• Published 6th Dec 2014
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Voices in the Background - Visiden Visidane



Various correspondences in the background of Upheaval.

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Heartland

Voices in the Background

Heartland

Dear Bon Bon,

How have you been? I'm so sorry that I'm only writing to you now. There's so much stuff going on with the training and all the weird stuff we've been hearing, that I haven't gotten the time to really sit down and write. Mage Captain Grit Sting told me that the Royal Guard still manages all the jails in the Heartland. I hope that they've been treating you well. The Royal Guard isn't so bad. Remember that pair we met during Princess Celestia's Ponyville visit?

I've been doing okay, I guess. Maybe it's because I was imagining how horrible it would be so it was easy to be surprised. The legionnaires are pretty strict. They yell a lot, and they're always frowning when we're doing drills and stuff. When we're taking a break, though, most of them are okay. Mage Captain Grit Sting's actually nice. He made sure we were getting our food, and got angry with the cook who was trying to skimp on the soup. He also asks us about stuff here in the Heartland.

The training isn't so bad either. We work in teams called evocation arrays. It's great that I still get to work with unicorns from Ponyville. So far, it's just weird mental exercises. The Mage Captain says we need to get good enough at linking our magic before we actually test fire, otherwise we'd blow ourselves up. I'm still a bit worried about that part, but I think they won't even let us try unless they're absolutely sure. They'd probably send us home first if we're not good enough.

I still really miss you and the rest of Ponyville, Bon Bon. It's just us unicorns in this part of the training grounds. When we get our breaks, I can climb up one of the sentry towers and still see Ponyville at a distance. When we get transferred west, it's going to be a lot lonelier. I'm going to ask the Mage Captain if I can visit you first. I hope he lets me.

Sincerely,
Lyra

_______________________________

Dear "Lyra"

I don't know which one is true. Maybe you're some legionnaire ordered to pretend to be Lyra to try and talk to me about working with the Legion after all. In that case, it's not going to work. I don't want to have anything to do with your army. I just want to be left alone. If the only way to do that is staying in jail, I'm happy to get used to prison food. So save the ink and paper, do something else like fight these monsters you're always going on about. If you have so much time to spend trying to get a weak earth pony like me to do your fighting for you, maybe you should get some more training, or whatever it is that you legionnaires do.

If you really are Lyra Heartstrings, the same Lyra who always bought a bag of my sweets at the exact same hour of the exact same day since she moved into Ponyville, then...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for what they've done to you, Lyra. Maybe it's some horrible magic that they have lying around for their forced recruits. Maybe it's some potion or pill. I don't want to know. I'm sorry, but I'm glad more than ever that I resisted. I don't want to be some kind of doll under their control, writing what they want you to write, saying what they want you to say. I can't imagine myself like that. I don't want to.

If it's really you, Lyra, then please just leave me alone. It hurts to read about you enjoying your new training. It hurts to think that you might start boasting to me about all the fighting you've been doing. I don't want any more letters, Lyra. If you're starting to like the Legion, I'm happy for you. I really am. But don't visit me with your big smile, or your new uniform. Don't tell me any more stories about your new job. I'll be happy here, just remembering the old you.

Sincerely,
Bon Bon


Medical Officer Nine Stitch,

What in Arugek's gullet is taking your damn medics so long? Three of my legionnaires have already sprouted "cutie marks". My sergeants can't train these foals if they're reciting soliloquy's, singing opera, and painting abstracts! Stop dawdling, and get some of your medics here. I need this prince-damned chosen disease purged from my camp or training will get delayed. Come six months, if the prince asks why his reinforcements aren't ready, I'm throwing you under his hooves.

Flight Captain Low Boom, Western Legion

___________________

Flight Captain Low Boom,

If you've just woken from a recent coma, let me inform you of recent events. We just got invaded by abyssal machines that crawled out of the decaying ruins of our maniacal ancestors. A huge portion of the Legion got sent there to deal with them and we're swamped with casualties and injured. Most of my magi have been sent there to help with worse things than your budding art troupe. The few I have here are taxed to their limits stemming Hide-rot, the Trots, and Shriek Song.

