The Rejuvenationverse 33 members · 20 stories
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Upon word of Hardhoof’s leave, Lady Secretary Ardour stood up and spoke loud and clear for her friends in court.
“I assert our inalienable right to party!”
The celebration, it was the day of the Grand Galloping Gala after all, lasted all through the day and night and Thornwood, Dragonfly, Hystrix, Diaphonous Glass, Pitterpatter and Plenty Uplift were invited to court. B.B Trunks took his well-deserved position as Lord Admiral, Prosperina da San Palomino was appointed Lady of the Raiment, the highest title of an honorary hoof-maiden and though none of the suitors had been chosen to marry her in the end, each and every colt who’d come to her aid in the breakfast hall was given deeds to that effect to their name, a cloak, buckler, sceptre and signed scroll from the Canterlot Hall of Merits (Improving their chances of getting into a college of scholars, guards or otherwise high class in Canterlot) and a kiss on the cheek from the Princess herself.
So it was that after the festivities were ended, Celestia took part in the matters of rulership once more.
She spoke in person with the significant members of the Palomino family and informed them that, while Hardhoof had been removed as an enemy, they were now obligated to behave properly if they wished to keep their positions in court.
They seemed respectful to her wishes but their unwillingness was apparent.
It was clear that the Palominos were going to be an issue now that Hardhoof was gone.
Their aid in easing the financial problems Canterlot was suffering had effectively put the kingdom in debt. And when the three encouraged Equestrian nobles to invest in their father’s bank, it was clear they were trying to leave Celestia with no other option but to depend on them.
But this was, after all, how they had been taught. Syngnato-Cintargi do San Palomino had turned them into honed blades that cut the fabric of politics exactly to his specifications.
But to their credit, they were ponies of their word and brought news that the Bombastro family were faltering financially and Syngnato-Cintargi was well on the way to being made High Presider and unlike most ponies to bear the title, nopony would want him dead while he held such financial control over the Heptagon.
Soon, Gastro do San Bombastro would part with his gift of an Equestrian Princess and the Palominos would honour their agreement.
But Celestia was growing tired of waiting and at this point, was not about to trust the Palominos longer than she needed to.
In fact, there is information that suggests Prosperina herself advised her not to trust her family.
Throughout, while her sister’s rescue lay at the top of Celestia’s mind, she was steadily developing a very close relationship with her faithful hoof-maiden. The two were of equal age so it is fairly safe to assume she was the first real friend she’d had in many years and her secluded state since her mother’s disappearance which was steadily being healed by Prosperina.
For a while, about half a month, there was relative peace in Canterlot.
The rest of Equestria, and the world outside, was another matter.

The Outskirts were in a terrible state.
Hardhoof and his power-games had put the Outskirts in a state of total economic and agricultural collapse. So many leading and respectable figures, among them almost all of the two-hundred and six ‘Unchained’ families, had journeyed with Hardhoof to grant him personal support in Canterlot and, under his orders, remained in Canterlot. As a result, they had left their homelands virtually undefended. This led them into conflict with invading tribes of Ashensnouts, a primitive society of pony-sized underground-dwelling elephants who live upon the dead volcanoes of the Badlands. Despite the Periphery favour of anti-tribal aggression, the Ashensnouts were certainly a savage tribe that had gained much ground while the Outskirts were weak, attacking settlements and having male prisoners scalped, castrated and dismembered in bizarre rituals while females were forcefully impregnated to create hybrids which were then treated as a slave caste among their tribes.
But the real problem came from just how they treated this issue.
No pony of the Outskirts would blame one of their own for any problem when they could easily blame Celestia.
Hardhoof is not recorded to have returned to the Outskirts during this time but they had word from him.
He felt certain the Ashensnouts were in league with the Princess and her foreign allies and that the whole of Harmonious Equestria and almost every ‘un-equine’ force outside the continent were in league to destroy the last remnant of ‘Unchained’ influence. Paranoia grew rife and the very presence of the Outskirts became a hostile influence in Equestria.
The Regents debated on what to do with this difficult patch of ground and the ponies upon it.
Ardour was adamant that a defensive reinforcement should have been sent, regardless of the local opinion. Any attack on Equestria was an attack on the Princess and her authority and could not go unattended. Diaphonous Glass and Pitterpatter agreed.
Hystrix however said that central defence was a priority while the realm was still on edge after all that had transpired in the capital. Dragonfly also brought knowledge that the ponies of the Outskirts had encroached on Ashensnout territory and had attacked settlements before they were counter-attacked, meaning it was therefore a matter the Dreary Ones were to blame for and should sort out themselves.
Thornwood and B.B Trunks, whose decision it would ultimately fall to, were of a mind to send a contingent to keep order on both sides, preventing both the Ashensnouts from intruding on the Outskirts and the Dreary Ones antagonising the Ashensnouts and the other non-pony tribes.
But sending guards, no matter their purpose, would raise tension in the Outskirts at such a time.
Yet it was impossible to simply ignore the problem.
Silverback’s decision was quite a controversial one.
He suggested giving the Outskirts autonomy and thereby letting the ponies of the Outskirts fend for themselves.
Hardhoof’s actions and the support he’d gained from his kind showed that the Outskirts were better off apart from Equestria. The Outskirts didn’t produce a great deal of resources (And if they did, they’d have taken every measure to stop Equestria getting them) and the ponies had proven themselves not only critical but all but openly hostile towards alicorn authority.
He saw no reason to prolong Equestria’s unsteady hold over a domain that did not want it and suggested that granting the Outskirts their own power would teach them to better use it and properly understand that the threats that Equestria kept them from where not imaginary.
And here the Palomino brothers put forward their own suggestion.
Build a wall to separate the Periphery from the domain of the alicorns.
They assured the regency that the ponies of the Outskirts wanted that just as much as they did. And through some careful financial loopholes, they could ensure the Dreary Ones, the Grye family chiefly among them, would be the ones to pay for it.
Silverback actually quite liked the idea but he was against any financial misdemeanours. This in turn was vetoed by Plenty Uplift explaining that such measures of resource management were not wise at such a risky time.
Ardour and Thornwood were adamant that the Outskirts must remain part of Equestria or they would consider their autonomy to be effective permission to invade Equestria or wherever else they pleased.
Hardhoof had demonstrated that the Dreary Ones were far from harmless.
It was decided then that a row of outposts (Known as the Eighteen Matrons) would be built, effectively creating a barrier but not an obvious one. Silverback sent a message to explain that the Equestrian armies were nearby and if the local governing figures among the Outskirts wished for them, they had only to summon them from the outposts.
No message came back from the Outskirts and the local military command were ordered to stay alert.
Thornwood and B.B Trunks departed for Ostracon to oversee its safe transfer of power.

