• 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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46. All Good Things... - Part 1

“Do knights naturally know how to dance? Am I making a big leap of logic here by assuming they do? Do you know how to dance? Could you tell me? Please?”

“You stupid pony… You promised! You promised me! What am I going to do?”

“If not that, then how about the third chapter? What did you think of that? Please tell me what you think. Please?”

“I didn’t run away. I wanted to. Celestia knows I wanted to. That didn’t seem fair to you, though. This is never what I wanted. It shouldn’t have gone like this. Please, I miss you.”

“Oh Celestia. Please help him. There is so much more I wanted to say. Do you know I got his letter before I found out? I was so excited and then… well, you know all about it, don’t you? Please, our story can’t end like this. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end at all.”

The voice was familiar and sweet but filled with sorrow and regret. The words were quiet whispers at best. I inhaled softly and the scent of roses filled my senses. It was a nice balance to the aches I felt all over. My eyes opened and I was immediately blinded by lights above me. There was an angelic face over me. Clearly, I had never made it off the train. Then I heard her gasp.

“Doctor! Doctor, come quick! He’s awake!” Crystal Wishes shouted.

I smiled at her. At least I think I did, since I was pretty groggy. “Hello beautiful,” I muttered.

“And he is delirious!” she added.

I was vaguely aware of the doctor and a horde of nurses coming in to poke and prod me. I hurt all over.

“Sergeant, do you know your name?” the doctor asked.

“Silent Armor,” I replied.

He shook his head. “Try again.”

“Shining Knight," I said.

Again with the head shake.

“Silent Knight?”

The doctor nodded and said, “That is right. You’re Silent Knight. Do you know where you are?”

“No clue.” My head lulled a bit as I started to look around to get my bearings.

“Try?” the doctor urged.

My sluggish brain started to work. “Probably not a gryphon hospital. They typically don’t employ pony doctors,” I said as the fogginess in my head started to slowly evaporate.

Without any warning, memories flooded back. Battle! We were in a battle! I bolted up right. As I did, my vision went black. A hoof rested on my chest, urging me to lay back.

“Easy there, Sergeant. You’re banged up pretty bad, but you’re quite the fighter. You made it across the sea, got patched up in Baltimare, and now you’re home in Canterlot. You’ve been out for a while. Welcome back,” the doctor explained.

Canterlot? I was in Canterlot? Of course I was, Crystal Wishes was here. She wasn't in the battle. Was she? No. My heart started to slow to a normal pace.

At least I had missed the voyage back. Injured and seasick would have been awful. “Thanks, Doctor.”

More details started to cut through the haze. Then my heart started to race again. “The princess?!” I gasped. Once more I tried to sit up and was only rewarded by blackness and pain.

I heard Crystal Wishes’s breath catch and she set a hoof on mine. “She is fine. She didn’t have a scratch. Please be still, Silent Knight.”

Relief flooded my senses. The princess was fine. I was fine... relatively speaking. That wasn't it, though. We weren't done. “How many?” I asked.

“What?” Crystal Wishes replied.

My vision started to clear again. “How many did we lose? How is the lieutenant?”

“The lieutenant is fine. His injuries were painful but superficial. He has almost gotten the limp worked out. The doctor says he’ll recover completely… He’ll be so happy to see you. Every day he comes by.” She was stalling, I could tell.

“Crystal, please. How many?”

“Ten in all… most of the gryphons, too,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

One quarter lost plus all of those gryphons. They had been betrayed by one of their own for money. It was atrocious.

The doctor cleared his throat as I brooded. “Sergeant.” He clapped his hooves in front of me. “Sergeant!”

My head shook lightly and I looked up at him. “Yes, sir?”

“You’re going to be in recovery a while. For now, you shouldn’t have too much excitement and we need you to start eating whole food as soon as you can. I realize you’re a soldier, but you’re not immortal. I’ll have a nurse go over the rules.

"Additionally, you might experience something we call combat fatigue. That typically requires counseling. I'll leave some pamphlets."

“Understood,” I said flatly. I’d do as I was told to get better and strong again. That was important. Not for myself, but for those we lost. I doubted I'd need counseling though. Knight's had been able to handle combat for generations. That was for other ponies.

Besides, I had more important things to focus on. Alastair was going to pay. As soon as I was well I’d see to that.

“I’m sorry, Silent Knight. Please, look at me,” Crystal Wishes said from my bedside.

I turned to her, upset, hurt, and furious; eager to lash out. Then I saw her face and her beautiful eyes. The ferocious storm calmed momentarily and, after all, there was no sense in upsetting a lady. At least not this one.

