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  1. ~~~Ice Storm~~~ The past couple years have been quite interesting for Ice Storm to say the least. From several EPIC operations that ended up less than ideal... an invasion that had led to the capture of the princesses from a force that they were woefully unprepared for, and then she got the two gifts that completely changed her life. The deed to the land of the Casino that she now ran in addition to the franchise of her frozen desert stores, and then the Opalus Spheres. The magical artifacts that had apparently been made specifically for her using her own magic. She wasn't entirely sure how they were amplifying her magic, but she knew that's what it was doing. Squall had told her precisely what they did, and she knew that it was working when she tried to open her shop the next day and even making a simple snow cone because of how minuscule amount of magic that it took compared to normal. She had tried using the same amount that she always had, and she made a small drift of snow several times instead of just a simple cone. It worked out because she could still use the excess snow, but it did make quite a mess at the time. She still remembered talking to Twilight tame and learn how to control the power of her newfound magic once again. That wasn't the only thing though. Sweet Celestia no it wasn't. She was still the Stewardess and apprentice of Princess Luna as well, and for a while she started working with her in refining more of her cold skills. After that most recent invasion she had taken it upon herself to create a secret organization. An organization that actually partially led to the creation of her casino in Las Pegasus to use as the front and to fund the operation. She knew that it wasn't going to be easy and sought Luna for advice. For a while Luna was the only other pony in Equestria that knew what she was up to that wasn't also a part of STAR, or at least so she thought. She had started building a flying dreadnought, and right before she was scheduled the final tests and the air test for it, Princess Twilight had randomly popped onto the bridge one day and commented on it. After a bit, mostly, once the Shadow of Ice was fully operational, Twilight made STAR a full fledged branch of the Equestrian Military, which meant that she now had government funding, but she was still doing things her way. Giving a home to the ponies that Equestrian Society had failed. In doing so, she'd met four amazing ponies that had come into her life and she now loved more than anything else. The relationship with the ponies that she had met at this point she valued as her most prized possessions. Raven Shadow Fire, Mythic Vision, Feather Blitz, and Niradana were all ponies that she'd come to love and adore. Granted, Nira and Feather were relationships that blossomed a bit more after Myth showed up, but that's not to say that she wasn't thankful for them. Especially Nira. She was more than thankful that she was able to get her out of the toxic situation in Neighpon. A healer that can't use her abilities to help those that need it was a bit... overly strict. She could understand making sure that a healer like that was always on call. Especially with what her special ability was. She'd personally never seen it in action, but that's a good thing. That means that nopony has ever almost died on her watch. With any luck, it will continue to stay that way. That's not to say that the world wasn't still full of surprises. Between Luna retiring from being the Princess that she confided in for advice in regards to running STAR to becoming a member of STAR herself. She definitely wasn't expecting that. Something else that was completely unexpected was the letter that she had gotten from Twilight a few days ago. It was a summons to the castle, and it was for something incredibly important. The way the letter was worded, it was something that she, and only she could accomplish, but Twilight couldn't send any of the sensitive details in the letter. She was certain that Twilight had communication channels in the STAR network, but chose to send the letter instead. She had packed everything that she needed for an extended stay here in Canterlot just in case it was something that needed prolonged attention. If she was being honest, she wasn't really sure what she was getting herself into. But she knew that Twilight wouldn't call her for something menial, especially worded the way it was. It specifically said that it was only something that she could do. She sighed, putting the letter back in her sack as she stepped off the train. She couldn't help but smile a bit before stopping by her shop that was here in Canterlot. It was on the way to the castle so she stopped in and grabbed a snow cone to go. She gave a quick wave to the manager and the ponies that she had working there with a smile. After a few minutes she made her way to the castle. Normally she would just go in, as she had a key to the door being one of the commanding officers of the Equestrian Military and Former Lunar Guard... but the letter specifically instructed her to knock on the door and the guards would know what to do. So without any further adieu, she lifted her hoof and knocked on the main entrance to the Canterlot Castle.
  2. It had taken... far longer then Ridge would have liked in order to get this appointment with the current ruling Princess of Equestria. Personally he had a sneaking suspicion that her staff had striven to waylay him due to the fact that he was a dragon and wasn't here to represent the Dragonlands, but he couldn't prove anything so he wasn't going to bring it up. Said delays, while frustrating, could be overlooked. After all, considering how one of the current objectives for this meeting required some good will from Princess Sparkle, it was in Ridge's interests to promote that good will. So it was that the well dressed, respectable CEO and Founder of Prosperity Mining, currently the largest mining enterprise in the Griffonstone region, the teenage dragon Ridge entered the audience chamber/throne room of one Princess Twilight Sparkle with the intent of speaking to her. Granted the white scaled dragon had only elected to don a black coat that went well with his coloration, but by dragon standards the effort of wearing clothing at all was a sign that he had dressed up for the occasion.
  3. Princess Twilight Sparkle The grounds around the castle were lovely this time of the year, a thin dusting of snow covered everything off the beaten path (and sometimes the path itself!) the light of the sun glistening off the crystalized snow, gently weighing down the trees, though not covering the benches of the gardens where ponies occasionally visited to see the various rare -or atleast semi-rare- plants that were kept on a sort of display... But all this was disturbed with a flash and the sound of a teleport. Twilight appeared outside the castle walls, in the garden, wearing her dark purple hooded cape, the fabric trailing down and covering her wings while the hood was up to cover her horn. She shivered as she looked down and realized she had appeared in a patch of snow. With a quiet awkward chuckle she stepped onto the path and a magenta glow smoothed out the patch of snow she had been standing in "Good as new" she commented Looking around she let out a quiet sigh "Doesn't look like anypony's around, that's good. I hate lying to my staff like that, but I just had to get away for a few minutes" her mind traveled back to just before when she headed into her private magical laboratory, telling her guards and the scientists that she was going to be performing an experiment using dangerous magics - to not disturb her and to ignore any explosions... that usually bought her about a half hour before they would check in to make sure she was ok... and that she hadn't disappeared again... There were some things about being a princess that really ate at her - like how every time she even went to another room her whole staff wanted to know where she was - and often wanted to send guards with her even inside the castle! Did Celestia always get followed by disguised guards? Did the staff not think Twilight was as capable? It wasn't like she had missed more than three deadlines in the last six months or so, she was at least as punctual as Celestia, probably more so... but she still felt the need to get some time to herself, especially outside the castle! Pushing these thoughts from her mind, the princess of friendship began walking along the path, taking a moment to enjoy the weather and the privacy... atleast, for now...
