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Too end a chapter. [Closed, Invited only]


Dusty
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Tempest sat alone looking down at the frozen river. The sun was long gone all ready, touching away behind the hills of trees so soon this far north. Yet she did not mind. The stars were beautiful up here. Yet they were not her focus at the moment. That was fixed on a bag in her hooves full of litters. She felt uneasy, nerves. Scared even. How long ago was the last time she had a birthday party? Two decades? And yet Glitter remembered it and was the one to nudge her along to ask others to come. It felt weird to do it. Yet she knew she needed to do it. This was important for her to do. She had to flip this last page and start the next chapter. After a few more moments looking at the frozen river she looked down the path and the city down the road. Somehow this one trip felt more terrifying then marching in to war. She has seen cities in flames. Masses marching in chains to work until they drop. And yet that one road and the letters in this bag made her hooves feel like stone. What was she after all? She didn't know. But she knew what she wasn't. And so she forced herself to move down the road. She had to drop the letters off before the mail offices closed. 

 

----

Four weeks later. 

----

 

 

Tempest waved as the old mare walked away. Everything was done. She’d have free run on this land for the rest of the day to host her party. Even if that word was something of overkill for what she wanted. More like ‘peaceful gathering of maybe friends’ but whatever. The land was a good sized plot of unused farmland in the farming district of the imperial city and inside of its shield. So even in the dead of winter the air was… Well, not cold as it can be. But what matters was the lack of snow and lack of freezing to death. They’d both be a bummer on a hang out. 

 

She had set up everything she hoped she’d need. Some benches to eat at, nice big firepit to stay warm and had some cake and food in order to show up later today. It was nothing fancy but that is way she wanted this. She did not want some big party. She just wanted something more basic and slow going… Mostly so she felt safe. Last thing she needed was a panic attack on her birthday. Now all she needed was for every pony to show up! And for Glitter to get her cute flank down to the city. She had some ‘last moment things’ to do back home, whatever that was. But she’d be here soon hopefully. 

 

With everything set and ready she hoped over to the record player and with a zap of magic powered it up. It may not be ‘birthday’ music, but buck it. She loved this band! This music just clicked with her. 

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Shining Armor

Even if Shining Armor hadn't known where the party was being held today, the sound of metal music carried in the air would have been enough to mark out where Tempest Shadow was.  The Crystal Empire, for all its pretentious name, wasn't the biggest in terms of population.  It was small enough that he could get a pretty good general idea of the tastes of his ponies, and there was almost no demand for music like this in the city.  One couldn't exactly integrate a flugelhorn into metal music, though he did try once in High School.

 

He chuckled, thinking back to that young lad, an oft uneasy combination of the nerd and ROTC type.  Would he have believed his past self when told that he would be the Emperor-consort to the Alicorn ruler of a long-lost kingdom?  Probably not.  Heck, Shining Armor of last year would probably not have believed that he would be attending the birthday party of the mare who had temporarily turned his wife to stone.  *In all fairness,* He reflected, *Tempest probably wouldn't believe that I'd come either.*  That was Equestrian Harmony Doctrine for you.  Not exactly a safe strategy, he'd admit, but a rewarding one.  Best to have as many friends as possible, yeah?

 

Stepping into the field, the Blue-maned stallion levitated the fairly sizeable box from his back to one of the tables in the picnic field.  "Happy birthday, Tempest!"  He'd been told by his wife beforehand that it was best to use that name; 'Fizzlepop' or 'Fizzy' was to be restricted in use as a nickname by Glitter.  He smiled to recall the look of joyful triumph on his wife's face when her little matchmaking effort showed good signs of bearing fruit.  He was rather interested in meeting this other mare, as well; whose heart was capable of calming the Tempest....

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It had been a good while since Tempest has taken hey leave from STAR. Ice Storm couldn't really say that she was expecting the move as happy as she seemed to help her start it, but at the same point, she understood. She didn't make STAR to be a constant fight. She made STAR to serve as a symbol of protection. To know that when they saw one of her ships in the horizon that the Equestrian city it settlement they were around was safe.

 

And while she want expecting the sudden retirement, it certainly made things a bit easier to get Raven more power within the base. With them being a couple it only made sense that Ice make her the new second in command. She was happy for Tempest though. She was finally starting a family and calming down. The life of the military want hers to live anymore. With the way she and Raven were going herself... She wondered how much longer she'd have the opportunity to lead what she had started.

 

She shook her head from those thoughts, however, as she touched down at the edge of the farming district in one of the new emergency dingies that she was testing as to not cause alarm. In the even that a ship suffered catastrophic damage, the ponies that couldn't fly needed a chance to get off. She was testing both this design, as well as an escape pod type response. But the pod needed more designing as so far everything she's tested shattered on the ground. These dingies would work better as shuttles to and from the ship anyways. Not all of her airships would be able to dock in cities. So far this was successful. It wasn't too hard to maneuver either. Hmm... Perhaps we can make a sign pilot version of these... And outfit then with some of the Aether batteries. Something to help defend the masses against large scale attacks. It could also serve to protect Pegasi when they provide air support... Ice though after sure landed. She'd forward that thought to get engineers for later.

