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Dark Ages

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Dark Ages

Post by Krashface on Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:43 am

Prologue: A bad, bad night

You know, I could make this story begin with "once upon a time, in a faraway magical land, there where a kingdom of ponies that lived in peace and harmony, and where everyone was happy and protected."
But instead, unfortunately,  I have to start in this way.

Once upon a time, not so much long ago, there where a kingdom that lived in a precarious state of false harmony, always on the brink of chaos and destruction by some megalomaniacal foe.
But to protect this delicate balance were four princesses and five heroic heroines, and more than once they managed to frighten the plans of their enemies.

One day of several years ago, an ancient necromancer threatened this balance ... and managed to destabilize it.
One of the princesses, the Princess of Friendship, was able to defeat this powerful enemy, but had to use a large amount of black magic.
And that brought her to what it is now.

In a year, she became the new threat of Equestria.
In five, she defeated the Princess of the sun, Celestia, and made her disappear into thin air.
In three, she founded a new empire, dark and violent.

And so began the Dark Ages of Equestria.
And our history.

The cold autumn night had fallen, and the moon was obscured by the leaden clouds.
In the castle which once heavenly towered on Canterlot and Ponyville, the tyrant of Equestria was going through troubled hours.
Her most trusted curators and guards were watching the removal of large crystals that had grown on some left ribs, too close to the lungs.
The tyrant was screaming in pain and struggling, while the covers of her bed were filled with blood, and crystal, violet as her floating mane, were removed, detaching even small parts of bone.

This tremendous event was not so rare, as someone may think.
A disease afflicted Equestria, after the Princess of the sun disappeared and Black Nova, once known as the Princess of friendship, had taken her role.
The crystallization.
The richest and most talented could slow the progression of the disease that afflicted them, but the poorest and the youngest could only groped to live with it until the crystals they had pierced their hearts... or until they decided to end it.
But this was a problem for those who lived in the kingdom of Nova.
Those who lived beyond the Everfree Forest, or simply in the cold Crystal Kingdom , had nothing to fear.

But now, it's better to retrace our steps.

Finally, after two long and painful hours, the curators had removed all the crystals, and the queen could finally rest, watched over by his guards.
Meanwhile, the curators had took the crystals to been examined by Ingenium Demens, the magician-inventor of the court, and the one in charge to find a cure for crystallization.

"Another bad night, I guess ." said Ingenium Demens, half asleep.
" No, worse ," said one of the curators, sounding tired and worried, " ten crystals on the left side ."
" For the Ancestor. The queen is getting worse ."
" By the way, we have the crystals. Here, take them ."

Ingenium took them between his hooves, and laid them on his desk.
He could not help but ask if what was attached on the crystals were pieces of bone.
The curators confirmed, and Ingenium passed a hoof on his forehead, puffing regretted. But now, it was too late for all, and said to the curators to leave.

Chapter one: On the what to do .

The next day, some sunshine fended through the dark clouds over Canterlot, and this cheered a little the sad ponies of the city, which almost began to forget how warm and pleasant they were.
But not everyone was happy that day.

The generals of Black Nova were called by her to discuss the situation in the most distant parts of the new kingdom of Equestria and the situation with the rebels of the Hoof of Steel and Thundering Clouds.
One of the generals, Ragnarhog, a being from the distant land across the sea known as Phamine and resembling a giant bipedal warthog, was complaining to one of the equestrian soldiers about his service to the queen, as he headed to the rooms of the tyrant.

" You should bring her more respect, general Ragnahog ." said his sergeant.
" And you should look at the facts, " said in his deep voice Ragnarhog, doing a grunt, " serve a queen sick and dying in the middle of a battle against some miserably rebels ? Unacceptable !"
" But you has to admit that she have a strong tenacity. Staying cool and decide what to do in such conditions... "
" Nevertheless, my King would not approve. And he would not even make a singular appearance  if he was sick ."
" Nevertheless, he is an old changeling, and sick too my general ."
" Nevertheless his illness only make him smell like a corpse and is not killing him, my sergeant ."

The two fell silent when they arrived in front of the tall doors of the queen's room.
Once inside, there were already all the other general : the elder Black Blitz from New Cloudsdale, Golden Hoof from Appleloosa and the young Opal Splinter from the Crystal Empire.
And behind them, in her great bed, there was Black Nova, still weak from the night before.

"I believed to having to send one of my guards to get you, Ragnarhog," said sarcastically and in a voice a little shaky Nova, " you're late again ."
" Well, I'm here now ." replied grouchy and grunting the Hog, " So then, of what you wanted to discuss today ?"

The queen sat up, sitting down on the bed and cleaning her throat.
" Better than me you all know the situation we're in. The rebellion of the Hoofs of Steel and the Thundering Clouds is proving to be a real thorn in the side, in recent times, and my people are still sick. Including me. "
" If I could speak, my queen," began the croaking Black Blitz, " may you a plan for the event about the rebellion ?"
" Oh, please you old crow," replied bitterly Golden Hoof, " the rebellion is a problem, no doubt about, but the disease of the Crystallization is something worse ."
" You miserable ... lout! I have more experience than you in terms of war, and I can assure you that the rebellion is the most serious of- "
" If I may interject, my dear fellow ," said a little hesitant the newcomer general Opal Splinter, " I agree with Golden Hoof. A rebellion is a problem, but sick troops are worse. "
" Not to mention a monarch." said to himself, softly, Ragnarhog.
" Did you say something, Ragnarhog ?" asked Nova.
" No, nothing, I only stammered ." replied bitterly as always the Hog.
" So, deal with the disease before rebellion. It is that what you say ?" asked Nova.