I am, however, following a promising lead involving an outbreak of chosen disease in Ponyville. It didn't take Luna-trained unicorn magi to clear that up, so there might be a way to help you without magic. At least not the conventional type. Until it pays off, you should start praying that one of your sergeants sprouts a medical cutie mark and patches himself and his friends up.

Medical Officer Nine Stitch, Western Legion

_____________________

Field Report from Ponyville


Medical Officer Nine Stitch,

We've located the zebra healer, Zecora, in the Everfree Forest, and she's confirmed that she can produce a cure for chosen disease. However, she can't promise that they would work for Barrier Lands ponies as they do for chosen. Without any cases here in Ponyville, we can't do any tests. We're sending over both fully grown samples and the seeds. According to Zecora, they're grown and induced to blooming by speaking "honest statements" at a maximum of five feet from the seed. They do not require any unicorn magic, and Zecora confirms that earth ponies can grow them easily enough.

We'll be sending a report to the Southern Legion as well regarding the zebra presence in the Heartland. Zecora has not been forthcoming about her place of origin, but we suspect that she has wandered far from her tribe. Running into them with the wrong zebra legionnaires might spark another inter-tribe war. We'd appreciate a heads-up if you find additional leads regarding zebras.

Reporting,
Ranger High Grass, Southern Legion

____________

Nine Stitch,

Good job with these chosen disease cures. I've had it with these panicked legionnaires spewing random languages getting under-hoof in the hospital. We can at least spare the healing spells for the more serious concerns.

As for the little "honest statement" issue your shifty medics have some trouble with, I'm shocked that you didn't go for the obvious. "This is a stupid way to grow anything" works well enough for me and my staff.

Redbrand, Northern Legion


Captain Hard Hew,

Let me make the Legion's position perfectly clear for both you and the True Earth Ponies. The restrictions still stand. The number of true earth ponies allowed into the Heartland remains the same. No pilgrimages to Mount Unicornia shall be allowed. It doesn't matter how much they posture in your outpost. It doesn't matter how many of their elders remonstrate and lecture about how important these slave mines their founder came out of are. I don't care if Rock Maven arose from Mount Unicornia's mines or if he had his first rut there. Give them their final warning. If they refuse to back down, throw them back to the Delve, or whatever burrow they crawled out of. At spear-point if needed.

An investigation regarding their murdered comrades has already been launched. Black Rose killed the three channelers they sent to Canterlot along with their armed escort, and Black Rose is dead. There is no further need to make an inquiry about this matter. If they want proof of her death, they can petition the prince. Which would be suicide at this point in time. Do not bother me or anypony else about this detail again, Captain, or you'll find yourself mucking about in a Delve prison with the rest of these true earth pony foals.

Legion Commander Stonewall


Quartermaster High Trade,

I have just been informed that you allowed a shipment of Luna's Piss to be carted into the Heartland, specifically for the Cloudsdale training grounds.

You do realize that Princess Luna is actually here, correct? As in she's alive, and managing a great deal of Equestria's affairs with her siblings. I seriously doubt her highness will take it well that there is such a ridiculously named drink making its way to the Heartland. We have enough problems with Princess Celestia's disapproval of the alcohol influx. Turning another one of the royalty against drinking is a sure way to paint a bulls-eye on your flank for every thirsty legionnaire in the Heartland.

Before you suggest it, no, I don't think explaining to her why the Moonlight Rondo opted to give their bad recipe that name and why it's still being brewed would help, so don't bother. And, no, don't mention that the prince thought it was hilarious at the time and allowed it, unless you're a fan of being chucked into a volcano. If you are, make sure to mention how I was completely against it, because I'm not.

For our sakes, High Trade, I hope you've already sent some ponies to recall that shipment. If not, then put down this damn letter and get on it.