At last, a fateful message came through.
Syngnato-Cintargi do San Palomino was coming to Equestria beside his brother, Odobento, and his eldest daughter, Aralda. They were bringing urgent news that they claimed had to meet the Princess’s ears in person and in private.
They did not enter Canterlot through the Seadragon River. Instead, they landed off the South-East coast between Los Pegasus and Appleloosa. On a day of hard tropical rain, the Princess and her royal entourage waited in an umbrella canopy and watched the San Palomino barge, the Subridian, brave the waves and make an unsteady but safe landing on the silty shores.
Wet and exhausted but still looking in the best of health, Syngnato-Cintagi leapt from the prow and bowed before the Princess. As his youngest daughter rushed up to hug him after all their time apart, the smiling San Palomino patriarch removed his cloak to cover his daughter against the rain...then his face paled and twisted in a wide-eyed grimace of agony and alarm. He jolted and convulsed before his daughter, falling to one knee, then two, then four until he was writhing on the wet sands, unable to speak.
As his daughter screamed and cried for help, the Equestrians came rushing to his aid. The Princess pushed her way forward and stood over him, trying to cast a spell.
Instead, Syngnato-Cintargi frantically tore open his doublet and, with a shaking hoof, held up a sealed letter for her eyes only. Celestia took it and placed it in her inside cloak-pocket for safe-keeping.
Then, managing to take hold of his weeping daughter’s hoof, his eyes closed and his body fell still upon the sand.
When the body and clothes were examined, it was revealed that the brooch he held his cloak with had been tampered with. A superbly thin needle had been inserted into the underside of it that stuck the flesh of its wearer without them being conscious of anything other than a miniscule discomfort which would not appear unusual if he was tense or troubled. But this needle was lined a stickled spine, serrated with tiny downwards-pointing spines that had released a deadly and instant poison the moment it was removed from the body. The Ubadomi of Polmonia had worn his own murder weapon through a perilous night-long sea voyage that had included a seasonal storm, a bout of seasickness, two pirate attacks and one onboard assassination attempt and never been the wiser until it was too late.
Syngnato-Cintargi do San Palomino, he who held near-total financial control of the Heptagon in the sole of his forehoof...was dead.

