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  1. Diamond Dogs - Equestria's Stalwart Miners Diamond Dogs are rather interesting and unique creatures with features much like those of an ordinary canine, but which stand on two legs and are fully capable of speech. These creatures tend to live in dense camps in gem rich areas, sometimes staying there for years upon years, still mining in areas that their great grandparents had been mining in, only leaving when every last gem, ore, and coal has been removed from the land.Then and only then will the Diamond Dogs move on to a new area, but not before filling in their tunnels and making sure to plant trees, or whatever fauna is indigenous to the area so that the land can heal from their work. Diamond Dogs are almost always found in packs, but what they are actually like varies from pack to pack. Some packs are as big as three youngsters going off on their own, while other times a pack is a rather large group, all working together for the good of the group. An Alpha is usually always in charge, and can vary from pack to pack, usually by showing superior skill in areas that pack particularly values, be it strength and brawn, or craftiness and wit. The Alpha, be they male or female, normally shows these skills via their work ethics and is picked by the whole pack to lead them. An Alpha oversees the pack, planning places to mine, scouting them first, and in general makes sure the pack is happy and healthy. Being born to an Alpha does not assure that their pups will be given the same title. Gems are a valuable resource to the Diamond Dogs but they are not the only thing that they pursue in the mines--they also go after ores and coal to power their cities. Mostly they rely on steam and coal burning for energy, which they use for cooking, powering wind mills for flour grinding, and whatever else they need, the same way ponies rely on magic. Gems however are the bread and the butter, being used for trading, tool making, and even crafts. Young diamond dogs might display their most prized gems in a collar around their neck as a display of their findings, and mining prowess; Diamond Dogs prize gems for their beauty but also for their strength. Some clans only use diamond tipped pickaxes and spears because diamonds don’t break and last a extremely long time; some might even be using a diamond tipped pickax given to them that has been passed down for generations. Hunting and gathering is a crucial skill for any Diamond Dog worth their gems to have, since EVERYONE needs to contribute to the pack to make sure they are all healthy and happy, thus capable of doing even more work. Their diets, being omnivores, is rather diverse, and like the Diamond Dogs can vary from region to region. Some that live more near the coastal side of Equestria might live off a diet of fish and crustaceans, while those that live in packs in dense forests might survive off of produce they can forage or grow themselves due to the dense and diverse vegetation. ~Encyclopedia Equestria
  2. [colour=#8C9AAB]Where was she?Rook was getting sick of it. Her sister was constantly out gallavanting all over Equestria, neglecting her duties and responsibilities to the clan, leaving the other dogs to pick up the pieces. Or she would be, except she always managed to do her share of the work before leaving. Now Rook was left supervising the pups. The little brown one was struggling to hold her axe in her awkward paws, and the light grey one kept running off. She was losing patience. No longer worried about the wherabouts of the latter - he was his mother's responsibility now - she focused her attention on the former. Her small mind tried to grasp the pup's name, but it failed her. [colour=#FEE995]"Like this,"[/colour] she said with a huff, again taking the tool in her paws and showing the pup how it was done. [colour=#FEE995]"Left paw here, right paw here. Heave!"[/colour] The cave shuddered and shook as Rook's axe made contact with the wall of the cave. Some of the rough stone fell away, revealing two glittering diamonds and ruby, still cased in the rock. Rook handed the axe back to the pup. [colour=#FEE995]"Now dig."[/colour] Her sister angered Rook for a number of reasons, but namely she worried her. Kalime loved the ponies - she was so curious about them and their lives, but she never once considered that the outside world was dangerous. Ponies couldn't be trusted, they had funky magic. Rook had seen the funky magic - it did strange things like making things move on their own or making the clouds disappear. It frightened her, because she loved her sister. And her sister was doing dangerous things. There was a clatter as the small brown pup dropped her axe yet again. Rook growled, causing the her to shy away nervously. [colour=#FEE995]"Try again,"[/colour] she said. This time, the dog managed to chip away enough stone to free one of the diamonds - the glittering gem fell to the floor of the tunnel, and the pup's light green eyes lit up excitedly. Rook picked up the gem and the axe and handed them back to the younger one. [colour=#FEE995]"You're done for today. Take these back to camp."[/colour] She turned back to the wall and began hacking away at it with her own massive paws. If Kalime doesn't get back soon, I'm getting father to send a team out looking for her, she thought as she pulled chips of stone free from the glittering gems. In her fury, she managed to collect two more diamonds, a ruby, three emeralds and a sapphire. She was about to turn back to camp when she heard the sound of paws approaching - she couldn't tell if they belonged to her sister or to the missing pup, but she didn't wait to find out. [colour=#FEE995]"Where have you been?"[/colour] she demanded, a low growl forming deep in her throat as she turned towards the approaching dog.[/colour] ​
