• Published 5th Mar 2012
  • 516 Views, 3 Comments

The Fall of a Tyrant - Zoom Star



One pony's journey to defeat a rising evil upon the throne of Equiheim.

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The Beginnings

History. Those who forget it are deemed to repeat it. It is one of the most important parts of our society today. Why, you ask? History is the stories told by the old to teach the new of their mistakes. History enables us to learn from the past in order to create a better future. And if you ask me, that sounds pretty important. But History is also biased. It is based off of sources, written or not, that are influenced by the victorious. You will almost always find that most historical battles, duels, fights and wars always depict the side that won as the good side. But that isn’t important right now. This story tells of a single stallion, who risked his life to rescue his people from the evil on the throne. This is his story, and I tell it to you, so that the next ruler in line shall not make the same mistakes.

The hands of chance have no hold on me,
The eyes of fate have no sight of me.
For I know what I must become,
A shadow on the winds of change.

-----

The ground was wet and muddy from the rain that had continued to pour endlessly in the dark night. The sun had risen since then, warming the areas of the forest floor that weren’t covered by the expanse of lush canopies overhead. Drops of water constantly dropped onto the ground from the many leaves that had been drenched. Everything was still at the moment.

The peaceful silence was utterly broken by the sound of carriage wheels rolling against the muddy forest path. The clattering of the wheel as it turned, along with the squelching as it ran through the mud, barely hid the sound of hooves hitting the ground in a canter. Soon, the carriage had made it to a large clearing in the canopy above, sun shining on its radiant colours.

The carriage was a very bright green, with red trimmings across the roof and doors, giving it a cheery tone most commonly associated with Hearth’s Warming Eve. The two large stallions at the front of the carriage were attached with large black harnesses. The harness was difficult to see in the darkness of the forest, especially seeing as their coats were black as well. They had bright red helmets, and matching armour.

They slowed to a halt underneath the radiant sun’s glare, stretching their black wings out to full length, revealing red plates up and down the bones of the wings. These were obviously the king’s royal guard. The passenger in the carriage opened the door and stepped out, obviously leaving his shelter for some fresh air.

The passenger had an orange coat, which shined under the bright rays of sunlight pouring through the large hole in the canopy. His mane and tail were a deep red, with yellow streaks running through it. Most of his coat was covered in his fancy gown, which had the same red and green color style as his carriage. He looked back at his guards, his yellow eyes squinting at them.

“Are you sure we are safe here?” he asked them, his voice squirrely and high-pitched. The first guard spoke, his deep voice echoing softly through the forest. “Don’t worry, Royal Adviser Hastein, you are in no danger here” he said, turning his head to watch the surrounding forest. Hastein scoffed, holding his head up. “Surely you have heard the rumours?” he asked.

The second guard, with the same deep voice, chuckled. “You don’t actually believe those old mare tales do you?” he asked, giving him a strange look. “The king has become, shall we say, loathed in recent times” Hastein replied, looking at the guard with disgust. “Chances are a rogue stallion may be hiding in these woods, and I am indeed a prime target!” he squeaked.

The guards chuckled, looking at each other and then falling silent, unwilling to continue the argument. They waited for a few minutes in the clearing, taking in the fresh air and relaxing from all the pulling they had done moments before. The trees rustled slightly, Hastein fidgeting in fear of being attacked by rogue bandits, but alas, it was the wind.

And then, it all happened at once. A shadowy blur pounced from the branches high above them, landing in front of the two guards. “What the-?” they both stuttered at the surprise of the new pony that had appeared, but it was too late. They both lay dead, cuts along their necks from where the pony had struck. Then, he rounded on the Royal Advisor.

Hastein squeaked, seeing the pony approach him, his hoof raised. And the tip of the hoof was a sharp shining metal shoe, blood dripping from it. Hastein fled, cantering as fast as his hooves could carry him. But, the pony was in front of him again, as if he had appeared from nowhere. And then, the shine of the metal glinted upwards, and swung down upon him. He was dead.

The pony looked down at his prey, examining the small pockets in the Advisor’s cloak. All he found was a small bag full of bits, which he put into a pocket of his own. He trotted back to the clearing, where the carriage laid still, the two guards lying motionless in front of it. The pony checked the storage compartment inside the carriage, and smiled at his findings.

Inside it was a large map, which he snatched up and unravelled in front of him. He skimmed over it, his eyes darting from one place to another, each place with different guard assignments and posts, which he stored in the deepest part of his memory bank for further inspection. Not wishing to leave any evidence, he placed the map back where it was, and closed the compartment door.

The sun was beginning to set, and the forest was becoming dark. The pony looked up into the gradually receding light, and then began walking back along the path. He went over the map in his mind again a few times, counting up the posts and reviewing the various jobs. The darkness was beginning to engulf him now, and so he broke into a canter, and then a gallop.

