• Published 13th Feb 2012
  • 13,792 Views, 103 Comments

Project Renaissance - Out of Service



Two men awaken from almost two thousand years of slumber and find the world they once knew radically changed. Together, they will lead a revolution against their alien surroundings in an attempt to remind the world of one thing: humanity is not dead.

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Prologue

Project Renaissance


By Lucius Seneca & Stillmatic


Prologue

Endless dunes surrounded Prince Blueblood. What was a scorching sun gave no heat, and nothing of interest was in sight. He cantered at a moderate pace through the sand, a light-blue and checkered headscarf flowing in a soundless gust. While his face was concealed and goggles covered his eyes, the two tell-tale signs of identity clung to his being; a compass rose decorated both sides of his flank and a sheathed sword bobbed up and down across his back with each step. Yet, the further he moved from his unknown origin, the more hostile the environment became. Despite the lack of sound, the young prince could feel the whipping of higher force winds making their way closer. The closing distance meant lesser visibility and although he could still see roughly ten meters in front of him, there wasn't a visible source of the environmental disarray. But there was a yearning inside him, some sense of necessity pulled at him, perhaps coaxed him and he continued on.

After clearing what seemed to be the hundredth dune, Blueblood came across the heaviest pull he had ever felt. The crest of the sandy hill began to shift as he stepped upon it. A second later, a ripple of energy tore across sand, pulling away the shifty ground beneath him and yanking the scarf in front of his face. His hooves began sliding forward and his face, although hidden, morphed into a grimace. Gritting his teeth and bracing himself, Blueblood squinted and made out the form of a sandstorm before him. Not knowing what that truly meant, the stallion began to feel firsthand what the force of nature intended to do. He sunk his hooves into what remained of the dune and held his ground.

Steeling himself, the prince braved the coming storm.


Blueblood awoke with a jolt. Sweat covered his body and dampened the luxurious bedding beneath him. The sheets had been tossed from his body, presumably from his own doing and the contents covering his bedside table had been flung across the floor. After turning on the nearby lamp and looking around his room, the prince placed his hooves together and shut his eyes. His breathing slowed back to it's normal pace and after relaxing, he cleared his head. Whatever reason the nightmare continued to burden him remained elusive, but the recurrence of it seemed to create a clearer and clearer picture with every experience. In the beginning, when the visions had first started to take true form, Blueblood could vaguely make out his own body, but now there was true definition, and hopefully an actual message. What it could be wasn't clear, but he was sure that someone would know what to make of it.

Prince Blueblood wrestled himself from sleep and got out of bed. His room was well-decorated, not simply from the amazing craftsmanship that went into it as a whole, but from all of the items collected from his travels that reminded him of exploits all across Equestria and beyond. Though his reputation never showed it and was simply an artificial aspect of his life, the prince had a deep love of traveling and exploring where ponies dared to set hoof in front of hoof. The dreams seemed to play off of that and the relative he had in mind could not only decipher its meaning, but was definitely awake at this very moment.

Blueblood trotted to his dresser mirror and scanned his face. It seemed fine, not that anyone would actually see it. His mane was given its volume back with a quick brush-through. The signature dickie that he never went into public without was gently set in place and tied. He nodded to himself and grabbed a bag of bits as he trotted out of his room, through a hallway, down the double stairs, out the mansion door. It was night out, but the many streetlights Canterlot was famous for were alight and burning brightly. Few citizens were out and about, and mostly patrol guards seemed to populate the streets. All the better for him to move around. Prince Blueblood, without a single reason for fear, made his way to the palace at a relaxed pace. As expected, no problems arose, considering he lived in one of the most aristocrat-populated areas in the entire country. Security was tight here, thankfully.

The prince arrived within minutes to the castle grounds. The guards stationed at the gates saluted as he passed, already having grown used to seeing the noble quite a long time ago. Though he was incredibly unpopular with Shining Armor and his closest colleagues, the regular guards that moved about the city and palace seemed to keep neutral to him. That wasn't to say that one didn't at least smile every now and then, or perhaps nod, but the royal guard typically upheld the greatest amount of passiveness he ever witnessed.

"If only that arrogant brat wasn't their captain," he thought to himself out loud. "He caused that whole mess with the Changelings in the first place..."

Lost in his own thoughts, Blueblood barely noticed a hoof hook itself around his neck, bringing him close to another body, "You're still talking to yourself these days, Big Blue?"

Said stallion froze before quickly withdrawing away from the pony he loathed the most in the entire city. Captain Shining Armor, or rather Prince Shining Armor now, flashed a grin before walking up to his old rival.

Blueblood narrowed his eyes, "What are you doing here? Don't you have something to do that isn't a waste of somepony's time?"

"You need to calm down a bit there. I'm only trying to be friendly with you. After all, nobles are supposed to be close."

