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RoanQuake

What was Left Behind [Open, Walk-in]

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More than a thousand years ago, the strained peace held among the three pony tribes buckled and ultimately fell apart as distrust and resentment brewed, eventually bringing forth the windigos that brought all of their hard-earned prosperity to ruin and forcing them to abandon the very soil they and their ancestors were born on in search of more greener pastures. Little did they know that it was not the environment that was to blame, but the distrust itself that was nurtured by the selfish few who prioritized their wants above the needs of the desperate many. All failed to see the error present within themselves and were to share the same fate as their homeland by being frozen in the blizzards born from their strife until the realization that living harmoniously, with genuine compassion and selflessness for one's fellow pony, was felt and shared freely and unconditionally.

 

An entire millennium has passed, today's generation of ponies live in contentment and happiness, though such fortune has yet to be bestowed upon the other non-pony creatures cohabiting this world to the same degree. The question remains within the minds of those who still knew and cared, 'what happened to the Lost Lands'? Perhaps someday soon, the descendants of those wayward vagabonds will return and see what became of their ancient homes?

 

One such pony thinks so, for, in his struggle to learn of his purpose upon this world and restoring purpose to that which has yet to fulfill it, Roan Quake and perhaps others will answer the call of what was left behind.

 

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Roan snorted as he went about his day, traversing through the Everfree Forest and eventually reach the place where his efforts were better suited for. There it stood nestled in the forest's canopy, the Castle of the two Royal Pony Sisters that lay mostly abandoned and worn down from the passage of time. There were a few exceptions to this, one being the caretakers who sought to maintain and even restore parts of the castle in the off chance that it would someday be of some use. The other exception took the form of six overly excited mares who were making a mess of things that Roan himself had to clean after their departure. One good thing that came out of it was that at least the organ was confirmed to be 'fully operational' in the words of Dark Charisma, who was particularly talented in repairing or acquiring the necessary parts to repair musical instruments.

 

Easy Script was responsible for transcribing any surviving texts-- of historical or personal importance-- and send the copies to either their rightful owners, a museum, or historians who could translate Old Ponish. Roan was more or less used as a beast of burden as he transported pony-sized stone bricks that have been cut and extracted from nearby mountains to improve the castle's structural integrity. Another task that the hefty stallion was responsible for was the discovery and repair of any hidden trap doors and passageways. Despite appearing to be somewhat unintelligent, the mostly red pony was able to get some of the trap doors working again, though the parts for those that were in more advanced states of deterioration wouldn't be fabricated for another few days considering as the schematics listing the original parts were only sent recently.

 

It was by finding the schematics that Roan also found a book that was in good condition, something that was literally impossible unless a number of factors came into play. One was that somepony placed it here sometime before, possibly belonging to the Princess of Friendship, and the only other explanation was that the book itself was enchanted. Looking at it more closely, Roan squinted his beady black eyes and read the title, only to conclude that the tome was a piece of actual recorded history pertaining to the lands that the three pony tribes resided in long before the founding of Equestria. The large pony stopped himself, blinking as a sort of realization popped into his head after a long moment was spent putting the pieces together. Skimming through the pages and then showing it to his fellow caretakers, even they were at a loss for words. From what was briefly seen, the book contained various aspects of pony history that was thought to have been lost, the establishment of the three dominions that the pony tribes each fell under, the origins and possible existence of an entire tribe of alicorns, and subtle hints at what was to be found in the Vast Unknown that was far to the north.

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A nobility that no longer had power was nothing more than a collection of rich ponies who were allowed to more or less do as they please with more resources than any common pony could ever hope to see.  Really, it was a wonder that some great disaster had not come even of inadvertent use of such wealth, let alone from anything malicious.  But, if there were any who would be an unintentional harbinger of doom, it was Patriarch Psmith, Baron and general enthusiast.  That is, enthusiast about everything in general, which practically mean anything that happened to be in his head at the time.

 

This week, it was the old Castle of the Two Sisters, recently recovered from the depths of the Everfree.  For most of the day, the grey-maned stallion had been making a nuisance of himself by continually popping in and out of various passages, shadowing the caretakers, and showing an amateur enthusiasm for their work.  The result of his unsolicited advice and aid was often overtime on the part of said caretakers, who as politely as possible escorted him into the care of one they hoped could control an older stallion in the midst of his second youth.