Captain Cloudslide, Western Legion


Memo from Pegasus Guard Captain Bright Shield

I'm pleased to report that the correct anti-venom arrived in time. Ride Tall and High Seat are both stable, but the doctors estimate that it will take a week before the swelling goes down enough for them to resume their duties. Let this incident be a dire and last warning to the rest of you on dungeon guard duty. The ophidite prisoner is dangerous, and is not there for our amusement. Refrain from gawking at it, talking to it, and, for the love of our dear princesses, refrain from poking it with your hooves to check if snakes sleep with their eyes open.


Dear Captain Nightcanter,

I am a little flattered and greatly disturbed by your proposition. I am thankful, however, that you chose to be honest and direct about it. Both Shining Armor and I will have to refuse. We are both happy and content in each other's company and have no desire to include others for those affairs you refer to as "tapping the midnight still". Enclosed with this letter should be the...objects you included in your letter. I understand that you said I may keep them, but, in all honesty, I wouldn't be caught dead with those things on my person.

Sincerely,
Princess Cadance of Equestria


Dear Diary,

I had that wonderful dream again last night: cool ocean foam lapping at my hooves, warm salty air, the gentle rhythm of waves. This time was different, instead of just wading a bit in the water before waking up, I actually went all the way in. Oh, diary, it was such a wonderful feeling. Being cradled by the water felt so much better than any hug. I plunged deeper and deep until the hot sun couldn't reach me anymore. There's something so incredibly comforting in that dark, I wish I could dream that dream each night. Or, better, yet, I want to get to the real ocean.

Mom and dad don't get it. I tried telling them about my dreams and they just stared at me like I was an idiot. I asked them to go east with me. I don't know why, but I'm so sure that I'll find this ocean to the east. I have to go there. Dad just laughed though. To my face. His daughter's telling him about her dreams and he just laughs. "They're just dream, sweetie," he says. He's so smug, I hate him. Mom's just as bad. They keep making me do chores, but they don't pay me, even though the laundry lady gets paid when she does chores. They're going to shut me up in this sad, cold, dry house for the rest of my life. I just know it.

Spear Stroke understands. It's so weird that it's one of the scary legion-types who gets me. He says that he also has dreams of the ocean. We spent hours talking yesterday. Too bad dad's scared of the Legion. He told me to get back in the house like I was some kind of property. The nerve! Well, things are going to be different this time. I'm going to talk to Spear Stroke again. This time, I'll bring up going east.

_____________________

Dear Diary,

Spear Stroke said yes! He says he's also tired of being pushed around by the Legion. He wants to get away from all this trouble. We both think that we'll do just that if we just get east. But mom and dad won't agree. They'll never agree! Oh, but that's going to change pretty soon. Diary, it's going to be a grand adventure, and it's going to start tonight!

___________________

Captain Fen Grove's notes

Coroner's report just got back. Stallion drowned in the tub like we all thought. Bruises on his torso and head meant he put up some fight though. The mare was worse off. Died from some swelling in her brain. Her gut had enough water to drown somepony else when they opened her up. Some nutcase made her drink until her stomach stretched out like a damn balloon. Don't know how this makes your brain swell, but I'll leave the explanations to Clean Cut.

No signs of anypony breaking in. Not even any traces of magic in case of teleportation. Somepony let this killer in. This also had to take a while, surprised nopony raised the alarm. The daughter's missing. Neighbors say she was a bit of a spoiled brat and the past few nights involved a lot of yelling in the household.

Prime suspect is one of ours: Legionnaire Spear Stroke. Good kid, but he's been out of sorts lately, constantly talking about dreams and oceans. He was last seen chatting up the missing daughter. If it's a kidnapping, he hasn't bothered with a ransom note. Local crime's supposed to go to the Royal Guard, but we're going to get involved with this one. It's going to be bad for reunification if we don't smooth this out right.


