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  • Saturday
    Inauguration

    It's official now. I hope you Americans had a nice presidential inauguration day. No one raised a stink I hope, and the only shots taken involved booze.

    27 comments · 156 views
  • 4w, 3d
    Christmas

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

    7 comments · 79 views
  • 5w, 1d
    Upheavology: Highstable

    Highstable

    History

    The original city that would later be called Highstable was the largest pegasus settlement in the south during the Outer Migration. There are scant records of the place existing, mostly through fragmented documentation written by the pegasi who took refuge in the Great Delve during the the windigo attacks. Supposedly, this city nestled among the boughs of a gigantic, singular tree, high above the lush jungle. Lok'Horus and its band burned down the tree with blackened, freezing flame, leaving mere icy ashes that melted into the jungle floor.

    With even the few writings badly damaged throughout history and the totality of the destruction of the city, even proving the existence of the pegasus elder city is difficult. It remains a common method of angering Southern Barrier Lands pegasi to deny that this city existed.

    Every type of pony has an "elder city", a settlement that can trace its roots to the earliest ponies from the Outer Migration. With the loss of the original city, Highstable currently serves as the pegasus elder city. It began as the headquarters of the pegasus rebels against the Everlasting Kingdom. The pegasi rebels had chosen a great cluster of tower boughs, relying on height to both hide them and make it difficult to attack. After the fall of the Everlasting Kingdom, the pegasi expanded the mostly militaristic base into a full on settlement, taking on the name of Highstable.

    The intention to make Highstable the pegasus elder city complicated its race relations. Despite Lexarius's urgings during the Golden Age of Equestria, the city proved to be the most isolationist of the elder cities, highly encouraging pegasi to settle while largely staying silent regarding unicorns and earth ponies. Though the similarly increasingly isolationist True Earth Ponies had shaped the Stonetooth Aeries in the Delve, some pegasi did not follow suit and were arrogant enough to vow never to set hoof on the ground as a show of racial pride. They also refused to add the bridges to connect the tower boughs or even ladders. When both the Great Delve and Arcanotropolis cut off trade at this, it was a contrite Highstable leadership that built bridges, the ground-level settlements, and enacted the ceremonial "hurling down" of the pegasi who made the vow.

    The Great Invasions hit Highstable perhaps the hardest of the elder cities. It suffered two major outbreaks of ophidite-manufactured diseases and a deadly fire attack from a group of coatls that leveled one tower bough. The Division and the increased difficulty in connecting with other Equestrian cities has made things even more difficult. Still, Highstable remains a robust and vibrant city.

    Demographics

    70% pegasus

    20% unicorn

    10% earth pony

    Architecture

    Highstable is divided into the Upper and Lower Settlements. The Upper Settlementrefers to the structures built on the branches of the tower boughs. It's occupied mostly by pegasi with a few unicorns. Most Highstable buildings here go for a "natural" look by building homes into their tower boughs or crafting their houses to resemble parts of the tree. As such, wood is the primary construction material. The Lower Settlement is occupied mostly by earth ponies and unicorns. The buildings are also mostly wood to respect Highstable tradition, but they follow the earth pony aesthetic of low, compund buildings. Exemptions do occur for both settlements when it comes to racial population.

    Resources

    Highstable exports a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, harvested from the lush jungle beneath and around it. Lumber from nearby camps also proves a valuable commodity. Water is seldom a problem thanks to the frequent rains of the Southern Barrier Land. Highstable is notorious for a different sort of export, however. Ophidite-made drugs often end up in Highstable, brought in by indoctrinated slaves or simply unscrupulous ponies looking to profit. From Highstable, these drugs make their way to other Barrier Lands.

    Government

    Highstable has an elected mayor and city council as most Barrier Lands cities. It is tradition that the mayor and vice-mayor come from different settlements of Highstable.