Hurrying home to Canterlot, the Regency ensured the San Palomino patriarch’s body was prepared and ready to be sent back to the Heptagon with all haste but Odobento do San Palomino urged them otherwise and explained matters.
The Palomino family was in danger. Syngnato-Cintargi would not have left his home of Polmonia unless it were so.
The Bombastro family had called in some foreign friends. Ivorian slaver-kings who’d raided the Palomino trade routes and intimidated their family allies into ceasing business with them.
Yet the threats did not stop outside the home. There was another suspect in Syngnato-Cintargi’s murder.
The eldest son of the family, Lampo-Machillo do San Palomino had inherited the estate and its bank. For a while, he and his father had not been getting along and when a small but worrying case of embezzlement was discovered, Lampo-Machillo had fallen under suspicion though nothing was proven.
Odobento’s spies back on Polmonia had confirmed that the creditors and executors had not spent a day going over the formalities before Lampo-Machillo was interred as sole inheritor of the Palomino estates and assets.
And while Lampo-Machillo had surely shown deft cunning in taking his father’s business (And possibly his life) he was not nearly as good as his father when it came to running the business itself. He lacked patience, temperance, tact and subtlety. Instead of spreading the bank and its investments across the Heptagoni and its trade routes, he instead pooled the resources and used vast sums of money to bribe the other Domi into appointing him High Presider.
However, these facts were lost on his father who had hurried to Equestria with all haste, at the cost of his life, to give Celestia shattering news. When the Regents checked on Celestia in her chambers after she’d read the letter, they found her fainted on the floor and hurried to revive her.
When she woke, she could do nought but weep. And Prosperina wept with her.
All had blown up in the Palomino faces.
The Bombastros had not, in fact, grown so desperate as to trade their alicorn prisoner to their debtors. They had instead used her as a bargaining tool with their foreign allies.
In the Ivorian state of Gomphos, Pupi do San Bombastro had brought terms to the local warlord, the repellent Sloopong Gnathobel.
His armies at Gastro do San Bombastro’s disposal, to be led by sea to the Heptagon and used to forcibly destroy any and all rival Domi and make Gastro do San Bombastro King of the Seven Islands.
In exchange; Princess Luna.
The letter did not disclose what was due to happen to the eight-year-old Princess of the Moon but when the Regents questioned Odobento, he answered gravely.
“There are many monarchs across the Known World for whom the idea of keeping an alicorn as a...how to put this...as a ‘consort’...is a particularly inviting notion; the forbidden fruit they call it. And...most regrettably...Warlord Sloopong Gnathobel lacks all patience in waiting for his forbidden fruit to...er...ripen.”
The Regency was silent for a while after hearing such news.
Thornwood’s sources revealed darker knowledge. Gomphos was a coastal state with access to foreign trade and one such pony who had previously done business there was none other than Colonel Scraper, chief bodyguard to Hardhoof. This same Scraper, the ‘stallion in the zebra-skin cloak’ as some called him, had been confirmed by Odobento’s informers to have met with both Gastro do San Bombastro and Lampo-Machillo do San Palomino in close succession. And Scraper was not one to go against the will of his master.
It seemed for certain that their princess was gone, taken away over half the world and placed in the power of a sadistic and depraved slaver-king, as one last show of spite from the former Lord Protector Hardhoof.
But it was not, as it transpired, planned to be his last.

Syngnato-Cintargi was granted a stately funeral procession and a mausoleum was built by his three sons and eldest daughter in a situated dune near the coast where he’d died. Despite any duplicitous actions he’d committed in life, he was remembered as a stabiliser of power and economy; a dynamic visionary of commerce; a pioneer of arts, science and philosophy; a defender of small business and social climbers; an avid lover; a loving father and a stallion of his word.
The letter he’d written for Celestia was planned in the event of his death or disappearance. It included an outstanding debt Sloopong Gnathobel’s late father owed a Heptagoni bank whose registered warrant the Palominos had bought with interest. There was a chance that the Regency could blackmail Sloopong into returning Luna by threatening to call in the debt, placing them in a position which would ultimately lead Gomphos into commercial failure, economic shutdown and slave revolt.
With the Bombastros aiding Gomphos, however, that seemed less likely. If Ivoria simply invaded the Heptagon, debts and warrants would mean nothing under the feet of the proboscids.
Nonetheless, in the face of such perils, perhaps Sloopong would show tact and temperance, although from one who lacked the patience to see his concubines come of age, this seemed doubtful.
This news did not cheer Celestia. She was old enough to know that by the time Luna was returned, if indeed she would be, she would have been broken by her captors and she, her sister, unable to avenge her injuries without leading Equestria into war.
Aralda da San Palomino, the eldest daughter of Syngnato-Cintargi, was a scholarly mare who had been brought to Equestria to bring knowledge of the Heptagon to Equestria. She was among the only members of the Palomino family Lord Archmage Silverback openly got along well with (Pester the Jester even spread rumours of a liaison between the two but this is unlikely) and the Heptagoni books she brought with her were added to the Royal Library. But like her brothers, she was suspected of deceitful power-acquisition. Tales that she seduced Silverback, among others, were popular. When one of the books she brought contained details on Heptagoni Virility Potions and Rituals, the rumours only spread wider and with more sensational details, some claiming that she was turning the Royal Palace into a pot of depravity, cavorting with mares and stallions in debauched ceremonies before shrines of ugly foreign idols which doubled as instruments of carnal pleasure.
What truth there may have been in these rumours is uncertain.

