The sun raised slowly, the light shining down on the small clearing in the dense, lush forest. The grass was long and flowed as the wind blew through the air. The trees bent and swayed, the sound of branches moving filling the silence, threatening the peace of the calm scene. In the centre of the clearing, a large amongst the grass stirred.
A stallion, black coat and white mane and tail flowing in the wind, rose up on his four legs. He had been sleeping under a dark cloak, which he swiftly lifted off the ground and wrapped around himself. Lying where the cloak once rested was a slightly smaller mare with a yellow coat, and an orange mane and tail, which slowly breathed in and out, still fast asleep.
Arngeir smiled at his companion, leaving the hood of his cloak down as he watched her soft breathing. He searched the forest, making sure that they were safe from ambushes, and then walked slowly to his saddlebag so as not to wake Jarnsaxa. He slowly pulled from it a scroll which he rolled out into a map of the area they had arrived in during the night, Biwalk Bridge.
He skimmed over it, going over their plan in his head. After they had taken the 5 towers, the only thing that stood between them was the Bridge Guardian, who they knew was sworn in a blood oath to the king, which meant that, should a new one be crowned, he would have to follow his orders, willingly or not. This meant they would indeed have to fight him at some point.
After rolling the map away and putting it back into the saddlebag, Arngeir took out a large kit that he placed onto the ground amongst the grass. He folded it out, seeing various tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, and other handy tools. He picked up the most useful one for the mission ahead, a pair of flare cannons, which were small devices that fired an orb of light into the air.
He packed one into the pocket of his cloak, and placed the other a few metres away from Jarnsaxa. He watched the sun as it continued to rise high above the treetops, and then slowly walked to his companion and prodded her with his bare hoof, the only one without a metal attachment on it. She stirred, rising up slowly and gracefully, her mane flowing back from the breeze.
They smiled at each other, looking into each other’s eyes, before looking away as if nothing happened. Arngeir promptly lifted his hood over his head, shadowing his face from view. Jarnsaxa noticed her flare cannon lying in the grass, and trotted over to pick it up and place in her small cloak pouch, throwing her cloak over her body. She then picked up a large bow, tying it to her back.
The two ponies nodded, Arngeir throwing his saddlebag over his shoulder, and the two set off towards the first point in which they would set off their plan. They were cantering at first, but as the two looked at each other, they saw a competition in the other’s eyes, and the canter quickly became a gallop. They sped off through the forest, weaving through the trees at top speed.
And they stopped abruptly, the two smiling at each other as they rested, catching their breath. Arngeir, looking serious now, pointed toward the tower in the distance that was closer to Jarnsaxa. It was a small tower, 2 stories high at the most. It looked similar to the Rook in the game of chess, with small areas in which to use as cover and easily pick off anypony with arrows from above.
Jarnsaxa nodded, beginning her slow creep to the large door at the base of the tower. As Arngeir turned, the last he saw of her was her hoof reaching up and pulling her bow off her back. He slowed, sneaking carefully towards the replicate tower on his side, and focused his approach on the large wooden door at the base of the tower.
As he got to it, he pushed slightly on it, causing it to turn on its hinges. He made his way into the tower, the circular room in front of him empty besides a set of chairs and a table. There were two guards sitting at the table, laughing away with a tankard in front of them. “And what did he say?” asked the one guard, eager for what seemed a punchline of a joke.
Arngeir crept up behind them, listening closely. “Alright, alright. This assassin simply walks up to the guy and says-“Arngeir smiled. “I’m right behind you” he said, raising his hoof into the air as the two guards turned with horrified looks on their faces. In a single moment, his hoof came down, and they were dead, each with a large cut across their neck.
Everything was still, and nothing stirred above. His cover had not yet been blown. Jarnsaxa and himself had planned to do this in the day, so that the towers only had 5 guards each instead of the usual 10. He slowly made his way up the stairs, careful not to make too much noise as he lowered himself to the ground.
The remaining three guards were standing, each at a different window. Arngeir smiled, slowly making his way to the centre of the room. He looked from each guard to the next, and then slowly looked down and closed his eyes. Then, with one huge swift movement, he spun on the spot, sending small knives into the air. The guards dropped like paperweights.
Arngeir looked out through the window, and saw the small red orb rise into the air above the tower Jarnsaxa had entered, and smiled as it exploded with no sound at all at the peak of its flight. He took out his own flare cannon and fired a similar orb, but blue, into the air in the same manner. He then pulled a small rope with a hook on the end, and looked towards the next tower.
With all his might, Arngeir threw the hook at an arc towards the next tower. He heard a small whoosh as it flew through the air, and his head cocked to the side as his ear searched the wind for the sound of a clunk. Sure enough, he heard it, a small notifier that the hook had latched to its target. He smiled, pulling off the metal attachment on his hoof and replacing it with a longer one.
