Sequels1

  • E Griffon the Heave-ho

    Eclipseverse: The return of griffon demigoddess Gertrude Snowheart prompts a visit from the Griffon Emperor which could have a serious impact on relations between Equestria and the Empire, as well as between Rainbow Dash and an old friend.  · CrowMagnon
    27,877 words · 227 views  ·  14  ·  2  · 

Featured In11

More Stories5

  • T Crisis of Infinite Twilights: Truth, Dare, or Drink

    While Scootaloo and the God Squad are overseas, the alternate Twilights left behind get bored just waiting around. One of them comes up with a game to pass the time and get to know each other better. Possibly more than they really wanted to.
    28,660 words · 771 views  ·  84  ·  2 · sex
  • T Granny Disapproves

    When Applejack and Ditzy Doo are caught together in the kitchen, what will Granny Smith say? Probably not what you think.
    5,286 words · 3,659 views  ·  418  ·  29
  • T Warrior of Love, Sweetie Honey!

    In the near future, a beautiful warrior maiden with mysterious powers must save dystopian Manehattan from falling into the hooves of a brutal tyrant.
    19,339 words · 302 views  ·  17  ·  0
  • E Lunar Eclipse: The Rock Opera

    Set in the same universe as "Snowblind". Discover the history of Celestia, Luna and Eclipse presented through the medium of rock opera, with music by The Protomen.
    42,494 words · 484 views  ·  23  ·  3
  • E Griffon the Heave-ho

    Eclipseverse: The return of griffon demigoddess Gertrude Snowheart prompts a visit from the Griffon Emperor which could have a serious impact on relations between Equestria and the Empire, as well as between Rainbow Dash and an old friend.
    27,877 words · 227 views  ·  14  ·  2

Blog Posts15

  • 10w, 1d
    Waking Night Trailer/"EMV" #1

    Hey, guys. This is just something I did for fun, because I love listening to music and attaching it to various scenes for my stories, but a lot of the time, it's for things where the story doesn't exist yet anywhere but in my head, or isn't in a context that would be suited to inclusion in a fic. I certainly can't post them as fics in their own right, so I figured what the heck, I'll blog 'em. So here we go, the first EMV, or "Eclipseverse Music Video", with the music and lyrics taken from the second-season theme song for RWBY.


    -----

    Lt. Sparkle sits alone beside a campfire, wearing nothing but a pair of saddlebags as she pushes a Mare-Do-Well costume into the flame. She grits her teeth and clenches her eyes shut as tears well up and start to overflow. A single drop falls from her cheek, and the camera zooms in on it as it falls. Reflected in the teardrop is a grainy, flickering vision of the sun and moon hanging in the sky.

    The two celestial bodies draw closer and closer to one another until the moon completely blocks out the sun. The sky around the eclipse turns blood-red as an inky shadow spreads across the moon's surface in the shape of a black alicorn. Once the image forms, the shadow alicorn's eye gleams and the camera pulls out again as the now-crimson drop falls onto the blade of a golden dagger sitting beside Twilight.

    There's a point where it tips

    There's a point where it breaks

    There's a point where it bends

    And a point we just can't take

    Anymore

    Twilight picks the dagger up in her magic and stares at it until she's surprised by a white hoof reaching out to take her shoulder. She turns to look, and sees Rarity reaching out to comfort her, with Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkamena and Fluttershy all standing nearby. Twilight brings a hoof up to her face to wipe the tears from her eyes, and the scene transitions to the six of them running through the Everfree forest while the eclipse hangs overhead.

    There's a line that we'll cross

    And there's no return

    There's a time and a place

    No bridges left to burn

    Anymore

    While the six mares run, the view follows their path and rushes ahead to the ruins of an ancient castle, where a black cloud hovers over the courtyard. From out of the cloud, Lady Moonshadow, a green pegasus mare with a black-and-red mane drops to the ground. She is followed by Mesmer Eyes, an almost emaciated purple unicorn stallion with a green mane and slitted pupils in his yellow eyes, and Blue Rose, a blue earth pony mare with a demented smile and a pink-and-white mane tied back in a long braid.

    Moonshadow grins, revealing a mouth full of sharp, predatory fangs as she spreads her wings, and the cloud above coalesces behind her into the form of the pitch-black alicorn seen briefly in the moon's shadow.

    We can't just wait with lives at stake

    Until they think we're ready

    Our enemies are gathering

    The storm is growing deadly

    The black alicorn opens a glowing eye, and the flash consumes the whole screen before a series of images of the Mane 6 begin to pass by, each one transitioning into each other like colored sand being blown by the wind from one flashback into the next.

    Pinkamena stands behind a set of bongo drums as she recites poetry, but the the drums blow away and the color of flame surrounds her as her expressionless face becomes more terrified and urgently shouting.

    Fluttershy dances on a stage beside Iron Will, until the scene changes and she is running away while Will tries to fight off several bat-winged and red-eyed batponies rabidly swarming around him.

    Rarity stands in the streets of Canterlot beside several other ponies, all looking up at Princess Celestia standing on her royal balcony, but darkness sweeps over the scene and she flees from a black cloud that fills the streets, consuming the ponies who aren't fast enough to escape.

    Rainbow Dash sits in a forest clearing, tending to the injured paw of a large bear. When it changes, she is narrowly avoiding being clawed at by the same bear, whose eyes are now empty black pits.

    Applejack walks up the road to Sweet Apple Acres, daydreaming about being reunited with Granny Smith, Bic Mac and Apple Bloom. The images changes to her running away with tears in her eyes, however, and her imagination turns to a vision of herself cradling an unconscious Apple Bloom in her forelegs with an utterly distraught Granny and Big Mac by her side.

    Now it's time to say goodbye

    To the things we loved

    And the innocence of youth

    How the time seemed to fly

    From our carefree lives

    And the solitude and peace we always knew

    The last image of the six shows Twilight in full Royal Guard armor, standing at attention, but rather than shifting into another still shot, it instead transitions into frenetic motion as, no longer wearing any armor or clothing, she charges into a group of red-eyed vampire batponies, using teleportation and quick strikes from unexpected angles to throw them off-balance. This is followed by the others catching up to her and taking advantage of the distraction to knock the batponies down without slowing their pace.

    There's a day when we'll fight

    And we're not gonna fall

    There's a day when we'll stand

    And a day when we won't crawl

    Anymore

    Ahead of them, the sleeping form of Princess Luna lays reclined on a bed in the middle of a large stone chamber, her resting place illuminated by a shaft of moonlight shining down on her. Moonshadow, Mesmer Eyes and Blue Rose approach the sleeping princess, but stop and turn when the Mane 6 break through the batponies. Moonshadow gestures with her head toward the six, and the other two meet their charge.

    The Mane 6 throw themselves into a frantic melee against the vamponies. Thorny vines with blue blossoms erupt from Blue Rose's body, lashing out at the ponies like whips. Fluttershy helps Rarity and Applejack avoid them by picking them up and flying over the vines while Rainbow Dash somersaults over one and slides under another in order to get close enough that a flick of her wing hits her in the face with green dust, temporarily blinding her.

    There's a moment in time

    And there's no going back

    When we're pushed too hard

    And we won't hold our attack

    Anymore

    Twilight takes advantage of Blue Rose's disorientation to brace herself and charge her horn to let loose a magic bolt, but she gets knocked away by a blast of magic from Mesmer Eyes. The vampony unicorn smirks, seemingly unaware of Pinkamena coming up behind him to tackle him, but her body simply passes through his own as it evaporates, revealing the image to be nothing more than an illusion. Dozens of copies of Mesmer Eyes then begin popping into existence around her.

    At the same time, Fluttershy bobs and weaves in the air while Moonshadow uses her wings to hurl balls of pitch-black cloud at the other pegasus. Fluttershy gets hit in the face with one of these projectiles, blinding her. nevertheless, she spins around and throws Applejack and Rarity in Moonshadow's direction. Moonshadow lobs another ball of black cloud at Rarity when the unicorn lands. Instead of being blinded, though, Rarity is able to catch the cloudmass on her horn, and sends it flying back at Moonshadow. The vampony pegasus is caught by surprise, but still brings a wing up to block Applejack's attempt to capitalize on it by striking her while she's off-guard.

    We can't just cling to childish things

    As evil just grows closer

    Every pony's in jeopardy

    This fight is far from over

    The Mane 6 get backed up by the vamponies, the six of them protectively surrounding the sleeping Luna as a large number of vampire batponies join their superiors in surrounding the mares. At the same time, the black alicorn from before stalks toward them with dark wings outstretched. Despite being so thoroughly outnumbered, the six mares look at one another and nod resolutely before charging as one toward the black alicorn.

    Now it's time to say goodbye

    To the things we loved

    And the innocence of youth

    How the time seemed to fly

    From our carefree lives

    And the solitude and peace we always knew

    Their enemy rears up and flaps its immense wings, sending a wave of darkness rolling toward the Mane 6.

    Cut to black.

    3 comments · 55 views
  • 24w, 4d
    My Adventures With Pony Tales, pt. 2 & 3

      GM:

      RECAP:

    Last time on "Moonshadow": To celebrate the 800th anniversary of Equestria's victory over a shadowy menace known as Eclipse, Princess Celestia is to celebrate aboard the Radiant Dawn, a massive luxury airship. Each of them possessing their own motivation to seek an audience with the aged alicorn, our four protagonists have made their way onto the ship. In 1st class are Glacier, the timid griffon, and Horatio, an 'adventurer' who seeks to gain funding for his next 'expedition'. In coach is Delta, a minstrel who seeks only to perform for the ruler of Equestria. During the opening ceremonies, she made the acquaintance of a friendly family of farmers, and informed on another family after overhearing a subtly ominous comment. Lastly, the orphaned unicorn filly Bolt managed to smuggle herself aboard and keep herself hidden away, having found a map of the airship while sneaking around in the bowels of the engine room.

      GM:

    And with that, I think I'd like to start the session by focusing on Bolt, since she didn't get a lot of 'screen time' in the first session.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Yeah, she spent most of it in a box)

      Glacier:

    ((I'll refrain from thinking up any dustbin jokes. :) ))

      Bolt:

    (oh, just get it over with http://a.tgcdn.net/images/products/zoom/e5a7_canned_unicorn_meat.jpg )

      GM:

    (Anyway, Bolt has been hiding away, waiting for the airship to take flight. You feel that it's finally leveled off, so what do you do now?)

      Bolt:

    (I listen to see if there's anyone close to my hiding spot, then peek out if I don't think anyone's around)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (23)

      Delta Requiem:

    (I'm gonna go AFK a bit, to fix myself a burger)

      Bolt:

    (It's been acting up, huh?)

      GM:

    Bolt's ears, keenly listening for signs of anypony who might come across the hiding stowaway, hear only the sounds of machinery chugging away.

      * Bolt peeks out slowly, and looks around, both for other pnies and for the nearest exit to somewhere passengers might be.

      Bolt:

    (another perception?)

      GM:

    That's not necessary. Based on your study of the map earlier, you would know that the nearest way up from where you are is a service door leading out into the 1st class area.

      * Bolt frowns a bit and looks down at herself. Not exactly first class material... Buuut, nothing wagered nothing gained. She goes for the door. If it has a window, she stops before it and takes a peek, if she's tall enough.

      Bolt:

    (ooh, so I'm behind the stage?)

      GM:

    (Placed your token at the north end of the Banquet Hall) Bolt is too short to see through the window set into the door, but it opens easily, and a peek through it reveals that it leads behind the stage in the ship's 1st class banquet hall. A thick red curtain separates the backstage area from the rest of the hall, but from the other side you can faintly make out the sound of two stallions talking.

      Bolt:

    (other side of the curtain? or the door?)

      GM:

    (Of the curtain.)

      * Bolt smiles a bit and walks backstage, though tries to keep set pieces, etc.. between her and the curtain, in case she needs to hide. Listens to the two stallions, in case anything interesting.

      Horatio:

    AFK a bit.

      GM:

    (Roll me Perception.)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (18)

      GM:

    The emptiness of the banquet hall allows sound to travel well enough for you to hear most of what they're saying. One of them, a pegasus in Royal Guard armor says to a greyish-purple unicorn with a blonde mane, "...already had one alarm today, so don't cause a panic. Just keep an eye out." The unicorn salutes and energetically replies, "You can count on me! I won't let anything happen while the princess is on board!"

      GM:

    The pegasus face-hooves before telling him, "And don't salute! The whole point is for you to blend in. That's what 'undercover' means!"

      * Bolt frowns. They can't possibly be talking about her, can they? She retraces her steps in her head. Nope... nopony's seen her... as far as she can recall... Either way, that's not good. She looks for an exit from backstage that doesn't go back below, or on stage. Time to go blend in with a crowd.

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (14)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Back. I'm guessing Delta was the cause of the one alarm.)

      Bolt:

    (nuuuu... rolls getting steadily worse....)

      GM:

    There's no other way out that doesn't lead back into the engine room. Not that you find, at any rate. But as the unicorn has been given his instructions, both he and the armored guard make their way out through the big doors on the opposite end of the banquet hall.

      Bolt:

    (banquet hall now empty? or perception for that?)

      GM:

    (Let's just say that you already determined that they were the only ones in there.)

      Bolt:

    (okie)

      Glacier:

    ((AFK for a sec))

      Delta Requiem:

    (First me, then Horatio, now TNF. What next, will Phaze need to go AFK for one reason or another? :P)

      * Bolt peeks out of the curtains, slowly, and looks around, half hoping there's food set out (it is a banquet hall, after all, and look at all those tables) She dashes off the stage, heading for the doors, taking a path to stay near the wall instead of that biiiig open space... By food if there is any, ponykinesis to grab some and put in her bags as she goes by.

      GM:

    Unfortunately for Bolt, there is no food set at this moment. The tables are set for a large gathering, but dinner is still hours away.

      Bolt:

    (eh, didn't think so)

      * Bolt peeks through the double doors

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (11)

      Glacier:

    ((Back.))

      Bolt:

    (....)

      Glacier:

    ((Slow and steady decrease there.))

      Horatio:

    (Back.)