“You’ve been waiting for me to wake up this whole time?” I asked.

She smiled and nodded. “Not just me, though. Everypony. We’ve been taking turns so that one of us would be here when you woke up. Somepony that cares about you has been here every minute since you arrived. Even Princess Luna herself. I have been here most of the time though, because of my flexibility. A pony can write anywhere, after all.”

“Really? That seems like quite a lot of waiting. How long has it been?”

Crystal softly stroked my mane. It sent shivers down my spine. She'd never touched me like that before. “You have a lot of good friends and family who couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. You gave us quite a scare… but you’re stubborn. The doctor told us you didn’t seem interested in… leaving.”

She paused and seemed to be considering whether or not to tell me. Reluctantly, she answered, “A month. A bit longer actually.”

It made me smile to know that the others had been watching over me and that I’d survived. I’m certain that would stick in Alastair’s craw. Pegasi were tough… especially pegasus warriors. I nodded. “Sounds right. Still, work to be done. How bad is it?” I took a moment to look and feel about. I seemed to have all my bits. They hurt but they were there.

It seemed to pain her to say it, but she went through the list. “Multiple fractures in the right wing. A couple of shattered ribs which did some nasty things inside you. You took… I think they called it a bolt near the base of the neck in the back. Several wounds in the body, a nasty blow to the head or two, and bruises all over. I saw your armor and nearly screamed in horror. It was barely together.”

“It probably saved my life,” I said plainly. “Speaking of which, how is it that I’m here? The last thing I remember is separating the train cars.”

“Iridescence said Exemplar Ferrel saved you. She used some sort of teleport spell to pull you back. Her magic then stabilized your wounds. It was miraculous… at least the doctor told me so. He, ah… well, he wasn’t sure you’d ever wake up when you arrived from Balitmare.”

She wiped her eyes and continued, “Exemplar Ferrel was comfortably certain you would. Once you survived Balitmare, anyway. She’s an odd mare… never quite with us in the here and now, but she’s been by to check on you a few times.”

That made little sense, but nothing ever did with the exemplar. I was quite grateful that I had worked out the arrangement for the temple guards to come along, though. Who knows what would have happened if they had not been there. “I’ll have to thank her, then.”

She nodded. “That would be a good idea. Now, if you don’t mind being alone for just a short period of time, I really want to let everypony know you’re up. Winterspear will want to come over immediately.”

I waved a hoof at her. “I’ll keep. Thank you for being here, Crystal Wishes. It is nice to see you.”

She paused before she left. “It is really nice to see you, too.”

“What happened to not being a hero?” Winterspear asked, pointing at me.

I shrugged. “I wasn’t being a hero. I was the last pony and it was likely I wasn’t going to make it anyway. If I had acted to protect myself, I still probably wouldn’t have made it and a lot more ponies would be in here with me. It was the right call. Simple numbers.”

Winterspear wanted to hit me. I could see it in her face, but she held her hooves in check. There were perks to being injured. “You’re not a number,” she growled.

I reached out and looped a hoof lightly around her shoulders. Weakly, I tugged her in closer. “I know, but I am a soldier. That’s the job. It worked out alright so you can’t be too angry with me. Besides… I’m hurt.”

She laughed bitterly and replied, “Milk it all you can. When it is time for you to start getting back on your hooves, I’m going to wreck you.”

I squeezed her against me. It hurt but I wanted to do it. Then I nuzzled her cheek. “I look forward to it. I’ll be glad to get out of this bed and back to work. It feels like I’m just being a complete leech.”

“Oh, I think you’ve earned it, but I hear you. The doctor said you’ll be able to at least get out of the hospital and on light duty soon. It will be nice having your snoring self back at home,” she said.

“I don’t snore.”

“Listen, little brother. I have sat here for hours while you were out and so has everypony else. There are too many witnesses for you to silence. You snore. Accept it.”

“Fine. Until I have evidence otherwise, I’ll accept that. I still think you’re wrong, though,” I grumbled.

“Oh. So there is one more thing. Your lieutenant and I agreed it was time to do the paperwork for new quarters. Iridescence got your old room. They moved you to bigger quarters more fitting for a first sergeant and I tagged along. It is nice.”

“That’s okay. A room is a room.” I said.

“It is more than a room. First sergeants have nicer quarters. You should have requested them a long time ago.” She leaned in and kissed my cheek. “Okay. I’m going to go. You’ve got a line down the hall to see you. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“And the whole thing burst into flame. She is really talented, Runic,” I said.

Runic beamed at me, nodding. “She is a master of labeling. Workplace accidents are at an all time low. She’s cut my insurance rates in half! Anyway, those conflagration potions are pretty handy when you need them.”

