• Published 9th Aug 2012
  • 5,195 Views, 163 Comments

Horn and Hammer - Lancer



Warhammer meets MLP. Two forces for good, two opposite ways of life, forced to stand together.

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Chapter Three- Contact

Chapter Three

Contact

Everfree Forest, Equestria

“Form up, Halberdiers on the right, Greatswords the left. Soldiers of Sigmar form a perimeter around the rear. Get those carts lined up behind the Volley Gun and mount the Crossbowmen on them!” Pieter von Grunberg roared. He stood in the centre of the organised chaos which was the Empire forces retreat. Facing towards the portal while around him columns of infantry reformed into position. A number of Greatswords tugged on the final gunpowder cart as it snagged on the same accursed roots which had pinned the Hellblaster in place earlier.

Pieter had been the first to cross the boundary into this place from Eastern Norsca; he could still feel the tingling sensation which had overcame him when he passed through the magical gateway. The gateway itself was nearly unnoticeable except for the obviously different locations on either side. A thin shimmering line the height of two men and wide enough for five in armour to pass through marked the edge of the spell that linked this place with the one they had come from.

Pieter scanned the surrounding area to uncover the location of his fellow officers. Markus was stood on the edge of the boundary as the last of the Greatswords pulled the final cart out of the way and a furious Gerhart Manhelm strode through behind it. Looking back towards the forest Pieter saw the two wizards standing as far away from the spell manifested portal as possible while still being within the Soldiers of Sigmar’s cordon. Curious really, the magic of the spell must be affecting the two White Wizards in some way; the younger one kept wincing and massaging his temples.

“Pieter!” called out Otto Erholt, striding forward between the two lines of infantry.

“Ah Engineer Erholt is the artillery ready to fire?”

“Oh yes, roped in the abandoned cannon’s crew to help prepare the Hellblaster’s magazine loader, with seven of us on the gun anything following us through here will not emerge in one piece.”

“Good man, get ready they were right on our heels a moment ago” concluded Pieter.

Then a thought struck him, the speed of the Saarl’s advance should have carried them to the portal by now. Turning towards the portal and taking up a position safely well out of the way of the Hellblaster Volley Gun, he saw Conrad with his rear-guard cutting into the tribesmen as they in turn surged around the tiny formation, nearly encircling them wholesale.

His breath caught in his throat as he watched the six men give their lives up for him and the army. Unable to tear his eyes away he saw a Greatsword dragged into the mob; his last noble act protected Conrad. The five remaining men were far away, trapped in a swirling melee. Pieter could not help but wonder who those Greatswords were; they were his command, his men, losing just one of them caused a wave of guilt and anger to wash over him, seething just below the surface.

Pieter watched with dread as a particularly large Saarl on horseback lead his followers into the rear of the stranded Empire men. In spite of the situation he could not withhold a brief smile as a flash of Conrad’s shield sent the big man on horseback toppling to the floor, visibly shocking the man’s retinue as they skidded to a halt.

The rest of the fight was obscured by the mass of marauders. The sounds however, briefly told the story of what was happening inside the melee. The screams of rage hinted at the widely witnessed death of someone of importance from within the tribe, possibly the cavalry leader from earlier. The crack of Conrad’s pistol rang out and was immediately drowned out by an almighty explosion.

Flame erupted from the centre of the horde of men; throwing shrapnel, bodies, limbs and weapons into the ranks of those behind as howls of rage turned to screams of pain. Burnt and battered marauders dragged themselves from the scene of carnage, those capable of walking wandered in confusion their faces a mask of terror and shock.

From the forest the men of the Empire watched in silence, the V formation of the two main infantry units gave many an excellent view of the maelstrom of death and fire in the wasteland of Norsca.

“There go six brilliant soldiers, with Sigmar’s grace we could all die with such honour!” bellowed the Arch Lector from the hinge of the V shape where the Hellblaster was set up.

Shaken from their reverie every single soldier in the dark malevolent woods echoed his cry, whether they had watched the sacrifice or not.

“For Sigmar!”


Boom!

“What was that?” asked Twilight, searching around for the source of the noise as birds scattered into the air.

In the abrupt silence the group stopped, having only passed the threshold of the Everfree ten minutes ago the sudden noise was somewhat foreboding.

