The screen is pitch-black.
Frost’s voice echoes, “It’s been awhile since somepony asked me for a story. And kid, you still want more? Well, alright, but here’s the catch…
“... they ain’t mine.”
“Some are stories of our day and age…”
A dusty, bloodied, green-furred earth pony drags himself over the ledge, gritting his teeth and leaning to use the weight of his equipment to send him over as bullets whizz by. He stifles a cry as he lands hard on his side with his gear tumbling off around him. Frenzied, maniacal chatter and cheers that could only mean raiders close in from the distance as he shifts to hug the stony hill behind him. He pants heavily and stares hard at his hindleg, riddled with bullet holes and most definitely broken. Biting back the pain and tugging up his beaten hunting rifle, he ratchets back the bolt and finds only a pair of rounds greeting him. He pushes his hoof at the topmost cartridge to verify this and hisses in frustration before he knocks the bolt back forward, clutching his weapon and steeling himself with a deep breath as the raucous cries and taunts grow louder. His eyes close.
Eyes flash open once more, he whips himself up out of cover and takes aim.
“... others go further back...”
A bronze-furred pegasus mare keeps her winter coat tugged against her as she braves through the blizzard, peering past her goggles into the snowblind at a distant, huddled shape with her eyes distinctly slanted in Northerner fashion. She brings up her left fetlock and brushes away at the frost covering a crude Geyser counter duct-taped to her thick sleeve. Those eyes narrow at the reading, but on she presses, keeping low and using her bleached jacket as camouflage.
Further ahead an earth pony crouches over a fresh kill of a juvenile buzzard behemoth, a hideous vulture-like beast with far too many eyes to count. His skillful hooves work quickly to slice and pack away the meat as quickly as he can before the stinging cold sets in. As his blade works, another presses at the side of his neck.
The message clear, he drops the blade and raises his forelegs slowly. The pegasus mare pulls her fire axe away, keeping it ready to chop as she cautions over the howling wind, “Your food and your water or your life. Take your pick.”
“...and others further still.”
A blue-furred unicorn mare with a two-tone mane of shades of green is seated comfortably at her study, dressed in a simple robe as the wind lets out a warbling drone and the rain and thunder clash against her window. She works by dim candlelight, dabbing her quill into an inkwell with her lavender mote of telekinetic magic. Her eyes are slanted in distinct Northerner manner.
A red-scaled adolescent dragon knocks at the door before entering. “Madam Morrow, the first freighter’s coming in! We’re needed!”
She finishes her last word and sets the quill down. It was time to get to work.
“Some of them show equinekind’s crowning achievements…”
Madam Morrow stands at the edge of a pier along with the dragon as the waves crash and the rain and lightning scatter around them. Though the wind whips at the mare’s garb, she stays miraculously dry. Her horn glows lavender as she bellows out in an amplified tone, “Weather teams, clear out!”
As the pegasi double back toward the shore, the dragon scans the skies. The distant shadow of the dangerously-teetering sailship looms at the horizon. “Skies are clear,” he reports. “Ready when you are.”
The mare nods and closes her eyes. When they reopen, they are filled with a blinding, white light as the water bends to her will. The waves billow and rise several stories high to form a storm wall that travels far out to sea, shielding the vessel from the criss-crossing winds. The dragon meanwhile reaches skyward with an outstretched hand, and the electric bolts leap to him, veering away from the approaching cargoship as he steals the lightning from the skies and they together guarantee the ship’s safe arrival.
“... and others show how far we’ve fallen.”
A griffiness garbed in patchwork cloth that obscures most of her form stays low as a beaten pickup truck pulls over, keeping a sleek but beaten magical energy rifle clutched in her arms. She looks behind her, and her hood parts to reveal a ghoulified face and milky eyes. Miles away are the triple towers of Avalon. Gashes in the towers yawn wide open, and flames leap and smoke billows from the open wounds. Enclave Thunderheads bombard the towers, and trooper squadrons in delta formation swarm the air. Streaks of energy weapon fire lance the skies, and a massive explosion erupts from the side of the northwest tower as a Thunderhead’s main batteries open up on it.
The griffiness grips her weapon tighter, trembling with rage.
“Scar, come on!” the griffin in the driver’s seat calls to her. “We stay any longer, we’re next!”
Her face contorts, and she swears under her breath before she climbs in and slams the door shut. The pickup’s engine sputters, and they race off.
“They’re the stories of the hunter…”
The Legion flotilla surrounds the LVS Valvuis, and tracer shells arc through the sky as they lob shells kilometers away toward the last line of defense for the Equestrian Royal Navy. Should they fall, the west coast of Equestria was theirs to siege. As the massive 380mm rifled guns erupt, their discharges create bowl-like depressions in the water below. Such was the power of the Legion’s finest battleship.