Falandine do San Palomino was granted full custody of the San Palomino Bank and set about contacting Gomphos but, underneath the gaze of the Regency, made to continue doing business in the Heptagon with his elder brother.
Why this was is uncertain. Possibly greed but that, despite what many say, greed has never truly been a big enough catalyst to motivate a pony into truly dark deeds. One needs an end to the means and a bigger driving factor.
Desperation, uncertainty, inadequacy, often a great deal more impacting. Perhaps Falandine felt he couldn’t do it alone or lacked faith in the way Equestria did business. Perhaps he still had friends in the Heptagon he felt he could count on.
Perhaps he sought to use his resources to outmanoeuvre Lampo-Machillo and avenge his father. Or perhaps, inversely, he may have been involved in the assassination.
It is difficult, at this point in time, to be certain.
Regardless, his actions would fail to benefit him or Equestria.
Lampo-Machillo’s embezzlement of his own bank soon became known when one of the Domi bribed one of the banks clerks and then captured and tortured another for information. Almost all principal investors withdrew their deposits and closed their accounts, many then choosing to take legal or otherwise violent action against the stallion that tried to cheat them.
Lampo-Machillo was seized by the mob of citizens, his own bodyguard among them, and dragged before the pillars of his own bank to be questioned on where everypony’s money was.
At the first look of the whip brought forth, he broke and blurted out every name he’d bribed to appoint him High Presider.
The Domi fell upon each other. Lampo-Machillo escaped the whip only to be torn apart by the furious mob.
A bloody power vacuum ensued. Domo after Domo vied for the position of High Presider, many succeeding only to die in days.
Magister Gazzaro do San Codabassaro, who’d met with Ardour after the war for Ostracon, died with a wine glass in his hoof, either poisoned or committed suicide to avoid a worse fate. His family fled Heptagon and made for Stirrope to start a racing business in Bitaly
The Marmarigo brothers, Fibrillo and Trimbilo, were murdered on the same day. Fibrillo was pointed to a ledger to examine for forgeries and, as he craned his neck over his desk, his throat was slit open by an assassin disguised as a clerk, ruining his family ledger and finances as a result. Trimbilo meanwhile was receiving comfort from three prostitutes before he was tied down on his bed and had his scalp carved open by a mystery assailant with a wide-bladed knife for opening walnuts, the mares continuing their work over his screams and gurgles.
The entire Foradizza family died when their head, Tettiero do San Foradizza, held a banquet to celebrate his ascension to High Presider. The whole clan drank a toast to their father and then fell choking up their organs and bleeding from the eyes.
And the heiress of the San Troscana family, Attellissa, was found the day on which she was meant to inherit her father’s entire estate on a farm on Milza, smothered to death after having been, according to witnesses, ‘pushed inside a pig’.
The Bombastros had long departed the Heptagon for the Ivorian states where they planned to return and make their forcible attainment of power.
At the end of the messy struggle, the victors were the violent and humourless Mandolino family, led by the fearsome Ocarino 'Bossanova' do San Mandolino, who began his unofficial conquest by finishing the Palomino family.
Brygo do San Palomino was murdered at a port warehouse, cut to pieces in a hail of metal shards, trademark of the Flechetta Crossbow (A compact mid-range weapon that fires a spray of knife-points at a target) that the Mandolinos became famous for using rather than poisons or daggers.
[Note: The Mandalino family would stay in power on the Heptagon until the Second Invasion of Tirek. When called to negotiate with the centaur warlord, their Domo made the mistake of indirectly threatening him whereupon he was crushed to death by Tirek’s hoof and the islands nearly destroyed outright by a megaspell that caused a seismic rift in the Selenian Sea.]
The fates of Maraudra and Vanacampa da San Palomino were worse still. They were sentenced to pay off the debt their family owed the surviving Domi (And those that had acquired the promissory notes of the dead Domi, usually their own murderers) by serving as prostitutes, passed around the victors of the power vacuum as spoils of war. Vanacampa would die a month later, her skull smashed in by a patron she bit in self-defence while Maraudra would hang herself not long afterwards. While their deaths seemed insignificant, this meant that the debt still owed by the Palomino family would never be paid by those in the Heptagon. The debt carried over to Falandine who then had the message burnt and immediately shut off his businesses in the Heptagon, relegating his bank solely to Equestrians.
Shrines were built for them in their father’s mausoleum and Prosperina, Odobento, Falandine, Fonto and Larando would petition Celestia to hold a grand funeral for the fallen Heptagoni.