Her general, at the end, almost unanimously nodded.
Nova also agreed their decision. The death of troops in the field at the hands of the rebels was not a very bad scenario, and be able to stop the crystallization would be a great breakthrough.
But while the generals were discussing among themselves about what to do, the queen began to feel weaker, and asked to them to leave the room and be alone with his most trusted guards.
Once out, the generals felt somewhat saddened by the fact. Except Ragnarhog, which was quite annoyed by the fact of serving a "weak" queen, and he didn't miss the opportunity to point it out to the others.
Shortly after, the queen again called them in, and they could finish their discussion.

"Then it's settled. First we deal with the crystallization, and then with the rebels ."

That said, Nova let go her generals to their bases.

"Ah, Ragnarhog, " said Nova, " advises your King a good bathroom ."

The Hog snorted heavily, and then went away.

In the meanwhile, somewhere in a cave at the gates of the griffin's kingdom, the resistance groups had met to discuss too of the situation.
Applejack, commander of the Hoofs of Steel, and Rainbow Dash, commander of the Thundering Clouds, presided over the meeting.
There were all members of the major resistances, from the diamond dogs of the Shattered Diamond, led by Rarity, to the Silent Jesters of Pinkie Pie.
It lacked only one group at a meeting.

"Where are the changelings?" Applejack asked to those present, who responded to did not know.
"Did you think they would come ?" asked ironically Rainbow Dash, " after what happened during the attack of Baltimare, this not surprise me that they have not shown."
" Hold that irritating tongue of your, winged serpent ." said angrily as always Iràscor, spokesman for the changeling, who had arrived, " It's not my fault if a patrol of pegasus put me spears between the wings."
" It's not my fault if you are not able to don't get noticed !" said Rainbow Dash.

Applejack succeeded, although with difficulty, to separate the two, who nearly started a mess.
Once Iràscor settled in its place, around the large table in the middle of the cave, the commanders could start talking.

" Thanks to the information of Pinkie Pie, we know that the queen has weakened greatly in the recent days, and the conditions of her troops are just as desperate."
" So what are we waiting to attack ? It takes is a few well-placed attack and- "
"We die at the hands of his generals, maybe!"
"Please, dear Iràscor, do not get excited ."
" And how do I, Rarity ? Your dear friend wants to send its troops into a damn slaughter ! "
" At least I don't stand in the lines to shake ."

Iràscor slammed his riddled hooves on the table and sat up, coming in front of the muzzle of Rainbow Dash with his eyes spurting wrath.
Telling that he and his people are cowards was too much for him.

" Baltimare has always been a suicide attack, and I've always said it ." Iràscor said through clenched teeth.
" We would have had a chance if you species of cockroaches have helped us !" responded in kind Rainbow Dash.
" Against the Hogs !?" angry shouted the changeling, " It's already difficult to tap out a dozen, let alone a hundred of them . "
" Calm down, you two ." Applejack said, separating them again, " For three years you continue to bicker like two capricious foals with a dirty diaper !"
"Hey !" The two said in unison.

Once re-settled, Applejack said that Iràscor was right, and the latter had, under the iron mask that cover his disfigured face, a smile and a chuckle of derision towards Rainbow Dash.
Immediately, Rarity asked, then, what was best to do.

"Attacking Canterlot, Baltimare or New Cloudsdale is out of question, but I have a plan to recover a part of the Crystal Empire ."

These sighed with amazement the words of the mare.
Probably, the common thought was " this mare have taken too many apples on her head !", and everyone started to whisper and making racket.
Applejack silenced the audience, and began to explain.

" I've sent messages to the yaks of the Glacial Horns, and they agreed to give us support for the attack ."
" Good plan, Applejack dear ."
" See what you can get with just waiting, Dash ?"
" As long we then deliver a part of our weapons and half of what we can take from the victory ."

Everyone began to scream and protest, and the diamond dogs nearly came to blows with the ponies of the Hoofs of Steel .
Even Iràscor and Rainbow Dash had agreed on something !
Rarity, from nowhere, created a very bright beam from his horn, that swept through the cave and the audience fell silent.
Well, except Pinkie Pie, who already was .

" Gentlecolts ! Do not behave like animals and listen Applejack. "

When all they resumed their seats, Applejack continued his speech.

" I know it's a risk, don't you think I wouldn't thought about it, but now we don't have many alternatives. If we take at least part of the Crystal Empire, we can destabilize the army of Twil ... "

Applejack stopped for a moment, because even the thought of having to face her old friend hadn't passed yet from her head.

" I... I mean Black Nova ." Applejack said, lowering his head and with a melancholy tone.

The cave became very silent.
But then, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Pinkie Pie said it was fine for them, and that she will had their support.
Iràscor, however, was somewhat reluctant, as always.

" And then, curved antennae," began to speak Rainbow Dash, " are you in or are you going to do like Baltimare ?"
"... Damn. All right, but if I see that we begin to lose, I'll give the order to my troops to withdraw ! "

That said, and decided what to do, the various groups of the rebellion returned to their dens, to prepare for the assault .

Chapter three: the Gelid Horns .

A week later, Pinkie Pie was directed in the cold realm of the Yakyakistan, to talk with the head of the Glacial Horns and to agree on the day of the attack.
The journey had been long and tortuous: Nova troops on the border, major snowstorms and wild animals.
The time was just really changed.
Once arrived for her second time at the gates of the Yakyakistan's kingdom, Pinkie Pie came in and went to work to find someone called Gorghonan Halfhorn .
Fortunately, the Nova's troops in Yakyakistan were very few, and go unnoticed was not a problem, because the Yaks always helped anyone  from the rebellion.

"Hey, you, come here!" Said a yak with a grizzled beard and a half horn, from inside a small hut. Perhaps Pinkie was on the right track.

The yak took her into the hut, small and cozy with the fire lit and crackling, and with groceries on the table freshly made.