  4. Ridge sighed softly as he leaned back, his eyes closed as he waited in his little private booth of the hotel bar/eating area that he was staying at. The trip from Griffonstone hadn't been all that long and already he had set up an appointment with the current pony princess to meet with her within the next couple of days. After all as critical as he viewed his current situation, showing a degree of curtsy would certainly make a good impression and help him strive to get the result that he was after. It also allowed him the chance to do a bit of head hunting for his company and goals. The Heart's Warming Incident had proven that while the mining itself could easily be left to the locals, security was going to require him reaching out for employees who had the correct skill set while completely lacking the possibility of being compromised by loyalties towards the so called 'Emperor'... or failing that, friends and family who supported him. He would not have another one of his caravans go missing to that deluded catbird again! So he had put out an ad in a couple of Equestrian papers in Canterlot and settlements within reasonable traveling distance, offering employment at Prosperity Mining alongside the coverage of travel costs. The idea of spending more of his horde to relocate creatures had stung him deeply, but he needed people he could count on to be loyal to him who weren't stupid enough to just go 'Oh okay' when some random griffons walked up and said they would take this shift. Those ads were not the only advertisement he had put out either. Having had a much more... familiar connection with the seedier parts of Equestria then most, Ridge had quietly put the word out on the Underworld's version of a community advertisement board. He had money. He had a problem. He was willing to part with the former in order to acquire the services of someone willing to take care of the latter in a subtle manner. The nets were cast out. The dragon just had to wait and see what he dragged in.
  5. While he had long since moved to Ponyville for professional reasons, there had been other considerations when Strong Copper had made the decision. One of those considerations was its location in regards to Canterlot, since all it took to visit his parents in the city for events like holidays and the like was a relatively short train trip; Even better, you didn't need to get up at the crack of dawn in order to catch the train to Canterlot because there were a couple of trips made in the course of a day! As ponies put up Heart's Warming decorations despite the fact that the holiday itself was still about a month or so away, the chance to stop by the old family home to see his parents and get the holiday shopping out of the way while he was in the capital before the seasonal shopping madness kicked up was simply to good to pass up. Most of these gifts would be for family, but he did have a few friends in Ponyville that he felt inclined towards getting a present for. Zecora was going to be a challenge to shop for at least... So was Spoiled now that he thought about it, but that was a challenge for a vastly different reason from Zecora. He didn't like Mayor Rich, nor did he consider her a friend. He was getting her something because it showed a willingness to co-operate with the local government, but he needed to come up with something that he knew Spoiled would hate... but at the same time enough thought and effort went into it that if presented with it publicly, Spoiled would have to accept it and keep it somewhere visible rather then throw it out or lock it in a cupboard somewhere. Even better, it had to appear like an actual attempt to get her a real present rather then the spiteful jab it truly was. A tall order to be sure... But one which he had a few days to work on. As he strolled through the main food street (there were a few streets and alleys dedicated to food, but the main one was generally the most grand) Copper couldn't help but inspect and admire some of the changes that had occurred there since he was a young colt. The fact that a number of the restaurants had changed since then wasn't really the change that caught him off guard, but rather the sheer difference of what kinds of foods some of the new establishments were offering from each other. Canterlot restaurants tended to follow whatever trend was in motion and thus they tended to largely sell the same kinds of food in the past, but currently there was a variety of different styles and flavors wafting through the air, intermingling, enhancing and competing with each other in a grand tapestry of scents. It was enough to make a stallion pause and enjoy the display of culinary skill, even if only briefly.
  6. Roleplay Type: WoE Name: Stellar Sign, "Inque Noire", "Inky" Gender: Male Age: Stallion Species: Areion Eye colour: Gold Coat: Bluest Black (#000230) Mane/Tail: Eminence purple (#6C3082) mane and tail, both naturally wavy. His mane is kept in a neat comb-over style not unlike a suave silver screen stallion, while his tail is allowed to fly free, so to speak. Physique: A bit on the skinny side of average, Stellar is an author, but he likes working out of cafés and insists on lugging his typewriter and manuscripts with him, so he gets plenty of exercize. Residence: Canterlot Occupation: Author under the trade alias Inque Noir Cutie Mark: A constellation in the shape of a fedora and greatcoat collar, which he earned almost embarrassingly late when one of the short detective stories he wrote got turned in instead of a class assignment, and his teacher sent it to an open call she'd heard about. The colt spent the next few weeks trying to become invisible, but eventually his teacher put a copy of the magazine on his desk opened to a page where, accompanied by a line-shaded illustration of a stallion in a trench coat, his story had been published with an editor's choice award. Unique Traits: Stellar Sign is a specialist-type flyer. He's not particularly strong or fast, nor does he have particularly high endurance as these things go, but he's silent in the air. He also learned fairly early on how to adjust his eyes more quickly to changing light conditions than most areion, which also allows him to operate on a crepuscular schedule that mostly aligns with 'regular ponies'. History: Stellar Sign was born to a night watchstallion and an astronomer in Manehattan on a foggy, moonlit night. The pair lived in a high rise on the lower east side, and had been trying to save up for a better place when they learned they were expecting. Still, Stellar wasn't neglected growing up in spite of how busy his arrival made his parents. He had uncles and aunts to look after him and his brother when they could, but often the only times he actually saw his parents was in the wee hours of the morning when his mother arrived home from work, or in the early evening before his father left for his job. This, combined with the fact that the colt's bedroom window was next to a neon sign, left his sleep patterns rather erratic when compared to most areion. He'd wake up in the evening to see his dad off, take a nap late at night, then wake up again for his mom, and take another nap when the morning sun finally rose high enough to leave his room shadowed. It wasn't until he was sent to school that he adjusted to typical areion hours, a habit he fell back out of as he matured into adulthood. Lacking any shared interests with his brother or other relatives, the colt took to reading picture books, then comics, and eventually fiction, his bedroom eventually ending up resembling a small library. Some of his school-friends assumed that one day he'd pick up just the right book and get a cutie mark from its pages, and most of his teachers assumed he was napping too much instead of exploring like a healthy colt, so he was a very late bloomer. In fact, he was the last one in his school year to get a cutie mark by more than a full year. He didn't exactly mind, though, as even before he found his calling he was content to scribble and read. As he grew older, he was able to turn those stories of his into full fledged novels, which