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Talon and Thorn


This story is a sequel to Climbing the Mountain

The return of Baron Mounty Max, Duchess Fragrant Posey and other members of the Night Court.

The recent upheaval of the court caused by the Grand Galloping Gala and Princess Luna's ultimatum after was supposed to reform the body into a less corrupt form. However, many of the old members and some of the old problems still remain in place as well as a host of new ones.

This story follows the events at court through the eyes of Max and Fragrant during the Lunaverse second season. Max faces problems both at court and at home as he continues to settle into his role. His relationship with Fragrant also deepens and they both find out more about each other, not all of it good.

Takes place in the Lunaverse during season 2.

Cover Art by TheFluffyVixen

Chapters (49)
Comments ( 411 )

Psst... you've got some notes at the end of the chapter that shouldn't be there. :-)

Love it so far! Looking forward to the next chapters!


Whoops, fixed that and moved and enlarged the notes into the writers notes section.


Baron Max...he means well.


Menopause is the cessation of menstruation. Ponies do not menstruate because they evolved the ability to reabsorb (more like digest and reabsorb) endometrium. Perhaps "Estrusopause" would work.

Excellent, so glad to see this posted, it's probably my favorite current storyline in the 'verse.

Looks like Max is going on a quest to engage in good old grass-roots politics. Very fitting for him, and I don't see how it could possibly go wrong.


like the last story, this is a great. I find it interesting that both Max and Posey have discovered there own profound betrayal from there closes friends. I suppose that Posey is going to Visit Max in Nul Pare and try to fiend sollis in there company. I think that it is great that Max is going to visit all the settlement of his fief, this is a great way to discovered this place; I always like more world building in this type of stories.

“I... I think I love your son,” she admitted.
Mrs G narrowed her eyes for a moment and looked the small mare up and down. “Well, I should hope so. Now, when were you planning on telling me you were pregnant?”

The sensory ability of old, wise goats like Mrs. G are scary. On a related note, Brian is definitely best goat.

Honeybun is going to be such a pain. Max really needs to get better at responding in a verbal debate like this, he was pretty solidly losing pretty much entirely on the weight of his stammering for answers and failing to come up with any.

“Those headaches were nothing to do with his tribe, and he died because he got drunk and walked off the side of a mountain!”


Still half in the dream she had demanded they have Max washed and brought to her bedchambers so she could further enjoy the spoils of her victory.


Oh wow, that Notebook reveal. Fragrant sure took it badly. Hopefully the weather review trip will help.

Will Posey talk to her brother about Rainbow Dash ?


It will be mentioned in a few chapters time when Fragrant visits Fluttering.


Maybe, although I'm not sure if most of the readership would understand what I was talking about then.

She will not be amused i guess ?

Nice opening. Still pissed at Night Light. God I hope he gets his just desserts. As for these two and their 'crimes'? Yeah, just ugh.

Any chance Honeybun could get punched, too? Please....

She should not forgive Notebook or rehire him.

“Remember what I said, you’re not too good at thinking, try feeling instead.”

Ms. G for either Obi-Wan or Bruce Lee!

“Brian not coming?”
“Well I wouldn’t say that, it is his honeymoon after all,” said Sealbhach with a cheeky grin.


Speaking as someone who regularly watches the live stream of their home town city council meeting, I'm not sure I've ever seen one as awkward as this.

An estate just sitting there, waiting to serve as the organizational heart of Max's barony? Convenient.

I like this "visit the province" plan, Max is best off when he has something to focus on.

“You’re with Zephyr now but were you... were you together while she was with me?” For a moment there was silence, then Max’s head was snapped back as a hoof was smashed across his face knocking him to the ground.

Ouch, now that could have gone better.

It didn’t take long for Max to move his possessions from the Town hall to his new home, christened Mounty Hall by Sparks,

They made a deal. :trollestia:

As much as one does not want to cause trouble, Max should confidentially talk to all of the weather ponies about the error. They need to know, as it will let them learn from the error, so as not to repeat it.

I wonder. Would this be the part of the Mane Six's Equestria where Starlight Glimmer set up shop?

I read this late Wednesday, and then the Great April 16th Site Outage stopped me from commenting until now. *shakes fist*

Poor Tender Heart, but even more so poor Brave Heart. Here's hoping that if she never recovers he doesn't miss out on attending school in Canterlot. It'd be hard to convince him to do something that would feel like giving up on his mother, but at the same time I'm pretty sure she wouldn't want him to waste his life away sitting beside her hospital bed.

Really looking forward to all the new chapters.


I did actually have that thought and the idea of having Max visit a cloistered community that knows nothing of the outside world has been bouncing around my head for a while but I don't think here would be the place to introduce something so potentially important later.

Actually Nulpar's even more isolated than 'Our Town' the railhead only seemed to be a short trot away in the episode, it's most of a days travel from the nearest rails to Sadlzberg and most of the province is even further away. It certainly would be the sort of place that an isolated commune could be set up, of course Max's growing government could cause a problem to somepony who wanted to stay out of the public eye...