Unfortunately, the fears that had ruined their bank on Heptagon had now carried to Equestria. The debt that Falandine refused to pay was instead carried over to his investors, many of whom received threats from those the Palaminos owed back on the Heptagon. The failure of the main Palomino bank meant that the Equestrian branch had also suffered and hundreds of nobles had lost vast sums of money. Money and debts owed to and by foreign officials were defaulted now that Falandine had shut his bank off.
Canterlot became swamped with angry ponies demanding Falandine honour his debts as his father promised he would.
Ardour, Silverback, Pitterpatter and Penny Uplift did what they could to ease the pressure on both parties. Falandine was called in to be questioned but the Palomino refused, fearing to leave his residence for the mob outside and, by now, certain one or more of the Regency wanted him dead. Not even Fonto, Larando or Aralda could reason with him.
Then true tragedy struck in the palace.
Princess Celestia had been spending more and more time with Prosperina da San Palomino. The two were rarely ever apart and she confided in her everything. With Luna’s loss appearing permanent, the Princess buried herself in Propserina’s company for solace.
Then one evening, during one of their tea parties, they drank their tea together.
Then Prosperina coughed up blood. Falling to the floor, she writhed weakly as Princess Celestia screamed for doctors. Oia’i’o and Bonce were first on the scene but nothing could be done.
Prosperina managed to speak in her last moments, tearfully wishing goodbye to the mourning princess.
“Thank you...so much...Tia...For letting me...be...your...friend...”
Princess Celestia was beside herself with grief. Oia’i’o was called to mind her while Ardour arranged Prosperina’s funeral but Bonce brought ill news to the Regency.
The poison that had killed her was primarily comprised of Phytolacca, a red berry plant that, diluted, produces a pink dye that was one of the primary exports of the Heptagon, specifically a primary trade of the Palominos who used to deal in fabrics and colours. It had gone unnoticed in the tea which was sweetened with pink rose-sugar that Celestia had always been partial to.
The tea party had two cups of enamelled porcelain. Celestia’s had been decorated with pink pearl phoenixes while Prosperina’s with turquoise seahorses.
And there was no doubt in Bonce’s conclusions of the scene.
Prosperina had drunk from the pink phoenix cup.

When Celestia was gently asked to relate the full details of the experience, she said that Prosperina had looked out the window with concern, causing her to do the same. When she turned back, Prosperina suggested they drink the tea together. It was here, the Regents concluded, Prosperina had switched the cups.
But for what reason? It seemed Prosperina knew somepony was planning to poison the Princess. But how had she come across this knowledge. Did she mean to give her own life in exchange for Celestia’s? Or had she been planning to let the Princess die and simply confuse the cups?
Too many questions, none holding an answer pleasing to the Regency.
When Celestia requested a grand funeral for Prosperina, worthy of a princess, Silverback turned her down and regretfully informed her that Prosperina, along with all other members of the Palomino family in Equestria, were under suspicion of regicide.
Odobento was placed under house arrest. He made no attempt to resist but simply assured Ardour that he knew nothing of this. The Palominos had nothing to gain through Princess Celestia’s death. The Princess was one of the only ponies in Equestria who was openly friendly towards his family.
He was certain that somepony was trying to frame the Palominos and urged Chronicler Bonce, who he maintained fairly friendly relations with, to examine the poison further.
Aralda was held in Silverback’s study and questioned peacefully but firmly. She volunteered to test the poison but Silverback could not grant her any involvement in the investigations. She did however, give him some important information.
Phytolacca poison does not act as fast as it did in Prosperina. The assassin meant to kill an alicorn. There would have been something else in the poison that would strengthen it. And the Heptagon had no known means to ensure that.
Silverback began his enquiries and steadily began to doubt the Palomino’s guilt.
But this sentiment did not travel outside the palace and the crowds were getting increasingly restless.

Three of these prominent rabble-rousers were three Earth Ponies from, to nopony’s surprise, the Outskirts representing the Valger Bank, a financial establishment bought out by the Palomino Bank that had seen many of its former patrons ruined by their foreign acquirer.
Sinter, Scorian and Dross Valger, the three sons of Count Nockney Valger of Nooken-Cranny, richly-dressed but shabby-faced, roused the mob into a frenzy. Falandine do San Palomino was dragged outside and threatened with violence if he did not pay what he owed. When Fonto and his guard and Larando and his henchponies rushed into the city to save their brother, they were overwhelmed by the mob and held outside the palace. The Valgers shouted for the regents to grant them Aralda and Odobento to be dealt with there in the city square.
They were met by Silverback and his royal guard who demanded the mob disperse and give them the Palominos for royal custody and trial.
The Valgers retorted that the Regency had allowed the Palominos to take power in the first place and even after her attempted assassination, Princess Celestia was still defending these greedy foreign businessponies at the risk of her own subjects wellbeing.
Then, as Silverback made to show them the evidence to prove the Palominos innocence, he was struck on the back of the head by one of his guard captains.
Saur Van Greve, the Earl of Sharply, removed his helmet and seized the semi-conscious Silverback, demanding the Royal Guard surrender their weapons or they’d lose their Archmage.
Many members of the crowd were taken aback. To threaten the Regency had never been their intention and, while Silverback certainly had his detractors, there were few who genuinely wanted him dead over this. They fought forward, trying to release the Archmage from Van Greve’s grasp.
Here, Scorian Valger drew a chanter from his cloak and blew it loud across the city square, a cacophonous drone echoing through Canterlot.
Then chaos ensued.