From deeper within the forest a gruff sounding yell could be heard, like the voices of many ponies shouting out at once except deeper and incomprehensible.

“Ok now what the heck was that?” countered Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie Pie answered that question with a series of rapid vibrating shudders as Spike, Twilight and Rainbow looked over at her in concern.

Twilight gulped in response before following up, “well I’m guessing it’s connected with the ‘doozy’ then. Those shouts must be from the new ponies.”

“They sound angry” added Spike as he shifted uncomfortably on Twilight’s back.

“Told you we should have organised a welcome to Equestria party” said Pinkie Pie immediately after another bout of shudders passed.

“Come on girls, and Spike, I’m sure they’ll be nice enough once we get to know them” replied Twilight following on immediately from Pinkie’s suggestion in order to curtail the party debate before it got going for the third time on the walk.

It was mid-afternoon in Equestria but the dense forest canopy effectively blocked out any sunlight audacious enough to attempt to descend through the intricate layers of leaves and branches which twisted overhead.

The path they followed was largely just a naturally created one; Pinkie’s Pinkie Sense was what directed the group and Pinkie thought in straight lines in that respect. The subdued group had travelled through the gnarled undergrowth for some two minutes before another unnatural sound pierced the eerie silence which had overcome the forest. More incomprehensible shouting could be heard from somewhere ahead and what followed that was a noise akin to a mechanical firework show.

A sharp crack was accompanied by a rapid succession of explosions, three blasts one after another. Another sharp crack as a mechanism moved and three more blasts followed within a second. Screams of rage and pain grated on the three ponies and one dragon’s ears, the twanging of taught strings could be heard and yet more screams rang out causing the ponies to stop in their tracks. With ears pinned against their heads they looked around at each other unsure of what to do.

The rhythmic sound of cranking metal followed by three rapid explosions continued for some time, only stopping when the sounds of roaring voices and pitiful wails of pain ceased.

In the wake of the auditory assault the group looked to each other in askance, unsure of whether to run back to Ponyville or to carry on into the unknown.

“Well we’ve come this far” said a strangely nonplussed Pinkie Pie. With a beaming grin of encouragement she turned and bounced over the dark green shrubbery before them. Rainbow Dash and Twilight shared a look of worry but followed their bouncing pink friend hoping whatever was the cause of those awful noises had long since departed.

“Come on Rainbow it’s fine, I have a teleportation spell charged up” said Twilight, a meek grin trying forlornly to reassure her friend.

Fortunately Rainbow Dash’s bravado took over and she replied with a lot more confidence than she actually felt “What? No I’m great, if Pinkie isn’t worried then neither am I!” she responded, slapping a hoof to her chest as a show of courage.

Buoyed by each other’s feigned confidence the two ponies with a decidedly quiet Spike advanced after their friend through the dense shrubbery and into a sparse stretch of trees that could be considered a clearing. The clearing however was anything but clear.

“Celestia’s beard!” gasped Rainbow Dash, which would have earned a disapproving glare and a lecture from Twilight but the sight before the small group had caused all of their jaws to drop.

Standing no more than ten metres away from the ponies were a veritable army of metal clad figures. A shining light could be seen over the helmeted heads, a grey sky shone from beneath the tree line but this seemingly impossible sight passed by the group as their eyes were drawn to the straight backed, two legged beings which stamped around in the clearing with giant menacing weapons held in their arms.

A group of burly, well-muscled bipeds threw buckets of water over a giant whirling machine causing steam to hiss off it as a man with a grand twirling moustache, ostentatious red and blue robes, a monocle with targeting sights and spiked helmet shouted at his fellows. The creature gesticulated with gloved hands at a point beyond the ponies view.

Another fascinating and perturbing sight caught the ponies’ eyes, the unknown species had horses! Actual horses easily around three times the size of a pony mare and each was attached by way of reigns and a harness to carts which held more of the creatures with giant crossbows. Twilight gaped at her fellow equines; these were what ponies had evolved from many thousands of years ago, yet here they were a walking tribute to equine history providing manual labour for a hitherto unknown race. The much more immediate problem of said unknown race however took precedence.