"Gorghonan expecting you ." Said the yak with a booming voice, "Glad all right you are."
Pinkie nodded to say " thank you", smiling.
"... of few words you are, I see. But you to Gorghonan can talk ."
Pinkie showed the scar she had on her throat, and made him realize that she was mute .
"... Gorghonan sorry, really ."

Pinkie made other gestures, but Goghonan didn't understand what they meant, and then the mare was forced to have to write down what she wanted to say .
The first thing she asked was where the others members of the Glacial Horns were. Gorghonan answered that they were out to intimidate the few local troops of Nova, so that none of Equestria would not bother further the Yakyakistan .
Then, Pinkie asked when all of them would meet to discuss the attack to the Crystal Empire, and Gorghonan replied that, at dinner time, everyone would meet.
So, there were still three abundant hours before the Glacial Horns had reunited.

Meanwhile, in Equestria, Black Nova had recovered, and had just given one of her speeches to encourage her people.
Thanks to a new serum of Ingenium Demens, whoever had taken it would have delayed the effects of crystallization of at least three weeks, a good news for the sick ones.
But Nova knew it was not enough than a placebo.

" People seem heartened, my lady ." said a guard, smiling.
" They seems ," said Black Nova, corrugated and visibly unhappy, " but in their hearts are sadder than before ."
" Only if she thinks so, my lady. The more you're convinced of this, the more people will understand it, and then it will be troubles for us ."
" The problem is that we are already in troubles, my friend. Crystallization will not stop, and we are not find a cure ."
" The ultimate remedy of Ingenium, however, has worked wonders, if I may say."
" You can, you can ."

The guard remained silent, while his queen took off her heavyweight crown from the head, a crown made of iron, pure ebony and dragon teeth.
The teeth of a dragon really dearly to her.
A ray of light entered into the room and, looking up to the sky, the two saw the clouds thin out, and let in the sun.
But Nova, suddenly, brought clouds, leaden and abounding with water.

" Why you continue to obscure the sun, my lady ? Celestia has been missing for years, now. "
" She is, but not her memory ."

Nova removed, in the meantime, her armor, as she stared at the clouds, and a veil of melancholy passed in front of her.
For a moment, she thought back to her past, when for the first time she met Celestia, and then felt what she felt then.
The great alicorn intimidated her at the beginning, but not that much.
And for a moment, she remembered her friends.
For a moment.

" My lady? Are she feels good ?" the guard asked worriedly, seeing his queen sobbing.

But Nova knew that it was no longer her past. That was the past to someone else, a powerful princess, more than her teacher, but unable to use such gift.
After she dried some tears, she recomposed herself, and gave orders to the guard to never speak of what he had seen.

" You got it, Flash ?"
" As always, Nova. Now and forever ."

" Graadton!" Shouted one yak of the Glacial Horns in his language, that meant " cheers !"
" Zhator Yakasy !" shouted Gorghonan, followed in chorus from others.

The lair of the Glacial Horns, not so secret and hidden, it was filled for the annual honor of their king, who died years before, and at Rutherford, his son the current King of the Yakyakistan.
Pinkie sat beside Gorghonan, and she also had a bit left go, after years, and she was eating some yakyakistans sweets along with delicious local beer.

" Yak shut up !" said, standing up, Gorghonan to the others, " Pony friend must speak !"
Pinkie simply looked him, with her eyelids lowered.
"... I relates what pony want to say !"

Pinkie began to write on a piece of paper what Applejack had asked her to report.
After a few minutes, Gorghonan read the message.

" Pony Applejack want yaks to conquer the Crystal Empire in three days, and agreed to give us weapons and taxes! Yak duty only take down enemy forces. Now who ready to go ?"

The present yaks were silent, looking at each other.

" Horns of Olevir with you, pony friend !" Shouted one, in the middle of the crowd, and so all the others, one after the other.
The only thing now was to wait and prepare.

Chapter four: The battle for the Crystal Empire .

On the day the attack, Nova received an urgent message from one of its best suppliers of weapons, Liquefied Gear, owner of 'Reformation Industry Prison of Tartarus (or RIPT) .

" Nova,
A prisoner has made a mess here!
Come now !
L.G. "

Nova rushed headlong, escorted by his guards, to the Tartarus.
The huge structure, built over a course of molten lava, was reduced badly .
Who or whatever had done this had to be an animal, a giant.
Or ... someone with a great magical power.
Once she had hits the ground of steel, a robot guard of the RIPT  escorted the queen to Liquefied Gear.
Now Nova remembered why she didn't want to see the new owner of that place of pain.
A earth pony burned all over his body, with a ridiculous wig in black and red stripes.

"Nova !" cried joyful Liquefied, " Thanks to the Ancestor, you arrived ."
" What happened ?" Asked Nova slightly worried.
" Well ... it's hard to explain ... but one of my prisoners has escaped ."
" What !?"

The scream of Nova echoed around the Tartarus, and an halo of darkness descended in the scorching structure, obscuring even the light of the lava.

" If you made escape who I think who is, I swear on my wings that I trow you into the lava !"
" No no! The special surveillance has not escaped !"

Nova breathed a sigh of relief, and the halo of darkness retreated.
Liquefied explained that the mysterious prisoner had to be into the depth, in some cell or even a whole abandoned and forgotten complex, not recorded or yet mentioned before the conversion of the Tartarus.
Certainly, the queen could not understand who could possibly be in the depths of Tartarus, or who was so capable of destroying an auger extraction heavy tons and at least ten meters high.

" Anyway, how are she ?" asked quietly Nova.
" Who ?" asked in response, distracted, Liquefied, " Oh, yeah... you know... we have strong problems to make her eat and drink, but otherwise it's always there."
"... put her down, then try to make her eat, let at the cost to give her liquid food ."
" Put her down ? But it is almost impossible to put down an alic- "

Nova soothed a magic ray, straight against Liquefied before he could even finish the sentence.
The prisoners, in their cells located around the main factory, began to laugh and shout for joy, and urged Nova to finish him .
The robotic guards, however, get on the alert and mobilized.
Liquefied, however, had gave them orders to not attack, and silence the prisoners.

