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StrongCopper

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StrongCopper last won the day on November 23 2020

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  1. He had been outplayed. As much as the fact revolted and angered him, Ridge had the common sense to acknowledge that this situation was not in his favor and there was practically nothing he could do in this given moment to try and turn it in his favor. There might have been something he could have said or done earlier, but the arrival of a caravan from a native power that he had managed to sway to his side had rather simply cemented Norton's position and gave him a popularity with the crowd that would naturally swing in his direction regardless of just about anything he said at this point. A lesser dragon would have lashed out, resorting to violence regardless of the odds. The slightly smarter but still lesser mind would have howled, fumed and raged like an upset child who didn't get their own way. Instead, Ridge lifted his right claw and raised two fingers straight up to silently gesture that he had something to say. "So let me get this straight just so everyone is on board. You've targeted a newly started up company founded by a minority of the community and ambushed their first trade convey to a foreign nation like a common bandit, doing gods knows what to those who were transporting and escorting it in the process because they haven't returned here, then took your stolen goods to not only sell them in Tenochtitlan but use what was rightfully sold to Equestria in order to convince Tenochtitlan to recognize what would otherwise be your illegal government." His words weren't angry or... any emotion really. He was calmly just stating facts as he saw them. Sky's blue, water's wet and you're nothing but a trumped up bandit. After a moment of silence... Ridge actually started to clap. It was little more then a slow golf clap, but in the silence that had likely been created by this whole damn exchange the sound of claw and scale meeting each other was a lot louder then it had right to be. Ridge actually offered Norton a smile. "Well played. But then I guess you had more to gain. After all, what good are mere bits when a crown and dynasty are on the line? By all means, everyone can continue to enjoy the party. After all, it's already been paid for out of my pocket so I don't see any reason to ruin anyone's enjoyment. But personally I will need to retire for the evening. After all, I now have to draw up a letter explaining why a shipment of gems isn't going to be arriving now. Happy Hearths Warming Emperor Norton." Offering Cemmoyāhua a respectful bow of the head as well, Ridge turned and walked away with his head held high, his tail clearly not between his legs. This round was Norton's. Ridge wasn't going to deny that. But one battle didn't make a war.
  2. There was really only one answer that Ridge could give to the mare and it was the truth of the matter. "We've only recently sent out our first shipment to Equestria. I'm not sure if you're aware, but organizing and getting a mine operational takes time and hard work. It's why I haven't reached out to make contact with Tenochtitlan yet, because call me old fashioned but I prefer to have something to show for my efforts rather then merely talk a big game."
  3. The smile on Ridge's face was a frozen thing as he gazed at Norman. His trade caravan of ponies, his offering of 'gifts' to undermine his own celebration... but his announcement of the Griffonstone National Mines was what really caught his attention. The urge to burn a catbird to serve as the main course of the evening was growing again, but for the sake of civility (and the crowd of witnesses both local and possible future trading partners) that option was being filed away for later. He suspected he knew where the conversation was going, but a bit of theater to confirm one way or the other wouldn't hurt. "I must say I admire your bravery Norton. Adventuring out beyond the relative safety of the local Griffonstone area in order to discover a new claim to build a mine around. Color me impressed!" Turning his gaze towards Cemmoyāhua, the cold rage that was being reserved for Norton slipped away into an... expression of remorse? Sympathy? "Forgive me if I am pronouncing your name wrong Miss Cemmoyahua because I am not as well versed in Tenochtitlan dialects as I would long to be. I am Ridge, founder and owner of Prosperity Mining and it would be my pleasure to welcome you and yours to Griffonstone after your travels. However, I fear that you may have been asked to come here under false pretenses. I would be correct in assuming that you were invited here by the 'Emperor of Griffonstone'?" The title was said with him making quotation marks with his claws. Pausing but a moment to give the impression that he was waiting for an answer before barreling on, he laid the honest truth to bare. "There is no Emperor of Griffonstone. Norton here is some random griffon from the Republic that started squawking that he was the Emperor without any actual evidence and everyone kind of played along with it because he wasn't hurting anyone and it was amusing." Ridge's facial expression turned icy as he glanced to glare at Norton like he was some cub that had gotten caught doing something he wasn't meant to. "It stopped being harmless and amusing the moment he conned your government into believing he is actually a head of a state and organized a trade deal." Turning back to Cemmoyāhua, his expression softened again as he offered "However, if you can make some time to speak with myself and the head of the local Equestrian military outpost about the arrangements that Norton has made, we'll be happy to arrange things so that Tenochtitlan can save face from this whole debacle."
