• Published 30th Oct 2013
  • 10,920 Views, 102 Comments

Interview with a Batpony - Gulheru



Twilight Sparkle has a one of a kind chance to talk to an actual batpony. It is a great opportunity to finally learn the truth about their species. Entry to the EQD's Batpony Writeoff.

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Interview with a Batpony

: click :

"Recording number one. Golden Oak Library, Second Summer Moon. This is Twilight Sparkle’s recording of an interview with Ponyville’s new citizen, Midnight Wind. Hello!"

"Greetings, it is a pleasure."

"Thank you so much for agreeing to have this interview! It is fascinating to be able to talk with a batpony. First, I would want you to call me just 'Twilight'. I don’t want to make the whole thing sound official, you know."

"Very well, Twilight. It is an honor for me."

"How should I refer to you, Midnight Wind?"

"Just 'Midnight' shall be fine."

"Wonderful! Let us start then. This interview’s purpose is to talk about your species, its origins, culture, land you come from. As I found out, there are but scarce amounts of confirmed information about batponies in Equestrian books. Do you know what might be the reason for that, Midnight?"

"I believe I do. And, as agreed before, I am willing to grant more insight on our kind, for the sake of dealing with misconceptions about our species..."

"Yes! Over the years, many tales and stories concerning batponies were conceived, but this talk gives us the chance of learning the truth finally. So, Midnight, let me start with a rather general question. What can you tell us about batponies?"

"I guess I should start with a little introduction, if I may."

"Oh! Of course!"

"I am Midnight Wind of the Midnight Family. I am a noctral."

"Uhm... what did you say?"

"I am a noctral. It is how we call ourselves in our dialect. It roughly translates to a 'night-dweller'."

"A nok-htral..."

"Quite good, Twilight, you just have to do the rolling 'r' sound. It is a feature of our language."

"I see. Right, let me try again. A noctrrral."

: laughter :

"Now you overdid it, but it was really nice."

"Thank you, Midnight. So, that is how you call yourselves?"

"That is correct. So... I am a noctral. We are ponies originating from the mountain ranges to the east of Equestria, that I believe you call... 'Tramplevania'? Am I correct?"

"Yes! Trampelvanian Alps are considered to be the most distant reaches of Equestrian influence in the east. High mountain ranges, mostly uncharted and—"

"Apologize for interrupting, but if I might ask, why is this the name? It would suggest that it is a land where we are trampling everything in our way or something..."

"I don’t think I know the etymology I am afraid. Our sources mention only that it is a dangerous region, with mountain passes forming a sprawling labyrinth, covered in snow and prone to avalanches."

"Which is quite correct. The 'Alps', as you call them, form most of our dominion. The only set of relatively safe passages that can be crossed by hooves are located to the west of our dwellings and still they are often too dangerous to try using them without flying..."

"That would explain a remark from the book I have right here... Let me find the page..."

: paper flicking :

"You see, a famed Equestrian traveler, Marco Pony, states here, in his book, that: 'The reaches art great and perilous and nopony hast durst to cross them lest wind dost bless them.' Would you say he is telling the truth then? Is it such a dangerous land?"

"Uhm... well... If I knew exactly what he was saying, then maybe... but..."

"Oh! You don’t know Old Equestrian, Midnight?"

"No, I do not, actually. Modern Equestrian is rather widely known to us, but it is not our main language. We have our own, distinct dialect that practically all of our literature is written in and which we use on every day basis."

"Oh, that sounds fascinating! A whole, separate, fully developed language! Do you think you can teach me some of it later on?"

"Ze delec. With pleasure."

: giggle :

"I have to say, Midnight, you speak Equestrian really well then! Your vocabulary is solid."

"You honor me, Twilight. Although I am sure it is more courtesy from you than anything. I can tell I do not imitate it well enough."

"Well, you do have that 'r' you have mentioned."

"RrrrrrRrrrrRrrrr."

: laughter :

"Exactly!"

: laughter :

"Alright now. What Marco Pony is saying is that without flying, nopony has the courage to try crossing the mountains."

"Ah, his words are true. Even with flight, crossing on hooves aside, noctrali avoid those western passages in winter."

"Did you just use the plural form?"

"Yes. I did."

"Knew it! So, tell me what is your land like while we are at it?"

"Hmmm... I think most of ponies would find it largely inhospitable. Vast majority of Noctraliya... yes, our name for our dominion... is covered in granite mountain ranges. Our climate is cold and rather unforgiving, especially in winter, when snowfall is dense, often coming in blizzards. Our summers are pretty short in comparison."

"It sounds somewhat similar to the weather of the Griffin Kingdoms. Is it?"

"I cannot really tell, I have never read about those regions, nor have I been in them..."

"Snow present all time of the year, strong winds, low temperature, especially during the night."

"Pretty close to what we experience. But we do have summers... although short."

"The way you are presenting it, tells me that your seasons change on their own. That you are either incapable of controlling the weather changes, or you can only influence them minimally. Which brings us to one of my main questions – are batponies a pegasi sub-species?"

"No. And we do not look kindly on calling us 'sub-species', Twilight..."

: silence :

"I... am sorry, I didn’t want to insult you..."

"No offence was taken. I just know how some of our nobility would react to those words and I’d rather make sure you understand not to use them if ever talking to our leaders."

"A-alright then. I am sorry once more. So... you are a separate species?"

"Yes, we are. Our origins are unknown, unmentioned even in the oldest written sources we possess, save for a little remark in our first chronicle. Noctrali lack the ability to control weather as pegasi do. Instead we have adapted to the conditions present in our lands."

"It is not an easy place even to adapt to, I believe, those conditions do sound really harsh. Which makes me think your physique is a reflection and effect of just that adjusting process."

"That is right. We live on higher altitude than unicorns and earth ponies, greatest peaks reaching even above the cloud level, where dwellings in your lands have the pegasi. We are more resistant to fatigue and we have found out to be built sturdier than native Equestrians."

