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Talon and Thorn



Mounty Max was a simple stallion happy to be he Mayor of the town of Sadlzburg on the northern border of Equestria. It came as quite a surprise when his town was made the capital of the new province of Nulpar and he was ennobled as it's Baron.

These are the adventures of Max and his goat assistant Mrs Grobnar as they try to survive the dangers of the night court of Equestria. On the way Max just might find him self a very special somepony in the form of Duchess Fragrant Posey of Cloudsdale. Together maybe they can return light to the corrupt heart of Equestria's government.

Part of the Lunaverse

An on going story taking place parallel with the first two seasons of the Lunaverse showing events taking place in the Night Court.

Max and Fragrant have previously been introduced in chapters of Longest Night, Everypony

Thanks to all of the Quorum but particularly GrassAndClouds2 and Emeral Bookwise for their comments and suggestions.

Chapters (20)
Comments ( 248 )

Nulpar is actually a bigger province than I thought it was, but on the other hoof I suppose it's mountainous and sparsely populated, so that's okay.

Hee, looking forward to more of Max and Fragrant.


Well you drew the map and there are only so many provinces on it. Looking at it, if it's not the smallest it's in the top 3.

But yes it's sparsely populated about 7K sentients give or take, with about 1K in the capital and the rest spread out in dozens of villages and nomadic groups. It's northern border is a bit ill defined as it backs onto the sort of demilitarized zone between Equestria and the Griffins.

Together maybe they can return light to the corrupt heart of Equestria'a government.

HA! That'll be the day.

3977055 3977164
Since the map was drawn before Nulpar was a thing, maybe we should re-draw it a little bit to shrink Nulpar down. Sparsely populates or not, it still looks like too large a chunk of land to have gone unclaimed for so long.

3977453 Does fire count? Lots and lots of fire...

I really liked this. It serves as a base for Max's character to see how he evolves as his environment changes.

I wouldn't say it's 'filler' so much as transitional. It gives us a stronger sense of the bond Max has with the region, and sets us up for the shock of his first steps into the big leagues.

And also gives us a dose of the casual racism of old ladies. :rainbowlaugh:

Mounty Max sounds like a great guy, my previously nonexistent Canadian pride is swelling at just the description of him.


Actually an idea I had today is that Nulpar is at least partially a land grab, there's that sort of 'neutral zone' thing between Equestria and the Griffin lands where as the bottom part of Nulpar could be actual Equestrian territory the northern bit could be new land which has just be sneakily appropriated. If the Griffins notice then it's an error and 'sorry guys, no harm no fowl' if they don't then Equestria get a little bit bigger.


Well part of this story's plan is to show there are quite a few good ponies in the Night Court who are trying to do their best for their people as well as the truly nasty ones and a whole bunch of apathy between.


Well I am planning to put him in uniform at some point.

Of course the L-verse already has a Caneighda, I think it's run by Greengrass, so bad luck there.

Is the Goat language Scottish Gaelic? And Fragrant is as adorable as her niece.:yay: Max too.:twilightsmile: And Rolling Fields seemed like a fine old stallion, if a bit absent minded. Though, for a conservative he seems moderate.

Please Sir, can I have some more?:fluttershysad:


Yep, Goat is Scottish Gaelic, although as I can't speak it myself and can't find a very good translation site I can't guarantee it actually makes much sense. Although I'm fairly sure Mrs Grobnar mean's Mrs Goat.

And there are degree's of conservatism and as will be explained when the court is introduced more he's conservative on some things and moderate on others.

This is a nice little story.

“Well I guess being a certified hero didn’t hurt and there’s all your work with the roads. Plus I might have mentioned a few things to that Moonbeam mare who was snooping about last week. I think she might have been a spy for the court.”

Heh. Luna does like the hooves-on approach at times.

It's interesting that even pre-ennobling Max kind of already had retainers with Mrs G’s family.

He recognised the mayors and headmen from the other settlements within a few days travel, even Talonmaster Bloodstrike from the eyrie was there, her two tiny chicks balanced on her head.

Ooooo, I hope we'll get to see the rail link happen.

Interesting, does that mean Max has some gryphon citizens, or is the eyrie a bit more independent than the pony settlements?

Nice speech. Yeah, I definitely like Max, he is really kind of awesome.


I never really thought of the Grobnar family as retainers but I suppose it makes sense.

The rail link is something Max will be very keen on but it's going to take a while to sort it out, it'll probably be an arc by itself.

The Eyrie more or less keeps to itself (generally, Whitefeather the Hippogriff came from somewhere) but it's people are still Equestrian Citizens. The Griffin kingdoms aren't very far off and the ancestors of the Eyrie's current inhabitants were exiled from them for some reason or another.

