• Published 1st Nov 2011
  • 11,613 Views, 905 Comments

Stories in Stone, Luna's Royal Guard. - TDR



The Gardens of Canterlot contain more than their fair share of stories. And more creatures than just Discord.

  • ...
47
 905
 11,613

PreviousChapters Next
Memories in the marble.[ 1 ]

Stories in Stone
Luna's Royal Guard.
By TDR

Chapter 1
Memories in the Marble

Twilight sneezed. The dust that had settled on her bangs rose back into the air, billowing out into a cloud above her head. Another series of sneezes quickly followed the first. She had spent the whole morning in the Royal Library basement. There were books down there that had not seen the light of day in centuries, so the entire place was covered in several layers of dust. She could tell that many ponies had been here before, judging by the number of hoof prints which disturbed the dust on the floor. Evidently they had come to claim something out of a large chest in the corner, considering that the hoof prints invariably stretched right up to it and back. Curious, she pondered the question of what the chest might contain. Perhaps it was something that was being restored that she could check out later? She tucked another book into her saddle bag and headed up the stairs. She wondered briefly if the other pony had been one of the princesses; Celestia said no one had been allowed down there in ages.

It had been two weeks since she had found out about the Canterlot Gardens and what slept there. The whole time, she could not help but to want to know more about the figures on top of the monument. The Princess’s story had been interesting, but it left far too many blanks for her analytical mind to let go of.

Celestia had admitted herself that her recollection of the details was a bit hazy, and that many of the things she had spoken of were related to her second hoof. Twilight wanted to know everything. However, she was astute enough that, rather than try to find out for herself again, she decided to ask the princess if she could look into it.

Princess Celestia was hesitant at first, unsure as she was of how her sister would react to such an intrusion into her past.

However, if Twilight was aware of what had happened, she might be better able to help Luna. While the events of Nightmare Night had cheered up the Princess of the Moon, that cheer had not lasted long before she retreated into seclusion. Celestia suggested that Twilight investigate the Royal Libraries' vaults for any books that might prove useful while she pondered the situation. Twilight had nearly squeed with the thought of learning more about a time in history that in most old books had been ignored or censored. It had been hard enough to find anything on the Elements of Harmony and Nightmare Moon when she had really needed it. She planned to put everything she could find in a book, or at the very least, a series of documents in order to preserve the history her teacher had lived through. She trotted to her parents’ house to pick up Spike before catching the train back to Ponyville, eager to start on this next great project. She spent the entire train ride bouncing about like Pinkie Pie, barely able to wait to crack open the old books and learn everything.

=============================================

Three days later, all the books she had recovered from storage lay scattered across her library. As she read through the last, her expression darkened even further. Anything that prevented her from learning something in a timely manner frustrated Twilight, and this was further complicated by the realization that these old books were useless for what she wanted. Spike always tried to be elsewhere when she got in moods like this. As he slipped out, he mentioned something about going to see what Rarity was up to.

“GAH!! Crop yields, tax reports, and gruel recipes from a thousand years ago? What is this rubbish?" Twilight shouted.

"Where is there any sort of basic history? The only mention of anything that could even count as information is that Velkorn did not have to pay taxes in Equestria as she was considered an ambassador from the Zebra Lands. If they were so important, why is there nothing about them anywhere? I mean, look at this crap: a song by some singer named Platinum, a marriage certificate for a Biggs Hosen and some mare named Faux Pelt, a shipping report for supplies to a Camp Geode, and this is just a book full of names with numbers beside them. This stuff is junk!”

She was about to go back through the books again to see if perhaps she had missed something when a knock on her door completely derailed her thought process. Storming over to it, fuming, she flung open the door with her magic. Standing there was a rather surprised looking gray pegasus with a blond mane and a saddle bag full of mail.

“WHAT!?”

The mare blinked, narrowing her eyes a bit, her amber orbs not quite both looking at Twilight, but the glare was easily felt. She pointed a hoof at a large crate marked with the royal seal resting beside her before reaching back to pull a clipboard from her saddlebag and shoving it into Twilight’s face. The gray mare muttered something around the clipboard she held with her mouth that sounded like, “Sign here, meanie.”

Twilight scrawled her name on the clipboard, apologizing to the mail mare repeatedly. After about the fourth apology, the mare seemed to accept it. As the pegasus flew off to make the rest of her deliveries, Twilight looked over the crate curiously.