  4. If anyone in the crowd had the power to read minds or emotions, they likely would have reveled themselves because of their desire to suddenly be as far away from Ridge as they possibly could having betrayed them. Well on the surface he was smiling beneath the surface was a building, almost impossibly hot rage akin to the molten magma that ran deep under the surface of the Dragonlands. Had this been just about any other dragon, parts of Griffonstone would be on fire and the first part of it to burst into flame would have been Emperor Norton himself! However, Ridge wasn't like many dragons. He had tasted the bitter wine of defeat and being upstaged by others many times before and while he still hated it, it gave him the experience not to lose his cool and actually think about the situation despite the desire to remove the head of an upstart catbird. While on the surface Norton had won this round, Ridge took a mental step back in order to examine the situation from a place of cold calculation in order to attempt to figure out how he could turn this to his advantage... and suddenly the rage disappeared as he recognized the gift that the upstart had given him without intending to. The markets of Tenoctilan were now open to Griffonstone... and unless the 'Emperor' wanted to undermine his own announcement and give a solid amount of ammunition to politically be torn apart for seeking to stifle free enterprise, Prosperity Mining would also benefit from such an arrangement because it was (on paper at least) a Griffonstone company. Sure, there was going to be work going forward but opportunities always took work... and Norton's hard work had gone a long way to providing him with opportunities to profit. So he could let Norton have his win, if only because of the compensation he was going to get in return. So it was with a surprising amount of good grace that Ridge grinned at the 'Emperor' and announced with his arms flung to the sides wide as if he was accepting an old friend "Why Norton! What a surprisingly thoughtful and generous gift! I'm sad to say I don't have anything near as meaningful to give you in return but I'll make it up to you next year. Consider it something to look forward to when you host your first party of the holidays!" He actually made a small show of thinking about something before adding "We should actually line up the calendar for next year in advance. Don't want both parties to end up on the same day after all."
  5. Shortly after Ridge had arrived in Griffonstone, it had been everything that he could have asked for. Dirt poor with no real local government to speak of or law enforcement to contend with. His hunch about the gems and riches buried in the earth that had been mined back when Griffonstone had been an actual power having been abandoned as its major trading partner had disappeared and the kingdom was crumbling rather then just running dry had proved to be correct and thus he was free to set up Prosperity Mining in order to harvest it. Even having an Equestrian military base being set up nearby had proven to be an opportunity rather then a hassle, because not only did it mean that he didn't have to invest as heavily as he might have needed to in order to secure the city and more importantly his mining operations, but some early arrangements he made with them had given him a degree of legitimacy that his company would have needed time and effort to earn. It also offered him an early trading partner to sell the gems his company was mining too, but he knew better then to count on the Equestrians to remain as such. Equestria was naturally rich with gems and crystals, with their current interest in purchasing from his company being little more then an attempt by them to help start up a company within Griffonstone in order to try and kick start the economy of the old griffon capital. That good will and more importantly, the bits backing it would only last so long. He would need to branch out into other markets in time, but it was still a damn good start for a dragon's horde and even better for a new company. However, getting his company into the ground to start digging had not been the only thing on Ridge's mind as of late. The same day that he had inspected the quality of the gems to be mined in the future, the 'Emperor' had arrived in Griffonstone. A delusional, homeless gutter bird who believed he was soaring and had designs to uplift the rest of Griffonstone with him. While it was laughable to consider him as anything close to a real threat, Ridge hadn't gotten this far by allowing himself to become complicate; He himself had taken advantage of others believing that he wasn't