WednesdayChapter 30 3 comments · 40 views
1w, 4dSeason 4 theory time. 11 comments · 41 views
2w, 12hSeason 4 9 comments · 53 views
2w, 3dFinal Chapter...... plus some. 0 comments · 37 views
3w, 4dSiS reviews and rewrites 8 comments · 49 views
6w, 5d“...the good, and the evil....” 0 comments · 29 views
7w, 2dNext chapter. 5 comments · 37 views
9w, 5d“...so I stayed in the darkness with you.” 4 comments · 37 views
10w, 5dclosing in on the end AND a new Q&A 7 comments · 51 views
11w, 6d“the stars, the moon, they have all been blown out...” 9 comments · 53 views
Stories in Stone
Luna's Royal Guard
Twilight opened the door to her library, finding everything right where she had left it. She sighed in relief. She had gone shopping with Spike, which had taken most of the day. Along the way Rarity had caught up with her and insisted that Twilight visit the spa, with her and Fluttershy. Twilight had attempted to refuse, only to be met with a disapproving look from the pale yellow pegasus; faced with odds like that, she immediately gave in. Rarity was able to convince Spike, without much difficulty, to do the rest of the shopping himself while they herded Twilight into the building with them.
Twilight sighed. While she did enjoy the trips here, she really wanted to get back to her studies. There was no telling when Luna might find out about what Twilight was doing, and take offense with Twilight's investigation of her past with the five.
It didn't take long for the real reason she had been waylaid to become clear, her friends were worried about her, again. She had spent the last week so focused on writing about what she had found, they all had been worried about her becoming obsessed.
Twilight found that she could go back and forth over what she had scryed before, bypassing all the dull parts to look at certain scenes again. She was usually tired with the longer hours she put into it, but it was exciting to be seeing a part of history there was so little information on. Her friends, however, were worried she was working too hard, and might suffer another 'Episode.'
While Rarity was far more subtle with her questions regarding Twilight's state of mind, that sort of thing did not seem to come easily to Fluttershy. After a few botched, or out right direct questions regarding her well being from her pink maned friend, she had figured out the purpose of this encounter.
“It's alright girls, you don't have to worry. I'm not stressed this time, I just found something interesting, and I really want to stick with it until I'm finished.” Twilight placates.
“Mmm, I see. Spike did mention you had calmed down a bit after a great deal of frustration at first, so we rather hoped it wasn't anything too serious. But it doesn't hurt to check.”, said Rarity.
“No, I suppose not, it's just that Princess Celestia has allowed me to work with something from an unrecorded period in Equestria's history. The problem is, Princess Luna might not like it and I might have to stop at any time. So I am trying to cram as much information as I can into what time I have.”
“Oh. Unrecorded history? Do you mean the big area of time from around a thousand years ago, between when the first dragon war took place and when Princess Celestia sealed Nightmare Moon? Most of the books and scrolls of the era were either destroyed by the Lunar Republic or by Celestia's forces to keep certain information from being known for some reason. The only things that survived were general histories of certain events, a few time lines, and a scattering of unimportant documents that are impossible to put together in any coherent picture of the past. That whole period had several known wars including the second dragon war and the War of Night or the Equestrian civil war as it was called.…....... Um or so I have heard.“ Fluttershy blurted out.
Twilight looked at her friend in awe, the cucumbers dropping from her eyes as she stared at the green faced pegasus. Rarity simply yawned from the other side of Twilight, reaching over and pushing the purple unicorn's jaw shut with her hoof.
“Don't let it bother you dear. On top of a freaky knowledge of sewing, our dear friend Fluttershy tends to have far too much knowledge of history and, of all things, politics.” Rarity beams.
“I just sorta know about what I find interesting is all. Though when you finish your research, Twilight, if it's OK with you, do you think I might have a look at what you've found out?”
“Um sure Fluttershy, if the uh Princess says it's OK .”Twilight mutters.
“Yay..... Oh, thank you Twilight.”
Once their time at the spa was over and her friends were reassured she was not going nuts again she managed to make it back home. She had been worried with all that normally went on in Ponyville something might have happened to the house while she was gone, though more importantly, to the sword.
