• Published 16th Feb 2012
  • 2,434 Views, 47 Comments

Harrowed Crown - DawnFade



There is a dark tale behind the 'Love Poison' that very few know.

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The Steward

The Captain’s journal is empty beyond that page. It’s clear that something happened to keep him from continuing his reports. Next in order are the official records of the steward. He was a smart, capable young stallion. Seeing the kingdom he had held together for so long die must have been painful beyond imagining. His fate, and that of Captain Summer Strike, await within.

---

The Official Journal and Records of Shaky Quill, Steward to the Great Kingdom of Equilla

Sixty-five days until the summer solstice

This is my third attempt at writing an entry. The previous two pages were ruined by tears. Shameful? Childish? I don’t care. A stallion as great as the Captain deserves to have tears shed in regret of his passing.

He was always so strong, so surefooted. I truly believed he would outlast all of us.

Before I became the steward of our kingdom, he would advise me and offer help. It was invaluable in getting past ambitious nobles that would only use this position to further their own goals. I once asked him why he helped me instead of any other lesser nobles, and what he said will remain with me forever.

“Shaky,” he told me, “You have a good heart. I could see it every time you vetoed the decadent and wasteful proposals put forth by the other nobles. Some offered you the chance to leave this life and indulge in hedonistic desires until the end of your days, but you stood firm and refused them. Your moral integrity and duty to the land inspired me.”

Damn, there’s a tear drop on those last words. I’m not going to start again.

He was a brave guard, a dutiful Captain, and the best damned stallion I have ever known.

Summer Strike, wherever you are, I love you.

Shaky Quill

---

The Official Journal and Records of Shaky Quill, Steward to the Great Kingdom of Equilla

Sixty-four days until the summer solstice

I am still recovering. It seems his death has brought a great deal of attention down upon us.

As fearless in battle as he was in the throne room, those who conspire to harm us have one less reason to fear us.

No matter. We are still at peace. I am holding this land together for his sake. Lesser nobles lunge forward to feast on my fallen friend’s void. I stop them at every turn and punish them when I can. Not a single damn one of them is going to profit from his untimely demise.

The royal couple don’t seem the slightest bit offended. The anger that pulsed through my veins upon seeing the Princess spend the entire funeral ceremony staring into the Equinian Prince’s eyes was nearly uncontrollable.

Summer raised her and protected her for nearly his entire life! She didn’t shed a single tear, nor did she even glance in the direction of his coffin. She loved him as I did, this I know, but from her behaviour it might as well have been a dead chicken they lowered into the ground.

I must stay calm. Perhaps she will grieve in private and what I saw was merely an act. I will believe that. I have to believe that or I don’t know what I might do.

It seems his death and the Princess’s complete divorce from reality are having serious consequences in the city. My informers tell me unrest is brewing. Too many big things are happening at once and ponies are getting excited and reckless. I’ll have to see what I can do to rectify the situation.

Shaky Quill

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The Official Journal and Records of Shaky Quill, Steward to the Great Kingdom of Equilla

Sixty days until the summer solstice

Things are quickly getting out of control.

There was a riot today! A riot! In this city!

I have clearly underestimated how fearful our ponies have become. That they would go to such violent lengths is extremely troubling. It’s becoming apparent that I wasn’t the only pony to believe he would live for many more years. Such a devastating destabilization is causing a frenzy of panic.

I have advised the King to address our ponies several times this week. Hopefully seeing their friendly (and still very much alive) leader will put many minds at ease.

One of my top informants has left the city without as much as a note. He simply packed up and left with his family in the night. It’s worrying, to say the least. Perhaps he saw signs that our problems may not be going away.

Shaky Quill

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The Official Journal and Records of Shaky Quill, Steward to the Great Kingdom of Equilla

Fifty-six days until the summer solstice

My King has left to spend time at his winter estates, despite the quickly approaching summer. He has sworn us all to secrecy, so as far as the ponies in the city know he is still here.

It brings to mind the uncomfortable image of a captain fleeing his sinking ship.

I can’t spend too long writing this. I am essentially the highest ranked pony in the city now and they will look to me for guidance.

Concentrating is difficult when the cries of rioters echo from within the reddish smoke that fills the air.

Shaky Quill

---

The Official Journal and Records of Shaky Quill, Steward to the Great Kingdom of Equilla

Forty-four days until the summer solstice

Today was good. There were only a few minor fires and the riots lasted barely an hour before the guards broke them up.

I want to believe that we are turning a corner and that things are calming down, but in my heart I know this is simply a lull in the violence, like the centre of a great storm.

Even the power-hungry nobles are starting to back off and retreat to their private abodes. After all, who would want to control a burning city?

The Captain is the only reason I remain. He loved this city and this city loved him. Like an anguished friend going through the throes of grief, this place is tearing itself apart.

I can’t fail him. I won't fail him. Not while there is a single breath left in my body.

Shaky Quill

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