"While we are able to affect weather conditions, rather than need to get used to them, your species have evolved to match the ones present."

"That is the case."

"Another question that is connected to that – is it true you are somehow connected to the dragons? Hence your wings and eyes?"

"Funny thing is, we learned about dragons from our contacts with Equestria. In all of our history there is no mention of those creatures. I guess they must have never reached our dominion."

"So you do not have an addition of dragon blood in your veins?"

"No. Although we understand why we would be seen as those types of... hybrids. Again, another word not to be used around our elders."

"Right. So 'batponies' is actually correct."

"Yes, it is. We are aware of the similarities with our little brothers. The wings, for example."

"From what I can tell, they look like bone-based extensions of your skin and muscle tissue, without any type of covering."

: swoosh :

"That would be an accurate description. Since we cannot and do not rely on feathers to keep us in the air, our wings are developed more firmly. We fly with swiftness and fight effectively against strong gales of mountain wind."

"So you say you might be faster than the pegasi?"

"In theory, since we only have some sources treating about comparisons. But they claim that we are able to fly faster, longer and with more precision than your feathered brethren. Although your Wonderbolt squadron is known amongst the peaks of Noctraliya as potent rivals for our best fliers. Not to mention the fame of Rainbow Dash, the Loyal."

"You know of Rainbow Dash?"

"Yes, we do. And a couple of our elders are quite under-amazed by the fact that she leaves a rainbow trail behind her when she flies..."

"I think I can believe that."

: giggle :

"Now, about your eyes..."

"Ah, yes. I do understand that those might be an unsettling feature. Since we are a “night-dwelling” species, we need a way of existing with limited light. While our dear bats developed their ears, we, noctrali, have eyesight."

"How does this work exactly? Why are your pupils slit and vertical? Are they magnifying light so well?"

"I am not a specialist in anatomy, but I have basic knowledge of how this works and your assumption is correct. Our eyes are able to focus light from even the faintest of sources, thanks to how our pupils are built and shaped. This allows us to be able to see completely clear during the night, mostly thanks to the stars and the Immaculate Moon... Yet even in nearly complete darkness we can spot anything within a few hoofsteps before us."

"Is this adaptation also causing your irises to be of specific color? Or is that taking it too far?"

"Well, most of us do possess yellow eyes, stretching from close to white to deep amber. Although viridian, crimson and sapphire ones are present, though scarcely. They have a tendency of reflecting light faintly, so they sometimes look more shiny than eyes normally are..."

"And your coats? I presume they are mostly grey with the addition of grey?"

: laughter :

"How did you guess? Well, in seriousness, they are diverging from nearly black to white, with blue, brown or purple accents. So it is not as depressing as you have made it sound."

: laughter :

"But back to the eyesight. What about direct sunlight? Or a brighter light source? Are they upsetting your eyes?"

"Ah, yes, here lies the main problem with our sight. Our light-focusing eyes are also able to magnify light of artificial sources or the Judging Sun. This can go so far as to even completely blind us for a couple of days if we are not careful enough. We can dwell under the Judging Sun, but we see as if everything was... hmmm... like when you enter from a dark room into a well-lit one. Just constantly. Our eyes do not adapt."

"How harmful can a prolonged exposure be?"

"Well, we avoid testing it out, especially when it comes to daylight. But I know it would limit our visibility after dark, at first. And blind us later on. We have mentions in our books of permanent loss of sight."

"That’s terrible..."

"That’s life. Thankfully, it would take a while for us to suffer from it. Though nopony risks it. Speaking of which, I am grateful that you have decided to go with candles."

"I had a feeling they would be appropriate."

"They are, they are just enough for us. We use them in our dwellings. Also, I think a library never looks better than when it is in delicate candlelight."

: giggle :

"We have something in common. Now, what about the tufts of hair on your ears?"

"No telling, actually. Some would claim they help us in hearing. Although with our winters, my thought is that they help the tips of our ears not to fall off in the freezing cold... But I do not know, to be fair."

"I see. And I think I finally need to ask about the last feature... although, maybe first I shall present a question – are you hungry?"

: laughter :

"I was expecting this question from the very start. The fangs, right?"

"Uh-huh. Since I did not find information about your diet other than the ones in folktales, even though I don’t believe them... I rather ask, than guess."

"Fear not, Twilight, we are not carnivorous."

"That’s a relief, I cannot lie. But, why those sharp teeth then?"

"Fruits."

"Fruit?!"

"Yes. Is fruit diet so... unlikely in Equestria?"

"No, not at all. I just... why did nopony think of that earlier?! Why didn't I think of that?!"

"I guess because it is not so dramatic, if you ask me. Ferocious 'batponies' going for the throats are far more interesting than 'batponies' nibbling on grapes and oranges."

"So, what is your diet exactly? How do you get fruit in such harsh conditions?"

"It comes to the topography of our lands. While majority of it is mountainous, the southern reaches are more of a highland area. Dalli, or 'Valleys' in your language, are the one and only part of our dominion that allow cultivation of land. And because of the region being lower, it is noticeably warmer than the rest of our country. Steep slopes help us maximize sunlight for our crops, which consist mostly of those grapes and oranges I have mentioned before. Some pears, also watermelons."

"Apples?"

"Not really, although we like their taste."

"Do you eat the whole fruit?"

"We need more drink than food. Our teeth allow us to chomp into a fruit through the peel and suck it of its juice. Once a day we need the flesh. But our thirst is quite high and results in us needing a lot of supplies to sustain our population. I have to say that our elders would be amazed by the surplus of apples Ponyville has. How do you call that orchard place again?"

"Sweet Apple Acres, Midnight."

"Ah, yes. Attended to by Applejack, the Honest, if I am correct."

"Yes! Applejack and her family take care of those orchards."

"Well..."

: hoofclap :

"... in Noctraliya they would be under stalwart protection of the Covenant, with the amount of supplies they are able to produce."