The trip to the spa had been quite relaxing, even if it did cut into her studies. She was also quite nervous about leaving the artifact alone for long. With her studies progressing at this rate she likely would go nuts if something happened to it, and her quest was cut short with finding out everything. She hurried along, finishing the few chores she had left to free up her time for the rest of the night. Spike arrived and started putting the things that he had bought away, freeing her up from that chore as well.
Twilight was a bit annoyed that the scrying did not pass on what was happening to the others. She had no idea what became of Rhede after he went to some sort of specialized training, aside from the occasional letter from the earth pony to Jer'rahd. Most of which was a running tally of how many mares had enjoyed his company, and how boring the training was. Starfall might have been at the same base as Jer'rahd, but he only occasionally met the pegasus in the mess hall for a few moments before one of them had to run off for duty.
Even with these few meetings it was clear how withdrawn and upset Starfall was. She had not been apart from her foal for long before this and it was going on a year since she had been assigned at the base.
Twilight supposed since the scrying was linked to the blade, she could only follow the one who carried it. Which thankfully, Jer'rahd did not do went he went into the bath. The showers in the base were split into male and female, and most of the stallions were rather well built, might not be too bad an idea to see how they looked wet.... Twilight whipped her head clearing those thoughts out quickly. She hoped at some point she could learn to control the spell a little better to actively skip a few things.
She cast the spell, falling back into the unicorn stallion's form again.
Dirt, sand, grit, rock, and more dirt. This was not a place for ponies. Mountains loomed over them to the north stretching around the valley all the way to the southeast, the range was what separated this section of land from the rest of Equestria. Further to the west across a wide river with no name pronounceable in pony, was the start of the Diamond Dog lands. On this side of the river there were perhaps two cities in this scrub land filled valley. The first of them was little more than a oversized gem mining town. The town had only grown so large because it sat on the pass through the mountains. It had become a trade hub for the miners and the Guard base here as the only place for any leave time. The name was not official, but the ponies who lived in the town called it Quartz.
The other city was the massive complex of the Guard base, Camp Geode. The base had started as little more than an outpost, but after a massive pack of Diamond Dogs pushed into the area about a year ago, the base grew quickly.
Gem stones were the only reason any pony cared about this section of Equestria, and this land scape was ripe with them. Glimmering stones could be found in the waterways and often simply picked up from the ground where the sand had been blow clear. The encroaching Diamond Dogs however, did not care who owned the land, they simply wanted the gems.
The main nation of the dogs claimed this was a splinter group, that they had nothing to do with them. The pack had taken this to heart evidently and started calling themselves the Bone Hounds. Even with the supposed faction split, the group never seemed short on supplies or troops. The Equestria ambassadors were given the run around, and any investigations usually were delayed or derailed until well past being useful. Several times the Diamond dog nation had been caught deliberately hindering an operation or screwing it up. Their usual response the accusations was telling the ambassadors it was a cultural mistake between the two forces and of no ill intent.
The most pressing rumor of all was that the leader of the Bone Hounds was one of the Diamond Dogs own gods. All major races had a number of apex members of their species. Ones that ruled and were treated as deities, The Equestrian Princesses controlled the sun and moon making them the most visibly powerful, but the others were nothing minor. The Sea Pony Princess Aqua was known to command the storms at sea and the tides. One of the griffon leader was known to control the weather of his land on his own. The dragons primarch Forgescale the Firebrand had nearly destroyed Equestria and had finally been stopped at the gates of Canterlot itself. What exactly happened to the massive dragon was still a mystery, though it was known that the Princesses had needed to work together to stop him much as they had Discord.
There were other gods as well and each race seemed to have a set number with a new god appearing after the death of an older one.
Due to the threat the Bone Hounds and their god leader represented, the base was always in motion, always in a state of being ready to attack, or be attacked. Smaller mining settlements and patrols occasionally went missing, bodies never found. The air cavalry stationed here was not any safer, since the Bone Hounds had set up some sort of anti-air weapons that fired rocks, sticks, or anything else of a suitable size in a wide arc into the air. The force of it often shredding wings and bodies of pegasus not fast enough to get out of the area of effect. Several of these devices had been tracked down and destroyed, but more seemed to pop up as soon as one was removed.
