• Published 8th Sep 2015
  • 3,963 Views, 44 Comments

The Equine and the Immortal - Architect Ironturtle

After being forced into a deal with a creature of questionable motives and species, George Someone finds himself in an abandoned palace surrounded by an unfamiliar forest. He quickly dies, then comes back to life. Expect a lot of both.

  • ...

In Which I Make a Bizarre Discovery

The more I see, the less I know for sure.
John Lennon

I stared down at the body lying on the hospital bed. The body, my body, my very obviously dead body stared back up at me with blank eyes. It was like I was a snake looking at my own shed skin, only a billion times more creepy. My old body's clothes had vanished, probably at the same time I had left it, giving me a clear view of the bandages covering the two narrow, but deep puncture wounds just below my sternum. In all honestly, despite not being in any physical danger, I was still on the verge of panicking. Seeing your own dead body has a tendency to do that, regardless of outside circumstances.

Meanwhile, the doctors crowded around the gurney were staring at me like something had broken, frozen in shock at the sight of a critical patient walking in the front door. The silence was only broken by a heart monitor, one that was currently screaming the flatline of doom (Hopefully their medical tech was up to date since I didn't really have anything useful on that front). I walked over, my footsteps echoing on the linoleum, and unplugged it, allowing true silence to fall as I pulled the sheet up over the corpse's head. Then the stampede started.

It halted just as quickly as I literally flipped out, backflipping onto the reception desk and shooting an explosive arrow at the spot I had just been occupying, deafening everyone within range (including myself) and leaving a patch of charred tile on the floor. Then the fire alarm went off and we all got soaked by some sort of water summoning spell. It pretty much went downhill from there.


"So let me get this straight," said Captain Armor, a blue maned stallion who'd been called in to restore order, "You started a mass evacuation of a medical facility entirely by accident?"

"Pretty much," I replied. I wasn't really giving him my full attention, and instead was staring at the fluid currently siphoning out of my arm. I'd been surprised, of course, but not confused when it turned out my blood wasn't red. Instead, I appeared to have ichor now, the golden blood of the Greek gods. No, the confusing part had been when none of the medical staff were surprised, and the real shock had come from seeing a unicorn in the bed next to me donate a bright green pint of the stuff. It turned out pony blood came in just as many colors as the rest of them. Still, I dare you to find out that your blood color has changed and not feel at least a little shell shocked. My now equally golden hair and eyes (instead of their regular black and hazel, respectively) weren't helping, either.

"Eyes over here," Captain Armor "ordered." When my gaze drifted back to him I noticed he looked like he wanted to beat his head against the nearest hard object, and he said, "Care to explain why?"

"To be honest, I'm not entirely sure yet," I said slowly, still piecing my thoughts back together, "I only have a hypothesis at the moment, nothing more." I might be more deeply affected by which class I am than I first believed. Not that I'm telling anyone that until I've actually confirmed or disproved it. "I'll have to test it before sharing it of course, but I can swear on whatever you consider sacred and/or holy that I did not intentionally cause any of this." I gestured to the ponies still rushing past outside the examination room.

The Captain put a hoof to his forehead and rubbed the patch of white fur just below his horn. "Is that really all you can tell me?"

"Unless you want me to make something up, yes," I told him, "I don't know, and I'd be lying if I said I did."

He rubbed harder, "The paperwork involving you is going to be a joy, isn't it?"

"Probably," I told him, then winced as the nurse takes the needle out of my arm slightly more roughly than necessary. "Do you need anything else?" I asked her. It pays to be polite to the people who hold your life in their hands (hooves), especially if they already don't like you.

She shook her head and turned away, the tip of her tail snapping an inch from my face as she does so. I blinked, then glared at her retreating form. "What's her problem?" I asked, not expecting an answer.

"That's Heart Monitor," Captain Armor told me, his eyes also following the nurse, "She's got a sister in intensive care."

"Oh," I said, my anger shorting out. I don't really know what to say to that.

He sighed, dropping his hoof back to the floor, "Don't worry, I'll talk to her."