" Next time I do what your brother did ."  said through clenched teeth Nova, a few centimeters from the muzzle of Liquefied.
" Sorry sorry sorry ! I was distracted !" said fast and terrified Liquefied conjuring Nova.
" Great. Now I have to..."

A letter from Opal Splinter appeared in front of Nova.
The letter said that the Crystal Empire was taken by the yaks and resistance, and that the losses were several .
The fury of Nova shook the Tartarus itself, while her scream almost blew the eardrums of all the presents .

Five hours earlier ...

The Yak had reached the Hoofs of Steel, who were stationed in the vicinity of the snowy Crystal Empire .
Pinkie reached Applejack, and waved "mission accomplished."
Finally, the two resistance groups could know each other .
Gorghonan said he was pleased to have meet Applejack, and the same was true for the mare.

" Yak ready to fight. Yak ready to die for the conquest of shiny Empire ." said in his deep, raspy voice Gorghonan.
" No one will die today, my friend ." said safe and heartening Applejack , " Today we officially begin the war against Black Nova ."
" Again ..." commented acid Iràscor.
" Shut up for a good time ." He said from above a cloud Rainbow Dash.

Again, Applejack re-explain the plan.

The changeling would have entered, disguised, inside the walls around the empire, and would have killed the guards who guarded the entrance, supported by the impending storm.
Meanwhile, the Hoofs and the yaks would take place outside the walls, ready to enter.
The Pegasi, instead, had to assault the possible airborne hazards.

So, once finished the summary, the assault began.
Iràscor and another thirty Changeling took the form of ponies, and mingled with travelers who were entering the city.
Once inside, they took refuge in the alleys of the city, and changed their aspect again .
The storm began on time, and so they went suddenly on the walls, killing the guards.
Once done, they gave the signal, and the rest of the resistance began the attack.
The yaks screamed like furies, and the other ponies of the Hoofs of Steel extracted their weapons, ready to fight.
Once inside, the real battle began.
The yaks struck with their heavy hammers and their hard hooves the soldiers of Nova, while the pony of Applejack impaled and struck with their swords and their clubs.
Suddenly, from above, they heard a lot of whistles. To make those, were the archers of Opal Splinter, with her in the forefront.
Many were taken by the arrows, and had to fight as best they could.
Then, the Pegasi and the changeling of the resistance attacked the archers.
The battle was now on two levels, and in both cases were real carnage.
Gradually, the resistance began to have the upper hoof, until the enemy troops retreated towards the inside quarters of the Empire, to the Crystal Tower.

" It is ours !" Shouted victorious and prancing Applejack, " We won !"
" Yak continue !" Shouted Gorhonan.

Applejack went against the head of the Glacial Horns, saying that the agreements were not those, but the big yak said that plans had changed.

" Yak offered to take the Crystal Empire, not small neighborhood ."
" But there are civilians ahead !"
" Then petty shiny civilians feel yak fury , if interfere !"

The yak moved Applejack giving her a strong shove, causing her to fall to the hoofs of Pinkie.
Then, the yaks took to charge, as they destroyed chariots and set fire to homes.
Applejack told everyone that it was better to follow the yaks and try to limit the damage of those barbarians.
Towards the center of the Empire, Opal Splinter and the remaining soldiers had built barricades for try to stop the advance of the resistance.

" It's alright, Opal, it's all right ." said to herself, stretched, Opal Splinter, trying to calm down, " Okay. Uh... soldiers, we must defend the Empire at any cost. W-we... we will not allow them conquer or kill us ."

The worried and not at all sure tone of Opal made only worsen the situation among the troops of the Empire.
Shortly after, the yaks destroyed the barricades and attacked the few remaining army of the Empire, who tried to resist as best he could .
The archers resumed their flight, and re-bombarded at their best the yaks, while the latter made shield with the corpses of fallen enemies.
Between a charge and another, the yaks managed to make their annoying enemies precipitate and end up their life.
Only one was not founded, Opal.

" Where shiny pegasus !?" yelled furious Gorghonan.

For make come out Opal, Gorghonan gave orders to some of his companions to set fire the neighboring houses, although there were civilians or not.
Those yaks seemed excited to do it.
Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie rushed in front of the yak, telling him to stop, and that now they had actually won and conquered most of what had been decided, but the yak kept saying he wanted the head of General Nova.
Then, Applejack slapped Gorghonan, and the latter took his hammer, ready to face Applejack and the other two, but didn't notice that Opal was upon him, with the bow drawn and ready to strike.
When the yak lifted up on his hind legs, Opal shot the arrow, which killed him instantly.
All yaks, then, tried to pull down the Pegasus, who was running away to the south, when a huge green beam struck her full, causing her to fall a little more distant from there .
Once arrived, they found the changelings, who were holding Opal, with Iràscor observing the other members of the resistance.
One of the Yaks began to move others at shoving, and went in front of Opal.

"You killed Gorghonan, winged ponies ." said coldly and with a deep anger in the body, " Now Olevir turns you into normal pony !"

The yak broke both wings of Opal, stomping them with all of his body weight, and making her cry out in pain.
The yak said she had to die, but Applejack said she didn't want to kill her, and that she could be a message to Nova.
So, after a long debate, they decided to let go Opal .
Outside the city, the poor general wrote a letter to Nova, informing her of the event .
Instead, inside the city, everyone began to pile and burn the dead, while the body of Gorghonan would return in Yakyakistan to be cremated with the proper funeral ceremony .
Appeljack was not, however, happy with what had happened.
She had underestimated the stubbornness and the thirst for war of the yaks, and this had brought more harm than good.
But Pinkie placed herself near her friend, as if trying to comfort her and not make her feel sadder .
At last, was a win, right ?