      Bolt:

    (you noticed that, too? :( )

      GM:

    Down either side of the corridor, you see a few more doors on the opposite wall leading to the Gym and Day Care areas. At the far ends, you see large swimming pools filled with laughing, happy ponies.

      Bolt:

    (my study of the map included this deck, yeah?)

      Bolt:

    (or just engineering bay?)

      GM:

    (I'll say yes, because it would need to show where the various exits come out to.)

      Bolt:

    (okie.)

      * Bolt , through sheer coincidence, takes the way past the gym, figures she could say she got lost looking for day care or something, Decides to go down to eastern side coach section, maybe find an empty room to hide out in, steal a few things to blend in better.

      GM:

    Stop.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Would be 'starboard', not 'eastern', since we don't know which way the ship is oriented.)

      GM:

    Roll Athletics.

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Athletics (16)

      Bolt:

    (the side on the right of the map)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Like I said, starboard)

      GM:

    Let's not be pedantic, and just assume that Bolt doesn't know nautical terminology. ;)

      Bolt:

    (*will totally go anti-starboard next time* :P)

      GM:

    As you reach the end of the hall, you suddenly get tripped over by an adult stallion. It doesn't hurt much, but you both get taken by surprise as he tumbles over you.

      GM:

    Oww... oh, gosh, I'm sorry little filly! I didn't see you there!

      * Bolt untangles herself and sits on her rump, rubs her head a bit, "Ooooh..." She's not actually hurt, but wanting to get a guage of the guy. (would she recognize the voice? or perception for that?)

      GM:

    (Hmm, you didn't actually get a look at him, did you? Yeah, gimme Perception.)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (13)

      Delta Requiem:

    (The RNG hates you)

      Bolt:

    (yeah, but at least it's on upward curve now?)

      Bolt:

    (at least for percepption rolls...)

      GM:

    His voice sounds slightly familiarish, but with the difference in acoustics between the banquet hall and the noisy swimming pool area, you can't say you definitely recognize it.

      Dashing Doo:

    The unicorn holds out a hoof to help you up. "I'm really sorry, I was paying attention to... uh... stuff... instead of where I was going."

      * Bolt rises to her hooves, with help from the stallion, looks up at him, "Sorry mister, wasn't watching where I was going, either!" Looks around playfully, then puts a hoof to her mouth, "Shhhh, Hide'n'seek" And with that, she dashes off rear-ward with a laugh.

      Bolt:

    (need I roll anything? or just head that way?)

      Dashing Doo:

    The unicorn chuckles to himself, watching the filly dash away. "Heh... that's a good kid. And that's a sharp-looking vest. Wonder why she'd be wearing something like that in here?" The gears turn in his head before a though suddenly occurs to him. "Oh, gosh... I need to ask her where her parents are so I can apologize to them!" With that, he starts chasing after the filly, shouting, "Hey! Wait!"

      Bolt:

    (nuuuu.... about how far do I make it before he calls out after me?)

      Dashing Doo:

    (I'd say about there.)

      Bolt:

    (hmmm...)

      * Bolt eeks to herself and rounds the corner, hoping no one is in the gym, intending to duck inside while using audiomancy to throw her laughter to the corner rearward of the daycare, as if she just rounded the corner as the stallion gives chase.

      Dashing Doo:

    The unicorn calls out again for you to stop as he gives chase, getting distracted by the echoing noise you throw down the hallway to the VIP quarters.

      Bolt:

    (no no)

      Dashing Doo:

    (Oh, my bad.)

      * Bolt waits for the stallion to go by, before heading the other way, and back rearward again. Hopes she doesn't run into him again.

      GM:

    As you make your way back out to the pool area, a swarthy yellow unicorn with a red-and-white mane takes notice of you while chatting with some middle-aged mares. Quirking an eyebrow, he says in a thick Caballerian (Spanish) accent, "Pardon me, senoras, but there is something that I must attend to."

      Bolt:

    (Oh what, am I gonna get the attention of everypony on the ship now? ;P)

      Classy Unicorn:

    Breaking away from the mares, who swoon at his accent, the unicorn catches up to you and says with a friendly grin, "Clever trick you pulled on that fellow, senorita. But I do not think joo learned it at one of the sort of academy the rest of these fillies and colts attended, did joo?"

      Delta Requiem:

    (Where is this unicorn?)

      Classy Unicorn:

    (Sorry, forgot to make him visible.)

      * Bolt continues heading rearward (if she can) . Beams up at him with a grin, though is trying not to panic inside, "Oh no mister, learned that one all on my own."

      Classy Unicorn:

    The unicorn laughs as he keeps up with you, but doesn't try to stop you from going where you want. "I could tell. I have a keen eye for that sort of thing."

      Dashing Doo:

    Meanwhile, a confused purple unicorn comes back, scratching his head. Looking around, he spots Bolt and calls out, "Oh, there you are! Hey!"

      Bolt:

    (how far do I get before first pony gets there?)

      Classy Unicorn:

    The yellow unicorn turns, and with a disarming smile asks, "Oh, joo have met my neice?"

      GM:

    (BRB, gotta grab my dinner real quick.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (KK)

      GM:

    (back)

      * Bolt raises an eyebrow at the classy unicorn a bit in surprise, but rolls with it, backing up a bit, as if hiding behind the unicorn, "Yes Uncle, this was the one that knocked me down and started chasing me I was just telling you about..."

      Delta Requiem:

    (*cackles*)

      Dashing Doo:

    The purple unicorn's eyes bug out, and he starts sputtering in denial. "I-I'm sorry! I thought you said... but I was looking for... I just wanted to...!"

      Classy Unicorn:

    The classy unicorn arches an eyebrow at Bolt, which the other stallion is too flustered to notice. Nevertheless, he points accusingly and asked, "Joo sir! Do joo know who this filly is? Do joo know who I am? I, sir... am Pantalones Enfuego!" For a moment, it sounds like the strum of a Cabellerian guitar accompanies his name. "And as these ladies will attest, I am a very important pony! Now, joo will apologize to my niece at once, or I shall give joo a thrashing myself!"

      Delta Requiem:

    (I notice neither the hapless guard nor Mr. Enfuego have Cutie Marks)

      GM:

    (Yeah, I'm not going to spend the time making them for each unique character.)

      Bolt:

    (gasp! changlings! all of them!)

      GM:

    (You can ask what they are if you want, I'm just not going to draw them, and might need a moment to think something up.)

      Bolt:

    (flaming pants for this one? :3 )

      GM:

    (Yes, to symbolize his fiery Caballerian passion! And nothing else.)

      Bolt:

    (uh huh... suuure ;P not a liar at all, after this little exchange and everything...)

      * Bolt peeks out from behind the unicorn, feigning shyness towards the purple stallion.

      Glacier:

    ((Bolt is such a naughty filly.))

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      Dashing Doo:

    At a loss, the purple stallion gulps and exclaims, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, it was a total accident! I'll be more careful, I promise!" With that, he bows down to the floor as if he were in front of the Princess herself.

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    "Hmph. Well... I suppose that if the senorita can forgive you..." He turns to Bolt and asks, "What do joo think?"

      * Bolt peeks out further from behind the unicorn, though sticks behind him a bit, "It... it's okay... if it was an accident and all..."

    Bolt:

      (I should call him "Uncle Pants")

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones nods. "Alright. But I had better not see joo harassing this leetle angelita again!" The purple unicorn meeps and quickly scampers away, leaving the two of them alone.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Always gotta pick on the rookie undercover Guard, eh? :P)

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Turning back to Bolt, Pantlones grins and asks, "Now that that is out of the way... what would joo say to a meal?"

      * Bolt let's out a breathe she didn't even know she was holding as the stallion slinks away. Turns to the enigmatic unicorn, bites her lip, starts out somewhat unsure but becomes a bit more confident as she speaks "I... wouldn't say no... though I'm not sure why you did that for me. But thank you."

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones laughs and pats you on the shoulder in a friendly way. "I just know what it looks like when a child is running to keep ahead of authority, my little angelita, and I think we can help each other. Oh, but that can wait until joor leetle belly is full. My treat."

      Delta Requiem:

    (I'm feeling lonely in coach by myself...)

      GM:

    (And that seems like a decent spot to put a bookmark in the scene. It went on a little longer than expected, so would there be any problem with switching over?)

      Bolt:

    (nope, go for it)

      GM:

    (Sorry, Delta. I have a sucky sense of how long a scene is likely to take.)

      Bolt:

    (and I was trying to get down that way, I was )

      GM:

    (So, Delta want to go next? Or we could do Horatio, since he had to leave early last time.)

      GM:

    (And if there's anyone we don't get to tonight, which is looking likely, I'll be willing to do a pick-up session on Saturday.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Horatio, you want to go first, or shall I?)

      Horatio:

    (I'm good with either, I'm still a little out of it.)

      GM:

    (We can put you off until Saturday, if you'd prefer.)

      Bolt:

    (he can be airsick until then )

      Delta Requiem:

    (In that case, I'll go first.)

      Horatio:

    (I think that would be a good idea, I'm still a bit feverish and achey,sorry)

      GM:

    (NP, you can't help it.)

      Bolt:

    (*hugs and feeds pony chikkin soop*)

      GM:

    (Alright, so what's Delta up to?)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta continued to chat with the adorable filly Greenie Smith and her family, playing an occasional tune on her lute. "So, where are you all from? I have to say, I wouldn't think farmers like yourselves would be too eager to go on such a fancy voyage."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Oh, Pokey and Ah used ta work on a plantation a bit outside o' Neigh Orleans. Work was steady, but... well..."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    She glances over to Greenie, who is distracted by staring out the window and watching a flock of birds fly past. Turning back to Delta, she continues, "The boss was a pig. Paid us near nothin', an' charged us fer the leaky roof over our heads an' the rusty ol' tools he had us use. Then made us pay him back fer anything what broke so's we'd be in even more debt. Time came we jus' couldn't stand bringin' up Greenie in that sorta life no more, so we sold every li'l thing o' value we had left, an' bought us these tickets, hopin' ta find somewhere where a few good honest farmers can make a livin' without bein' squeezed ta death."

      Pokey Oaks:

    Eeyup.

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta frowned. "Hm... you know, I know of a huge empty stretch of land just south of Canterlot. It'd make an excellent farm, plantation, orchard, or what have you. You'd need to ask Princess Celestia about a land grant, though."

      Phaze is disconnected.

      GM:

    (Don't break the fourth wall. We'll lose our deposit on it.) ;)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Aaaand we lost one.)

      Phaze has connected.

      Delta Requiem:

    (And he's back.)

      Phaze:

    (uh... was that just me that disconnected?)

      GM:

    (Looks that way. Don't worry, I don't think you missed anything important.)

      Phaze:

    (wierd)

      Sew'n'Sow:

    "Really? Why, that'd be... wait a dang minute... Y'all ain't talkin' 'bout the Everfree Forest are ya? Everypony knows that land's cursed!"

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta shook her head. "Not the Everfree itself. There's a huge empty plain next to it." She glanced over at Greenie. "A nice, open area, where a foal can run around, laugh, and play without somepony shouting at her..."

      Bolt:

    (and I hear there's a thing call zap apples growin in the woods themselves... :P)

      Sew'n'Sow:

    (Like I said while you were out, don't break the fourth wall or we'll lose our deposit.)

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Now, now, Delta's not THAT well-traveled. She wouldn't know about zap-apples.)

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Sew'n'Sow rubs her chin. "That's... still mighty frightenin'."

      Pokey Oaks:

    "Nnnope."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Sew'n'Sow blinks. "Pokey?"

      Pokey Oaks:

    The farmer chews on his thoughts for a bit before replying, "Ah'd rather try our luck an' the sweat of our brow 'gainst some phantasmal 'curse' than swim 'gainst the current in a rigged economic system. Way Ah sees it, it's our best shot at a better life. Not just fer ourselves, but fer li'l Greenie as well. A chance ta stake our claim in the world so's we can provide our li'l gal with a legacy she can be proud of."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Sew'n'Sow blinks at her husband's sudden eloquence.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Ah, so that's where Big Mac gets it from. His great grandpa.)

      Glacier:

    ((Erf, AFK again.))

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta nodded. "Your husband is right, Sew n' Sow. Besides, I've traveled through that region myself plenty of times, bouncing between Canterlot and Manehattan, and I've seen no evidence that the plains are cursed."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Sew'n'Sow sits back and leans against her husband, giving a nervous smile. "Well... if what ya say is true, then that could be our chance... Oh, but we'd have ta find a way ta meet Princess Celestia fer that 'land grant' ya talked about, an' the only time we'd get a chance is at that fancy ball tomorrow night! Honey, do y'all think we could get inta that contest they was talkin' about at the door?"

      Pokey Oaks:

    Eeyup.

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta smiled. "See? Just keep moving forward, hoping for a brighter tomorrow."

      Glacier:

    ((Back))

      Delta Requiem:

    She got up and moved to stand next to Greenie. "Admiring the view?"

      Greenie Smith:

    Yuh-huh! Ah c'n see all the way ta those mountains o'er there!

      Delta Requiem:

    (Which mountains are she referring to? The ones past Everfree, the ones Canterlot is on, what?)

      Horatio:

    (THose mountains.)

      Horatio:

    (There.

      Horatio:

    (The mountainy mountains.)

      GM:

    (I'm going to say the Foal Mountains east of Canterlot.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Roll Knowledge to see how much Delta knows about them?)

      GM:

    (Please do if you want more detail about the area. Actually, I think that would be a History check.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta Requiem fumblesher History check and rolls a (1).

      Delta Requiem:

    (... Well, at least Bolt's not alone on the poor rolls...)

      GM:

    (You think it's the Smokey Mountain.)

      Bolt:

    (n.n)

      Delta Requiem:

    "Hm... I want to say that's the Smokey Mountain range, but I'm not sure... that's not a region I've traveled to."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Ah hope it ain't. We're supposed ta be flyin' over Neighagra Falls tomorrow, not th' Unicorn Range." When Pokey looks at her quizzically, she replies, "What? Ah read th' brochure."

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta shrugged. "Well, nopony's gone everywhere in the world, have they? My time's mostly been spent traveling between cities and towns. I could probably tell you stories about Fillydelphia, Manehattan, or Neigh Orleans, but wilderness isn't my area of expertise."