The scenery changed rapidly as the pony continued to gallop through the darkness. The trees became fewer in number, the dark sky filling with bright stars across it. The moon, a crescent shape, was shining amongst the small dots of light. The canopies of the trees slowly receded away, opening the sky completely.

Soon, the trees became small stumps, leaving large gaps in the forest. The path turned from dirt to gravel, and soon became a stone walkway. The pony stopped at the edge of the forest, looking down at the large town bustling below. The town was full of market stalls built of wood, and at highest point was a large castle of wood and stone, which looked over the entire town.

The pony pulled out a small handkerchief, and began cleaning his metal hooves, removing the blood. After pocketing the handkerchief, he pawed at the ground to add dirt and dust to them. Then, he began to trot into the town; the guards on either side of the bridge nodded their approval, allowing him to cross the bridge. He nodded back at them, and began walking towards the large wooden building by the fountain.

The pony pushed the door open and casually walked into the large tavern. The tavern was full of ponies, some sitting at tables drinking apple cider, others simply talking to each other in heated conversation. The pony moved up to the counter, feeling the curious stares of the ponies around him. The bartender looked him over, and then gave him a large apple cider.

The pony welcomed the drink, pulling it up with his hoof and drinking it quickly. It was delicious, the immense apple flavour running down his throat. The pony slammed the drink down, placed a few bits onto the counter and simply said “A room please”. The bartender nodded, and pointed with his hoof at the stairs across the room.

The pony nodded, walking up the stairs and into the first free room. He threw his cloak onto the rack in the corner, revealing a black coat, matched with white mane and tail. His flank was marked with a grey raven, his cutie mark, which he had earned as a young child. He took his metal hooves off his real hooves, hanging them on a hook next to his cloak.

The pony stepped up to the small mirror, looking over his coat and sighing. He turned, watching the door patiently. Then, there was a small soft knock on the door, and the pony casually walked over and opened it wide, allowing the pony one the other side to enter. The pony took off their large cloak and hung it next to the other.

The pony was a mare, a dashing bright yellow coat. Her mane and tail were bright orange, which matched the color of her eyes. Her nose and hooves were tipped with a white-cream color. She smiled at the stallion, walking past him gracefully and setting herself down in the chair by the window. The stallion smiled back, and simply asked “A drink, Jarnsaxa?”

The mare smiled, and simply nodded. She looked out of the window, staring down at the busy market stalls, rushing to sell their goods. The stallion made his way into the small kitchen, pouring out two apple ciders into two tankards and placing them on a tray. He brought the tray through and placed them onto the small table between the two windows, and sat opposite of the mare.

The mare smiled, taking a gulp of cider and setting the tankard back down. “Word around town is the bandits in the Glistenheath Forest killed two guards and the Royal Advisor of the king” she finally said, her voice soft and charming. The stallion smiled, looking up into her orange eyes. “Nice work, but did you get the plans, Arngeir?” she asked, a questioning look on her face. Arngeir smiled, and then laughed, getting a confused look from Jarnsaxa.

“Always straight to business, I see” he said, grinning at Jarnsaxa. She smiled, sighing heavily. “We are fighting the most important person in Equiheim, you know that right?” she asked, looking concerned. Arngeir simply rolled his eyes, and then took out a large map of Equiheim. Jarnsaxa stood up and looked over his shoulder, watching him edit it.

The map was split into 6 parts, 3 in the northern regions, in the rest in the south. The top 3 consisted of Hoofgaurd, the capital of Equiheim, Pony Pass, the forested area full of ancient trees, and the Vigrid Canterlands, a vast desert of ponds and geysers. The bottom 3 consisted of Trotholm Keep, the military base of the king, Biwalk Bridge, the gateway to the other worlds, and Griffonscar, the land owned by the kings allies the Griffons.

Arngeir delved into the deepest depths of his memory and recovered the map he had found in the carriage in Glistenheath Forest, and began adding the troop movements for this month onto his own map. As always, Hoofgaurd was the most heavily guarded, Griffonscar and Trotholm Keep coming a close second. If they were to start a revolution, they would need to begin in the others.

Arngeir scanned over the newly edited map, and decided the next place to start was Biwalk Bridge. Jarnsaxa had allies in Equestria, and we would need them if we were going to fight back against the tyrant that now sat on the throne. The bridge had 5 guard towers surrounding it, which meant it would be hard to take, but it would be easy to keep it in their possession when they did.

Jarnsaxa must have seen him concentrating on the region, because she smiled and nodded, placing her hoof on the area of map labelled Biwalk Bridge. Arngeir smiled, placing the map into his saddlebag and taking his coat of the hanger and covering himself with it. He lifted the hood over his mane, and then swung his saddlebag over his back. Finally, he attached his sharp, metal hooves.