"The 'Covenant'?"

"Ah, yes. Explaining that would possibly force us to talk about organization of our lands."

"Alright, that would be good! But first, I propose we take a little break."

"Very well, but I have a question for you to answer during it..."

: hoofsteps :

"Ask away, Midnight!"

"Is Pinkie Pie, the Laughing, always so... random?"

: laughter :

: click :

***

: click :

"Continuation of Twilight Sparkle’s interview with Midnight Wind. I would like to know something important first, before we talk about your lands a bit more."

"Please do ask, it is the point of an interview."

"How did you come in touch with Equestria in the first place actually? And why we know so little about you, aside from some stories and tales? I could not find any information that would be considered legit... only the mention of there being a Nightguard a thousand years ago. And then nothing. Blank. Zero. And now, suddenly, you are here, Nightguard restored like nothing happened."

"I think you can answer this yourself, Twilight, if you give it a thought. I will aid you, naturally."

"Hmm... alright, I can try, I guess... I had a thought, actually."

: cough :

"You are a night-dwelling species, so I believe night is important in your culture, maybe influencing your architecture, maybe laws, maybe even beliefs and morals... Of course, I am just making assumptions."

"You are doing well."

"Thanks. As such, basing it on your usage of wording like “Judging Sun” and “Immaculate Moon”... and you closing your eyes and bowing your head every time those words occur... I do believe it has something to do with Princess Luna when it comes to you being present in Equestria... and that it has ties with Nightmare Moon..."

"Neskaza Lunee... Impora Maroce. The Immaculate Moon... and the Corrupting Darkness, yes... Your mind is a wonderful one."

"Thank you, you’re very kind. But, that still does not answer all of my questions. Can you tell me the whole story?"

"Most certainly, at least as far as I myself know of it."

: sigh :

"Since the beginning of our history, we have been venerating the Immaculate Moon... and the Judging Sun. That first remark about our species’ origin which I have mentioned before reads, in translation, 'The Moon awakened us'. Our believes are based on the dogma that the Immaculate Moon... is our guardian and protector. She guides our hooves and our wings, She shields us from peril and always watches over us, Her children. While the Judging Sun is a deity just, but unforgiving and scorching. The Immaculate Moon... can save us from the Judging Sun’s piercing light with Her mysterious, beautiful illumination. We allow ourselves to dwell in Her glory, serving Her the best we can."

"Ditheism, then? Two-goddesses system?"

"Yes, exactly. I do not know how similar to Equestrian, though. No matter. The thing is, when the first scouts of your Kingdom reached Noctraliya, we were astonished to learn that the Immaculate Moon... came to find us finally."

"Finally? What do you mean?"

"Our scriptures mentioned that our Goddess shall one day come for Her children in the flesh. And she did. To you, She is known as Princess Luna..."

"So you have joined Equestria after learning of Princess Luna? Believing that this is a fulfillment of your prophecy?"

"Yes... and no. The Covenant, in absolute and immediate consensus, pledged our loyalty to the Immaculate Moon... but we have never agreed on giving our oath of servitude to the Judging Sun, Princess Celestia. To avoid hostilities with the Immaculate Moon’s... sister-goddess, we have decided to accept the status of Equestrian protectorate with a far-stretched autonomy. So we have never technically become a part of Equestria. And we still aren’t one.’

"Wait... 'Hostilities'? Princess Celestia would never do anything 'hostile' towards you!"

"We knew that, to an extent. But our beliefs would never allow us to come to the servitude of the Judging Sun."

"But why? When that 'Covenant' agreed nopony said anything otherwise? Surely there were differing opinions!"

"You have to remember, Twilight, we are a secluded by geographical conditions species, without the presence of cultural and racial diversity, unlike Equestria. Our religion and beliefs are who we are. Are defining us. They guide us in our service to the Immaculate Moon... There were never any 'differing opinions'."

"Alright... but... how did the Princesses react to your decision?"

"In accordance to what we believe in, the Immaculate Moon... soothed her sister-goddess. And the Judging Sun accepted our choice as the best course of action. Although it has never managed to quell completely the mistrust of the other pony species."

"So... you did not become a part of Equestria. But you were serving Princess Luna."

"Yes. Our scholars began exchanging knowledge with yours. Our craftsmen began trading. And our warriors formed the elite regiment serving directly under the Immaculate Moon..."

"The Nightguard."

"Exactly."

"Then... what happened when Princess Luna became Nightmare Moon...?"

: silence :

"... Atrlunee..."

"Pardon...?"

"In Equestrian... what is the word... the... the situation when the Immaculate Moon... is there, but is not suddenly visible?"

"Oh! An 'eclipse'?"

"Yes. That is how we call that time. The Eclipse."

"What happened, exactly...?"

"I will gladly tell... I just need a moment, I am thirsty."

"Oh, alright! I think I have some..."

"No, unnecessary, Twilight, I do have some apples with me..."

: hoofsteps :

"Those apples are really juicy, I have to say."

"Applejack tends to them with great care, yes."

"I can tell."

: chomp :

: slurp :

"Uhm... Midnight...?"

: slurp :

"... Midnight...?"

"Mmmm?"

: slurp :

"Oh. Oh! I beg your pardon, Twilight. I really do. Us drinking is... kind of loud... and messy."

"It is... quite alright. I just didn’t expect it to be... quite that loud and messy."

"Once more, I ask forgiveness..."

"It’s alright."

"... did it record?"

"I am pretty sure it did, yes."

"Well..."

: hoofsteps :

"... another fact for the interview – noctrali are messy when drinking."

: silent laugh :

"So... are you comfortable with telling me what happened?"

"Comfortable...?"

"You didn’t take a break just because you were thirsty."

"... is it that obvious?"

"Kind of."

