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Future Prospects (Open) (Griffonstone)

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Griffonstone.

 

Once, it had been the shining jewel of griffon kind. It's wealth and influence reached far and wide, allowing the catbirds who grew up and lived there a great deal of prestige and pride that they could lord over those unfortunate enough to not have the grace or wealth to live their themselves. But as is often the case with history, the wheel turned ever onward; Their greatest trading partner disappeared off the face of the planet, one of their kings great treasures was stolen with their monarchs spending to much time and resources trying to get it back in vain... and while the authority of Griffonstone crumbled to dust other powers rose up to fill the void it left behind.

 

Now, Griffonstone was little more then a dump for old griffons to stubborn to admit that the old days were over and die and those poor, unfortunate souls that were too poor to live anywhere else. The glories of the past long destroyed, outright ransacked or simply abandoned to rot while the slums in their shadows grew more dilapidated and cheap as the years passed by.

 

But as he sat at an outdoors chair that somehow seemed to have all of its legs be the short one making it wobbly, Ridge the dragon did not see Griffonstone's distant past or its depressing present. Instead the white dragon's eye gaze was focused on a piece of parchment that the pony he had hired to confirm his suspicions had taken the time to write their detailed report on, only occasionally letting it flicker over to the sack of 'samples' that had been unearthed in the process before his attention returned to ink on paper. It was a complicated document in the fact that the terminology employed by it would have confused most beings able to read and write who didn't have a background in geology, but for Ridge it teased out a smile.

 

Putting the parchment down, he opened up the sack of samples in order to draw one of them out to see it with his own eyes. While he would confess that emeralds were low on his personal list of favorite flavors when it came to gems (through some of them were good for decoration) the one that he held in his claw had earned something of a special place in his heart as it seemed to glow in the  light, twisting the light of the sun into a rather pleasant dark green color. It wasn't big or that  impressive looking, through it would easily be able to purchase a couple of the  slum homes that made up Griffionstone itself, but the emerald itself was nowhere near as important as what its presence represented.

 

Griffionstone had a future... and Ridge was going to claim it. 

 

 

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Ah Griffonstone. The Pinnacle home of the griffons, or as least it's used to be. As she flew overhead in one of her airships scouting out the remnants of the city seeing afar, she could see that there wasn't much left to it. Those that were still here looked like they were because they lacked the wealth to be anywhere else. It was a harrowing sight indeed because Ice Storm knew that with everything that's been happening the last few years... What happened here could easily happen in Canterlot. It fell upon her to make sure that didn't happen. 

 

She instructed the pilots of the airship to land outside but of Griffonstone as to not startle the locals. After three whole debacle with Tempest in Canterlot, an airship landing in the middle of a village or city with a heavily armorer unicorn walking off of it would cause quite a stir, even more so when that airship was a destroyer. Walking through one of the village entrances though not so much, but still bound to get attention. 

 

The airship landed a few good clicks away from the entrance and the constant chank of her armor could be heard as she walked. Not knowing herself what she was actually walking into as well, the spheres that were normally docked in her amulet were now orbiting her neck, creating a light chill around her as she walked. It wasn't much, but enough that if a pony or griffon were within reach of her, they'd notice it and likely respect the power they held off their ambient magic could do this.

 

As she walked through, she could see that she was getting a few looks from the griffons, likely wondering why she was here. She knew she'd be approached soon, but as it was now... she was content to take in the scenery and look for places that she could expand her reach to a and help give this city a better name for itself once more. And with Griffonstone behind in the coastline, it at least close to it, getting supplies to and fro would be easy for her to do and her units here could easily monitor the seas between Whitescar and Equestria.

 

She knew that there were rising tensions in Whitescar and that not only her, but Equestria as a whole would have to make a move soon to protect their allies. Griffonstone could give them an angle of attack that the Red Jarl isn't expecting and could turn the tides a bit of they started to go south. One thing was for sure. The Askr clan and her allies were friends to her. If they needed help, regardless of what Twilight wind instruct of her, Ice would lend aid. For now, Ice just entered the main square, watching for reactions, and waiting for the inevitable. Griffonstone would be perfect.

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Well, this place had seen better days, that was for sure. It had been far too long since he had visited his homeland, and Tehengu had decided this was as good a place as any to start his little tour. It seemed he wasn’t the only one, as he soon enough spotted Ice Storm walking down the road. She was an old... acquaintance of his? Perhaps that was the right term for it from the EPIC days. 
 