earned him a humble, but livable wage as long as he was relatively focused. On the advice of one of his early publishers, he developed and started using his nom de plume: "Inque Noire". He and that editor eventually had a falling out over royalties, but he was able to find a new editor, a mare named Doublegum Bubble, living in his apartment complex. From there he settled into a meagre, but comfortable life for himself. He'd write a few novels a year, sell some short stories to pulps and trade mags, do some occasional guest-writing for comics in his genre, and mingle and mix with industry names if he was feeling stir-crazy. But mostly he spent his days writing and his evenings reading or listening to jazz noir stations, drinking coffee as black as his preferred medium and genre, and avoiding committing to any of the string of admittedly lovely mares his parents not-so-subtly tried to nudge him toward. Character Personality: Stellar Sign attempts to project a gruff, tough-stallion image to those around him, but he's a total softy once you get to know him. He tends to be antsy and nervous around dawn and dusk, and often makes time for a nap around noon, but otherwise sleeps through the night since adulthood, since it makes it easier to interact with industry contacts and fans. The image and industry is also why he keeps the Inque Noire mask up around those not in the know. Ponies expect someone who writes detective novels to be hard-boiled, suave, and witty, while Stellar himself is only one of the three. Beneath his gruff persona, he's kind, passionate, and generous. He keeps an entire bookshelf in his living room with autographed trade hardcovers of comic arcs he enjoys sharing, surreptitiously feeds stray kittens and pigeons, and tries to come and go by his study's window (his bedroom lacks one to help him nap) to avoid disturbing his neighbors. His highrise apartment is decorated in inexpensive thirdhoof furniture aside from the bookshelves, his writing desk (which didn't count since it was a gift), and the linens for his hide-a-bed. Character Summary: Stellar sign is a stallion of many layers. He is Inque Noire, a rough, no-nonsense areion minor author of detective mystery novels to those who don't look twice at him. But he's also a gentle soul who can't stand to see the vulnerable and innocent suffer. His reputation means a great deal to him, but only because it frees him to be himself in the shadows and twilight, where he thrives. He lives in a ratty, austere apartment because he'd rather spend his bits on books and charity, and he's an oddball in both the pony and areion communities to which he ostensibly belongs.
  7. Twinkle Dawn yawned as she put her eye to the telescope. Three of the Galloplean moons of Jupiter were visible tonight, an impressive number. Europa, her favorite, was unfortunately nowhere to be seen. She had a feeling that was a bad omen. And her feelings were usually correct. She jotted some notes down in her journal, even deciding to make a quick sketch, though she had to reposition the telescope several times for that to be possible. All the while, she checked her watch. Her horoscope had said to "Expect a strange visitor today," which is why she had been up all day instead of sleeping like she usually did. When the stars called, she wanted to be ready, and if that meant welcoming a strange visitor into her home, then she would be awake and ready to have them as soon as they knocked. But they hadn't knocked. She considered not coming in tonight, but had a feeling she should. Clients didn't usually seek her at the observatory, but then maybe that was what would make this visitor strange. Perhaps she -- or he -- would come to the observatory at this uncelestial hour seeking the guidance of the stars. She yawned again. Whoever it was, they'd better hurry up. It was almost midnight, meaning the day was almost over. She couldn't be wrong about this. The horoscope had been so clear. There was no way she was wrong. She wasn't normally wrong. Especially with horoscopes. She always checked and rechecked horoscopes because that's what most of her clients asked for, and the thought of their disappointment was too much for her. Ever since being dismissed from her position as royal astrologer, she had suffered a degree of anxiety over her predictions. Luna and Celestia had dreamed Tirek's coming and she hadn't. That was a huge fail. She couldn't allow herself to make another mistake like that again. She took some deep breaths to calm herself and flipped to the table at the back of her journal to look at her orders. Several ponies requesting horoscopes, nothing out of the ordinary there. One pony wanted to know how compatible he was with a mare he had his eye on. The stars usually didn't have much to say on that regard. The two pony's signs would tell her everything she needed to know. But she liked to consult the sky as an added measure anyway. Her train of thought was interrupted when she heard the observatory door open. That was weird. She could have sworn she locked it... Visitors weren't permitted at an hour like this. She descended the steps from the main telescope, stopping once she could see the entryway, where the silhouette of a tall unicorn stood. "Can... I help you?" she asked as she lit her horn to try to reveal more of the pony. Was this the strange visitor she was supposed to expect?
  8. This thread takes place during the events of Season Four of FiM, hence the title "Memories" The sun was beginning to rise, illuminating the Canterlot observatory better. For the first time in more than two hours, Twinkle Dawn looked up from her parchment. She had been charting stars and trying to write horoscopes all night to submit to the local newspaper, but nothing was coming to her. She looked around at the decor and the large telescope. It was the best one in Equestria, so they said. Adjustable scope, extremely powerful, and decorated in beautiful gold and polished wood. She had been using it for years to talk to the heavens. But now, it seemed the heavens had closed to her. It had been more than three months since her discharge, and she still was having trouble with her predictions. It seemed they relied largely on her confidence in her own abilities, and tonight, she just hadn't had any. She sighed, balled up the parchment, and tossed it into the nearby wastebasket. The day workers would be here shortly to open the observatory to the public, and she usually liked to be gone by the time that happened. Oh well. There was always tomorrow, right? She perked up, trying to stay positive. If her visions and predictions relied on confidence, then she would just need to fake it till she made it! Still, the nagging doubt remained with her... She before closing up the observatory, she felt that she should check one last star in the sky. It was Venus. It was rising with the sun, and she decided to rotate the roof and telescope to get a better look at it. After studying it for several moments, it slowly faded away with the rising of the sun. She wrote down her impressions and then studied what she had written. "Today is a good day to make a new friend." Well, it wasn't much, but it was something. She supposed she could stay up a little longer if it meant following the guidance of the stars. She closed up the observatory and looked over a note she had exchanged with her cousin, detailing the location and time for the first meeting she would have with her potential followers. In a week, she was going to be giving a speech in front of at least fifty ponies, trying to convince them that she was princess material. She needed to get her confidence up before then. Otherwise, no one would believe her. For now, though, she needed to focus on following the stars. They had sent her a message. Make a new friend. Simple enough, she reasoned. Canterlot was full of ponies. All she had to do was talk to one. As she opened the door to the street, she came face to face with one. The pony seemed to be here to visit the observatory. "I'm sorry, the observatory doesn't open for another hour. Can I help you?" she asked, assuming the pony's intentions.
