• Published 17th Nov 2011
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Fallout: Equestria- The Last Sentinel - Adder1



It's hard to kill memories when you remember everything.

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Interlude: Ghosts of the Past

Interlude: Ghosts of the Past

There is an expression in the Wasteland: “Ghosts of the Past.” It refers to those relics of the Old World, from before we turned it to ash and dust- reminders of an age long gone both within and without. There are people who cling to these fragments of the bygone era. Some of them live on so obsessed with the past they can't see the present- even less the future- for what it is. Others... others try to kill it all away. But it’s hard to kill memories when you remember everything.”

Ghosts of the Past DLC detected

Level cap raised to 30

[OK]

The storyteller took his place before the audience once more, Roanoke drifting away to lean against the jukebox. He took over, speaking in his smooth, grave tone...

It was late afternoon by the time everyone gathered in the Social Sciences Lecture Hall. There weren't enough seats intact. A good number of them sat down on the stairs or on the balconies above- some even on the main floor. Rig and Azrael were among them. I spotted Sly and Chief Thunderhooves off to the side of the upstairs doorway. Xamuros and Zasili were in one of the aisles. Murmurs in Equestrian, Russyin, and Bise filled the air. I was seated before the blackboard with the boxes from my bathroom, my saddlebags, and my armor beside me. Rig managed to find a working wheelchair; I was very grateful for that. I looked to my side at the terminal unit. The intercom system was still likely serviceable- it not, Rig could repair it. But I didn't want to use it. Never did. Call it self-righteousness if you want, but I feel that electronics muddle the equine voice.

I worked at the bandages until I could at least speak freely, my muzzle no longer constrained by the bandages. My horn flared brightly as I condensed the moisture in the air to drink. I coughed a few times afterward. “Is everyone here, Azrael?” My voice was still rough. The giant merely nodded in reply. I let cool ice snake down my throat and held it there. “Alright, everyone! Settle down!” Yeah. There we go. I sounded... normal. Close enough, at least.

The hall gradually grew quiet. Those still chattering quickly silenced after the murmuring din dropped.

I sighed out a cool, chilly mist. “Funny how things don't always go according to plan. Keeping my secrets buried? That was one of those plans. I guess... I guess I sort of knew that, eventually, I'd slip up somehow. If I don't wear the armor, I look like something otherworldly- most of you saw me earlier. If I do, I still look like something otherworldly. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. I just never thought I'd mess up quite like this.” I drew in a deep breath, cooled by the ice. It gave me strength. “I made a promise to a couple of you, and to my... significant other. I made a plan to tell you both once we were finished with getting a water talisman for Rig's Stable. But now? I'm stuck like this and we've got a week or two to kill. I...I suppose it's time. I can't escape. I can't run away. So much for the plan, I guess.

“The first thing I wish to say is that I am, or... at least was a Lunar Guard.” I paused as looks and low whispers scattered throughout the room. “I may have wasted away in Stable Seventy-Two, I may have gone out-of-practice... but I was once protector of Princess Luna. I'm not a descendant- I am. Which means that, yes, I date from before The Great War. Now, we're going to be stuck here for a few days, and if my story is to be told... I want it to be told my way. It's been a while since I've told a story to any of you, but in my opinion there's no better way than to hear it in person. The written word can only carry so much weight after all, and letting Azrael simply transfer the memory to all of you would be- can't sugarcoat it- boring. Furthermore, I ask that all of you withhold your judgments until after I finish. Please. Will you grant me this request?”

No objections rang out, though I saw looks shot about- Xamuros was regarding me for sure. I looked at Rig, her indigo eyes shining bright.

“This is for you too, Rig.” My lips curved into the ghost of a smile. “Then first, a little about myself- a little... context. Way back when, before the bombs, before the War, I was a historian and a sociocultural equinpologist. I studied the past, and I studied the similarities and differences between equines- variation in society and culture across time and space.