For now, the griffon stayed where he was, standing along the path in front of her and wondered if she would recognize him in turn. 

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For his part, Ridge easily stood out from the locals because... well, he was a dragon and they weren't. Griffonstone wasn't exactly well known for being a hot spot for dragon kind after all (that being said, back during the old glory days the odd dragon did occasionally try and raid the place. They tended not to go well for anyone involved). However, his attention quickly caught sight of something almost as strange as he was; A unicorn mare, decked out in armor and surrounded by a series of magical orbs that seemed to be radiating magic of a sort. 

 

Curiosity was there, but Ridge had the decency to calmly put the emerald in his claw back into its bag before he pushed himself to his feet and left the table behind. Making sure both the parchment and sack were secure on his person, he confidently walked over to the mare while barely paying attention to the local griffons. It was only once he was in an acceptable social range that he finally deemed to speak. "If you were that worried about being the victim of mugging, you shouldn't have worn such expensive looking armor Miss. To a calculating mind, it just makes you a bigger target."

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

 

There was a few things that caught Ice's attention while she was milling about in the square getting a lay for everything. the first was an operative that she had worked with once before. It was under the guise of EPIC if she remembered correctly. It was a perilous mission to get back one of their own that had gone missing in the field. It was in the caves of Neighpon if she remembered correctly. Everything else after that was a blur.

 

The other thing that she noticed from afar was the dragon sitting on the porch of one of the houses. Dragons didn't usually reside in places like this, so that alone was interesting to her, but she herself wasn't one that would usually be seen in a place like this either, her armor making her stick out like a sore hoof. Something that the dragon had no issues in letting her know about. "On the contrary. I'm not worried about getting mugged at all," she replied to the dragon as she turned to face him. Up close a pony, or dragon in this instance could very clearly see that the armor she wore was a variant of Lunar armor, made with lighter, more durable steel in the colors of the Lunar Guard. In fact, if the dragon would look closely, he would be able to see the Night Princess's crest on the amulet just above her own cutie mark. "After all, only a fool would try to mug a soldier that's seen the front lines, and one so well equipped to boot. No, I came here looking to bring prosperity on a city that's been down on her luck recently, and I know the perfect way to be able to do that."

 

(the armor)

 

Spoiler

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Tehengu hummed slightly as the dragon seemed to make the first move and start a conversation with Ice. For now, the griffon walked closer to the two, staying out of the conversation as it went back and forth about the likelyhood of getting mugged due to Ice's outfit, and honestly it could go either way. The desperate or foolish might see her as a more lucrative target and be more willing to try it, but Ice was probably right that it would scare away the smarter ones.

 

The griffon, for his part, was also wearing armor. It was a simpler affair, something you would expect from someone who did most of his fighting from a distance or on the move, so a lighter armor. His bow and sword were strung across his back for now, though never far from being at the ready. 

 

"Prosperity? I'm sure they'd appreciate the chance to bring this place back up to a better position. What did you have in mind?" He asked, looking over at the fellow soldier. "My name is Tehengu, nice to meet you." He added, mostly to the dragon.

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"Oh really?" Ridge answered, his eyebrow ridge raising in curiosity at her answer. "Others have tried to drag Griffionstone back onto its talons before. They have not been successful. So you can forgive me if I'm curious about how you intend to be any different." The fact that she was a solder of the Lunar Guard didn't seem to phase the white dragon in the slightest... maybe because he honestly didn't know the difference between Equestria's military branches.

 

The arrival of a griffon wearing armor named Tehengu was unexpected, but as he turned his head to stop looking down at the pony and look at the griffon, the dragon offered a practiced, professional smile as he answered "Funny you should mention Prosperity. I am Ridge, CEO and owner of Prosperity Mining. Since we seem to be making the effort to introduce ourselves after all."

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(okay, so my geography was a bit off... Site cannon Griffonstone is in the northwestern portion of the Equestrian continent. Not on the coast where I thought. I was thinking of the hasbro map.)

 

 

~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

 

Ice could hear the skepticism in the white dragon's voice, and after what he said and everything she'd heard about the place... And now seen for herself he had every right to be. So far nothing had worked to change it. At this point it would be something that she would have to prove her worth. Then Tehengu made himself known adding that the griffons here would likely jump at the opportunity to return to what they were. She nodded before turning back to the dragon. "The answer is simple," she said holding herself with confidence and authority before looking back to the dragon once more. "Military."