The horde of Dreary Ones appeared in a nightmarish state. Haggard, pale and bloody, having cut themselves and nailed old prayers in the ancient Earth Pony tongue to their limbs and over their Cutie Marks, torturing themselves in a preparation ritual.
Flagellants; Furbode fanatics armed with thuggish weaponry, screaming and cursing as they swarmed the city square. Hundreds were taken prisoner, beaten into submission. The Royal Guard, stretched thin with the problems in the Outskirts, put up a barricade before the Royal Courtyard but were soon pushed to the very doors of the palace. Those fleeing the mob were chased into alleyways where they held themselves up in buildings or put up improvised barricades.
In an instant, Canterlot had become a war-zone.
And here, the Dreary Ones forced open the gates and let in a familiar figure. One who had, for a long time, been a primary benefactor of the Valger Bank and also ensured Saur Van Greve was given means to rise through the ranks.
A stallion the city had barely begun to forget.
Hardhoof had returned to the city, no longer a regent, but bearing a new title he’d fashioned for himself.
‘Purifier of Canterlot’.
Then and there, no other ambition stood in his mind but avenging himself upon the Princess, Canterlot, all of Equestria.
Bringing in yet more of his fanatical followers, just over ten-thousand strong at least, he was the highest unofficial authority in Canterlot and would set about making that authority known in a most pugnacious way.
As of then, nopony was safe.

But in the chaos above, nopony noticed a small ship sailing into Canterbury Port from the Seadragon River.
Bringing salvation.
Bringing the night.

Bronycommander
Group Contributor

7121307
Nice Work, as always! Whenever a Kingdom collapses, struggle follows.

And i can Imagine who the Salvation will be

But in the chaos above, nopony noticed a small ship sailing into Canterbury Port from the Seadragon River.
Bringing salvation.
Bringing the night.

Ahh.... it is.... ummmm... well, that guy who everyone thought was dead but was actually alive.

So it looks like the Regency's power play has met a very unfortunate (though probably not unexpected roadblock) Ah, politics, if only

Ah well, looks like the Dreary Revolution won't succeed. Wonder who will die though, I know for a fact that somebody important might die.


In the power play between the Regency and Hardhoof, between the Regency and the Palaminos, between Equestria and the forces against them in the Salt-Ponies and the Allies, there walked in a third party, one that they never expected, one who had threw a wrench in their plans. The Kingdom Killer, some had called him. The Angel of Death, others had named him. But to the Equestrians, they immediately recognized it as the work of one Rex Epsilon, an immortal with a talent at avoiding death and a bigger talent in dealing with (some had suspected that he was an angel, explaining the way an immortal pony with nonetheless baseline abilities could end up with a kill count like him. Others suggested a darker origin as the herald of the dreaded goddess Marithu, whose plans to implement perfection often resulted in the loss and eternal damnation of millions of lives.) How he ended up on the island of the Salt Ponies, nobody was sure, but soon, he had made his presence known one night when in the middle of the night, a Mandalino bank was suddenly bombed. The night guards were found tied up far away, and when interrogated, they all mentioned the presence of an yellow-orange haired stallion with an orange coat and a cutie mark in the shape of a burning compass star. More Mandalino banks would be bombed, ultimately culminating one day in the murder of Ocarino 'Bossanova' do San Mandolino's head, the body of the patriarch of the Mandalino family found riddled with bullets: his right eye had been blown off, his jaw was barely hanging on. The Mandalinos and their allies would follow soon, killed three days later during an investor celebration, when Rex Epsilon suddenly emerged from under a food cart and proceeding to open fire on them all.

Chaos engulfed the island, as many other banks and families would follow their fate. The sight of bombed banks, burnt down manors, destroyed factories, and torched plantations would become a common sight. There is a particularly famous account by a nightguard, a survivor of the Plutone family massacre: in the panic, rushing to the exit after a bomb blast had torn apart the patriarch fo the family and his eldest son, the night guard accidentally tripped. Trying to get up, he looked back and saw Rex Epsilon: standing in the fire, his eyes glowering, the night shining off the metal instrument of death he carried, he 'was like the Grim Reaper itself, here to put the final judgement of hell and damnation on us all".

'That stallion... he ain't equine."


And when she sleeps, those dreams enter her mind again.

She is back among the ruins again, in the body of a green-coated equine with a multi-colored mane. And sitting on the other side of the fire is an orange-coated stallion with orange-blonde hair, a military cap bearing a compass star on his head, a worn dark orange coat around his body. And he is speaking: though his expression is neutral, his tone fails to hide an emerging fear, a sudden desperation, as he begins to speak.