    Security

    As the largest city of the Southern Barrier Land, Highstable stands out as a large target for the Empire of Ophidus. Given previous attacks from the Empire, Highstable security is always high and tight. The drug trade is insidous and well-organized, requiring a great deal of vigilance. The Highstable Garrison is comprised by almost entirely pegasi for easy maneuvering among the branches of the upper settlement though a small contingent of unicorns and earth ponies rounds out its forces. The Highstable Garrison maintains its headquarters known as The Watching Perch, which is located atop the tallest of the tower boughs close to the center. There is no structure to hold a Legion presence, but it is common enough knowledge that there are plenty of Southern Legion rangers in the city, always on the lookout for Ophidite espionage as well as potential recruits which they direct to the various outposts outside the city.

    Places of Interest

    Sky Gate - all aerial travel to Highstable must go through Sky Gate; from war balloons to individual flyers. Any violation of this law comes with the risk of being shot down by the many snipers station among the branches of the city. Contrary to the name, Sky Gate is no set of doors but a massive wooden platform suspended above most of Highstable through great cables from the tower boughs. It serves as a port and inspection area. Due to the frequent traffic, many stores have opened here as well to offer food, drink, and other commodities. As the largest flat surface of the Upper Settlement, Sky Gate also functions as a gathering place and a parade ground.

    The Root Markets - As the main center of trade for the Southern Barrier Land, Highstable's marketplace is a riotous spread of some of the most exotic products in Equestria. Visitors arrive from as far as the Northern Barrier Land to buy up herbs and spices found nowhere else in Equestria. Found at the center of the Lower Settlements, it is also considered the most dangerous area in Highstable, frequented by thieves, swindlers, and dubious peddlers of dangerous substances despite the Garrison's best efforts to clean the place up. There are persistent rumors that the right connections can gain one access to a secret ophidite market where one can acquire deadly toxins, foreign and forbidden magical components, and slaves.

    The Hanging Tree - at the eastern edges of Highstable is an unoccupied tower bough with a lone rope bridge connecting it to the city. This is the Hanging Tree, known as such as it serves as a place where criminals are executed, usually by hanging them from one of its branches or by pinning them to the trunk with arrows. The bodies are buried at the base of the tree. The tree also attracts suicides and those with a taste for morbid atmospheres. There are legends that state that this tree was a late addition to the grove having grown from the grave of Bell Strike, who killed himself after the Everlasting Kingdom fell as he could not bear the loss of his dear friend, Blade Gleam.

    2 comments · 144 views
  • 6w, 2d
    Upheavology: The Great Delve

    The Great Delve

    History

    Originally, the Great Delve served as the home of Clan Corundum, then the largest of the earth pony clans at the time of the Outer Migration. They had built their mining outpost into the largest mountain in all of Equestria first, then slowly carved a settlement deeper in as their operations grew. By the time the windigos attacked, Clan Corundum's home was already a vast system of tunnels and caverns. Its unique position inside the mountain spared the settlement from the worst of the attacks, turning it into a haven for the beleagured ponies all over Equestria. With both unicorn and pegasi refugees pouring in, Clan Corundum further expanded their network to accomodate.

    With the establishment of the Everlasting Kingdom, Clan Corundum split after a fight over succession, becoming Smart Cookie's Clan Sapphire and Rock Maven's Clan Ruby. While Clan Ruby intended to remain in their ancestral home despite the move to the Blasphemous Rift, they were defeated and forced into slavery. The ancestral home became largely abandoned as a result.

    When the rebellions against the Everlasting Kingdom took place, Rock Maven led the united earth pony clans back to the ancestral home. Their newly-discovered ley channeling shaped the place into a heavily fortified mountain city, renamed "the Refuge Burrows", to serve as a home for all earth ponies.

    At Lexarius's urging and the disapproval of some earth ponies, Rock Maven opened the city up to unicorns and pegasi, renaming the city "the Great Delve'. He oversaw the shaping of the Gemstone Quarter, the Under-Sun, and Stonetooth Aeries to accomodate the city's growing population, focusing on improving the city for all ponies until his sudden death. While most of the earth ponies accepted the changes under Lexarius, Rock Maven's apprentice, Magma Dart, led the channelers into the deeper tunnels of the Great Delve. Thus, the True Earth Ponies emerged, with the Deepstone Quarter serving as their new home.

    The Great Delve continues to serve as the capital of the Barrier Lands up to the present, known throughout Equestria and beyond as the largest, richest, and best defended pony city.

