• Published 11th Dec 2014
  • 2,588 Views, 31 Comments

Remembrance - Viking ZX

Most would use their day off for fun and games, seeing family, or just enjoying some well deserved R&R. But not First Lieutenant Hunter of the Dusk Guard. He's going to visit someone special he sees every year.

  • ...

An End and a Beginning...

Hunter nodded at the Guard outside the palace gate as he walked past, feeling better than he had in days. All the dread and anticipation, the feeling of loss … It had all just, evaporated while he was talking with Thistle. It wasn’t gone, really. He still felt a faint ache when he thought of Swift, but that was alright. He probably always would, because he loved her, and he missed her. There was nothing he could do about that.

But for whatever reason, talking with Thistle had just made it seem alright, like everything was spot on. It was like she knew what he was thinking, knew what to say to help him feel a little bit better, even more so than Derpy had. Which was a bit worrisome, he realized with a frown as he made his way towards the barracks. He’d never been able to get much out of her about her past except that she didn’t like to talk about it and it was painful, but she was good friends with Derpy.

Maybe she lost somepony in her life like Derpy and I did, he thought as he crossed into the training grounds. Somepony she really cared for. That would explain how she knew what I was feeling. But who did she lose? Should I just ask?

Still, he had to admit that made the most sense. The simplest explanation, he thought with a slight grin. Heh, she and Swift really would have gotten along. Maybe one day they would.

The lights outside the Dusk Guard barracks were lit, and his eyes narrowed in suspicion. That’s odd, he thought, glancing up at the sky. The sun was starting to descend, yes, but not even the earliest of Canterlot’s streetlights had been lit. Why were the lights above the door to the barracks lit?

“Somepony forget to turn them out or something?” he wondered, glancing at the other Guard’s barracks as he came closer. Neither of them looked out of place. “Huh.”

He was only a few dozen feet from the doors when they burst open, a private from the Royal Guard rushing out at a dead run. The marks on his chest-plate marked him as a courier.

“Hey, private!” Hunter called, and the unicorn’s eyes widened as he saw him. “What’s going—”

“Lieutenant Hunter!” the private called, snapping a quick salute. “I was just looking for you.”

“What is it?” Hunter asked, his eyes narrowing as he returned the salute.

“I don’t know,” the private stammered, apparently mistaking the expression as one of displeasure. “The Captain just sent me to find you in the city, he needs you to report in ASAP—” If there was anything else to the colt’s message, Hunter missed it as he darted past him, snapping his wings back to propel himself forward through the barracks doors.

“Boss!” he called as he swept into the common room in a rush. Steel looked up with a scowl, stamping his front hooves across a spread of papers on the table. Two more courier privates, one a unicorn and the other an earth pony, looked up in surprise.

“Reporting as requested,” Hunter said, snapping a quick salute.

“Good,” Steel said, returning the salute and then turning to the two couriers. “You have your orders, hop to it!” The last bit came out as a bark, and the two couriers gave him rapid-quick salutes before vanishing into the hall, their hooves ringing against the wood.

Hunter gaped at Steel as the Captain turned back towards him. He was wearing his armor, all of it but the helmet, the dark-green crystal shining in the room’s bright light, and he could see from some of the small changes that it was the new stuff that Sky Bolt had been working on. Well, some of it at least.

“We’re mobilizing,” Steel said, sliding a folder across the table at him. “The Princesses have a mission for us. We leave as soon as we’re capable of it, in The Hummingbird.”

“Where to?” Hunter asked, glancing down at the mission file Steel had slid towards him. “The Ocean?” There hadn’t been much news since Northgait had shut but—

“No,” Steel said. “Not the Ocean. That’s not our fight. But close.” His hoof came down with a heavy thump, striking the map he’d laid out beneath everything else on the table. “Here,” he said, tapping a series of jagged marks on the map.

Hunter nodded as he looked down at the range, already mentally cataloguing everything he’d need to make sure the team had. “Crikey. I’ll get on it immediately,” he said, tucking the file Steel had given him under his wing. “I’ll make sure we’re in a good nick to go.”

“Good,” Steel said, saluting. “Everything I need you to do beforehoof is there. Get to it, Lieutenant, we’ve got a mission to complete.”

Hunter turned and ran down the hall, already heading for the armory. It was time at last, their first, real mission. They’d need all their winter gear and all the winter training they’d undertaken. Maybe more beyond that. He’d seen where they’d be going. Only the coldest place in Equestria. The Crystal mountains.

He crashed into the armory, sliding to a stop in front of his locker and pulling it open. He had to move fast, had to gear up. He needed to make sure they were ready.

The mountains were waiting.

Comments ( 10 )

Setting up for a new story, are we?

Alas, another typo; "But for whatever reason, talking with Swift..."

That should be Thistle, right?

Huh, a visit to an old wound..

Had to check, but yes, I got these just after you posted them. Thank you!

I want to say "Glad to hear it," but in context that almost sounds like I'm enjoying the suffering of Hunter...

Found that one just for this story, and it fit perfectly! :pinkiehappy:

I liked this comment, as I wondered what kind of response ending that chapter on that note would elicit.


Not quite. I took a look, and those seem more like an adventure serial. Suffice it to say, TDG has some key differences of genre (many of which will be much more apparent after the second book hits). Similar, but not quite the same.

I guess I'll check it out (might as well), but hopefully this is intended in a good way?

I'll get right on these!

Yep. Several people had commented during "Rise" that they'd wanted to know more about this, and this was the perfect opportunity to deliver that!


I wonder what your concept of pony afterlife is. Is the same place or set of places shared across races? Are relationships from life carried on there?

Um, since I'm pushing up against a ticking clock here, I'll answer the second one. Yes! Relationships are kept! It's part of the overarching themes of the saga! You'll get more of that as the series moves on, and more clues as to what the afterlife is like.

5442732 Knowing the lingo really does help sell a story, and every place has its own to give it such spice.

M'kay, now I'm a Thistle fan. Or at the very least intrigued by how she fits into the big scheme of things. Mysterious pasts tend to grab a 'body.

The scene with Hunter walking through the graveyard was my favorite part by far. Looking at the ranger memorials, you could see a little bit of what the ponies were like in life. Enough that I could imagine them, at least. As unique as a voice.

In regards to the epilogue... you really have a thing for foreshadowing approximately two-hundred-thousand words into the future, you know that? :trixieshiftleft: I get the feeling Northgait is going to be treated as a sub-plot and/or background event for at least two more novels.


I'll get right on these!


But for whatever reason, talking with Swift had just made it seem alright...

In my defense, I was on vacation, and counting back, that post was made New Year's Eve at about 10 or 11 PM. There's a lot of distractions that might have jumped up at me and helped me to forget.

Either way, it's fixed now.

Not angry or anything. Just havin' a bit of fun going through the story again. Also one minor edit in Rise.

Yeah, the one in Rise I'm actually holding off on. I've got a big list of fixes a reader sent to me to do at some point. Just minor stuff, but enough work to track down and fix that I'm waiting until I get a free weekend or something where I can't do anything else to just go through and make all of them at once. Update everything at one solid go. Bleg, that'll be a long weekend. LoL.

One day!

Okay... way to sink my Hunter/Derpy ship...
Poor mare never gets the love she should have

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