It was stretched out further, a bend in the end as if it was a hook. Arngeir smiled at it, glorifying in its uniqueness, before walking back a few paces and then cantering at the window. With a huge leap, he threw out his right hoof, the hook aimed directly at the rope that was extended in front of him. Arngeir braced, his body tensing as the hook latched on and a giant spring made his organs jump.
And then, he felt amazing, as if flying through empty space. Freedom, nothing holding him to the ground. He sailed down the rope, slowly descending towards the base of the tower, the large wooden door in his sights. He had no time to remove his hooked hoof, so he simply left it as he unhooked and flew through the door into the group of 5 guards.
The guards wheeled around on the spot from the bang as the door flew off its hinges. Arngeir smiled as he landed on his feet perfectly and used the momentum to send himself through the room, soaring towards the 5 guards. Before any of them could make a sound, he spun, extending his hoof out to the side as it cut deep into the first guard’s neck, sending Arngeir into him.
He jumped up from the guard’s body, lashing out his right hoof and hooking into the second guard's head and pulling, using the momentum to throw his left foot into the third guard's chest. After clearing the last two bodies, he leapt into the air and pinned down with his hooves, cutting down the two remaining guards.
He looked around at the bodies, smiling at his work. With a swift dash, he ran up the stairs and looked out the window, lifting up his flare cannon again, reloading as the second red orb appeared over the tower closest to the first tower that Jarnsaxa had entered. He smiled, firing his into the air as well, the two orbs exploded together, the sky ablaze with blue and red sparks.
Arngeir leapt from the window, landing perfectly on the hard ground. He felt his bones ache from the small pain of the landing, but he simply shrugged them off as he ran at the next tower. The guards knew they were there now, and so it was unsurprising when 3 of them burst through the door and ran at him with long golden spears.
Arngeir smiled, jumping into the air with a barrel roll, soaring above the three guards. As he came back down, he extended his hooves and took down the first two guards. He smiled as he lifted himself up, when he sensed a spear being driven into him from behind. He span around, seeing the third guard, his spear aimed at his head.
And then, an arrow head burst through his head, between his eyes. His mouth fell open as he dropped his spear, and then he fell to the ground, dead. A few metres back, Arngeir saw Jarnsaxa, her bow in her hooves, a smirk on her face as she lowered it down onto her back. She trotted over, her hair dancing in the breeze.
“Nice shot” said Arngeir. She grinned, looking down at the guard with an arrow through his head. “Next time, don’t be so careless. I may not be here to save you” she said, holding her head high with a pompous manner. Arngeir rolled his eyes, and the two ponies walked up the Bridge. It was larger than they had remembered, but amazing all the same.
The Biwalk Bridge was a large orb, with a missing chunk in one side, like a Pacman mouth. The orb has a large walkway that extends from this gap, similar to a tongue, but its covered in an assortment of glowing lights, giving the impression of a rainbow. Arngeir remembers his first visit here as a child, and how his father had pointed out that the lights were actually coming from the bridge, not on it.
Arngeir smiled, his childhood seemed like centuries away. He stepped onto the walkway, Jarnsaxa following him closely on the other side of it. He looked forward, peering into the inside of the sphere. The inside walls were covered in various runes and carvings, all in a gold texture. In the centre of the vast room was a door, with a large knocker on the front, in the shape of a griffon.
Then, Arngeir noticed the stern figure standing in the middle of the gap. He was a black stallion, with large amounts of gold armour around his coat. The only gaps were on his back where his wings flowed from, and his face, leaving his mouth and eyes exposed. His tone was very serious, as if he had no smile in him at all. His eyes were fixed upon the two ponies with a cold stare.
They approached slowly, their hooves echoing across the walkway of light. The stallion in front of the sphere simply followed their every movement with his eyes, each step closer, each muscle moving back and forth to move the two ponies forward. His blue eyes were cold, his stare so intense it made the ponies shiver as if he were looking inside them. They quivered at the thought.
As they took a final step toward the large sphere, the stallion raised his hoof at them. “By order of the king, you are not allowed to enter the Biwalk Bridge without a signed form from the king himself” he boomed, his voice echoing through the air. Arngeir stood firm, looking the stallion straight in the eye.
“Guardian of the Bridge, the king who commands you is no longer fit to rule!” he shouted. The stallion’s hoof lowered to the ground. He smiled, his eyes filled with a cold fury, as if he was ready to battle. “If you wish to pass, you must defeat me, and you shall never accomplish this feat” he said, pawing at the ground with his hoof and moving to fighting stance.