 

Hence, why Psmith Sr. was by Roan when the book was discovered.  "By Jove, that's a find and a half, old chap!  Why, we ought to notify every history department in Equestria; Academia must come to the aid of her country!  There are frontiers to be forged, glory to be discovered!  Or, have I got those mixed up?  Anyhow, I'm sure we're not going to simply put that book in a box and forget about it, wot wot?"

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When it came to arduous tasks that even the rest of the team couldn't handle, it was often left to Roan to literally shoulder the burden. Such was the case when they decided to dump Psmith Sr.-- Wordsworth's sire-- on his hooves, which brought on a whole slew of babble that would have driven any normal pony mad. It was to be his fortune that Roan didn't fit that particular category, or at the very least not as well as that hyperactive pink pony who worked in Sugar Cube Corner and was the self-proclaimed Party Planner of Ponyville. Having friends was a new experience for the hefty pony due to mainly preoccupying himself with what interested him at the time, like how ponies were able to turn doorknobs with their hooves or the fact that pretty much every pony, himself included, were somehow able to grasp objects. Griffins could do it due to having talons, the same with dragons when it came to their scaly claws, with some of them having opposable thumbs. In fact, almost every creature that wasn't a pony had appendages that were made to take hold of items while mares and stallions alike had what were essentially stumps at the end of their front and back legs. 

 

Roan came back from his mind's usual wandering to listen to the elder stallion's excited chatter concerning the mysterious book that came to be within their possession. Being his usual docile self, the odd stallion turned to face his companion and nod, his fleshy pink head devoid of the red coat that covered the rest of his body. Through the encouragement of Psmith, and at the urging of Dark Charisma's 'Dew it...!' The book would be kept until a copy could be created to send to the princesses, the Princess of Friendship especially would try doing something with it as she did when she went off gallivanting with her six other friends to parts unknown. Oddly enough, at the same time that the seven mares-- seven now because of a new addition-- returned to Ponyville, the fabled Pillars of Old Equestria were rumored to have returned after disappearing for a thousand years.

 

Returning right back from his internal distractions-- lest he questions why a certain pony with an hourglass cutie mark was somehow able to be an Earth Pony one moment and a Pegasus the next-- Roan skimmed through the pages again, only to have what appeared to be a note fall right out. What it said was "Go to the place where Terror was vanquished..." Easy Script chipped in saying that the note might have been referring to Neighers, the fort-turned-city in the Bad Lands that was famous for their nocturnal ponies and non-ponies. This was a clue that could only lead to an adventure.

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"Lucky" Psmith needed no further encouragement, yet the fallen note, quickly snatched by the unicorn's magic and read eagerly by the unicorn's eyes, provided a nascent obsession with all the kindling needed to get those fires burning.  "I say!  Adventure in the places where terror was vanquished?  I rather think that's a splendid idea, what with new terrors popping up these days.  Were those Caribou Vikings always there?  I could have sworn I never heard about their attacks until a few years ago.  Or changelings.  Or Tirek.  Or any number of beastly oiks, wot?  We'd best suit up and learn how our ancestors dealt with them!  I've always wanted to go on an adventure myself..."  A dreamy grin began to steal across his face, before the police pony in his mind sought to arrest it with a sobering though.  "Er, that is, if the wife lets me.  Don't want to get in the doghouse over this; roof's leaky, and rain's on the schedule in Canterlot."

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Once again, Roan nodded and made a grunt as he and the other caretakers went about their business. Much to everypony else's delight, they were able to get out on time while the sizeable stallion listened to Mr. Horseshoe going from voicing his anticipation for the long journey ahead to needing permission from his wife or risk sleeping outside on a rainy night. The unlikely duo was traversing through the Everfree Forest when everypony decided to head out for the day, the trot through the forest being relatively uneventful save for the occasional timber wolf or cockatrice that came in and attempted to intimidate them into getting away from whatever territory was claimed. Such displays of aggression would have succeeded had it not been for Roan letting out a screeching neigh so loud that the Timberwolves were reduced to splinters or the cockatrice ended up wincing in pain from the incredibly loud noise that it passed out. While Roan was possibly one of the few unicorns who was unable to use any magic-- making him synonymous to an Earth pony with a large bump-- he possessed a few unique abilities thanks to the Asclepius Talisman that he wore around his neck.

