The Defender

by CptBrony

Never Surrender

What was I doing here?

What brought me to this place, this strange, alien land of foreign creatures and bizarre locales?

Was it my insatiable appetite for adventure? Maybe. Was I hoping to discover something no one else had, to become famous? Probably. But I found something else here.

I found a populace untouched by the horrors of this world, a new kind of people in a newly formed continent that had only the best intentions. When I arrived here, I fell in love with this land. Maybe that’s why I am where I am.

Where am I? Lying against a rock wall with a hole in my belly.

What happened that brought me here, anyhow? When this land first arrived, a land of Equestrians, funnily named Equestria, I came. As I stayed here, I loved what I had found. I never wanted to return home to the terrors of the world, all the things lurking in the night. I wanted the peace of Princess Luna in my dreams, the shining promise of Princess Celestia to always show me the way.

I was not alone, either. There were many men such as myself, taken by the beauty of this land and the hospitality of its inhabitants. They took us in without a moment’s hesitation, gave us food, drink, and places to stay. It was hospitality no one expected; and it was hospitality that won them friends as well as enemies.

When you have a new land of promise, everyone will flock there, including those who only seek to do evil. Those men came alongside us, hidden, waiting. When they did, the Equestrians had no way to fight back. The powers of the world would not help except in exchange for political alliances or economic ties that Equestria was unable to form.

No one would help; so we stepped forth. We, the Men of the Ponies, Brothers in Equestrian Arms, rose to the occasion, most without training or discipline, but all with a heart of fire and a will of steel. We were scoffed at by the world, scourged by some, even. But we took the title they gave us with pride; we are the Pony Boys, and we will stay gold.

The men of evil did harm to countless ponies throughout the land. Pillaging, ransacking, looting everything they came across. Some did it in the name of a flag, others an ideology, and others for no reason other than to fulfill their sick and twisted fantasies. Their crimes were unspeakable, and so I shall not write them.

What was it that inspired us, the Bronies, to step into the fray, to take the burden of war off of the shoulders of the ponies and onto our own, when we had no business? We had every business, truly. This had become our home as much as the ponies’. Our hearts were here, they are still here, and they always shall be here. Even when we are gone.

We could not sit idly by while such crimes were committed against a populace so undeserving of them. When we fought, though, we were slaughtered in countless numbers. The ponies begged us to stop, to cease this ‘senseless sacrifice’ that we were making for no good end. We told them we would not.

Even the princesses demanded we stop fighting, and we continued to disobey. They did not understand; they still do not, I fear. They cannot face such an enemy; and so we must. We go to war now so that the ponies may stay out of it.

But let me be perfectly clear, to paraphrase one of the world’s most respected leaders; there is no contest between keeping peace and going to war. But there is only one definitive way that we may have peace, and we may have it right now; surrender.

Certainly, there is danger to be had following any path other than this one, but through history we have learned that the greater risk lies in appeasement. And this is something our well-meaning pony brethren refuse to face; that their path of least resistance is appeasement. And it gives us no choice between having peace or going to war; only that we may either fight or surrender.

If we should choose to allow this, choose to stay down, retreat, eventually we will have to face their final demands, the ultimatum. And what will we do at that point? When the leaders of Haqqani have told their people they know what our answer shall be. They have told them that we are retreating under the pressure of this world’s evils and that, someday, when the time comes for the final ultimatum, for the ponies to join this Hellscape that is our world, our joining shall be voluntary because by that time, we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and culturally to be like the rest of the world.

Those of evil believe this because from our own ranks, they have heard ponies crying out for peace at any price. Or, better horseshoe than glue. Or as one noble put it he’d rather live on his knees than die on his feet.

And there we find the path to war; because their voices don’t speak for the rest of us. My brothers and I know, and do not believe, that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin? Just in the face of this evil? Or should Starswirl the Bearded have told the children of magic to live in slavery under the Unicorn Lords? Should the princesses have let Discord reign? Should Commander Hurricane have had his forces thrown down their spears and refuse to fight the Great Sky War against the Windigos?

The martyrs of history were not fools. And our honored dead, who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Shadow King Sombra, didn’t die in vain. But what, then, can we do for peace? It’s an answer that I now see to be the truest answer of all.

My brethren and I have had the courage to say to those of evil that there is a price we will not pay, that there is a point beyond which they must not advance. Princesses Celestia said that the success of any individual is not measured by their own happiness, but by what they create for others.

We see the war of good and evil happening within our own skies and lands and beyond our skies and lands. And whether we like it or not, it beckons us to duty. My friends and I have had our rendezvous with destiny, and we will preserve this, the last, best hope for man on Earth, or sentence the ponies to take the last steps into a thousand years of darkness.

It is long, I know. But it is true.