    Demographics

    60% earth pony

    25% unicorn

    15% pegasus

    Architecture

    Most of the Great Delve still follows traditional mining clan earth pony architecture; stout, compound, squarish buildings with plain to no designs. This is because most of the buildings do indeed date back all the way to Clan Corundum's settlement. Like the rings of a tree, however, layers of increasingly newer buildings show the progress of time. Many Great Delve traditionalists still prefer to follow Clan Corundum's designs, but embellishments have been added along the way. Newer buildings reach heights that mining clan earth ponies don't use and decorative glass windows, indicating unicorn influence.

    Many buildings in the Gemstone Quarter resemble the tall and thin structures favored by unicorns, though these ones are shaped from malachite and quartz by Rock Maven and his disciples. The homes in the Stonetooth Aeries resemble traditional pegasus homes, only built from stone. It is this variation that separates the Great Delve from the other elder cities.

    Resources

    The delvites, as the Great Delve's citizens are called, pride themselves for being both self-sufficient and an exporter of many useful goods to the rest of the Barrier Lands. Vast mines provide precious ore and gems for trading and crafting. Many of the Barrier Lands's greatest craftsponies reside in the Great Delve, producing the best weapons, armor, jewelry, and various other utensils.

    The Great Delve is also famous for its great mushroom farms, which supply the Barrier Lands with a variety of edible and medicinal fungi. Though outside of the mountain, the many farms across the nearby valleys are also considered part of the city and supply the Delve with a steady stream of grains and vegetables. For water, a great underground river runs through the Delve, even forming a lake within the central cavern. As, perhaps, the most important trade center in the Barrier Lands, the Great Delve's markets are always teeming with goods from other settlements.

    Security

    The Delve Guard serve as the local police force, and they have occupied most of the many inner fortifications created by its earlier inhabitants. Rock Maven designed the city to hold against the Everlasting Kingdom, even if the main gates were breached. There are many small redoubts across the Delve, once designed to harass invaders, now outposts of order. The Legion holds a small fortress within the Central Cavern, where it maintains training grounds for recruits from the city's population and the nearby settlements. As far as outer defenses are concerned, the delvites are secure in their city's nigh impregnability. The Delve has never even come close to being besieged in its history.

    Criminality and counterintelligence are more serious issues. The Empire of Ophidus frequently sends spies either in the form of ophidite "exiles" or indoctrinated ponies trying to blend in. The Delve Guard, thus, has a very robust intelligence unit that works together with Legion Special Operations. Vicious criminal gangs also fester in the Underbelly, where they frequently compete with one another in murderous power plays. Quite often, their members take their crime to the Central Cavern.

    Government

    The Great Delve's Mayor presides over a council of other elected representatives of the various districts and factions within the Delve: the Gemstone Quarter, the Stonetooth Aeries, the Mineral District, the Mushroom Farms, the Underbelly, and the Deepstone Quarter. Each quarter has its own hierarchy with the representative on top. The Deepstone Quarter in particular is a complicated mess as the True Earth Pony clans do not follow a strict hierarchy. The Underbelly is also influenced by the strongest gangs and the elected representative varies from hapless puppet to influential leader with criminal ties with each term.

    Districts and Places of Interest

    The Central Cavern - often just referred to as "Central", this massive cavern holds most of the Great Delve's population and industry, making it the "face" of the Great Delve when the topic of the city comes up. All of the city's gates lead to Central first and it holds several districts and City Hall at its center.

    Central Island - a great underground lake lies at the heart of Central, manufactured by Rock Maven and his disciples by altering the course of an underground river. In its center rises a massive stalagmite-like rock with its point flattened for construction. Three important structures lie upon this makeshift island connected to the rest of Central by bridges; the Great Delve City Hall, the main Delve Guard Fortress, and, rising high above the two through thin, twisting, stone spires, the Under-Sun.

    The Under-Sun, a project that combined the efforts of Rock Maven's channelers, Blade Gleam's Arcane Knights, and Lexarius, is a massive crystal that draws upon ley line energies to produce artificial light. The crystal is timed to coincide with the day cycle, gathering energy at night and slowly brightening, then dimming, during the day. Its light, while significantly weaker and softer than true sunlight, allows daily business to proceed for most delvites by illumInating most of Central.