      Delta Requiem:

    (That's a minor flaw with this system; you can't really specialize in certain skills. I mean, Knowledge has Arcana and History, but not Geography, Local, etc.)

      Horatio:

    (Yes you can, there's an ability)

      GM:

    (Freaky Knowledge.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Ah. Might need that at some point...)

      GM:

    (So, any plan of action you want to take to try to get a pass into the ball, or should we give Glacier some time in the spotlight?)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Short of trying to hunt down and charm a stallion in coach, I don't think that's gonna happen. Besides, Delta may want to perform for Celestia, but she believes these farmers need an audience more.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (You're up, Glacier)

      Glacier:

    ((Nooooooooooooo-ok.))

      Bolt:

    (that's actually kinda brilliant. get the farmers in, they casually mention they got the idea from a pony that wanted to play music for Celestia.... Guards are sent, pegasus fetched, and so on)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Wait, one last line.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta started chuckling. "You know, I got on this voyage because I wanted, more than anything, to perform for the Princess. But, I think you all deserve an audience with her more than I do."

      Horatio:

    (But you know, if you couldg et me in too)

      Horatio:

    (That'd be great)

      Horatio:

    (No pressure)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Hush, peanut gallery. :P)

      GM:

    (Glacier, you've just discovered that your ticket to the ball... your best chance to ask Celestia about finding your missing friend... is missing. What do you do? What DO you do?)

      Glacier:

    ((Well him and Duri look around the room quick for starters))

      Glacier:

    ((Do I need to roll Perception for it?))

      GM:

    (If that's what you're doing, then yes. Roll for both of them.)

      Glacier:

    Glacier rolls Perception (29)

      Glacier:

    « 1d20+5 = 17 + 5 = 22 »

      Glacier:

    ((That's Duri's))

      GM:

    You both search the room high and low, but there isn't so much as a trace of the pass. Wherever it is, it must have been taken before you entered the room.

      Glacier:

    *steps out of his room once he finds nothing of the ticket inside, Duri flapping quickly behind. The griffon looks left and right down the halls* It has to be here somewhere!

      GM:

    So, where do you want to start looking?

      Glacier:

    ((I suppose by retracing their steps from the room to the ship's entrance. That would be suggested by Duri BTW. :) ))

      GM:

    Alright. So you follow the path that the porter led you along, seeing colorful ponies (mostly unicorns in this section of the ship) playing and socializing.

      Glacier:

    ((This would lead in which direction exactly? :) ))

      GM:

    (Over toward the big connecting corridor.)

      Glacier:

    ((So around the rooms and towards those double-doors?))

      GM:

    (Yep.)

      GM:

    (Now, if we're playing these as taking place simultaneously, you COULD pass by Bolt and Pantalones if Phaze wants.)

      Horatio:

    (Okay, I'm really sorry to crash again, but I will be all revved up for saturday)

      Horatio:

    (I'm off)

      GM:

    (See you later!)

      Glacier:

    *starts down the hall after getting a couple of wing baps to the head and told by Duri to calm down and retrace his way into the ship* Oh yeah, good idea!

      Horatio is disconnected.

      Bolt:

    (I could go with that, but other than them being a griffon, wouldn't really be anything to single them out)

      Bolt:

    (unless bat fruit just start wailing on griffon for whatever reason :P)

      GM:

    (*snerks* Yeah, that'd probably get a filly's attention.)

      Glacier:

    ((Well Duri's not THAT much like Angel Bunny in that regard.))

      GM:

    Alright, so what are you doing while you re-trace your step?

      Glacier:

    ((Well I assume I'm rolling Percept-checks every so often. :) As for G, he's looking around everywhere, slowly panicing while Duri keeps his own eye open for any sign of the pass.))

      GM:

    You keep your eyes peeled, but there's no sign of it. Somepony must have picked it up, assuming it just fell out of the envelope in the first place.

      Bolt:

    (wasn't the envelope on the bed when they came in or something?)

      GM:

    (No, it was handed to you before your were led to your room.)

      Glacier:

    *starts to lose his calm again after a few minutes of wandering down the halls* No, no, oh no, where could it be?! *he starts pacing nervously back and forth* I can't believe it. Our best chance to talk to the princess and it's now gone! *Duri lands on the top of the griffon's head and starts squeaking for a moment, Glacier answering when he's done* I know, I know, but this way we wouldn't have had to sneak by any of the guards. Grrrrgh, where could it have fallen out at?!

      Delta Requiem:

    (Would Glacier be passing Bolt and Mr. Enfuego by this point?)

      Glacier:

    ((Probably by the hot tub at least if not past them and into the connecting hall by now))

      GM:

    (So, let's take that as a yes.)

      Bolt:

    (works for me, but you may need to do something to attract fillys attention)

      Glacier:

    ((I got an idea))

      Glacier:

    *Duri gives his head a shake, a wing-tip brought up to his forehead and eyes closed briefly in dramatic fashion as he squeaks out some. Relaxing his pose, he spots a pair of unicorns ahead and flaps his way over, perching on the adult's nose before going into another squeak-speak bit*

      Glacier:

    ((How's that? :) ))

      Bolt:

    (heee)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Where'd Duri go?)

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones was just about to lead Bolt to the snack bar when a fruit bat suddenly lands on his nose. "This... I did not expect. And joo are...?"

      Glacier:

    ((Dropped him off on Mr Pants.))

      Glacier:

    ((He melted right through.))

      * Bolt 's eyes go wide as shes see the living fruit perch on the nose of her 'Uncle'. "What in the hay?"

      Glacier:

    *the fruit bat gives them a 'didn't you hear me before' line of squeaks before the griffon rushes over quickly, quickly snatching Duri off of the adult unicorn's muzzle with the sort of fluid movement that indicates he's probably done this before* I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    "Ahh, our distinguished griffon guest. I saw joo from a distance at the opening ceremony, but did not notice joor... pet?"

      Glacier:

    ((Fffff...AFK again.))

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    (Booooo.)

      Glacier:

    ((Back.))

      * Bolt remembers to shut her mouth and looks over the griffon, seeing them before but never this up close.

      Glacier:

    *the word 'pet' seems to set off something in the fruit bat, it giving a loud indignant squeak before trying to squirm out of talons that have already clutched down tighter, something also coming from practice* Duri's not a pet, he's my friend. He didn't mean to bother you two but we're looking for a missing ticket to a ball being held later. Have you seen it around?

      * Bolt peers at the fruit for a bit before she shakes her head, "Nope, can't say that I have."

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones ahhs. To Duri, he says, "My sincere apologies, senor Duri." To Glacier, he says, "And I am afraid I cannot be of help to joo either. I can honestly say that I have not seen a loose ticket."

      Delta Requiem:

    (I get the sneaking suspicion that Delta's tip to the guards didn't keep that 'family' from getting on board.)

      GM:

    (No spoilers) ;)

      GM:

    (Anyway, sorry, but it's getting late and I have work early in the morning. Any last words, NF? We can pick up on Saturday.)

      Glacier:

    *sighs, lowering his head a little* I see. Well, thank you then. I suppose we should keep looking then.

      Glacier:

    ((That fine? :) ))

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Before the griffon goes, Pantalones says, "If I may, senor, I have found that when looking for something that has gone missing, it helps to ask those who were around at the time."

      Delta Requiem:

    (Wait, is Glacier a rooster or a hen?)

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    (He's male.)

      Glacier:

    ((He's a male but not much of one when compared to other griffons. :) ))

      Delta Requiem:

    (So, we done for tonight?)

      Glacier:

    ((I think so?))

      GM:

    (Yeah, I'd say so. It's just getting late for me. Hope you guys had fun with the session, though.)

      LeoArchon:

    Yeah, even though Delta didn't do much.

      Bolt:

    (yup :3)

      GM:

    (Yeah, I'll try to arrange things so Delta has an avenue she can be more pro-active toward.)

    =======================

      RECAP

    Last time, in "Moonshadow": Each of the main players had started to settle in as the Radiant Dawn took flight.

      GM:

    Delta, ever the entertainer, took the time to converse with Greenie Smith and her parents, and offered them some advice regarding their future plans.

      GM:

    Bolt, upon leaving her hiding place, quickly bumped into a unicorn guard working undercover to keep an eye out for threats to Celestia. Though he seemed to be completely oblivious to her status as a stowaway, she found herself getting made by Pantalones Enfuego (insert guitar strums), who covered for her by pretending to be her uncle.

      GM:

    Glacier and Duri, realizing that their pass to the ball (and best chance of meeting Princess Celestia) has gone missing, has gone searching and came across Bolt and Pantalones.

      GM:

    As for Horatio... we'll find out what he's up to right now.

      LeoArchon:

    Going AFK for a bit while I broil some burgers.

      Bolt:

    (planting more books in the bathrooms, more likely :P)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esq, Adventurer at large, is targetting his demographic. People silly enough to believe his books. That involves being very public in energetic areas where rich ponies like to pretend they lead very adventurous lives.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    From there, Horatio will do manly things like attend the boxing bag, for he is very noticable. After all, his books are in key places across the ship, with his picture on the front.

      1st Class Passenger:

    Good heavens! How EVER did you escape that vicious river serpent?

    * Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire . o O ( Ah, perfect. )

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio punches again, then leans against the bag with just the right mixture of well cultured and roguishness. "Well you see, I was moving down the river, trying to recover one of the ancient Diamond Dog artifacts."

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "When this snake came out of the river and bit my raft in half!"

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "I had no choice, I could save the Jewel of the Sun, for the orphans back home, or save my loyal crew."

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "So I braced the raft with my knees and used the serpent's tongue to tie its mouth shut. Then, just before we went over the falls, we all climbed over the snake, to safety, leaving the Jewel of the Sun to crash to the river below."

      1st Class Passenger:

    My goodness! That sounds entirely too harrowing for me, but you know...

      1st Class Passenger:

    I happen to be very good friends with some ponies who would absolutely LOVE to hear all about your adventures. You simply MUST join us at our table for the princess's ball tomorrow night.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "There is nothing I would love more then to share my adventures with my fans."

      1st Class Passenger:

    "Splendid! Just be very careful to keep your pass securely tucked away. I hear that there are... " He shudders before continuing. "...COACH passengers who have been trying to secure seats for themselves.

      Delta Requiem:

    (For future reference, what kind of roll would it be to detect Horatio's BS?)

      GM:

    (Hmmm, Perception probably.)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "That's just bucking awful, you know?"

      GM:

    (Or, say, a History check if you're trying to pick out a factual error in his stories by comparing it to your own knowledge.)

      Horatio:

    (No, no)

      1st Class Passenger:

    "Simply dreadful. Why, I saw with my own eyes a pegasus stallion... or... perhaps it was a mare...? A-anyway, they were practically begging other passengers for a pass like some sort of hobo."

      Horatio:

    (He does the Gilderoy Lockehart thing, only, you know, without screwing people over.)

      Horatio:

    (That is, he goes for things he can't actually retrieve but might be there so he can hang around and lie about it later. Sure, there might be a Jewel of the Sun!)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "That's dreadful that is. Mind you, we should always help the needy, but downright begging. Bucking awful, that is. Don't you worry, a Fisticuffs never gets stolen from." Unless it's an artifact at the end of the story.

      1st Class Passenger:

    The other stallion nods and looks at the wall clock. "Oh, my, is that the time? My apologies, but I must be getting back to my room to change for supper."

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio hmms. He coulld check his pass. Give him time to check his stubble and put on his rugged but handsome suit.

      1st Class Passenger:

    His mark--er... that is, 'new friend' heads off, leaving Horatio to do just that.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio heads back with a swagger. If he can convince a table of rubes, the old 'I need to find the jeweled scarab of the...something for the orphan ponies down in the wild village of something' should melt Princess Celestia like butter. The expedition could take weeks!

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Months!

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    On a cruise ship.

      Delta Requiem:

    (I want to slap that first-class pony. Calling me a 'hobo', what nerve!)

      GM:

    (Delta's been begging for a pass, too?)

      Bolt:

    (yes, she's very clearly a busker, or a street performer :P)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Well, she asked the ticket-taker about it. Remember?)

      GM:

    (True... but I don't think there are too many ponies who would be confused about Delta's gender.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Oh, the pony was talking about the totally-not-a-changeling pegasus and his poofy-maned friend, right?)

      GM:

    (If I told you, that would be OOC knowledge.) ;)

      Horatio:

    No no no.

      Horatio:

    This is where you do

      GM:

    (So, Horatio, you said in your internal monologue that you were going to check on your pass. Aside from changing your outfit, what do you do?)

      Horatio:

    http://www.ogeeku.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/gendo4.jpg

      GM:

    (After you finish whatever you're saying now.)

      GM:

    (The Gendo face was implied. Though personally, I'm more of a Havelock Vetinari fan.)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio does indeed check on his pass. He also has to trim his stubble and get into his rough but quaint suit.

      GM:

    (And how, exactly, do you check on your pass?)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    We...have them, right?

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Oh, I get you. Horatio makes sure it is where he left it.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Do you open the envelope and look inside, do you shake it to hear the pass, do you feel it?)

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    He doesn't perform any sort of alchemical test on it.

      GM:

    The sealed envelope is indeed exactly where you left it.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    And it doesn't look any flatter

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Or perhaps less pompous.

      * Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire DOES have an inordinately high horse sense.

      GM:

    With the envelope sealed, a thin card inside, just the same as when you received it.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Well then!

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    It must still be there.

      Delta Requiem:

    (So only Glacier has had the card stolen.)

      * Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire slides the card into his suit pocket.

      GM:

    You mean the envelope?

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Right.

      GM:

    Alright. So, let's see... want to switch to someone else?

      Horatio:

    Sorry if I wasn't more interesting!

      Glacier:

    ((Heh.))

      Bolt:

    (it'll surely be more interesting when you try entering the ball with an old baseball card :P)

      GM:

    (AFK real quick.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Hm... Well, Delta doesn't have much to do, aside from keep playing. I think this is Glacier and Bolt's party for now.)

      Bolt:

    (:noms muffin)

      GM:

    (Back. Okay, so I guess we'll go back to the griffon and orphan.)