 

For now, all Ice has to do was follow the sounds of metal music and she would find her way to the open field that Tempest mentioned that hey party would be held at in the letter. She could also see that she was not the first guest. The first was actually none other than Shining Armor himself. Tempest sure is quick to make friends with powerful ponies. She smiled and she sat her own gift wrapped crate on the gifting table. She remembered from her time in STAR that Dragoon Hard Spiced Rum was among her favorite brands of alcohol. So she got her five fifths that due could enjoy whenever. Of course, she had to open it first. 

 

She then approached the mare of the hour herself. "Happy birthday Tempest. How have things been treating you up here in the empire?" she asked. Now that she was with them, the simple sapphire blue dress that she wore working stand out. True to herself though, it was made from shimmersilk. It wouldn't be one of Ice Storm's dresses if it didn't have some sparkle to it. "It's also good to see you as well Shining," she said with a smile towards him. She had never dealt with him directly before, but having been one of Luna's guards for a while she's seen him in passing several times.

 

 

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Her 'last minute details' as she'd so eloquently put it were done at the cabin and she'd started her way to the Imperial city's out lands with a spring in her step and a full heart! It had had been  a while since their arduous trek across the frozen lands and Glitter's eye had healed. She could see through it, not totally clearly, and it had changed to a glassy color, but it didn't hurt her anymore. In fact so much of what used to hurt her had been lifted. Glitter felt like a new mare through and through! There were of course scars, on her face and in her heart but they were of little matter considering how much better she felt!

 

She thought perhaps Tempest was feeling that way too. Temy had had lots of time both with Glitter's company and alone to heal and grow strong. She knew the mare of her heart was healing! Temy had invited her guests, and set up planned, and thrown her own birthday party! Glitter could have helped but she had decided it would be better for Temy to do this on her own. It was the way Temest had wanted it anyway, and there was no changing things once she'd made up her mind!

 

Glitter started through the field towards the sounds of metal music and the smell of a bonfire beginning to burn. She had full saddle bags on her back which she levitated off to set on a bench when she arrived. There were two guests there already! So much for a few minutes of alone time with her special mare. She smiled, there would be time for that later! She smiled broadly and trotted up to Temy. She raised a brow as she neared and slowed to a stop. 

 

"You don't need to dress fancy to look hot do yah?" She spoke quietly and chuckled under her breath. Then she trotted up and planted a kiss on Tempest's nose. "Happy birthday Temy!" 

 

After this she glanced at the others. Ice Storm and... Shining Armor! So far the guests were pretty powerful ponies! Seemed fitting, they were guests of Tempest after all!

 

"Hello Ice Storm!" She greeted the mare. Then she inclined her head just a touch. "Shining Armor! Welcome!" She smiled to them both. "So glad you both could come to the party!"

 

She didn't introduce herself, figuring that Temy would want to do that. 

 

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With everything set up, music playing and fire going Tempest smiled. Where she was now. What she has done. All of this was just so… Insane. Yet it felt good. Like she was breaking off chains of her own making and learning how to live and just enjoy herself. It felt like the first steps of a foal in some ways but she knew it must happen. She will fall. She will trip. But she must do it and she’d not be alone. And that alone changed the world for her. 

 

"Happy birthday, Tempest!"

 

The voice made her jump in the air, so lost in her own thinking she did not hear him approaching. Did not help that she had no clue as to whom that voice belonged to! Spinning about to face the pony she even more god smacked seeing him. Shining Armor was here? The old captain of the Guard that got hooked up with the Empress? “Uh, hi?” She asked, taking a step back. “Um, hope you are not here to arrest me or something. Whatever it is I swear I didn't do it.” She added with a weak smile. She honestly had no clue why he was here and wishing her a happy birthday. This had to be some joke. 

 

And then her Boss arrived. Well, Ex-boss. She put in the paperwork to leave for good some time ago and Ice has been nothing but extremely helpful and nice about it. She did invite her to the party so seeing her was not much of a shock. Mare did say she’d come no matter what. “H-hay boss! Good. I think. I don’t know, maybe going to jail again so maybe I can have some bail cash as a gift? … Again?” She asked with an even more weak smile. At least Glitter was not he-

 

And there was Glitter. Trotting up without a care in the world and flirting like it was nothing. She didn't even know how to respond to that comment! And then Glitter just leaned up and smooched her on the nose.

 

 

….

 

…..

 

“Uhyahahuh” Tempest mumbles, blushing so hard her fur was going to turn red at this rate as she just spaced out and looked completely lost as what to do. Her social skills were still… Well, it was unclear if she even had one pont at all in it.

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Shining Armor laughed.  "Oh, if I was here to arrest you, I wouldn't have come alone.  You're not exactly a mare to be underestimated.  And as far as I'm aware, you're not guilty of anything you haven't been pardoned of."  There was no malice or antagonism in his face, or his voice.  Tempest may have been surprised at this, but if Cadence had forgiven her for the petrification, it would be churlish of him not to.  Plus, it was arguable that her chosen strategy of a swift strike to the leadership had been the cause of the remarkably low fatality count in that little 'war.'  It would be admirably elegant if one were not on the receiving end of it, and Shining had enough tactical knowledge to appreciate that.

