree with her tender, pony tummy!
 
After giving herself a good lookover and after she made sure her hooves were clean, the red Pegasus pony left the public bathroom to find her beloved, standing right by her future boss. Ho-Boy. Fire silently prayed that the often boisterous stallion kept his cool.  No snarky comments. No words he thought would be harmless, but instead started an hundred year war with the Equestria and the Caribou lands. And there he was, with Twilight. Oh dear.
 
"Actually, he did.", the familiar mare said with a polite bow, "Your highness." Apparently the new Captain had taken Twilight's advice and visited Rarity's shop for a proper dress. She wore an white ensemble that kept her warm, while still looking just right for such a wedding. If only she had been able to make it to the bachelorette party. Or would they have such a thing? Probably not. At least for the royals. She originally was not sure if she would be able to attend the wedding with the good deal of thing she had to do...Before officially joining Twilight's guard she had things that needed to be done back in Canterlot. Boring, but important things..But she decided she needed to attend the wedding no matter what!
 
"Thank you for the invitation.", she gave the Caribou couple an suitable bow. Canterlot ponies could curtsy, dip and genuflect like no-pony other! Swift was also not bound in chains, so that was a plus! And they were being lead to their table, which one would assume they would all get seated at the same place, which would be the 'pony' table. And please, oh please...Let this wedding have an open bar...
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It was a long journey across land and water, but one young bull was finally approaching the site of the festivities. This was the first time Lími had stepped hoof on his native land since permanently settling in Equestria. Much has happened in that time, but being in Whitescar again felt... oddly nostalgic to Lími. His early years may not be entirely remembered with fondness, but home was home... and it was where his family lived.

 

The caribou's fur also sure did appreciate not having to worry about hot days at any rate. Those could be murder on the poor lad!

 

Lími wore a familiar get-up; a white princely tunic worn under his green cloak. As his fancy garments of choice, they would be well-suited for the wedding of Halvard and... his mother. It still felt a little off to think of his adopted mom as a married cow, but Lími's heart knew that Halvard at least was a caribou of honor. Lími would be proud to call Halvard his father-in-law.

 

While Lími arrived somewhat later than he liked, he was gladdened to recognize a few faces. And of course, there was the Jarl of Askr in her wedding gown. "Mother!" Lími called out joyfully with only a faint hint of his worry over keeping everyone waiting for him; "I errr, hope the hour has not grown too late in my tardiness....."

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Sigrun had to suppress a small giggle as she heard Calder's mangled pronunciation of the princess' name. She smiled to the awkward bull from where she stood before looking back to the regal guest, "You honor me, Princess! I hope your Sister-in-law and brother are fairing well these days. Enjoy the festivities to your heart's content!" The Chieftain stood aside as Twilight made her way towards Calder.

 

An awkward laugh escaped the bride's lips upon Chipper's morbid jest: She was still getting used to his peculiar sense of humor. Rather than leaving his response hanging in the air she would bring her hoof to her chin, "I'd rather not have you cut in anyway... but I could see about having you fitted for a suit made of paper. I'm sure a friend of one of our guests might be interested in such a challenge." She said, her eyes momentarily flicking back to their royal visitor.

 

 

fortunately for Fire Walker, No caribou wedding worth it's saltlick would lack an open bar. A Whitescar bartender wasn't quite the same as one they might see in Canterlot. Instead of a clean cut stallion or mare in a nice looking vest and tie, there was a burly looking bull with a well groomed and impressive beard in a gambeson beside a gigantic barrel of mead. The beverage native to Whitescar clearly had highest demand for obvious reasons, but for the sake of their guests there were a multitude of other beverages for them to partake in... sadly there weren't many fancy glasses that could survive the voyage so the majority of the drinking utensil available were mugs and steins.

 

"Thank -you- for attending, Fire. It's wonderful to see you once again in our land--"

 

Sigrun's ears twitched and swiveled towards the sound of a very familiar voice, "Um... please excuse me a moment!" She bowed to Fire quickly and moved on to the smallish bull in the green cloak. "Limi..." She loomed over him a moment and then would lower herself down to give him a maternal nuzzle and pull him into a warm hug he'd not have felt since he'd left for Long Guo. At this moment she couldn't really bring herself to immediately consider her son's potential embarassment, she was holding on to this affection for far too long since his departure. Once she let him go she offered the younger bull a bright smile, "Welcome home, My son! We've missed you greatly!" 