Jarnsaxa stared at the sharp metal objects he had put onto his hooves, slight fear seeping into her big orange eyes. She shook her head, smiling at the stallion so he did not notice her fear, and followed him out of the door, whipping her coat of the hanger and wrapping it around herself. The two cloaked ponies left the tavern, with more stares showing them out the door.

Arngeir trotted up to one of the stalls in the market, looking at the various trinkets on the counter in front of him. It was then he noticed a small interesting piece on the back wall, hanging from an ornate hook. It was a small sphere, with runes running across its entire face. It seemed to be made of pure gold, and was emanating a small glow.

Arngeir looked at the stall owner with curiosity, seemingly surprised at how he had come to acquire it. “How much for the ball in the back” he said, trying to sound like it wasn’t very valuable. It worked, as the stall keeper gave him a disgusted look. “20 bits, and nothing less” he said, taking the sphere off the hanger and placing it on the counter.

Arngeir took out the small pouch he had taken from the Advisor and placed 20 bits onto the counter. Nodding at the stall owner and saying a small “Thank you” he took the sphere and placed it in a small compartment of his bag. He smiled at the bargain he had made, only just realising who was standing next to him with a quizzical look.

The two ponies then made their way to the large gates at the front of the town. They pushed the gates open and walked up to the carriage that was standing there. The carriage was slightly duller in appearance than the Royal Advisor’s parade float, but it would get them from A to B well enough. It was a deep brown, which mimicked the coat of the old pony pulling it.

Jarnsaxa placed 10 bits into the pouch around the old pony’s neck, saying “Biwalk Bridge, please” and joining Arngeir in the carriage. They sat opposite each other, feeling the soft pull as the carriage began to move forward, the distant sounds of the old pony’s hooves hitting the ground as it went from a trot to a canter, and then a steady gallop.

Arngeir watched out of the window as the landscape began to change before his eyes. The desolate forests were becoming lusher the further away from Hoofguard they went. The settlement of Hoofguard had caused a vast destruction of the forest landscape to make way for building materials and building plots. But this changed as they moved away from it.

The leaves became a brighter green color than the dull brown of the previous forest trees. The trunks and roots looked much healthier than the greying replicas by the capital city they had so quickly departed from. The ride began to get smoother as we continued, which was kindly welcomed by the two ponies sitting in the back.

Arngeir turned to Jarnsaxa, smiling. He pulled out a small map that he had picked off someone’s pocket in the market. It was a large version of the region of Biwalk Bridge. Arngeir stretched it out between their laps, Jarnsaxa looking down at it. The map showed a large orb in the centre of the map, surrounded by 5 towers, each with at least 10 guards each to protect the Bridge.

“I suggest we take the two at the back, one each?” she asked, looking up at Arngeir. Arngeir smiled at his apprentice, he had taught her well. “Then, we take the next to down, following the route” he replied, pointing to the next two towers. “We’ll meet up at the 5th tower at the entrance, and take the Bridge together” Jarnsaxa smiled, excited to finally be on a mission with her mentor.

Suddenly, the carriage stopped abruptly. Arngeir rolled away the map and hid it back in his bag. He looked out the window, confused as to what had caused the interruption. The night was still young, the moon’s eerie brightness lighting the forest path. The forest was calm and peaceful; nothing was stirring, perfectly normal for any other pony. But not Arngeir, he smelled an ambush.

Jarnsaxa opened her mouth to speak, but Arngeir lifted his hoof up, and she fell silent at once. Arngeir exited the carriage, the dark shadows engulfing him under the black cloak. As he predicted, hundreds of arrows came down upon him, except he was not there. The arrows struck limply into the cold hard ground, as if the attackers had shot at nothing.

Then, a dozen stallions landed from the trees, green hats and cloaks hiding their mane and coat. They were forest bandits, common on the roads between borders. They looked around at the area, waiting for a wounded pony to emerge from the shadows. But instead, there was a large gust of wind, and 5 dropped cuts running up their sides and neck.

Arngeir turned, his cloak flowing in the wind. The remaining bandits cowered in fear at the pony in front of them, and they ran like headless chicken into the deep forest. Arngeir smiled at his victory, turning back to the carriage. The old pony who was drawing the carriage led still, an arrow stuck firmly between his eyes. Arngeir sighed, moving towards the body.

As he removed his pouch of gold from around his neck, he called for Jarnsaxa to leave the carriage. She hesitated at first, climbing out and staring at the 5 bodies in front of her. She gulped heavily, turning and trotting over to her mentor. Arngeir threw the money pouch to her, and she promptly caught it, adding it to her bag. The two ponies then began the long walk into Biwalk Bridge.