  9. The city of Canterlot. Wind Dancer had heard a lot about this city but she had never been here herself. From the moment she stepped off the train she noticed that everything just... felt a little bit different here. She wasn't entirely sure what it was, but there was a certain regalness in the air. Was it from the fact that she was in Equestria's capital? She couldn't really say. What she could say though was that everything here was a lot quieter than it was in Las Pegasus. Even thought she could tell the city was just as large as LP, there was a lot less hustle and bustle. There definitely weren't any casinos and big fancy neon lights. She very much doubted that the princess wouldn't like such establishments in such a place, but she wasn't sure. Princess Twilight was a different pony than Princess Luna and Princess Celestia. Not that she knew them any better. Truth be told she hadn't met a single pony that held any major power. At least outside of the ponies that were on the Las Pegasus City Council. As to why the mare was here? Well, mostly she was here to explore and visit some of the sites. However, she wouldn't be lying if she said that she wasn't also looking for fellow musicians, dancers, performers, or ponies that were good with decor to help with an event that her and Sky Sailing were planning at home. She figured that she could help do some of the leg work outside of the city why Sky continued to work on his newest album. There was a few of the songs that they would be using in an upcoming show. They were doing a Hearth's Warming show in Ponyville in a couple weeks so he wanted to make sure everything was recorded properly and ready to go for their performance. She couldn't wait for that night herself as there was more than one reason that she was looking forward to it. Right now, the lilac pegasus mare stood on the platform of the train station looking at a map. Celestia's sun was currently providing the light that she would need to read it, and the high mountain altitude meant it was quite brisk. A contrast to the weather in Las Pegasus, but it was starting to get into more of their colder season. It was a desert after all and at night it could get down right cold there. A pony would have to be made of ice to be able to stay outside for any length of time after dark in Las Pegasus in the winter. "Hmm... There are a lot of sights to see here... the question is... what do I want to go and look at first? What would Sky wanna do if he were here?" she asked to herself aloud not really paying attention to her surroundings. Thankfully after living in Las Pegasus for so long she knew to stand still when she wasn't paying attention. That was the easiest way to accidentally bump into somepony. She knew! she'd met quite a few of her friends from that exact happenstance!
  10. Ah, the Imperial Gardens... Or Royal Gardens, rather. Lazy lillies and oopsie daisies glisten in the crystal coating of fresh morning dew, although Luna's darkened tapestry had yet to be drawn back for Celestia's painted blue sky. Rose was not a nocturnal pony. She wasn't a diurnal pony either. Rose simply followed her heart, whether it took her through the gates of time or Tartarus, such trivial things mattered little in the face of science and discovery. One such discovery happened to be underway in those very rosey beds, the seafoam savant hunched over her displayed alchemical materials as she plucked the petal off a large silver flower. The tips of her hooves were coated in dirt, eventhough she sat just outside the boundaries of the mulch, and small smudges of oddly odiferous substances streaked her cheek and limbs, as if she had spilled something while mouth handling it- or, perhaps, multitasking beyond her limit. Regardless, three small beakers had been setup on a placemats of sorts, her saddlebag close by with guts exposed to the cool, crisp air. "The petals of a Forget Me Not... I'm surprised to find these here, considering their potent mental effects," she murmured to herself as she dropped the leaf from her aura info the top beaker, which was filled with what looked to be water, steam rising up from the bottom beaker sitting atop a heating rune. The steam sparkled with small grey motes as it entered the third beaker, which was filled halfway in a ruby fluid. "Great for anesthetic purposes, but the loss of memory can sometimes prove problematic... It could be used to treat trauma, but... It needs something." The silver flecks bogged down the air above the crimson lake. In time, it diffused into the red substance, giving it the appearance of sparkling wine. Rose smiled. "Yes, I thought this may be a good idea. Sweet breams will be able to fight off the worst of the side effects and prevent hallucinations from forming nightmares. Genius!" She thrust a hoof into the air, nearly knocking down her equipment in the process. "Now I just need somecreature to test this on... I have enough petals here, so I can still distill more if need be..." She began looking around the garden for her next unwitting vict- volunteer.
  11. There were precious few things in Sunset Shimmer’s life she valued as much as the time she spent with her companions back in her Mirror World home. Just about the only item to make the shortlist was the unicorn mare’s version of what some young fillies would call “Twilight Time”. About once every three months, Sunset would return to Equestria to spend a weekend with her adorkable Pony Friend Forever, Twilight Sparkle. Considering the business of their schedules, these get-togethers were really the only opportunities for both mares to share face-to-face fun times together. Usually, Twilight planned these occasions so that Sunset would get to enjoy aspects of pony culture that she had missed out on in the past. Considering Sunset’s rough foalhood and troubled studies under Princess Celestia, it was quite a shockingly long checklist, but that was no concern to an alicorn princess addicted to making long checklists. Last time around, Twi managed to rope Sunset into participating in one Iron Pony event... which somehow turned into chasing a mythical fox creature? Weird stuff happened in Equestria, sometimes. But Twilight was really looking forward to this weekend’s excursion. Apparently, the Museum of Equestrian History over in Canterlot was putting on a special exhibit about the Old Pillars of Equestria who lived over a thousand years ago (and are bafflingly quite alive and well today, once again due to the marvels of Equestrian weirdness). But this wasn’t no ordinary special exhibit, because Princess Twilight served as an academic consultant! And Twi, she was always so eager to spread awareness of vital historical figures to ponies lacking knowledge of obscure history. You know... ponies like Sunset Shimmer. The Equestrian girl looked on the bright side of things: she could have just as easily been dragged off to a dusty Antique Shop, or to a dry lecture on Paleopony Pottery Symbology. Although the former magic student relished teasing Twi about her nerdy excesses, Sunset confessed to herself that the inquisitive scholar within her wanted greatly to learn more about some of Equestria’s very first heroes... especially Starswirl. And she’d get to have her kick-flank PFF by her side while doing so! As the pair of Celestia’s students approached the Museum’s front entrance, Sunset couldn’t have been in better spirits.....