We Bronies will never sit idly by and allow for the forces of evil in this world to take control of what we love. I may die here, in a pool of my own blood, with the rest of my brothers, but I can die in peace knowing what we did here will bring some measure of peace to the ponies for some time, even if it will not maintain their innocence.

I came to see and conquer, and instead; I bore witness to beauty at its most pure form, and was instead conquered by the land and its inhabitants. The Rainbow Falls, where I met a pony I would have married, were she human, and whom I now know would say the same. I only wish I could see her once more before I die here…

What can I regret in this world? After seeing this land, there is nothing I can regret other than the fact that I could not have been born here. My Brony Brothers would say much the same, I suspect.

But some things do come to mind now; I regret that I did not give a proper goodbye to my family. I regret that I did not say goodbye to my friends at home before leaving. I regret my poor decisions throughout my life that led me to choose to come here for less noble reasons.

But they did result in me coming here, and for that, I cannot regret them truly.

We Bronies, the Defenders of Equestria, have done all we could, and succeeded as much as we were permitted to from the very beginning.

There are so many lessons to be learned here, on the battleground of forces defending a good not seen in thousands of years against an evil rooted for millennia in this world. I cannot write them all down; I grow too weak. Instead, let me give you what I and my brothers have earned here… We, the Brony Defenders, who gave their lives for the good of not only Equestria, but the entire world...

Princess Celestia held her speech close to her chest with her magic. She wasn’t sure how she was going to get through this; her ponies were all out there, watching from near and far, and even world leaders had come for the event. Her nerves rattled in her more fiercely than ever before.

“Princess, It’s time,” one of her aides informed her softly.

“Thank you, my little pony,” Celestia said. It was time.

Celestia walked through a pair of curtains and onto her balcony; outside, thousands of ponies and humans were gathered in her courtyard and throughout the city and countryside. All waiting to hear from the leader of the nation with the most unusual state of being and most unprecedented war in history.

“My little ponies,” Celestia began, reading from her speech.

She looked out over her audience. She saw the hopeful gazes in their eyes, the scrutinizing eyes of the human leaders. She saw what the ponies needed and what the humans wanted. Her speech laid out what she had thought would bring her ponies the most peace possible. She had talked it over with her advisors and the world’s leaders.

But this speech was not what her ponies needed now.

She threw it aside, getting a collective gasp of shock.

“If we look for the answer as to why, for so very long we ponies have achieved such peace; prospered as no peoples on Earth have; it was because here, in Equestria, our land, we unleashed the power of friendship and love to a greater extent than anyone has ever done before.”

She looked to the American ambassadors and leaders. “Freedom, and the dignity of the individual, have been more available here than in any other place on Earth.” The Americans frowned, and she continued. “The price for this freedom has been high as of late. But… we were blessed with people who were willing to pay that price.”

“Those among us who say we have come to a time where there are no heroes… they do not know where to look.” Celestia pointed at a mountain in the distance. “The steep and flat mountainsides of Canterlot National Memorial, with column upon row upon rock face of small, etched names, bearing foreign flags or even our own, they add up to only a small portion of the price that has been paid for our freedom.”

“Each one of those etchings is a memorial to the kind of hero I told you of of before. Their lives ended in places named White Tale Woods, the Everfree, Smokey Mountain, the Galloping Gorge, and all throughout the remainder of our country in Vanhoover, Baltimare, the Macintosh Hills, the Badlands, Horseshoe Bay, and in dozens of cave systems and valleys of a region we refer to only as the South.”

“In one of those names, we remember an exceptionally good man… Daniel Jackson: Who left his home in a large city in Texas, and who came to our defense with what we've come to call the Brony Battalion. Here, in the Great Battle of Macintosh Hills… he was killed, trying to carry people from this battalion away from heavy weapons fire.” Celestia looked at the world’s leaders, silently blaming them for the weapons presence in Equestria.

She pulled a small book out form under her wing. “I am told… that on his body we found this diary. On the inside cover, under the title, ‘My Code', he ha written out a creed;
‘It is my doctrine as a Pony Defender to love and tolerate and to support those in need. At all times, I will be prepared to abdicate what I am doing to come to the aid of the weak and misfortuned by any means, be they financial, physical, or emotional, without consideration for my own desires and amenities. I act with honor and integrity, for the wellbeing of others.’”

“We should all understand here, now, that no force or executor of any kind of force is nearly as powerful as the strength of will and courageous fighting spirit brought out by only true friendship and love for others. It is a force that our adversaries in this new realm do not have. It is a force that we, the ponies of Equestria, do have.”

Celestia looked out into the distance. “Let that be remembered by those who would enact schemes of terror and fear and encroach upon the rest of the world.” Celestia looked directly at the leaders. “As for the enemies of love and tolerance; they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the Equestrian ponies.”

She stood firm and strong. “We will negotiate for it: We will sacrifice for it: We will not surrender for it, now or ever.”

“This is our land. And it will not fall before evil again.”