It had been over six months since the two of them had been transferred to this outpost. Six grueling months of patrols, random attacks, and assaults that always ended back across the border. The Guard had standing orders not to cross the border into the Diamond Dog lands. More than a few arguments had arisen from that act among the higher ups and the headache it was causing everyone.
Jer'rahd had not had a easy time of it. He had seen quite a few ponies die, swallowed up by the earth or ripped apart as a Bone Hound burst from the ground under them. There was always a small tremor before one of them broke through the surface, often enough of a warning to move. Some of the Vets had gotten good enough to move aside and place their spear so the hound killed itself as it emerged from the ground. Although even these skilled warriors were sometimes caught unaware.
He had been placed with the supply caravan. A wagon train that ran from the base to the city a few leagues away at least once a week. The rest of the time was spent delivering supplies to some of the border outposts. On more than one occasion they had found the outposts deserted or destroyed with no sign of the former occupants at all.
The hounds were by no means slow, but a pony at full gallop could easily outpace them. This was the best way to keep the wagon train safe, to keep it moving at top speed. Nearly all the unicorns were trained to detect tunnels with their magic as well. This helped avoid dead falls and traps the hounds might have set up for them and the lead ponies of the train always had at least one skilled detector up front with them. The path that was taken changed with every trip as well, never following the main road to the city if it could be helped.
Once more Jer'rahd's limitation with magic kept him from being useful for something that should have been easy. However, rather than put him on outpost duty he was brought along in the caravan for his shield ability. If a dead fall, or pit was discovered on the route, more often than not he could use his shield to form a bridge that could be used to cross. This saved a great deal of time and often confused the hounds as to why their traps did not work.
Unfortunately his new found usefulness meant that if a caravan was going out, he was going with it, no matter what. For as limited as his spells were no other unicorn could get their shield spell to function properly as a bridge for the entire caravan like he could. This constant use of his spell seemed to help him strengthen it more and increase both the durability of the shield, the speed he could cast it, and the time he could keep it up. He figured in time he might very well be able to make a road of the shield panels for the caravan to run on.
Still it was rather stressful, at any moment there could be an attack, even with the unicorns scouting the way. The whole troop always consisted of twenty or so ponies, including the scouts, with two pegasus for close air support. There were also always at least two with the ability to contact the base and outposts. The communication ponies were almost always unicorns, but any pony could use the gem powered boxes they carried to send messages. The promotion he had earned back in graduation meant little to nothing out here, particularly on the caravan. The supply line was far to important to be left to rookies and all the others were veterans. All of them outranking Jer'rahd.
They had just arrived at Quartz for that weeks pick up. Dust billowed up from the hard packed road to the city behind them as they slowed for the gate. The run was tiring, but at least this soon out of basic he was still used to the constant exercise having had no down time to become lazy in.
As one of the low ranking ponies in the train he was more often than not selected to pull one of the carts. While he was annoyed having the pulling jobs always passed off to him while others simply got to run along side the wagons, there was little point in complaining. Rank had it's privileges.
The way had been clear for this run, the engineers having fixed the traps they found on the last trip already. The Captain had gone to the gate house to check on the delivery for this trip, there were no new recruits and it seemed just to be the usual food and supplies set to go back to Camp Geode. Nothing new. It was not until a few ponies pulled a great iron and steel spiked wagon covered in armored plates from behind the supply depot that most of the train's ponies took notice.
A VIP carriage was going this time too. The structure was like a giant armored box on wheels with whoever was in it locked up tight. It was not the first time there had been one of these carts pulled along with them. The last one Jer'rahd had seen held a small blue dragon from the Equestrian Service Organization and a famous singer who's name eluded him for the time being. The group had put on a small show to entertain the troops, and boost moral. He had unfortunately missed the show, being assigned duty on another run of the train, but Starfall had been there. She had said the dragon was the funniest thing she had seen in a long time.
He made a note to try harder to be off the next time the show came through. Anything that could make the rather stoic Starfall laugh had to be worth a look.
The Captain trotted to the front of the line shouting orders to hook up to the wagons, all the while muttering about another ambassador headed for failure.
That gave the clue that it was simply some noble in the wagon this time. Yet another trip for the peace makers to the Diamond Dog territories, not a uncommon thing, but always useless. The determination and resolve for peace that they showed was to be admired however, no matter how futile. The dogs denied any ties with the Bone Hounds, though the group was too large and organized for it to simply be written off as a bandit pack.