  3. It was, all in all, a fairly cool August afternoon in Stalliongrad - not that this meant much, it was still warm enough for clothes to be entirely optional, depending on one's trade and social standing. A bit of a quiet day, though, but such was reasonably normal for a Thursday afternoon this time of the year. After all, one tended to get armor in the spring or the fall, and leave the adventuring for the warmth of summer or the chill of winter. There were a number of trades-mares and stallions open for business - one business in particular, though, stood out. A smithy, a somewhat small one, in the merchant district - a bit out of place, but it had done well enough there, for the time being. From the outside, it seemed sturdier than most of the shops, a fairly stocky-looking stone wood and metal affair, centred around a thick stone chimney. A bit out of place, perhaps, as most of the forges were in the somewhat distant Kuznitza district, but nevertheless there. Outside, a small and empty cart waited next to the doorway, nearly hiding the sign that proudly announced, in both Stallian and Equestrian, 'Metalhoof Smithy - Made-to-order and custom armour, jewelry and more available here'. A fairly reputable establishment, if anypony thought to check, though it was in the hooves of a relatively new owner, passed from father to son upon the former's retirement. But, for all of its outer appearances, the interior of the smithy held an altogether different atmosphere... "Stolen? AGAIN!?" A heavy sigh, and a deep breath. "This is being, what, second shipment where you are bringing no silver, no gold, no gems, and only half of iron or steel I have ordered! What am I supposed to be forging with this?" The budding blacksmith shook his head, pacing slowly about behind the counter, his prosthetic metal hoof clanking with every fourth step he took. "I ran out of precious metals before start of last week, was telling customers I would to be starting on their orders as soon as I had shipment. But, nyet, at this rate going to have to melt down money for precious metals!" Indeed, things were not all well at the Metalhoof smithy, and given by the fact that the deep, somewhat raspy voice of the blacksmith working there, it was starting to get on somepony's nerves. It had indeed been some time since precious metals had been in stock at the smithy, and it was starting to have serious impacts on Hammerhoof's ability to make anything that required the special bit of shine that silver and gold offered. Robberies weren't really the fault of the delivery-pony, he'd just been taking the routes into Stalliongrad that were available, and it so happened that a pack of Diamond Dogs decided to mug him for everything they felt like carrying. The first time, he'd let it slide, simply complaining about the loss at the quick-footed, dark-green pony who'd been mugged - after all, it made sense that the delivery-pony would learn from the mistake and change habits accordingly. Second time, though... this was a problem. He advertised armour, utensils, weapons, tools and simple jewelry for sale in his shop, and ye he lacked the materials to fill the most expensive orders, which meant that his most profitable work was all on hold. The brown, somewhat sooty blacksmith simply sighed. He knew the shipment was important, he knew the delivery-pony knew the shipment was important. Getting overly cross wouldn't solve anything, so he lowered his voice, nodding slowly. "I can't even use these gems yet. Is not often somepony wants gems set in iron, copper or steel. I will take them, da, and you will still be receiving some pay, but... I am not sure what to be doing. A third time of this, and you will be costing me enough to put me back in apprenticeship. I do not want for this. Am already going to have to dig into own savings to keep from being broke..." For all that this was causing him difficulty, Hammerhoof didn't really feel like foregoing the payment of somepony else over conditions that were likely out of their control. After all, the delivery-pony had to eat and sleep somewhere - the blacksmith wasn't going to scrooge him out of that. The fact of the matter was simple – somewhere, there were a pack of diamond-dogs that were responsible for a rather harrowing predicament. He had a lot of missing materials to try and work around, a reputation teetering between success and a lack thereof, and he wasn't entirely sure of how to solve this issue. Yes, it was a theft, but through official channels, solving his issue might not come soon enough for him to stay in business. What he needed was a plan, and volunteers. That, or for the majority of his customers to suddenly be overwhelmingly happy with steel and iron in place of silver and gold for their jewelry – no, that was a silly and entirely improbable thing to hope for. So, with the delivery-pony half-paid and on his way out the door, the blacksmith began to ponder. He'd put up a few notices of his need for help on the larger advertisement boards, more of a desparate hope that he might recover his first lost shipment. "Blacksmith in need of expert treasure-recovery, adventurers, or trackers re : stolen shipments. See Metalhoof Smithy", written in slightly clumsy Stallian and Equestrian. It was all well and good to use the native tongue, but this was a big city, with enough trade and travel through it that being bilingual was nearly a must. But now, more than ever, the hope that somepony might come to his aid felt like a rather despnate wish, whimsical and as uncertain as a shooting star. Peraps this was how the gambler felt when buying his last lottery ticket? What a depressing situation. Though he held hope for perhaps somepony to come by looking to aid him, he started trying to figure out best to hold out financially. Maybe, just maybe, he could work through this regardless. Only time would tell.
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