"When you do," I asked, "Could you please not to chew her out? Just point out what she did wasn't wise and tell her I'm sorry." Armor blinked. Twice. "Is that all?"

"Actually," the captain said, flipping through his papers, "There's one more thing to take care of. I still need to know what to do with your body." His mouth twitched like he wanted to grimace but was too professional for it.

"Just do whatever's most convenient," I told him as I stood up, "I'm not dead, so it's not like it needs a grave or anything."

He nodded, staring into the distance, and said something along the lines of, "Dismissed." I walked out, my guard tailing me quietly.

I still had about an hour before the meeting, so I quickly made my way to the library (located at the back of the palace and partially dug into the mountainside) and, with the help of my guard (who must have worked as a librarian at some point) gathered a few choice books about Equestrian etiquette and history. I was finally alone, or at least as alone as I could be while I had an escort. My mind cleared, my shoulders untensed just the tiniest bit, and I remembered that Larry had some explaining to do.

"Ok, Larry," I told him as I turned a page in The Founding of Equestria, "Why did you force me to forgive Luna?"

He sighed, a long, drawn out sound that made him seem a lot older than he appeared to be, "Because if you hadn't it would have broken her," he said simply, "She was just starting to reach out again, form new attachments. You rejection on top of it being entirely her fault would have driven her into a downward spiral that would lead to her eventual insanity and a resurgence of the Nightmare. This would spark a civil war in the months leading up to the invasion, tearing the planet apart and allowing the Reapers to pick over the shreds. In other words, you lose. Big time. In fact," he continued, "You how there's exactly one known way to kill an immortal? I guarantee that if you hadn't forgiven her, you would have experienced it personally."

I shuddered. Larry was referring to the Fall of Laertes, an immortal who was forced to become the Avatar of Thanatos as part of an attempted invasion of Aelion. When you defeated the Avatar (the first time anyway) Laertes didn't come back afterwards. Whether that meant he was dead, permanently fused with Thanatos, or had decided he was sick of this shit (as he had every right to be), dug a hole and pulled it in after him was unknown. I was just getting used to the idea of immortality, and being reminded that it wasn't perfect was unsettling to say the least. Still, this explanation left one question unanswered.

"How do you know all this anyway?" I asked Larry. He didn't exactly act like he was all knowing or all powerful, so it was a fairly reasonable question.

He fidgeted. I'm not even sure how since he didn't have a body at the time, but he managed it."I might be using time travel to ward off disasters before they happen."

I didn't say anything, instead projecting my sense of utter disbelief, which seemed to annoy him, "Do you have any idea how hard what I'm doing is? Of all the possible outcomes of this war, only a few are acceptable to me, and by extension you. Trying to steer you towards them is like dancing on the edge of an event horizon. Every time I've directed you since you got here has been the result of a failed timeline, one I had to prevent before it started."

"Well, if it's so hard," I snapped, "Then why don't you just do it yourself?"

"If I could, I would," he shot back, "Working with you has almost been more trouble than it was worth, but I do it because I have to. My kind are forbidden from interfering too much in the affairs of mortals, and for very good reason. In fact, I'm bending the rules just talking to you as much as I am. The standard is to give the mortal his powers and then leave him to figure it out by himself. However, I think the Voidlings who do that are a bunch of jerks and decided to do it my way instead."

I sighed, letting some of the anger drain away, "Well, maybe if you hadn't kidnapped me, I wouldn't be quite so obstinate."

I could feel his facepalm, "Taking volunteers was the first thing I tried! However, they were either stupid, crazy, lazy, unimaginative, or some combination of the above. I didn't actually start seeing a chance at victory until after I built a machine to select the best candidate, and yes I checked, it's still you. You may not remember it, but you've come far closer to victory than anyone else I've selected, and believe me there were a lot of them."

I mulled this over. It explained a lot, such as why something like Larry would know I needed soap at all, but... "So if I'm not the first," I said finally, "Then why did you say you were new at this?"

"It was the first time my Chosen One hadn't been screaming 'YES!' at the top of her lungs," Larry answered, "Actually having to convince you threw me for a loop."