: silence :

: sigh :

"Corruption of the Immaculate Moon... was a tragedy for our kind. To see our Goddess in such pain and misery... Our scriptures say that it drove our elite warriors into tears. Tears! The Nightguard... crying... We had to fight our own protector. The most grim part of our history to date. May there never be one like that again..."

"What are your sources saying exactly? We have our version of what happened to Princess Luna, but I would love to hear at least a bit from your end."

"We do not know exactly what caused the Immaculate Moon’s... corruption. Our scholars claim that it was a force from distant realms. A force so evil it could take over a goddess... Our Goddess... She was turned into something... cruel. Wicked. Impora Maroce. Corrupting Darkness."

"Nightmare Moon."

"Yes. The Nightguard was forced into a confrontation, trying to aid your Royal Guard and your citizens. When the Judging Sun banished the Darkness, the Eclipse reached its apogee. You see, we dwell under the light of the Immaculate Moon... through Her illuminating presence. But the force corrupting Her tainted our most venerated symbol."

"The Mare in the Moon. The sign on the lunar surface, is that correct?"

"Yes... For a thousand years, it filled us with sadness. But that wasn’t the worst part of the Eclipse."

"What was it then?"

"You see, it comes to our beliefs concerning afterlife. After a noctral dies, his spirit goes into the light of the Judging Sun, where his deeds are all visible and he is called to account for them. For every single one of them. But the Immaculate Moon... comes and soothes her sister-goddess. Shows that if he had to commit even a dreadful cruelty, it was because he was trying to do what was best for his kin, for his family, for somepony he loved... And if the Immaculate Moon... decides he served Her well, she takes him with Her. And he becomes Her servant amongst the stars. Our ancestors are with us, looking down upon us every night, from the realm of the Immaculate Moon..."

"That is... a beautiful vision."

"Yes. But with the Corrupting Darkness shackling our Goddess... we never knew if... if..."

"If your dead were protected from the Judging Sun."

"Yes... Our diviners couldn’t answer that dilemma. We prayed that our departed could withstand the scorching light until our Immaculate Moon... shall be back. And we have waited for a thousand years. Our scriptures giving us hope."

"Oh? Were there more... prophecies of some sort?"

"There were. First, there was our greatest prayer in all of our history. We begged our ancestors that went amongst the stars before the time of the Eclipse to gather their strength. And to break the shackles of the Immaculate Moon’s... prison."

"Wait... I... I think I know what you are talking about. The remark in one of our books, when I figured out that Nightmare Moon shall come back. 'On the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape.' Is that what was said to occur?"

"Precisely! Yet another proof of the divinations granted to us being correct! Through the words of our mystics, we have received the prayer. Giwazdi adiumai Ipeu ewaz. 'The Stars will aid Her escape.' It became a calling for salvation. And a warning."

"Warning? Oh, yes... Because Princess Luna would still be corrupted, is that right?"

"Indeed. But we have received another sign. That a force like no other shall free our Goddess. And here comes a moment I would like to do what I possibly should have done at the very start. You see, we normally do not speak of our lands, or ourselves. But, upon you approaching me, I have contacted my Family and the Covenant. And so..."

: hoofstep :

"Midnight, what are you doing?"

"I bow before Twilight Sparkle, who commanded that great force and freed our Goddess..."

"Midnight, I... it’s..."

: click :

***

: click :

"I guess I have pressed it after you bowed down... it... really wasn’t something I was expecting!"

"Sorry if that appeared overdone, but I had the chance to show gratitude of mine and of my kind. You are all considered heroes in the lands of Noctraliya! Should you ever think about visiting, you would be treated with highest esteem."

"I will keep that in mind, Midnight, thank you. Wow, alright... uhm... continuation of Twilight Sparkle’s interview with Midnight Wind. Speaking of visiting your land... No, actually, first you need to tell me what happened during the Eclipse! We have virtually no mentions of your kind since those enigmatic remarks in the Canterlot chronicles before Nightmare Moon. And everything past those information is a set of ridiculous legends and folktales!"

"That is because we withdrew from Equestria. After the Eclipse’s apogee, we had nothing keeping us in your lands. Judging Sun ruled on her own. As I mentioned, we have never agreed on serving her. More than that, local populace started to believe us to be agents of Corrupting Darkness."

"So you just... left? Like that? All of you?!"

"Yes. After a brief period of unrest in the Covenant, it decided we shall cut practically all ties with your Kingdom. Every single of the noctrali withdrew back to our mountains and for the last thousand years, only a couple were sent here, mostly for the sake of information gathering, whether it was political situation, technology, or affairs that might have concerned us. In dire needs, we were coming to gather supplies..."

"No other contact? Ever?"

"Not really. As I have mentioned not once before, our dominion is secluded. If we were to decide to keep our borders closed, we would possibly be able to be fully solitary, without anypony coming even close to our dwellings."

"That would explain the lack of sources about your kind, yes... but another thought came to my mind. May I ask?"

"Of course."

"Nightmare Moon wanted the night to last forever... Wouldn’t that be what batponies desire, in a way?"

"Ah... That is a very good question. And a logical assumption. But I can explain. You see, we believe that world has its balance. Times of joy and times of tears. Of fighting and of peace..."

"Night and day."

"Correct. We know that the world needs also the Judging Sun. We need her, her presence reminds us that our actions shall be scrutinized. Plants need the unforgiving Goddess. You, Equestrians, need her, that’s how you are, how you dwell. Also... there is that delicate, fleeting beauty of the night that the Corrupting Darkness could not understand. A mystery. So, no, noctrali didn’t follow the corruption of the Immaculate Moon..."

"That covers my question pretty well, thank you. I am sorry if all of this has caused you sadness."

"It is alright, Twilight. It is a dark part of our history, but our history nonetheless. And now our Goddess has returned and we are back too, to serve Her in Equestria."

"We are also happy to have Princess Luna with us again."

"You are blessed with Her presence, Twilight... Just as we are and our lands."