Most of the carts were one pony affairs, the VIP cart had enough armor on it to require at least two ponies to pull it. Two of the larger vets moved to attach themselves, as Jer'rahd tugged on the harness of his cart. There was a quick release in case they were attacked on each harness, designed so that the pony strapped in could get free easily. Afterward it took forever to get reattached, even as a unicorn, so it was best not to use it unless one really needed to get free..
Setting out from the town a roar echoed from the mines near the pass on the far side of town. A powder charge blasting apart rocks to clear a path, or find gems, or what ever they were doing today with them. The first time that Jer'rahd had heard one of those explosions he nearly dove under his cart. After the vets were done laughing at him, they explained what was going on. By now he had heard the sound enough that he barely noticed it any more. Another explosion sounded across the mountain side like a starter's whistle, setting the wagon train moving. The trip back always seemed shorter, even though they where hauling weight now, it was a nice little illusion that he tended to enjoy. The team often ran double time just to get back as fast as they could, the wagons were a ripe target for any Bone Hounds looking for a way to hurt the base.
And this time it seemed they them did.
About half way back to base, the ground lurched suddenly under the train. Dirt and rock flew into the air with a roar like a dragon. The explosion threw the lead ponies skyward, along with much of the road, the first few wagons, and a great gout of flame. A second blast tore into the rear of the train sending the great iron coach into the air. The team hitched to it screaming out for a split second before the fire and rock consumed them.
The coach landed hard, metal groaning as the axles broke, wheels rolling wildly away from the cart,as the carriage fell hard on its side and started tumbling down the embankment flipping faster towards the rocky valley between the hills. Metal plates of armor flying off the iron wagon as it bounced off every rock and bolder on the way down before stopping with a sudden sickening crunch at the bottom of the valley half crushed against a large set of boulders.
Jer'rahd yanked the quick release of his wagon flinging a shield over the unexploded section of the road under as many wagons and ponies as he could. A final rumbling blast slammed up against it cracking then shattering the shield, thankfully most of the force of the explosion was still directed away from the ponies and wagons doing little more than knocking most of them over of singeing a few others.
“THIS IS UNIT FOUR WE NEED SUPPORT NOW, WE ARE UNDER ATTACK I REPEAT WE ARE UNDER ATTACK NEAR CHECKPOINT SIX.” bellows a unicorn into the gem communications link.
The Captain started yelling orders, several of the carts were on fire, and the sole remaining unicorn with the transmitter was screaming into it. His voice dying with a gurgle and a spray of blood over the equipment as a spear thrust up from the ground under him impaling the unicorn through the throat. The glow faded from his horn as the Bone Hound pushed up through the dirt the rest of the way flinging the body aside and smashing the transmitter.
“BONE HOUNDS INBOUND, WATCH YOUR FLANK!!” shouts the Captain.
Magic flared and weapons were drawn, the guttural howls of the hounds filled the air surrounding the wagon train. Holes opened in the ground Bone Hounds pouring out of them, their axes and clubs spiked with cracked jagged gems,that glimmered almost prettily in the sunlight. In any other situation the weapons could almost be thought of as art, now every one was more concerned with the use they were to have. The surviving ponies moved to engage the Hounds, magic firing and weapons being brought to bare against the dogs.
A cry went up from some pony about the VIP cart being under attack as well. Jer'rahd growled around the sword hilt clutched in his mouth. He dropped the shield he brought up to block a Hounds mace as the beast crumpled, his own blade ripping out of the creatures belly. The dog whimpered falling to its knees trying to scoop its guts back inside itself before a second swing of Jer'rahd's weapon ended its life fully.
Jer'rahd was no longer even remotely squeamish about killing these creatures. He had felt bad for a few weeks after killing the first Hound that attacked him. Being put on the wagon train every time it went out exposed him to more than a few ambushes and results of the Hound's attacks. Any hesitation he may have had fled quickly after seeing first hoof the claw work of the Bone Hounds on other Guards and civilians. The act of killing these creatures no longer even registered in his mind as killing, it was something that simply needed to be done. Some of the vets he had talked to said what he was feeling always happened. Ponies were not meant for battle, but once they had killed, it became easier with each ended life. He never thought he could act like that, even after he killed the cockatrice, but time had proven him wrong.
