• Published 1st Dec 2013
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The Book of Water: The Heart of Winter - TalonMach5

Part two, of books two of four, in the Great Slave King Saga. An anthology of Equestria's history

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Addendum: The Pieces, Those Who Are Moved Upon the Board

The Book of Water: The Heart of Winter

A Story by TalonMach5

Addendum: The Pieces, Those Who Are Moved Upon the Board

Scourge, the Hunter, first of the Doomhounds: Once a humble diamond dog guard, he was changed by the Slave King into something far greater. In service to his dark master, Scourge fell in battle, but so strong were the ties binding him to the Slave King that not even death could hold him. Now nothing more than a spectral hound, he leads the ‘Order of the Shadow’ for his king. Though he no longer possesses the ability to affect the mortal realm, when he dons his rune inscribed arcanum armor, he’s a terror on the battlefield. Unfortunately, he was forced to choose between his duty to his lord and loyalty to his friend. Because of this, Scourge has become estranged from the Slave King for picking the former over the latter.

Scourge's Theme

Arch Duke Fifi le Yipyap, the master turned slave: Once the right paw hound of Lord Darkpaw and the most powerful hound in the Diamond Vale, when the Slave King became Lord of Earth, the arch duke found himself the unbridled focus of his rage. Eventually, management over the Domain of Earth became too unwieldy for the Slave King to run alone. Deciding to make use of his assets, he placed his mark upon the arch duke and made him his immortal regent.

Though the Slave King doesn’t care much for his servant, the arch duke has proven himself indispensable as his administrator, and too invaluable to replace as he oversees the construction of the Domain of Earth’s new capital, the Neo Vale. With the rift between Scourge and the Slave King having grown vast and deep, Second’s unending plots and schemes, and a new mistress unfamiliar with the ways of the Earth, somehound crafty and wise like the archduke, just might be able to profit while the others pointlessly quarrel.

Arch Duke Fifi le Yipyap's Theme

Nightmare, the first creation: The first of the Slave King’s creations, she was unwittingly willed into being by his endless fury, rage, and grief. As a piece of the Slave King’s soul willed into being, Nightmare considers herself favored above all others. No other can truly know her master as she, and no other is worthy of her master’s favor. Not that clingy griffin bitch, or that silly phoenix strumpet, and certainly neither of those pony whores! She simply needs to assume a more compatible and pleasing form to meet her master’s needs, and he will be hers, body, mind, and soul. Standing ever vigilant at the Slave King’s side, and for now grudgingly serving his new wife, she impatiently waits for the day when he returns her unrequited love for him.

Nightmare's Theme

Second, the doomhound: Second in command of the Slave King’s doomhounds, like Scourge he was transformed into one of the first doomhounds to serve their new master. Unlike Scourge he was never gifted with a name (the true sign of the Slave King’s favor), instead he was forced to bide his time as those above him perished to get promoted. As the leader of the doomhounds he regards Scourge with little more than veiled contempt, but is unable to assassinate him due to his spectral nature. Unhappy at being forever fated to always be subservient to Scourge, and with a heart full of resentment towards the Slave King, that he will never become First, he sought out a new master to serve. Now yoked to his new master’s wicked and dark purpose, he longs for the day when he will usurp the Slave King and finally assume the mantle of Lord of Earth.

Second's Theme

Nidhogg, the Devourer: Once a common black dragon, he betrayed Lord Ouroboros because of a kindness the Slave King had once showed his family. Rewarding the dragon for the boon, he transformed him into the first of the land wurms. Nidhogg took to his new body well, and though he can no longer soar through the heavens he has taken to swimming through the earth. Due to his unique biology, he has often served as the Slave King’s courier and has greatly aided the Domain of Earth many times over. Forever grateful to his lord, he’s widely known as one of his most fanatically loyal servants. When he’s not busy expanding the network of tunnels crisscrossing beneath Equestria with his kin, he can be found in his home in the Neo Vale, enjoying the many loam and stone delicacies the Slave King makes for him.

Nidhogg's Theme

Dawson, the griffin-half: Son of Lady Zephyr and the Slave King, he is the first of the griffin-half tribe. Dawson was an unexpected surprise for his father, due to his mother’s scheming machinations to win his father’s heart. He was the end product of the union that mixed her divinity with that of the Slave King’s. Though the Slave King stubbornly refuses to recognize him as his son, the griffin-half still cares deeply for his father and only wishes to make him proud. Having been unsuccessful in his attempt to win his father’s respect, Dawson has returned home with his mother to the Golden Eyrie in hopes of one day winning honor, acclaim, and one day, his father’s love.