The princess had mentioned that she might have something else that could help Twilight with her studies. This must be it! Her magic wrapped around the crate to lift it. She takes a step forward, but was yanked backwards as her hooves keep going but her horn stayed in place. The crate had yet to budge. How much did this thing weigh? She tried again with her magic, the crate barely shifting. She poured more power into it, struggling mightily to lift the crate an apple or two off the ground, enough for her to finally bring it inside. How in the world did that pegasus carry this?

She set the crate down next to her desk. Removing the wooden top was a much easier affair than lifting the crate itself. Inside, the crate was packed with hay, a scroll, and a letter in the princess’s writing. Setting those aside, she started digging into the hay and found a wooden box inside the crate. The box was about nineteen or twenty apples long and was made out of what she thought might be maple, or perhaps fine oak. Set into the middle of the lid was a small rectangle of brass, etched into the metal, in Old Canterlot Script, was a name:

“The Waning Moon”.

She flicked open the clasps holding the box closed and lifted the lid to look inside. The scents of oil, old leather, and an acidic coppery smell she could not identify filled her nose. Another brass plaque on the underside of the lid was etched in the same script as the first, but with a different message:

Gifted to Royal Guardian Jer'rahd Kaisur,
from Her Royal Majesty, Princess Luna.
“May it serve thee well in thine duty as well as thee have served us.”

It took Twilight a moment to wrap her mind around the idea of Princess Luna writing in Traditional Royal Canterlot as well as speaking it. Her gaze dropped to the item half-covered in a fine midnight blue silk that would have made Rarity jealous. It was a weapon, a large knife. No, a sword? Twilight had never seen a real one outside of a museum or pictures in books, but this one seemed different from the few she had seen. There was a handle bit in the middle, which was also wrapped in silk, though less fine, that looked worn and was likely not the original grip. There was a good chance the wielder gripped this in their mouth and had the blades on either side of their head. Two blades extended outward from the weapon's grip, one on either side, both curling back, the weapon's full span describing a soft arc that resembled a crescent moon. Each blade was six apples long, with the grip in the middle being two apples long. The blades were unadorned and free of any sort of markings whatsoever; The metal itself was unblemished, as if the weapon had never been used. On the whole, the thing seemed more like a decorative piece than an actual weapon, more like art, even as simple as it was.

She wrapped her magic around the blade to lift it out for a better look, only to have the weapon resist her. She blinked, looking down at the sword, inklings of a headache building the longer her magic touched the blade. It had actually fought against her lifting it? Was it because she was not its owner? Was it somehow sentient? Her magic seemed to be deflected or eaten by the blade, the strain of her attempts was making her horn hurt. She tried again, feeling the blade struggle to remain in its case before it finally seemed to relent, allowing her to lift it out of the box.

The blade practically sang as she moved it. Despite her gently lifting it, the blade seemed to slice through the air, eager for more than just the wind to cut. Twilight set the weapon on the table, a soft chime echoing in the room as the impact with the wooden surface caused the metal to resonate. She knew next to nothing about metallurgy, but this seemed like it could have not been forged by any normal pony. It also didn't look like any steel she had ever seen.

She slapped her face with a hoof and grumbled, having gotten very far ahead of herself with this. Sighing, she picked up the letter, unfolding the parchment to read what her teacher had written.

====================================

Dearest Twilight,

This blade once belonged to Jer'rahd Kaisur, who I spoke of, and was presented to him as a gift by Princess Luna after a time of service. The weapon itself is composed of two items: the broken remains of Jer'rahd's grandfather's sword and ore from a fallen star. He carried this blade in one form or another for most of his life, and I believe that this is the only thing left of the five's possessions that still exist outside of stone that I can send to you. Very few things will survive a thousand years and remain intact, even in storage.

Luna went as far as to track down a dragon smith to work the metal of this blade before presenting it to him herself. Be careful with it, however. Though it was forged for combat, its strength only matches its wielder’s will, and Jer'rahd's will was strained greatly in his last days. It is likely still under that duress even in stone. It may be more fragile than it seems. I have also included a personal spell of mine which shall enable you to scry the events of the past using the weapon as a focus.