"Ah." We sat in silence for a bit as I wondered whether the history book I was reading had been tampered with, since the story of Hearths Warming Eve directly contradicted the Reign of Discord and so was setting off all my propaganda alarms.

"So that was why you knew to get me the soap," I said after a few minutes, getting an odd look from my guard.

"Yep. It's amazing what mortals need to function," Larry replied, sounding amused, "Wait, hold on." He disappeared for a moment, then came back, sounding exasperated, "Sorry, kid, I've got to run. Zeus spilled asteroids all over the Catonic Nebula again and I'm being called in to clean it up. And yes," he continued, sensing my incredulity, "I do have a job. A dude's got to eat." He was gone before I could ask what he meant.

I pinged him a few times to see if he reacted, but got no response. Wherever he went, I couldn't reach him. Since my guard was still staring at me (a thestral mare this time) I raised an eyebrow at her until she looked away, by which I mean that I never figured how to raise just one, so I used my finger instead. The muffled choking sounds that followed might have been laughter, but I was too busy reading to check.


I shifted in my padded but not plush seat, getting myself comfortable. The meeting room Celestia had selected was a tastefully subdued soft white, preventing the decor from distracting anyone inside. I sat at the far end of the circular table from what was clearly Celestia's spot, poking around inside my tablet while I waited. I'd gone out of my way to get here early, and it seemed to have paid off, as the only other creature in the room was a stout, gray, earth pony mare busily running over a pile of paperwork and being extremely careful to look anywhere but me. A bit weird, but at this point it barely registered.

The door to my left clicked open and five more ponies filed into the room, taking up spots across from me but leaving Celestia's extra large cushion empty, allowing me to appraise them individually. To Celestia's immediate left and right were the gray pony who was also here early and a somewhat frazzled looking light blue male unicorn wearing a circular pair of glasses. Next down the line was a sleek silver pegasus soaked in a perfume that smelled strongly of incense and what appeared to be as much jewelry as she thought she could get away with on the left, while the right held a faint pink earth pony who seemed to be meditating while weighing something over in his hooves. Finally, at the halfway point of the table, a burly white pegasus in a military dress uniform scowling at me suspiciously sat across from a unicorn so nondescript I had to look twice to make sure he(she?) was there at all. I stared back at the pegasus for a moment, and he looked away. Weird. The four remaining chairs were unoccupied, leaving me a space of two on each side. No doubt they were there to hold whatever retinue usually accompanied the diplomats that used this room, so since I didn't have one they sat empty.

I didn't say anything, deciding to save the speeches (or snippets of speeches, rather) I'd been working on for the meeting itself, and instead activated the hologram feature on the tablet. It had taken a few minutes to find it, despite knowing the feature was there thanks to my training session, and I still didn't really understand how it worked. That's why when it first popped up it started blaring music from one of Aelion's popstars before I managed to mute it. My face and ears burned red under their stares as I smacked the device to try to get it to show what I wanted. Fortunately the user interface was quite simple, so it wasn't long before I was panning through footage of a Reaper surprise attack on an Aelion town. Half the people at the table turned green at sight, myself included. I knew the Reapers were bad, but watching a Carrion tear into a Vird, one of its own allies and then eat it alive as its former friends raced over to help really drove the point home. I was just glad I'd turned the sound off.

Oddly, one of the three ponies who wasn't affected was the same earth pony who been avoiding eye contact with me this entire time. The other two were Mr. General and Mr. Spy, as I'd decided to call them until further notice, which was no surprise at all. Then a Reaper cultist showed up and raised the Vird so its corpse could go chasing after a group of civilians before the camera switched over to a pile of bodies, some military, most not, and I had to turn away to avoid becoming sick, slapping my hand over the projector to block it out. When I looked back the ponies were all staring at me in shock, some more openly than others, although the only who kept looking at me after I met their gaze was that same stinking earth pony. What, is there some sort of taboo against eye contact here? I'm pretty sure they make it with each other, so that can't be it...

Celestia entered the room at this point, her gaze sweeping across all present before settling on me, "Would you care to explain what happened this time?" She said evenly as her seat glowed gold, moving out to provide her access and scooting forward again once she had sat down.