I can't help but think that Max climbing the Canterhorn is a metaphor for something, but generally speaking I'm not clever enough to figure that kind of thing out.

Nice, dinner between the Fragrant and Max.

Fragrant stiffened in shock for a moment then to both Max and her surprise she relaxed into his grasp melting against him. Her mane brushed against his muzzle and he found that she lived up to her name, his nose was invaded by a multitude of flowery scents, roses, lilacs, lemon and Lavender all fought for his attention. At the same time she inhaled his more earthy scent from his efforts climbing the Canterhorn, it smelt.. honest. Slowly their heads turned towards each other until they were separated by only an inch or so of space, they hovered there for a seemingly endless eternity eyes locked, his green staring into her blue and vice versa.

Oh my! /takai

Great start to this, and I am definitely looking forward to more.


Well I thought I was laying the metaphor on rather thickly, back to the drawing board.

You're Oh My!ing the hug? What about Fragrant's little wobbly turn after?

3987501 Don't replan on my account, like I said I'm not a clever man in that department.

Regarding the Oh My, there would have been too much to quote. Her reaction was great too.

Quite nice opening. And I actually think the cover's not too bad.

Quite heartwarming to see everyone turn out for him. His mother... dang. :twilightoops:

I got the metaphor. ;) Anyway, poor Max. When he realizes the den of vipers he's joined... also, that little mistake of 'Mount Me Max' had me rolling in the proverbial aisles. :pinkiehappy:

Very interesting, looking forward to more:)


I've got a bit behind schedule as I got caught up writing something else but I'm planning to have a chapter or two up by the end of the month.

Ah, the age-old tradition of trippin' balls prior to assuming a governmental post. :twilightsmile:

Judging by how Rolling is acting, I am suspecting that he's suffering Alzheimer's Disease.

Beautifully done. Each of these chapters is even better than the last. I can't wait for more.

That bit about Greengrass and Greenmeadow was fairly confusing until I realized the senility issue that was going on.

And that ending, huh.

Ahh, so that's the reason for the trial. Oh, bureaucracy and the bureaucrats that are always looking for opportunities to backstab each other.

Max galloped down the corridor towards the official telegraph station, weaving between servants as he went. Then a thought hit him and he screeched to a halt. His message was certainly important; there would only just be enough time for his guest in Nulpar to receive the message (and then only if Piste was still sticking to his normal schedule when collecting messages for all of Nulpar) and make their way here. But was it really an official correspondence? He didn’t think so; it was personal, so he had no business using the castle facilities. He might delay something important.


Yikes, way to stick your hoof in it at the inquiry, Max. Good thing for Luna and her devious matchmaking ways.

What a great pre-ennoblement spirit journey, all metaphorical and whatnot with various foreshadowy bits. Some of them I recognized, but not the bath, the city of sleeping ponies, or the one with the younger couple. I'm also wondering about the two ponies that fell. I assume that was the real Luna and the Corona that showed up to speak to Max?

Neat scene with Brave Heart.

“I will be watching you with interest, and I hope you and Duchess Posey don’t find each other too distracting.”


Very nice, looking forward to more. Absolutely loved this bit, "I’ve seen some things that I can’t explain as mere magic... something supernatural."


I'm going for a more general senility rather than try to emulate any specific condition but he does match some of the symptoms.


There was a bit where Luna popped up just after the hug outside the inquiry room and that's where she decided she liked the ship. I've got a crazy idea of her passing the centuries with a sort of Night Court breeding program, "Ok, they look cute together then I'll cross their children with the Pinkie / Bluie kids add a bit more crazy to the pool them breed back into house sparkle." Very Bene Geserit


Well some of the flash forwards havn't happened yet, and may never if they do it was wonderful planning on my part, if they don't they're just crazy hallucinations. Honestly I don't know what was 'real' and what was crazy in the dream sequence, it's likely that was Luna popping in to look at Max's subconscious (that might even have been the who reason for Vigils, however, I'd assume L-Luna has put lots of limits on when she can use her powers to stop her being tempted to be a tyrant). I honestly did not see the Flame Mane / Corona link until someone pointed it out to me, I had another pony with a red mane in mind. I don't think it would be Corona she's never shown dream walking abilities and offering someone Equestria is not really her thing, although it might be what a modern pony would think is her thing. The falling ponies again aren't specific characters but no doubt the court has had such self destructive behaviour, possibly even Fragrant / Jet Stream.


I've quite proud of that line myself. To ponies magic is something quantifiable and natural, they may not all understand it but they have a general idea of it's limits and powers (sort of like technology for us). Beyond that is MAGIC which are things that ponies don't understand and in this case I'm saying ghosts and the like comes into this category.