 

Escorting the elder pony all the way to Canterlot, Roan was inwardly trying to recall what he knew of Neighers which, according to legend, was the first line of defense against a massive creature the was the embodiment of fear itself. Only by the aid of two mysterious heroes and an inventor who was once made an outcast did Neighers succeed in defeating the Terror and the monstrous abominations its spawned. What wasn't commonly known was that it was the residents of Neighers who began revering Princess Luna again 500 years after her banishment to the moon, a fact of which could have only been found in a book that was tucked somewhere in the old archives.

 

Upon reaching the home where the senior Psmith lived in, the peculiar pink-headed pony simply waited patiently while his prospective travel buddy went in to get the go-ahead.

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The elder Psmith wasn't the sort of pony to leave another pony outside his gates.  Quite the opposite in fact; there was never a teatime in Psmith manor that didn't have some eccentric guest or other invited by "Lucky" to enjoy the comestibles.  "Well, come in, young chap!  Do meet the missus, I'm sure she'll find you charming!"  A high statement of faith, as the unicorn breezed through the door, tossed his hat sight unseen onto a hatpeg, and charged straight through the front hall and out a little door into the back garden, where a unicorn mare of graceful disposition was serving tea to guests and the few members of the house staff.

 

"Roan, m'boy, this lovely creature is my better half, Goldenlocks Psmith!  Goldy, this is Roan, chap I told you about before, steady caretaker and whatnot."  Roan would probably have to set out some corrections to possible misconceptions, given what the eccentric stallion likely told his mate. Still, Goldenlocks, who certainly once had a golden mane, now shot with silver, smiled graciously enough, though clearly was waiting for the other stallion to speak first.

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Roan, being one who was raised to respect his elders and to believe in the kindness of others, did not hesitate in following the flamboyant older stallion as he entered his estate and meeting his charming and ever-patient wife Goldenlocks. From what could be expected of the pony who called himself "Lucky", it was possible that his waggling tongue may have invented a number of tales about the large and lumbering oddball. It was also likely that Mr. Psmith also shared with his wife some stories concerning the mostly red stallion's strange abilities, like the thundering neigh that was used to shatter that timberwolf from earlier.

 

Nodding his head for as low as his collar would let him, Roan paid his respects to the madam of the house as he gently lowered his large girth onto the floor. It seems that some of the guests that were gathered were somewhat familiar with Roan considering as they avoided looking into the fleshy-faced pony's black beady eyes. There were possibly a number of unicorns who either were unable to use magic-- properly or not at all-- or had no interest in magic whatsoever. Roan had no interest in using or learning about magic considering as the Asclepius Talisman worn around his neck bolstered his physicality to an extent that manual labor was reduced to being light menial chores. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't as the collar converted his inherent magic into vital energies that sustained him. In short, while he appeared healthy and normal, in actuality, Roan was constantly living on life support.

 

Believing simple was best, Roan waved his left foreleg and said "Hi." Blinking, the strange equine began zoning out while Mr. Psmith got his personal business in order.   

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Speaking of terrors and unusual guests a certain chimera who was about two ponies long and only one pony tall, had found himself floating behind the red-furred titan. If not for his better senses the draconequus in questions could have easily mistaken the robust fellow for Big Mac, but that horn sort of stood out amongst his features. "Oh my, my. Quite a queer guest." The spirit affirmed as he floated with his forelimb pulled behind his back and his mismatched hind legs would hold  up and tucked near his stomach. The stretchy, noodle-like quality of the creature would more than certainly place him on that list of unique.

 

With mismatched eyes the spirit would observe Roan from behind before shifting through the air, unbound by the theories of physics and sense. He glided that flexible form to opposite of where the ponies would turn to look, if only to make honing in on him difficult. A fedora shaped cap appeared on his head, the spirit reaching up a paw to remove it as he bowed politely. Tossing the cap aside it would flutter down towards the oversized stallion to land upon his cranium. 

 

He grinned, bemused by the turn of event. "Tea you say? Oh I do love tea~!" He was quite enamored with the drink, though it did compare little to the smooth taste of chocolate milk. "Now what's all this about terrors and whatnot?" They couldn't be talking about him after all. He was an angel! Well as far as angels went what with mischievous agendas full of self-satisfying musings. 

 

After a moment he would land on the ground, floating if only to unnerve those present, throwing them off guard when something as absurd as he defied the logic they did to ground themselves with. Hood and talon touched ground as his rump soon followed, the noodly guest seating himself on his haunches, only for his forepaw and claw to follow, tucking between his legs creating the appearance of regalness in the length if chaos. Like a posing kirin, of some sort and such.