You will be limited to the holder of this blade, but you may pick up on his thoughts and feelings after a bit of practice. The spell should eventually pick up on what you wish to see, but it is unable to show you events beyond the point when you started viewing them without you watching them unfold. However, if you have seen the events once, you may go back and view them again. I expect this will help you with your studies and I hope to be able to read what you write to remind myself of what I may have forgotten or heard incorrectly. Do not let this distract you from your study of the magic of friendship, however, Twilight. That should still be your primary focus.

Princess Celestia.

=========================================

Metal from a fallen star? Twilight shook her head, looking at the weapon, and reread the message. She unrolled the scroll and read through it, giggling about having a new spell to learn, and one given to her by the princess at that. She studied the scroll carefully, making sure she understood before even attempting to use it on the blade.

There was no telling what she might find from this scrying. Would it tell her about Jer'rahd, perhaps his grandfather, maybe even where the metal came from in space? Spike was due back in a few hours, so they could go join in on the Apple family gathering. After last year, Applejack had invited her to come for dinner this year, too.
She smiled, thinking of everything that she could learn from this; there was all of that lost history, perhaps some things that were forgotten that might be useful even now, even forgotten spells. She danced about in excitement, preparing to cast the spell. A little bit of time was better than none, and her curiosity would kill her at dinner tonight if she did not at least take a peek.

She took a last look at the parchment as her horn started to glow. The princess had also seen fit to attach a translation spell to the scrying. That was a big relief, now she wouldn't have to worry about trying to get through all the “thees and thous” of old Canterlot speech; The spell would take care of that for her.

Twilight’s horn flared. The room seemed to shimmer, fading out and leaving her standing in front of the old guard house in Canterlot court. Her gaze shifted as the spell changed its focus, dragging her though the streets suddenly and throwing her against, and into, a young, dark-gray-pelted unicorn with a blade on his side.

-----------------------------------------------

“Honestly, Rhede, I don't know why you are going to do this as well. You never had any interest in joining the Guard before.”

The unicorn glanced over at his friend, a tall earth pony with a crimson coat and a long, seemingly perfect black mane and tail. Not a single hair was out of place. His blue eyes seemed unusually bright and cheerfully amused at everything they saw. At 17 apples tall, he towered above most of the other ponies gathering in the courtyard. Not overly muscular, his body seemed to be a strange cross between that of a runner and that of a farmer. His cutie mark was a cluster of three arrows, each with a little heart on the end instead of a point.

“Oh, that's an easy answer, Jer." Rhede chuckled. "Mares love a stallion in uniform.”

“Like you need a uniform to help with that," Jer smirked, "What’s the matter, running out of good lines already?”

“Not even close,” Rhede replied.

Jer's real name was Jer'rahd. He was a unicorn with a deep gray coat that almost seemed blue. His mane and tail were a brownish yellow like that of amber. They were nowhere near as well-groomed as his friend’s, nor as well trimmed. The pony seemed like he had simply woken up, cleaned up, and then come out here without even seeing a brush. He was a great deal more muscled than his friend. However, he stood four or five apples less in height than Rhede, despite being the older of the two, even considering the added height his horn gave him. A leather strap hung over his shoulders, securing a worn scabbard and a sword with a well-used grip comfortably to his right side. His cutie mark was a silver kite shield with the black curved horse head of a chess board's knight in the center.

A small sigh escaped his lips as he shook his head at his friend’s antics. His green eyes turned back to regard the crowd gathering at the doors of the keep.
“Besides, Jer, I plan to go for the officers’ training after basic. It’s likely more suited to my special talents, after all,” Rhede proclaimed.

“Smooth-talking your way out of a fight with the mare you've been courting’s mate is considered a special talent now?”

“You wound me, my friend, to think I would willingly try and cozy up to a mare that was spoken for.”

“I don't need to think it; you did that last night at the tavern.”

“Yes, well, she had taken off her wedding anklet, so I was not at fault there.”

“I will give you that one. Just that one.”

“Why so serious all the time? You should have joined the festivities; it was your last night of freedom for a while. At the very least, you could have sought a willing mare. There were a plenty at that tavern. I am quite sure I could have hooked you up with one or two.”

“Hah, not a chance. The first mare you hooked me up with tried to kill me, believing I was cheating on her, and the last eventually wound up being bedded by you after she broke up with me.”

“How many times must I apologize for that? I had no idea Peach was crazy. And as for Silphy... well, once I found out she only dated you to get to me, I refused to have anything more to do with her. Honestly, both of them were years ago. How long are you going to hold that over me?”