I loved the spirit journey there, and the way you convey the sheer sense of being dwarfed by everything (and most of the people) around him that Max has, while never quite tipping over to the point that it seems like he's just a bug to be crushed by the Night Court machine. Given the timing of the series, and knowing about the dressing down of the Night Court to come, I feel confident that he'll be well suited to the reformed environment that's approaching. The sort of fresh blood that's needed to remind his peers how they're supposed to act.

It feels a little awkward to respond to these out of sequence, but I just had to go back and say that I found this chapter to be surprisingly poignant. That scene in the aftermath of the inquest and Posey's dialogue does such a good job of painting her as a fundamentally good pony who's gotten so inundated with 'that's the way things are' that she's just gotten used to it by this point in her career. A system where getting one over on your rivals can so easily become more important than working for those you are supposed to represent.

The fact that I know reforms are coming helps me keep the faith, but it's still very potent to see the dirty dealings that are such an everyday part of the Night Court at this point in time, especially to have Max exposed to it in such a subtle way by someone who is otherwise a good person.

Out of curiosity, is the Princess' Gallantry Medal a bit like the George Cross? It seems like the highest award given to a civilian. How do I know about the George Cross, you might ask. Well, it's on my country's flag.:pinkiesmile:


The idea is generally the same although I wouldn't think it would be the highest civilian award, given that Luna gives it away fairly easily and the Hearts actions although brave were basically self protection.

And I did not know your nation as a whole had been awarded the George Cross, I learn something new about you Maltesers every day.

4403290 It was awarded by King George to the nation as a whole after it had been heavilly bombed by the Axis in 1941 to 1943.

Anyway, back to the story. I'm suspecting that black ooze is a metaphore for corruption. And I don't know why I imagined Flame Mane looking like Corona. And I'm thinking that due to Nulpar's flag having Max's cutiemark on it, history will Flanderise him into a stuffy vain noblepony.:rainbowlaugh:

Catching up a bit. Love this and all the intricacies. Although the chapter title brings two things to mind...

Welcome to the real world she said to me, condescendingly...


All rise! Criminal Court art two is now in session. The honorable Harold t Stone, presiding. :trollestia:

Ah, the loss of Mounty's innocence. Well, political innocence.

Ah, some bad vibes forming from foreshadowing the Night Court and Corona. Yeah, I'm hoping that this isn't Brave Heart's last appearance.

Also, I'd almost pay real money to learn that Mounty had bad griffon take-out before that vigil thing. :rainbowlaugh:

*Sigh* Max you twit. Still impressively done.:pinkiehappy:

Very solid stuff. I kinda hope there'll be more with Malachi as I'd like to see Duty get some comeuppance for being such a blatant bigot.

This is neat, but you should probably be careful in how you choose to portray how Max helps the minorities as it could end up looking like The White Man's Burden, with ponies.

On one hand, he picked a fight with Fisher and earned his attention and ire. On the other hand, he won and earned a little TLC from Posey. All in all, that could have gone worse.

I really like that detail of goats absorbing magic. It's a neat idea.

And wow that's some pretty blatant anti-goat racism, both the post office thing and Fisher's comment.

“Good, then I’m sure we’ve taken up enough of the Archduke’s time for the moment. Thank you for looking after me,” she said to Volk politely. “You were delicious.”


Fragrant slumped a little. “I... I apologize for my outburst, but I am Max’s teacher and... friend, nothing more. There can’t be anything else, ever. Now, I’m sure we both have other duties to attend to. I will speak to Max later.”
Mrs G stared at her for a moment, then turned to leave. “We’ll see,” she mumbled. Leaving Fragrant in her office, alone.

Oh my. I had previously guessed that the Duchess wasn't interested in a relationship on account of not being able to have kids, but it sounds like a past relationship is the real problem here. Not sure where my earlier guess was from, if it was just a gut feeling or if something is the text was hinting at it.

Heh, I was hoping he would run into Fleur the moment Max started climbing that tower.

Interesting to see the 'anypony' term as something that could cause legal terminology issues. I wouldn't be surprised if that were at least partially intentional on the part of some of the nobles, though clearly not all of them from Posey's reaction.

Stay tuned...

She looked a little confused for a moment. “And stop trying to change the subject! I am still angry with you!”

I love this line in particular for some reason.

Liked both these chapters a lot. Especially your depiction of Fisher as a jerk who thinks completely right.
Goats can absorb Magic? Was that referenced anywhere earlier in the story? When Mrs G Said she hadn't eaten I half expected her to have consumed all of fishers paper work but humiliating Volk was just as amusing.