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Roan turned his black beady gaze to bear witness to a most interesting house guest that was present within the Psmith estate. It took a long while and a fedora landing on his head for the pink-headed stallion to realize that he was in the presence of a god, but not just any god, the God of Chaos Discord. Just as with madam Goldenlocks, or perhaps more so, Roan gave a reverent bow to the long-lived creature with the same respect usually extended to the two rulers of Equestria. He was told stories by his parents about the exploits of this Cosmic Joker and that he was an embodiment of knowledge that lay well beyond the comprehension of mortal mare and stallion alike. It was because of the ancient creature's wisdom-- as well as the fact that he didn't just blow them all to smithereens on a whim-- that encouraged Roan to pay proper homage to the deity.

 

It wasn't too long ago that he happened to have seen the Royal Pony Sisters visiting their old home nestled in the Everfree forest, the very same one that the mostly-red pony took part in restoring. Roan only chanced a peek before finishing up with his tasks, the surprise made him momentarily forget that on that day-- of all days-- was the day the Princess of the Sun was born. Of course, he left just before Princess Celestia began angrily tearing down the tapestries that bore her own cutie mark on it, the news of this sudden visit resulted in all of the caretakers leaving for home early so as to give the sisters privacy. Now there's this visitation from the embodiment of all things spontaneous and random, casually relaxing and making small talk in enjoying tea.

 

Sticking with the simplicity that worked best for him, Roan got up from his bow and waved his foreleg to say "Hi!" His eyes then lowered and he came to the realization that he let the Chaos Bringer's hat slip onto the floor, which made the hefty pony huddle up into a ball and then hide his face under his hooves in fear. 

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Goldy gave a smile to Roan, patting his pink head as he gave his monosyllabic answer.  "Not much of a talker, are you?  Well, that's fine, the boys need a good listener."  She knew whereof she spoke; her husband was no slouch in the mouthing department, and her son was legendary for his sesquipedalian loquaciousness.  Any tea table containing either or both needed a quiet listener to balance the scene, and Goldilocks Psmith was nothing if not an exquisite host.

 

Lucky, meanwhile, was taking Discord in his stride, as he always tended to do.  "Ah, Dissy, you old rogue!  Won't believe what this chap dug up; journal that jolly well claims to point the way to the land of our ancestors.  Possibly yours, who knows?  Exciting business, altogether, I'm funding an expedition."  He slapped the draconeqqus on the back, or at least where his best approximation of the noodle's back had been two seconds ago.  It didn't bother him; Horseshoe Psmith was too flighty, too mercurial for the lack of logic about the Chaotic being to disturb him.  Having never stopped in one place long enough to reason anything out about it, the denial of that reason was nothing more than one more event in the stream of consciousness down which he floated.  Not all that different, really, from his son's attitude, though Wordsworth often took the attitude of the passive philosophical observer, while Horshoe was rather a more active force in life.

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The spontaneous spirit had not expected such a greeting from the robust red rogue of a scholar. But ever less had he thought one would fall prostrate before him. The edges of his lips pulled back a bit at the response, which served to take him aback. It was, after all, in times current, the once rumbustious roughhouser had become a more upstanding citizen with a perchance for mischief. Hardly the world altering rains of chocolate and mountains of marshmallows -- well, unless somepony asked. His forelimbs tucked against his chest as his long, wiggly ears folded back. The look of surprise was but temporary, as was much else in the world of ponies. 

 

"Oh come, come!" He tried to brush off Roan's fear with a snap of his claws, turning the hat into a sprout of flowers. "We're all friends here. Have some flowers. You ponies like flowers." He grimaced as he turned his head away, forelimbs crossing over his chest as a left knee tucked over his right one! 

 

He was not one to easily slide into acts of kindness. He was still a bit stiff where it was nigh a religious act for ponies. Well, at least a few. He could count on one paw the number of ponies he was aware of that took to more malicious acts of tomfoolery that even he would not fathom! Well he could think them up, but acting upon such base and primitive acts was -- oh? His mismatched eyes of red turned back to Psmith as he lowered back to the ground, often taking to the air in a moment's notice. His jaws parted as he allowed his claws to come about and scratch at his magnificent goatee. 