Last edited by Krashface on Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:05 pm; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : adding the chapters.)


Posts : 6
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Join date : 2015-12-30
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Re: Dark Ages

Post by Krashface on Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:04 pm

Chapter five: Rragash amdar ferok, Ragenohger.

In the hired accommodation of Black Blitz, in Canterlot, had ignited a furious debate between Ragnarhog and Opal Splinter, who had managed to return to the castle and to be cured.

" Inept Squeeler !" shouted on Opal Splinter's face Ragnarhog , "Did you lose our best commercial and strategic asset, and have given it to those barbarians mindless yaks !"

" There were too many, Ragnarhog! W-we... we were taken aback !" Opal said, crying and sobbing, as she was comforted by the old Black Blitz.

"Oooh, if I had been there I would have given my life, rather than retreat!"

"But ... but they have bro... broken my wings..."

" My enemies have even broke me three ribs, and once I've fight with three arrows planted in the belly!"

Opal, now, were no longer listening anymore the Hog, she just wanted to be comforted by his old, best friend .
Ragnarhog went on with his talk of "victory or death", and told how his King would have banished or executed him, rather than let him live with such a failure on his shoulders.
Blitz, already sick of hearing that snorting whiny Hog, told him to shut up and leave.
Ragnarhog, then, began to ask what wanted to do that old, tired Pegasus to a hog as he, and then Blitz said something that is better not to tell the Terror of Phamine.

"You complain so much that I doubt you know how to make war, you kind of overgrow pork !"

Now, the damage was done.
Ragnarhog grabbed for neck, with his big hands, Blitz, and lifted him off the ground.
The giant Hog then took his hammer and began to breathe faster and faster, as his eyes became more bloodshot .
And then, with a loud grunt, he aimed a blow against Blitz.
Which missed him for a few centimeters.

" Don't tell me I cann't do war, old mummy ."

Ragnarhog, having said that, let go Blitz and, in turn, kicked Opal, which was next to them.
Golden Hoof came into the room and angrily asked, shouting, what had happened.
Ragnrhog approached with stomping steps to the earth pony, saying that there was nothing to care about.
Golden Hoof then gave a powerful header on the Hog's snout, breaking the nose of the latter .

"Now you're leaving, subspecies of bipedal sausage." said through clenched teeth and visibly irritated Golden Hoof at Ragnarhog, "Or the next shot I give you will be in a very painful place ."

"You... little misherble... augh !" said Ragnarhog sore, as he stood up and left.

Once out of the room, Golden hoof and Blitz went to see Opal, who was clutching her hooves to her waist, and said that it hurt a lot.
Perhaps that Hog had exaggerated with that kick.
Later, Ragnarhog was in his tent, outside the castle, to write a letter to his beloved King to inform him of the situation.
In the letter, he wrote of how silly it was the decision of Nova to send a novice general to command troops in a place so important, and just as miserable as she had been in failing.
In addition, he added a few lines in the language of the changeling of Phamine.
Once shipped with a magical flame ( now common thanks to Black Nova ), he waits for an answer, and meanwhile began to fix his nose.
Golden Hoof was a hard head, literally, but not enough to do serious damage.
This reminded at the Hog an comic old fact that happened years ago when, after a drunk, had tried to board more than once a shapely hog, and that had gave him a punch right there, on the snout.
At least from his point of view was comical.
Finally, the letter arrived.
There were written only a few lines.

"Soon, my loyal general. Rragash amdar ferok, Ragenohger. "

Read the letter, a guard called Ragnarhog on behalf of the queen, and the latter went quickly in the courtroom, leaving the letter there.
Under eyes that never should see it.

" Tell me, my queen ." said with a falsely friendly tone Ragnarhog to Nova.
" What do you want now ?" asked confused Nova, while reading a book.
" Well, you wanted me here, right ?"
" No ."
" ... what you mean with no ?"
" In addition to be fat, you're deaf too ? No !"
" But the guard... then... oh no. No no no !"

Ragnarhog started running to his tent, worried, while shoving and dropping down in his race various subjects, including the poor Ingenium Demens, who was just walking in the courtyard outside the castle.
Once entered his tent, his concern proved to be founded.
The King's letter was gone.
In that moment, the fury that unites all Hogs took over, and I let you imagine how the Hog had reduced his tent.

Camp of broken crystals, meanwhile, the infiltrator of the Harlequins Silent gave the letter to Ragnarhog Rarity, telling him it was very important.
" And this ? Ragash ... am..dar ... " began Rarity, while trying to read the letter," what language is, old yakking ? "
" I don't know," replied the infiltrator, " you are the expert in languages ."
"Yes, but this language... so barbaric and hard, for the Tartarus, I would never know it ."

After having shrugged and turning his eyes, the infiltrator went away, leaving Rarity with the letter.

" Well, maybe is some sort of Hog lang-"
" Uh, Miss Rarity ?" Said a diamond dog .
" Not now, Popo, son't you see I'm busy ?"
" I think that is-"
" Perhaps it is a contraction of the zebrican language ."
" Excuse me if-"
" No, it's certainly a coded message of the griffins! Vile traitors !"
" It's Changling, my lady ."

Rarity turned around, stunned and wide-eyed, toward the diamond dog, and then asked him how he could infer that it was the language of the changeling .
The big dog said that, many years ago, he met a changeling, and the latter often wrote in that language .
Then, Rarity asked if he could translate the letter, but the big dog replied that he knew nothing of changeling .
Then, she asked him to call three other diamond dogs and to make for her the luggage, because they would be left to go by the changelings of the Fictitious Locusts, in the far south of Equestria.
A place not so bad, of those times.