“At least for a few more apologies, and maybe a statue in my honor for putting up with you.”

“Oh, great and merciful Jer'rahd, I can only hope to pray your forgiveness for wooing the mare from your side with my roguish good looks and charm," Rhede started shouting at the top of his lungs, "Perhaps one day, your ego shall be appeased by my humble requests of forgiveness. Either that, or you’re still going to be bringing it up when we both sit at the old ponies’ home so you can cheat at chess against me.”

Jer'rahd smirked at his friend’s sarcasm. He had long ago forgiven him, though busting his flank on it had become an old joke of sorts between them. The old familiarity of the argument was somewhat comforting, particularly with the looming challenge of trying to become a Royal Guard before them.

The line shifted as the crowd tapered into a pair of doors leading inside the Guard house. A large statue of a fully-armored stallion sat in the middle of the courtyard, towering over all the ponies present. Not all here were petitioners for the Guard; most were reporting crimes, problems with neighbors, or just there to complain. The pair’s turn finally came up and they trotted inside to the desk, behind which a rather bored looking older stallion sat, half-hidden behind paperwork.

“NEXT!! State your business with the Guard,” he called.

“I...”

He glanced back at Rhede, not even sure the older stallion had even looked up from the papers on the desk.

”We wish to join the Guard,” Jer stated.

“Sign these and head though the double doors in the back for your evaluation. NEXT!”

Rhede trotted over as Jer'rahd floated one of the books of paperwork and a quill to him. Thankfully, somepony had seen fit to add a table off to the side so they could fill everything out without a problem. By the end of it, his magic felt weak just holding the quill, and Rhede was complaining of cramps in his jaw. He had never seen so many things to fill out. How was the Everfree Forest not completely clear cut if every Guard had to sign all this stuff?

Gathering up the Great Equestrian Novel, they headed back through the double doors. After dropping the paperwork in a bin that bore a small, worn sign that told you to put applications here, the pair waited some more. The guard posted there eventually sent them along a blue line in the floor for their medical checkups. In this waiting room, they finally saw a few of the other ponies who had signed up, including a light gray coated, purple-maned pegasus mare that had Rhede's full attention until she was brought into the back. Jer'rahd ignored his friend’s comments of wishing he was a doctor to poke and prod that before Rhede was called back as well. Jer'rahd, thankfully, did not have to wait much longer before he was called back for an examination.

========================================================

Several hours, more needles, and groping than he figured even Rhede would be comfortable with, they were on their way again, following a red line on the floor to the mental evaluation. Rhede looked a little ill, though considering that he had spent the last few hours being felt up by a nurse old enough to be his grandmother, it was sort of understandable, particularly since she seemed to take delight in watching Rhede squirm.

“Cold hooves; by Celestia's magnificent rump, those were hooves forged in the very source of winter itself. That mare had to be part windigo.”

“You’re getting more creative with the swearing Rhede, though keep in mind who we will be working for. It might be in your best interest to create ones that are not quite so… specifically gratuitous.”

“Please, I have yet to meet a mare alive that did not enjoy someone flattering their form.”

“There’s a lot of mares you have yet to meet.”

“And I hope to change that. Every mare should know the joys that are available when you know Rhede Pelt.”

“Nice to see you’re back to normal already, Rhede.”

“Yes, back from the scary, cold place that we shall never speak of again.”

The next room was more paperwork before he was brought into the office of a graying stallion who looked even more bored with his job than the one at the front desk. Rhede went in first and came back out following a green line, waving a hoof as Jer'rahd went in.

============================================================

“You’re Jerrad Kraiser? “

“It’s pronounced ‘Jair~ rod, Kay~Sure’ …umm, sir, “Jer corrected.

“Right, Jer'rahd. So then, why are you looking to join the Guard? I hope it’s not to get castle duty, ‘cause that cushy post is for ponies that have proven themselves or know the right nobles. Not rookies.”

“No, sir. My father was in the Guard, as was my grandfather. He fought in the great war.”

“Being the grandson of a Dragon War veteran’s not gonna get you anything here, son.” The pony states his eyes traveling the length of the sword on Jer'rahd side.

“I didn’t expect it to, sir; you asked why I was joining. I grew up with their stories and influence guiding me until my father was killed.”