a big enough threat to be worth considering a few times and he likely would again. The cold, hard fact of the matter was that the 'Emperor' might have been a joke, but he was a joke that the other griffons were entertaining... and considering his own plans for the city, griffon sovereignty under a griffon ruler was a dangerous idea to have floating around. However, disposing of the problem was somewhat harder because the crazy buzzard was somewhat popular and well liked; Setting such people on fire tended to work against the one setting the fire and that would simply cause further problems down the line if not ruin his plans completely. Alternative solutions were required... and as much as it hurt him deeply whenever he looked at the bottom line of the bill, the holidays provided him with an opening to deepen his roots and further cement himself here while making the 'Emperor' out as the bitless bum he was. 'The First Annual Prosperity Mining Hearts Warming Party' as he had taken to calling it on the posters he had placed around Griffonstone was, by the standards of the dilapidated settlement, a lavish affair in which no expense had been spared, delicacies that a hard working family might have saved up enough for once or twice a year were common place on the tables, the drink was endless and came in bountiful forms and several live bands had been contracted to play throughout the night. Behind the scenes there was very much a budget for the party and by the standards of more developed Equestrian cities like Manehatten or Canterlot if he had tried to host an event with the same budget there, it would have either needed to be a cozy, private affair with a limited number of guests or risk being so bare thread that it would have been over rather quickly. The fact that Griffonstone had such a low population coupled with the low standards that its poverty had enforced on the population had gone a long way to making sure that this was going to be a smash hit. Climbing up onto the wooden stage that had been built for the evening for the bands later on, Ridge the dragon gazed out at the crowd that had likely been drawn out if for no other reason then it promised to be a night of entertainment and food that they didn't have to pay for rather then by any actual holiday cheer or love of him or his company. Dressed in a lovely red jacket that blended well with his scales while helping to protect him from the chill that was generally always in the air, he cleared his throat before speaking with a tone of voice that commanded attention. "Ladies, Gentlebirds, ponies and anyone else who happened to be here that I haven't spotted in the crowd yet. As the founder and president of Prosperity Mining, Griffonstone has been good to me since my arrival here. As such, I couldn't help but feel the urge to give back a little to the community that has allowed me to prosper in such a relatively short amount of time as a sign of goodwill going forward into the new year. However before we can enjoy the music, take advantage of the food and get plastered on drink I do believe it's time for me to make a little speech." "And I believe it's time for us to take a little nap!" An elderly voice called from the crowd, the exact source of which was lost amongst the wave of merriment and laughter. Ridge himself couldn't help but chuckle along as he waved a claw in the air. "I know, but formalities and all that. Let's just get this over with quick." Reaching into a pocket of his jacket to remove a sheet of paper... and then into a different pocket to pull out an almost comically small pair of glasses that he donned, he started by going "My speech, here is my holiday speech." before politely clearing his throat before reading it aloud. "Thank you all and merry Hearts Warming!" before lowering the piece of paper and gazing out over the crowd. The silence was quickly filled by a different elderly voice from the crowd that seemed to be close to where the original had come from. "That was the speech?!" before it was quickly joined by the original speaker. "It was dumb!" "It was obvious!" "It was pointless!" "It was... short?" There was a silence as two old griffons turned to look at each other, before both turning back towards the stage and announcing together "I LOVED IT!" much to the amusement of the crowd and Ridge himself. "Well I'm tried of speeches." Ridge announced, before blowing a brief burst of flame that combusted the paper in his claws before declaring "Let's get this party started!" and abandoning the stage to allow the first band to get started, the dance floor to live up to its namesake and the food and drink to be open to the public.