Jer'rahd glanced to the ravine and the black mass of metal at its base. It was possible who ever was in it survived. The outside looked like a Ursa Major had used it for a chew toy, but likely those inside had survived the blast. The wagon was armored for a reason.
“GET TO THE VIP CART IF YOU'RE CLEAR NOW!”
He looked back at the Captain as the earth pony crushed the skull of a hound under his hoof while shouting out the order. The pony turned to engage another Hound that broke the surface as a few shouts of yes sir filled the air.
A couple of ponies charged down the hill towards the VIP cart, and perhaps the largest Diamond Dog Jer'rahd had ever seen. Jer'rahd finishes off another attacker before starting his own decent towards the cart at the bottom of the hill.
The Bone Hound barely offered a glance back to the ones charging down the slope towards him and the small scattering of Hounds with him, his gaze fixed soly on the carriage. The giant finally glances back at the ponies when they were nearly on top of his group.
A pair of curved horns swept back over the tangled mane of black hair that hung wild down his back. Crimson eyes glowed under the sloped brow of the beast, a huge maw of perfectly white teeth were bared as the creature seemed to grin.
The dog straightened up, towering over the crushed wagon, black stone armor glimmering over his chest, seemingly fashioned from gemstone. He whipped his arm out towards the charging ponies, the flesh of it pierced with spikes of rock that looked like they broke from out of his flesh like growths.
A spell from the lead unicorn caught him in the chest and all he did was laugh at it, a braying sound that echoed in the valley and sounded higher pitched than the creature should have been able to make.
He drew his out flung arm swiftly before him, making a slashing motion in the air, the spurs in his arm glowing briefly. The ground under the ponies in front of Jer'rahd erupted in a burst of fire and rock , just as the road under the carriages had.
The volcano of fire tore through the dirt as if an invisible giant diamond dog and whipped it's claws through the earth, flinging everything before him into the air. There were no screams, the ponies were dead before their bodies even fully left the ground, there was only the dogs laughter, the hiss of melting rock, and the scent of chard meat filling the air as the explosion subsided.
Jer'rahd tried to halt, but he was going to fast down hill to stop. The airborne earth descended rapidly crashing down around him. The green energy of his shield appeared above him and before him in the air creating a strange sort of umbrella against the falling rock as he ran on towards the Bone Hounds. He pushed himself further gripping his sword tighter as he tried to gain speed to avoid a second attack.
The hound had turned back to the carriage at the deaths of the other ponies and ripped the door from the carriage flinging the massive iron door away like it was a bit of bark pulled from a tree. He reached inside grabbing something and yanking out a pony in Royal Guard armor. The pegasus was clearly dead by the angle of his head with the rest of his body, not having survived the crash. This pony evidently was not what the Bone hound was looking for and the corpse was flung away with no effort much like the door.
One of other Hounds with the massive one shouted, pointing at Jer'rahd as the last bit of rock and earth crashed down behind him. The large one barked something that sounded like a command, most likely something akin to “deal with it”, and the smaller hounds moved to intercept. Jer'rahd's teeth clenched on the grip of his blade tighter, this big one was an officer. Possibly even the one who ordered the attack on the train, he obviously was some sort of commander.
Cut off the head and the serpent dies, a simple tactic, but one that almost always worked, killing this beast now would likely save more ponies in the future as well as cause the dogs still fighting to fall back. He had his target, and he would avenge the fallen, even if magic did not work, a blade in the right spot should finish it off. He just needed a chance.
He formed tow shields before him before met the charging dogs and used it as a ramp to run up and leap over the lesser Hounds that moved to intercept them. He used the force of running down the hill to turn himself into several hundred pounds of muscle and armor plated force, flying straight at the large hound.
“Pathetic pony. Better than your kin, but still pathetic.“ the Bone Hound hisses
The giant beast whips his arm back with out even a glance, batting Jer'rahd out of the air like a rag doll. Jer'rahd hit the ground hard rolling and regaining his hooves, rushing the dog again before the others had time to get back to their leaders aid.
