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It was a shame, really – Equestria was such a wide, wide country with a variety of exciting cities to visit and landscapes to gaze upon. Celestia truly reigned over a beautiful world and it pained her to think that so many regions went unexplored. There were the shore cities in the south, bordering the coast and harboring ships and beaches, and the wild and rugged forests to the east and west of the capital city, and the exotic and unique lands of Itaily and Germaney which lay beyond the Eponnine Mountains. There were deserts and plains and hills and mountains and though Celestia had visited all of them before, she always felt that some regions were always sorely neglected. Perhaps, for her royal vacation, this could be to her advantage. She loved the ponies of Equestria – this was an undeniable fact. But sometimes their enthusiasm stifled the Princess – she wanted someplace quiet, isolated, and beautiful. After peering over the maps of Equestria and consulting her most trusted advisor, Philomena the Phoenix, she settled on a quiet and undisturbed resort town in the north – the sleepy village of Marelia. With the Eponnine Mountains to its south, and Zherbenok Bay to its north, the village was scenic, idyllic and quiet. It was the perfect place to escape her duties for a few days, relax, spend some time with Philomena and enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful resort town. Of course, in order to avoid any unwanted attention, she keeps her plans secret, and selects only a few of her most trusted guardsponies and courtiers to accompany her. She won’t keep her presence entirely unknown in the town - it is rather difficult for a Princess of her stature to travel incognito. But she does so like surprising her subjects, and would rather not be greeted with the parade and pomp she usually gets for official business. No, this was a vacation and Celestia hoped to be treated as much like any other pony as she possibly could. After unpacking her belongings and leaving her royal regalia in a small room in the bed & breakfast where she would be staying for her the duration of her visit (much to the utter shock and awe of its proprietors – that had been good fun!), Celestia decides to go for a hike through the mountainous forests to the south of the village. With only Philomena to accompany her, she spreads her wide, white wings, takes to the sky and heads south. The view from the air is breathtaking, as she gazes at the forests and mountain peaks below. [colour=#B774C5]“Isn’t it just beautiful, Philomena? So different from the spires and marble towers in Canterlot – I have always thought the north of Equestria was blessed with a rich, rugged beauty so often overlooked by ponies in the cities further south.”[/colour] The phoenix chirps her agreement as the two begin descending towards a rugged hiking trail cut through the trees. As she lands gracefully on the forest floor, Celestia catches sight of a small troupe of three or four hikers approaching them on the trail. She smiles at the rather startled ponies, her amethyst eyes sparkling with mischief. [colour=#B774C5]“Well, good afternoon,”[/colour] she says to them, extending a hoof in greeting. [colour=#B774C5]“It’s so good to see I’m not the only one who enjoys an occasional walk in these beautiful woods. My name is Celestia – and you are?”[/colour] [colour=#b4b4b4]((OOC: Posting my prompt response as an open thread totally isn't cheating.))[/colour]
The morning air was crisp and damp with the morning dew. The Sun was waxing ball of fire on the distant horizon as its rays began to warm the white birch forest of Solstice Heights Foothills. The previous week's Running of the Leaves went off with out a hitch. Almost all the leaves had fallen from the trees, leaving a blanket of red, orange, yellow, and brown, over the forest floor. As the Sun warmed Equestria all sorts of birds and animals began to stir. The leaves rustled as a slight breeze blew through the trees. The rays crashed upon a large oak tree on the edge of town. However this tree was unique, inside of it lived a pony. The rays streamed though an open window and fell upon a small bed where this pony slept. She tossed and turned as the Sun edged in on her dreams. Suddenly a cacophonous ringing filled her small bed room. She reached out a hoof and bopped it upon its top. She grumbled and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Stretching she got up from the bed and headed downstairs, through her living room and into her kitchen. Once in her kitchen she pulled out some milk and alfalfa. She placed these gently upon the small kitchen table and headed for the bread-box. Taking the bread out she placed it in the cast iron toaster. She looked at the fireplace and sighed, her banked coals had not lasted the night. Her breakfast had to wait for the moment as she restarted her cooking fire. She trotted off towards her wood-shed, the dew clinging to her hooves. With the tinder and fuel in tow she trotted back to her kitchen. She arranged the wood in a small teepee and smiled a little at what was to come. She clicked her ankles together unfortunately the -CLINK- that she had grown accustomed to was not to be heard. “Sugarplumbs!” She murmured to herself. In her haste to wake up she had forgotten to adorn her ankles with the trademark bracelets that she had worn since basic training. After a quick hustle up stairs and some rummaging, she returned to her kitchen wearing her bracelets. “Time for another try.” She quietly mused to herself. She clicked her fore-hooves together again and the -CLINK- that she was expecting filled her ears. She closed her eyes and felt the usual hum in her skull. The vast ocean of the aether appeared before her eyes. An ocean of pure energy, the ebb and flow of which could create and destroy worlds. A small, insignificant firefly of energy sparked into existence upon that sea of power. It wafted and swayed like a dingy in a storm. She marveled at that firefly for a moment, admiring its fight for life. She, with her magic, reached out and scooped up some of that energy from the sea. She channeled that magic towards the firefly, feeding it, nurturing it. The firefly began to consume the energy, very quickly. Greedily it gobbled the energy that she fed it, growing more and more powerful with every moment. Back in Equestria a thin tendril of flame seemed to slink out of nowhere. It wove its way slowly towards the wooden teepee in the fireplace. It coiled around the base of the teepee and the wood slowly began to catch fire. She slowly opened up her eyes again and watched the fire catch. She slowly severed the connection between the fire and the Aetheric Ocean, the wood would surely keep the fire going. She pushed the kettle on its swing arm over the fire and hung the toaster near the flame. Soon she would have tea and toast. She snacked on her alfalfa as her breakfast cooked. She gazed out the window towards the woods. The fog still hung heavy in between the trees and covered the hills and dales. “Ugh, why did it have to be damp today?” She remarked as her kettle began to whistle. The smell of toast filled the cottage as she poured herself some tea. She deliberately munched upon her breakfast as she pondered the day's work that awaited her. With a soft grumble she stood up and placed her dishes in the sink. She figured that she would wash them later when she returned home. She went to her office and picked up her campaign hat and placed it on her head, with her vest soon to follow. As she exited her home she took a deep breath of the air and looked over her yard. Her flowers were growing nicely and the picket fence was holding up well. She put her Forest Ranger vest on and exited through the gate in the fence towards the forest. “Today is a big day. Going to need to check the forest and make sure all the caution signs are up, then make sure everypony is at a safe distance, set up some fire breaks, and finally get the fire going. Big day.” Pyrite spoke to herself as she walked off into the fog of the early morning in Solstice Heights Foothills.