"Ten years ago, I defended a Deer settlement from an Ashensnout attack. I was preparing to march towards the Ashensnout camp to kill off their raiders, when I had suddenly remembered my experiences with another Ashensnout camp many years ago. And a Griffin one. And a Centaur one, And on and on and on. And then, it occurred to me that if I had killed off their warriors, they themselves might fall prey to raiders from other tribes."

"And then, I thought why this was so: why do living things fight, why are mortals willing to kill even the most innocent for power, for riches, for stuff that fade into the dust? And that is when I suddenly thought: because we were designed to do so, because we have to, because to live is to die every day and to stave off death, and to do so, people seek power, seek mastery over others. And as it happens, such circumstances are perfect for the greedy, the psychopaths to take over."

"And I thought: what if life itself is the enemy, what if existence is a cruel joke played by an evil god? If so, wouldn't it be imperative to destroy civilization, to ensure every living thing reach death earlier? Would it not be imperative to kill the gods who made us, and destroy the existence they created?"

"These are thoughts I have some times, increasingly. And as an immortal who is more than capable of ending lives, these thoughts frighten me."

And then, the dream ends, and Dr. Melisse 'Mimic' McKay wakes up with a sense of dread."

Might put a revised version out someday, this is a garbage way of explaining Rex's fear (though I could justify that it is Mimic's recollection dream from another life that she has not lived for 28 years now, and you know how unreliable they are)

Also, in case you have not realized it: reincarnation in this universe is real. And Mimic just got Reincar-sekai'ed into another world.

Specifically, the SCP Universe.

Purple Patch
Group Admin

7121562
Interesting take on it.
By the way, what do you think of Syngnato-Cintargi in his final moments?
And the bloody power struggle in the Heptagon and the lives lost?

By the way, what do you think of Syngnato-Cintargi in his final moments?

"So.... Old Palimino died trying to warn Princess Celestia of newest dangers to her sister, right?"

"Yep, that is what I heard."

"Huh, guess there was still some good in that soft-spoken sociopath."

"Hey, he had children and investments in the court of Equestria. For all we know, he was more concerned of his own assets than for the fate of Luna."

"Yeah, but... Celestia was in no position to bargain with him: face it, Old Palamino had the entire court of Equestria snagged in his bony hands. He did not need to travel over personally to warn Celestia of this. This deed he did, it must have come from whatever little bit of empathy he had left in him. And sure, he was ruthless, he was a tyrant, but... he did help to contribute for the arts, he did donate money to build charities, he was a man who kept to his word (though one who would find loopholes), and if you had been wronged by someone, well, if you were his friend, he would ensure that you got justice. He helped bring my mother's assaulter to justice. Old Palamino was bad, no doubt, but he had some light in him; in the end, he was the best Domi Heptagon ever had."

Silence, as the two stallions in the bar sipped from their black cup, their minds lost in thoughts. And then, one of them spoke up.

"He's still going to Tartarus, though?"

"Oh, no doubt about that."

And the bloody power struggle in the Heptagon and the lives lost?

Jan 23, 1878

Diary of Rex Epsilon, Heptagon's Premier Funeral Director

Well, it has finally happened: the Mandolins have fallen. And good riddance, I say, they were all a bunch of bloodthirsty barbarians in suits (though really, all the nobles here, even the Prime Minister of Heptagon Syngnato-Cintargi Palamino). 'Course, if only if it hadn't taken the Devil and the near-destruction of this island to do so (heh, big fish, meet sea serpent). And even if the Mandolins are all now frying in Tartarus, their blasted flechettes are still here on Equestria to menace us, breaking families and snuffing young lives worldwide (should have patented it instead)

Zarine Eta does not see things the same way, though: in fact, she actually seems exuberant at the latest turn of events.

"Don't you see, Master?" she told me one day. "With the Mandolins and the other families dead, things can finally change here. No more aristocratic immunity from justice! No more poisons and stabbings in the night! No more cart-by shootings or flechette fights in broad daylight! The slate is clean: we can build a society of true equality and freedom: a society without hierarchy, a society managed by cooperation instead of domination, a society where every beings reap the fruit of their own deeds, where every worker runs the factories they work in! No kings, no merchant kings, no gods: just beings, united in one common cause."

"And what would stop that society from being taken over by others?" I replied. "How would you ensure that no one in that society ends up taking over? Revolutions have a tendency to attract the parasites after all. And how would you ensure an end to sexism, to speciesism, to racism, to ableism, to homophobia, to transphobia, to all forms of discrimination in the world? Most importantly, how would you get people to learn that they need no kings, to live like they need no kings? To eradicate masters, one would have to do an overthrow of minds after all."

Zarine fell silent for a while: clearly it seemed she had never thought this through beyond the revolution, as is typical of newly-made immortals with dreams of revolution. And then, finally, she sheepishly spoke, "I don't know? But one must dream, right?"