  12. Princess Twilight Sparkle Rainbow Dash The streets of canterlot were bustling with activity. Ponies comming and going from work, eating, shopping, or just waundering around, enjoying the city and taking pictures. It was a rather typical and picturesque day inside the country's capital city... ...Outside though... A purple dot kept circling around the peaks around the mountains, while a light blue pegasus stood on a hilltop, occasionally flying upwards into the sky a ways, holding a megaphone and shouting instructions "Good! Good! Build up some speed, then break free to shoot yourself forward!" called dash over her megaphone. Twilight gritted her teeth and nodded, all the while thinking to herself 'why am I doing this? I'm the one in charge, I can say no!' and yet, despite thoughts like these, every time that rainbow insisted that she needed training, despite all the scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and lost teeth, she kept ignoring her better judgement and listening to the technicolor mare The alicorn broke out of the tight circles, her head feeling like it was still spinning and a little bit dizzy (not to mention a little sick to her stomach) and began angling down. She felt the air stinging at her face and body, the burning pain in her wings. But even so she felt the air start to gather around her hooves! It was the first step that dash had been pushing her towards for so long. She pushed harder, and harder, trying to shape the air... then... suddenly...! "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" twilight screamed in pain and tumbled from the sky as one of her wings cramped up so hard she couldn't unfold it. Fortunately for twilight, and all of equestria, the fastest pegasus in the world was on standby and while she did let twilight have some tumbles in the air and a couple seconds of absolute terror, she sped in and saved her friend long before the alicorn would have become a purple smear on the ground. Twilight's eyes and mouth were still squeezed shut both from the pain and the terror when dash lay her down on one of the patches of ground outside the city "I keep telling you, you have to pace yourself, if you just dump everything you have into it, this will keep happening..." chided the cerulean mare with a sigh as she carefully began massaging twilight's wing, waiting for the alicorn to relax enough to be able to speak or even open her eyes...
  13. You are hereby cordially invited to attend the Royal Equestrian Guards' annual Ball. This year's event will be held in the illustrious Royal Grande hotel in Canterlot. Security will be handled by a private firm, so please remember to have your invitations and identification with you when you arrive at eight hours past noon five nights before the autumnal equinox. Proceeds from this year's Ball will benefit the Equestrian Services Organization in their efforts to improve interdisciplinary cooperation and morale, as well as to fund improvements to the training grounds and academies for the Wonderbolts, the Royal Equestrian Army, and the Twilight, Solar, and Crystal Guards. Please indicate your meal selection and that of any guests who will be attending with you on the enclosed RSVP postcard no later than three weeks before the event. This is a formal event for guards and civilians to mingle and understand one another. Evening dress is strongly recommended. The Royal Grande was one of the largest hotels in Canterlot, and tonight the entire top two floors had been reserved for processing and housing the annual Guard's Ball. On the floor below, attendees were vetted quickly and efficiently by the hired security, then processed through the registration desks by the maîtres d'hôtel who then passed the guests off to hotel staffers, with the entire operation overseen by the Equestrian Services Organization. On the top floor, the orchestra was playing a selection of light melodies on the stage of the Grande Ballroom and several smaller event halls had been arranged with tables for the various branches of the armed services and policing forces.The lighting was warm and mellow as a summer sunset, and speakers in each room conveyed the orchestra's performance or the occasional interlude or speech to all attendees. Periodically the orchestra would bring a full band onto the stage as well to combine for a symphonic version of one of the REA branches' marches or anthem. True to the spirit of the event, no table was populated entirely by any single group, and even the smallest hall contained seats reserved for civilian ticket holders and donors alike. The seating arrangements had all been planned, with little cards at each place setting to let the attendees know which seat at which table in which room their meal would be served, and hotel staff were busily busing attendees to their assigned places. There were quite literally hundreds of guests seated already, and the rooms looked to be set to accommodate even more before the evening was over. In short, the ESO had done everything in its power to make sure tonight was as stress-free as possible for each and every one of its attending servicemembers, a place and a time where they could let their manes down and just enjoy the evening without the distinctions and duties of rank and regiment. At once formal and informal, exquisite and relaxed, tonight was a night to let down walls and build inroads, and to remind the isolated and insular that the armed forces and its members were a unified whole. Tonight was the Royal Equestrian Guards' Ball.
  14. "Make way, make way!" Never let it be said that Prince Blueblood didn't have a flair for spectacle and making an entrance. His showiness was often only restrained by an aristocratic sense of dignity. Some occasions, however, were sufficiently large as to overwhelm any hesitation, and this, well... This occasion was as big as the Sphinx the Prince was currently riding on the back of through the cobbled streets of Canterlot. "Behold, Citizens, the great Marvel of the Southern Desert Lands!" The Sphinx's name was Niilavin, and Blue had encountered him while accompanying the Sultana of Saddle Arabia on an archaeological dig. Apparently, one of the old Pharaohs had enchanted the great desert cat, and subsequently petrified him upon his own death. By donning the amulet that had been used control Niil, Blueblood had broken the petrification spell, and become Niil's new master. As the giant cat hadn't yet adjusted to the new norms of civilization quite yet ("No, we don't eat our enemies, we befriend them! Bad boy."), it had been decided that the safest thing to do would be to keep the enchantment going, while the Prince took Niil back to Equestria, more or less to housebreak him. Blueblood being Blueblood, however, he couldn't help but use the opportunity to show off his status. So, taking a few souveniers home to dress himself similarly to a Pharoah of old, he now Paraded down the main streets and squares of Canterlot, showing of his new pet and his new bling to all and sundry. Faust only knew what the papers would make of this...