 

Ice took a few more steps towards the center of the square. It seems the dragon, named Ridge, had a similar idea with mining. Why else would the CEO and owner of a mining organisation be here? However this could be an advantage for her as well. If they could work this out right, STAR could get the resources it needs while still helping get this prospietor what recourses he needed. "I am Ice Storm, Fleet Admiral of the Severe Threat and Action Response Force and Captain of the newly formed Twilight guard. And to put it plainly, I wish to establish a base of operations here. After reading up on their history,  I know that griffons are proud warriors. They were that once and they could be that again. They would even get paid to be so. Plus the influx of military personal would further provide infrastructure to help rebuild the hard times and bring in new bits to the region rekindling a city of old.

 

Of course, I'm sure you have some ideas yourself on how to revitalize there area and perhaps there could be a mutual benefit to the cause. And everything would still have to go through the city council of Griffonstone, out what's left of it at least. Judging by your title, one could only presume that you're here to establish a mining operation of sorts?"

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"You would be correct." Ridge answered easily enough. After all, it wasn't like anyone would come to this dump on a holiday if they had the option. Still, the possiblity that this Ice Storm was interesting... through he couldn't help but see a major flaw in her plan. "You are aware that Griffonstone is an independent nation and thus Equestria setting up military operations here with the intent of recruiting the locals to fight for them would..." he paused for a moment, clicking his tongue in his mouth in thought as he tried to place the right word. "I believe it's called 'colonialism', but I might be completely wrong on that."

 

Unsurprising that Equestria was trying to influence and move into the area; They had attempted it before after all... but Ridge hadn't expected them to be trying again before he had started to borrow his roots, let alone do so in such a ham fisted way.

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Tehengu hummed to himself as he listened to the two speak, not sure how to feel about Ice's idea. He may live in Equestria now, and has taken part in part of their military, but he started in the griffon nation. Granted, his experience in Equestrian military was as part of a secret part doing covert missions, but that wasn't all that different from his time in the griffon military, so he was used to it. The one-eyed griffon looked back and forth between them, remaining silent as he had nothing to really contribute to this discussion at the moment. Or he didn't really think he did anyways.

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

 

Ice smirked a bit when he mentioned that what she would be colonialism. "You would be correct if I were coming in with the intention to recruit. While I undoubtedly know that some will, the main point of it would be to establish a quick access point to assist our griffon allies should trouble arise. And with a STAR Force Base, Griffonstone would be home to some of Equestria's most elite soldiers to help protect and rebuild her. If they wanted to join Aquilla's military, that would be possible as well, as the base would also serve as an Aquillian base as well," she said holding up the documentation for the base. "I've already been granted approval for the joint base, the only thing we've been trying to establish would be a good location that would work well for both Aquilla and Equestria. Griffonstone is easy access for both. 

 

Not to mention... Mines have been horribly known to attract the worst in ponies and griffons alike. Where there's a mine, there's bandits looking to rob and seize control of said mine. If there were a military outpost protecting said mine, the likelihood of that happening would be almost non-existent. Not to mention it would bring an influx of workers to the mine. Workers that can help stabilize and secure the mining structures so that the risk of cave ins is minimal. All while minimizing your own payroll while maximizing profit," she stated turning back to Tehengu. "I remember you from the Operation Sound of Silence. It's good to see you still in one piece. Anything ideas or thoughts that you could she'd some light on?" she asked with a smile. If she remembered his file correctly from the operation, he was from this region.  Which part though she couldn't think of and didn't want to insult him by presuming anything.

 

 

 

(Confirmed approval documents via SteelEagle)

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For a moment, Ridge pondered the offer Ice was making. Of course, having Equestria provide security for his venture absolutely free of charge was a cost saver and a half, but it brought with it complications to the plan that he had originally envisioned. Still... it wasn't like such complications ruined everything and they could be worked around while still giving him his end goal... and other opportunities would arise as well. "You make a persuasive argument Miss... no, sorry, Fleet Admiral Storm. I would have to be some kind of stone headed idiot in order to try and stand in the way of such a development. Once this base of yours is underway I would be honored if you were to introduce me to whomever is going to be running it in your absence." A small, practiced smile appeared on his face as he added "After all, this beneficial friendship would be better served if I knew the name of who I would be working with the most. It gets kind of awkward 'Oh hello Hard Working Orange One. Is Lazy Green One in?'" And a harmless little joke as well. 