 

... Her voice was just a tad unsteady.

 

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"O-oh! Yes, sir. That's me, Balder of Clan Kare." the young caribou smiled brightly, he hadn't really expected that but it certainly was welcome to be...welcomed! "I'm glad I was able to make it on time. My parents insisted I prepared accordingly." Balder laughed and motioned towards his outfit. "Though truth be told, a portion of the time preparing gifts. Which I hope will be to both of your liking!" tradition in his clan dictated that gifts should be hoof made if one can help it. Thankfully on such short notice, his brothers and sister lent their hooves in the craft...elsewise they'd probably be as lopsided as his antlers!

 

"You and Sigrun are more than welcome to open those two any time you'd like by the way! This one here though..." he glanced back at the one package still resting on his back. "Is to be presented to you both after the ceremony. A gift representing your new found unity, I think...Thank both of you again for having me!"

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Well, this was certainly an exciting day. There was a marriage going on! Yxa smiled a bit as he leaned against the outer wall of the hall containing the party. He liked being alone with his guitar from time to time. 

 

Though it it might be high time he move on inside. The musical bou cracked his neck as he stood, strapping his guitar to his back before wandering towards the door. Aside from Sigrun, he wasn’t entirely sure who most of these people are, and considering she seemed a tad busy at the moment, he just grabbed himself a drink before leaning against the wall and watching the party. 

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Squall's mouth turned into thin line when Twilight mentioned Fire. Oh, as if she had a right to be surprised about her 'absence'!

Of course crimson mare's sudden appearance shortly after spoke for itself. It didn't meant that noblepony would let Purple Princess slip off the hook so easily.

"Somehow we managed. Not that it was easy. We had busy schedules before, but now Moto's new duties leave us with barely any room for voyage or each other." Swift explained while giving Sparkle cold and disapproving glare.

 

"Well, it depends of what kind magic." Squall mused while grabbing the horn with some beverage from the plate of passing waitress. "Pass the mountains north from here and I am sure you will find plant of opportunities and test subjects for art this young lad practices. Test subjects that would welcome you with open, rotten arms." swordstallion said in deadpan tone. The frozen lands beyond Spine of the World Serpent were as least welcoming as you could get in the known world. Mainly due to hordes of frozen undead that roamed them.

 

Thankfully the approach of Squall's chosen rival spared to unicorn from any further talk about necromancy - at least for a brief moment.

"Hmph. Like I had a choice. There are so many people trying getting as close as they can to the ceremony that I have no other option. Who does your urban planning?" Swift answered in a grumpy tone, but the warm gleam in his eyes told a different story. It was clear that he was as glad seeing each other as she was. "The bou from all over Whitescar are coming to witness it so getting here isn't easy. And not only your kin is coming." Swift added adressing day's bride. What he said was true though - many nations sent their representatives for the event, and those representatives brought their entourages with them in turn. It wasn't surprising really. Seeing that Sigrun was the most likely t candiateo wear the crown of High Queen in the future - many of those representatives sough to worm their way into her and her husband-to-be good graces early....

 

However the Jarl's next question knocked any thought about of politics right out of Squall's head. Everyone present could see a competitive smirk that crept on noblepony's face. Jade aura bloomed around unicorn's body like a faint mist, and spark of excitement flared in his eyes. This was a clear confirmation of Sigruns previous observation - Squall clearly grew in powerr since their last clash. And not just in muscle.

"Ohhh?" Swift murmured as one of his legs moved closer to his weapon for a split second. "You should be more careful with your inquiring Bladehymn. Otherwise I may take this as a demonstration request." businesspony in a voice that was eager for a scramble.

 

A few tense second passed before aeather glow died out and Swift put his leg back to ground. ".....I will wait. Just as before - this is hardly a place. You and your Love have to enjoy each other first before that." he said. Seeing that he and Fire will themselves marry soon, Swift could sympathize with desire to a peaceful time with your special someone. Harmony knows that he already made some preparations to have exactly that when their ceremony comes

"That said...." businessespony started again. "Punching each other was not the sole reason for me being here. There are lot of things I feel we have to discuss. A gifts I have for you. Giving a boost to yours country economy. A trade contracts that comes with that. Building an infrastructure that will help with this. And last but not least, dealing with a Red Ja..." Squall spoke before he was interrupted by the arrival of none other then Lími!