  15. Loyalty. The guiding light for all pegasus ponies in the war and after. Loyalty was everything and this fact was trained, taught and beaten in to every last pegasus. There was no other way, no other path. And yet Bravo found himself lost thanks to it. What was loyalty when the very thing you swore to die for is nonexistent. When everything you know is nonexistent. This reality shock Bravo to his core just by being itself. By being here in this shape and lacking everything that made his world, his views work. It was crushing and took him weeks… months to even go outside again. Mech was a good friend even his help did not make this more easy. Acclimatising to this world and shock it was to his beliefs, views and understand just took time. A lot of it. He was better now… Somewhat. It was still hard, confusing and confusing but he managed to do trips outside without breaking down or lashing out at some pony. Mech was the only pony to even have a hope of understanding… It. Why this was hard. But Bravo had to push on. Well he wanted to go home he knew he couldn't. It's been too long. He’s MIA or KIA and can’t go home. And this world was better in every way. Food! Water! Safety! It took weeks too learn how to sleep without jumping at every sound. Weeks trust water. Food… so on and so on. And yet he was still spinning in place. Loyalty… Loyalty. The word that haunted him like hounds on a fox and it made him feel aimless. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ With a clap of thunder Bravo looked up at the sky's pouring rain. He liked the rain. It made him feel… safe. Familiarity was the word, safe was the feeling. Rain was part of life back… There. Mud, rain and death. At least he had rain. Walking down the road gazed up at the towering buildings of white. Time to time a flash happens and he saw HIS Canterlot and its countless horrors. It made a shiver roll down his spine but he pushed onward, dry from the storm underneath his power armor. He still can’t go outside without it. Not for long. Panic attacks. When one spent months in it leaving it is terrifying. Every part of his brain screamed ‘outside is danger!’ without it. Even a friend next to him he’d start to panic. More time… maybe that is all he needed. Looking at the map in his HUD he gazed up at another big building. This was the place… Blueblood. A war hero… At least for Bravo. The mare from his first moments here was tied to Blue. Mech never did explain how very well, saying it will be easier if he ‘saw it’ for himself. Or something. Bravo just hoped the offer was still open. Mech was fun, but insane. A level head was something he needed and with luck this pony had one to offer. …. Ringing the door bill he looked up at the giant wood doors. Why on earth did a pony need doors do big? Did they have a pet sphinx or something? Well he sat at the door he removed his helmet, letting his golden orange mane flow out with a shake and lit up a cigarette. Was no dash but it helped keep his shakes down. He still hated Mech for not making him more. He knows the mad-doc can, he just did not. jerk.
  16. Stellar adjusted the eyepiece of his telescope, looking carefully at the same constellation he'd been examining for the past several hours. Then he picked up a pencil in his mouth and wrote some notes. He looked at the moon for a moment. "Interesting" he mused "I may need to research this more." He wrote a little more. He put down his pencil and flew inside to look through his library. "I've gotta have it here, somewhere..." he said to himself as he looked though his books. He sighed "That's right." he remembered "They didn't have it in. Maybe they will, now." He flew down to his door and picked up a saddle bag. Outside, he walked down the street toward the library, sort of avoiding ponies as much as he could, like he always did. When he got to the library, the Librarian was only just opening up the doors. "Oh, hi, Stellar." she greeted "It's rather early, even for you. Celestia hasn't even raised the sun, yet. Are you here for that book, again? Was it 'The history of magic science: stars and celestial bodies'?" "You know me, always burning the midnight oil, so to speak." he chuckled "And yes. that's the one." She motioned for him to follow, and walked on inside. Stellar followed as she walked to the counter. "If I'm not mistaken, we just got that in, today." she reached under the desk and produced the book "Kept it here, just for you." "Thanks, ma'am." Stellar grabbed the book "I'll see you soon." "One last thing, Stellar?" She called "You really should get out more. Try talking with somepony, today." Stellar chuckled "I'll try." he waved goodbye, and left the library. The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. He knew he wasn't getting any more star gazing done, so he took his time walking. He carried the book in his hoof, trying to read it while he walked. Then he stopped. "She's probably right." he thought "I really should start talking to ponies." He stood for a bit, but then decided he didn't really know how to bring up a conversation and not just end up bugging somepony, so he continued walking "Maybe another day" he thought to himself. Just then, his hoof hit an uneven patch of street, and he tumbled into the ground, his book and glasses falling to the pavement. "Oooh, why now?" he said aloud, as he started to search the ground with his hooves for his glasses.
  17. Welcome to the Explorers Society! The pub was founded many years ago by an adventurer named Bounder O’ Adventure and his fearless group of like-minded friends. They wanted a place they could hang out and talk about the adventures they had either been on or were about to start. They hoped to create a place they could hang photos and paintings of their adventures and friends. And where they could display mementos of their epic feats. The actual society held monthly meetings in an hidden room on property, but with the disbandment of the actual Society, the room had been unopened for decades. For all intent and purposes, the ‘ES’ was now basically a well themed pub. This pub still allowed story-tellers to sit by the fire and spin their tall-tales. Grateful pub-patrons had been know to send a few drinks towards the narrator, as long as he or she had a good yarn to spin. Two ponies slowly made their way through the pub, only stopping to admire the many paintings of adventurers of the past. The older pony, a red Pegasus coated mare let out a sigh as her eyes fell upon a particular painting. This one consisted of a rather heavy looking stallion adorned with an oversized white mustache that look up nearly half of his face and made him look like an elderly walrus. An neat little monocle and pith helmet completed the scarlet cheeked earth pony's 'uniform'. "This is grandpa and dad's old friend. Merry old 'Colonel Critchlow.", her voice was filled with respect and awe. "Once in a blue moon, we would pop over here and I would listen to the good Colonel's stories while dad would play cards or darts with his officer friends...And while I was told some of his stories were real, he generally liked to 'enhance' his tales....For the listener's sake." The younger pony nodded her head. Hopefully somepony would have a tale of their own to tell.