The Bone Hound moved his arm in another sweep, the red claw marks appeared on the ground before him as he moved. Jer'rahd's eyes widen and he quickly forms a shield under him. The explosion tore though the green barrier bathing the unicorn in fire and charring his fur sending him into the air to crash hard against the rock that had stopped the carriage.
His blade skittered across the ground out of sight somewhere as Jer'rahd slumps to the ground, barely managing to breath after all the impacts and the fire bath. His fur and armor smoldered. He winces lifting his head some, ears ringing loudly as he flattened them to his head. He tried pushing himself back up but his left front hoof did not want to work properly. His gaze drifted down his eyes swimming in and out of focus, though he found the reason why his leg wasn't cooperating. It was no longer there.
A half charred bloodied stump was all that remained of it. His gaze shifted spotting what looked like the rest of his leg over by the other side of the carriage, though his eyes were drawn to the large Bone Hound. The Hound spared a glance to the unicorn as he stirred, though he was quickly ignored again as the hound went back to the wagon.
The Hound reached in again, fanged maw spreading wider as it drew out the prize. The slender mare hung limp in the beasts clawed hand. The dog's hand closed tighter around the ponies midsection as it lifted her skyward with a triumphant laugh.
Jer'rahd shook his head, vision clearing a bit, the dark blue coated unicorn groaned lightly as she was raised, her silvery blue hair falling limply around her shoulders and over her face, the broken metal of some sort of amulet lay dangling from her graceful neck. The Hound's laughter continued as he reached to his belt drawing a large jagged blade, the ragged edge of the weapon glinted in the dusky light, seeming pulling all the light from around it to make itself seem brighter.
Jer'rahd could not stop his gaze from falling down to the mares flank, his eyes widening and the haze of pain lost instantly at seeing a pair of wings dangling limply from her back, his gaze dropped lower to her cutie mark. A black patch on her coat with a shock white crescent moon slicing though it.
Princess Luna, the VIP had been the Goddess of the Moon!
The hell hound was spouting something loud enough to get almost past the ringing in Jer'rahd's ears. He only managed to make out the laughing and a comment of being able to kill a goddess now. He took time to gloat tapping her horn and describing in detail which bits of her he would eat first.
One of the Bone Hounds that had gathered around to watch suddenly started whine covering his ears a few others joined as well and even the large one himself flattened his ears to his head and looked around. Jer'rahd's hearing was quickly improving, but he still heard nothing that would make the hounds whimper. Granted he was rather focused on not blacking out and in a bit of shock that the Princess was here.
“Boss what that noise it hurts, graah make it stop boss .”
“Shut up, will be done in a moment, and we can kill the noise then.”
“Shut UP, it is hard to think with the noise and your whining.”
“It getting louder!!”
Even in saying that a few of them fell to the ground yowling and clawing at their ears. Jer'rahd's gaze was on the knife and the slowly stirring Princess. His horn glowed softly, eyes watering as he gathered the energy to try and cast a shield, his head feeling like it was being crushed. He could not muster the concentration to even try and grab the dagger from the hound, or put a shield around the princess. To let something happen to one of the Goddesses right in front of him like this and fail to try to do something was not acceptable. If he failed he hopped at least one of the Hounds would remember to kill him as well , as he would not be able to live with himself if the Princess was killed.
The sound had reached Jer'rahd's ears now, sort of a high pitched whine coming from the sky. The large hound raised his head eyes widening as he looked up. Jer'rahd tracked his gaze to the silver blur tearing towards the besieged caravan.
The air around the figure seemed to bend as it drew closer. The form tore across the sky aiming towards the battle on the road. A bright flash of light spread from the figure suddenly, exploding in a bright ring of rainbow colored light that spread out from the falling form. Jer'rahd blinked a moment seeing the pony causing this a rainbow trail of light forming her mane and tail, Starfall?
As the wave of color passed over them it was followed by a roar. The sound even making the Bone Hound giant wince and fight not to cover his ears. The form suddenly slams into the ground in the middle of the Caravan train, sending a mushroom shaped cloud of colored smoke soaring into the air and launching a second wave of brilliant color tearing across the landscape. The wave of light flowing over the ground in a wave washing over everything.
The blast of the rainbow light washing over him cleared Jer'rahd's head like a shock of cold water would to a sleeping cat. Most of the dogs that had been standing were flung across the ground bouncing off rocks and each other as they tumbled across the sand. He heard a whimper from the large dog and his attention returned to the creature he caught a glimpse of the Princess's eyes opening as well.