“So, why am I telling you this?” I paused, glancing between the two of them. “Because historians and equinpologists regard and hold dear one value, one virtue above all else- honesty. You cannot teach history or equinpology with lies. Truth, above all else, must be observed and upheld. Distort history or equinpology, and you disgrace our heritage. You disgrace where we come from and what we've been through to get where we are today.” I cast my eyes down, a touch shamefully. “And admittedly... I have committed that felony.”

I looked back up at them. “So, why am I telling you this? Because all that I say is the truth. Granted, some details are based off of my view on things, but for the most part, it's truth. Even as incredible or improbable as things might seem, they're all true.

“Because I'm going to tell a story, and this story is mine.”

The storyteller smiled.

Starting to sound familiar, folks?

“You all know the Wasteland. Not a tree for miles. Flat, barren landscape filled only with the husks of the Old World. Always in shadows, even during the day because of the Luna-damned Pegasi Enclave and their cloud cover.” I paused to let out a sharp, indignant exhale of mist. “Sorry. My feelings are... a little strong on the matter.

“Ahem, moving on. So yes. Barren. Dark. Infested with Luna knows how many raiders, slavers, bandits, thieves, murderers, and all manner of mutated beasts. Then, there's radiation, Taint, enervation- the land itself is against you.” I nodded at the window to my left, at the cracked, twisted streets outside.

“Welcome to the Wasteland.

“It wasn't always like this. I...I remember back to a time when the land was lush and green, when the air was fresh. The land was pure, and cities rose up across the land, small hamlets dotting the earth as respites from urban sprawl. I remember back when the land was bountiful, when the sun and moon still shone in the sky.” I paused, placing a hoof to my breast. “Blessed be Luna and Celestia. Celestia protects. Luna defends.” I let my hoof fall. “And I remember back to a time when everyone- not just ponies- was united under the Six Virtues of Friendship- honesty, kindness, generosity, laughter- and it is a virtue!- loyalty, magic. Those were the Elements of Harmony, the building blocks that held us together.”

I remembered smiling, caught in nostalgia.

The fire of friendship lives in our hearts.
As long as it burns, we cannot drift apart.

Though quarrels arise, their numbers are few.
Laughter and singing will see us throuuugh (will see us through).

We are a circle of pooony friends-
a circle of friends we'll be to the very eeeeeeeeeeeend.”

I teared up a little as I sang the Equestrian National Anthem alone. It brought back so many memories, memories that started flooding back to me. I let out a shuddering sigh as my expression grew grim, and I bit my lip. “And I remember... when we threw it away. And I remember when we threw it all away.” I shook my head, eyes downcast and glazed over. “Industry is a good thing,” I said, looking back up, taking a deep breath. “It provides us with the means to move forward and improve the standards of living for everyone- not just everypony. But... perhaps we took one step too far.” I let out a misty sigh. “Neigh, we took one step too far. With industry, we learned how to wrest energy from the land without the use of magic through the use of mediums such as coal and oil.

“Coal and oil we didn't have in our lands... but the zebras had in theirs.

“They needed gems to power their weaponry to hold back the Wilds. Gems they didn't have in their lands... but we ponies had in ours.

“So we traded. And we both prospered. We made great strides in technology. One step too far now became another. And another.

“And another...” I whispered. I was sure even the people on the balconies could hear me.

“Over time, we less traded amongst one another and... simply... just... took. We took. We took what we needed to power our advancing societies. But when you take, and you take... and you take... it isn't long before somebody feels somebody's been taking too much.” I let out another sigh. My voice hushed to a dark, horrible whisper.

“The honesty that held us together crumbled. It was replaced with deception. Cheating truth to take more than we needed because we needed.

“The kindness of our agreement faded away. It was replaced with cruelty. To simply swindle, steal, or rob what we wanted.

“The generosity of our charity from one equine to another eroded. It was replaced with greed. For what we had was never enough.

“The laughter once shared by friends was long gone. It was replaced with hurt. Because now we were stepping forward too far, and we were aching inside.

