It had been a couple hours since Luna had left for the meeting and in that time the Wardens were able to prepare and were now finishing up.
“Nova!” Vex shouted as he ran his hoof down his check list.
Poking her head around the corner of the armory, she replied. “Vex, all weapons are accounted for. The official count comes to twenty Sharps rifles, two hundred and thirty Two-band Enfields, and enough ammo to conquer Canterlot twice over.” Finishing with an exaggerated salute, Nova ducked her head back into the armory.
Smiling to himself and shaking his head, Vex returned to his checklist. So far they had enough medical supplies to last for six months, the reinforcements Luna had promised had arrived, all of them town watch ponies and finally the complement of one hundred griffin sailors had arrived and were preparing the Eclipse for launch. The sound of approaching hooves pulled Vex away from his current task and craning his head back, he found Arcanian standing there with a neutral expression on his face.
“You’re worried for Nova, aren't you.” Arcanian trotted past Vex and farther down the hallway.
Taking a moment to collect his thoughts Vex fell in behind Arcanian. “Yes, Nova has never seen combat and she is the youngest on this team.”
“If she has so much promise, then why did you pick her? We both know that this team is just a band of outcasts and noponies who were deemed too dangerous to live in normal society.”
Two years ago
The lunar court stands empty once again, save for a young bat pony and a tall dark alicorn.
“Vex, how long has it been since we found you living in the alleyways of Canterlot?”
“Six milady, it has been six months and I am still ever so grateful for your hospitality.”
Turning to look at her moon through one of the many large windows, Luna continued. “We have a boon to ask of thee.” Turning to look at Vex, Luna saw that she had his full attention. “While we love our dear sister, we can not say the same for her policies regarding armed military units and the lack of a true war council. It is for that exact reason that we are restarting the Warden program.” Luna turned to face Vex “It would be up to you and you alone to recruit others to this unit. We will provide aid and supply when needed but know this, to Equestria you do not exist. Should you be captured, we will deny any knowledge of you and your missions, are we clear?”
Nodding his head and bowing, Vex took his leave.
“Hello, Vex you awake in there?” Arcanian waved a hoof in front of Vex’s face. “You’re going to miss your ride.”
Shaking his head and getting his thoughts back to a semi-normal flow, Vex answered his concerned friend. “I’m fine, Arcanian, and to answer your last question, I choose Nova because of her skill with poisons and the fact that she demonstrated this on her senior officer in the Nocturnal guard corps.” Trotting towards a large crevice in the back of the cavern Vex continued. “Now let us go see our ship.”
To say the Eclipse was large for an airship of her class would be an understatement. Even since Luna’s return, no other airship had been built to surpass the Eclipse in size or looks. Her sleek hall of iron tapering into a jagged point at her bow, the enclosed command deck that for all the world looked like the dorsal fin of a shark and finally, the hallmark of all airships, her balloon or the lack there of.
Trotting closer, Vex was met by a older griffin in a white shirt with it’s sleeves rolled up, his body was a light grey due to his age and his head was off white in color.
“Oi, you must be Vex, me names Rivet If ye were wondering.” Taking Vex’s hoof in his claw, Rivet gave it a hearty shake. “ Anyway, yer ship is ready, the last bit of cargo has been loaded on and the Watch ponies have been settled in, we are ready to go when ye be.”
Taking a moment to look at the assembled faces looking at him from all directions, Vex decided that this crew needed to know what was about to happen. Stepping up to a small box, Vex used it to hoist himself up so all could see him.
“Now I know that many of you had to leave your family, your friends and homes behind. I know that you were told to leave them in the dark as to why you had to go and I know that some of you may not return.” Looking at each face, Vex saw more than a guard, a Warden, or a sailor. He saw a living breathing being; one that had hopes and dreams and a life. Steeling his resolve, Vex continued. “While what we do here today may never be known, take pride in the fact that today, we set out to make this world safer for our children and grandchildren and for those who only wish to live their lives in peace. As for our enemies, they sealed their fate the moment they drew their first breath.” Vex stepped down to a round of thunderous applause.
“Do you think they know how bad this might get?” Nova said as she trotted up to Vex.
“I hope not, for their sake and for ours.”