    Gemstone Quarter - the primary residential area of the city's unicorn population. The Gemstone Quarter lies along the sloped northern face of Central, rising high enough so that its highest buildings align with the Stonetooth Quarter's homes. The district is as much vertical as it is horizontal and is navigated more with stairs and lifts than ordinary streets. The Gemstone Quarter's buildings are renowned for their appearance; great, elegant spires of malachite, quartz, and other translucent materials. In terms of businesses, the Gemstone Quarter provides, jewelry, textiles, alchemical and magical products. Many of the Great Delve's libraries and museums are found in the Gemstone Quarter, and it boasts its own spellcasting academy, albeit one much smaller than Arcanotropolis's. As well as the famous Hall of Mage-blades, a center for a unique form of unicorn combat developed in the city.

    Stonetooth Aeries - emerging from a portion of Central's high ceiling are great stalactite-like structures with homes built into them. Many of the Great Delve's pegasi reside here. Steel-cable bridges connect the stalactites with each other, and several great lifts provide access for ground-bound visitors. Few businesses are stationed in the Aeries themselves due to the difficulty of access, so most pegasi find employment below. The Great Delve post office can be found here, though, along with several miscellaneous shops.

    Mineral District - this district occupies the southern end of the Delve, on a gentler slope than the northern end. This is where the majority of Clan Corundum's original buildings remain, making it the oldest district in the Great Delve. Problems ocassionally arise when tourists seeking historical locations find themselves underhoof with all the hard labor around. It is now occupied by a large portion of the earth pony population. As its namesake suggests, it contains many of the Delve's ore mines. It also holds the city's foundries, smithies, quarries, and metal works.

    The Mushroom Farms - a vast, flat area of soil to the southwest serves as the Great Delve's unique source of food. The Mushroom Farms are the newest, relatively speaking, addition to the Great Delve's districts. It was establishing only durin the start of the Time of the Three. Prior to that, the Delve relied entirely on farms outside the mountain. The farms are a veritable forest of mushrooms, each variety cultivated to suit the city's varying tastes. Many are unique to the Delve, posing a great deal of demand and profit through exports. Though primarily populated by earth ponies, the farms are less homogeneous in their population than the Mineral District, which they frequently compete with in regards to their district's productivity and profitability to the Delve.

    The Underbelly

    A system of tunnels and smaller caverns along the base and beneath the mountain comprises the Underbelly. Originally used as storage then as a dumping ground for mining waste, they now serve as residences for the city's poorer population. As they are hidden from the Under-Sun's glow, Underbelly streets are lit by glowing mushrooms more common in the South. The residents of the Underbelly eke out a harsh existence through various miscellaneous occupations. A few escape to join the Legion or make their way up to the other districts, but most end up in a life of crime. The sprawling, twisting environment makes it difficult for the Delve Guard to monitor the place and all sorts of gangs infest the place, running various activities like protection rackets, gambling halls, drug dens, and prostitution rings. It is no secret that one can acquire nearly anything in the Underbelly's black markets if one were to look hard enough. Most homes are makeshift constructions, often built with broken rail ties from the mining carts, salvaged pieces of metal, and stolen lumber. Though it is illegal to dump garbage in the Underbelly, piles of junk still manage to end up in the district.

    Deepstone Quarter

    There are tunnels so deep that they extend even below the Underbelly. They serve as the district that houses the True Earth Ponies, supposedly the last remnants of the mining clans that first formed the Great Delve. Deepstone Quarter's tunnels are dimly lit, claustrophobic, and built like a maze. Even the entrances along the Underbelly send chills among pegasi and unicorns. The True Earth Ponies prefer this as even their non-channelers have such finely-honed earthen senses that they can easily navigate the tunnels.