Meanwhile, somewhere above the clouds, Rainbow Dash was locked in his quarters, and had asked the guards to not enter and to don't let anybody in.
The reason for this, at least among the older members of the resistance, it was obvious.
That day was recurring a tragic anniversary.

"It's now hours that's she is in there." Said one of the guards to another, "What is she making, a nap?"
"Stop complaining, young one, and be more respectful." Said the other guard.
"Did I miss something?"
"Oh, for the patience of the Ancestor, from how you're here, you?"
"One month, I think."
"Then know this: when the boss closes his rooms and don't want to be disturbed, is not because she wants to be idle, and now shut up and stay alert ."

That said, they both resumed their seats.
In its rooms, Rainbow Dash was huddled in a corner, clutching to her chest a photo of her and Fluttershy, while on her face were dripped tears of sadness.
It had now been five years since her greatest friend had taken her own life, but the pain was still strong, and nothing would have been able to fill that wound .
Only Tank could make her feel a little better.

" Oh, Tank..." said sadly and sobbing Rainbow Dash, " why I... I haven't save her ? I would... I would have share everything with her... "

The tortoise stretched its green, wrinkled neck, and slowly rubbed its head on the cheek of the pegasus.
It was little, but he lifted her mood a little.
So, slowly, she got up, and went under the covers of her bed, that seemed too big for her, then felled asleep, and then began to dream.

The clouds were mysteriously black that day of many years ago.
Rainbow Dash asked Applejack to meet just outside the cottage of Fluttershy, to pick up her friend who hadn't been heard for days.
Once the two had get in front of the cottage, they started calling.

"Fluttershy, are you there ?" Applejack asked, out the door.
"Fluttershy !" Shouted Rainbow Dash.
"Maybe it's better knock, no ?" Asked Applejack.

When Rainbow Dash knocked on the door, it opened creaky.
Inside the cottage, was reign the silent.
There was not a bird to sing, nor a fly buzzing or a bear eating honey.
There was only emptiness.
The two mares couldn't worry about that, and they started searching everywhere, in every room and in every corner, but found none.
So, they tried in the bedroom of Fluttershy.
She wasn't in there, but at least there was her diary.
They jumped all over the part about the past, reading the last few pages, of five days before.

" Died. All the animals who came to visit me died as a result of crystallization.
I couldn't do anything except watch them sufferings and dying .
The last to leave was Angel. He has endured more than any other.
I gave him a last carrot, containing a powerful poison. He haven't even notice he died.
Now I'm going to bury him on the back, along with the other.
And then I'll go away from here.
From this place. "

Rainbow Dash began to rush on the back, ready to take away her friend, but didn't have the time to read the rest on the next page.

"I'm tired of seeing only suffering.
I know exactly what I will do.
This will be the last page of my diary.
Of my life ."

The scream of Rainbow Dash frightened Applejack, who ran on the back, already with tears in her eyes.
When she arrived, she couldn't stand up.
Rainbow Dash was crying and screaming at the hoofs of the body of Fluttershy, hanging from a branch and with the signs of decomposition.

And so, as it had begun, the nightmare ended.
Rainbow Dash had awakened in her bed, covered with sweat and tears, with Tank to observe her.
The mare took and hugged to the chest her beloved tortoise, and began to cry and unburden herself one more time.
And so she would did all day long.

Chapter six: Disgust and a brothel in the changelings land .

" Popo dear, how much we still need for that wheel ?" Rarity asked to his trusted aide.
" Still a little, young lady ."
" Well, hurry up, this place is not the best ."

Due to a broken wheel, the carriage of Rarity had stopped a few minutes in a neutral zone of the south of Equestria, known for the activities of bandits and deserters.
Rarity was nervous, and she was afraid that someone had assailed or rob or abused of her, but with four diamond dogs as bodyguards there was nothing to worry about.
But, you know, Rarity is Rarity , the drama queen and lady of wordiness.

" You have done !?" asked nervously Rarity to the poor diamond dog, " I saw something move over there, and there, and even there too !"
" Almost miss Rarity, just wait a very little and I'm done !" He said nervously.
"Quick, quick, quick !"

In a jiffy, the diamond dog repaired the wheel, and the journey of the quintet was able to continue.
Less than half an hour later, finally in the territory of the changeling, Rarity sighed in relief, and began to harness of its diamonds, precious gems and fine clothes created by her.
Iràscor's Fortress was clearly visible from the carriage, and under it the city lights.

" Halt !" shouted a changeling guard, situated on a small hill, " not a false move, or we're gonna impale you all with our crossbows !"
" We are members of the Shattered Diamonds, and we bring with us Rarity, our lady ." Said one of the diamond dogs .

That said, the changelings let their guests go over.
To get to the castle, Rarity had to come down from her carriage, soiling her sumptuous clothes.
After doing an infinite number of ways to manifest her disgust, she walked toward the fortress.
A tide of changeling tried to sell her junk, trying to get in exchange a few coins or, even better, an emotion, but the magnificent mare didn't want anything, since she knew that she could afford better.
Shortly after, once out from the crowd, the mare arrived at the base of the long, winding stairway that went up to the top of the Crooked Peak.
With a few moves of teleportation, Rarity came suddenly on the top, to the door of the gloomy and dark fortress of Iràscor.

" Yuk, these changelings ." Rarity began to complain, " never have an ounce of style ."

After entering into the cold fortress, she found no one there, except spiders and crawling insects .
While going into the big and tall corridors of the fortress, a shiver of tension crossed the back of the mare .
That place, so bleak and shabby, was a match to the old castle of the two sisters, and and the voice who said that that place was inhabited by ghosts didn't help .
Sure, Rarity had never been afraid of ghosts and undeads, but after what happened years ago, the cause for which Nova was born... she preferred to be more cautious.