“And what exactly do you need them for?” I asked. They were pretty much a weapon, after all.

“Weeding the garden, feisty rats, and the occasional changeling attack. A stallion has a right to defend his rocks, you know.” Runic explained.

I laughed and nodded. “Of course. Are you and Miley spending time together now that she is back?”

Runic shifted. “Yeah. At first, it was awkward and kind of hard on her. I know you all saw… well, you were there. She had to adjust to being back, but she went and saw a counselor so I think she’s okay now. We talked… a lot. We’re experimenting and doing alchemy again. I even asked her on a date. She said yes, of course.”

“Of course.”

“I’m a bit rusty but she is going easy on me. It has been a lot of fun. Most things seem to be back to normal,” Runic mused.

I leaned back against my pillows. “I sure hope so. I’m ready to be back to normal.”

Runic got up and came over to bump hooves with me. “When you’re well enough, I’m going to throw a party for you. I’ll get that fluffy pink dancer that you liked again. See you later, Silent Knight. Get well!”

Great, another forty-five minutes to endure without understanding a word. Oh well. Runic threw the best parties anyway.

“And now you’re pretty much up to speed,” Iridescence said after going over every detail of what had happened since we’d been back. She had been acting unit sergeant while I was on injury leave.

Sergeant Orchid had passed on the opportunity so she wouldn’t be spending more time away from her family. There was a rumor that she was going to retire. I aimed to talk her out of that.

“It sounds like you’ve kept on top of everything to me,” I said simply. There was a lot Iridescence hadn’t said. It had been all business.

She nodded and grumbled, “Well, you can have it back as soon as you’re well. I’m not sure this is for me. Once you were… well, until the lieutenant was awake, I had to make the tough calls. That may be fine for you but I’m not you. He had a very morbid opinion about everything.”

We sat in silence for a moment and then I scooted over on the bed. Patting the spot next to me, I asked, “What’s on your mind?”

Iridescence slipped carefully onto the bed next to me. She was worried about hurting me, I think. I looped a hoof around her shoulder.

“You just pulled the lock pin out like it was nothing. How could you do that to me? You were going to die,” she murmured.

I ruffled her mane. “It was the best chance to save the princess, you, Russet, and as many ponies as possible. Alastair had me and he wasn’t going to let go. It was simple math.”

Iridescence frowned. “You sound just like the lieutenant. How can the two of you be so confident about dying? It is horrible.”

That made me laugh. So much that it hurt actually. I winced and Iridescence looked at me like I was crazy. “You think I was confident? I was scared. Horribly scared and alone. It felt like when my father had left me in Canterlot, but I did what I had to do to protect my friends. I’d do it again.”

With a sigh, I pushed on, “Listen, I realize not every guard thinks about giving their life. For some ponies it is just a job, but death is always a possibility. The lieutenant and I keep that in the front of our mind so that we can be ready when we have to be. I’d rather it have been me than you or the princess.”

Iridescence hugged me tight. It was painful. “I’m not ready for you to leave. You can’t do that to me, Silent Knight. That just seems so sad. Maybe I’ll be a hard soldier like you someday, but I’m not so sure I want to be. For now, I’ll leave it to you and the lieutenant. Why don’t you come back soon and take over? I need my friend and my first sergeant back.”

Lightly, I bumped my head to hers. “Yeah, as soon as they let me out of here, I’ll be back. Now… unless you’re going to do something for me, get out of my bed. I need to sleep.” Teasingly, I pushed her with both forehooves.

She laughed and got up. “Okay, okay. You want me to send the others home until tomorrow?”

“I hate to do it, but yeah… I’m exhausted and I’d really like to sleep for a while. You don’t think they’ll mind, do you?”

Iridescence shook her head. “For some ponies? Maybe. For you, not at all. Get some sleep.”

Author's Note:

Into The Gryphon's Roost was something I'd planned for a very long time. I knew it was going to be a bit controversial in this story but it was pivotal to the growth of Silent Knight as a character and what I have planned for him long term.

The interesting thing about life is that it is rarely all happy or all sad. When I look at "Slice of Life," especially considering this is about a royal guard, I see a lot of opportunity to investigate both sides of it. Death is part of life and I won't say it won't have a role in this story.

Ultimately though, as one of my wise readers pointed out, this is not a dark story nor a tragedy. I don't intend to turn it down that path permanently. I did want to show that things could get serious from time to time, however. Each arc will explore something that is a bit varied from the base story.

Thank you all for reading!

Crystal's Wishes Companion Chapters: Resolution and Joy

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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