> “Despite all the efforts her people put into constructing artificial rainbows, you never could quite match the glory of a natural one.”

¡The PegasusDevice needs more foals!

Ponies playing HorseShoes. 1 an EarthPony, the other a Pegasus, using wings. I could have sworn that I saw this before. :applejackconfused: :rainbowdetermined2:

> “ … you look like a scruffy nerf herder!”

⸘Whom do you call scruffy‽

> “Will I have to fight a bunch of evil exes for your hoof?”

Fighting evil exes might make a good comic book.

Ahh, fun having Fragrant show up, I had already forgotten her plan to visit Nulpar.

Oh my, I see the passion has in fact not cooled in the slightest.

Fragrant giggled at his confused expression. “I rule the sky province of greater Cloudsdale. It in fact covers about a third of the skies over Equestria, specifically the southern and eastern parts. I am responsible for two other full cloud cities and several hundred smaller settlements. Individual cloud homes may remain under the control of earthbound authorities, but larger conglomerates belong to me. Really, your understanding of how Equestria works is most lacking.”

Interesting. With one province covering the air over several others, I can imagine the bureaucracy in handling who has governance over who and what.

Max seemed to consider for a moment, looking back and forth between Fragrant and the clothes, and his eyes gleamed. “You know, we’re not much for formality up here. I doubt anyone else will be wearing anything.” He frowned. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you naked.”

Heh. Also, that's a good question. My first thought was "scar" or something similar, but that doesn't really fit with the reason being considered silly or mad.

This dress would reveal most of her legs... and that would be why Max had chosen it. He seemed to consider them her best feature. She’d always considered them too long, they made her look ungainly; still, it wouldn’t hurt to reward him a little.

The dinner went better than Max had expected. Fragrant had worn the stunning black dress he had picked out. In his opinion everything she wore was stunning, but this was particularly good, showcasing her long, slender legs to best effect.


Come on guys, you're right across the hall from each other, don't be strangers.


Fragrant giggled at his confused expression. “I rule the sky province of greater Cloudsdale. It in fact covers about a third of the skies over Equestria, specifically the southern and eastern parts. I am responsible for two other full cloud cities and several hundred smaller settlements. Individual cloud homes may remain under the control of earthbound authorities, but larger conglomerates belong to me. Really, your understanding of how Equestria works is most lacking.”

Interesting. With one province covering the air over several others, I can imagine the bureaucracy in handling who has governance over who and what.

I think it's simpler than is sounds but yes there are various problems.

It stretches back to when Equestria was founded the Pegasus didn't want to fully integrate they had a problem following leaders who couldn't even set hoof on their cities. Thus when Equestria was being separated into provinces for the first time and given to various leaders the sky was considered a separate province inhabited by those Pegasus who didn't want to integrate. This has carried over through the years to sky Pegasus being a bit xeno-phobic compared to their more ground bound cousins. Over time as Equestria grew the single 'sky' province was split up into now 4 sky provinces with Cloudsdale being the largest and most important. Generally a sky province contains any significantly large sky settlement within it's borders so say Dash Cloud house is still considered part of Ponyville but Cloudsdale itself is part of Greater Cloudsdale regardless of what patch of ground it happens to be floating over. It does get more complicated and some Pegasus may try switching between two provences (sky and ground) to get the best deal on taxes and the like but it generally works.

5874784 Hmm. I wonder if Our Town is where Oaton is in the Lunaverse.....

Sometimes, it really is easier to just play a round with a character like Barrel than attempting to beg out of it.

Fragrant is going with Max? Yay! This isn't going to help with the "keep it secret" plan, but they're already leaking like a sieve in that department anyway.

"Yes, dear" can also be the easier plan at times.

Ouch, that conversation didn't end well. At some point you're going to need to tell him (and us!) about it, Fragrant.

I rely like the visit to the Griffin settlement. the descriptions of the community and the rituals was great. I was wandering how such a place would look like and how ponies who live in it would behave in such a place.

I'm glad that we're finally seeing the Eyrie, I've been curious about the gryphons of Nulpar since we first heard about them.

Man, this visit isn't going quite as smoothly as Fragrant planned. Come on guys, share your problems with each other. It'll probably help.

Frowning, Fragrant joined Max at the rock face and found to her surprise a large wooden cage, maybe large enough for a dozen ponies or a mid-sized cart, with thick ropes stretched up into the sky. “What is it?” she asked.
“It’s a lift! Southern said she was going to build it, but I didn’t believe her,” he shook the side of the cage with a hoof. “Seems strong enough.”

That just sounds dangerous. I hope they have spotters on hand in case anything goes wrong. To, I dunno, find the corpses or something.

“How are you!” she replied, partially releasing her grip. “I haven't seen you in months, since you headed off to Canterlot! Have they kicked you out already?”


A gryphon wedding, I'm sure that'll be exciting.

“He’s a distant relative of mine from the Kingdoms, turned up about three months ago. He was looking into his family tree and found out that our ancestors had made their way down here, so he decided to look us up. Very handy really, we don’t get many visitors.”

