• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Memoirs of a Royal Guard - Anzel

Silent Knight assumed his story would be complete once he achieved his dream of joining the Royal Guard. To his surprise, it was only just the beginning.

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18. Hearth's Warming Eve

Shaking my head, I sighed. “What a shame.”

“What is?” Iridescence asked from her bunk.

“My sister and her marefriend broke up. She is really upset about it, too,” I explained as I read the letter on the table. Setting down a fresh sheet of parchment, I picked up a pencil in my mouth and started on a response.

Iridescence rose and came over. She slid the letter over to read it herself. Normally they were private, but I had brought it up so it seemed alright to let her see.

“Does she say why?” she asked.

I just shook my head and tried to focus on my writing.

The unicorn’s expression darkened as she read on. “Poor girl… They had been together a while, too. Be sure you’re extra nice to her in that letter. Maybe even take some time to go see her?”

I nodded in agreement and continued to scrawl my condolences across the parchment. One thing I had learned was that when these things happen there is a litany of standard responses: there are other pegasi in the sky, it is always darkest before Celestia’s dawn, so on and so forth. All of that sounded so forced to me. I certainly knew I wouldn’t want to hear anything like that if Iridescence and I split up.

While we contemplated the best response, there was a knock on the door. It was followed by a brief pause before the door opened. It was Captain Shining Armor. Usually he didn’t knock. That was new.

We stood at attention and I spit the pencil out onto the table. “Good evening, sir,” I said.

“Good evening, you two,” he replied, looking to where the pencil had landed. “Silent Knight, I wanted to put on a bit of extra security for Princess Celestia tonight. Can you help me out?”

A spot on Princess Celestia’s House Guard for the evening was a huge opportunity. I smiled and said, “That is most appreciated, Captain. May I ask, is there nopony else? You know I would never refuse if you were in need… but if somepony else can do it, I’d like to pass.” I nodded towards the letters on the table. “I’m behind on writing to my sister and she is in a bad spot… plus, Iridescence and I have tickets to the Hearth’s Warming Eve play. I don’t want to let her down.”

Shining Armor looked a little surprised. He shook his head and smiled. “Oh, no, I won’t have trouble finding somepony. It is a huge career opportunity and I wanted to offer it to you first. You’ve earned that.” He tapped the table and nodded. “But family comes first. Have fun, you two.”

The door closed behind the captain and Iridescence looked at me wide eyed. “What?” I asked.

“You could have been on Princess Celestia’s House Guard tonight. You just turned down something you’ve cared about your whole life!”

Mares are confusing creatures. I tilted my head. “We had plans. You said I was supposed to meet you halfway.” I leaned down to pick up my pencil and got back to writing.

Iridescence watched with a strange look on her face. Was it guilt? Guilt didn’t make sense, but it looked like guilt. We could talk about that later. For now, Winterspear was the most important pony to me. Maybe I should go see her. I had tons of leave time due.

Later that evening, Iridescence and I attended the Hearth’s Warming Eve play. The Canterlot production was the largest in all of Equestria and getting tickets was hard. Being a royal guard, however, had its perks and I was able to acquire two well in advance. We didn’t have great seats but they were what I could afford.

That was my gift to Iridescence. Well, I guess the tickets and me not working security. She had gotten me a wonderful scarf. It was white and blue like me and really warm. I’m not certain what it was made out of, but if somepony asked I would say “the softest comfort available.” The scarf was also extra long, which meant I could share it with her.

We sat together at the play with her hooves around my left foreleg. She still had that guilty look on her face but I hoped the show would change that. The playbill had stated that Twilight Sparkle and her friends would be taking on the starring roles. I wasn’t aware that they were actors, but it was still an exciting prospect.

The lights fell and a dragon came out on stage to narrate. This was going to be a great evening. First a show, and then off to meet our friends. I slipped a hoof around Iridescence’s shoulders and we settled in for the performance.

“I’m not sure Commander Hurricane was that stubborn is all that I’m saying,” I explained.

Iridescence laughed softly as we walked, “Spoken like a true pegasus warrior. It was creative license, Silent Knight. All of the leaders were made to seem completely unreasonable.”

“I suppose that is true. Still…” I trailed off as we arrived at Runic’s shop.

The outside was completely done up in Hearth’s Warming Eve decorations. A sign outside read “Closed For Private Function.”

We headed on inside and found ourselves in a holiday wonderland. Runic Phial did not do anything halfway. The shop was completely decked out in Hearth’s Warming cheer. There were colorful streamers, hanging ornaments, and everything else you’d expect plus some things you wouldn’t. It appeared he had somehow glued fake icicles to the ceiling… at least I hoped they were fake.

“Wow, Runic… This is just amazing,” Iridescence said and I nodded in agreement.

Runic smiled. “Thank you. I wanted it to feel special for our first Hearth’s Warming Eve together! Just like my parents do back home.”

That was a nice gesture. We helped ourselves to some punch and chatted quietly while waiting for the others to arrive.

It wasn’t long after that when the door opened and Crystal Wishes came in. “Good evening, all!” she called cheerfully. “I hope nopony minds, but I brought a friend.”

“The more the merrier,” Runic replied earnestly.

An earth pony walked in behind her. She was light pink and had a mauve mane pulled up in a bun in the back. Two curled strands hung by her ears in the front. Her cutie mark was some sort of pink shoe, the kind dancers wear.

“Hello, everypony,” she said softly, glancing around.

“This is Velvet Step. We’ve been friends since we were fillies and I thought she’d enjoy the party,” Crystal Wishes explained with a bright smile before going around the room with introductions. “That is Silent Knight, Iridescence, and Runic Phial.”