    There are stories among the True Earth Ponies that the tunnels of Deepstone Quarter were not formed by ponies. That they were home to a race of underground spiders that frequently raided Clan Corundum's settlement. Supposedly, it was a massive attack from them during the windigo troubles that killed Clan Corundum's leader, triggering the battle for succession between his children. When Rock Maven returned from the Everlasting Kingdom, the death if his father remained fresh in his mind. He led a massive expedition into the tunnels, killing these spiders by the thousands, and all but clearing them out from Equestria's underground, though a few might have escaped.

    Though many, especially highly influential unicorns, have called for the removal of the True Earth Ponies, no order has ever been made. True, some of the more extreme clans are outright belligerent towards unicorns and pegasi, with stories of the kidnapping members of these races for dark purposes, there are also clans that do work with the rest of the Delve. For all their reclusiveness, the True Earth Ponies provide several unique services, especially the more amiable clans. Their channelers routinely ensure that the Under-Sun functions properly, and make stone constructions much easier. Their ley channeling also allows for the slow replenishment of ore and stone.

    5 comments · 154 views
Viewing 1 - 10 of 15 stories
  • ...
 13
 226

We went in expecting vicious graverobbers, desperate bandits, even crazed grievers who had trapped themselves down there.

If only we were so lucky.


(For Halloween. Part of the Upheaval world)

First Published
11th Oct 2016
Last Modified
11th Oct 2016
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 7
 288

(Part of the Upheaval World) What makes one thing a blessing or a curse? The source, the circumstances, or just the will of the one it's placed upon? In an Old Kingdom ruin, some ponies will find out the hard way.

First Published
29th Jul 2016
Last Modified
29th Jul 2016
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 7
 611

The King of the Eternal Herd has many duties, but, sometimes, the father of a filly indulges himself.

First Published
11th Jun 2016
Last Modified
11th Jun 2016
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 13
 370

(Part of the Upheaval world)

Sharp Mark has been training his charge for a long time, knowing that, one day, this quiet pegasus colt must bear a tremendous responsibility upon his shoulders. But there are still a few more lessons to teach, and a few more wrinkles to iron out.

First Published
11th Apr 2016
Last Modified
11th Apr 2016
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 51
 427

The Void Rift Crisis, the ill-fated bridge between one era to another. A time of great falls and rises within the Eternal Herd. An alicorn colt, curious about the events involving this time, speaks to some prominent figures involved in it.

First Published
1st Dec 2015
Last Modified
1st Dec 2015
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 61
 680

A beastly plague has descended upon Ponyville, filling its streets with blood and madness. Its denizens desperately wait for reprieve, and a stranger steps into the nightmarish haze. A cure must be found, questions must be answered.

The Hunt is on.

First Published
16th Sep 2015
Last Modified
10th Jan 2017
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 302
 3,115

This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Reckoning

Equestria's fragments have reunited, and the power of sunlight shines once more within Celestia. With the remnants of the Old Kingdom destroyed, the Abyssal Throne sent away, the threat of Gravitas defeated, and Black Rose no more, Equestria now faces the encroaching darkness of Oceanus and his rebels.

But the stage is not yet fully set. Twilight Sparkle and her friends must gather what means they may before the battle is joined.

Cover art provided by Captain Nibbles

First Published
6th Mar 2015
Last Modified
22nd Nov 2016
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 109
 1,434

After the siege of Bastion City and the theft of the power of sunlight, Spike takes on Prince Terrato's offer to train under the kirin, Seethe Scale. He must travel to the Western Barrier Land to gain the strength to help his friends.

Once there, however, Spike soon realizes that there is more for him to contend with in this harsh environment than developing his abilities.

First Published
8th Jan 2015
Last Modified
3rd Jun 2015
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 26
 764

A great many things occur all throughout Equestria as the reunification proceeds and the days count down to a great upheaval. Every grand picture holds many small details, easily forgotten or unnoticed. These are brief records of such things.

First Published
6th Dec 2014
Last Modified
6th Dec 2014
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 17
 768

Black Rose's elite agents serve her in various ways. To accomplish her tasks, their talents must be both great and diverse, requiring individuals from the far-flung corners of Equestria. To gather them is a difficult task in and of itself, a task that two siblings must deal with if Black Rose's plans could even have a chance to succeed.

First Published
4th Jul 2014
Last Modified
4th Jul 2014