  6. It had to be said, Strong Copper wasn't used to dealing with someone who only spoke in rhyme. Yes he could understand her reasons for it being rooted in a desire to make sure that whenever she spoke, her words were carefully thought out but in matters of haste or danger, sometimes a quick and easy to understand word was needed instead of speaking in riddles. However, as he listened to her words he seemed to get the general gist of what she was trying to say. Her plan seemed to be, as he quietly followed after her in order to avoid detection, to subdue the timber wolf so that she could apply a remedy that she knew and had the supplies for back home. A solid plan, but there were still a few gaps in it from his point of view as he started to pick up the pace once they were a safe enough distance away from the afflicted timber wolf as to not alert it to their presence. "Okay. If it's not a factor we have to worry about while we subdue and treat the timber wolf, we can hold off on discussing what caused its condition until later. I am definitely going to have to invite you around for lunch or an afternoon tea or something in the next few days because you've got a lot of first hoof knowledge of the Everfree that would be a huge benefit to have. But if time is a factor, wouldn't it make a bit more sense to subdue it now and then bring it back to your house for treatment? Yes, we have a general idea of where to find it due to knowing where its territory is and I doubt it can travel far in its current state, but you're making it sound like it only has a few hours to live."
  7. When Zecora offered a good idea, it was a good idea. More information was required in order to uncover this mystery and Strong Copper strongly suspected that the source of the noise wasn't going to prove to be Filthy Rich wearing a timber wolf mask, trying to scare ponies away from his bits... He had Spoiled Rich to do that for him after all. Since climbing a tree was not in the cards for either of them (hooves did not aid the climbing process after all and neither of them had wings), he decided to follow her example by locating a better position to try and spy their target. More by chance then anything, the pair were upwind of the source of the noise. The noise itself proved to be coming from a makeshift lair of sorts... or at least one that was in the process of being made. Timber Wolves were akin to their flesh and blood counterparts in that they were nomads; They tended to claim large territories (or at least as large as they were allowed), but they rarely stayed in a singular area of it for more then a season, moving around their domain in response to where the food was going. Thus, they tended to have dens and sheltered locations scattered around their respective domains that could take many shapes and sizes, often taking advantage of local features but occasionally doing some altering in order to have a more comfortable stay. This one had selected a dead, fallen tree trunk to serve as shelter for the time being, but the creature itself was clawing at a still living tree nearby. It was pretty easy to see what was wrong with the Timber Wolf in question from sight alone, through the actual logistics of it were rather insane and Copper didn't have the faintest idea off the top of his head where to start trying to fix it. Timber Wolves were... well, true to their name, magical creatures made out of wood. The one that was methodically clawing at the trunk of a tree to refresh a territorial marking into it seemed to be a fusion of wood and stone; It was not a happy fusion. A slightly longer observation reveled the current state of affairs in all their horrifying, nightmarish glory; Across the timber wolf's otherwise wooden body were 'patches' of what had clearly once been wood that had been transmuted into stone, locking that section of the body into whatever position it had been when the transformation occurred and thus, whenever the rest of the body tried to move in such a why that would normally involve that section, caused wood and stone to grind against each other in what appeared to be a rather painful sounding way. These stone sections seemed to run deep as well, proving to Copper why it was one its own: Whatever had caused the transmutation of parts of the timber wolf into stone had seriously hindered the wolf's ability to move freely or at speed, causing it to not be able to keep up with the pack and likely either being left behind or outright leaving in order to avoid slowing the pack down. The extra weight of having stone parts likely didn't help either. Unable to hunt properly, it had resorted to leaving the Everfree to target Ponyville's chickens (and likely other owned animals in time) that tended to be penned or tied up and thus unable to run away or fight back as effectively. The front left leg of the wolf seemed to have suffered from this stone... whatever it was as well, having been transformed and locked into stone from the claw up until just under the joint halfway up... and that fact that seemed to answer why there seemed to be dead, hardened wood within the footprints and earlier markings they had come across. Certain types of wood could be mistaken for stone after it died and dried out completely... it seemed in this case they had gotten it the other way around. Of course, just because they now knew that this timber wolf seemed to have random parts of its very being turning to stone didn't exactly do anything to answer the question of 'Why' it was seemingly partially turned to stone. That was a mystery... and possibly a dangerous one at that. Abandoning his position in order to quietly make his way over to join Zecora and confirming that they could see the stricken timber wolf from her position as well, he couldn't help but state the obvious rather softly "Well... this is a new one for me. What about for you?"
