• Published 13th May 2012
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Austraeoh - Imploding Colon

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Map

Afternoon came, and the hilltops blurring beneath Rainbow Dash turned into jagged promontories as she came upon the crest of a mountain range. The sun was well overhead, approaching its peak climb over the globe of the sky. Rainbow Dash realized she was still squinting, so she raised a hoof up to her goggles and turned a dial. With a gentle click, the shades of the lenses popped back to reveal a clear pair beneath. She relaxed her ruby eyes and kept soaring eastward.

The earth turned progressively uneven below. When the mountains began, the topography shattered into a craggy affair, with several stretches of alabaster rock shredding the green vegetation into thin emerald scraps. The air above these sharp formations grew misty, coalescing into thick clouds that gathered into a gray miasma above the sharply rising landscape.

With experienced caution, Rainbow Dash elevated her ascent several dozens of meters above the visible stone. She was adamant about making a speedy pass over the mountains, but she wasn't about to stupidly plunge into any hidden rockfaces beyond the clouds.

The mist in the air grew denser. Rays of sunlight danced around Rainbow Dash in swathing beams. In mid-glide, she reached a hoof out and played with the many yellow bands. Her mind wandered, and for the briefest of moments she thought she heard laughter. Her eyes blinked beneath her goggles, and the sensation left her, trailing on the fringes of a deep sigh.

There was a sudden gust of wind. If she was any other pegasus, she would have been tossed wildly into the ether, but Rainbow Dash swiftly countered for the gale attacking her wings. She leveled out and hovered up, getting a good view of the landscape beneath her as the misty clouds parted.

She spotted a sudden dip in the mountains. A deep ravine had formed suddenly, and a heavy current of cold wind was billowing down to fill the canyon.

As Rainbow Dash coasted the top of this landscape, the clouds dissipated, and she was taken back by a sight ahead of her. Two mountain ranges rose sharply and met a single point, as if bluntly colliding. The result was a pair of tall summits, twin spokes of ancient rock that pierced the sky like granite antennae.

Rainbow Dash hovered in place, staring for a prolonged period of time at the image. She couldn't help but feel as if the twin peaks looked familiar. Bothered by her lapse in memory, she spun cyclonically through the mountainous currents until she found a dry plateau of pale rock to perch on. A sharp rise in craggy stone behind her canceled out the wind, giving her a peaceful spot to touch down and reach back for her saddlebag.

She slowly removed the contents of her pack: a canteen of water, two loaves of crumbling bread, a first-aid kit, a metal hatchet, a compass, a container of flint and steel, three blankets, and finally a green-bound book. This last item she purposefully avoided looking at as a loathsome shudder ran through her body. Gently, she slid the book out of sight and reached into the saddlebag one last time. She produced a paper scroll with a lunar seal.

Unrolling the scrap, she stretched out a rich detailed map labeled "Known Realms." In the center of the amber parchment was a landscape etched in black ink. Rainbow Dash's eyes stared at the mountainous summit of “Canterlot Mountain,” then traveled to the right past “Everfree”, then past a broad stretch of dotted paper titled “Undermarshes.” She traced her hoof even further across the paper, past “Dream Valley,” past “Sea of Songs,” past “The Diamond Flats,” and finally settling on “Blue Plains.” Just east of this spot was an unnamed mountain range, but one thing stood out. It was a pair of mountains that rose like sharp spokes into the sky.

Rainbow Dash looked up. She saw two enormous peaks lingering two kilometers in front of her, bathing a thick shadow across the grand, misty ravine surrounding the mare. She looked back down. The twin peaks dotted a part of the map that was no less than five centimeters from the right edge of the paper.

For some reason, that only made her smile all the more.

Rainbow rolled the map back up. She put away her belongings, lingering slightly with the green-bound book, and clasped the saddlebag shut with its crescent-moon buttons. Hoisting her goggles back over her eyes, she stood against the wind, gave the mountains a silent snarl, and threw herself off the cliff face so that she soared between the two peaks as if they were polished goalposts.

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