The prince ground his teeth in frustration. That annoying voice and accent were intolerable. Why his sister had chosen such a waste of genetic material as a husband was a mystery upon itself, and also something he didn't want to trouble himself with. Bringing his horn to a mild glow, Blueblood teleported out of sight and to the doors of the court. That proved mostly effective, with the exception that he now had several spears directed as his neck. They were immediately pulled away once he was recognized by the two guards he seemed to see just about everywhere. He didn't know the stallion's name, but didn't care anyway.

The lankier guard, a brown unicorn stallion, bowed his head slightly, "Sorry about that, sir. We thought you were an intruder."

"We? Speak for yourself." A batpony mare turned to Blueblood and smiled with playful mirth, "Popping in all of a sudden, are we? That's not like you at all, Blueblood."

The prince readjusted his dickie and returned with a playful smile, "Ah, I didn't expect to see you here, Mettle. "

She laughed, "Work to live and live to work, you know?"

"Of course." Blueblood let the smile seep off his face and turned serious for a moment, "I might need to speak to you a little later. Nothing is set in stone right now, but keep your schedule clear for now."

"Absolutely," she said, standing aside as the door opened. "Well, you probably came here to see the Princess. Drop by later when I finish my shift?"

"To another diner, I suppose?" he asked, heading into the court.

Mettle rolled her eyes, "You know me too well."

Blueblood laughed before finally entering, the door closing behind him. He had always enjoyed the company of Mettle, and their friendship was quite tolerable in most cases. The same could be said in regards to his relationship with his aunts. Though they had to keep appearances by coming off as strict in public towards him, the reality was far different. His short stint as an Equestrian agent for the crown had put him in good waters with his beloved aunties, especially when he had prevented a Changeling spy from ruining the Grand Galloping Gala. However, this visit had nothing to do with business or royal matters. As far as he was concerned, Blueblood simply wanted some explanation, perhaps a few answers, in regards to his nightmares and nothing more.

Moving in a brisk trot, the young prince traveled the long red carpet and straight to Princess Luna. The bored royal lifted her head from her hooves and smiled at her nephew warmly.

"It seems you've finally become motivated enough to come by," she teased, the loudness of her voice long since tamed.

Blueblood headed up the stairs and sat next to her, "Oh, auntie, being motivated to do something is SO last year. I'm determined, these days."

Luna's face went concerned, "This is about your nightmares, I presume?"

"If you knew, why didn't you prevent them? I thought you guided ponies when their dreams turned sour," he responded in an equally sour tone.

The Princess twirled a hoof in the air nonchalantly, "Everypony assumes it's so easy to get into dreams and nightmares and assist them. I haven't attempted to do anything past giving nightmares for the last thousand years, so my linguistic skills aren't the only things that are going to be rusty." She paused for a short moment, "It is also much harder to assist the more developed minds of adults as opposed to foals. Too many things going on in one's life can become excellent blockage for mind links."

Blueblood frowned, "I see. So you won't be able to stop them, then?"

"No, but it is possible to help determine the cause or message the nightmares are trying to convey."

Sometimes, he was glad he had such talented family members. Them being in very high-ranking positions didn't hurt either.

"That'd help me quite a bit, auntie."

"Explain the nightmare to me."

Needless to say, the conversation was sufficiently interesting and informational for it's duration. Each time he pointed out some obscurity within his dream, it was some reasoning that tied back to his own experiences. Seeing his aunt truly use her vast stores of knowledge on the area of dreams was astounding, leaving him to wonder if Princess Celestia had similar talents. The information he gained, in the most watered down and basic form, was that he was likely being plagued by his Cutie Mark's desire to fulfill itself.

"Now, young Blueblood, I am just as courageous as the next pony, but even I have to recommend taking caution with something such as this," She explained as seriously as possible, "I'm not a fool, and I've seen you wandering off on weekends and going on escapades. Your mother and my sister seem oblivious to this, but take heed, the world is a dangerous, untamed place and there are creatures within it that you should pray you never cross."

He nodded confidently, "I know, I've recently spent some time in the Everfree... But Froud Valley? Isn't that quite a ways away? Why would my Cutie Mark tell me to go somewhere so desolate?"

Luna put a hoof to her mouth in thought before looking back at her nephew, "I can't say with certainty what your Cutie Mark wants you to do and why it burns, but the answers obviously lie in Froud Valley. It's rare for an adult pony to experience a second revelation in such a way, but I'd tread lightly regardless. Perhaps hire some helping hooves to check the area beforehand?"

Blueblood looked back at the door, considering the idea of hiring his winged friend. He was reluctant to use outside help to remove some of the mystery of exploration, but if the Valley was as bad as his nightmares made it out to be, then he could accept whatever losses in experience would come as a result. After all, it was mostly an arid desert without much in terms of landmarks. Surely there was something of interest hidden beneath all that warm sand.

The prince hugged his aunt and said his thanks before exiting. He said his goodbyes to Mettle Petal and resolved to ask her later on if she wanted to earn some extra bits. As he left the palace, he plotted and thought. This would be his greatest escapade yet.

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