"One must dream..." Zarine's right there: to make Heaven on Equestria, one must visualize them doing that. But on the other hand, as Scenic Rot would say, "Bring Heaven here, and watch the world burn." And I should know that: I had fought with the Deers against the Romantiks and their Lucky Light-Mayor Lands allies, watched as the excitement of a just and free society at our victory was swallowed by the junta of Makarov, as me and my friends were led to the gas chambers...

Still, though, Zarine's right on one thing: things are finally going to change here. In the past, a new war of dominance would ensue. But now, with all the families dead... maybe we can finally have the just and free society that I had once fought for. Or maybe gangsters and warlords will take over, and once again, all that happened is a change in rulership. Or maybe today is the day Heptagoni finally dies: destroying this island with an earthquake apparently did not satisfy Tirek enough.

The future is out there, and it is chaos.

Tonight, I went out to gather supplies: Zarine still has yet to learn to power through the mortal fear of death and pain. In the remnants of the Mandolins, I searched for lamp oil, when suddenly, not far from me, I saw a ghoul feeding on the remains of a body.

Its hair was long and wilds, its arms and legs bore scars of whips; the skin was barely clinging on. I could see yellowed bones sticking out from the decayed flesh, could see the dry black blood around such wounds. But the odor, oh, that nasty odor: the smell of graves and mausoleums and war freshly ended, of tortures by fire and spikes, of roadkill lying rotten under the sun. And before I could reach for my gun, the foul creature must have detected me, for it suddenly stopped, and turned its face towards me.

I gasped: despite the wounds, despite the bashed flesh and smashed bones, I could recognize the face of the old patriach of the Mandolins, Ocarino Mandolin. And then, it screamed a most terrifying scream (only the sound of a dragon in chains being prodded to burn the rebels could compare ), and despite its wounds, lunged at me.

Immediately, I whipped out my pistol and fired many shots at its body. The ghoul collapsed, and as it struggled to get up on its bullet-holed-limbs, I made my escape.

Goddess Rememberly have mercy on Ocarino Mandolin: he was an evil stallion, but not even Warmonger deserved such fate."

A third AU Rex ( a treaty of the first and second Rex) where Rex Epsilon was formerly a bright-faced immortal revolutionary, but grew cynical of revolutionary causes in general after the Deer Revolution was hijacked by General-Admiral Makarov. He begins to find revolutionary inspiration, again, though, when he takes in his wing a newly made immortal named Zarine Eta.

Nonetheless, he is not entirely resigned to his current fate: When a Mandolin got acquited for attempted assault on Zarine, he looked into an old bag of stuff he stole from Makarov when escaping....

The next day, Ocarino Mandolin was dead. "Passed away peacefully of natural causes in his bed", said the newspapers. But Rex knew better: it was no natural death, it was anything but peaceful...

He knows it won't change anything. He no longer cares anymore, no longer cares if it might cause another war (let Tartarus eat more of these worthless families): he just wanted Ocarino dead.

(though inadvertently, he set in motion the Family's downfall)

This Rex is intended to be less powerful, less heroic than previous Rexes. Even back in his 'bright revolutionary' days, he seemed to display attributes of a subtle bloodlust...

Purple Patch
Group Admin

7122680
...okay, Rex needs to chill.
And Tartarus is not for the likes of Syngnato-Cintargi do San Palomino.
That place is reserved solely for the worst of the worst, the truly irredeemable.
And as MLP teaches, that part of ponydom is a lot smaller than one would think.
Syngnato-Cintargi was a significantly decent product of a brutal society. He knew no other lifestyle but he still made use of it to do some good, for varied reasons.
That's an achievement in itself.

And Tartarus is not for the likes of Syngnato-Cintargi do San Palomino.
That place is reserved solely for the worst of the worst, the truly irredeemable.
And as MLP teaches, that part of ponydom is a lot smaller than one would think.

Hmmm... does Rejuvenationverse have a Purgatory?

If you ask me, that is where most people in life will be heading after death (unless of course, just not believing in God is a criteria of "going to hell")

Syngnato-Cintargi was a significantly decent product of a brutal society. He knew no other lifestyle but he still made use of it to do some good, for varied reasons.
That's an achievement in itself.

..... I guess.

Nonetheless, Penny understood now why people joined movements of anarchism and communism, why some people fervently hoped for God to return even if that meant the world getting plunged in fire and war, physical or metaphorical.

It was really stressing her out: she was unable to focus on her painting homework with such thoughts in her head.

Another OC of mine, Penny Qianjia. She's an art college student striving to attain her dreams of web cartooning while dealing with stress, parent's expectations and most importantly, herself.

Luckily, she has a friend in Elanie to help her.

Also, reality there is broken and screaming.

And I think I will be taking a break from Rejuvenationverse history soon, for personal reasons.

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