• Published 9th Jan 2017
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The Atlantean-Dominion War - The Atlantean

Crimson Dawn enlists in the Atlantean Reserve Emergency Army (AREA) to defend Atlantis from the Dominion of Apollo.

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31. Ember Arrives

Silvercrest glanced up from her papers. “Is there a reason you’re here, Warrant Dawn? I believe a runner informed me of your victory.”

“Yes. But before I begin, where is Phoenix Brightwings?”

“She is currently in Medical, where they are doing their best to repair any damage the Doms have done to her.”

Crimson nodded, relieved Phoenix wasn’t nearby. “I need to apologize, Colonel.”

“For what?”

“Out on the field, when we were on the offensive, I… I lost it.” Crimson looked down at his hooves.

“Battlefield rage?” Her left eyebrow raised.

“Yes, ma’am,” he gulped.

“I knew this would happen,” she said. “Crimson, battlefield rage is perfectly normal. And the worry and regret that sometimes follows is too. I myself was denied a promotion six years ago because I let loose while defending the eastern coast from the Corsairs of Korea. I ended up killing one of them with my bare hooves.” She grimaced. “I still regret that day.”

“Ma’am, I almost smashed somepony’s skull in. He was on the ground, begging for mercy. I was on top of him, beating the ever-living shit out of him. If Mirage hadn’t stopped me, I would’ve killed him and then moved on to the next guy.”

“Oh, that kind of battle rage.” Silvercrest shuffled her papers and adjusted her position in her chair. “I see. Crimson, that’s a level of battlefield rage that is fairly uncommon in ponies. Typically, only dragons or griffons will exhibit this, and even then, they don’t do it often. My advice to you would be to check up on the Dom you nearly killed. Make sure he’ll be alright. Apologize to him and let him know how much you regret what you did. Maybe he’ll forgive you in due time. Maybe he won’t. But at least you’ll have given it a shot.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He turned to leave.

“And Crimson?” He stopped and looked at her. “We don’t appreciate that kind of battle rage too much, so I still need to discipline you. We’ll give the other pony some compensation from out of your paycheck. This month’s worth. Understood?”

“Understood, ma’am.” He threw a salute and walked out of the tent.


A few hours later.

Crimson, Mirage, Janelane, Platinum, and Southern Lights watched the airship come in. It was obviously converted from a Fireheart-class corvette’s hull design to accommodate the large hovergas-filled balloon that held it up. On either side of the bow was a single word: Ember.

“Wait,” Platinum cried, “is that the same Ember from home?”

The airship coasted closer with each passing minute, filling the ballast tanks to bring her down. She touched the flat plain with a wince-inducing crunch and settled, the shallow impact crater keeping her upright. The starboard door and boarding ramp swung out to let supplies offload. The first pony to disembark was familiar.

“Crimson!” She immediately recognized her older brother and flew into him faster than the eye could see. A reflective prismatic trail marked where Crystal Shard had been.

“Hey, girl! Jeez, you’ve grown!” Crimson wrapped his sister in a headlock and rubbed her mane playfully. “I haven’t seen you in months!”

Platinum bounded over and tackled Crystal. “Surprise, little mare!” All three rolled over on the ground and laughed. It had been a long time since they could have fun like this.

Mirage giggled, but stood back. Then Crimson finally got back on his hooves. “Crystal, this is Mirage. She’s the Changeling Princess I told you about. Southern Lights is right there, and beside him is Janelane. And well, we’re the Second Coastal.” Each pony waved as he pointed them out.

South pointed his eyes to the airship. “What do you have for us?”

Crystal beamed. “In the main hold we have food, updated medical supplies, the works. Plenty of letters from home. And, before I forget-” she pulled a box from her saddlebag- “Crimson, Mom made you a sandwich. Sorry if it’s a bit stale; the journey was a bit long.”

“It’s perfect.” Crimson opened the box and munched on the sandwich. “Changeling-style grilled cheese. Oh my goodness.” He closed his eyes, taking in the delicious sandwich.

Mirage raised an eyebrow in concerned confusion. “Changeling-style?”

“The cheese has holes in it,” Crystal swiftly explained.

“Oh.” Mirage looked bewildered. “Alright then.”

Crystal gestured to the airship. “Ember is - or rather, was - one of those hulls in the yard for so long. We just got around to finishing all three: Ember here, then Cape Lune and Dragonheart. The metal ship is really freaking awesomesauce because it took on an entire Dom fleet by itself! I mean, come on! That was, like, two hundred ships it just sent to the bottom! And one of our guys got one of its flying machines to work, and-”

“We get it, a lot happened.” Platinum chuckled. “A lot of exciting things, apparently.”

Crimson’s face turned serious. “How’s Mom and Dad?”

“Worried about you, like usual,” Crystal replied. “Mom wants you to come home in one piece. Dad…” She trailed off. “He’s not doing well.”

“He sick again?”

She nodded sadly.

“Don’t worry about Dad. He’s had worse, remember?” Crimson looked past his sister at the airship. The familiar lines of the incomplete corvette in the yards showed through the conversion. He walked to it and pressed his hoof on the wood. It was firm but gave a little, just like the “swamp oak” trees back home. Doors cut into the wood showed where the cannons hid inside the hull. A larger one for cargo was swung open in the side. “Oh, I missed you too, old girl,” he whispered into the wood. “At least you can’t fuck up as bad as me.”

He walked back to the group. “Crystal, when you and Ember go back home, tell Mom and Dad that I love them. Tell them that we can win this. Just hang in there.”

His sister nodded. “They’ll like that. You know, when I’m old enough, I’m joining the army!”

Oh, no. “Crystal, it’s hard enough with me here. Don’t make it worse for Mom.”

“But I have to wait five years,” she pouted.

“Considering what we’ve seen,” Crimson said, glancing at his comrades, “that’s probably for the best.”

Author's Note:

Finally, I have finished another chapter! Slow goings right now, with all that's happening: moving, reorganizing my shtuff, and things like that. Hopefully, I don't run out of steam on this story. A bit of severe-ish writer's block hit me full force a few weeks ago and... well, lingering effects.

Remember, I'm here to answer questions and clarify anything about the story almost every day.

Feedback Appreciated!

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