Now that's just suspicious.

“Ah, baron,” she said as she gracefully landed next to him and folded her wings away. “I hope you were not waiting long?”
“Um, errr,” mumbled Max, still struck dumb. Fragrant smiled.

All things considered, that's a safe way to react. Plus, if you've been struck dumb there's less chance of saying something actually dumb.

Google gives an interesting translation for ‘Wie Sie, so das wir sein wollen.’, makes me wonder what Southern is up to and what she knows.

So it's a gryphon/pony marriage? Interesting.

That sounds like some mighty good cake.

Yeah, figures that the new guy is a spy for someone. I bet Fragrant is right on the money.

“Well, sort of. It means ‘as you are, so we want to be.’ It’s sort of an engagement thingy. The more important the griffon getting married, the more lucky it considered for the new couple.”

Hahaha, yup that was the exact translation I found for it. I suppose it isn't a surprise that Fragrant wasn't precisely happy about it.

Talon Master Bloodstrike should be Talon Mistress Bloodstrike.


I'm working on the idea that the Griffin term is a sexless one and it was translated into the masculine but no one bothered to change to based on the current owner.

Ah, my. He's sort of new to this, isn't he?

It'd never work! Might as well set it in a place that's supposed to be the real world, but everything operates on video game logic.

I'm mixed on whether Fragrant is in the wrong in regards to her talk with Gilbert. The fact that he went and told Southern about it makes me wonder if he isn't a spy at all, but he may have just been covering his bases since he had no way of knowing whether this visiting duchess was going to speak with more than just himself about her suspicions.

Oooo, I was wondering if that tent could fit two. :raritystarry:

“Max!” whispered Fragrant. “Are you still awake?” He roused himself. Despite his previous thoughts, he had actually started to nod off.
“Huh, yeah,” he mumbled. He felt Fragrant shift in his grip.

There we go, there's that conversation that they've been needing to have for a few chapters now. I'm inclined to agree with the advice that both of them gave. A representative slot sounds like a great thing to saddle Honeybun with, and if she's honestly interested in the good of the province then it might actually help. And Max is right too, firing Notebook and being done with him is the perfect way to generate yet another emotional scar that will have a hard time ever healing.


These do, goats are quite culturally diverse and have several language families.

Then suddenly there was an imagined whiff of antiseptic in her muzzle, a dreadful silence in her ears, and she felt her body stiffen.

Now that sounds like a hospital flashback.

The trip to this plateau was a great plan, Max. Well done.

Yikes, that moment when your canoodling is interrupted by cannibals wild mountain goats.

Jurgaghan’s eyes bulged wide and he jerked to his hooves. “Gràinne Grobhar? Of Sadlzburg?” he asked in one of the goat tongues Max understood.

That's a fun development. I was wondering if Mrs. G was going to come up in the conversation and what impact it might have if she did.

Some goats are magical? Neat. Does the magic draining we've seen out of Mrs G count? Is she secretly magical in the same way that Chinua here is?

Oooo, drunk Fragrant. I know it's difficult to stay out of that tent, Max, but it's definitely for the better.

He thought instead about the route they would take tomorrow, how to get to Snowtown. Then he realised what they would be passing and shards of ice shot into his heart. It would be the first time since he found out the truth. He shivered. He wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight.

Hmn, I'm having a hard time coming up with what Max might be referring to.

“Well, I certainly didn’t vote for you!” said the donkey glaring down at Max.

"Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical Solar and Lunar ceremony. If I went around declaring that I was an Emperor just because of some loophole in the system, they'd put me away."

Man, those goats are sneaky. Quiet to arrive, quiet to leave.

“Thank you for being so understanding.” She took another sip of her drink.
“Now if you were to make the same offer sober, well I don’t think I’d say no.”


Ahh, so that's what Max was thinking about last night. Death of exposure in a cave with two broken legs, not a good way to go.

Well now, Nulpar has an incipient industrial center. That does raise some complications about the priority order for the road- and rail-work. The money from iron and coal exports and a larger associated economy would probably help pay for Max's plan for the province as a whole.

Poor Fragrant and Max, but given the summer break this was already more time together than otherwise planned. I wonder what the crisis was that just pulled Fragrant away.

5889223 Will we the readers discover what ever happened in Fragrant's past and what Greenhorn did and her loathing of the press ?


Yes, although it could be a fair while before it does come up.

How did I miss this?! I'm both sad and happy because I missed 10 chapters but now I can binge on 10 chapters.:twilightblush:

Will we ever get to the bottom of how Max gets on the Canterlot Security Ministry?


Eventually, Just Us Ponies is still 6-9 months in the future at the moment so it'll be a while before Max gets put on the committee.

Ah, Brave and his mother. *Cracks knuckles and glares at Corona/Celestia*

Ah, Max. A man after my own heart. *Hums a bit of 'She's got Legs' by ZZ Top. :p

Anyway, nice chapter. I like Fragrant showing up here and surprising Max. Also her managing to talk business with Barrel. She's probably got a lot of experience with that. :D

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