      GM:

    (And I'm pretty sure 'Griffon & Orphan' is an Equestrian buddy cop series.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (... Awfully quiet here...)

      Glacier:

    ((Eh?))

      Glacier:

    ((I believe I had the last words last time, so it's up to Bolt and Pants to kick off the conversation. :) ))

      GM:

    (Care to remind us what those last words were, since you're being such a stickler about it?) ;)

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      Glacier:

    ((Sure, one sec. :) ))

      Glacier:

    *sighs, lowering his head a little* I see. Well, thank you then. I suppose we should keep looking then.

      Glacier:

    ((And then Pants suggested asking ponies who were around at the time it went missing.))

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    "Of course, it could have fallen into the ventilation shafts," he adds, pointing to one of the many vents lining the floor along the walls. "Though if that happened, I would say joor chances of finding it again are even less good."

      Glacier:

    ((How big are the vents?))

      GM:

    (Not Mission Impossible style where they're wide enough for Big Mac to run through or anything. Just regular vents with slots that a piece of card could easily slip through.)

      * Bolt nods at Pants' words, "Unless you had something able to crawl through the vents to go after it. Ah think maybe you should stick with finding ponies who were around when you lost it, whenever that was."

      Glacier:

    ((Big enough for a fruit bat? :) ))

      GM:

    (if you can get it open, yes.)

      GM:

    (You would have to get past the grate, though.)

      Glacier:

    *looks at the vent Mr. Enfuego pointed out, then over at Duri. The fruit bat gives a sigh of the 'Of course' sort and flaps over to the vent once the griffon lets him go, the pair stepping over to examine it to see how if it's at any way possible to be opened*

      GM:

    The grate covering the vent is fastened into place, but it's bolted shut, not welded.

      Delta Requiem:

    (All you need is a screwdriver)

      Bolt:

    (but he's not the Doctor)

      Delta Requiem:

    (I didn't say 'sonic screwdriver' :P)

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      Glacier:

    *looks back over at the pair of ponies* Um, would either of you know where we could find something to open this with?

      * Bolt could probably open it, but looks around, then up at Pants. Not really wanting to risk getting in trouble or anything. Not like this anyways.

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones returns the look, apparently sharing the same sentiment. Putting a hoof on Bolt's back, he looks back at Glacier and asks, "Why don't joo ask one of the crew? I still have to get this little angelita something to eat."

      Glacier:

    *ohs, looking a little disapointed even though he really didn't expect fellow passengers to know where tools could be found on the ship* Sure, ok. Thank you for your help. Come on, Duri, let's go find one of the crew. Maybe we can find an open vent on the way. *the bat flies upward to perch on the griffon's head, giving a little bow and wave to Bolt and Mr. Enfuego as Glacier walks off*

      * Bolt waves a hoof back at the bat. "You're welcome"

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    Pantalones waves back as well. When they're out of sight, he says to Bolt, "Well, they seemed pleasant. Now, let us get joo something for joor empty stomach, and we can discuss important things."

      * Bolt smiles and says chipperly, "Yes Uncle Pants, whatever you say!" n.n

      Pantalones Enfuego:

    (Something about that just sounds so wrong.)

      GM:

    (Okay, so shall we continue with Bolt and find out what 'Uncle Pants' is offering, or Glacier and Duri?)

      Glacier:

    ((It's like a Choose Your Adventure book. Though hopefully with less death.))

      Delta Requiem:

    (I liked the Goosebumps books that were like that... wow, I feel old.)

      GM:

    (Hey, hey, feeling old is MY job in this group.)

      Bolt:

    (n.n)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Anyway, I vote Glacier and Duri)

      GM:

    (Alright, since neither of them are saying anything, let's go with that.)

      Bolt:

    (works for me)

      Bolt:

    (someone get ready the yakkety sax)

      Glacier:

    ((Heh, ok.))

      Glacier:

    (( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNBL5OMeuno ))

      GM:

    After leaving the two unicorns, Glacier, you soon find a maintenance pony trying to be as inconspicuous as possible down the corridor leading to your quarters.

      GM:

    (around there.)

      Glacier:

    *spots the pony and points him out to Duri with a talon, not really noticing any sort of odd attitude about him* Hey, he looks like he might know where we can open up one of those holes.

      *the griffon steps over towards the pony slowly, looking a little nervous as he speaks up* Uh, hello? Could you help us?

      GM:

    The maintenance worker looks up at the griffon and blinks in surprise at the winged predator and his not-a-pet. "Depends on what you need help with," he replies. "I'm not a waiter, so I can't fetch you a bottle of champagne or anything, but if you've got a leaky faucet in your quarters, I'm your stallion."

      Glacier:

    *tries his best to put on an innocent smile on his beak* Well, actually, we sorta need to borrow one of your tools. Whatever can open one of those. *he quickly looks around and points out a nearby vent to the worker*

      GM:

    The pony arches an eyebrow. "I could, though I'm not supposed to without a good reason. What happened? You drop a ring down there or something?"

      Glacier:

    *scratches the back of his neck nervously* Actually, we think our ticket to the ball fell into one.

      GM:

    (Roll Persuasion)

      Glacier:

    Glacier rolls Persuasion (21)

      GM:

    The maintenance pony oofs and shakes his head. "Well darn, that's a tough break. Be a shame if you lost your chance to meet the princess because of some silly accident... If I open it up, can your little friend there search for it without getting lost?"

      Glacier:

    *Duri stands up straight, puffing up his little fur-spikes as he squeaks a few times at the pony, pointing a wing at him. Glacier simply nods before realizing that the pony probably didn't understand a word of that* Oh, he said yes.

      GM:

    The stallion nods. "Alright, but just for a few minutes." With that, the earth pony grabs a wrench with his teeth and unfastens the bolts, soon flipping the grate open for Duri. (Incidentally, if Horatio happens to finish his pre-supper primping, this is what he'll see.)

      Glacier:

    *Duri wastes no time flying inside, Glacier soon after trying to stick his head inside the vent* Be careful in there, Duri! Don't get lost!

      GM:

    (Alright, have Duri roll a Perception check to search.)

      Duri:

    « 1d20+5 = 14 + 5 = 19 »

      GM:

    The fruit bat doesn't find a pass or anything like that as he makes his way along the ventilation shaft, but he does pick up the sounds of conversations echoing around him. It's very faint, but for one moment, he catches a snippet of speech that sounds like somepony saying, "--right from under his beak."

      Duri:

    *pauses as he hears the words and impulsively makes his way down the vent to where he thinks they came from*

      GM:

    (Gimme another roll, because actually locating it is going to be much more difficult.)

      Duri:

    « 1d20+5 = 16 + 5 = 21 »

      GM:

    (Hmmm, not good enough to navigate toward unless you throw a Magic Point on that.)

      Duri:

    ((No MP on the bat, remember?))

      GM:

    (But Glacier does, and I'm considering Duri a sort of extension of your character. It's just that he doesn't have his OWN MP pool to draw on.)

      Duri:

    ((Ah, ok. Fine then, point expended.))

      Glacier:

    Glacier uses Heroic Surge Magic Interrupt -now at 0 MP Trigger: You or an ally you can see makes a skill check. Effect: Add a +10 bonus to the triggering check.

      GM:

    The constant barrage of noise from so many other openings is distracting, but Duri is able to focus and work out which way to go, leading him down into the engineering level of the ship.

      GM:

    Amidst the thrum of machinery, Duri overhears a second voice asking, "And he didn't notice a thing?" To which the first replies, "Of course not, that's why I got put on this job in the first place. Even if he's noticed by now, what's he gonna do, make a scene? Even if he does raise a stink about it, there's nothing to trace it back to you."

      Duri:

    *quickly looks for a vent now that he has a bead on the voices, wanting to see the faces behind them as well as see if what they're talking about involves the missing pass*

      GM:

    Duri reaches the end of the line, finding a grate closest to where the voices are speaking from. From there, he's able to make out the outlines of two stallions, but any other features are obscured by the angle and darkness. "And what about my 'wife'? You took care of her, too?" The first voice replies soothingly, "Relax, another one of us already took care of it. Switched the envelope on some loud-mouthed moron. The sort of guy who, if he tries to kick up a fuss about it, everypony'll just think he's trying to scam an extra pass."

      Bolt:

    (baseball card)

      Duri:

    ((Wow, I wonder to whom they're refering to... ;) ))

      Bolt:

    (Pants, obviously :P)

      GM:

    (OBVIOUSLY.)

      Horatio:

    THis can be solved with violence, I'm sure of it.

      Duri:

    ((Any more to the conversation?))

      GM:

    (Well, if Duri doesn't have an immediate reaction to that, I'll just continue.)

      Duri:

    ((Go on. :) ))

      GM:

    The second stallion nods. "Alright. We'll do our job, so just keep your own head down. For the master." "For the master," the first stallion replies, and they part ways. The second ends up moving completely out of sight before Duri picks up any identifying features, but the first steps past the grate he's positioned at, giving him a better chance at identification. (gimme another Perception.)

      Duri:

    « 1d20+5 = 20 + 5 = 25 »

      Bolt:

    (you see EEEEVERYTHING....)

      Bolt:

    (and here I was gonna say to juice on their heads, they'll look up :P)

      GM:

    Not only does Duri EASILY recognize the stallion as the porter who accompanied him and Glacier to their room, but the stallion stops for a moment and takes off his hat, fanning himself with it to cool himself from the heat of the nearby machinery. In that moment, Duri spots a mark tattooed to the back of the pony's head. It's small and would easily be concealed by the stallion's hat and mane, but it looks like an eye.

      Delta Requiem:

    (And in an anime, the scene would shift to Bolt and Enfuego having lunch.)

      GM:

    (At the VERY least, it's worth a 'dun dun dunnn!')

      Duri:

    ((Yep!))

      Glacier:

    *if the griffon had witnessed all this, most likely he would fret and worry over having stumbled into something possibly complicated and dangerous. He'd also ask the fruit bat for advice over the situation, something he would regret seconds later...*

      Duri:

    *...as the fruit bat, who DID witness this and reconizes the porter begins letting out a tirade of furious squeaks, bashing at the grate with his 'hands' and feet in most likely a vain attempt to get at the thief*

      GM:

    This makes the porter jump in startlement. "What the buck?!" Quickly realizing that the sound is coming from the vents instead of an angry pony coming down the hall, he catches his breath. "Whew... just a rat stuck in the vents. Almost had me worried there," he muses to himself before walking away.

      Duri:

    *doesn't stop his understandably-irrate assault on the thing keeping him from getting to the porter until the thief's gone. He then pauses, huffing for air until he stops, holding up his 'hands' as he collects himself, smoothing over any raised strands of fur on his head before he flaps back the way he came*

      GM:

    (Okay, so Duri should be able to find his way back easily enough. This would be a good spot to pack it up, too, unless anybody has a little bit more that they want to do.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (I can't think of anything)

      Bolt:

    (good here)

      Glacier:

    ((Ditto.))

      GM:

    (Sorry I haven't had much for you to do, Delta.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (No worries.)

      Bolt:

    (she needs to go busking, lute case open before here, a few bits tossed in to give ponies the right idea)

      Delta Requiem:

    (She doesn't have a case, she carries the lute across her back.

      Bolt:

    (steal someone's hat :3)

      Horatio:

    Sorry, was taking care of family stuff while the spotlight wasn't on me

      Horatio:

    I'm fine.

      Bolt:

    (you got a baseball card there Horatio)

      GM:

    (*chuckles* Well, I've set up an opportunity for her to get a pass, but apparently the situation isn't quite right yet for her to think it's a viable idea for her in-character.)

      Bolt:

    (I'd say pokeman card, but Glacier's got that covered)

      GM:

    (that opportunity being the 'Best Couple' contest held among the coach passengers later this evening. But since Delta doesn't have a partner... Anyway, let's pick this up again on Wednesday if that works for you guys.)

    0 comments · 100 views
  • 25w, 5d
    My Adventures with Pony Tales, pt. 1

    So, if anyone wonders why updates on my stories have been sluggish these past few weeks... well, that's just how I roll sometimes, but THIS time there's a semi-decent reason for that. I've been working on setting up a roleplaying campaign using the Pony Tales tabletop system, and we just started with our first session. The players have given their permission to release a log of our sessions, so feel free to sit back and read about five people (including myself) meddling with forces beyond their comprehension.

    The setting: This campaign takes place in the same universe as my 'Eclipseverse' stories, which currently consist of Snowblind and Lunar Eclipse: The Rock Opera. However, the Moonshadow campaign takes place 200 years before the events of those stories, so events taking place in this RP, unless specifically declared otherwise, can be considered canon to my prose stories without directly involving the Mane 6.

    Character images are either made from General Zoi's pony creator program, taken from screencaps, or plucked from Google Images.

    Before we start, I'd like to thank my players, Lapis (Horatio), Phaze (Bolt), Night Fox (Glacier), and fellow author LeoArchon (Delta). Special thanks go to Phaze for programming macros for the players to use in Maptool, allowing them to use combat talents and skill checks with the press of a button. Thanks to their hard work, gameplay is going to flow so much more smoothly than it would otherwise.

    And of course I have to give a shout-out to Dan Felder, Carson Dougan, Alex Wagner, Kat Schell, Newbiespud, and everyone else involved with the creation of Pony Tales: Aspirations of Harmony. If you aren't familiar with the system, just click the link and check it out.

    And with that said, allow me to introduce you to our players:

    ////////////////////////////////////////

    {GM Note: Here, the players are asked to briefly introduce themselves. For visual reference, consult the Cast Page on Google Docs. For the purposes of this campaign, each player was tasked with creating their character to have a reason to seek out a face-to-face meeting with Princess Celestia.}

      Glacier:

    Well my character is Glacier, a griffon and he's with his friend Duri, a durian-based Fruit Bat. The two are on board looking to speak to Celestia on the matter of a missing friend.