Your Highness, Princess Luna,

As per your request, the Great Delve Library has sent copies of its lore regarding the organizations dedicated to you. In addition, I also tracked down some of the more obscure books. While the Moonlight Rondo and the Night Parade were glad to talk of themselves and publish books about their activities prior to their disbanding, the Blackmoon Blades were notoriously secretive. This letter should be accompanied by the following tomes:

1. The Way of the Moonlight Rondo - this was first version of the official book by the Moonlight Rondo, published by the founder, Moon Singer. It was during the time prior to the division so your highness might still remember it. I included it in case you would like a refresher, or for simple posterity in your collection.

2. The Night is for Passion - this replaced the Way of the Moonlight Rondo as the official codex for the group a few decades after the division. Penned by Gibbous Eye, comparison with the first should reveal how the Rondo coped with your absence.

3. For or Against the Lunatics- a treatise discussing the reasons why the Moonlight Rondo should have been spared as a group or rightly destroyed by the Legion. This was written a year after the Moaning Top incident (which it describes in rather lurid detail). Included are the sanctions that imposed on the Legion as well as some of the public reactions to both the incident and the punishment.

4. Night Parade Rules and Routes - the official guidebook penned by the Night Parade's team of writers. This was the same book used throughout both your time and after the division.

5. Parade Incident Compilation - a collection of the various misadventures the Night Parade encountered during their yearly circuits. These includes Legion reports that the author has compiled.

6. From Starlight to Blackmoon - a detailed history on the radical shift of the Starlight Sentinels' priorities and its eventual transformation. The information is highly contested and many believe that Star Pen wrote the book at poisoned knife-point. Your highness should realize, however, that it is impossible to find any book discussing the Starlight Sentinels or the Blackmoon Blades that isn't contested. The Blackmoon Blades controlled information about themselves very strictly and many of the murders they committed involved various writers.

7. Knives of the Night - a collection of high profile cases where the Blackmoon Blades are tied too. Some caution must be advised while reading this. Many of these cases did not have a clear conviction. The Blackmoon Blades cultivated a legend of fear during their time, and unscrupulous ponies exploited it. Some of these may have been committed by criminals not involved with the Blades, but using recognizable methods to shift the blame to the group.

8. Blackmoon and Nightmare - a detailed treatise on the rise and fall of the Blades of Nightmare. Also included are notes about the decline of the Blades. I would put my faith more on this one, your highness. The Blades during this time did not have as much influence, and authors were free to write of them.

9. The Night Princess's Shadow - a collection of myths and legends regarding the various groups dedicated to you with research done on their authenticity.

I hope these provide you with both an interesting and informative read, your highness, the Great Delve Library stands ready to serve our reunified Equestria.

Head Librarian Shelf Line, Great Delve Library


Dear Blinkanice Nicolette Pie,

We've received your application and Mortar's recommendation. The guild is happy to accept you for apprenticeship given your skill set and in the spirit of reunification. A place has been set aside for you here in our headquarters, and we await your arrival.

Tower Crash, Great Delve Siegeworks Guild

_______________

Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, I'll be on my way to the Western Barrier Land. I'm sorry for leaving so suddenly. I know you don't want me anywhere near the Barrier Lands, and I shouldn't involve myself with the Legion, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime I can't just pass up. Please don't worry too much. I'll be studying in the Great Delve, the capital of the Barrier Lands. It's probably more defended than Canterlot! I'll try to write when I get to the Delve. I promise, I'll take care of myself.

Inkie, sorry. I know I said I'll try to talk to dad about it, but you know how stubborn he gets. If I told you guys my plans, I'd never get the chance to go. The rock farm's perfectly fine in your hooves. You don't need me mucking things up by being so restless.

Pinkie, you take care of yourself. You've got way bigger things to take care of besides your little sister going off on her own. I heard your friend, Copper Mane, talking about showing you around the Delve's Deepstone Quarter. Maybe we'll meet up at some point.

Blinkie