The Foothills (G.E. East) The rolling hills of the Heartland quickly give way to massive foothills, great mountains, and wide valleys in the East. Much of the area is covered by a large forest known as Whitetail Wood, a decidedly less dangerous analog to Everfree in the west. The heart of the Foothills region is the Solstice Heights, hills and mountains and nestled among them are the great white towers of the capital of all of Equestria, Canterlot. To the south along the Seasaddle Bay lies some of the densest Cities of the Foothills Canterlot - Built into the side of a mountain, Canterlot is a fantastical city of alabaster spires, winding streets, and arcane mystery. Although rather small in population compared to other cities, it is the most important city in all of Greater Equestria, not least for being as the seat of government and capital of Greater Equestria. Manehattan - Manehattan is an urbanized business powerhouse and the center of the Equestrian service industry and the central trade hub for much of Equestria. The hustle and bustle of the city provides plenty of opportunities for practically anything a pony desires to find. Hoofington - Hoofington is a seaside city with an unbreakable connection to the water. Famed for the quality of the fine pearls and seaweed harvested by its residents, as well as its famous lighthouse, Hoofington remains a quiet and unassuming town. Garden Gait - A small, nearly forgotten farming community within the Solstice Heights, Garden Gait is regarded as one of the most serene locales in Equestria, as well as one of the most distinctly beautiful. Fet Loch - Located in the highlands of the Solstice Heights, this village is mostly known for the curious accent of its inhabitants. Generally at the mercy of harsh weather, the residents of Fet Loch leave a distinct and often challenging life. Hollow Shades - A small village nestled deep within the confines of the valleys of the Solstice Heights that draws both the curious and the adventurous determined to witness the paranormal for themselves, with the most determined eager in their determination to be the ones who finally solve the mysteries behind what is often sold as Equestria's supposedly most haunted spot. Hoofenheim - A unique town in the isolated far eastern regions of Equestria across the Eponnine Mountains, Hoofenheim is mostly known for the festive and often old fashioned attitudes of its residents, as well as its distinct and hearty cuisine. The town's economy is based largely on mining and artisan metalworks. Roam - Hailed as Equestria's most romantic city, Roam sits on the far side of the Eponnine Mountains. With its distinctive and beautiful architecture, it is a hotspot for tourists and artists seeking inspiration. Calnais - Playground for the rich and famous, Calnais sits in the southeast corner of Equestria beyond the Eponnine Mountains. A rich and expressive culture thrives here among the picturesque scenery. The town has in recent years become the hub of the nascent motion picture industry. Tall Tale Town - Tied intimately to the nearby Foal Mountain of the Eponnine to which the small town sits at the base of, Tall Tale hosts tourists and fortune seekers of all manner. Some come to enjoy the outdoor scenery and mountain climbing, others drawn by the stories of great hidden treasures in the massive mountain that looms over the village. Major Natural Features Solstice Heights - The foothills, mountains, and river valleys spread out in every direction from the magnificent mountain that houses Canterlot - Solstice Heights provides housing for the less wealthy or less magically inclined residents of the greater Canterlot area. A veritable suburban paradise holding such settlements as Garden Gait and Fet Loch, many workers and teachers house their families here and commute to Canterlot for work every day, others support the various specialty farms that dot the various river valleys. Whitetail Wood - Sitting on the opposite side of the Roundbottom Hills from Canterlot, the Whitetail Wood is a more thoroughly explored mirror to Everfree, with younger trees and generally less dangerous wildlife. Here, ponies help control the weather and change the seasons for the forest. Other geographical features The eastern border of the Foothills region is marked by the Eponnine Mountains, one of the greatest ranges in Greater Equestria. The mountains themselves are among the tallest and, some ponies claim, still hold an active volcano or two.