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta merely wants to put on a performance for Princess Celestia at least once in her life. {GM Note: Delta has an extremely rare magical mutation. Instead of weather manipulation, she has an ability called Spellsinging which uses her voice to manipulate magic much like a unicorn. This effect is limited to what she has abilities for, keeping her from being OP in practice.}

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio is, by all outward knowledge, a famous adventurer who has been many places, fought many strange things and NEARLY retrieved many great artifacts, as well as being a dominant force in the charity world, picking up where his grandfather left off. In reality, he hates mosquitos, is afraid of spiders, and when he leaves to go 'adventuring', he actually goes on a yacht he used investment funds for to eat weird fancy pants food like curried duck liver and dates.

      Bolt:

    Bolt. Orphan Unicorn Filly looking to speak with Celestia because of reasons. (The ruler HAS to know what happened to her most important, highly trained spy operatives, right? ;) ) {GM Note: What the player means is that Bolt has crafted a fantasy where her biological parents are secret agents, to explain why she was left in the system.}

    ////////////////////////////////////////

      GM:

    It is a bright, crisp early Autumn afternoon as many ponies are gathered to witness and embark on the maiden voyage of the Radiant Dawn, the largest luxury airship ever constructed.  The main body is immense, taking up most of the landing strip on which it sits, and is supported by two smaller, but still impressive 'pods' on each side, each of which could easily be a ship in itself.

      GM:

    This is more than merely the unveiling of an aeuronautical masterpiece, however. This voyage takes place on the eve of an auspicious holiday. The 800th anniversary of the defeat of Eclipse. (Feel free to roll History checks whenever you want to know something about the setting.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta Requiem rolls History (16)

      Glacier:

    Glacier rolls History (19)

      GM:

    (And what, specifically, do you want to know about?)

      LeoArchon:

    (Specifically, who or what is Eclipse? Unless... is this incorporating your fanfic's canon?)

      Glacier:

    ((How much of it is true. :) ))

      GM:

    Eight centuries ago, the monster calling itself Eclipse appeared and assaulted the royal sisters, Celestia and Luna. An incorporeal being of living shadow, it succeeded in possessing Princess Luna for a brief time.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire rolls History (13) ...and fumbles horribly...

      Horatio:

    lawl

      GM:

    Celestia used the Elements of Harmony to free her sister from the demonic creature's control, but her reluctance to use the full power of the Elements against her sister caused her to lose her connection with them, and Eclipse remained free to possess others while Luna was left trapped in an endless sleep from which she has yet to awaken. {GM Note: For more details, refer to "Lunar Eclipse: The Rock Opera" at http://www.fimfiction.net/story/103454/lunar-eclipse-the-rock-opera (in progress as of this post.)}

      LeoArchon:

    (And in 200 years, a ragtag group of misfit ponies will recover the Elements, defeat Eclipse, and awaken Luna.)

      GM:

    Horatio, you were asleep in class when the subject of Eclipse up. (Shhhh, Leo, spoilers) ;)

      LeoArchon:

    ((I've got background music in the form of my roommate playing Final Fantasy XIV on the PS3))

      GM:

    Today, Celestia stands in front of the crowd of ponies and other beings eagerly waiting to board the ship. The royal alicorn is surrounded by her honor guard and their leader, Captain Blindside, one of the extremely rare breed of ponies known as thestrals (or 'batponies' in less academic terms). The princess herself sits tall and regal on a podium beside the airship, her face wizened and wrinkled from the centuries, her frame thin with age. Yet she still holds herself with a sense of powerful inner strength, her mane and tail shimmering and wafting in the breeze with an ethereal beauty that belies her grandmotherly appearance.

      GM:

    (Yes, I know the token doesn't look like that, but there aren't a whole lot of 'elderly Celestia' pictures floating around.

      Glacier:

    ((That's what the artistic fans of your stories are for. ;) ))

      Horatio:

    (( http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/362/103/b58.gif ))

      GM:

    (Yeah, well I didn't want to wait for someone to do that. Anyway!)

      GM:

    Drawing the attention of all present with little more than a clearing of her throat, Celestia looks out at the crowd.

      Celestia:

    Thank you, my little ponies, for joining me on this day. Eight hundred years ago, this land and its people triumphed against a terrible evil. For many, it came at a dear... dear cost, but Equestria itself stood firm and stood true. No matter how dark it seemed to become, the light of friendship and honor continued to shine brightly in the hearts of ponies. For eight centuries, we have grown and flourished in that light, and today it gives us this marvel... the Radiant Dawn!

      GM:

    Celestia looks down for a moment, her expression of serene calm slipping ever so slightly. But when she looks up again, her smile is as warm and loving as ever.

      Celestia:

    This airship is a wonder. The greatest example of Equestrian ingenuity, made possible only by that strength of heart which is in us all. The greatest minds worked in concert to bring life to that which was previously only an idea. It is because of the courage and integrity of your ancestors that we now live in this moment, but this is not the pinnacle of our achievement. This is merely one of many wonders to come, and it is your duty to dream even grander. To envision even more miracles and to bring them to life so that one hundred years from now, it will be your descendants who marvel at what we create now.

      Celestia:

    It is with that hope for the future that I greet you all and welcome you aboard the Radiant Dawn, so that you may marvel and draw inspiration from this magnificent vessel.

      GM:

    With that, Celestia is offered a bottle of wine by one of the guards as a traditional means of blessing the ship before it takes off for the first time. Celestia accepts the bottle in her golden aura, magically swinging it at the hull of the ship.

      GM:

    The bottle thumps against the hull with a dull *thunk*, but doesn't break.

      GM:

    Most of the ponies in attendance start stomping the ground to celebrate, though it quickly peters out when the bottle refuses to break against the hull. Celestia attempts it again with similar results.

      Delta Requiem:

    ((Is Celestia's age keeping her from breaking the bottle?))

      Celestia:

    My apologies, everypony. It would seem that my magic isn't quite what it used to be, but the third time is the charm.

      GM:

    Getting a wider swing this time, Celestia hurls the bottle at the hull, where it smashes open. The audience immediately starts stomping and cheering in applause.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Dutifully, as a manly adventurer, Horatio whistles and claps.

      Delta Requiem:

    Among those applauding, a dark amaranth pegasus lets out a loud whistle. A lute is slung over her back, between her wings. She has a two-tone mane and tail; the majority being grey, but with crimson streaks running through them. Aside from her lute, the only thing she has is a feathered cap on her head.

      Glacier:

    *looks around at the ponies before he himself claps politely with his talons, giving a nervous little smile from his beak*

      GM:

    Celestia's smile widens as looks at the sea of joyous faces.

      Celestia:

    Now, then, why don't you share some of that applause with the Wonderbolts, who are here to provide us with an unforgettable send-off?

    * Bolt raises an eyebrow at the cheering on the other side of the ship. Seems things are about to get under way. Looks determinedly at the crates out back.

      GM:

    Celestia's horn glows, and she shoots off a golden beam up into the sky, which explodes in a bright firework that shines brilliantly even against the afternoon sky, as well as acting as a signal for Equestria's premier team of stunt fliers to soar in formation above the crowd, drawing all eyes upward.

      GM:

    On the other side of the ship, workmen are busy loading the ship with cargo and luggage, but even they stop for a moment to enjoy the show.

      Bolt:

    (I wanna use the opportunity to see if I can rush up and slip inside one of the crates un-noticed)

      GM:

    (Roll me a Stealth check.)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Stealth (23)

      Glacier:

    ((AFK for a minute.))

      GM:

    Distracted as they are, it is simplicity itself for the little blue unicorn filly to dash toward the crates and find one with a loose board to squeeze into before any of them look down.

      Horatio:

    ((Into the crate of 'week old open jars of mayonnaise'))

      Bolt:

    (Celestia has strange tastes)

      GM:

    While Bolt gets herself situated in the crate of spare engine parts she has managed to work herself into, she overhears some of the workers talking while they start loading crates.

      Glacier:

    *looks upward at the show happening above everyone's heads, watching with some interest though he often returns his gaze back down to the white Alicorn in front of him*

      GM:

    "Some show, huh Porter?" "Yeah, makes me wish I could actually hitch a ride on this boat instead of breakin' my back loadin' this stuff." "Not me, man. You see the deal with that bottle? That's bad luck." "Don't tell me you believe that superstitious malarkey!" "Hey, my sister was on a ship where they weren't able to break the bottle. You don't wanna know what happened with the toilets. Say, speakin' of sisters, is yours still single?" "Brick? Why you wanna know?"

      GM:

    Their supervisor then shows up and shouts, "Shipper! Porter House! Get your sorry plots back in gear and load up those crates!" The two workers immediately get back to work, carrying the crate Bolt is in up a ramp and into the bowels of the ship.

      GM:

    Meanwhile, most of the guards, including Captain Blindside, accompany the princess into the ship. Once that is done, the few remaining outside help manage the lines as the 1st class passengers are allowed to board first.

      GM:

    Among the larger crowd of coach passengers, a filly in a bonnet bounces around excitedly while looking up at the Wonderbolts show.

      Farmer Filly:

    Look! Look, pa! Ya see that? Lookit 'em flip 'round!

      Delta Requiem:

    It is pretty impressive. Wish I could fly that well...

      Farmer Filly:

    The filly looks to Delta and says reassuringly, "Don't worry, Ah bet there's somethin' ya'll're just as good at, too! Everypony's got somethin' they're good at! That's why we're here. Mah pa's the best farmer in Equestria, so we left the house behind so's we can ask fer a better one where he can do his job!"

      Farmer Mare:

    The child's mother eeps at the verbal flood coming from her filly's mouth and yanks her back. "Ah'm sorry about that, miss. Greenie, what'd yer pa and I tell ya about botherin' strangers?"

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "Very good showsmenship. Ponies work hard for that. Not like flying out over the fire marshes, but hey."

      Horatio:

    ((Horatio is voiced by Owen Wilson, carry on.))

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta laughs. "It's alright miss, I don't mind." She looks between the two. "I'm Delta Requiem, a wandering minstrel. Might I ask your names?"

      Farmer Mare:

    "Sew'n'Sow," the mare replies while her daughter grumps, quietly muttering about not bothering anypony. "And this is my husband, Pokey Oaks."

      Farmer Stallion:

    Eeyup.

      Greenie Smith:

    An' Ah'm Greenie Smith! So, what's a wanderin' menstrual do, Ms. Delta?

      Delta Requiem:

    (Snrk)

      Bolt:

    [*bites tongue*)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta chuckles. "I go from place to place, playing music and singing songs, Greenie."

      Glacier:

    *overhears Horatio's words, turning his head in the direction of the voice* F-f-fire marshes? There's places on fire?

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie's eyes widen with wonder. "Oooh. Are ya any good?!" This earns her a hoof over the mouth from her mother.

      Delta Requiem:

    "Well..." Delta winks. "When we get onboard, I'll put on a performance, and you can see for yourself, okay?"

      Sew'n'Sow:

    "Well Ah'm sure we'd like that, miss. Thank the nice lady, Greenie."

      Greenie Smith:

    Thank ya!

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "Yea, you see, the gas builds up under the marsh, then giant plumes of fire rip up to the sky. We had to travel over it when I went hunting for the great tiny Sphinx."

      GM:

    While Horatio and Glacier converse, the line of ponies gradually proceeds up the ramp to the ship.

      GM:

    (BTW, where's Glacier's pet fruit bat at this time?)

      Horatio:

    (Eric the fruitbat)

      Glacier:

    *goes wide-eyed at the thought of big gouts of fire leaping up into the air, looking more and more nervous* Th-this ship w-won't go anywhere near these big fires, r-right? I mean.. *curiously, what looks like some sort of vapor starts coming from the corners of his beak as he stammers on about the fire and how fireproof the Dawn could be. It takes what looks like a spikey ball with wings to flutter up from a hiding spot under one of the griffon's wings to kill the vapor by landing right on top of the beak to snap it shut, the griffon jumping in startlement as whatever landed on his mouth starts squeaking at him*

      Glacier:

    ((Sorry, had to add the pet-location into the pose when I got the question. :) ))

      GM:

    (NP)

      GM:

    Seeing the fruit bat perched on Glacier's beak, one of the guards trots over.

      Guard Unicorn 2:

    Sir, do you have a permit to bring a pet on board?

      Glacier:

    *mumbles something with the 'pet' still on his beak. The bat spins around gracefully and looks indignant at the guard, pointing one of it's wings at the guard and giving it a few squeaks before it flies back to where it came from for the moment, giving the griffon a chance to speak* P-p-permit? Uhh..I...

      1st Class Stallion:

    Ugh... how frightfully uncouth...

      1st Class Mare:

    Well what do you expect from one of THOSE people?

      1st Class Stallion:

    Shhh, not so loud. You know what sort of temper griffons have.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Would I have to roll to overhear the snobs?)

      GM:

    (From that distance, yeah, roll Perception.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta Requiem rolls Perception (11)

      GM:

    (You don't hear anything from over there.)

      GM:

    (Though it's easy enough to see that Glacier is at the center of a little hubbub.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta sighs. "I am so glad I'm not travelling first-class."

      Glacier:

    *looks like he just wants to wilt or melt down into the ground from all the attention he's now getting from both the guards and the rich ponies around him when the bat flies back out, papers in it's claws. He lands on the tip of the guard's muzzle much to the griffon's horror and holds out the papers which turn out to be two first-class tickets with the names 'Glacier' and 'Dori' on them, squeaking out some more unintelligable bat-talk while before bapping the guard with the tickets lightly between the eyes and folding it's wings across it's chest with a 'I dare you to upset me more then you have' look that probably wouldn't be unfamiliar if it came from some of the other first-class passengers*

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio looks uncomfortable for a moment that it MIGHT get near any fire marshes, but he flashes his big smile. "Don't worry about it, everything is in good hands!" He coughs slightly into his hoof as everyone looks at Glacier. He should do something! He begins to speak more loudly. "Oh, I see, he is speaking the language of the Fruit Bat, from the great Fruit Bat Nation. Very interesting culture they have."

      Delta Requiem:

    ((I'm trying to picture a cross-eyed unicorn guard...))

      Guard Unicorn 2:

    The guard glares at the bat and looks the tickets over before shaking his head. "I don't get paid enough for this. Alright, your tickets for yourself and your... traveling companion appear to be in order. Welcome aboard." With that, he ushers Glacier, Duri and Horatio onto the ship.