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A joint base between Equestria and Aquilla? That sounded rather interesting, and was likely a rather good idea. The best way to operate in another non-hostile country without it being secret would be to go into a joint venture with them, usually. He nodded as Ice talked about the base, humming slightly to himself as he did so. Maybe this was something he could help with, in some fashion...

 

”Hmm?” He asked as Ice spoke to him, drawing him out of his thoughts. “Likewise. Looks like you’ve upgraded since then. As for your ideas here, I think they are solid. Gaining a base out here and the trust of the griffons by allowing them to use it in kind, I think this base is a good plan.”

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

"As of yet, I have not established a chain of command for the base. I wanted to figure out the when and the where before I figured out the who. I have some ideas for some ponies in need of a promotion that being up here would serve them wonders. But until a pony actually accepts the offer, or I make a decision to station somepony here, I won't know who the commanding officer will be. However, that shan't stop us from discussing business arrangements. Though I'm sure there's a place we can discuss that without so many eyes watching," she said to the dragon before looking back to Tehengu once more.

 

"Indeed. After EPIC decided that it was going to allow three more full scale invasions into the heart of Equestria, I decided to be a bit more proactive. I originally started my program in secret, but is now on the verge of being it's own branch of the military. An extension of the Navy using only elite special forces. The main difference being, I'm an Aeronautical Navy all of my ships are airships and have the newest possible tech in them. I actually have one of my destroyers close by if you both would like to discuss our business there so that you have an idea of what kind of base I'm planning to instill here."

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"But of course. After all, having and maintaining a good friendship with you will almost certainly serve to improve the professional relationship between our respective organizations once both of us have established ourselves here properly." Ridge answered, a practiced smile on his face as he expertly swallowed his disgust at having to use such sugary sweet language. Sadly, it was something of a necessity when talking to ponies to use such terms as 'friendship' at least once every three sentences in order to maintain their daydream about what the world was like.

 

It's honestly why he preferred the griffons. It was nice to be in the company of creatures who understood and respected the value of material goods above all else. In fact, as he turned to look at the griffon in question that had joined the conversation, he listened in as he asked " Tehengu wasn't it? I am curious. Would you be taking part in the conversation about Griffonstone's future in an official capacity, or is this more just two old friends catching up with each other while bouncing ideas off of each other?"

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Tehengu nodded at Ice’s explanation, somewhat impressed by what she had managed to build since then. It sounded like an impressive force, to say the least. He also nodded to her suggestion of taking this conversation somewhere more private, like her ship. Before he could vocalize any agreement with that though, the dragon addressed him, drawing the griffon’s attention. 
 

“If by official capacity you mean I have the authority to speak for the griffons, then no. I have not been a part of the griffon nation for years now, I just happen to be here on a trip.” Tehengu said, nodding to the dragon. “So, I suppose it is more the latter then unless something happens to bring me in in an official capacity.”

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While the three of them, Unicorn, Dragon, and Griffon were conversing, they might or might not have taken notice of a commotion brewing just out of sight.  Had they done so, they would have seen a group of young-ish griffons emerge out of the train station, their bustling attitude and cheerful chattering marking them as outsiders in a fallen city of cynical catbirds.  They busied themselves in various tasks that drew the guarded gaze of the natives, suspicious as they were at all outsider initiatives.  

 

At first, the Griffonstonians would have their attentions divided between the chattering cohort and the aformentioned conversation between Icy, Tehengu, and Ridge.  Soon, however, the outsider griffons would make themselves far more relevant from their sheer conspicuousness.  One was affixing posters to the rock faces depicting a griffon about Tehengu's age, dressed in a spangled military uniform and utterly fantastic hat that was about half as tall as himself, while others began to hang banners over a natural outcropping in purple and gold, while still more were making a makeshift stage from plywood.