"Speaking of which, I would wish to ask – from a political point of view, what kind of country 'Nokhtraliia' is?"

: laughter :

"A brave try. Yes, well..."

: cough :

"Our society is formed entirely out of noctrali, each and every belonging to one of the seven ruling Families."

"Are those formed out of relatives?"

"Yes, but not only. A 'Family' consists of one main house and several other lineages, all gathered in one dwelling. Since the beginning of our recorded history, there have always been seven Families, each converged around one of the seven greatest peaks of our mountains. That is why we use to sometimes call our land Sem Iugi. Seven Mountains."

"Ah, I see. Can you tell me the names of particular Families?"

"Of course. The Families are, in somewhat loose translation: the Sunfall, the Crescent, the Shade, the Fang, the Midnight, the Mist and the Dusk..."

"Did you mention... Midnight? Are you from the main house of the Family then?"

"Members of the main lineage in a Family are named after it, yes. But I am only a distant relative of the Lord of the Family."

"But... does that make you a member of the nobility?"

"Yes, to an extent. My special privileges from being from the ruling lineage are that I am able to be made a Lord of a Family, if I am next in succession. And that I am considered somehow more privileged within the community. At the same time, we, nobles, are responsible for taking care of the lesser houses."

"So, I am speaking to a future Lord, possibly?"

: laughter :

"When it comes to me reaching the honored title, I am not afraid of that happening to me anytime soon. Or ever."

: laughter :

"What does being a Lord grant you though, aside from respect and position, naturally?"

"Rule over the Family and the local populace. Lords, or haspadri, are governors of their own peaks, keeping order in them and organizing the castes. They are treated similar to your royalty, in a way, but it also makes them responsible for the prosperity of their lands, which, in my opinion, outweighs the benefits. The seven Lords of the Families form the Covenant, which is our main political body. The most important decisions concerning Noctraliya are made by this congregation."

"By a vote of majority I presume?"

"No! That way would mean that some Families would be put in worse position, for their voice wouldn’t be taken into consideration. A successful decision requires consensus."

"But... you can rarely have a real agreement then! Surely different Lords have different opinions!"

"That is correct. But in that case it means one of two things. Either the current situation is to remain unchanged, for it leaves us in a state of balance, or, if an agreement is not reached in a critical matter, that there is a need for war."

"War?! You have civil struggles?"

"Yes. Not often though. Last conflict, between Midnight Family and Crescent Family, happened roughly seventy-five years ago."

"But that’s still terrible! Open hostilities?"

"They are not viewed as such. Our conflicts are honorable and do not spawn animosities. It is but a way to settle tensions within the Covenant."

"But by war?!"

"That constant possibility keeps us in a state of preparedness, which is beneficial to all of the Families. Forces action. Also, only the warrior castes of the Families are clashing."

"How bad do those... 'clashes'... get?"

"The battles are ferocious, wounds dealt, but no casualties. Our species’ feeling of brotherhood runs deep enough to stop us from taking lives."

"But... injuries? Wounds? It is... You must be bitter rivals then, different Families!"

"Nopony holds a real grudge. My grandfather, Midnight Gale, lost his eye in a fight with the Crescent Family, but him and the warrior who scarred him, Pale Crescent, were best friends before and after."

"This sounds..."

: hoofsteps :

"I am sorry, but it is disturbing, Midnight. And hard to believe."

"I can understand why you would feel like that, but I do not share your aversion. We are a tough kind, a secluded society, Twilight, with our own way of life, unchanged through generations."

: silence :

"Naturally, we do differ amongst ourselves in a lot of aspects. I personally might think that the Fang Family warriors are brutish and have but basic understanding of tactics, that Shade Family are often biting more than they can suck, and that Lord Sunfall is notably absent-minded, but that does not suddenly make me want to wipe them out in blind rage over past grievances. We have our little conflicts, just like you do..."

: silence :

"I admit, sometimes those conflicts are more vicious. We just put our integrity as a race and country first."

: silence :

"... Twilight, please, sit down."

: hoofsteps :

"I see... Mentions of batpony ferocity in the tales are turning out to be true..."

"We are not feeling guilty being true to who we are."

: sigh :

: hoofsteps :

"... alright... I... I have another question. You have mentioned 'castes' before?"

"Ah, yes. Our society, aside from Family affiliations, has divisions into four castes. The warriors, the priesthood, the caretakers and the fruittenders."

"Can you explain how it works? Are you born into a group?"

"No, no, no! We become part of the group at the moment of achieving our cutie mark. A young noctral, upon reaching certain age, which would be equal to the start of your elementary school, is assigned to spend time with each of the castes, one by one. Then, he or she is shown what each group is responsible for and serves in different roles, depending on what he or she believes will be fitting for his abilities. And during those assignments, a cutie mark is earned. I suppose it is like in Equestria, but maybe in a more organized manner."

"And those who do not find their place and talent? Surely you have cases like that."

"Extremely rare though. If a youngling, inexplicably, cannot find his place, he is assigned to the caste he had performed the best in service of. After a prolonged time of conducting duties, they find their role."

"Seems a bit harsh for the children, being 'assigned' like that. It sounds like forcing them into being useful to the community."

"Each of the noctrali needs to be productive to the dominion. We cannot afford feeding somepony who does not give our kind something in return. Our food supplies are strained as they are. Then again, we find any work to be useful. A warrior is as needed as a scholar, a priest, a bard, or a miner."

"You are a warrior, you have told me before, is that correct?"

"Yes, I am of the warrior caste, under Nightguard oath. The entirety of the Nightguard is of that caste, though of different Families."

"Oh, yes, of course. So castes, you say... Is there a hierarchy to those?"

"No. The only caste being more protected than others are the fruittenders..."

"Wait, let me guess... They are responsible for supplying your lands. And that is vital for your survival."