Dawson' Theme

Aria, the Red, of the feathered folk tribe: Eldest daughter of Lady Suzaku and the Slave King, she was the first of many feathered folk. Aria’s birth was a surprise for the Slave King, but not for Lady Suzaku. The phoenix decided that perhaps offspring would soften her consort’s heart in hopes of winning his love. Imbuing him with a silver of her divinity, the Slave King soon found himself capable of reproducing with any of the other sapient races of Equestria. As a result, Aria was the first of the many different beastfolk tribes that now inhabit the Beastmen’s Enclave.

As the daughter of Lady Suzaku, Aria inherited her mother’s great beauty and lovely singing voice. From her father, she inherited his tenacity and razor sharp mind. Though the Slave King refuses to acknowledge her as his child, he still allows her and her sisters a place in his employ. Apprentice to Master Scourge, and the presumptive successor for the mantle of leadership over ‘Order of the Shadow’; Aria has found herself questioning whether she should continue serving her father due to the poor treatment her master has received at their king’s cruel, uncaring hand.

Aria's Theme

Melody, the Yellow, of the feathered folk tribe: Second eldest daughter of Lady Suzaku and the Slave King. Unlike her sister, Melody was not unexpected. Much like her sister she is both fair and possess a lovely singing voice. Though her father doesn’t recognize her as his child, she still cares for him greatly, often teasingly referring to him as king daddy, much to the Slave King’s and her sister’s annoyance.

As the court harper, she spends most of her time entertaining the Slave King and his guests with her musical abilities. But don’t let her dainty form and pretty face lull you, hidden behind her lute and brightly colored clothes is a potent and skilled warrior. She sees her father’s broken heart beneath his iron mask, and wishes there was something she could do to mend it. Soon after meeting both Dawson and Dame Squall for the first time, they quickly became fast friends, and she hopes to one day continue their adventures together. Visited by the Winding One in a dream, she was tasked with recovering the Elements of Harmony before the Winter Solstice, lest calamity befall the domains and all those who reside there.

Melody's Theme

Harmony, the Black, of the feathered folk tribe: Youngest daughter of Lady Suzaku and the Slave King. As the youngest of three sisters, Harmony is considered the favored daughter by her father. Though he refuses to recognize her as his offspring, the Slave King recognized her magical talents and made her his court magister. Considered a magical prodigy, she’s greatly feared and respected by the mortals inhabiting the other domains.

Often called upon by the Slave King to handle interdomain affairs, she knows how to quell the angry members of the pantheon who often confront the Slave King for his unpopular policies. Unlike her sisters, Harmony understands why her father refuses to accept her as family and ultimately respects his decision regarding the matter. When pressed about the matter, she always refrains, “The Slave King has no children.” As a result of her acceptance of the oft repeated lie, her relationship between herself and her mother has suffered somewhat.

Harmony's Theme

Ignatius, the forge master, of the dragon-half tribe: The first of the dragon-half tribe, his creation was the unexpected product of a brawl between the Slave King and a considerably weakened Lord Ouroboros. Ignatius and the other dragon-halfs were born from a scene of great violence between the Fire Tyrant and the Slave King. Once the battle was over and before both of them could return to their domains, Lord Ouroboros saw the dragon-half whelps at his feet and became enraged. Accusing the Slave King of corrupting his power to create the abominations, the Lord of Fire was about to destroy the frightened and confused whelps when the Slave King told him to hold.

In exchange for ‘The Heart of the World’, a gem of great value, Lord Ouroboros agreed to spare the whelps lives. Taking them into his domain, the Slave King raised Ignatius and his siblings and created the Beastmen’s Enclave as a place of refuge for them. Ignatius has never forgotten what the Slave King has done for him and his kin, and has led his fellow dragon-halfs in devoted service to the Slave King. Now overseer of the Slave King’s manufactorium, he’s directing the manufacture of the Devastation to his lord’s exacting specifications.

Ignatius's Theme

Pecan Buckeye Pie, freed citizen of the South: Formerly a pegaus slave of the Domain of Earth, he was freed by the Slave King once he’d completed his ten in the service of the state. Buckeye, or Bucky as he’s known by his friends, was a former comrade and soldier in arms with Dawson. Now free to follow wherever the headwind takes him, he seeks fortune and glory on his travels. A plucky and cheerful fellow, he never allowed his enslavement to break his spirit. As a soldier in the Slave King’s army, his unit considered him extremely lucky, and often relied on his keen and heightened senses to warn them of hidden danger. Last seen heading north after expressing an interest in seeing all the domains, with nothing but a wry smile and a saddlebag full of bits, it’s only a matter of time, until he looks up his former comrade in the Golden Eyrie.