  8. For what little it was worth, it was easy to see that Strong Copper understood that everypony must ask her that question shortly after meeting her. Everyone had a question that was always brought up and it tended to get rather old in a hurry... even if the question still needed to be asked. "Well, there's nothing wrong with taking the time to think before we speak. Most sadly don't..." He answered softly, offering her a small smile... before a strange noise caused his ears to go on high alert and his head to snap towards the sound. It was a rather strange noise to encounter within a forest of all things. The way the sound traveled suggested slow but consistant movements but they were clearly hobbled... but it was the nature of the noise itself that truly raised concerns as easily as it sent shivers down ones spine. Exactly what the noise was proved difficult to put into words but... it kind of sounded like stone grinding against wood in a terrible way for both. Slowly turning his head to look at Zecora, he lowered his voice as he softly asked "Do you know what that is?"
  9. So the mare was a herbalist. That answered a few questions about why she was within the forest, but there was one question that continued to poke and prod at him as they continued their travel together and as time passed the urge to ask it continued to grow "Fair enough. I'm sure there are plenty of plants out here that few actually know about." He answered politely, but despite the fact that he was trying to keep his mind focused on the task at hoof, it was clear that something was provoking his curiosity even as he remained silent for a few moments. At last, he couldn't resist any further. Risking a glance from the tracks he was following, he took a moment to consider his words before finally settling on "Look, I'm sorry if this comes off as rude or being culturally insensitive but I do have to ask. Why do you always talk in rhyme?" For what it was worth, the expression on his face was a mixture of curiosity at the answer and a degree shame that he was asking in the first place.
  10. It took a little while to notice, but once Zecora mentioned it, it really did look like something had swept over the chicken marks shortly after they had been made, but hadn't done so to the point of actually covering anything up. The whole situation was an oddity; A mystery to be uncovered and explored further to be sure but it wasn't the mystery that they were already following. Was there a chance the two mysteries were somehow related? Possibly, but until they knew more about the situation any theory they came up with was just that... a theory. Untested and unproven. The oddity noted for the time being, Strong Copper raised his head to have a glance around to make sure they weren't in any kind of danger before he started to lead the way again. "Anyway..." He started off slowly, talking a little softer then before but still with a mildly casual air. "What kind of herbs are you looking for and way do you need them?" Getting someone to talk about their own interests and passions was a good social move, right?
  11. So she had come here to locate some herbs that he suspected were native to the Everfree. Makes perfect sense in a way... even more so because it sounded like she came out here fairly often. "I'm not going to offer caution to someone who's passions require them to go places where others view as dangerous... if only because that would make me rather a hypocrite. But I'm assuming that the herbs your after struggle to grow outside of the Everfree's native soil?" He asked, his attention being on the trail they were following but at least trying to show that he was paying attention to what she had to say. While he kept a close eye on the freshest trail of the timber wolf they were following, an older track caused him to pause briefly if only because of how strange it was to see it due to how out of place it was. Exactly how old the markings were, he couldn't tell.. if he had to guess they were at least a few days old, if not a week or two. Remarkably rare in a wild zone for such small markings to survive this long, but it seemed that the weather had been relatively forgiving in this section of the Everfree and the small path that the timber wolf had made in the forest in recent times had managed to prevent plant life from covering it up yet. It still begged the question through. "What was a chicken doing this deep in the Everfree?" He offered a small gesture towards the chicken scratches in general for the benefit of Zecora. At least, they could have been chicken scratches. Copper had been around a hen house recently and while it was true that other birds might have left such markings he couldn't help but recognize the resemblance. Granted these markings were somewhat deeper in the ground then the standard hen, suggesting that this strange specimen was noticeably heaver then the norm.
  12. Turning his head towards the pony whom had deemed fit to join his conversation with Spoiled, Strong Copper tilted his head as he listened to what she had to say. The idea of developing fences in key locations along the broader between the Everfree and Ponyville in order to mildly inconvenience most predators and thus discourage them from seeking to enter Ponyville proper had been one of his plans for the Mayorship... but the inclusion of chemical repellents in order to act as further incentive to stay away was an improvement upon his own designs. However, at this point in time, the issue was not his to deal with. Instead he offered the newly elected Mayor Rich some breathing room as he respectfully took a few steps to the side. "You've been mayor for less then three minutes and already the public is clamoring for your attention. I'll await news of an official appointment in the next few days. Take care, Mayor Rich."