The space above the ship distorts, and an equine shape falls from it, landing on the weather deck with a solid crunch. Faraal, the Legion emblems on her Praetorian armor carved off, rises from her crouched landing and flicks her forelegs out to deploy a set of telescoping, mottled blades. The zebra mare races off for the superstructure, carving a wave of destruction and panicked shouts as she goes.
“... and the hunted.”
A massive griffiness wearing a black, billowing cloak backs off around the corner of a crumbling apartment, her saddle-mounted Kord machine gun roaring and kicking up dust from its high-volume, high-caliber fire. An older male griffin is behind her, wielding a sawn-off lever-action barrel in one arm and dragging a younger, bleeding griffin who is firing off periodic shots from a revolver with one hand and stemming his bleeding side with the other. All three have wings glinting with metallic blades.
“Azrael, we’re breaching!” the older griffin calls. “Cover us!”
“Two at three!” the giant griffiness calls. The wounded griffin raises his revolver and plugs two shots into a griffin wearing armor in shades of death and decay while the older griffin fires a shot that pins down the second. He flipcocks his rifle one last time before ramming his shoulder against the age-worn door once, twice, and three times before it gives and he sweeps the interior with his weapon.
“Get in, get in!” he calls as he drags the wounded griffin inside. Azrael is slower to follow, peppering the area with suppressing fire before she backs in with them.
“There are stories of warriors driven by national causes.”
The pitch-black night is lit up by tracer rounds and the jetwash of rocket artillery. Flares light up the beach as landing craft disgorge their contents. The muck clings to the tracks of the Equestrian RO-1 Challenger MBT as it rolls up the beach and crests the ridge. Inside, the crew of four ponies is illuminated by sea of sparkling lights. Their features are bathed in a green pallor from the night vision displays. The earth pony commander peers through the periscope and scans the darkness.
“Driver, halt!” she cries, stopping the tank in a hull-down position. “Gunner, orient two-six-two! Bunkers at eight-forty meters! Give ‘em a proper Shropshire welcome! Four of ‘em all the way to three-oh-six! Loader, stick to HESH!”
“Understood!” the unicorn loader calls back. The tank starts jostling and mighty thuds sound off as the incoming anti-tank shells glance and ricochet off of the heavily sloped turret.
“Targets sighted!” the gunner calls out. “Zeroed!”
“Engage, engage!” the commander orders.
The tank rocks slightly, and the cannon slams back under the deadened roar. “On the way!” the gunner calls as the casing ejects from the breech.
The loader is quick to slam the next 120mm High-Explosive Squash Head shell in. “Up!” he calls.
The turret rocks again. “On the way!”
Five seconds later, “Up!”
The commander grins as one bunker after another is blasted apart. “Like clockwork, fellas! Keep baggin’ ‘em!
“A few… by personal vendettas.”
The unicorn looks over the city of Roam with its many colorful banners flowing in the afternoon seabreeze. Hidden beneath her thick trench cloak is the golden armor of the Solar Guard. Her smoldering red aura begins to brighten to a fiery orange as she floats out an ornate, sleek magical energy pistol.
She looks upon the distant palace of the Caesar and utters, “This is for Shattered Hoof.”
“Now, you might be wondering- how do I know all these stories?
Answer is, they’ve all touched my life somehow...”
A younger Frost flips through the Hydronomicon, eyes twinkling in fascination at the feats of Madam Morrow of the Rising Tide.
An older Frost in combat armor holds his DMR close as he and his squad stick close behind the Challenger as it slowly rolls through the torn, rubble-strewn streets of Stalliongrad.
Frost, now a unicorn dracopony, stands in the operation room beside a much larger earth dracopony mare and a pegasus dracopony stallion in their starsteel armor. Close by are the Solar Guard and Faraal, the latter standing on her hindlegs with her forelegs crossed.
He then stands over the bronze-furred pegasus mare as the snowstorm blows around them, a under-over shotgun aimed at her as she casts aside her axe and holds her hooves up in surrender.
“I’m not the only one with a story to tell, folks. It’s time you’ve heard theirs.”
(Trailer music ends.)
“We’re clear right?”
“Clear ‘nough. Not pickin’ up anything on radar.”
The commander mare opens up the hatch of the battered Challenger into the warm, tropical evening air. Streak marks where sabot shells rolled off and scorch marks where HEAT shells failed to penetrate mar the otherwise immaculate turret. She peers over the side and finds a good portion of the tracks blown off. Along with the drive sprocket. And the return sprocket. And the rest of the wheels.
She scowls and barks back down, “Bloody hell, ‘Dozer, we didn’ just lose power t’the left tracks- we lost the left tracks!” She tweaks her radio headset. “Inner-Niner-Kilo calling in, requesting lift. We’re dead in the water in sector Bravo-Two-Four, marking with red flare.”
The mare pops and then tosses out a red flare to the muck below… and the color drains from her face as something else bright-red lights up the darkness.