Embers Fall

by CrimsonWave

12 - Sleep (or lack thereof)

After that intriguing discussion about a certain pony's hypnosis-related powers, Sun Beamer dosed off on the comfy RV seat for a few hours. That is, until...

"Hey, Sun Beamer?" Blast Furnace asked, trying to take the stallion up. "We're stopping in Tackopah for a bit."

"Tack ... opah?" Sun Beamer emerged from his nap. "Where even is it?"

"About halfway to Reino, actually. Three and a half hours or so to go." she replied.

"Yeah. Back in the day, Tackopah was a key transport hub for the silver miners' getting their loot between Reino and Pegasus." Smith Stone chimed, as he parked outside a large building, "Oh, and there's haunted stuff too. Like the hotel next to a burial yard"

"Well, uh, thanks for telling me!" Sun Beamer sarcastically replied, knowing that this was probably a little too much information.

He got out of the RV to stretch his legs; the building Smith had parked outside was quite large by "practically in the middle of nowhere" standards"; it had gas pumps, an RV stop, a hotel, a restaurant, a casino, and probably a kitchen sink too. Hopefully it wasn't haunted. The rest of the town was visible behind him; it had somewhat of an "old west" aesthetic here and there, and the place they had stopped at looked like a saloon. In fact, it was actually called the "High Noon Saloon Rest Stop Restaurant Casino Hotel" (Sun Beamer personally thought that this was quite a mouthful).

Realizing that he had data reception for the first time in at least two hours (which was, for the record, one of the factors that led to his nap), Sun Beamer got back in the RV and dug up his phone to check on what he had been missing over the past two hours. While most of it was just routine email and Ponyhoof messages, there was one specific notification that caught his attention.

"Blast Furnace, that Obscurus pony I was telling you about posted a very strange message on her FluffySound." he reported.

"Strange messages, huh?" Blast Furnace acknowledged, whilst sipping at a drink and checking her phone as well.

"Was posted about an hour ago, 'Secrets lie in the sacred sand. Our spirit empowers the titans below, just as the rhythms above. We feel euphorius..'" read Sun Beamer. "With two periods at the end, because I don't know."

"Sacred sand? Welp, I think she's going to the Gathering of Embers too!" Blast Furnace concluded with a smirk. "If you were paying attention to all those legends and lore we were reading about last week, you probably noticed that many of them referred to Duskgem as being the 'sacred sand'."

"Okay, it's starting to ring a bell." Sun Beamer observed. "But if this is the case, what is this other stuff she's bringing up? 'Spirits'? 'Titans below'? 'Euphorius'? And two periods? I don't think you explained that."

"I'm not sure if its the title of her new EP, or she hit a few too many keys with those hooves trying to say 'euphoria' and kept it because she thought it sounded cool. Those phone keyboards are hard to use, you know." Blast Furnace opined.

"Especially if you're not a unicorn. But I think she is though." Sun Beamer noted. "And trust me, I've seen much worse."

"It's easy for pegasi too. But typos or symbolism aside, bringing up 'spirits' and 'titans below' may be a bit more disconcerting." Blast Furnace admitted. "I've heard that certain Followers have been propagating an alternate history about the Gathering and its true purpose. I, personally, am part of the camp that does not believe in it, but..."

A shocked Sun Beamer waited in anticipation for the incoming revelation. "But what?"

"Okay, this sounds a little bizarre, but some ponies say that there is a sort of, ahem, 'titan' of 'dimensional stability', underneath where we burn the Blazicorn, and that it needs to be refueled with heat energy or something totally bad happens." she speculated.

Sun Beamer looked confused.

"Like I said, it's bizarre, and probably a conspiracy. Only 1 in 10,054 Followers of Embers actually believe it, and for obvious reasons, I'm not one of them." Blast Furnace clarified. "Though, if this pony is as questionable as you say she is, there's another part of the legend that we may

"Me neither, for equally obvious reasons." said Smith Stone, who had just gotten back from paying for the gas. "Oh, and by the way, I got a few more snacks for the rest of the way. We'll probably have dinner somewhere in Reino after we check into our hotel; Blast was telling me about this good restaurant that a few Followers were recommending..."

"It's the one in our hotel, actually." Blast Furnace bluntly noted. "Probably doesn't have a gas station or casino, though..."