Arngeir nodded, and then turned to Jarnsaxa. “I must fight him alone” he said, frowning at her disappointed reaction. She nodded, hanging her head and walking back. Arngeir turned back, facing the Guardian of the Bridge, replacing his hooked hoof with his normal metal hoof. Then, the two stallions ran at each other.
A huge clang ran out through the forest as metal hit metal. Arngeir flew backwards; his metal hoof on his right was hurting his hoof immensely from being struck too hard. Whatever that armour was really made out of (it wasn’t gold, that’s for sure), it wouldn’t be harmed by normal steel. He got up, walking back to the fight, his eyes focused intently on the Guardian with a cold stare.
The Guardian was quick to act, striking with his armoured hoof against Arngeir’s body. Arngeir screamed out in pain as cold, hard metal met soft flesh. A large gash went through Arngeir’s cloak and into his coat, blood soaking the black fabric on his body. He threw his cloak off, revealing his black coat and white mane and tail.
His body screamed at him, telling him to stop and rest, to recuperate, to heal. He pushed harder, blocking the pain and anguish from his mind. He had to do this, or all his fighting would be for nothing. He stood back up, his body continuing to shake with pain, the screams from inside telling him to stop.
He concentrated on the Guardian’s face, creating a small target around it. No, he told himself, to fatal, he had to go for something that would stop the Guardian from fighting, without killing him. Then he saw them, a small flutter on the Guardian’s back. His wings were bare, or he wouldn’t be able to fly. And in Equiheim, the worst humiliation of a Pegasus is a broken wing.
Arngeir readied himself, lifting up his hoof, and lashed forwards at the Guardian. He was cantering now, but the scene had somehow gone into a slow-motion play. He watched as the Guardian ran in for his own attack, his hoof lifting up to hit Arngeir again. Arngeir knew what to do, turning his body in mid-air, the hoof flying past him.
He swerved, pulling back his hoof as fast and hard as possible. With a deafening crack, the hoof split right through bone in a single swipe. The air was full of screams of pain that emanated from the Guardian’s mouth. He fell, his wing bent in a bad angle, the bone inside it cracked down the middle. It had worked, he had won.
Arngeir turned to face the Guardian, his eyes full of tears of pain. The stallion in the armour seemed to calm slowly, his tears slowly dripping less frequently, his outbursts of pain subsiding, until he just lay there. Finally, Arngeir showed the Guardian his hoof, which the Guardian quickly took in his own, pulling himself up with all his might.
Arngeir smiled at the stallion before him, placing his hoof back on the ground. “Thank you, young pony. You have cleared my mind, and freed me from my oath to the tyrant who sits on the throne” said the Guardian, bowing low. “If you wish to use the Bridge, I shall let you whenever you ask” he finished, smiling at Arngeir and pointing to the large sphere.
Jarnsaxa rushed over to Arngeir, a few tears in her own eyes. She quickly came to her mentor’s side, giving him leverage to stop him from falling from immense pain. “I’ll be fine” he said, smiling at his apprentice. “Go, get your unicorn friend, she can help me, and then we shall continue our fight against the king” he finally said, sitting down on the edge of the walkway.
Jarnsaxa nodded, walking into the sphere. She looked back, and watched as her mentor lay down, taking his well-deserved rest. She smiled, her eyes twinkling from the light reflecting off her tears. She approached the door, and took the knocker shaped like a griffon in her hoof. She knocked three times and whispered “Equestria”.
The door swung open, revealing a large tunnel of immense light. It seemed to project vivid images of various lands across the expanse of the void. Eventually it stopped on a familiar lush land, full of beautiful forests and animals. Standing in the centre of the image, was a small lavender unicorn, her smile wide as she looked deeply out through the image.
And then it was gone, as quickly as it had come. And then, a loud crack filled the air as a small figure appeared where the image was just moments ago. It was slowly trotting out of the door, the colour beginning to enter it’s many features. Finally, the same lavender unicorn from the image was now standing before them, a large smile on her face.
“Jarnsaxa! I can’t believe I’m finally here!” she shouted running and hugging her friend, the door swinging shut behind them. “Celestia says that I should collect things from Equiheim for study back home, so I hope you don’t-“ she stopped, looking past Jarnsaxa and seeing a stallion lying down with a large cut in his side, bleeding immensely.
She ran over to the pony, her smile quickly turning to a frown as she examined the wound. Arngeir had passed out during the time she had taken to arrive. “Twilight, please can you help him? He’s my mentor, and I need him alive!” she said to her lavender friend. Twilight looked back at Jarnsaxa, nodding quickly, and then slowly lifted the nearby cloak onto his wound with magic.