• Published 4th Sep 2015
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Remember the Moonflower - Blade Star

On the run from the Royal Guard following Nightmare Moon's defeat, a group of thestrals make their final stand.

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Prologue - A Very Bloody Affair

The Lunar Rebellion was fought in ten thousand places; from the darkened woodlands of the Everfree Forest, to the icy mountains of the frozen north. High above the grassy plains, in the new seat of the fledgling monarchy. In the glittering metropolises of Manehatten, Baltimare, and Fillydelphia. Amongst the clouds and rainbows of the bustling Cloudsdale, and in the scorching heat of the desert, in far off Appleloosa Territory.

Over a million ponies fought in it, and over two hundred thousand, two percent of Equestria’s population, would die in it. What began as a bitter dispute over the length of days and nights ended as a struggle for harmony in Equestria.

Ponies from all walks of life, for the first time, found themselves in the front lines of a war from which there was no sitting out, and from which there was no hiding. In the major cities, such as Baltimare, Manehatten and Vanhoover, the call to arms went out as both sides sought to build armies able to overwhelm the other. And one by one, every region, every city, every town, every village, every street, every family and everypony, chose sides.

The war was a long and painful one. It was a war nopony really wanted. One of Princess Celestia’s most trusted advisors, unable to quite comprehend the scale of devastation brought on by the outbreak of hostilities, dubbed it, in typical Canterlot understatement ‘a very bloody affair’. For the first time post-unification, pony fought pony.

At the outbreak, the conduct of both armies was confused and disorganised, as desperate negotiation sought to avert the crisis. Pre-existing wartime plans were not set up around the idea of a civil war. What were supposed to be safer areas of the country, such as the peaceful city of Whinnyappolis would become front lines and fought over. The city itself would change hooves no less than twenty seven times, and be forever scarred by destruction.

‘There is no alternative,’ commented Captain Goldwing, a distinguished Solar Guard commander, and the Army of the Canterhorn’s first commanding officer. ‘If we are going to put down this rebellion, we shall have to do so with the point of a spear. In this instance, a quill and a scrap of parchment is not going to save our hides.’

The first engagement; First Colt’s Run, brought home to both sides just how disorganised their armies were. Confused by the variety of uniforms, several Lunar regiments inadvertently engaged each other. Whilst the Solar volunteers, fearing imminent attack from the sky by thestrals and frightened at the howling of the advancing Appleloosian brigade, dropped their weapons and ran as the Lunar vanguard advanced on their position, allowing them to score an early victory.

However, by the middle of 1013 PD (Post Discordia) the situation had very much been reversed. The lack of organisation between the various armies of the rebellion and several key victories the previous year, allowed the forces loyal to Princess Celestia to slowly isolate enemy formations and defeat them.

‘No terms,’ was the order of the new monarch. ‘None are acceptable except unconditional surrender.’ By the end of the year, the lines had been pushed back, Whinnyappolis had changed hooves for the final time, and most loyalist cities were now beyond the reach of the few thestrals who were willing to risk a raiding flight. The hopes of the Lunar cause were fading fast.

‘Our only hope now rests with the griffons.’ Warned Princess Luna’s senior military advisor. ‘If we are to stand any chance of victory, we must pray for an intervention by the Griffon Kingdom, to recognise us as the legitimate government of Equestria and force our enemies to heel.’ Such aid however, was not forthcoming. And while there were sympathisers for both sides in Equestria’s former foe, neither were willing to act.

By the winter of 1014 PD, the only force of the rebellion still capable of action, aside from various small scale raiders, was the Army of Northern Mareginia. From the outset, a highly capable force, this large army, roughly about half the size of the Army of the Canterhorn, held out for several months, braving both the winter and loyalist attack. And with the arrival of spring, they struck back.

The sudden action caught Celestia and her commanders off guard and for several tense weeks, the Army of the Canterhorn retreated. Only with the engagement at Stalliongrad would the Lunar advance be brought to a halt. By the middle of 1015 PD the forces of what was then the Army of the Canterhorn had been able to close the noose around the smaller, scattered armies of the various militia and volunteer regiments that made up the Army of Northern Mareginia; the only large Lunar force, aside from the original peacetime Lunar Guard, that was able to assemble itself before being cut off from friendly forces. The once proud Lunar army was humbled, taking losses as high as thirty percent.