"Correct. Fruittenders attend to the orchards and farms, gather food for winter months. They are also our healers. They are under special protection of the Covenant. Also, there is the fact that they are often forced to work under the light of the Judging Sun, so they are respected for their sacrificial commitment to our kind. Their privileges are quite grand. For example, to undertake a crime against a fruittender is to be... severely punished."

"... how severely?"

"Very."

: silence :

"And... the other castes?"

"Warriors, like me, are our army, militia, administrators. We are responsible for keeping mountain passes clean and available for travel and keep communication lines through Noctraliya. Priesthood is formed out of diviners of the Immaculate Moon... also judges, teachers and chroniclers. Finally the caretaker caste are builders, miners and manual laborers. But also poets and artists, caretakers of minds, so to speak."

"An organized society, I have to say. Incredible it remained like that throughout your history... or were there batponies wanting to change it?"

"Not as far as we know. Changes are unnecessary. We all find our place within the system and we are all respected. A miner can always speak with a scholar, or a militia commander. Our role in the society is not diminishing nor glorifying. Main house of the Shade Family has a lot of builders, while the other, lesser lineages living in the same peak are renown diviners. All are necessary to our secluded community."

"So the relations between the castes are not in any way limited?"

"No, minus talking about the most crucial responsibilities of each group. I, as a warrior, am forbidden from discussing advanced tactics and strategies with noctrali of different castes, and those of lower rank. The priesthood keeps the divinations secret until deciding on sharing them. Fruittenders have their own, passed onto new members, ways of cultivating our crops that they keep to themselves. Thanks to those rules, each caste has a feeling that it is absolutely necessary for the well-being of our race and is irreplaceable. That also helps the castes to have the feeling of integrity and connection."

"The longer I am listening to you, Midnight, the more fascinating the batpony society appears. You are unlike any other we came in contact with."

"We like being unique, I cannot lie."

: laughter :

: squeak :

"... unwanted occupants?"

"Uhm..."

: steps :

"Twilight..."

: yawn :

"... I was asleep upstairs, but I kept hearing stuff an—! Wha... Wha...?!"

"Spike, please, calm down."

"Ah, is that your little dragon assistant?"

"Twi... Twilight! This... is... this—"

"Spike, don’t worry, he is a—"

"Vampire!"

: thud :

"Spike!’

"I think he passed out."

: hoofsteps :

: click :

***

: click :

"Now I can tell my friends I made a dragon faint once."

: laughter :

"Twice! What were you thinking?! You shouldn’t have let him see a pair of sharp fangs just as he came back around! It’s not the most pleasant thing to see when you wake up!"

"I cannot agree less, Twilight. Although I guess it depends on whose those fangs are. I was just trying to help, but I understand your irritation and I am deeply sorry."

: sigh :

"That’s alright... I know you wanted to make sure nothing happened to him."

"And nothing did. Although it took you a while to convince him that I am not a mythical bloodsucker."

"Well, he did cumulate all of our weird tales about batponies into one word."

"I was expecting you to start the interview with that matter, to be honest."

"Not really. Over those years that you were back in seclusion, many stories and legends were formed about you and I find them ridiculous. All those unnatural abilities, and from species not possessing arcane magic, are nothing short but folklore. But, I guess this interview would be incomplete without me asking the obvious question... Are you a vampire?"

"Yes."

: silence :

: silence :

: silence :

"WHAT?!"

"I am a vampire, yes."

"But... but... what? You are— I mean— WHAT?!"

"Before you decide to assault me with a wooden stake, let me explain. You see, I, myself, have been very intrigued about those tales ever since I came to Equestria as a member of the Nightguard. So I read a bit of your books. And I do believe I know logical explanations for nearly all of those misconceptions."

"So you say you... are a vampire?"

"Yes. Well, we say it – wampir. It is how we call a member of the warrior caste."

"... 'vaampihr'?"

"Close enough."

"A... warrior."

"Yes. It must have been overheard by your ancestors before the Eclipse. And that’s how it went into the legends."

"I... must say... that is a clear explanation, yes... but..."

"It gets better. Do you know how especially vicious members of these legendary species are called in these tales?"

"Uhm... nosferatu, I believe."

"Yes. And do you know how we say 'Nightguard' in our dialect?"

: silence :

"Nocferrat."

"So... our words for those creatures..."

"... are corrupted forms of words from our language. A testimony to your linguistic butchery, no less. With all due respect, of course."

"And... you have explanations for all of those phenomena concerning vampires, you say?"

"I do believe so. Aside from us being... what is that word...? Dead, but not really?"

"Do you mean 'undead'?"

"Yes! That I cannot explain."

"But, some of those tales speak about unnatural and inexplicable abilities! I do understand, after what you told me, your 'allergy' to sunlight and nocturnal behavior. But what about all the other things? Like turning into bats?"

"We keep bats as pets. A lot of them are trained too. They are used as message carriers, like some birds in Equestria. I do believe that our ancestors brought our mountain bats with them when they formed the Nightguard, which lead to our flying little brothers being often seen with our wampiri. Maybe somepony spotted a bat exiting the barracks and thought it is one of the noctrali present?"

"Trained bats then?"

"Yes! When the Immaculate Moon... decided to visit your village during your Nightmare Night celebration in Her honor, do you recall what Her cloak was made of?"

"Those were your bats! Oh, of course! That would explain why they were so disciplined!"

"Work of our bat-handler, Shadewing. He was so proud to lend his pupils to our Goddess for that celebration... He couldn’t stop talking about it for the following month! And I do not blame him."

"So that might be covered... What about turning into mist?"

"You remember that I have told you that our wings are stronger than pegasi ones? When we land, it usually causes dust or sand to fly up from the ground. I guess our landings spawned that particular myth. Also, the ability to fly without making a sound?"

"Yes, how do you explain that?"

"After dealing with our mountain gales, how quietly do you think we can fly in your stale, lowlands’ air?"

"That... that makes sense! What about garlic? And it repelling you?"

"Can the smell and taste of garlic be repulsive to species living solely on sweet fruit diet?"