"I was reviewing news footage," I said, my voice somewhat shaky, "It's different seeing it in real life, even second hand like this."

Celestia raised an eyebrow, so I took my hand off the projector just in time to watch a Reaper troop transport perform a bombing run on an escaping convoy. I quickly hit the off switch. The room was dead silent.

"I suppose introductions are in order," Celestia said before the tension became unbearable, "This is Bean Counter, head of government finances," The Earth Pony fidgeted and nodded, not looking at me directly, "Theory Weary, Archmage of Canterlot University," the blue unicorn dipped his head, then hastily pushed his glasses back into place, "Air Mail, head of Equestrian trade and culture," The bejeweled pegasus winked at me, "Smooth Talker, Chief Diplomat," The other Earth Pony opened one eye and waved lazily, "General Long Shot, Head of the Equestrian Guard," The other pegasus nodded jerkily, "And Agent P, of Equestrian Intelligence," The unicorn inclined its head. "Together they make up the Royal Cabinet. My most trusted advisers."

At least the ones you show to the public, I though as I looked around, No doubt your real advisers are safely disguised as mere servants, hidden by anonymity stronger than any bodyguard.

"Everypony," Celestia continued, "This is George Someone, the first of his kind in Equestria, ally in the battle against Nightmare Moon, and bearer of some potentially dire news."

"Thank you your highness," I said as I called the hologram back up, switching away from the Sudden Attack and over to a shot of a small fleet of Reaper ships descending from orbit, "They're called the Reapers of Death," I stated, all eyes locked on me, "Two species, Human Cultists and Vird, working and worshiping together under the Great God Thanatos. When I say that, I don't mean they follow a religious clergy who claims to dictate what Thanatos wants. The God himself lives on their homeworld and sends his Avatars, immortals imbued with a portion of his power, to oversee all invasions personally. They are united, and driven, and on their way here. I was placed here by a creature that calls himself a Voidling to help you prepare for their arrival, and hopefully prevent them from doing to this world what they've done to countless others."

"Wait, wait, wait," Mr. General said, "You're saying were being invaded by aliens?" his voice dripped with derision.

"Of course," I replied, "I'm an alien, I should know, General."

He smirked. "Really?" he said, raising an eyebrow, "Prove it."

"Aside from the fact you've never seen anything like me before?" I asked, causing Bean Counter to flinch (add it to the pile), "Well, there's the technology that's like nothing I've seen so far on this world, the fact that human civilization is far too widespread for you not know of us unless we came from another planet, and of course a pile of video and photographic evidence, but most importantly," I called up an image of Aelion, and pointed to what would be on any other globe the latitude and longitudinal lines, "Aelion is protected by the Celestial fortress, a orbital stabilizer for its three moons," I indicated each one in turn, "And a defense grid that prevents any invaders from dropping bombs from orbit, forcing them to land and face the defenders head on.*"

I selected another image, this time taken from the ground and pointed up at the sky, showing the same latticework outlined against the stars, "This fortress is so large it can be seen anywhere on the planet, day or night, and it has been turned into the symbol of Aelion itself." I pulled up an image of Aelion's crest, a hammer within two upward facing crescents, and displayed it to the side. "Since this world is obviously not surrounded by such a fortress, nor does it have three moons, it cannot be my homeworld."

Aelion isn't my homeworld either, but technically I didn't say it was. Also, keeping the two distinct without destroying all my credibility might be a hopeless exercise, which of course means that someone is going to bring it up.

"You are right to be skeptical, of course," I told the General, causing him to blink, "It's an extraordinary claim that must be backed up by equally extraordinary evidence. Please let me know if I need to keep going."

"That's enough for now," He said with a wave, "please, tell us more about this 'Voidling' you mentioned."

"Ah," I hid a grimace, "Right. Larry, could you maybe show yourself and explain?" I wasn't sure he was even back yet from wherever he'd gone, but the fastest and most effective way to get through this without sounding crazy was to just have him show himself.

