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The Problem of Griffonstone (Semi Open. Atten: SteelEagle)


StrongCopper
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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.

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  • SteelEagle changed the title to The Problem of Griffonstone (Semi Open. Atten: SteelEagle)

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Twilight's schedule was always turbulent. There were the many day to day affairs that took up her time and effort and slowly but surely ate away at her time, but there were so many more tasks ahead of her. Canterlot was the center of Equestria's political universe, and very arguably the world's. Meetings with diplomats and calls for her to mediate disputes ranging from the squabbles between small farming settlements to border disputes between disparate caribou clans in the now 'peaceful' Whitescar called upon her talents in fields that she was only now starting to devote herself to. And as her schedule ticked over to yet another meeting, she did have to admit it was more interesting than most. She was to meet with a dragon named Ridge, the CEO of a major mining concern operating from Griffonstone. The fact it was a younger dragon doing it was was very exciting. Dragon business owners, let alone dragons operating in civilized society, were nearly unheard of. 

 

Well, if one considered Griffonstone civilized society.


Griffonstone had seen better days, many indeed in its long and glorious history but it had seen worse. There was an uneasy sense that the city was looking forward. To what? Hard to say. Twilight had her suspicions but that didn't mean that she wasn't excited to see how it all came together. Of course, she wasn't sure how much she could trust the plans of a mine owner, but that was the reason she had decided to hold this meeting. It was a city outside of her borders but she had an interest in the peace and prosperity of all creatures. "Welcome, Ridge I am pleased to meet you finally. Would you like something to drink?" Twilight said as she got off of her throne to meet him on the throne room floor. Set up for them was a small table- well, as small as one could be for a dragon and a Princess- 
 

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Taking a moment to adjust his leathery wings a little, the white dragon was more then happy to offer a closed mouth smile in return. After all, he had noticed that ponies tended to be... put ill at ease by the sight of dragon teeth. There may also have been a respectful little bow. "Princess Sparkle. A pleasure to finally meet you... through unfortunate that the situation required such a meeting so quickly."

 

Following the Princess as she left her throne behind to trot towards a small side table, Ridge was quick to join her as he answered "A drink sounds lovely. Thank you." There was no harm in being civil after all, but even as he took a seat he politely stated "I am aware that you are a very busy mare and I do not wish to waste your time. Would you care for a quick recap of matters in Griffonstone for the sake of context or are you up to date on the matter?" There was a brief moment of pause. Of thought. Before Ridge added "Not that I would blame you for being somewhat out of the loop when it came to Griffonstone. It is rather isolated, difficult to travel to safely and... let's be honest, a long neglected backwater. Even with plans to change that in motion, you've had bigger matters to deal with. Unfortunately, the actions of a rogue element have not only endangered those plans, but also created a political problem for you as well."

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It was a common trait for dragons to smile with their teeth barred. Unconscious social construct to display dominance. His closed smile told her that she was well-used to Equestrian social constructs, and at the very least would be making a concerted effort to remain as non-threatening as possible. She took her seat and poured him some tea before pouring herself one. "It is not an issue at all, Ridge. There is always some matter that comes up- I apologize for taking so long to respond to your request," she said as she poured in her obsidian sugar and allowed her tea to settle. She understood that she could never fully satisfy her own desire to make sure every request was met in a timely manner since her list of responsibilities only ever grew. Didn't change how she felt, in any case.

 

"Hmm...assume I do not know, Ridge. I'd rather much hear your perception of these events, as they concern you," she responded as she settled herself in. "Oh, would you like anything to eat?" She asked almost out of hoof as she wondered what his perception would be. She knew a great deal about that region but had not done much to pry into the events of the city herself. The only creature she knew well who had a direct interest, or should have, was Gallus, but he seemed less than pleased whenever the subject came up. As such, while she kept abreast of events and believed she knew what was being discussed, she was far more interested in what it was that Ridge himself would direct the conversation towards.

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"Very well, from the beginning then. And I would welcome a snack if you're offering Princess." Ridge answered with surprising politeness for a dragon, even as he softly shifted the claws on his feet. Sitting down and having a conversation like this wasn't that strange for him, but he found that staying completely still irritated him and he needed to move something.

 

"It started with a chance look at history. Reading through some books on the former griffon kingdom before it collapsed, I noticed a passage or two that said that the griffons had gem mines in Griffonstone that they dug up and traded with the Crystal Empire... right up until the latter vanished and deprived them of their biggest trading partner. What sources I was able to look up on the matter never said anything about the mines running dry, instead focusing on the collapse of the kingdom that came about shortly after the Crystal Empire disappeared. I made the logical guess that the Griffons had simply abandoned mining operations because, to them, gems are little more then a luxury good and they had more important things they needed to do in what was dire times for them and simply never reopened them." The dragon had done his research... in more fields then one. After all, the Princess was a well known fan of research and scholarly pursuits.

 

"So I traveled to Griffonstone to test my idea and lo and behold, I was correct. The gems were still there, waiting to be mined." There might have been a small but smug grin. After all, being right was a hell of a rush after all. "Now... I could have just stayed down there, slowly clawing these gems out and keeping them all for myself in a horde created under Griffonstone, but I didn't. Instead I looked above at the run down, largely abandoned city of Griffonstone and decided that, instead of hording all those gems to myself, I would use them in order to create industry and an economy upon which to revive this neglected city and population. In fact, it seemed that providence was gracing my endeavor, since on the very same day that I had my suspicions confirmed, I happened to encounter Fleet Admiral Ice Storm as she examined the city for an Equestrian military base nearby in order to help it recover in her own way."

 

Pausing for a moment to take a sip of tea and to let the information that had been offered sink in and be examined, Ridge's state was relaxed as he continued "Since we both had the same goal in mind, we quickly worked out a trade agreement. A few shipments of Griffonstone gems sent to Equestria in order to show support for the venture and get money flowing into Griffonstone again." The dragon's stance... changed as he carefully put down the cup of tea. His tail started to sway and his eyes slowly narrowed into silts as a deep seated anger started to grow. "Then he showed up."

 

"'Emperor' Norton Breakbeak I of the Griffons, and Lord Protector of Equestria. A ridiculous, made up title created by some homeless griffon from Breakbeak City. But he decided to show up in Griffonstone because griffons with nothing better to do decided to tag along and help him get there. At first I believed him to be little more then an annoyance; A loud pest that was actively trying to stop me due to some insane belief that Griffonstone was his and that outsiders had no place in his vision of restoring it. But then he turned bandit lord and the joke stopped being funny."

 

"The first shipment of gems meant for Equestria that was paid for in advance... he openly stole it. If that was just the extent of it, I would have sorted this thief and his followers out myself, but the old bandit is surprisingly cunning. He took the stolen shipment and offered it as a gift to the Emperor of Tenochtitlan in order to buy their support. With Tenochtitlan backing and an active military presence from them, he had the audacity to say that his banditry was nothing more then 'taxation' and tried to declare my company and all the time, effort and money spent to establish it as 'a national company run by the state'. " To say that Ridge was enraged would be an understatement. There was smoke coming out of his nose... but he forced himself to relax, if only a little. "His Tenochtitlan allies have been made aware of the fact that he is a bandit who stole goods that were rightfully purchased by Equestria and offered them as barter to cement a trade deal with them. They don't care. They have so little respect for you and Equestria that they don't believe there will be any repercussions for their actions. Thus... why this is as much your problem as it is mine."

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