The Hound saw it too and seemed to panic, his arm lifted rapidly, bringing down the blade. With his head cleared, Jer'rahd flung up a shield between the blade and the Princess, pouring as much power as he could muster into it.
The weapon struck the shield bringing a scream from his lips as there was a sudden back lash from the contact that made his horn feel like it had been split down the middle along with his skull. He nearly blacked out, as spots clouded his vision, though he managed to remain awake enough to see that he had deflected the blade at least from doing more than scratching the Princesses shoulder.
The hounds crimson gaze whipped over to Jer'rahd, panic evident in his eyes. A dark blue energy wrapped tightly around the Hound's arm yanking it back with a sickening snap as it was torn out ODF socket, before being yanked forward by the wrist to drive the strange dagger into the beasts neck, guided by the dark glow.
The Bone Hound leader fell back, blood gurgling from his lips as he dropped the Princess, her horn glowing in a dark blue light.
The Moon Goddess landed lightly on her hooves, wings fanning once as she looked over the scene taking note of the other Bone hounds climbing back to their feet. as well as the bodies of the Guard and Jer'rahd.
The remaining Hounds paused briefly seeing their leader felled before rushing at the Princess weapons out, seeking blood. As they lept at her the Princess moved her gaze from Jer'rahd, coolly regarding the attackers, she took one step and then started to dance.
No movement was wasted, every shift of her hoof, every flick of her tail, every toss of her head, either struck one of the hounds,blocked an attack, or moved her into position for a killing blow. Her horn was wielded like a sword, rending limb and head alike, her hooves crushing bones, impacting skulls, and ending lives, even her wings and tail were used with brutal efficiency Jer'rahd had never even heard of before.
Blood flowed, showering like rain across the dry earth, crimson trails following the arc of her form like light show tracers. The falling blood never even touched her, the red rain soaking into the ground turning it to scarlet mud, and the Princess danced through it untouched by the death she brought.
Jer'rahd's eyes stayed locked on her movements, he had never seen anything like this before. Her motions were flawless, graceful, beautiful, and utterly terrifying. She moved past and through easily twenty hostile Bone Hounds in less time than most of the Guard could defeat even one. The body parts and corpses struck the earth, the bloody rain ending with none left standing but her and none left alive but the two of them. Her dance quickly came to a stop a good distance away from where it started, a path of clean sand showing her path though her enemies.
Jer'rahd's jaw remained dropped as her eyes shifted over the area, checking the other bodies of ponies before returning to where he lay. The battered pony's gaze remained fixed on her as she approached him.
A silver streak rose from the cloud of dust over the wagon train shooting a bit shakily into the sky and spiraling around the wagon train.
“Jer'rahd !!! Jer'rahd !! Where are you ? Goddess damn you, Rhede's gonna kill me if you're dead.” Starfall shouts snapping Jer'rahd out of his trance.
“Down, ugh … DOWN, here Starfall.”
Princess Luna looked down at him curiously.
“WE ARE GLAD TO SEE YOU STILL LIVE SOLIDER. GET BACK ON YOUR HOOVES WE SHOULD DEPART HERE.”
Jer'rahd was rather glad his hearing was not quite fully back yet. Royal speech was painful this close. But at least he could hear her.
“My apologies Princess, but as you can see, I am short one of those at the moment.” He winced inwardly at the joke not sure why he had forced something so lame out of his muzzle, in front of the Princess no less. The Moon Goddess snorted a moment as if holding back a snicker, though there was no other sign that she had even heard the comment.
“INDEED, PERHAPS WE CAN AID YOU THIS TIME. FOR THE AID YOU PROVIDED US.”
Jer'rahd blinks as Starfall zips up, stopping short as she sees the Princess. The Moon Goddess pauses a moment to look about finding Jer'rahd's severed leg. Her magic flared over the tattered and burnt limb cleaning it as well as the stump. She moved her head, magic pressing the limb back to the oozing wound.
Her magic flares brightly as the leg was magically reconnected where it was severed. His eyes watered at the new rush of pain, though his gaze had yet to leave the Moon Goddess. The flesh closes together, bone knitting and skin closing up around the wound.