“The loyalty that once held together the treaty of trade was no longer doctrine. It was replaced with betrayal. If you won't help us, you can expect a stab in the back.

“The magic of our land was no more. It was replaced with the machine. For we thought and worked too much, and for we felt and cared too little.

“Friendship crumbled. Enmity remained in the shards. And enmity breeds. It breeds hatred, anger, paranoia, fear, apathy, insolence.

“And... it breeds... war.

“Equestria was unfamiliar with war, that very powerful word with that very powerful meaning. In the beginning, it was childish. We didn't even want to use firearms at first. We never sought to kill one another. It was... it was almost laughable. Almost. Remember, no more laughter. Then it grew violent and bloody. After all, the zebras knew the art of war all too well. We stopped taking steps forward. We galloped, galloped to new heights on the piles of the dead.”

I let out yet another sigh. “Many things can change in the decades of war. You can change the reason for fighting, the tactics, the propaganda. You can change the weaponry, the methods, the means. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. And...

“War, war never changes.

“It never has. It never will.” My voice grew in strength and fury. “It always destroys, destroys equinity, creation, life, ingenuity. War is this... this empty void that swallows everything up and still hungers for more.”

I shook my head, voice diminishing to normal volume. “And so nothing, nothing changed when we galloped forward to megaspells and balefire bombs.”

“The details...” I paused. “The details, I decide, are not trivial and pointless- I'm going to speak of them myself. The reasons, of course, were purely equine ones. We purged our land, and it was born anew. Baptism by spellfire.

“Welcome to the Wasteland.

“Some lucky thousands were spared. The more fortunate holed themselves in subterranean Stables and new generations sprung forth.” Rig gave a stout nod. “The less fortunate were changed forever by the balefire, necrotized by the foul magic. We know now them as ghouls, both lucid and feral.” Chief Thunderhooves held a soft, somber look in those milky eyes.

“When the Stables opened up, ponykind emerged into a land as harsh and unforgiving then as it is now. Some tried to bring back civilization, creating small havens that grew into great prominence. Others devolved into things... less equine... and took from these small havens.

“Enmity, enmity never changes.”

I couldn't help but crack a thin smile. “I still got it. I still got it.

“Now, you might be wondering just why I’m bothering with this. I could just tell you what you’d need to know, and that’d be that. But... what would that accomplish? You already know how my story ends. But as it’s said, it’s not the destination that matters...

“... it’s the journey to it.”

“I am Frostbane Hokkaido Windchill of the Far North, son of Diamond Ki Dust and Natural Chouju Cure.

“It's time for a proper story. Roll... back... the clock.

* * *

-Ghosts of the Past-
You are about to delve into the past of Lunar Guard Paladin Frostbane Hokkaido Windchill. His story will take you back over two-hundred years. You cannot take your companions with you, and your attributes, skills, perks, and traits will be reset. Would you like to continue?

[Yes]

No

Rig has left the party!

[OK]

You lost Rig's Outreach Program perk!

[OK]

Azrael has left the party!

[OK]

You lost Azrael's Extrasensory and Inequine Empathy perks!

[OK]

???? has left the party!

[OK]

You lost ????’s She’s Embrace perk!

[OK]

Your level, attributes, skills, perks, and traits have been reset!

[OK]

<====ooO Ooo====>

Footnote: Undefined

Unlockable added: Soundtrack- Reflections

Author's Note:

Well. Here we are. The Last Sentinel is headed toward the "middle" portion of its story- pending changes to the storyline. With over 100 followers, 10,000 views, 200,000 words, it's officially bigger than my first completed story, Star Fox: Contact. And definitely much better. Seven years ago this month, I started working on that, and looking how far I've come... well, it's surprising sometimes.

Many thanks to the FoE community, my pre-readers, and the, well, readers! You! Feedback is always appreciated! Now things are gonna pick up...

Secretly of course.

Also, check out the Ask Frost Windchill tumblr!

And special thanks to Julep for the art!

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