 

"A journal you say..." It was not so much the bound leather diary that interested him, but the idea that it could possible reveal secrets that he would much rather keep so. "Oh do tell. I'm always up for a good tale." The way he used the word tale though could invite the idea that the spirit doubted such information could be held in a pony's hooves.

 

Why? The simple fact is because the powers that be would do to remove the darker part of pony history from the record books. Far be it for him to deny it, as he himself benefited from the ponies being bereft of their ages past. It gave him advantages that only Starswirl himself had. Knowledge was power, unquestionably. One could daresay such knowledge would empower a pony beyond their wildest imaginations. And with friends like Pinkie he could be assured ponies had some of the wildest! It's why they made such fun friends! 

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Peeking out from under his hooves, Roan saw Discord's effortless transfiguration spell turn a hat into blooming flowers and he soon forgot his nervousness, which was then replaced by wonder and fascination. This was expressed by the strange stallion clopping his hooves together to give an enthusiastic applause, the ease in which the hefty pony could be entertained was by far a very convenient way for the Draconnequis to win his new acquaintance over. With this little show, Roan found himself more relaxed in his present company, though not to the same carelessly casual extent as Horseshoe was being. 

 

Upon the encouragement of Discord, who seemed to be in the mood to hear a story, Roan read a passage somewhere within the copy of the mysterious manuscript,  "... and there within Oblivion where all is nonexistence... Then, from nothing came everything... The birth of entirety captured in a single explosive instance..." After a while flipping through a page or two, another inscription was read, "Madness is the offspring of pandemonium though it is often unseen and is more insidious..." Roan tilted his head, wondering what it was he just read until he lost interest and started flipping through other pages. 

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The room was held silent, between the antics of the Spirit of Chaos and the gnomic readings of Roan.  Lucky was nearly able to match his guest in his delight in the former, though it had to be said that the latter had a less cheery effect on the company.  Indeed, the talk of oblivion, pandemonium, and madness spread a chill through host and hostess, as such subjects were likely to do.  Goldilocks was the first to recover, being less inclined to remain swayed by mere mood, particularly when buttressed by the great institution of tea.  "Well!  Quite the talk for a nice tea table, I shouldn't think.  If that's what the place we all come from is like, I can hardly blame our ancestors for leaving."

 

"Er, aham!  Yes, quite."  Lucky, for his part, looked grateful and relieved that his wife had broken the spell, shaking like a stallion recently recovered from a basilisk attack.  "Think there might be ponies left behind in all that?  Faust, it hardly bears thinking about!  Stuck out there in pandemonium, while we enjoy tea and cakes in harmony.  Gad!"  In a sudden spurt of resolution, the Psmith patriarch pounded his hoof upon the table, neatly flipping the remains of the butter into Discord's tea cup.  "I won't stand for it!  Leaving fellow equines in madness.  No offense to present company, of course, but that hardly sounded like the sort of chaos that reigns chocolate milk from the sky, wot wot?  Vastly less pleasant liquids, I'll bet.  Seems a kind of rescue expedition is in order, eh?"

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The Chaotic paradox had seated himself, a rare occurrence as gravity did oft Discord deemed himself much too good for gravity. His paw and claw rest on the table as Roan recited a most chilling passage. He could not help the puff his fathers and chest floof gave at such a somber reading. The eclectic spirit had not been one greatly fond of these horror stories that ponies fancied writing. While he was aware bad things happened and good things happened, the tales recited in the darkest of nights during Nightmare Night often left him quickly vacating the fireside with his candy in paw. His ears folded back, nearly pinning against his skull, pressing into his mane. The red furred stallion completed the passage as if he were speaking out a poem during jazz night at the local clubs. He raised a claw, parting his jaws as he looked to his hosts, their words quite accurate, but as he was about to speak only for a partially whole stick of butter to plop into his cup. The spirit made a sour face at the ruined butter. Plucking from the tea he squeezed it out as one would squeeze a used washing cloth, only to smear the glob on one of the scones. Taking a bite he hummed in delight. 

 

"Mmm! tea flavored." Munching down the bread with just two bites his paw held out beside his cup, levitating it, saucer and all. He had considered the couples' words. It was indeed good such annoyingly spooky things didn't exist in pony society. "Such behavior hardly sounds fit for someone such as I to partake in," He'd assure regarding the tale. While he had harbored Tirek's naughtiness it had seemed just a game of chess to him until he realized he had actually been a captured pawn, turned upon the kingdom. He would sip on his tea only to do a spit take at the mention of a rescue. He fumbled with the porcelain cup and dropped it, shattering the remaining tea inside, the cup perfectly fine -- wait what?