      GM:

    Once inside, porters are waiting to take any bags that the 1st class passengers are carrying with them, as well as to show them to their suites.

      Glacier:

    *quickly plucks the bat and the tickets off of the guard, a talon over the bat's mouth before it can make things worse* Y-yes, thank you. I'm so sorry, he's just so excited about this trip! Lots to see, yes! Nothing said about how sad your muscles and armor looks, no! *he stuffs the protesting bat and the tickets back under his wing and dashes forward into the ship*

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio has only his manly leather satchel on him. His other proper luggage is all hidden away with the bath salts and the two pounds of red gummi candy.

      Delta Requiem:

    ((Should we just assume that by this point, Bolt, Glacier, and Horatio are on the ship?))

      GM:

    (Yes.)

      GM:

    Also, when they are allowed on board, Horatio and Glacier are each handed a small envelope by a smiling pegasus mare. "Thank you for flying 1st class! As a valued guest, please accept this pass for the ball tomorrow night! We'll be celebrating the eighth centennial celebration of Eclipse's defeat with music, dancing, feasting, and Princess Celestia herself will be there as well!"

      Delta Requiem:

    (Wonder if Delta can bribe her way into being part of the music?)

      Glacier:

    *smiles earnestly when he hears the part about Celestia's attendance, taking the envelope and passing it along towards his wing where a green one pokes out of and snags the item for him* She'll be there? Really? Will we get to talk to her?

      GM:

    The mare shrugs her wings a little, but catches herself and keeps her smile on. "Yes indeed, the princess will make time to greet each and every one of our 1st class guests!"

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    "Ah good, I'm sure she likes a rousing story!" He talks loudly so everyone can hear, "And she will be pleased to hear about my next great adventure, I'm sure."

      GM:

    As the 1st class line diminishes enough for the coach passengers to start queueing up behind them, a poofy-maned unicorn near Delta whispers to the blue pegasus next to him. (Delta, roll perception.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta Requiem rolls Perception (17)

      Glacier:

    *bows his head towards the mare* That's great, thank you very much! Er, which way do we go now?

      GM:

    One of the porters tells Glacier, "Right this way, sir. Just go up the stairs to the A-Deck, and I'll help you find your quarters!"

      Glacier:

    *bows his head again, this time to the porter* Oh, thank you!

      Bolt:

    (alright, I wanna listen to see if I can tell if anyone's near the crate I'm in)

      GM:

    Delta overhears the unicorn whisper, "We need to get one of those passes. Once we're in, she won't be able to stop us."

      Horatio:

    ('Oi, Pusher, want to hear about that horrible weeping rash I got last week')

      GM:

    Meanwhile, Bolt is carried to a storage room and set down among a myriad of other crates. The sound of machinery fills the air around her, vibrating in her bones. (roll Perception.)

      Bolt:

    (haha, don't tell me androgyponies are changlings or something :P)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (26)

      GM:

    (Okay, I won't tell you.)

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      GM:

    After a few minutes, the workers set the last of the crates in place and walk away. A little bit after that, as you strain your ears against the rattling of machinery, you figure that nopony is coming back just yet.

      GM:

    ('you' being Bolt)

      Bolt:

    (I hazard a peek out of the crate from the loose board, double checking, being cautious)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Perception (26)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta gives no indication of overhearing the unicorn, but a small frown crosses her face. When she goes to pass the guards on the way to the ramp, she whispers to one of them, "Keep an eye on that poofy-maned fellow and his pegasus companion."

      GM:

    Poking her head out, Bolt can see that she's been left alone. The sounds of mechanics checking on the engines can be heard echoing from down the corridors, but they're some distance away. Luckily, a small map of the ship with the emergency exits on it is posted on the wall at a nearby T-junction, and it also shows the way to the passenger deck.

      Bolt:

    (oooh, is it a paper map, or one of those billboard things?)

      GM:

    The guard arches an eyebrow at Delta's comment, but when the unicorn, pegasus, and a bespectacled unicorn child accompanying them reach the front of the line, they get pulled aside for a 'random inspection'.

      GM:

    (Billboard.)

      Bolt:

    (bleh. I leave it, to cumbersome, but I do study it, looking it over for places I might hide)

      GM:

    (Hmm... roll a Mechanics check, Bolt.)

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Mechanics (31)

      Horatio:

    (RACIAL PROFILING)

      Bolt:

    (the guard's one of them!)

      GM:

    As Bolt studies the map, it only provides a general outline of the ship's layout, but her precocious knowledge of engines and machines gives her a few hints about where she might find some dead spaces, nooks, and crannies where a filly her size might be able to slip away if she needs to. (And for the rest of your stay on board the ship, you get a +2 bonus for Stealth checks when you're hiding away.)

      Delta Requiem:

    When Delta gets on board, she asks the ticket-taker, "Excuse me, but are there any rules against an independent musician like myself putting on a small performance during the voyage?"

      Bolt:

    (woo me)

      Bolt:

    (I mean: Yay me)

      Bolt:

    (well, let's use this knowledge to good use and see if we can't find a nook or cranny to hide until the thing actually takes off)

      Bolt:

    (*waits for GM to stop typing*)

      GM:

    "Not at all," the ticket-taker replies with a wide, well-practiced grin. "As long as it's family-friendly and isn't disruptive to the other guests, of course." As the farmer family behind Delta approaches, she greets them with, "Welcome aboard! Please go up the stairs and down the corridor to your right to reach your rooms. If your filly wants to play with other children, there's a Day Care in the main ship. And if you two would like to take part in the Best Couple contest being held later this evening, you could win passes to the ball tomorrow night!"

      Bolt:

    Bolt rolls Stealth (29)

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Ya hear that, Pokey? That could be our chance!

      Pokey Oaks:

    Eeyup.

      Horatio:

    (Haha)

      Delta Requiem:

    "Hm... Are there any other ways to earn passes to the ball?"

      GM:

    "Oh, I'm afraid not," the ticket-taker replies. "The demand was very high, and almost all of the available passes have been handed out to our first-class passengers. Now, please move along so other ponies can get inside, buh-bye!"

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta moves along, thinking to herself, 'Let's just hope that those ponies I heard plotting don't win that contest.'

      GM:

    Bolt, you find a cosy little niche to tuck yourself away in while the last of the passengers file their way inside.

      Horatio Fisticuffs III, Esquire:

    Horatio, meanwhile, is doing what is important. He is making sure a few older copies of his book just HAPPEN to be in a few of the bathrooms, and then he has to spend some time carefully trimming his stubble to exact ruggedness.

      Horatio:

    Horatio Fisticuffs III vs the Giant Mummies of the River Kingdom

      GM:

    (Feel free to move to the A-Deck map whenever you want, BTW. Delta should take one of the 'coach' quarters on either of the two side-ships, and Horatio and Glacier will each get one of the VIP rooms in the central area.)

      GM:

    Glacier is led to his room and given time to take in the sight of it and settle in. The 1st class quarters are enormous, and stocked with various luxuries such as bookshelves, a reading desk and lamp, a plush sofa, and most importantly a mini-bar.

      Glacier:

    ((Here fine?))

      GM:

    (That's fine. It doesn't matter which one you take.)

      Glacier:

    *thanks the porter again before examining the room, stepping over to a bookshelf to look at some of the titles there. Dori in the meantime flaps his way over to the mini-bar to check out some of the contents about* Wow, this is certainly a lot more roomier then I thought it'd be. I guess between this place and the free ticket to the ball, it wasn't a bad idea that you insisted we spend all the leftover gold for the best spots after all. I just hope she won't be mad we spent what she didn't take with her when we find her.

      Delta Requiem:

    After stashing her cap and coinpurse under the pillow of the bed she desired, Delta made her way to the lounge of the side-ship she was on, still carrying her lute across her back.

      GM:

    As Delta makes her way to the lounge along the outermost side, she sees the farmer couple sitting at a nearby table while Greenie practically has her nose pressed against the window as she excitedly looks out. With the last of the passengers on board, the engineers are given the go-ahead, and the thrum of magical machinery grows louder as the giant gasbags attached to each section of the ship are augmented by levitation-enchantment engines. There is a feeling of being pressed down upon, causing Greenie to slip, but she quickly gets her hooves back under her as she watches the ground while it seems to drop out from underneath the ship.

      Delta Requiem:

    (I'm assuming none of the other passengers are important enough to warrant tokens?)

      GM:

    (Yeah, I'm not going to make tokens for every single passenger. Just assume that the area is full of ponies wherever you go.)

      Horatio:

    (I'm afraid I'm just not feeling well, and I gotta make sure I nap for work, I'm going to pull back and let you guys continue on.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Aw, sorry to hear that. Hope you get better.)

      Horatio:

    (I'll try to be more chatty next week! Take care.)

      Bolt:

    (niiiiight)

    ** Horatio is disconnected. **

      Delta Requiem:

    (Can we continue without Horatio?)

      Bolt:

    (he's napping after ingesting some bad curried duck liver?)

      GM:

    (Yeah, we can assume that he's hob-nobbing and schmoozing the other society types.)

      GM:

    (Spinning tales about his five-hour battle with a deadly river serpent.)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Don't joke about hours-long battles, unless you've fought Yiazmat.)

      GM:

    (*chuckles* Alright. So, now that the ship is aloft, what do you guys intend to do?)

      Delta Requiem:

    When Delta feels the ship level out, she pulls her lute into a playing position, and begins tuning it with her practiced ear.

      Bolt:

    (so, no map for engineering deck?)

      GM:

    (No, sorry, I was too lazy.)

      Bolt:

    (no worries)

      * Bolt gets comfortable in her little nook as best she can, intending to wait for some time to pass, so that IF she's found, they can't just turn right around and dump her off on the ground or something

      Glacier:

    ((Sorry, have to AFK for a few.))

      GM:

    While Bolt settles in, she hears something. Something besides the constant chugging of the magical levitation engines, that is. As Delta tunes her lyre, the sound of plucking strings carries through the ventilation down to the stowaway filly.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Lute, not lyre)

      GM:

    (Sorry. Hey, I got half the letters right!)

      Delta Requiem:

    (And they're both stringed instruments)

      Glacier:

    ((Back, sorry.))

    * Bolt earperks at the sound and listens as she waits.

      Delta Requiem:

    Once the lute is tuned to Delta's satisfaction, she begins strumming a melody, though there are no words to it. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHUFvY9Z2PY)

      GM:

    (Roll a Persuasion check for your performance.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta Requiem rolls Persuasion (23)

      Delta Requiem:

    (Hope you don't mind me using brony music. :P)

      Bolt:

    (If anywhere's the place for it...)

      Glacier:

    ((Yeah.))

      GM:

    The performance doesn't draw a large crowd, as taken as most of the nearby ponies are with the view, but Greenie and her family, along with a fair number of nearby ponies turn to look at you. When you're finished, there is an appreciative round of stomps from the audience.

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie runs up to Delta and asks, "That was perty! Where'd ya learn that song?"

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta smiles. "I actually wrote that one myself. It's based off a dream I had once."

      Greenie Smith:

    "A dream? What kinda dream? Ah ain't never had a dream that made me wanna play music before!"

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta hesitates, before looking at the filly's mother. "Greenie... do you know what today is?"

    * Bolt smiles for a bit after the inspirational music, though finds it a bit sad... But definately pretty.

      GM:

    Sew'n'Sow just sighs over her daughter's lack of boundaries, though she's grateful that Delta is willing to humor the filly at least instead of getting irritated.

      Greenie Smith:

    'Course Ah do! 'S like Princess Celestia said, it's the day b'fore Eclipse was beaten an' banished into the moon's shadow!

      Delta Requiem:

    (Quick question: is Princess Luna's condition common knowledge?)

      Bolt:

    (I'd assume over the span of 800 years...)

      GM:

    (Pretty much. It's sort of become folklore by this point, seeing as it's been eight centuries since Luna was awake, but this version of Celestia has taken steps to keep the memory of her sister alive.)

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta nodded to the filly. "Well, my dream was about Princess Luna. In it, there was no Eclipse, but Luna looked like she was jealous of Celestia, and she turned into this black version of herself, with fangs and cat-like eyes."

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie gasps in shock, as if Delta had just spat in Princess Celestia's own face. "Why would ya dream somethin' lahk that?! That's a horrible thing ta say!"

      Delta Requiem:

    "Dreams do what they will, Greenie," Delta said sadly. "I was rather upset at it myself. But, sometimes I wonder if what I dreamed actually happened, in another time and place? I wrote that song as an exercise more than anything."

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie pouts. "Well, if'n ya get ta talk to the princess, ya shouldn't say things like that to her. She loves her sister, even if Luna ain't comin' back."

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Greenie Smith!

      Greenie Smith:

    But ma, she's been sleepin' fer eight hundred years!

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta smiled. "Don't worry. I'm not stupid, I know better than to insult Luna to Celestia's face. As for Luna waking up... who can say? Maybe all it will take is some lucky group of adventurers finding a way to break Eclipse's curse once and for all!" She said this last part dramatically, hovering in the air with her forelegs outstretched.

      Glacier:

    ((*checks the fourth wall to see how solid it is*))

      GM:

    Greenie looks downcast. "Ah dunno... that's what Ah thought when ol' Buster, our hound dog fell asleep an' wouldn't wake up. But Pa had ta take him away like they did with Luna in the story, an' they said he ain't never comin' back."

      Delta Requiem:

    Delta sighed. "Well, let me ask you: How old is Princess Celestia?"

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie looks up at Delta and thinks for a minute before replying, "I dunno... really old?"

      Delta Requiem:

    "Well, Luna's only a little bit younger, from what I've read. And Princess Celestia is still going strong, right?"

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie tilts her head in thought before nodding. "Well... she's all wrinkly, but pa says she's been like that since 'fore he was born, so ah guess so!"

      Pokey Oaks:

    Eeyup.

      Sew'n'Sow:

    Pokey....

      Delta Requiem:

    "Well, assuming that curse gets broken sometime soon, Luna'll have a good long while before she has to go to sleep for good. Dogs like Buster have to sleep sooner." Delta was careful in her word choice, not certain that the filly understood what death truly meant.

      Greenie Smith:

    Greenie looks unsure, but replies, "Ah... guess so. Ya really think we could see her wake up some day?"