A noise, suddenly, caught off guard the elegant lady of the Shattered Diamonds, a harsh sound, a thud, come from behind her.
After quickly turning, she saw that a large piece of stone fell to the ground, possibly falling from the ceiling.
Once having made a snort, Rarity began to look for Iràscor.
She tried first in the larger rooms, then in the bedrooms, but he wasn't there .
So, she decided to go into the only place where anyone with a minimum of sanity wouldn't go for anything: the dungeon.

The stairs, in solid polished stone, were all wet and cold, and as she descended everything became increasingly cold and wet, and the floor seemed less and less made of stone and more... viscous ?

" Oh crappy crap !" screamed Rarity in the long tunnel made of green slime, as her voice echoed, " oooh, my poor hooves ."
"My poor antennas, you mean ." said from behind her Iràscor with his usual annoyed tone.

Rarity, taken aback, turned around screaming in panic, and when she saw the hideous face of the changeling she could only scream and fussing even more, covering herself with mud from the head to the hoof.
Iràscor remained there to observe her for a quarter of an hour, with the look of someone tired and nervous, then he stop that whining with a mighty cry of anger, imposing her to stop yelling.
The mare stopped immediately and still trembling, only to realize the presence of his "colleague".

"...uhm... it was somewhat..." stammered Rarity all embarrassed.
" Embarrassing and irritating ? Very ." retorted Iràscor, for then pull her out of the slime and advising her to follow him .
" No, excuse me, is that I've never seen... you know... you in the face."
" Then make this moment as historic, because it will be the last time you see it ."

A few minutes later, Iràscor led Rarity in what looked like a sanctuary, with the statues of three changeling queens.

The first, who Rarity recognized immediately, was Chrysalis, while the next to her, largest and more impressive, had to be Erestra, the Progenitor, and the third ...

"Who is that ?"
" She ? Cucoonia, one of the victims of the Solar Purge. The one who looked more like me ."
Iràscor began to tell another time the tragedy of the Solar Purge, which happened much time ago, before Nova, before Celestia.
Before the unification of Equestria.

" You know what I remember most of all, of that day ? The heat . That day, the sun fell from the sky, and fell straight upon us changeling. I saved myself thanks to my sisters, but only one survived. "

Rarity could only stand mute and melancholy, feeling the regret in the voice of that old, strong changeling, who showed no signs of old age.

" Anyway, why did you come here ?"
" Uh... oh, right," Rarity said, as he took the letter, " one of our spy gave me this, but ... I don't understand anything ."
" Show me ." said, after made levitating with his magic the letter, Iràscor, " Uhm... this language is not new to me."
" I would like to see the opposite, my dear friend, is changeling !"
" I must correct what you said. It's ancient changeling ."

Iràscor told Rarity that it would take a couple of days, before he had translated the message, and advised the elegant mare back to her cove.
So, all disgusted, Rarity had to go back across the long muddy tunnel, and re-passed for the long corridors of the fortress, still feeling observed.
Once out, she saw her bodyguards heavy panting on the ground, after they had managed to climb all the steps, from the city to the top of the mountain.

" Come, my darlings, let's go back home ." said, smiling and with her usual tone Rarity

The four diamond dogs began to make verses of discontent, despairing at the thought of having to redo the whole staircase.
After getting off and have recovered, they asked Rarity to stop at least a few minutes, before returning to the cove, and Rarity said that she did not mind, as long as it wouldn't be for too long.

Hours later, the guards had not yet made return, and Rarity was starting to get paranoid, since the local changeling kept looking at her strange.
Thus, the mare went in search of her dogs.
She searched them everywhere, going from pub to pub, from inn to inn, and never find them, as long as a bartender told her that he saw a group of diamond dogs directed to the "lustful holed ".
The local brothel.

Rarity races, on the tip of war, to the brothel.
Once inside, a changeling approached her, offering her some odd jobs for a sumptuous price and, in response, Rarity said that mares (or whatever could be defined as female changeling) were not his kind.
In reply, the changeling turned into an attractive stallion, with... such a dote .
Rarity felt embarrassed, at first, but then regained her composure and, after stating that she was not there to please her needs, she asked another changeling if he had seen his guards.

"Of course I saw them."  said the changeling, " They've demanded the best... workers that we have, able to transform into anything, for a lot of time ."
" Oh ... and where they are now ?" asked politely, but with a tone of anger in his voice, the mare.
" Upstairs, on the second floor, in the last room down the hall ."

Rarity got under way, angry and tired, and quickly climbed the stairs.
Once arrived in the rooms of her bodyguards, she found them all over the beds, while copulating with the prostitutes who had paid all turned into female diamond dogs... and something else.
After retrieving his guards and giving them even a lesson or two, they walked to the carriage.
" Hey, you, wait !" yelled the changeling who was at the entrance, " you haven't taken your coupons ! Next time you spend there two for the price of one !"

Chapter seven: Surprise Attack.

Later, the quintet returned, now late at night, to the cove of the Shattered Diamonds , and Rainbow Dash was waiting for them, along with a couple of his soldiers and another pony.

"Uh... Rarity, what is that green stuff you have on your mantle?"
"Don't ask."
"Come on, I just-"
"Don't.  Ask !"

So, Rainbow Dash waited a few minutes, to make Rarity cool off just enough for talk.
Shortly after, the multicolored maned Pegasus presented Rarity to the pony, a former prisoner of Tartarus, who somehow managed to escape.

" Hi, I'm Svelto Zoccolotti ."  said, holding out one of his hoof somewhere else, " for friends, Scumby ."
" Uh ... my pleasure ?" Rarity said.

Scumby, after eating a lot of bread and drinking a whole bottle of beer, reported what he said to Rainbow Dash: a week ago,  he had heard Nova discuss with Liquefied Gear,  and the latter said something a bit too much .
"Alicorn, this is what he said."