4671204 I don't really see that. He's not trying to 'civilize' them, he's just trying to ensure there treated the same as everybody. In short, what a political representative is supposed to do.

4671991 It would be especially sad if the fact she couldn't have foals was the reason the past relationship failed.

Looking forward to more

I doubt he'll do it intentionally, but after all, it's not like society would change overnight.

Like the earlier chapter where Baron Fields said that the billy he served with back in the day was "a credit to his species." Sounds quite speciesist to us (like calling an African-American "a credit to his race"), but Fields meant it as a wholehearted and honest compliment.

A touch of Fair for its Day-ness would be appropriate, I think.


it was a bit embarrassing how he’d gotten the black eye

I dunno, he made it more than three minutes in the ring with Fisher. That's kind of impressive.

maybe she had a trick or two up her sleeve.

Specifically it's a trick called "om nom nom."

not to get into a fight with the minister of war should have been an obvious lesson.

Luna: Actually Commander Hurricane had suggested that no one could become Warlord of Equestria, as the position was then known, unless they could "beat the stuffing out of him." Shock of his life when Pansey managed it...

“Well that’s all sorted out, then,” said Max with a grin.

...a few weeks later...

Mounty: And that's how I became the champion of non-equine rights in Equestria, majesty. Apparently I'm supposed to make a speech in an hour in front of the castle about having a dream.
Luna: I saw your dream last night, Mounty. I don't think that would be appropriate.


Malachi will probable cameo later but no major appearances planned. In my original version he would have been a full speaking character but the chapter was already longer than I wanted.

As far Duty well, to go for reality she's probably not going to be hugely punished although I doubt she's going to get promoted any time soon. It's just as well Max isn't the type of noble everypony in the post office seem to think he is.


I'll certainly try not to, its hard to do a story about race relations without ruffling someone's feathers (maybe literally in this case) but I'm going to try to avoid as many potholes (and plotholes) as I can.


Interesting to see the 'anypony' term as something that could cause legal terminology issues. I wouldn't be surprised if that were at least partially intentional on the part of some of the nobles, though clearly not all of them from Posey's reaction.

Although it may be possible in a few cases I think Equestria's non pony minority are too small in most cases for anyone to bother to legislate against them. Most specism is more on a personal level although sloppy wording allows this to be more legal than it otherwise would be. To Fisher as an extreme example he would probably think it so obvious that a goat isn't equal to a pony that he wouldn't bother to use the term everypony, he'd discriminate even if the wording was everyone.

Oh my. I had previously guessed that the Duchess wasn't interested in a relationship on account of not being able to have kids, but it sounds like a past relationship is the real problem here. Not sure where my earlier guess was from, if it was just a gut feeling or if something is the text was hinting at it.

I'm fighting myself not to give to much away but events leading to her past breakup have strongly effected Fragrant's willingness to enter into another relationship.


I don't think I've mentioned goat's magic eating abilities before although the goat write up I gave for the Lunaverse 'bible' mentions it. However, I've overpowered her abilities above what I originally envisioned, so I added the fasting bit.

Although now you mention it I really need to have a scene where someone tries to frame Max for something and Mrs G eats the evidence.

Bad Pony "As you can see Mounty Max has the stolen copy of he Necronomicon in his office..."
Mrs G *burp*, "Where dearie?"
BP "It was right there! I swear!"

Probably should have gotten to these chapters earlier, but better late then never, I guess...

Really love the whole sequence with Mrs.G and her "NOT" mind reading at the start. It really shows just how well she knows her boss. Though I must say, if she was even half that insightful as a mother I'd feel sorry for her own kids and their inability to get away with anything. Also no sane pony, no matter how perseverant and responsible likes paperwork, so it's good to see Max join the club.

Max looked around in surprise to see a heavily muscled tan unicorn with a brown and red mane approaching him,

I could have sworn Fisher's mane was blue. I know rust-red was briefly consider, but I thought we switched it over to some shade of blue so he'd look less like Greengrass.

Otherwise though this scene plays great, and I love just how aback Fisher is taken at the idea of Nulpar having never needed a provincial guard before. It makes for a nice contrast between their priorities. Then there's the subsequent sparing match over Eyrie... the action was itself suitably intense, if expectedly one-sided. Really though, it's the preceding build up and the conviction Max has to stand up for all the citizens of his province regardless of race that speaks volumes of his character.

There's nothing all that unexpected as Max get's looked over in his office afterwards, but the interactions between him and Fragrant are touching never the less. I also like how despite telling Max she doesn't need his protection, she seems just as apt now to stand up for him, even if in a more politically appropriate fashion suiting her rank and station.

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