By the end of the year, after no less than twenty bloody battles, each with casualties as high as the Battle of the Borders during the Third Griffon War, the armies of the rebellion had been routed and the way lay open to what had once been the seat of the old government. From here, the armies held back, as the two princesses locked horns for their ultimate showdown, the last battle between day and night.

But the story of the Lunar Rebellion, or the War of Solar Aggression, carries on well past that. The war did not end merely with the departure of Princess Luna and the nightmarish creature that had overtaken her. Instead, the war would rage on for four more years, as the new government desperately attempted to stabilise and rebuild the shattered nation, and the battered armies of each side sought to bring a final end to their bloody feud. It was a period known as ‘reconstruction’.

While Equestria was now a monarchy and with no hope of the exiled princess returning, the rebellion did not die quietly. Whilst the survivors of the Army of Northern Mareginia attempted to return to their lives, in other areas, many of the bands that had regularly raided loyalist supply lines and outlying regions refused to halt their activities. Many feared, despite their ruler’s assurance of a full pardon, that they would be incarcerated for their actions. Many of these were quickly labelled as criminal gangs, and hunted down by the Royal Guard and deputised posses.

However, while many of the vanquished foe sought to move on and return to some sense of normalcy, many loyalists were out for blood.

‘I will not stand by and live amongst these traitors,’ one mare commented. ‘We must drive them out, just as we did the evil witch that led them.’ And so, what we might call the second war began. All across the country, mobs attacked thestrals homes and business, as well as those of anypony else who was suspected of supporting the Lunar cause, or refused to swear an oath of allegiance to Celestia.

The situation quickly spiralled out of control. The Royal Guard itself, against the orders of Princess Celestia, began to join in. Regiments were dispatched all over the country to force the 'resettlement' of all thestrals and other suspected Lunar supporters. The princess herself could do little but watch.

Many were forced to flee their homes, but some, particularly those former guardsmen, now stripped of their rank, chose to stand and fight. For four more years, Equestria would be in turmoil.

Most notable of all these post-war battles was a battle that lasted for seven days, centred around a small settlement built up around a Lunar mission. A thousand years ago, open worship of both princesses was commonplace, and in the far reaches of Equestria, temples and churches were set up to spread the faith, both prior to and during the war.

Inside the settlement, a total of roughly two hundred ponies, mainly from the remnants of the rag-tag militias and volunteer bands that had fought the Army of the Canterhorn, stood their ground against a force of over five thousand guards from the newly reconstituted Royal Guard. They had retreated inside the old mission as a final redoubt, after drawing off the vast army, away from the long columns of ponies, mainly thestrals, who were now compelled to either leave Equestria for exile, or else be forcibly expelled from the country. Their crime was taking the wrong side in the war or, as one soldier put it, ‘my crime is loyalty’.

This small band of defenders, ill equipped, low on supplies, and with no hope of either reinforcement or relief, would hold their ground for seven long days, buying priceless time for the evacuation convoys to escape to the mountains and caverns of the Badlands, beyond Equestria’s borders.

In terms of casualties, the battle was little more than a large skirmish. But to the thestrals and others, who today stand loyal and true with the returned Princess Luna, the final stand of these ponies represented their greatest triumph against their most bitter of opponents.

The mission was, of course, in the small town of San Maretonio, on the border with Mexicolt. It was known, as the Moonflower.

Author's Note:

Proofread by Sidetrack, The Batmane of Equestria, and ThatPonyWithASword.

Hello, and welcome to 'Remember the Moonflower'.

Those of you versed in American history, and any Texan readers, should be able to spot the various influences for this story. This opening was actually inspired and written in the style of the narration of Ken Burns' famous documentary 'The Civil War', which I encourage you to watch.

Anyway, as this is the prologue, the story isn't rolling yet. However, feel free to leave your thoughts on the story below.

Now, on to the first real chapter. Unlike my previous story, this one will be updated fortnightly.

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