My open question to the room got several raised eyebrows, although they were quickly replaced by dropped jaws and one wide grin as Larry replied, "I suppose. I won't be able to talk to you for few days afterwards, so are you sure it's worth it?"

"I'm sure," I said evenly, "Earning their trust is more important than burning questions about life, the universe, and everything."

"As you wish," he said with a chuckle, and then he appeared, hood, glasses, and all. While almost everyone blinked at his sudden presence in what was no doubt a high-security meeting, Air Mail pounced on him, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him full on the mouth. "Leere!" she shouted when she came up for air, "I thought you next vacation wasn't for another six months!"

"You know I can't stay away, A.M." he said back, his face threatening to split apart from his grin, "Your resorts are just too irresistible.**"

The rest of us were too busy gaping (except Celestia, who merely looked amused) in confusion to form words.

*Next to nothing is actually known about the Fortress, other than that it was constructed by Aeli (the Great God of Humans who has since disappeared but left more relics behind than you can shake a spear at) to stabilize the orbit of Aelion's largest moon to keep it from crashing into the planet. It mostly just hangs out in the scenery. I do feel safe making a number of assumptions about its other probable uses, though.

**Air Mail believes that 'skoodilypooping' is the best way to seal a business deal. Her little black book has everything from Diamond Dogs to Dragons in it. Full grown Dragons.

Author's Note:

Ok, remember everything I said about waiting for Skyforge's official release? You can stop waiting now. They've made multiple overhauls since then that have noticeably improved the game. If you want to check it out, now's the time.

As such, and because the game itself does not really have a tutorial (forcing me to learn by trial, error, and listening to my Pantheon members), I will be writing about various gameplay mechanics that you might not have previously encountered. Today we'll covering the camera, movement, basic combat and the very start of the game.

When you log in for the first time, two things will immediately catch your attention. First, there is no character select screen. You don't decide what your avatar looks like until you've already been introduced to both the gameplay and the story. Instead, you play as a generic guard for the first ten minutes until you get to customize.

The second thing you'll see is much more confusing if you aren't expecting it. There is no cursor in the main game interface. It's like a first person shooter, with the mouse locked to the camera. You cannot turn with the keyboard, or click on your abilities: you must use hotkeys. Given that most WoW players tend to make fun of keyboard turners who click their attacks, this is probably an improvement. You use a fully customizable hotkey setup to move, activate most abilities, and interact with your surroundings.

Combat is a cross between targeted (the old style) and reactive (a newer style the requires less lag to function). Player attacks are targeted and for the most part can't be dodged, but NPC attacks are a mix of targeted and not targeted, meaning that is it possible to avoid most of the damage they put out. This is what dash charges are for (I'll cover those later). The controls mirror this, with primary attacks being handled by left and right mouse clicks, while abilities and secondary attacks are hotkey based.

This brings up the last thing you'll encounter in the game tutorial: attack combos. Take the Berserker, a melee DPS: a right click will activate a melee, small AoE armor break, a right click held down makes a cone-shaped, ranged AoE armor break, a left followed by a right will trigger a short, weak attack followed by a quick stun, two lefts and a right make two weak strikes and a wide AoE, three lefts and a right make three short strikes and a resource spending really powerful blow, while four left clicks make a weaker, resource recovering attack instead. This obviously requires more skill than simple button mashing.

Next time I'll get into your bags, items, and what you do with everything that you aren't going to use.

Comments ( 5 )

the real shock had come from seeing a unicorn in the bed next to me donate a bright green pint of the stuff. It turned out pony blood came in just as many colors as the rest of them.

I really wonder about the biochemistry of that right now. What do they even breathe?

"Sorry, kid, I've got to run. Zeus spilled asteroids all over the Catonic Nebula again and I'm being called in to clean it up. And yes," he continued, sensing my incredulity, "I do have a job. A dude's got to eat." He was gone before I could ask what he meant.

Leere is a divine Space Janitor. Now that's funny.

A Skyforge crossover... I don't care whether it's good or bad, I have to read this.

This is a beautifully well-written story and I hope it gets more chapters

This was pretty cool so far.
Any plans on updating?

Login or register to comment