 

Swift took a few steps back to give mother and sone space they needed. They clearly needed that, and noblepony wasn't a one who would interrupt family reunions. However, judging from unicorn's expression, the arrival of young bull - something he assumed would not happen - flustered the swordstallion quiet a lot!

 

"....Well...this is awkward." Squall murmured to both Fire and Twilight - clearly referring to his earlier request to Chipper.

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Calder was happy to hear Halvard taking his thinking seriously, it has been something bumping about in his head as of late to help make them more coin. But the remark of making it a new business took him off guard. “What? Start up a brewery? That’s a rather big…” he trails off thinking on it and slapping the face of a winner on it. “Well, when you think on it… We can’t do it off the gate. No, first we do one or two events without that. Start up are own thing. If it does well on the side pull it in and for the next event the ‘king of mead’ gets their face on one of are drink lines. That way the new drink has time to prove itself you know? And if it fails the events can keep going unchanged by it.” He offers back with a smile, it sounded pretty smart. At least in Calders head. He was about to add in on using southlander tools but seems gusts were starting to flow in now. “We can talk more about it later.” He says before giving Halvard a fast hug to his side before letting the Bull go off and do what he had to do.

 

His greeting to Taillit spark seemed to have done just what he did not want. Made her come over to him. Wonderfull. He had to talk to her now and he deeply, truly did not want to do that. “No no, not Clan Breen.” He says back, his words thick with the accent of the north. A year in the southern lands has done nothing to remove it. “No clan.” The word anybou made the gears in his head spin. It was… a mess of a word for him to break down. But it must be aimed at him. “Qwall field? No?” He added with a forced smile to hide the fact he was trying to not have a breakdown over how bad he was messing all of this up. “Uh, sæti.” He mutters waving a hoof at the tables and all the seats. “Take! Take one. All seat good for Taillit spark?” He offered, did she want a seat all to herself? Were they meant to have one for her? A throne? He really did not know as his brain fills with images of her tossing him about with magic for not having a throne ready.

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New Guests, new guests!  Chipper was practically giddy with glee; this was literally the biggest crowd he'd ever witnessed in one place.  It was a wonderful time to discover that one was an extrovert, especially after so much of one's life had been spent alone.

 

"Oohhh, so you're Fire?  Are you as hot as your name?  I'm as happy as mine right now, nyahaha!"  Now whether other ponies or caribou would be happy around such an imperfectly socialized specimen remained to be seen.  One couldn't even be sure his entendres were innocent or deliberate.

 

Turning back to Squall, the lad shrugged at the noblestallion's suggestion of going north.  "Eh... they're too big for me to practice anything but fireball targeting.  I've gotten good at that!  Wanna see?"  His horn started to glow, and the guests were only spared an impulsive incendiary by the harsh cawing of Featherhead right into Chipper's ear.  Sometimes, thankfully, friendship was antimagic.

 

"What's that?  Oh, new guests!"  He pronked away, leaving behind a mother-son reunion with four-hooved jumps to end up next to Yxa.  "Heya!  Glad to see ya made it; didja bring your magic Axe?"  Not having grown up with music at all, let alone modern Equestrian music, that was the best phrase Chipper had for the instrument Yxa was carrying.

 

~***~

 

Halvard caught Fire's bow from across the room, and waved, though it was becoming increasingly hard to see the whole crowd from his end of the table.  Not to say that he didn't have enough guests on his end to play the host to, though.

 

"You're quite welcome, Baldr.  And I think... hm, I'm not sure of what the ceremony protocol is, for gifts.  I'd like to wait until after, myself, so that Sigrun and I can open them together."  Aware of Clan Kare's traditions, he added.  "Gifts from the hooves are gifts from the heart, and I thank you."  As a trading clan, Breen had to respect a crafting clan.  One more thing Halvard hoped Calder was picking up...

 

The lad learned fast, as he was able to take up an adult business conversation with ease.  "Well, I don't know that we'd have to brew the mead ourselves, just help to sell it.  I can tell you right now the best brewers in Whitescar aren't found in our clanslands.  We'll have to share the profits of our venture with them, naturally, so I think they would be perfectly willing to accept a partnership."  He nodded, smiling as Twilight Sparkle began to approach them.  This would be a good way of seeing how far Calder had come in greeting strangers and...

 

Odyr.