"Oh, you are so right. Inability to enter houses without being invited inside?"

"Common courtesy amongst noctrali."

"Above average strength and speed?"

"Our physique, I think you can spot that."

"I think I can see a pattern here now... All of those natural features of your species have been multiplied through those years you were absent from Equestria into the vampire myth that we have nowadays. It really is... quite simple, come to think of it. Even beastlike ferocity... What about some tales saying you possess claws, aside from hooves?"

"Ah, but that is our traditional weaponry. While you favor spears, we have hoofshoes with two sharp blades attached to them, made for slashing and stabbing in an animal fashion. Claw-like, much?"

"I see... Makes a lot of sense! What about being able to take over minds of others?"

"Ha, that is a good one. How to properly explain this one... Alright, let us imagine... there is a village on the outskirts of Equestria."

"Alright."

"A 'vampire' appears."

"A batpony warrior. One of those sent to keep an eye out on what is happening in Equestria."

"Exactly. He is stronger and quicker than the local stallions. More... physically attractive in general."

"What are you saying?"

"He has exotic looks, an incredible, piercing stare, unique way of speaking... He is charming and mysterious..."

"I... think I know where this is going. It is easy for him to have mares wanting all of his attention. Locals... mostly stallions... are furious, suspect magic being involved."

"You have said it yourself. And we don’t even know magic in your, studied form."

"That is an intriguing explanation, but I cannot find a particular flaw in it, to be honest. But why destroying you with a wooden stake to the heart? That is quite a specific myth, truth be told."

"Like somepony would get up after being impaled like that... I think it is based on the fact that we do not cease fighting when wounded, we are viciously trained to withstand pain and injury."

"That might have evolved into the idea of you being resilient to conventional attacks... But that still leaves one more myth, that of most important kind, folklore considered. Drinking blood."

"And here I answer – our military doctrine tells us not to cease fighting when disarmed. We are encouraged to strike with everything we have in our reach and with the entirety of our body. Kicks, punches..."

"Bites."

"Towards large blood vessels. Like the throat ones."

"It all makes sense! So... all of those legends are based on truth, but twisted by the passing of time and a lot of gossip, I presume..."

"Exactly, Twilight."

"That clears the air a lot, Midnight."

: laughter :

"I can imagine. I could tell you have gotten worried after my words. And I presume, it is always good to know your guest won’t try to start feeding on you."

: laughter :

"And... that covers the entirety of the interview I planned! It was an interview with a vampire after all then..."

: laughter :

"I guess you could say that, Twilight. I hope I was able to give good answers to all of your inquiries."

"You did, Midnight. And I thank you for this opportunity! It was one of a kind."

"It is nothing in comparison to what you have managed to do for us, noctrali. I once more insist that you visit our lands one day, with all of your friends, Twilight Sparkle."

"It could be an incredible adventure, I think..."

"Noctraliya would love to meet its heroes."

"Thank you, Midnight. So... this was Twilight Sparkle’s interview with Midnight Wind, a batpony. Their kind is a fascinating and unique one and I am sure I will soon come up with even more questions about its lands and culture. Would you be willing to have another interview in the future, Midnight?"

"Oh, gladly, if only my responsibilities will allow it."

: hoofsteps :

"Great! That wraps this up. Conclusion for today: Some batponies are actually vampires, but, fear not, they do not drink blood one way or the other..."

"N-no. No, we don’t."

: silence :

"... did you just hesitate?"

"Did I...? Well..."

: silent laughter :

"I guess I did."

: click :

---

THE STORY CONTINUES IN

Comments ( 102 )

this was really good, love that ending :moustache:

This is wonderful. I hope to see maybe a second interview....Maybe.

3493767

Thank you. I would say the case of a second interview depends on positive-enough reception of this one. :twilightsmile:

New headcanon! This is pretty much the only batpony story that A: didn't say something I disagreed with and B: named them in a more realistic fashion. That,, plus the fact that this story specifically adressed the parts of the other stories I disagreed with, made it an enjoyable read.

3496400

Thank you for your opinion. :pinkiesmile:

I aimed to write this in a fashion that would give noctrali a realistic background, without otherworld/supernatural/overdone ideas. I figured they would fit into the general setting more naturally that way.

(By the way - glory to Princess Luna. :twilightsmile: )

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I found this incredibly dull, but I will give you points for coming up with a decent, and above all, original name for the batpony race.

Yay worldbuilding! I really really loved this. It is going to be HARD to decide which ones to vote for with the writeoff, especially as there's already three stories from it I've read and loved! Ah well, more good stuff is always better than less good stuff.

There's a group I've seen called the World-Building Alliance; you might want to submit this story to there, if you can (I'm still not really sure how groups work on here).

I think I have a fondness for world-building stories presented in the form of Twilight interviewing a member of the culture in question. Heck, I think I really love world-building stories presented as an interview or essay or brochure or something like that, instead of as "background details" to a story. I'm weird like that.

3501856

Thank you for your opinion and time you spent to read this nonetheless. :twilightsmile:

Also, good luck in the competition, for I know you entered it too.

3501887

I enjoy world-building myself. The show presented an incredible opportunity, for it left a great amount of space for fanfiction writers who would want to try shaping Equestria and worlds beyond it. Also, if you say there is a group devoted to that, I might be sincerely interested.

Also, thank you very much for your comment, I appreciate it. :twilightsmile:

Why would you have those last few lines there aaaahhhhhhhh
Dude
This just
Yes. All of my yes I absolutely adore this kind of world building. I love it when it's this thorough.
Is the batponies' language Russian or something? I mean, they live in the mountains in constant snow, ther words have rolled 'r's and well...I kept hearing him with Heavy's voice. XD

3644956

I just imagined Midnight as the Heavy and had a hearty laugh. :rainbowlaugh:

I am very glad you enjoyed it. I think a stern Eastern European accent is a good choice for this species. Also those last few lines do have a logical explanation... perhaps... :pinkiecrazy:

Congratulations on the 5th place in the EQD's writeoff! :yay:

That's some solid worldbuilding skills you've displayed. Keep it up - I can honestly say that thanks to you my knowledge about batponies has grown from 'oh, Luna's got cool guards' to 'oh, they are an actual, living, breathing and interesting species'. Good job!