 

he would attempt to pick up Roan's tail to dust the shards of tea onto the floor and into a refuse bin he held. "Now, now, don't be rash. There is a reason such places are called cursed, or forbidden. Far be it for us to disregard the status quo." The spirit of chaos had presented.

 

Wait... the one and only god of mayhem and tomfoolery is suggesting they just forget the idea of adventuring to a region unbound by law and sense, swirling in a vortex of madness and danger? 

 

W-was he scared?

 

"Puh...Honestly if you found a djinni's lamp and it said Do not Touch, that would surely be the first thing you ponies do. Throwing caution to the wind in such a way is hardly fitting for the survival of a species." How did they survive as long as they did as the dominate species? He picked up another scone and gobbled it down with frightful measure. 

 

But he did have a point. Going on a rescue without a plan was dangerous!

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Roan blinked his beady black eyes as he flipped through the pages of the book and for the longest time, it only now dawned on the mostly red stallion that this book contained hints upon the nature of a certain Draconnequis himself when there were mentions of 'pandemonium' and 'madness'. The pink-headed oddball looked up as a memory dawned on him, he still remembered when Discord first broke free of his thousand-years detainment in stone as his influence greatly altered the ponies and environment. One pony that did appear and wasn't there before was a pink mare with swirly purple hair that had streaks of white. Her cutie mark was that of a baseball and screw paired together. After Discord was sealed again, and even after he was intentionally freed and was willfully reformed, the mysterious mare never appeared again.

 

Suffice it to say, Roan found himself smitten with the mysterious pony though this didn't outwardly change his usual wide-eyed stare. The fact that she was now forever out of his reach and most likely existed in a different reality altogether made her all the more alluring. In short, Roan had strange tastes. His preferences aside, Roan read another passage that concerned how to reach the Lost Land, this one appeared to continue where the first clue left off, "To where the Terror was struck down... by Warriors of the Night devoted to the princess thought lost..." This confirmed that the place they needed to go to start their journey was the city of Neighers in the Bad Lands, as the history that was noted here described events that took place 500 years ago, where the nocturnal ponies and non-ponies who fought against the fear-spawn in defense of Equestria were the only ones who chose to openly worship the then sealed Luna as their princess due to the prophecy brought forth by the oracle Bright Eyes.

 

Curious, Roan flipped to the very last page of the book that carried only one passage, "O wayward children... return to the forgotten home...", the hefty pony paused as he read the last part of the passage, tears began to trickle from his eyes, "Restore its purpose and worth..." 

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Discord's apparent objections to the idea of the venture already percolating in Lucky's head were, unsurprisingly, greeted and subsequently dismissed with breezy alacritude.  "Ah, pish, old boy!  What's the point in surviving if you never do anything actually great?  I mean, what, fifty years I've spent, and what have I got to show for it?"

 

"A loving family, interesting friends, and a place assured in your home country."  His wife answered, smoothly interjecting herself into the conversation once more.

"Hm, me and everypony else, dear; but I'd like a halfway significant legacy to pass on to our Wordsworth, what?"  Truth be told, it wasn't so much due to his inner hesitancy and caution that prevented Lucky from accomplishing any great task.  It was the fact that he couldn't keep his attention on anything (other than his wife and son) for more than 6 months, tops.  Barely enough time to make any cohesive plan of any sort, though the energy and inspiration left in his wake often enabled others to accomplish their own goals, hence his eccentric but ultimately loyal group of friends.

 

And it was one such dream that his destiny was marked out to nurture now, as Roan continued reading, clearly moved.  The elder Psmith sniffed himself, looking pleadingly at his wife.  "There, you see?  It's not just my legacy here, its all of ours.  Why, I'm sure that Princess Luna herself would agree with me; she's been feeling on the outs all her life.  But her devotees were still heroes, even when she was gone... we can't have that lost to the abyss of history, what?  It would break her heart, I'm sure of it."

"I don't doubt it.  I'm just worried that this might break you.  Shouldn't you just support the venture with the funding, and leave the younger folk to do the heavy work?"