"Believe it or not, I really am here just to wish you a happy birthday.  And to get out of the castle, to tell you the truth.  Between going to a party, and doing paperwork, there's certainly one option I definitely prefer!"  Joking aside, he really was interested in just getting to know this enigmatic mare.

 

Other guests began to arrive then.  Ice Storm, whom Shiny mostly knew from the Lunar Guard roster.  He wasn't quite sure how they met, but he did know that Icy was the sort of mare who went out of her way for those she felt were treated ill by Equestria at large, so her presence wasn't really surprising.  He just hoped Tempest didn't feel like everypony was here out of pity.  "Good to see you too!  Lovely day, isn't it?"

 

And speaking of love and loveliness, the next to arrive was Glitter, the pony who Cadence had seen fit to match up with Temmy.  And from the expression on the maroon mare's face when kissed, his wife had hit it out of the park once again.  "Oh, I remember being like that!"  He laughed, reminiscing.  "Absolutely astonished beyond belief that a mare like Cady would even consider kissing a pony like me.  Honestly, some days I'm still amazed."

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

 

 

 

Ice Storm couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at Tempest for a multitude of reasons. First off, why would she be getting arrested this time? Actually... scratch that... it was probably better for Ice to not know the answer to that question. Still, the fact that Tempest still called her boss made her shake her head. "That's odd... if you'd have gotten in trouble for anything... I'm sure I would have heard about it before now, and it's just Icy now remember? I'm not your boss anymore. I do appreciate all the help you gave me in getting STAR started though. My officers wouldn't be anywhere near as well trained if I didn't have you helping and my own sets of tactics and strategies have been refined thanks to your teachings as well. A little bit of R&R to spend with your loved ones is a fitting reward indeed," she said with a smile

 

She was happy to hear the response of Shining Armor though. She didn't really bring enough bits with her to be able to bail Tempest out of jail... knowing Tempy it would have been another trip back to LP. But hey, nothing to worry about now. Shining Armor had done his homework when he commented on Tempest being one, cleared of her crimes that she'd committed and two, a mare not to be underestimated she nodded. "Indeed. That was part of the reason that I sought her out to help me build what I have. Also because I felt like she could use a few friends to try to get back on her hooves herself. Then things happened and here we are," she said with a smile. "As far as how I'm doing Shining, I am doing pretty well. A bit busier than I would like to be, but that's how things go right now. How about yourself?" she asked before noting another mare coming into the picture. While she'd never met the mare before herself, she didn't really need any introduction. She'd heard all about her from Tempest.

 

And then she couldn't help but giggle when said mare leaned up and turned Tempest into a blubbering mess just by giving her a kiss on the nose. The blushing, the mumbling, the expression on her face... Were Tempest still in her ranks she'd have given her flack about it back in LP, but in all honesty, she couldn't say much herself. She did things like that with Raven all the time. When the mare greeted both her and Shining Armor, Ice nodded politely back. "Of course! I wouldn't have missed this for the world. How have things been up here in the Empire?" she asked, the question both for Shining Armor and Glitter. Glitter's answer would give her more insight on the lifestyle here, and Shining's answer would likely end up giving her a better view of the state of the Empire as a whole. He was the co-ruler of this empire after all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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What to get the mare who wanted nothing, deserved everything, secretly sought much, and spoke too little? It was a question that Twilight tried to answer. Tempest Shadow was a strong mare who had done things both great and ignoble and was responsible for suffering as well as the very safety of Equestria. None of that was ever lost on Twilight, despite the accusations of some. Yet Twilight knew that she was one of Equestria's strongest assets and, potentially, one of its most important friends. She also knew that the heart within Tempest was bursting with possibility, with adventure. She was not a mare of simple desires and contentment. She needed a gift that enabled her to achieve what it was that her heart desired. Luckily, a Princess had the ability to get such a gift.

 

Twilight had planted her gift in a field not far from the party. The Princess herself arrived via her chariot, which sliced through the sky silently pulled by Guardsponies, with another pair trailing behind. She came for a landing and quickly hopped off, the chariot drivers nodding before taking off once more and the two trailing Guardsponies landed next to her. They trotted with her as she approached the party at some distance. She wasn't crazy enough to interrupt the party with her chariot arriving on top of them after all!'

 

"Hello!" Twilight said, her eyes betraying that she had been far too busy even as her guards departed. She was very happy to see Tempest and some of her other friends here, together to celebrate such a wonderful day. And look at that- her BBBFF! "Sorry I'm late. I've been crazy with work," she said, her eyes lolling around in her skull comically as she laughed. "But I am happy to be here nonetheless. How have you been, Tempest?" The Princess and Sovereign of all Equestria said as she tried to act as if she were no different to anycreature else there at the party. It was made easier by her company- Tempest's very close friend Glitter, STAR Commander and Ice Mage supreme Ice Storm, and her brother (and Prince of the Crystal Empire) to boot! She certainly kept very strong company.

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