“Pleased to meet you,” I said as we all exchanged casual pleasantries.

Velvet looked a little pensive but that didn’t surprise me. She was being introduced to new ponies in a new place. She cleared her throat and asked, “Is it true that Princess Luna may be coming? I won’t know what to do if she does!”

It was true. Crystal Wishes and Princess Luna had hit it off pretty well. Iridescence, too, of course. I was glad to see the princess making friends. It made work weird sometimes, though.

Crystal Wishes smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Velvet. She is sweet. I’m not sure if she’ll be able to make it, anyway. She has a lot of duties as a princess. Why don’t we have some punch?”

I took that opportunity to chat with Runic. I was a bit excited. “Runic, I got a gift for you,” I started. “I don’t know much about these things but I think you’ll like it.”

Runic tilted his head and asked, “What is it?”

The gift, a rock, was hidden in my scarf. I pulled it out and offered it to him. “About three weeks ago, Princess Luna was on her balcony looking through her telescope. She saw something fall from the sky and pointed it out to me. I’m not exactly sure how, but she tracked where it would land and we went out to see it the next day. It was a rock that had fallen from the heavens. This is a piece.”

Runic’s eyes went wide and he took the rock in both hooves, cradling it like you might a foal. “You got me an extraterrestrial rock?” he asked, tears welling in the corner of his eyes.

I was pretty certain they were good tears, so I nodded. “The moment I saw it I thought of you and Princess Luna allowed me to have it. I’m glad you… huugh!” I grunted as Runic crushed me into a hug. I hugged him back. It was cool; we’re family.

When my vision started going black around the edges he let go. “I have something for you, too. Give me a second though,” he said, turning to go to the back of the shop.

He set the rock down on the counter and brought out a small strongbox with a glass lid. Runic unlocked the box and set the stone in it. Securing it, he put it on the shelf right behind the counter in prime viewing space. I was proud that I had found the right gift.

His gift for me, it seemed, was much larger. From the back room, Runic produced a long, rectangular box wrapped in brilliant blue paper. He offered it to me and I had to take it in both hooves. Whatever it was, it was heavy. “Thank you,” I said, setting the box on the table. I tore the wrapping off and revealed a wooden box.

Curiously I pushed the lid off of it. “Wow!” I exclaimed, drawing the attention of everypony in the room. Typically I’m not loud but this was amazing.

“I made it,” Runic said sheepishly.

From the box, I pulled out the most impressive sword I’d ever seen. It was shiny and new, polished to a silver finish. The hilt and cross guards had sapphires set into round baubles, but the most amazing bit is where the hilt met the blade: Runic had crafted two crescent moons that looked like my cutie mark out of a pale white stone and attached them.

Holding the sword in my hoof, I marveled at its beauty. “Runic… this is a masterpiece.” It was well balanced. I shifted it and took it in my mouth. Balanced there, too.

I set it back into the box carefully, turned towards Runic, and tackled him. It was cool; we’re family.

“Stallions,” I heard Iridescence say as she and the other mares exchanged gifts. I didn’t care. This was amazing.

Helping Runic up, I asked, “How did you do it? It’s perfect and it’s just right for me.”

Runic smiled and shrugged. “I’m friends with a blacksmith. We worked on it together. From all the experimenting you and I do, I was able to figure it out. I did the stones and imbuing. I’m glad you like it.”

I shook my head. “No, not like it. I love it.”

“Great!” Runic cheered.

I made a mental note to request special permission from the captain to carry a non-issue weapon. It was a common request and one unlikely he’d deny.

It was also just about that time that the front door opened and two members of Princess Luna’s House Guard came in. Miley Hooves the Plaguebringer (our affectionate term for her), and her new partner, Harvest Moon. Harvest was the second trainee ever to come out of the academy and go directly into Princess Luna’s House Guard, myself being the first. That was a good thing. Ponies were starting to see this as a good career move.

Our group fell silent and I cleared my throat. “Miley. Harvest.” They both nodded at me, looked around, and separated to reveal Princess Luna.

She smiled brightly when she saw all of us. “Happy Hearth’s Warming Eve, ponies!” she exclaimed, coming in. “Who is ready for the fun to be doubled? I have brought games!”

And she had indeed… two saddlebags full of games, to be precise. I noticed that Velvet Step looked a little shocked but the rest of us knew this side of Princess Luna well. It was one of the things that made her the most endearing and approachable. She was not some aloof noble. She was a pony just like the rest of us. I wished all of Equestria could see her that way.

Author's Note:

I hope everyone has a great holiday season for whichever holiday you celebrate! It has truly been a pleasure working on this story and sharing it with you all!

Silent Knight and Princess Luna on Hearth's Warming Eve. This lovely commission was done by Blue Kazenate.

For all my loyal readers I did want to give you a heads up. The next couple of chapters will be a bit more serious. Please don't take it as a change of style or the new normal. I just wanted to show the good, the bad, the silly, the sad, and generally portray how life can be for us all. Trust me though! What you enjoy won't be changing. A few details in the spoiler below

The next chapter is the second part of my Hearth's Warming story. It is going to show a bit more about Silent Knight and his relationship with his parents... which as you might have guessed, isn't good.

Crystal's Wishes companion chapter: Hearths on Fire

If you are enjoying this story, please consider taking a look at Crystal and my's website QuillnBlade.com for extra content such as mini stories, an Ask Us form to submit questions, responses to said questions, and special rewards for the awesome folks who support our Patreon.

2nd Edition Version

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