“Sergeant First Class, Amano Kaisur. Killed in action in a border skirmish with the griffons ten years ago. You must have been what, eight at the time?”

“Nine, sir.”

“Here to seek revenge for him, then?”

“No sir; because of those battles and the princesses' negotiations, the griffons have become our allies in recent years. My father dying in the line of duty doing what needed to be done to bring about peace does not mean I want to start another war to seek revenge.”

“That his sword?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You any good with it?”

“My grandfather was better. Sparring and training dummies do not have the same risk or required skill level he attained through experience.”

“Unicorn on your mother’s side then. How many spells do you know?”

“Just two, sir.”

“Just two?”

“Yes, sir. I know the normal manipulation spell every unicorn learns to move things around with, and a shield spell.”

“How strong is the shield?”

“Never had a chance to test it fully, sir, though it can support my weight if needed.”

“How do you wield the sword: mouth or magic?”

“Both, sir.”

“Hmm, alright, that’s something, at least. Always a good thing to not be set in any one way to fight; it limits you. Alright, this all seems to be in order. You’ve not had any other training and no background problems. Any next of kin?”

“Not for at least six years, sir. My mother passed away when I was young, and my grandfather died six years ago. No other blood siblings.”

“Sorry to hear that, but I suppose you get that a lot. You're in the clear on this end, next up’s basic training. Pass that, and you’re in the Guard, son. Good luck.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You’re welcome. Follow the green line, and we'll get you shipped out to the Marea 51 training facility soon enough.”

============================================

Following the green line brought him to where Rhede was: in yet another waiting room.

“Hurry up and wait; honestly, Jer, one would think they would streamline this a bit more.”

“I don't really mind. Gives us some time to relax before the next part.”

“You think your dad and grandfather were pulling your tail with those basic training horror stories?”

“No, grandpa was not much for making things up.”

“Now that worries me.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The scrying faded as the pair arrived at the military training base. Twilight pulled back, letting the image fade out fully as she heard the door open and Spike come in.

“Hey, Twilight. Doing better I hope? Hey, is that the thing the Princess was gonna send you? What is it? Kinda makes me nervous for some reason,” Spike questioned.

“Yup. It just got delivered a few hours ago. It's some sort of sword. The princess sent me a scrying spell too, this is to use as a focus for observing the past. It is a bit odd, but there’s no reason you should be nervous about it. I am a little miffed that all I have gotten so far is a Guard waiting room.”

“Well, you have to start somewhere, right?" Spike shrugged. "Come on, let’s head to Applejack’s; I’m starving.“

“Right, let me put this back in the case and we can get going,” Twilight replied.

“Wooo... gaaaahh, watching you lift that thing is making me feel even more nervous. It feels like it wants to eat me or something.”

Twilight lifted the blade, finding it a bit easier to move this time, though the weapon still seemed to try to resist her magic. She placed it back in the case, draping the silk over it again before closing the clasp. She stretched and rubbed the ache from the base of her horn before she pulled the crate’s lid over the top of the box, and headed for the door, pausing a moment to let Spike hop onto her back.

“It’s nothing you need to worry about, Spike. The sword doesn’t even have a mouth. Did Applejack want us to bring anything?”

“Just our appetites. Remember what happened last time there was an Apple family reunion?”

“Ugh, I do... I am amazed I was even able to walk after that, let alone get all that stuff done for the Summer Sun Celebration.”

Author's Note:

I had a bit of difficulty with distances a foot would not have gone over very well as a unit of measurement even though they have used that before in the series. Like wise, being american I am not entirely familer with the metric system enough to use it so I made my own references of scale.


For those keeping track an apple is being used as a marker for the standard horse height indicator of hands which are 4 inches each. Measurements on horses are also done to the shoulder so Rhede is 5 ft at the shoulder with an extra two foot or so to ear tip when standing upright thus making him near 7 foot overall . Jer'rahd is closer to 5 foot something overall putting him at just a bit larger than the average pony mare. Of course measurements are never really given in the show so its hard to judge. The current belief for the show is that all the ponies are 4 to 5 feet tall.

Apple= 4 inches
pony = 5 foot = 15 apples
1 story building 10 foot.= 30 apples

and so on.

[edit] Please note that this scale was made before Hearth's warming came out and the term foot being used for the candy canes.]


Editing by Jphyper and StormyVenture.

PreviousChapters Next