3660410

Thank you kindly. Comments like that make the writer's job so much more satisfying. :twilightsmile:

Allow me to also say that I am keeping an eye on your "Of Lilies and Chestnuts" story. That is one, adorable take on noctrali. At least on a specific, "nutsie" member of the species. :pinkiesmile:


3663016

:takes a bow:

Now this, this was a lovely story.

Now, I've read a few stories like this one. 'Twilight has a interview/date (on some occasions) with a bat/vampony/threstral yatta yatta nihaio. Of them, however, I find this to be my favorite. The world building is done -very- deliberatly, and crafts a fine mental image of the Seven Peaks of the Batponies.

Also- calling them batponies instead of threstrals, that's something I rather like. I mean, I honestly don't like the name 'bat-pony' over threstral, mostly because threstrals ARE a kind of mythical horse, where as I have yet to see a 'bat pony' in legend outside of a threstral.

But in this story, it works. It's obviously a deliberate choice, and one that helps with that world building I mentioned before which makes me rather happy.

Also, the deconstructing of the Vampire legend based on what a bat-pony is? Very enjoyable. And I am curious as to see what he meant at the end. Heh, and the flirting between tall, dark, bat-winged and apparently quite handsome and everypony's favorite egghead made for engaging reading, even with only 'word' cues to go by. It feels more like an actual interview or talk with someone, very natural.

Frankly, all in all, a story I'd love to see continued, or a world I'd love to have explored more.

3664741

Thank you very much for the comment. I am extremely happy that I was able to provide a story that was both appealing and reached its goal - making noctrali a more complex, living and breathing race.

I wasn't originally planning on a sequel, but seeing how the story was received I am deliberating expanding it, in not too distant future, I think. :twilightsmile:

‘Great! That wraps this up. Conclusion for today: Some batponies are actually vampires, but, fear not, they do not drink blood one way or the other...’
‘N-no. No, we don’t’
: silence :
‘... did you just hesitate?’
‘Did I...? Well...’
: silent laughter :
‘I guess I did.’
: click :

:trixieshiftright:hmm...... More questions are raised now from that.
:moustache: Probably just means that the only blood ever drink-ed is only in battle.....:derpyderp2: maybe?

3679958

Only Midnight can tell us for sure. :raritywink:

3679962 True. Thank you for writing this. It was very insightful, even for a head-cannon. It makes quite a lot of sense to be perfectly honest. Also I like how you have set-up their infrastructure/community/etc. :pinkiesmile:

3679976

Many thanks. It gives me joy to see that my approach to noctrali received such a positive feedback. :twilightsmile:

FimFiction needs a batpony tag.

3869724

I agree. Crystal Ponies have a tag, let us give a chance to noctrali.

love the way this story is structured like a video recording. the backstory and info about the batponies is very intresting as well with words like vampire being a messed up form of wampire

3885806

More linguistic butchery! The word is wampir, not "wampire"! :flutterrage:

Alright, joking aside, I thank you for your comment and for your appreciation. :twilightsmile:

Bravo,a masterpiece of work and a watcher gained.

I'm confused. How did ts get human technology?

4425404

Thank you kindly. :twilightsmile:

4426350

I believe that, since we already experienced devices as complex as arcade machines in the show, tape recorders would be something acquirable in Equestria. :pinkiesmile:

Das Ende hat mich zum Schluss, dass Mitternacht ist ein Vampir zu kommen. Wäre das wahr sein?:duck:

4509078

Sie können in der nächsten Geschichte zu überprüfen, mein Freund. :twilightsmile:

4509259 Wenn Sie Englisch bevorzugen, lebe ich in Amerika, und gerne aufnehmen würde:twilightblush:. Wie für das Lesen der nächsten Geschichte, ich bin in Teil vier.:twilightsmile:

4524287

Make sure you check out the sequel, Rendezvous with a Batpony. :raritywink:

That was exceptionally good. It really shows how a great writer can create an engaging story out of almost nothing but worldbuilding — not to mention being constrained to dialogue only. Speaking of dialogue (no pun intended), I think it's remarkable how well you convey the intonations and tone of the conversation without needing to state it outright.
As for the content itself... I suppose there's not much that hasn't already been said. The view you present on the noctrali is not only interesting, but believable as well, and I greatly enjoyed finding out about it. Well, I suppose it's on to the sequel for me.

6271576

I always welcome new readers embarking on my magical adventure. :raritywink:

Enjoy yourself.

6271723 love the humorous crossover in this. You have a favorite from me.

6380153

Why, thank you very much. :twilightsmile:

When I saw this passage,

"Ah, but that is our traditional weaponry. While you favor spears, we have hoofshoes with two sharp blades attached to them, made for slashing and stabbing in an animal fashion. Claw-like, much?"

I thought of this image. The artist does amazing work.

7244210

Oh, yes! This is a wonderful piece of art! This image exactly was not my inspiration, but I have found a reasonable amount of drawings with batponies using clawed hoofshoes. It felt natural, and true to their nature, to make those their weaponry.

Actually batpony is not a correct term. These THESTRALS are known as undead dragon horses

7991577

You weren't paying attention. :rainbowlaugh:

7991653 If you referring to me reading the story I am on the third one now

Really enjoyed reading this. It was quite an interesting take on bat ponies. I especially liked their history with Luna and Celestia. Great job. =)

8192396

I'm very glad you enjoyed it! Make sure to check out the other stories, if you haven't already. :twilightsmile:

8192398
I plan on it, just haven't gotten to it yet. XD

why not mangos?

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