Luna felt as if she had been walking for an eternity when she came to a small hill, deciding it would be best to get a better lay of the land before she began her descent. Finally cresting the hill, Luna was greeted with the site of a small camp in the valley below, its four low, earthen buildings were divided by two dirt paths crossing to form a t-intersection. This little group of buildings looked almost abandoned, but Luna knew better. Even now, she could feel a pair of eyes watching her from high above.
“You can come out, there is no need to fear us!” Luna shouted to the dark cave ceiling above.
After a few minutes of waiting, the silence around Luna was broken by a low whistling that seemed to stir the air around her and as quickly as it came, it was gone with a only a dull thud. There before Luna stood a pony, his black coat easily blending with the walls of the cave as did his mane and tail, both of which were divided by a single streak of yellow. As he turned to face her, she was able to catch a glimpse of his cutie mark; a full moon crossed by a saber and musket. Finally able to see his face, she noted that his eyes were unusual; his pupils were slitted like those of a dragon and his irises was the color of a polished ruby. It was no surprise to her when she then spotted the pair of leathery bat like wings he possessed.
“Warden Vex, tis good to see thee.” Luna said with a smile.
Bowing his head, Vex replied. “The pleasure is all mine, my lady.”
Motioning for her to follow, Vex lead her towards the small camp Luna had seen earlier.
“What brings you down here, my lady?” Vex asked as they closed in on their destination.
“I wish we could say just a friendly visit, but we fear that this would be a lie.”
Nodding in understanding, Vex lead them into one of the buildings and looking around, it was obvious to Luna that this was a sleeping quarter. There were four beds, two of which were currently occupied, one by a unicorn with a dark blue body and an ice blue mane. His cutie mark was a crystal being struck by lightning. On the other bed sat a female bat pony, her coat a steel grey while her long mane and tail were a dark shade of violet. Her cutie mark was a crescent moon being constricted by a snake.
“Luna, allow me to introduce you to Arcanian and Nova.”
The unicorn known as Arcanian offered a small bow while the batpony Nova only energetically waved a hoof.
“We could not help but notice that there are four beds but only three of thee. Where, pray tell, is your fourth member?” Luna asked.
To her surprise, it was Nova who responded. “I believe he said something about trying a new medical procedure. Come to think of it, he did have all of his sharp stabby things with him.”
“Then to the infirmary we go.” Vex stated and with that they were off.
The coppery stench of blood was in the air as a tan earth pony with an auburn mane and tail and a broken medical cross for a cutie mark stood over a long deceased changeling. Busying himself, he was making cuts and incisions into different parts of its exoskeleton. Hearing the sound of a door opening, he quickly covered his latest project with a sheet and stepped out of his operating room.
The first thing that Luna noticed about this stallion was not his cutie mark, but his eyes. They were thunderstorm grey in color and held a certain mad quality to them. His smile was sickeningly sweet, as if he would much rather cut you open then meet you.
“My lady Luna, this is Stitches, our field medic.”
With a bit of hesitancy, Luna offered the strange pony her hoof. “It is a pleasure.”
Taking her hoof and placing a kiss on it, Stitches offered his reply. “Oh no my dear princess, the pleasure belongs to me.”
Quickly pulling her hoof away, Luna cleared her throat to address all those within the room. “Come, my wardens, we have much to discuss. Vex, is there an area in which we can hold these proceedings?”
“The mess hall is the best place to hold briefings.”
“Very well then, lead on.”
“And so, that is the current political stance Equestria has on the matter.” Luna stated, having finished recounting the information she had learned. She looked from face to face, the four wardens each wearing a blank look.
Vex was the first to speak. “What would you have us do?”
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help the Buffalo tribes by destroying any slave camps you find as well as rescuing as many slave as you can. Should the Diamond Dogs want a war, then you will be our vanguard force. Should you be caught, Equestria will deny your existence and leave you to your fate. Now, what do you need of me?”
After taking a moment to process this information, Vex responded. “If we are to be effective at this task, we will need more than four ponies. We will also need a crew for the Eclipse, preferably griffons. Finally, any new weapons technology that has come out must be put in our armory for our use on this mission.”
“We will have our night guard round up a crew and reinforcements as well as weapons.” Looking confused, Luna added. “Thou still hast the Eclipse?”
“But of course. Besides, it was the first airship you had built after your return, was it not?” With Luna nodding in affirmation, Vex continued. “So then how could we get rid of such a fine ship? And do not worry, we kept her in great shape.”
Looking pleased, Luna rose to all fours and smiled. “Well thou seems to have it all under control, will thou be able to leave in the morrow?” With Vex nodding in reply, Luna continued. “Then we shall be off to attend a meeting of the nations and leave thou to thy work.”
And with that, Luna took wing and headed for the way she came in.