      Delta Requiem:

    "I do. Heck, for all I know, you could be one of the adventurers that breaks the curse!" Delta said with a grin.

      Greenie Smith:

    That brightens Greenie up some. "Gosh! Ah ain't never even seen Princess Luna outside o' storybooks! That'd sure be somethin'!"

      GM:

    {GM Note: At this point, I rolled a secret Perception check on Glacier's behalf.} Meanwhile, in Glacier's room, as the griffon finishes putting his few possessions away, it catches his eye that something is amiss. The envelope containing the pass to tomorrow night's ball has a thin slit cut into the side.

      Glacier:

    *ehhs curiously at the envelope, picking it up to examine it more closely* Duri, did you try to open this on the way to our room? *the bat replies with muffled squeaks, mouth half-full at the moment with the fruit-slices and cherries used to garnish the drinks at the mini-bar*

      GM:

    The cut is very thin and straight. And as you examine the envelope more carefully, it becomes obvious very quickly that it is empty, with no pass inside.

      Delta Requiem:

    (Well, that's not good.)

      Glacier:

    *ehhhhhs more loudly as he sees what's missing, holding the envelope up with the hole opened wide while facing the floor* There's no ticket inside for the ball! It's empty!! *the sound of food being spat out fills the air briefly before the bat quickly flies over and pokes his head into the envelope to look around. He pulls it off and lands on the griffon's beak, squeaking in an accusatory tone* What? I didn't lose it! I gave it to you, remember?!

      Glacier:

    ((Need more? :) ))

      GM:

    (And with that, I think it's getting late enough to call it an evening. Any last words before I shut it down?)

      Bolt:

    (rubber baby buggy bumpers)

      Bolt:

    (:P)

      Delta Requiem:

    (She sells seashells by the seashore)

      Glacier:

    ((Heh. :) This was a fun start. Shame Horatio had to bail midway.))

      Bolt:

    (yeah :/ but later, quest for ballroom tickets shall commence!)

      GM:

    (Har-dee-har-har, you guys. Anything related to the session? ;) And yeah, but at least he stuck it out for most of it.)

      Bolt:

    (I wonder if it'll be a ballroom blitz?)

      LeoArchon:

    Well, I for one enjoyed this. Did my tip to the guards do anything?

      GM:

    (Oh, it did something alright.)

      Bolt:

    (androgypony is walking funny now)

    ////////////////////////////////////////

    If you enjoyed that, we'll try to have a session every week, so join us next time. If you didn't... sorry.

    6 comments · 113 views
  • 52w, 1d
    Happy Ace Attorney Day, everypony!

    Let us raise our voices in song to celebrate!


    And if possible, take some time to catch up on Turnabout Storm before the finale is released.

    0 comments · 80 views
  • ...
 232
 2,962

Snowblind

by crowmagnon


Chapter 1 - The Last Night of Winter


How long has it been? How long have I been locked away? When the Sun and Moon and traitorous knights imprisoned me, my Palace of Ice was at the apex of its beauty. Now, I walk through crumbling halls.

Patches of ice crunch and crack beneath my talons, weakened by unknown eons of warming and re-freezing. Icicles hang from the ceiling of my once grand audience chamber, grown so fat from generations of neglect that they reach the floor like ugly, misshapen columns.

Fury seizes my heart as I look upon the destruction. However long ago it was, the memories of betrayal are perfectly preserved in my mind's eye. Celestia... Luna... I see them as if they are standing before me even now, their forms twisted and mutated to match their greed and lust for power. It was not enough for them to govern the passage of day and night, they had to rob me of my throne as well!

A shriek of rage erupts from my throat, making the palace tremble as my talons rip through one of those columns. A pillar of ice thicker than my body is sliced to pieces which slide apart and tumble to the floor.

In this way, though the walls of the palace have since melted into warped sheets of ice, I am able to carve my way out. A blast of crisp Winter air blows over my face once I create a pathway to the open air. Above, a blanket of thick clouds act as a shield between me and the hateful moon.

All around, blankets of snow cover the land, but already I can feel the first stirrings of Spring. This will not do. I will not have what is mine stolen away again so soon after my return. But first, I must disarm those who would imprison me again.

I take wing and soar through the air on the Winter wind, which guides me south. South, where I feel the thrum of the Elements of Harmony.

And if I cannot have them, then I will destroy those who bear them.

-----

It was shortly before dawn as Rarity looked out her window, a mug of hot chocolate steaming on the windowsill beside her. Her horn glowed faintly as she used her magic to tie her long purple hair into a braided ponytail, just as she had every morning for years, to the point that she no longer had to think consciously about it much. This practiced routine allowed her to focus more on what was really important. Outside, snow still covered the land for one last day before the ponies of Ponyville would clear it away to start spring. In theory, at least, considering the town's track record for the past ten years, but this was still her last chance to see such a pristine and unsullied view of a snow-covered Ponyville until the next winter.

It was a thing of purity and beauty. The street lamps illuminated the whole town, reflecting off of the blanket of snow covering everything. This made it all look like the town was painstakingly crafted from spun glass by a master artisan. Even the Everfree Forest off in the distance had the appearance of an arrangement of delicate crystals rather than the wild and anarchic expanse that it actually was.

It's views like this that make it all worth it, she thought to herself, levitating the mug of cocoa up to her lips. From my own land, in a house that I can be proud to share with my little sister when our parents are away. How did I ever get so lucky? Said land was a few acres in the rocky hills just a mile out from Ponyville. Underneath the layers of snow that blanketed the fields, the rocks she had gathered the previous autumn were sleeping in a carefully arranged pattern that would help the inherent magic flowing through the earth to grow the gems and minerals within once Spring kicked off.

While she savored the view and her drink, the farmer heard one of the upstairs doors quietly creak open as light, sleepy little hoofsteps made their way downstairs. Hoofsteps that were followed by the bipedal gait of the third occupant of the house.

Rarity looked over her shoulder as the two shambled down to the bottom of the stairs. "Good morning, Sweetie Belle. Good morning, Spike. What got you two out of bed so early?"

"Smelled choc'lit..." the baby dragon replied with a yawn. Rarity couldn't help but smile with pride and astonishment at how quickly the little guy was maturing. Only a few months old, and already he had the vocabulary of a young foal. Fortunately for the two of them, the farmer had made enough to share, as evidenced by mugs that were being kept warm on top of the fireplace. Reaching out with her magic, she levitated the cocoa over to the little ones.

"Thanks, sis," Sweetie Belle said as the mug was placed on the floor in front of her. She blew on it a few times to cool it before carefully picking the mug up with her hooves so she could take a few delicate sips.

Spike, on the other hoof, simply picked the hot mug up with his claws and started slurping it down. Kickstarted by the warmth in his belly and the sugar starting to reach his system, as well as sporting a rather impressive chocolate mustache, Spike let out a happy sigh that turned into a burp halfway.

The unicorn sisters giggled a little as Spike licked the cocoa off of his upper lip. "So, today's the big day," Rarity said, turning from the window to face them. "The mayor's put me in charge of making nests for the southern birds this Winter Wrap-Up, so can I count on you to help?"

Sweetie Belle and Spike both shouted, "Yay!" Then Spike asked, "What's Win'er Wrap-Up?"

-----

Applejack took care as she stepped off the train. The steps and platform were swept clear of snow and ice, but she reminded herself that one couldn't be too careful. After all, Spring hadn't begun yet. That was a big part of her reason for coming back to Ponyville. Once all four hooves were on the platform, the orange earth pony looked around. Her sharp green eyes drank in the sight of the town as it was just before dawn. A version of her former home that she had seen so rarely after her foalhood excursion to Manehattan had shown the young mare her true potential and purpose in life.

By no means did that mean she could no longer appreciate the sights around her, though. This view that most of Ponyville was still sleeping through, so nostalgic to her foalhood, was less like something left behind, and more like a secret whispered between old friends. It didn't matter that she had left a young apple farmer and returned wearing a luxurious winter coat styled so that as practical as it was, it actually wouldn't look out of place in an executive board room. Nor did the worth of the emerald earrings sparkling in the firefly light of the lamps illuminating the station. She had determined months ago that while Manehattan was her home, she would never, ever again ignore the place that Ponyville had in her heart.

While she gazed out across the slumbering town, the silence was interrupted by a soft pattering of hooves against the taut skin of a drum. The businessmare was startled for a moment, but then smiled widely as she turned to face the drummer.

"Home again, home again

No one's dancing a jig

There may seem no way out

From the holes that we dig

The wind lashes and bites

And the snow piles up

You don't know whether it or your heart

Will be first to stop

But fear not the winter

And its cold frosty sting

It's in friendship and laughter

You find the first seeds of Spring.

Wearing her trademark black turtleneck and beret that clashed hard with her pink coat and mane, the earth pony drummer stared straight ahead with a blank, melancholy expression. Long pink bangs hung flatly down one side of her face, but she tapped out a rhythm on her bongo drum that the businessmare eventually recognized as a Hearth's Warming Eve carol. And she might not have been smiling, but Applejack could swear that the pink in her coat and mane looked more vibrant than she remembered.

"Pinkamena! Oh, it's so good to see you, darling," Applejack said, walking over to give her friend a hug. One that was returned by the typically mopey mare. She then held Pinkamena at foreleg length and asked, "But what in Equestria are you doing out here? Aren't you freezing?"

"Nah, I'm good," the pink poet pony replied, tugging a little on her sweater. "Good thick turtleneck. Besides, it used to get a lot colder back on the rock farm. Plus, I figured somepony should be around to greet you."

Applejack cocked her head at that. "Greet me? But I never sent word that I was arriving. I wanted it to be a surprise, so even my family didn't know." When the poet simply gave her an enigmatic look and shrugged, Applejack narrowed her eyes. "Pinkamenaaaaa..."

Before she could reproach Pinkamena or demand a more concrete answer, though, the poet reached under her beret and pulled out a flask. She then popped it open and stuck it under Applejack's nose, hitting her nostrils with a scent that stunned her so hard that she immediately plopped down onto her flanks and stared at it as if it were a sapphire statue autographed by Daring Do herself. "Is... is that...?"

"Apple cider," Pinkamena replied. "I figured even though they don't know you're here, you should get to celebrate your arrival with a little Apple family hospitality."

Applejack gingerly took the flask into her own hooves. It certainly wasn't ladylike, or befitting a mare of her wealth and social standing, but her mouth was hanging open. She had been to wine-tasting parties featuring priceless vintages that were centuries old. She had even joined the Royal Sisters themselves in celebrating the return of Princess Luna with a bottle that had been painstakingly preserved through generation after generation since the year she was cast into her thousand-year slumber. That bottle had been the absolute last of its kind, never to be savored again by the tongue of any pony but those who had been in that room, and of those ponies only two had been alive long enough to identify the long-vanished vineyard from which it came.

Toward that bottle of wine, Applejack had only been able to muster up a fraction of the reverence she felt for the flask of cider in her hooves. She lifted it up to her lips and took a long pull of the sweet nectar. It was like drinking liquid sunshine with a hint of cinnamon, driving away the winter cold as she rolled it around in her mouth. Eventually, she swallowed and let out a soft, drawn out sigh of bliss.

"Pinkamena... you beautiful, brilliant mare... you are the very best friend I could ever ask for."

"I know," the poet replied, slinging her bongo across her back. "Isn't it sad?"

By way of response, Applejack offered the flask back to Pinkamena. "Only if you don't have a drink with me. And you simply must tell me what's been happening around town since I was here last!"

A third voice said, "Awww, that's sweet." This voice belonged to the porter she had hired back in Manehattan to carry her luggage for her. A smallish, gangly unicorn trembling from both the cold and the weight of the many bags and suitcases that were piled onto his back. Despite the strain, though, he said, "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt, Ms. Applejack."

The businessmare gave him a stern look, but just for a moment before offering him the flask. "Well, why don't you have a sip yourself, and then we can get those bags to the hotel?"

The smile of gratitude and relief on the unicorn's face was exceeded only by the way his eyes lit up when he got his first taste of Sweet Apple Acres cider.

-----

Even though the sky was still completely shrouded by thick clouds, Twilight knew that Celestia was raising the sun right at that moment. Most ponies let the movement of the celestial bodies define their schedules, but for one who's family was as close to the Princess as her's was, she had internalized the idea that it was the other way around. She walked down the street in a warm coat and scarf, carefully counting the doors while a checklist floated in the air beside her with a quill pen poised over the first box. This list was only one of several scrolls in her possession, the rest sticking out of her saddlebags.

"Priority 1: Wake Fluttershy," she read aloud, even though she had been the one to write it in the first place. She then stopped in front of the small two-story house that she was looking for and approached the door. Lifting up a hoof she carefully and deliberately knocked on it with what she hoped was the proper amount of force. Just loud enough to be heard by the occupants, but not so much as to wake their neighbors.

Assuming, of course, that they weren't such heavy sleepers that 'loud enough to wake them up' crossed over into the 'wake the neighbors' threshold. What would she do then? She was determined not to cause a disturbance, but what if there was no other option? She hadn't worked out a contingency plan! That was such a rookie mistake, so why hadn't she thought about it? Some 'strategist' she was, if she couldn't even plan for something as simple as knocking on a door--

--Which opened up while she was just entering the 'muttering to herself' phase of self-recrimination. On the other side, a hulking, bipedal bovine with a ring through his nose loomed over her from the shadows inside the house.

He then opened the door wider, smiling down at the unicorn. "Good morning, Lieutenant Sparkle! Come on in. What can Iron Will do for you?" He hobbled out of her way on one leg and a crutch, the other leg wrapped up in a cast, and closed the door behind her once she was inside.

"I'm off-duty right now, Will. You can just call me Twilight," she replied, grateful to find that the minotaur already had a fire going to warm the house up. She pulled her coat off and set it on a nearby hook. "Is Fluttershy up? I needed to talk to her about something of the utmost importance."

"Utmost importance?" Fluttershy's soft, sweet voice drifted down to them as the pink-haired pegasus made her way down the stairs. Fluttering over toward them, she gave her husband a morning kiss on the cheek that somehow still had the power to make the boisterous minotaur blush like a teenager on his first date. She then landed in front of Twilight and asked, "How bad is it?"