  13. Strong Copper's statement died away as both Zap and Apple Bloom made their presence known. "Oh good, they're alright then." At least, until Apple Bloom started talking anyway. A degree of concern did appear on Copper's face as he took a step towards the young mare with the intent of carrying her to a proper doctor, but then Doctor Jade stepped forward and... did something to her. Granted by her own admission reveled that Apple Bloom should still go see a medical professional for better long term care, Strong Copper still couldn't help but look at Jade with a degree of suspicion... despite what she claimed to have done. Even if it was true, that kind of skill and the ability to use it at speed like she had suggested a great deal of practice... which only furthered his doubts about her considering her magical control of (and knowledge of a supposedly extinct sub-species of) wyvern. That mare was hiding a lot behind her flirtatious smile and he didn't like what it was shaping up to one bit. That said, he didn't call her out then and there. Instead he calmly walked up to Apple Bloom and politely offered "Would you care to join me for a walk to the hospital? I appear to be a bit more breathless then I intended to be." He lied. In fact, to give the mare at least a mock show that he wasn't just offering to escort her to the hospital and preserve her pride, he reached up to cough into his hoof for her benefit.
  14. Strong Copper While it was true that Strong Copper was mildly disappointed at having come so far before losing, considering he was a newcomer to Ponyville and had managed to make a fairly good showing regardless against someone who had stronger local roots he could at least walk away from this defeat with his head held high. Turning to his opponent for the office, he respectfully bowed his head. "Indeed. While I confess I never expected to actually win, I can't complain with how well my run went. At any rate, congratulations on your victory. I can only hope that your reign as Mayor of Ponyville is as popular and well remembered as Mayor Mare's own." He offered politely in return. After all, there wasn't any point in burning any bridges with the local government just because he hadn't won an election. Depending on how things went, he could easily be a front runner for the next election once he had a bit more in the way of roots in town anyway. "The only thing about the election I found curious was the fact that I know for a fact that several other ponies signed up, but they never spoke up or showed up to the debates. Wonder what made them change their minds so quickly."
  15. So her name was Zecora. Somewhat different from the norm but then again she was a zebra. Holding her up to pony norms would have been completely unfair. Of course, her question about where to find more clues was a good one... and unfortunately there was really only one way to get that kind of information. "At this point, the only way to find out more is to follow its trial and see what we uncover." There were inherit risks in following the trial of any wild animal... one of which was that you found it (or worse... it found you!) . Still, there was nothing for it. Personally, he had been inclined towards inspecting the various claw markings on the trees in order to serve as a starting point to locate a trial; After all, if it had made those markings, it would have needed to physically be at the tree in question. Hearing Zecora's snort as she scrapped one of the claw marks on the ground, he briefly stopped his search for the freshest tree markings in order to have a look at what she found... and easily noticed the wood chips that matched the ones that had been found in the markings. The look on Copper's face at the sight was concern. "Okay... having some pieces come off while its digging its claws into a tree is one thing but... to lose stuff like this while its just walking? That cannot be a good sign..." With several possibly trails to follow due to their quarry having come through here a number of times, Strong Copper quickly finished checking on the tree markings... and found what appeared to be the freshest of the bunch. Finding claw marks in the ground underneath the tree marks was simple enough. Following them was somewhat more of a challenge, if only because with several older trails crisscrossing the area it would have been easy to lose track of the one that they were intending to follow. Having a starting point went a long way, but Copper had direct experience in this. If you knew what to look for, it wasn't hard. However, it could be time consuming and he wasn't in a rush to follow a false trail within the Everfree if he could help it. Having a trail he was confident in following, he gestured for Zecora to join him. While he kept his focus on keeping an eye on where they were going, he did politely ask "So if you don't mind me asking, what are you doing out here? To my understanding, the Everfree is largely a no go zone for those living nearby."
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