“TREAD LIGHTLY ON THAT HOOF GUARD. WE HAVE REATTACHED IT, BUT IT WILL TAKE TIME TO HEAL PROPERLY. OUR SKILL IN HEALING ARTS IS LIMITED.”
“Thank you Princess.” Jer'rahd mutters trying to rise enough to bow to her.
Luna glances back looking at the kneeling Starfall.
“ARE YOU THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT EVENT, PEGASUS?”
“Um, I think so, your prin, err, your highn,....... Princess Luna.” Starfall stammers.
“I WILL WISH TO SPEAK WITH YOU AT A LATER TIME. YOU AS WELL AS THIS GUARD HERE, WE MUST GO CHECK ON THE REST OF THE TRANSPORT TROOPS AND CONTINUE OUR MISSION HERE.”
The Princess drops her head closer to Jer'rahd muttering in his ear. Her voice easily heard even over the ringing of his ears.
“Collect that dagger Guard, and hide it with you. Tell no one what you have seen here, and do not let that weapon from your sight until I come for it, do you understand?”
“Yes Princess.” Jer'rahd blinks at the order.
“Good.” Luna nods. “ Private see to it the Corporal makes it back to base.”
“Yes Princess.” stammers Starfall.
A commotion from the road draws the Princess's attention from the pair. She sighs softly flapping her wings once and launching into the air to fly over the destroyed caravan, shouting orders at the Guards below her. Several dozen dots appeared in the sky from the direction of the base as the echo of thundering hooves sounded from the same direction as reinforcements got closer.
Jer'rahd's gaze focused on the dagger mustering up the energy to pull it to him. He shudders feeling the touch of the blade and grabs a rock instead, using it to push the blade into his grasp before tucking it away into a saddle bag on his side that some how survived the explosion. Starfall turned from watching the Princess fly away moving over to Jer'rahd.
“Well, I guess I owe you one now. Looks like the rest of your wing is finally catching up too.” Jer'rahd commented, finding that remaining nearly motionless at least dulled the pain to a sharp throb rather than a scream.
“Slow pokes. You don't owe me anything, you saved my flank from that cockatrice.”, said Starfall.
“Yeah, but I didn’t rip open a hole in the sky to do that. I say the save was a bit uneven.” Jer'rahd chuckles as he winces.
“I have never seen a spell that reattaches limbs like that before.”
“ I have, takes a lot of power though, did she seemed strained flying up there? Granted that might have just been from the tumble the carriage took with her in it. I have no idea how an alicorn low on power would act, or even if they can be low on power. Of course, as neat as that spell was, you should have seen her dance. That was breath taking.” Jer'rahd sighs, a grin spreading over his face.
“Nothing. Forget I said anything. Would you mind doing me one more favor and see if you can find my grandfathers sword down here?”
“OK, now you will owe me one.” the pegasus chuckles.
“Oh, and one more, one more thing, Starfall.” Jer'rahd comments clearly trying to keep a straight face.
“As your superior officer, I must point out that you are out of uniform.”
Starfall glances down, her lightly armored uniform all but falling off of her body,completely shredded and torn, the leather and cloth reduced to little more than strips, leaving the pegasus mostly bare.
“Son of a bitch.” the pegasus curses.
“Find my sword and I might forget this little infraction.” Jer'rahd laughs.
“You're an asshole you know that.”
“Hey, call me sir.”
“Fine, you're an asshole, sir.”
“Better.” Jer'rahd laughs and flinches immediately regretting the action.
Twilight closed her eyes, ending the spell. Was that was the first sonic rain boom? A friend seeking to save the life of another friend. Just like Rainbow Dash had saved Rarity. Well not quite as cleanly done, it wound up being the Princess that saved Jer'rahd. But they both would have died had it not been for Starfall's action and Jer'rahd's shield. She reached a hoof up rubbing her ear, still feeling a twinge from that Royal speak, even the scrying had made it loud.
She was not sure why her ears hurt when all this was in her head, but still. Thankfully even that was translated into common pony. Luna was easy enough to understand, but the old speech still sounded off.
She shook her head, figuring that was enough for one day. She had plenty of things to write in her notes now. Best to get on with that, as she was likely to be up far longer than tonight than she had intended, again.