 

Well, the lad still had a ways to go.  It took some effort for Halvard to stifle any confidence-destroying laughter at his ward's word fumbling, and even more to swallow any shown sorrow at Calder disavowing his clan name.  Of course, he hadn't been fully inducted yet, but blue coat or not, Halvard still felt a real kinship between them.  

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Fire Walker could not help but smile as a rather tardy and very adorable Lími as he scooted on by. She had encountered the young caribou before and while he had a rather hard life, he seemed not to let it get him down. Even if he interrupted her conversation with the Jarl of Askr, she could never be upset with him. Swift Squall could probably notice the dreaded look in her eyes..The 'desire to have a kid of her own' look usually popped up when she was near pleasant foals and kids. Thankfully this usually went away when the mare realizes that kids are better in small doses and when they're not your actual responsibility.
 
This interruption gave the Pegasus pony a moment to snatch up two drinks from the Whitescar bartender. While she would probably enjoy an mead, she had other plans.
 
"Here Swifty, try this.", she made her way over to the stallion with two glasses clutched in her wing tips. "I actually had one of these during an conference in Whinniepeg. Amazing stuff, and how could I turn down the chance to have an actual Caribou make me an Caribou drink. This is basically red wine, whiskey and I'm tasting..", she took a sip from her glass, "Cinnamon..", those who knew the pony would know that she absolutely loved the spice.  "And for the record, there is a good deal of things we are doing to set everything up, and you and I still get time together...Like this wedding!"
 
Oh gods. She would have thought Docket's annoying brother was here. But nope. This was a different goofy unicorn. And was he hitting on her? Right next to her fiancé? Considering how sword-happy her hubby to be was, he was on a one way trip to HoofInSnout Central! But he was kind of young and maybe he visited the burly barkeep before she did. Not having any witty comeback to toss back at the pony, she simply nodded her head and smiled. She was very hot after all.
 
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A veritable explosion of ponies and caribou alike livened up the landscape, instantly transporting the Princess back to the more crowded and excitable of gatherings back home. A wedding could bring out all sorts of creatures and this was proven true time and time again, with the unexpected and expected alike playing hist to the dizzying expectations they brought with them. Indeed, she had been somewhat saddened to not see Fire Walker show up. Instead, here she was and looking radiant to boot. “Fire Walker! I thought you might not come. Glad you did. You look amazing! I see you went to Rarity's. She was so happy with all this wedding business that I'd be shocked if she didn't decide to get married herself simply for the designs,” Twilight giggled, though there was truth to it. Rarity likely did have over ten journals full of notations for her wedding, and that was likely just for all the important colour combinations.

Speaking of, her paramour was being...well, Swift Squall. His tone indicated that he didn't approve of her new job. Well, tough going for him. If he was going to be upset about his betrothed's success in life then he would have to learn to deal with an eternal unease because Fire Walker was limited by nothing but her ambitions. She was intelligent and strong, brave and loyal, compassionate and full of integrity. “Oh, well, I'm sure you'll manage to find time in your busy schedule for somepony you love,” she shot back with a teasing flint in her voice. She wasn't angry at him. She could understand the frustration inherent in having a loved one change their scheduling due to a new promotion. But if he loved her the way he claimed to love her then he would show a little bit more excitement and appreciation for giving Fire Walker the promotion and title she so richly deserved.

“Well, I'm sure he does what he can to keep up...feel free to sit next to me when the time comes, Chipper,” Twilight responded with as much a smile as she could muster without looking too deeply into the undead animal's lifeless eyes. Necromancy wasn't a school of magic that Twilight really thought much about. Indeed, the idea of death always...disturbed her, in some small way, but nowhere near as much as the possibility of reversing it. Creepy, creepy images flashed in the back of her mind whenever the subject came up. Just as quickly they were tossed away by any other event, and today both Chipper's need for companionship and the wedding took precedent. She was concerned for a second that he was going to fireball a bunch of guests but she didn't need to worry about a countermeasure. Something else stole his attention and she was more than happy with it. The aforementioned creepy bird got his attention, directing it towards the newest guest. Happy that there was no fire to be worried about, Twilight's attention was turned to a new guest as well.

