• Published 2nd Sep 2013
  • 1,481 Views, 36 Comments

Assault on the Black Forest - Farseer



As the fight for Equestria goes on, General Applejack of the House Earthborn seeks to contain the Everfree Forest before it drives out the ponies on her land...

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Scouting Crews

The first order of business was scouting out the surrounding areas of terrain. After walking about a mile it, Big Macintosh had the entire group work to clear out three acres square of land to set up a base camp of sorts. He then divided up his Ponies-at-arms into three groups. One group, along with the Battle Buckers and the Juggernauts, would stay behind and, under the guidance of a blacksmith, set up entrenchments across the camp. The moment that they had entered the forest, they were under threat of attack. Honestly, he was surprised they had not seen action yet.

The second group, along with the Rangers, would garrison the camp and guard it while the entrenchments were being built, as well as clear out more terrain so that they might be able to expand the camps. And, finally, he split the third group up into ten-pony squads to scout out the terrain. He only had suspicions about the terrain, and had almost no idea about the lay of the land, or what camps or otherwise that the House Everfree had set up. He told them to be back in a week, or else be accounted as missing or killed in action.

Therefore there were five scouting squads of ponies. The two groups located the lay of the land, about ten miles away from the camp. The third found a zebra tribe's camp- obviously a valuable resource of potions, warriors, and skirmishers to the cause. It would have to be dealt with. Of the fourth, only one came back, and he was broken, scratched and bruised, with a deep gash in his forehead. He remained conscious enough to tell them that they were ambushed, twelve miles from camp, by a squad of Wildings, and ran into... he didn't know. A monster made of slime and branches. After this, he fell unconscious, and was sent back to Fillydelphia for medical treatment.

The fifth squad was entirely a different story.


There were indeed, several attacks, but they were weak and the attackers retreated almost as soon as they came, easily repelled by the company of ponies guarding the camp. Fortunately, these attacks dealt little casualties, but they gave little as well. Big Macintosh deducted that they were either delaying and putting pressure on them, or that they were testing the defenses. Either way sat ill with him, for the Everfree were well known for fielding large armies quickly. What, then, was holding them back?

Either way, it sat ill with him. It sat ill with Braeburn, too, who now commonly left base with his rangers to flush out any Wildings in the area. The sheer amount that they sent packing just, once again, made him wonder. If all of them attacked at once, they wouldn't stand a chance. So, why wait?

As he was pondering this, into his tent stumbled three ponies, and... Sergeant Thunder Lion? He looked at him oddly. The master scout was due for a promotion several times over, but he never accepted them, prefering to stay in the back to train the ponies-at-arms. He was a valuable asset and a master scout, even better than the renowned Nighthooves of the House Whitegold. But...

"Sergeant Lion, why are you here?"

The grizzled old veteran smiled. "I don't know, sir. I found myself whole year without an active assignment for some reason- perhaps some clerical error in the upper offices. So I went to Applejack, and I told her so, and she said I could join in this expedition if I could catch up. And I caught up." He sighed. "And you won't believe what we found..."


Now let us rewind to a week before. Sergeant Thunder was standing in front of the forest, staring it down, smiling as he inspected the thick layer of leaves and branches on the ground, making it almost impossible to walk through.

But who said anything about going over?

And so Thunder swiftly scaled the tree and proceeded to stalk through its immense treetops, skirting around the few squads of Wildings enjoying themselves. Odd. They seemed slightly less off guard than before...


Three days into his trek in the forest, covered in various lacerations from a rather close encounter with a carnivorous plant, Thunder discovered a squad of Earthborn, trekking through the undergrowth. The sergeant in charge scolded them as they made about as much noise as a Beastbuster, and honestly, he agreed. He wondered what their training sergeant- also known as himself- would think. He actually debated going down there and saying what he thought. But then, he spotted movement in the nearby overgrowth. He shouted an alarm, and they turned to it just as two squads of Wilding ponies leaped out of the bushes. He launched his own ambush, quickly taking out the leader, so obviously marked out with his battle honors pinned onto his furs, and two others before they realized one had gotten behind them. And, distracted so, the Earthborn were able to eliminate them all. One of the Earthborn was dead- his head leaking blood and brains after a direct hit with a club- but the Wildings were all either dead, dying, or were smart enough to pretend otherwise. He sighed as he saw the others. "As your sergeant said before, you are making more sounds than a harvester. Please, try to keep quiet if it is okay with you?"

They others stared at him, dumbstruck. The sergeant stepped forward. "Sergeant Lion? What are you doing here?"

"I was told by Commander Applejack to catch up with you. Have I caught up with you?"

A few heads nodded, none meeting his eyes. He sighed. "Come on, now, no need to feel insulted. What exactly are you all doing, anyways?"

"General Macintosh wants us to-" started one pony.

"Scout the surrounding area? Well, he has the right idea, although you all obviously forgot your training. What direction are you going in? Do you know?"

Silence.

"Well, let me inform you. You're heading southeast. If you keep going, you'll stumble out of the forest, and there'll be no way of you getting back."

"But, sir, how do you know? The leaves are so thick, we can even see the sun clearly!" said another, near the back, somewhat pale as he shifted away from a hemorrhaged pony.

Sergeant Thunder located the closest patch of sunlight that didn't have a body of a dead Wilding in it and stood in it. "You see what direction the shadow is stretching?"

"Yes, sir?"

"And it is obviously morning, correct?"

"Correct."

"Well, then, that's easy. A shadow always points the opposite of where the sun is shining. So if the sun rises in the east..."

There was a general 'oh'. It caused Thunder to smile. These were obviously somewhat green troops. And green troops needed to be taught.

His specialty.

"Come on, everypony. Let's get this scouting mission over with."

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