  18. The North Market of Canterlot was an ancient holdover of a time before the elites of the city had fully appropriated the haute couture of Prance. Before the streets were lined with boutiques and cafes, the commerce of Equestria's capital had primarily taken place in places like this, a covered bazaar where stalls could be set up, rain or shine, for the ponies to conduct the trade that was the lifeblood of civic existence. Such activity had long since migrated outward and away from the great markets, the old edifices of brick and stone eventually being sold off for hotels or taxi hubs. The North Market, or the building that had once housed it, had recently come back under to crown's control, after a defunct hotelier had defaulted on his taxes. Blueblood, on hearing of this, made the suggestion of restoring the market's original function. It would fill a gap in the urban planning; serving as a venue for entrepreneurial merchants who were facing a huge real estate price barrier to setting up shop in Canterlot. It would be a vibrant fusion of the glorious past and exciting future... with the enormous crest of House Platinum on the front doors. Couldn't let posterity be ignorant of who had salvaged their inheritance, now, could he? And now was the grand opening. The ceremony had been relatively short, with most ponies wanting to get in and take a look. The floor hadn't been filled out fully, with most of the space being taken up by food vendors. Some very good food vendors, in fact; the wafting aromas of deliciousness had factored in quite heavily to the decision to shorten the ceremony. And now ponies, mostly non-aristocratic ponies, were browsing wares and munching treats that they could actually afford, in an environment where the cheapness did not imply vulgarity. The Prince honestly felt it as one of his triumphs, as he strolled like a potentate through the indoor bazaar. Here and there, one could spot a high-class visitor, the curious or historically minded. And maybe a few foreigners as well...
  19. Heart Shield began his day at his little home along the streets in Canterlot. It was his first day back to the guard after some time off. The days had gone to fast he thought to himself as he got ready for the day and headed out the door, Making his way up to the castle. Greeting the guards out front he made his way in. Making his way down a hallway, He entered a room where there was lockers for all the guards to keep their armor. Walking down the line of lockers along the wall he glanced at all the numbers looking for his. Finally finding his, He stopped to pull the door open, and took his armor out. Putting each piece on, He adjusted them to his liking. Heart shield wasn't really enthusiastic about starting this week, Things had been mostly quiet and it was rather quite boring. Having put his armor on, Heart shield closed the door to his locker and trotted out the room. His post today was upstairs in the castle, In a place where not many ponies besides the princesses went. Climbing the stairs he glanced around and tried to smile a little. It was going to be a boring day, but at least he would have some peace and quiet for the day, Or at least he hoped. Finding his place in the room he was to be at, He adjusted his ponytail sticking out the side of his helmet before straightening up his legs and stood looking like he should. Heart Shield gave out a little sigh, He seemed to be the only one in the room, and it mostly seemed quiet upstairs. It was going to be a long day, but he had hoped There would be at least something to keep him busy for awhile....
  20. It was a rather chilly morning outside. Heart Shield had woken up in his small townhouse along the narrow streets of Canterlot. He had one last day off of guard duty before he would have to go back, and he decided to make the most of it. Rising from bed he stretched his legs and arched his back to try to loosen his stiff muscles up a little. Glancing at his window which had a little early morning frost on it. It appeared it had gotten a little chilly over the night. Walking across the cold wooden floor he looked out of what parts of the window he could see. He could see ponies walking about on the street below clad in warmer clothing. Determined to not let the cold morning waste away his day, he grabbed his blue scarf from the rack, and wrapped it around his neck pulling his ponytail up to lay over top the scarf. Trodding down the stairs he opened the door to his house, and stepped out. Heart Shield was immediately meet with the crisp and chilly air, Shivering a little he turned and walked down the street. There wasn't tons of ponies out, most where staying in warm areas for as long as they could, but Heart shield decided to just enjoy the day. He didn't have an real destination in his aimless wandering of the streets, He just liked exploring and meeting new ponies. He walked the street many of times as a guard, but It was nice to do so at his own leisure. Walking down the street he took time to look at all the shops along the way, seeing what he could get into for the day. It was rather cold out this morning, Heart Shield could see the steam from his breath as he plodded along down the street. "Maybe a little warmth from the cold would be good." He thought to himself, as a small cafe on the corner of the street caught his eye. He decided this would be a great way to get to know some ponies, and possibly even make some friends. The cafe had a fancy sign hanging from above the cafes windows, He could see ponies inside sitting down at tables doing various things, Reading newspapers, chatting with each other, and enjoying warm drinks. Crossing the street he pushed the glass door open with his hoof, a small bell hung in front of the door rang as he entered. It seems this was a popular spot to be this cold morning. Walking over to the counter he glanced at the menu, "A nice warm drink would hit the spot." He said to himself as he looked through the list on the menu. It seemed the place was a little busy at the moment, so he had a little time to decide. The cafe was nice and warm inside, Over on the right a large stone Fireplace crackled away over the chatter of other ponies.
  21. It'd taken a little while for the letter to reach its intended target, and a little longer before he even deigned to respond to it. It was from the leader of STAR, Black Ice, requesting a meeting with him. Having nothing particularly pressing to deal with, especially when a certain somepony who he'd taken a liking to was busy, he had sent back an answer, with a time and place for them to meet. Canterlot Castle. More specifically: one of the small reading alcoves located within the main part of the Archives. It would be private enough for them to speak; ponies rarely ever came to the Archives, anyway. They would be left undisturbed. As the time rolled around, King Sombra had settled himself within one of the cushy chairs with his usual arrogant poise, his forelegs draped over the armrests and his back straight, patiently awaiting Black Ice's arrival- to see if she would arrive on time, or intend to meet with him at all as per the agreement. For the occasion, Sombra had freshly bathed and groomed himself. Even his cape had seen some washing. Its color was bright and pristine, and altogether the shadow king looked prim, put together. Even oddly.. calm and content for such a sour, brooding stallion. This slight change would be apparent enough to the eyes of his guest, whenever she showed. He was looking forward to having some one on one time with this Black Ice, to get to better know this mysterious mare he was to listen to on some.. grand plan to keep Equestria safe where others struggled or failed to. Sombra had yet to see if it would work out any better than these fabled Elements of Harmony and whatever other organizations that had sprang into being with that very desire in mind. He'd learned a little about them, but nothing beyond their basic purpose. He could hardly feel like remembering their names, much less their acronyms. Furthermore, Sombra wanted information and this would be his best chance to get some.