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7jenQJa.png Discord found the recited words rather somber. Tea should be a bright and genuine affair, but leave it to ponies to find morbid topics to present before the refined aromas that touched the tongue in ways only tea could! The spirit sputtered in his tea when the large equine had sniffled a tear from his beady little eyes. Placing a paw on his chest, the saucer rest firmly in his claws Discord would fold his ears back at the unexpected reaction. After a moment PSmith spoke up, the old codger finding it worth more to explore than idle about tea and scones.

 

The spirit would part his muzzle to retort against the adventurous spirit of the old stallion. Why if it were up to Discord he would never leave Equestria, finding it to be a most engaging country, far unlike other civilizations built upon the idea of -- peace and organization. Far from the concept of harmony. At the mention of Luna his jaws snapped shut, the saucer levitating as he removed his claw to scratch at his beard, paw resting on his hind knee. He had been within his attempts to comfort the royal maiden, even court her but to herald her in a score of followers? Why he would get so many brownie points!

 

"Oh I do love brownies..." The mutter came before he snapped his paw's digits, manifesting a one of a kind adventurer's bag. "Well than I believe I have something that could help your endeavor, since you are advocating to return history to the open."

 

From the back of holding the spirit would drop a large satchel of bits and from it he pulled a wolf pup by his scruff, plopping it on the table, along with a coil of rope, he ringed the pup between, a survival hoofbook with all the local plants detailed with vibrant pictures, and bags of trail mix. Everything an adventurer could need!  It seemed all it took was a mention of the princess to entice the spirit into participating in the historical find! 

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... Well bother. Perhaps Taira Deserved this for snooping after these ponies through Everfree. He'd heard stories about that weird forest and that somewhere in it there was a castle that served as the dwelling for the sister princesses of Equestria. To say that the idea of snooping around a spooky old castle in the middle of the chaotic self maintaining woods of Everfree didn't hold any sort of appeal to a wolf who'd spent so long on top of a mountain was entirely untrue.  Seeing as this was one of the times he had the chance to stretch his legs, Taira assumed a more subdued version of his true form. 

 

To any stallion or creature that beheld him he would appear as an oversized and very fluffy looking dog of somekind. 

 

By the time he'd found his way to the castle a pair of ponies were already leaving it! He thought nopony came all the way out here. What with the timberwolves, Ursas, manticores. These ponies must be after something very important if they risked life and limb to comb the ruins of an old castle so far from civilization. As they hurried off with some curious find, Taira would sneak along after them, staying to the shadows and keeping just out of sight until they came to some posh looking residence. Then again to the yokel canine just about everything in this continent had an air of poshness to it. Before he could get himself past the gates they shut up tight... 

 

"Hmm... I've never jumped a fence that high."

 

... Then he found himself hoisted up by his scruff as if her were a pup again and set down on the table. He blinked his eyes a couple times and looked around the room, "How... er uh RUFF!" He would bark rather unconvincingly as he noticed all the eye upon him right now.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pretzelparty
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While it didn't obviously show on Roan's face, other than his beady eyes blinking, the mostly red stallion was rather surprised to see Discord make a wolf appear before them and hold the furry creature by the scruff of its neck. Of all the ponies in this room, Roan might have been one of those few who actually bought into the canine's terrible attempt at hiding its true intelligence to the other present here. The pink-headed pony didn't particularly find the existence of wolves that existed in the Everfree Forest to be particularly strange, rather, it was considered rare to meet an actual wolf in the forest. The last time this happened was when Roan and the other Castle caretakers were going over the various codes and trails that were taken in order to get to the Castle of the Royals Sisters safely. Cockatrice encounters were code Hard-boiled, Manticore or Chimera encounters were Code Amalgam, Dragon encounters were Code Easy-bake, and each Ursa getting their own specific codes. Minor was Code Brazen Youngster, and in the event of an Ursa Major encounter, it was Code Custard.

 

"Hi", was all that the hefty stallion said as he greeted the wolf before taking a sip of his mint tea sweetened with honey. With Discord's sudden change-of-heart and acquisition of needed supplies, things were beginning to come together as the possible journey towards Neighers drew near. By now, it was possible that a newly transcribed copy of the mysterious manuscript was making its way to the princesses, bringing with it any possible reaction from the princesses which would boil down to either blessing or intervention towards this endeavor. One could only hope that healing the Lost Lands would bring about greater prosperity and perhaps allow those like Princess Twilight to establish a new hub where Friendship could be spread far and wide.