 

Once the whole affair was put together, drawing an audience from the city almost in spite of their natural suspicion, the young griffons pulled back into a kind of makeshift formation, flanking the stage in two lines.  The pair at the front brought out a pair of what looked like old bugles, polished as best as amateurs could, and blew a fanfare that made up it's lack of technical skill with enthusiastic volume.  To this rowdy, unrestrained tune emerged the figure of the griffon of the posters, hat and all.  He was a fit fellow, a little on the thin side, but clearly one who kept up a standard of physical shape from time in the military.  His uniform also attested to this, being an older style from the marines, though somewhat more worn than was shown in the poster.  The medals, though shiny, were not all official ones of the Aquellian military.  One of them even looked like a bottle cap.  If anything, the waxed branches of his handlebar moustache surpassed the constellation on his chest in sheer magnificence, extending fully out and almost beyond the sides of his bald-eagle head.

 

But most impressive of all was that hat.  It looked like a somewhat exaggerated version of a marshal's dress hat, affixed with an ostrich plume that crested the crown, bedecked with with gold braid and what looked to be the seal of the old Imperial Crest.  If this provided some clue as to what was coming next, the figure onstage was not long in following up with the striking claim, "Griffons all, unbowed keepers of the Imperial Mountain, your Emperor has returned!"

 

Now that was the sort of statement that couldn't help but get a reaction, mostly incredulous and mocking, but it seemed that the 'Emperor' was not paying them any mind.  "I come to assume the dignities and duties of the office, far too long left empty by perfidious ancestors and unworthy claimants.  The delay was unconscionable, and I can offer no apology that will either justify or alleviate the extended period of loss and suffering you have been forced to endure.  I can only work to end it, and I shall, starting today.  I, Emperor Norton Breakbeak I of the Griffons, and Lord Protector of Equestria, shall hold court in the old Imperial Seat, to hear petitions, concerns, and plans for the recovery of our ancient glory.  If my words and bond hold any weight with you, know that both are pledged to you, along with my life, fortune, and sacred honor.  Glory to Griffonstone!"

 

To his credit, Norton was not one to drag out a speech past its welcome, and before any of the audience could recover from their shock sufficiently to pelt the stage with whatever food scraps they could scrounge, the 'Emperor' departed the stage in all dignity and honor, accompanied by his cohort to a set of crumbled ruins at the head of the street, where once the ancient Emperors used to sit.

 

 

During this spectacle, another figure would have sidled up to the three, though closer to Ice Storm.  He was another unicorn, a stallion of tan coat, black mane, and visage so cynical and careworn that one might well suspect that he was a native of this city.  A few words from him would have spoiled the impression, however.  "Hey boss."  He addressed Icy, the corner of his mouth pulling up in a smirk.  "Guess who I found on the way over.  Sorry I took so long, but I just had to stop and see if the old bugger was still knocking around Breakbeak City.  Turns out he's gotten a bit of a cult following, among those who don't seem to have anything better to do."  He looked over to Tehengu and Ridge, curious.  "These guys with you, or did you just meet 'em here?"  Shrugging at the answer either way, he tipped an old, worn fedora at them.  "Earth Writer.  If you've not heard of me... good.  I'd hate to have to live up to a bad reputation."

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

 

Anything that Ice Storm was going to say in response to the dragon and Tehengu was cut off with an arched eyebrow at the rapid construction of... Honestly a haphazardly made stage, and signs of a griffon clad in purple and gold. Before to Long, the griffon pictured with his large plume, can purple hat and well kept mustache began addressing himself as the emperor. Considering that ice already had all the legal documents she needed, she could already piece together the fact that he wasn't entirely whom he said he was. At least, he wasn't recognized as such. The part that had her a bit irritated was that he had the audacity to call himself the Lord Protector of Equestria. She was about to retort to that before another familiar face made himself known. 

 

"It's fine, but I can already tell you that I'm not fond of any creature that probably doesn't know the hilt end of a sword from the pointy end and has never seen combat at all trying to claim he's the Lord Protector of Equestria. I'm willing to humor him to a point, but not that far. We were actually just getting ready to head to the destroyer I have docked for some business arrangements. So in a way you showed up just in time to help write up the contract," she said before looking to Tehengu and Ridge. "If you would both follow me please," she said making her was out of the main gate.

 

Not too far from the gate, and within view of the main gate was a moderately small ship floating in the air without the assistance of any balloons. On the deck was two turrets with twin cannons; one forward, one aft, and was lined on the side with several much smaller cannons. She appeared to be a bit more angular than most seaborne ships as well to help cut through the air better. In all, it was just a slightly modified destroyer from the REN, with some updated weapons and the internal aether core.

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