  22. The newly risen moon had a soft silver glow that lit up the edges of the few clouds that occupied the sky this night. They were thin wisps of clouds, slowly floating across the sky where a great myriad of the stars still glittered like metallic dust on a velvet dress. The very look of it all was why Luna loved the night so much. It was calming and gentle, and the moon itself so serene- a serenity she could not quite know for herself. Maybe someday she would, but not now. The castle itself was starting to quiet as most ponies began to settle down for the late evening, and there was something about the air of it that Luna found particularly dull. Dull enough that she chose to leave it, when she scarcely had as much to do as Celestia did during the day. It left her free to head out into the night sky, rising up around the spires of the castle, avoiding falling into the same old habits that seemed to have been following her almost every night. Luna always tried to do something to keep both her boredom and her thoughts at bay, always turning her mind towards something else to focus on, like flying or attempting to change out the lavender in the castle almost every night. She felt less inclined to do so these days, for certain reasons that still followed her despite the situation itself having been resolved. The dark alicorn's flight brought her up towards the golden-domed observatory. Luna hardly needed a telescope to view her night sky, but she knew it was there for those who'd want to study it. It was a place she hadn't visited in quite some time or.. ever, if she could even recall it amidst everything she'd had to deal with with Celestia. It would be something new again for her to venture into just as something to do. Landing outside the door along the outside, Luna moved into the dimness of the observatory room, only lit by the light of the moon that came through the wide gap in the ceiling the telescope protruded through. She navigated easily enough by that scant light, her wings slightly held aloft as she looked around at the round room with curiosity.
  23. After what he'd gotten himself into, the former tyrant felt it would be imperative that he finally dare to explore Canterlot. The world was always quietest once the sun fell beyond the horizon, and the moon was bright overhead, when most ponies were long since in the comfort of their beds, their dreams. Canterlot, as Sombra had learned, was Equestria's capital city, a development that had happened some time after he'd been banished beneath the ice of the Frozen North. Although whether it happened during Princess Luna's tantrum, or after, the history books he'd found on Equestria never mentioned. It was an interesting tidbit to wonder about. The city was currently quiet with very few ponies left on the street at this dark hour. The golden glow of the streetlamps kept the street themselves lit well enough to see by, but they also created many heavy shadows in the spaces between buildings and behind whatever objects sat on sidewalks and what carts were left sitting on the side of the roads. Coming here at all had been a great risk, and staying to explore it was even worse. Yet, despite the danger of the royal sisters discovering that he was back, that he was alive, Sombra remained, walking through the capital's streets. He kept to the shadows when necessary, and skirted the edges of the streetlamps' light so that those few who were still on the streets couldn't get a good look at him. Couldn't see the curved red horn or wicked red eyes and inequine slit pupils and know that a monster walked among them. Thus far, none seemed to pay any attention to him, and for that Sombra was glad. It allowed him to turn his focus onto why he was here in Equestria at all: exploring what changes a thousand years had brought, and what modern wonders this grand city held. Ponies seemed to hold Canterlot in high esteem, and he could see why. He could also see it was because it was where many of Equestria's rich, and the nobility, lived just by what he could see peeking into dark shop windows at the wares on display. Fancy place. Sombra couldn't decide whether he found it appealing or if he was sickened by the extravagance.
  24. @IceStorm @SteelEagle Magic was -- a lot like music. If Octavia was let to explain the experience she had behind the cello it was hauntingly reminiscent of how a wizard felt when threading around existence with his control over the aether. Each experience was unique and different, but one thing all those could tell you that was always the same: is that there was nothing in the world like it. Power was an illusion and one had to measure up to constantly growing forces of opposition. That was why one always had to practice their song. To sustain a harmony in one's some meant abandoning all idea that you were superior. To play music meant you had to succumb to the force that was the melody. And just like music, magic had to be played with the heart, or risk creating cacophony. How contradicting. Perhaps that what had drawn the spirit near, or the coincidence of his friend in Canterlot. Whatever had drawn him he had become enraptured with the new toy in the ice mare’s possession. He floated around her, moving to attempt the object and levitate it over the palm.of his paw. The chimeric snake tittered as he pressed his face close, the stone's facets distorting his reflection. Sliding his tongue out playfully he smooshed his face against its surface only to be bit by a surge of magic. He snorted and shook his head, releasing the object as his paw and claw came to cover his snout, his mane puffed out in an afro from the static shock. “Honestly, Squall has the most curious things.” He held out his claws, manifesting a comb to tug back his mane. With a sproing the do returned to it's short and stiff standing. He tucked the comb into his feathers and floated down to the ground until he was on his haunches. While Canterlot was the center of Equestria’s magical education, he was still impressed by the unique things to come to pass through. He turned his gaze to Icy and grinned widely. “Oh come now. What use do you have of something so impractical? I'll trade you a bar of chocolate for it.” He held out a small bar in foil. “And if that's not enough, how about more?!” He held out his paws only for the tiny bar to poof into a jumbo size twice the size of the mare. He peeked over it, smirking. But if Discord wanted fit must have some merit in terms of magic and power.
  25. The night had settled over the world in a great swath of darkness littered with stars, and a single round, silver moon. It lit up part of the night sky, but failed to compete with the golden streetlamps that lined Canterlot's streets in orderly lines, spaced so that hardly a sliver of any street was left dark. The glow of the streetlamps flames, however, still cast great shadows in between the buildings where there was space for narrow alleys and behind the decorative trees. Even at this hour there were still a few ponies on the streets, night owls who were spending the dark hours that they were still awake going from one destination to another. A party, a get together, to hang out with their friends. Among them, spotted on occasion, were the night guard in their darkly colored armor, moving with a confident stride while they kept an eye on the streets to ensure there was no danger and that nopony was up to trouble. There was hardly ever anything of the sort, not in a peaceful place like Equestria- and not right under the princesses' noses. Although, there was one such creature who was still lurking Canterlot's streets this night, somepony who had done his best to hide his more intimidating features. For now. It was only so that he wouldn't get noticed, if anypony was able to recognize him. King Sombra was taking advantage of these quiet hours to get back into exploring Canterlot alone, in the peace and quiet. The stores had long since lost his interest, although he couldn't help peeking in through the large, clear display windows from time to time to see if there wasn't anything new or interesting outside of the norm. Most of the display windows were dark, but there were some stores, and some small restaurants, still open late. Sombra wasn't sure about entering any of them, much less the restaurants. He had no real reason to eat actual food when he could sustain himself on the fear and despair of others- as could others of his kind, the umbrum. This left him with very little to do, and he was slowly tiring of Canterlot. The only excitement was being discovered at any moment, or running into one of the royal pony sisters- yet he doubted they left their castle all that much to mingle with the common rabble.
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