"It's horrible," Twilight replied earnestly. "I found out that Ponyville has a dark secret. Something horrible is going to happen today unless you and I are able to stop it."

"Oh my," the pegasus replied, putting a hoof up to her mouth in concern. "Is Eclipse going to come back somehow?!"

Twilight's eyes widened, and she shuddered at the thought. "Sun and moon, NO!"

Iron Will asked, "The schoolteacher is a vampire?"

Before Twilight could reply, Fluttershy interjected, "The spa is the conversion center for a doomsday cult?"

"The stallion who runs the apple farm is a part-time bounty hunter?"

"Ooh, you found out about Pinkamena's torture dungeon, didn't you?"

Twilight shook her head furiously and snapped, "No, no, no... What?! No! I just found out last night that for the last ten years, Ponyville's Winter Wrap-Up has been... tardy!" There was a moment following this declaration in which Twilight looked back and forth between Fluttershy and her husband, and the unicorn felt her cheeks heat up with mild embarassment. "And... you two already knew, and you're just messing with me right now, aren't you?"

Fluttershy giggled softly and put a foreleg across her friend's back. "Just a little. Rarity told us about a week or so ago, and we got the feeling you would get wound up about it."

Twilight let out a sigh, feeling a little mortified over how big a deal she had been about to make over the town's tardiness. Hanging her head low, she put a hoof over her face and groaned. "Yeah. Right. Sorry, guys, I should've realized how stupid that was, so I'll just go and--"

"NONSENSE!"

Twilight was nearly bowled back by Iron Will's sudden outburst, and probably would have been if not for the pegasus being right there beside her. The minotaur thumped his crutch against the floor and stuck his chest out as he proclaimed, "Iron Will and Fluttershy are more than happy to assist you in whatever you need to make Winter Wrap-up a success!"

"That's right," Fluttershy added, giving the unicorn a friendly nuzzle. "We know how important it is to you to do your best at whatever you do. And it's good to want to excel! Not to mention what it would do for the spirits of everypony in town to start Spring on time. Just remember to keep a little perspective. After all, we've already been through situations where the fate of the world actually did hang in the balance, and we got through it just fine!"

Twilight smiled gratefully. As usual, Fluttershy seemed to know just what to say to head off one of her entirely-too-frequent panic attacks. It was a little ironic that in the absence of the discipline and structure she had been immersed in for nearly half her life, it was a pegasus that kept her grounded, but considering the Element that she represented...

"YES!" This time, both ponies actually were knocked backward by the force of Iron Will's exuberance as he hobbled over to the next room over where the couple had a writing desk. After putting a pair of tiny reading glasses on, the minotaur cracked his knuckles and picked up a quill pen so he could start furiously scribbling down some notes. "That's gotta go in the book! Hmm... 'If you've already proven you're tough, you don't have to sweat the small stuff!' Yeah, that's a good start."

Getting themselves back up on their hooves, the ponies looked on as Iron Will wrote. Then they looked at each other and broke out in a shared quiet giggle.

"So you and Will are going to be ready to help out when things get started? I already spent the morning working up a plan for how to organize the teams for maximum efficiency, so with you two providing moral support and filling in some of the gaps..."

"Of course," Fluttershy replied, clearing some space on the living room's coffee table so that Twilight could unfurl some of the scrolls she brought. Sketched out maps of the town, along with diagrams and schedules for each of the tasks that would need to be accomplished in order to officially kick off Spring. Looking over the detailed plans, Fluttershy's eyes skimmed over them. "Wow, you did all this just this morning? You've got objectives lined up for everypony in Ponyville. Even..."

-----

"Rainbow Dash! It's time to wake! Get out of bed, for goodness sake!"

There was another round of banging on the door of the cottage Rainbow Dash called home. The cyan pegasus groaned and tried to drown it out by burying her head under her pillow. "Errrgh... leave me alone! It's still Winter for one more day. And considering it's Ponyville, probably more."

In response to that, a cloud of glowing green powder drifted into the cottage through a small gap under the door. It drifted toward the bed and took the shape of Zecora, the zebra standing outside the door. With her voice, the simulacra boomed, "Ponies do not hibernate! Just how much longer should I wait? I would not be out here making such a ruckus if I was not freezing off my tuchus."

Rainbow Dash groaned again, but this time in defeat as she rolled out of bed and kept the blessedly warm blankets wrapped around her body as she walked through the illusion of her mentor and made her way to the door. After opening it up to let Zecora inside, the pegasus glanced at the sky and asked, "Sorry, Teach, but why are you even hanging around? Don't you know the sun's still down?"

Zecora stepped inside, her stern tone melting along with the dusting of snow that had covered her traveling cloak. She pulled her hood back, her stiff mohawk of a mane springing back into place as she leaned in to give Rainbow Dash a friendly nuzzle. "I need an excuse to see my pupil? We haven't spoken much since you moved to Ponyville."

Dash sighed a little, but it didn't take much to get her to return the gesture of affection to her mentor. "I know, I just got caught up with settling in after Waking Night and the whole Eclipse thing, and then by the time I was done it was the middle of Winter, and once Spring kicks off and the animals wake up..." She saw the look in Zecora's eyes and quickly realized she wasn't going to get away with making excuses. Her head dipped down and she said, "Sorry, I'll make time."

Dash then glanced back up, noticing the bags under the zebra's eyes. "Say, Teach, are you feeling okay?"

Zecora gave the pegasus a thin smile as she took a seat on the floor. "I have been finding it difficult to sleep."

"You ever try counting sheep?"

This earned Dash a weary laugh from the zebra. "Indeed I have, even though you jest. But it has done little to end my unrest." Seating herself in a posture of meditation that made even the limber pegasus's joints ache in sympathy, Zecora took a few deep breaths and cast her gaze off somewhere distant, as if seeing something miles away through the walls of her cottage. "I have the same dream every night. Of Equestria lost in endless white. All the land trapped beneath the snow, and from above I hear the cries of the Windigoes."

Dash shivered slightly under her blanket. Every schoolfilly knew about the Windigoes from Hearth's Warming Eve stories and tales of Equestria's founding, but unlike most schoolfillies, she had good cause to suspect that they were more than just tall tales. Not to mention enough experience with spiritual monstrosities to vastly prefer facing things that would go down if you just bucked them in the face hard enough. "But that's just a bad dream, right Teacher? Ever since we stopped Eclipse, there hasn't been enough strife and conflict to feed those creatures."

Zecora smiled again as she meditated. "That is indeed how it seems. And I hope they are nothing but bad dreams. Nevertheless, it would ease my mind if you would allow me to join you today. Would you be so kind?"

Dash blinked in surprise. It wasn't like her mentor to ask such a thing. It almost felt like a foal asking her parents to sleep with them after having a bad nightmare. No, actually, it was more like the other way around. That was even more worrying than the description of the dream itself. Nevertheless, Dash laughed it off and gave Zecora a playful punch on the shoulder. "Hey, of course. I guess that's sort of in my job description now, anyway, so stick around as long as you need to." Besides, even if Ponyville kept up its streak of being sloppy with Winter Wrap-Up, they'd still get it taken care of in a couple of days and then there'd be no threat of eternal winter or anything of the sort.

Still, Dash was starting to think that it wouldn't hurt if she volunteered to pitch in this year. A show of solidarity with her new community.

-----

They are gathering now. I can see the glow of their bodies through the clouds. Feel the warmth of their hearts burning against my skin even now. And the six-who-are-one burn the most painfully. The Elements of Harmony no longer belong to the Sun and Moon, but to these little ponies congregating in the center of town to bring back the Spring.

They must be stopped.

I will freeze them. Mind, body and soul. I will snuff out the flames of their hearts, seize the Elements, and take back the throne of Winter before they can awaken Spring.

They will never take it from me again. I will see this world encased in ice before they do.

#1 · 102w, 1d ago · · ·

So, here's my first attempt at an MLP fic. Even if you skipped over the tags and description, you can probably tell by now that this is an Alternate Universe story, and the Mane 6 have had dramatically different lives both before and after becoming the bearers of the Elements of Harmony.

Chronologically, this story takes place a few months after they gained the Elements and saved Equestria. There are plans for a story that covers this period, but I just didn't want to kick off my first fic with what would basically be a re-write of the Nightmare Moon arc. Here are a few details that will help to fill in some of the gaps:

* The Mane 6 never fought Nightmare Moon. Instead, the villain who kicked everything off was a body-hopping spirit named Eclipse who caused Princess Luna to fall into a thousand-year coma and waged war on Equestria for ten years before Princess Celestia was able to trap it.

* Nightmare Night is replaced by Waking Night. Instead of disguising themselves to hide from Luna's evil alter ego, ponies would dress up and carouse loudly on the anniversary of Luna's fall in the hopes of waking her from her slumber. It was on Waking Night that the Mane 6 first met and faced Eclipse.

As for how the Mane 6 and their experiences are different, I'll get more into that as the story progresses, but this chapter should provide enough clues to get you started.

I'd like to take a moment to recognize and thank defender2222 for the inspiration for this alternate version of the Mane 6, RainbowDoubleDash for creating one of the most comprehensively awesome AU continuities with the Lunaverse, and all the fans who create the quality content that make being a brony worth it.

Also, I swear on Celestia's horn that I started developing this concept before I ever knew about notMurphy's "A Minor Variation". Any similarities are purely coincidental, but if you like this concept, go check that story out as well: link

#2 · 102w, 1d ago · · ·

Well, I do have to say, you've caught my interest with this story.  And if defender2222 has helped you out on writing this, then I know it's going to be good (seriously, I love Faith and Doubt and The Abundence).  And don't worry, so far this doesn't seem anything like "A Minor Variation", other than the fact that Rarity also has Spike and Pinkie is still Pinkamena.  Anyway, congrats on getting this started, and hope to see an update soon.

#3 · 102w, 20h ago · 1 · ·

You got my interested with the idea of a Rainboomless AU, yet we still have the Main 6 saving the day. I like how you've written each of them, it still feels in keeping with who they are in the real FiM'verse yet still not just the same characters over again. This one is getting a star and I'm looking forward to reading more.

#4 · 102w, 16h ago · · ·

Liking it so far.  Especially Business Mare Applejack.

>>1584769

Yeah.  I like that idea of a AU like that too.

#5 · 101w, 6d ago · · ·

So, Pinkie is Pinkamena, is a poet, and best friends with high class and apparently quite wealthy Applejack.

You got my attention with just that. I will be favoriting! :pinkiecrazy:

#6 · 101w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1583487>>1584769>>1585795>>1592781

Thanks for the kind words and favorites, all of you. I'll certainly try to live up to that early vote of confidence. I'm also glad for those who like Poet Pinkamena and Businessmare Applejack, because so far they're the trickiest to write for while keeping them recognizably connected to their canon incarnations. In particular, I can't tell you how hard it is to write AJ without her trademark accent.

:ajbemused: Ah ain't got no ack-cent!

Sure you don't...

#7 · 101w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1593172

I just in general like AUs where Applejack is a businessmare....and not a complete ass about .  That alone made me love this and want to keep reading.

#8 · 101w, 4d ago · · ·

Got a lot of work done on Chapter 2 this weekend, so I'll try to have it posted in a few days. Two words: Musical number!

And for those who didn't run away at that last sentence, who wants to play a round of "Name That Element"? I know clues are scarce with just one chapter for examples, but I'm interested in seeing what people might guess.

#9 · 101w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1593172 If you ever need an extra set of eyes or a sounding board, feel free to ping me. I've not done any FiM Fic, but I've done quite a bit of my own work.

#10 · 100w, 4d ago · · ·

Heya! It's me, HyuugaLord19 from Writing.com!

I will track this story with great interest. Let's see where this goes...

#11 · 100w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

One chapter in and I'm impressed. Ok... so Poet Pinkie, Farmer Rarity, Businessmare AJ, Military Twilight, "Alchemist" Rainbow, not sure about Fluttershy yet.

#12 · 100w, 4d ago · · ·

Interesting beginning; I'm now intensely curious about how Rainbow Dash came to be Zecora's Padawan student. :twilightsmile: Keep up the good work!

#13 · 100w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1638797 Thanks, and in Fluttershy's case, she's in the confidence-building line of work alongside Iron Will with the two of them doing seminars and writing books as a duo. Of course, that's not to say she's :flutterrage: all the time.

>>1638801 I appreciate the compliment, and I won't get too deep into specifics here, but I can tell you that Dash's cutie mark is a clue. :twilightblush:

#14 · 91w, 2d ago · · ·

Love it. I was hoping some one would take this idea and run with it and you have done so perfectly, hitting nearly every idea I had, both mentioned and not.

Not quite part of the Scootaverse (obviously, since it is an Alternate Universe) but it belongs to the family none the less.

-defender2222 approved (I totally need to make a stamp saying that)

#15 · 91w, 2d ago · · ·

Damn......This, was, very, very, VERY well written. HOLY BUCK this was amazing, although confusing but then again it is AU....so have Celestia and Luna faded now? Being Gods? Or are they still alive? Also, do the Windigoes count as Winter Gods?  Wow...I....I have to read more:yay:

#16 · 91w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

One thing that I am enjoying going into this fic, is that it already assumes that the reader knows the story of how the mane 6 united and came to be. This allows us to jump into the action and gets the story moving; however, at the same time it opens up a whole slew of mysteries that makes the reader want to continue reading

#17 · 48w, 3d ago · · ·

Once Captain Twilight showed up in Crisis I knew that I had to read this eventually, and the time has come.

Nice alternative version of the mane six, definitely pulls me in and makes me want to read more.

#18 · 48w, 3d ago · · ·

Is Rainbow a Jedi?

#19 · 44w, 4d ago · · ·

Rarity is a (rock) farmer and is caring for Spike?

Applejack is a businessmare?

Pinkamena (who never became Pinkie Pie) is one of those 'coffee shop poets'?

Twilight is a lieutenant of some sort?

Fluttershy is married to Iron Will??

Rainbow Dash is Zecora's student???

I'm sure this will be an interesting story once you are done with this one.  I'll continue to read to see where this goes.

0 193279
Login or register to comment