Bucky's Theme

Dame Squall, the Relentless: A beautiful and skilled seapony chevaleresse of the Lawgiver, destiny was thrust upon her when Dawson, Melody, and she inadvertently stumbled upon a plot against the Slave King that threatened to destroy the stability the domains currently enjoy, when somepony sabotaged a duel between the Slave King’s and Lord Triton’s champions. Though she’d always considered the Slave King and his servants nothing more than vicious mudslinger brutes, lately, she’s found herself reevaluating that opinion. Having had an opportunity to befriend Melody and Dawson, she considers them worthy companions, and in Dawson’s case maybe something more. Finally discovering the true identity of one of the conspirators, she will not rest until she sees justice done.

Dame Squall's Theme

Glitterwing, sage in training: Though flutterponies are normally skittish and reclusive by nature, Glitterwing wished for a far greater destiny. While the rest of her kin were content to seclude themselves in the wilds of the Everfree Forest, she was bitten by the wanderlust bug and decided to see the rest of the world. Stumbling upon her master, Sage Zhange, a venerable and wise kirin by happenstance, she knew she had to become a sage like him. After much pleading, he finally agreed to take her in as his apprentice. Over the years, she’s developed a knack for astrology and reading the stars, and even in some instances has been able to portend future events. Plagued with dark visions of the future, via her gift of sight beyond sight, she hopes to persuade her master to allow her to leave, so that she might warn the Slave King of the plot against him, before it’s too late.

Glitterwing's Theme

Gunhilde, cupbearer for the Slave King: Formerly a reindeer battlemage defending Bone’s Landing against the Slave King’s armies, Gunhilde was captured by Dawson and Bucky. Later sold to the Slave King for two thousand bits, she thought her life was over. Instead she was given the Slave King’s brand, and a position of great influence in his court. Though she loathes serving her master, she knows she’s more fortunate than many of her fellow slaves. Having finally come to grips with her new status as a slave, she serves her master as best she can, looking forward to the day when her ten is up and she’s finally free to return to her homeland and people.

Gunhilde's Theme

Chrysalis, the Changer of Ways: Bixie was once an ordinary changeling drone in search of love to sustain herself, but then she was betrayed by one her own kind. Beaten and tortured for a crime she didn’t commit, she found refuge and succor in the service of the Slave King. When he offered her, her freedom, she chose another path instead. Willingly accepting his brand, he gifted her with power and a new body so she could serve him better. Extremely grateful to the Slave King for his protection, she seeks to aid him in any way possible, sensual or not. Now in the charge of her keeper, Gunhilde, she looks forward to the day when she can avenge herself against those who’ve wronged her.

Chrysalis's Theme

Bazzt Zzzt, changeling spymaster and assassin: Within the changeling race, there are some who lust after wealth and power, rather than concerning themselves for the wellbeing of the hive. Bazzt Zzzt is counted amongst their number. Wherever there is a need for trickery, deception, or maybe even a little murder; he can be readily found and hired for the right price. Extremely devious and slippery, most of his targets never saw him coming until it was too late. Now in the employ of Second and his dark and terrible lord, he’s forsaken any loyalty he might have once had to his hive, and willingly serves his new master’s treacherous plot against the Slave King.

Bazzt Zzzt's Theme

King Sombra, tyrant usurper of the Crystal Dominion: With the aid of Second and Bazzt Zzzt, Shadow Knight Sombra managed to win a boon from their lord, the Slave King. When he heard his request to oversee his holdings in the North, the Slave King gladly granted Sombra the post, as he was eager to prevent any further interdomain incidents between himself and Lord Triton. Unbeknownst to the Slave King, Sombra’s request was nothing but a ruse to further Second’s plot against him.

Now installed as the newest governor over the crystal ponies, any restraint Sombra might have once had is long gone. Free to do as he wishes, he’s taken liberties with his new subjects. Liberties which if discovered, would bring down a full measure of the Slave King’s wrath upon his head. Charged with tripling the crystal mines output, Sombra plans to put his authority over the crystal ponies to the test.

King Sombra's Theme

Author's Note:

Thank you, gentlereader for reading, The Prologue of The Book of Water: The Heart of Winter, as always comments are appreciated. As before, I've included an addendum so you can reacquaint yourself with the mortal cast. Hopefully you find the musical theme's I've selected for each of them to your liking. If not, perhaps suggest an alternate selection in the comments.

Until next time, gentlereader!