 

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Psmith Sr. had been about to reply to his wife that of course it was absolutely necessary for him to accompany the expedition for... reasons which would no doubt occur to him as he spoke.  Such extemporaneous defenses of his whims were scattered to the winds by the capricious chaos spirit's invocation of the sacred yokai.  Or, at any rate, his sudden summoning of a dog.  A talking dog, apparently?  Lucky wouldn't put it past the Draconeqqus, but it never hurt to be sure.

 

"By Jove, is that a talking dog?  If so, I do have to agree, old chap, that was really 'ruff' treatment, what what?"  Absently patting Taira on the head, a gesture that required the stallion to stand on his tippy-hooves, he turned to the Roan, the supposed leader of this expedition.  "What do you say, chief?  Will our chances of success be bolstered by canine companionship?"

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7jenQJa.pngThe spirit gave a chuckle and pricked his ears forward, always finding a means to circumvent the usual with his most unusual manners. "Hardly something to be surprised about. I once knew pigeons who could sew!" Quite a feat that, they even fancied passing missives on from one to the other. 

 

He raised his head, paw coming to scratch at his beard. With the funds and a sharp nosed pup it shouldn't be so hard for them to find what they were looking for, but it was a curious thing the spirit having become suddenly interested in their exploration. Leave it to Discord to shift in his interests at the blink of an eye. He looked to Roan, apparently the decision of their venture up to him. With the spirit helping maybe they could, or maybe not. It was hard to tell if Discord was really helping or moreover observing. Maybe a bit of both.

 

"Oh yes, certainly daring adventurer and explorers such as yourself are capable of seeking the truth! I am sure the princesses would award us handsomely!" Oh well there was clue into the spirit's motives!

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Taira had already failed in passing as just an average everyday, dog... no reason to prolong his faulty charade. The wolf heaved a small sigh, "... Um... how did I get here? More importantly why am I here?" Ears twitched and shifted as the older noblepony pat his head. Lucky for the elder Psmith, Taira wasn't at all aggressive: Only confused by what had happened.  A couple sniffs made the wolf realize the bizarre magic behind him. Well, the magical being behind him. 

 

Discord, the myth made flesh. There were stories of him back in Neighpon that survived even in his old pack when it was large. Rumors abound of the chaotic being responsible for the very existance of Yokai. If that were true, this was perhaps the most awe inspiring moment in Taira's life: Not to mention humbling. That all depended on whether or not it was true though. He would save the questions about his existence for later on.

 

"... A reward from the princesses? ... Hm." The wolf on the table brought his paw to his muzzle and scratched it in contemplation, "Being owed a favor from a pair of the most influential beings on the modern world could be very useful. I might be in... if I at least know what I'm looking for."

 

 

 

 

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With a good party of adventurers to work with, Roan had one of his rare moments of intuition by giving the book to the wolf for him to take in its scent. There was a possibility that traces of the magic that created the book still existed and were acting as trails that would lead up to their ultimate destination that was the Lost Lands. Luckily, if all of the individuals present were lacking in maps, there were at least two here who could easily get one: Mr. Psmith was likely to have come across well-made maps that are far more detailed than what could be found in an average market, and the most esteemed God of Chaos could just teleport anywhere in Equestria and simply acquire a map in that fashion.

 

"Map...?", was Roan's one-word inquiry as he looked towards Psmith Sr. with his beady black eyes while he waited for an answer. 

 

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(sorry for taking so long, guys.  Thesis work keeps me busy)

 

Goldy could only blink at the latest developments, clearly going beyond her ability to control as a hostess.  In such circumstances, hospitality demanded no show of tyranny, but adaptation to the situation as it stood.  "Well, dear, I don't think you care that this is going to be dangerous, and I certainly can't say it will be boring.  Not to mention, having the favor of the Princess would be a blessing to this house and no mistake."  A habitual genuflection at the words revealed her as a mare full of reverence for the ruling authorities, however augmented in number they may have lately become.

 

Psmith, meanwhile, continued to pet Taira absently as he mused on Roan's question.  "Map...?  I don't know if we have much of the way of them in this house.  Ah, wait a moment!"  He slapped his hoof on the table as it occurred to him.  "Psmithy!  Our dear son, Wordsworth, is currently employed in Prince Blueblood's manor as personal secretary, and that bounder's sailed all over the world.  Surely, he's got the goods, when it comes to maps and charts and the like!"

Edited by PrinceBlueblood
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