Rarity gasped, as well as the rest of those present . 
The mare asked more details, and Scumby said only that he heard, more or less, that word, and so Rarity began to go up and down the room, thinking and confabulate whether she should or not send an attack.
The risks were so many, if the rumor was not confirmed, but if it were true ... the war would end very soon.

" Oh, I almost forgot ," said Scumby, " before leaving that crappy place I've took this... thing ."

Scumby showed what looked like a piece of necklace, very big and thick, of a dark blue color.
It could only be of one Alicorn.
Rarity immediately wrote a letter to Applejack to inform her, and mail it .

Meanwhile, at the camp of the Hogs, there was a great fervor.
One of the spies of the resistance was captured earlier that day, and Ragnarhog was interrogating it, almost unaware to Nova.

" Listen to me, little squealer, " said intimidating Ragnarhog, a few centimeters from the swollen face of the spy, " to who have you given my letter ?"

The spy spited in the eye of the Hog, and the latter took a pair of pliers to pull out the teeth to the spy .
By now, that poor unfortunate pony was about to collapse.

"Answer me !" shouted nervously the Hog.

"S... Splendid... Va-"

The interrogation was interrupted, after Nova entered inside the tent, furious, and so started an argument between the two.
Nova was outraged that one of his generals hadn't told her of that fact, and the other continued to reiterate that the methods of the monarch were ineffective as much as the decisions of the latter .
Meanwhile, behind the two, the spy was trying to break free, even if painful for the broken bones of his body .
When he was almost free, the spy was stopped by Ragnarhog, who fractured his front legs.
Nova asked, then, if that big, fat Hog had discovered something, and the latter, with a mocking smile, replied that the spy had said something very important.

" I assume he said Splendid Valley. This name mean anything to you ?"
"... Rarity ."

Ragnarhog turned to the spy, and picked him up by the neck.
By now, they no longer needed to keep him alive, and put him in Tartarus was equally useless.
Nova said that, however, could still use as a source of information, to know better where the coves of resistance and of other possible allies were .
So, with his immense joy, the Hog went back to torturing the spy, promising to be slower this time .

In the cove of the Hoofs of Steel,  meanwhile,  Applejack was mobilizing her best soldiers for go to Splendid Valley, as well as join the rest of the resistance to recover the alicorn from Tartarus.
Alongside the mare, there was also Winona, armored and ready to attack at the throat all the enemy ponies,  along with other dogs of the  Fang strict.

After having made an encouraging speech to her troops that, by now, the war was about to arrive at the end, she gave the order to march .
The trip would be slightly longer, after the soldiers of Golden Hoof had discovered the old path used by the resistance to cross the Everfree Forest, but that wouldn't be a problem, since there was another way. more secret and less known, that passed behind the mountains.

"Wait !" said, stopping her troops, Applejack, and straining his ears, " What's this noise ?"

From the secret way, swooped at gunpoint the troops of Golden Hoof, with him in head .
Applejack gave the order to prepare and maintain the position, and then send Winona and other strict Fangs to attack.
Winona and the other dogs attacked and killed some soldiers, slightly slowing the advance of the enemy troops.
The archers of the Hoofs of Steel, meanwhile, were prepared to shoot their arrows as soon as the dogs had retreated.
After doing that, the archers left their arrows, which went against the soldiers of Nova, and pulled down some.

Now, Golden Hoof gave the signal to his soldiers to load .
Applejack did the same, starting in the lead and guiding her troops .
The clash between the two factions was ruinous and bloody: the swords slashed and cut, and the blood flowed and shields crashing.
Golden Hoof faced both Applejack and three other soldiers, giving proof of his skill in using his battle-ax.
The three soldiers, one by one, were killed, and now the stallion with the head of iron could face his rival, while the two armies were fighting around them.

" It's been three years that I was looking for, you damn criminal scum ."
" And Winona waited the same time trying to find the rest of your head ."

Applejack lashed rapid swipes to Golden Hoof, who dodged a couple but was taken to one of the hips,  injuring him slightly .
This was not enough,  however,  to stop the stallion,  who pulled a rapid series of blows to Applejack .
The mare could ward off all,  but the last slid the sword of the mouth, also injuring her.

" You have not changed at all, peasant mare ."
" And you do not even, beautify face ."

Applejack did best he could whistle, and Winona lunged at Golden Hoof.
This gave enough time to the captain of the Hoofs of Steel to retrieve her weapon, but when she rushes to Golden Hoof, she saw that he had pierced Winona on its side, making her fall to the ground in agony and yelping .

" Once you can fool me ."

Golden Hoof raised his battle-ax over Winona, and looked pleased while the poor creature was yelping in pain and tried to get up.

" Two not, hideous beast ."

With one hit, Golden Hoof decapitated the poor dog of Applejack .
The mare looked through tears the body of her faithful companion, while everything around her seemed to slow down .
Golden Hoof looked pleased the mare, and laughed as he approached with his weapon drawn.
Applejack was still distracted when the stallion lashed a hit, straight at the head of the mare.
By a whisker, Applejack was able to dodge the blow, but was injured at one ear .
This did only grow the anger of the mare from the hoof of steel, which dropped the sword and began to beat up on the head Golden Hoof, also affecting the large plate of iron that was on his head.

Meanwhile, Golden Hoof's troops began to have some problems to manage the Hoofs of Steel, and decided to retrain .
Applejack, after being separated from the general of Nova, was dragged between her soldiers, while the Golden Hoof's troops came back, dragging their general all sore and groggy.
Later, once that troops of Nova had returned to Appleloosa, the Hoofs of Steel were able to recover the bodies of their brothers and bury them as respectfully .
Applejack, however, preferred to burn the body of Winona.
The mare mourned for a lot her companion, and asked to one of his companions to inform the rest of the resistance on the incident.


Posts : 6
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Join date : 2015-12-30
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