It was Limi. She knew Limi, or at least, knew of him. He occupied a strange place in the pantheon of modern Caribou. Brother to the most feared of the rebel Jarls. Adopted son of the most vital loyalists. Kind-hearted and caring, in love with a foreign Princess. You couldn't write a more complicated system of loyalties and alliances for a little bou with such simple dreams. It was charming in a way and tragic in others, but on a day like today, she was going to focus on the charming aspects of his story and his character. “Limi, you look great. I'm sure Mei would appreciate your look. We need to get a magi-pic taken before too long and send it to her,” She said, more than happy to playfully turn the screws. Today was a celebration of love after all, and puppy love was one of the most delightfully pure expressions of it.

She was going to say something more to Sigrun but mother and son embraced warmly. Twilight wasn't going to rob the moment of its loving intimacy and moved further afield. She focused back on Calder. He was trying. He was nervous and he was trying and he wasn't making it easy. He didn't understand the word qualified. She considered going through the effort of explaining it but decided not to. He had tried hard enough and seemed nervous enough to ruin the fun of the wedding for himself if she tried to get more out of him. “Thank you, Calder. You've done well,” she offered sweetly, finding a seat fit for a pony with wings and preparing herself for the ceremony.

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Yeaaah, Lími felt a little awkward being smothered with Sigrun's motherly love. But hey, he kinda missed it too after being away for so long. "Yes Mother," the young bull provided affection of his own via nuzzling of Sigrun's chest; "I may have traveled far and wide, but I found few things which compare to the warmth of a mother's love. I've... missed you too."

 

Before the reunion between mother and son occurred, Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria was able to exchange friendly words with Lími. Their paths had crossed before on a few occasions, with the caribou always willing to answer the alicorn's inquiries about Viking Caribou society. "Odýrr, eh heh heh," Lími blushed at the thought of Twilight's suggestion; "I'm... quite sure Mei has already seen my garments with her own eyes." Hopefully, Twilight wasn't thinking about taking a magi-pic of Lími AND her in it; that would be... difficult to explain to Mei without arousing her suspicions. Like any good dragon, a dragon mare like Mei always guarded her most deerest treasure with extreme prejudice.

 

Fast-forwarding a ways, Lími managed to wiggle his way out of Sigrun's mighty grasp and made his way to the closest caribou that he recognized. "Balder!" The Sigrunson cried out towards the young bull from Clan Kare; "Now there's a sight I haven't seen in almost an age!" Lími had always recognized Balder as something of a kindred spirit ever since the old days. Of course back then, the buck from Askr had not been one to socialize easily, but maybe today Lími can begin to remedy those past slights of half-reciprocated friendship.....

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Magic... axe? Yxa tilted his head slightly at Chipper’s words, trying to puzzle through it. He knew the unicorn was an odd one, but... wait...

 

”Oh, this? Ya, I brought it along in case Sigrun needs some more music in her wedding. Would’ve brought my whole setup, but guess I’ll save that for the afterparty.” Yxa shrugged, looking down at his guitar briefly before looking at Chipper again. “As Chipper as ever, I see.” He added, chuckling slightly at his own joke. With that though, he was content to just watch the party go by, unless Chipper or someone else decided to chat him up some more.

 

Now that he was really looking, there were more here than he thought that he recognized. Limi, at least by name, was familiar, for one. Nice to see he made it. Once the little family reunion had a break, Yxa raised his drink in a greeting to Sigrun, smiling at her. 

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"You're most welcom, Halvard. My parents and siblings asked that I send my regards as well. I tried to convince them to come along, but there's a lot to do at home that required their attentions." Balder was glad his gifts were well recieved...even if they hadn't been opened yet! The young bou hoped that they'd be just as well once opened as they were wrapped. Both of the gifts were wrapped in such away that just cursory glances wouldn't tell you what was in them, but one was fairly hefty looking to be sure.

 

It seemed like the wedding party was already into full swing. Well, almost. There wasn't enough drinking or singing for it to be REALLY into full swing, Balder knew that much about any caribou party. But lack of intoxication and potentially off-tune chanting aside, everyone seemed to be having a great time! Even if he wasn't mingling just yet, the atmosphere of celebration was on that he enjoyed. Though as luck would have it, Balder would have his chance to mingle yet, with a long time friend no less! "Lími! Stars, it has been a while!" the lanky bou was quickly over and gave his friend a hardy hug. Thankfully for Lími, one that did not last nearly as long as Sigrun's own. "How have you been! I've heard you've been traveling far and wide like me. Shame we never bumped into one another out there!"

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