In front of the Ponyville group and arranged in a semi-circle around their kin were twenty or so of the bipedal creatures, each of them wearing heavy looking armour which covered them from head to foot. One of their upper limbs bore a large shield of which many were embossed with symbols and coloured in red and blue. The other limb held an intimidating metal hammer. A half dozen of those closest to the ponies were yelling in their crude tongue and holding out their weapons in the groups’ direction.

“Oh Pinkie please tell me your Pinkie Sense can pick out whether they’re nice? Because they don’t look so friendly” said Twilight.

“I have no idea” replied the inexplicably happy Pinkie Pie, Twilight noticed the lack of Pinkie’s usual violation of personal space upon meeting new ponies though, so at least she retained some basic sense in the face of a foreign army.

Two of the creatures pushed their way through the line of warriors, coming to a stop before the intimidated ponies. Both wore white robes with golden trim and thread etching out mystic swirling patterns, each of them also clutched at a long staff. Twilight focused on these instruments first, the mage within her picking up on the way the staffs drew in magical energy from their surroundings.

The two beings before the ponies gestured to their fellows to stow their hammers, stepping forward tentatively the larger and apparently older judging by the white pointed beard, lined eyes and the authority it carried.

Twilight slowly stepped forward in turn moving beyond the safety of her friends, she felt Spike slip off her back as he moved away from the strange and intimidating figures. The robed creature opened its mouth; it appeared to talk directly to Twilight in low calming tones, its eyes softened and a smile spread across its pale face.

“Oh, my translation spell!” exclaimed Twilight, lowering her head while her horn began to glow brightly. Frantic hooves smacked at her flank breaking her concentration and causing her horn to dim. Looking up Twilight saw the things had all taken a defensive stance, bringing up their shields or levelling staffs and hammers at her.

“I don’t think they like that” whispered Rainbow Dash in Twilight’s flattened ear.

Trying to summon a teleportation spell she felt it slipping away as the robed and bearded one clenched his fist, robbing the spell of its power. Twilight trembled at the array of fierce expressions and weapons that were pointed at her.


Shouts of alarm erupted from the Empire army’s rear, glancing over at Markus Holstein Pieter broke formation to check on the situation. So far the men were doing as well as could be expected, the tribesmen had recovered from Conrad’s final act of retribution and had charged across the blasted, corpse strewn wasteland to get at the Empire soldiers on the other side of the portal. Of course the Hellblaster put that charge to bed as it ripped through the first three ranks with its first volley. After the first devastating shots the marauders were just trying to escape its wrath as volley after volley dug bloody furrows in the mass of warriors, the survivors pulled wide out of its arc. Essentially the small Empire army was now under siege.

Now there appeared to be a threat to the rear which called for his attention. Shoving his way through three files of Greatswords Pieter dodged between supply carts and emerged on the Soldiers of Sigmar’s picket line.

What faced him took his breath away for the second time in ten minutes, a master wizard with his apprentice and fourteen Soldiers of Sigmar were warily pointing their assorted weaponry at three pastel coloured miniature horses. The one at the front was trembling under the attention of the majority of the men present; it had a lavender coat, purple mane and tail both with a pink stripe and most curiously a horn protruding through the mane, marking it out as a unicorn. The little horses’ large pleading eyes darted around to its left at a cyan Pegasus with a gaudy six tone rainbow mane as it chirped melodiously into the lavender ones drooping ear from slightly above, its wings flapped slowly as it hovered, noticeably they both wore saddlebags .

“Taal’s teeth” muttered Pieter as he slowly walked in front of his fellow soldiers holding out his gauntleted hands as a gesture to stand down. The poor creatures were clearly terrified, well with the exception of the pink one at the back which honest to Sigmar was smiling genially at him. This one had neither wings nor a horn but cowering behind it was something akin to a shorter fatter kind of Skink. Its bright green and blue colour scheme contrasted drastically with the poufy pink hair of the horse like thing it was attempting to hide behind.

Coming up next to the two White Wizards he placed his hand on Willhelm’s shoulder causing the edgy wizard to raise his staff, removing the lavender one from its path.

“Come on Rekthofen, they’re hardly a threat”

“The purple one started charging a spell” hissed Willhelm in return.

“It did not feel malevolent master” added Kurt.

“You felt what that portal did Bohemond, we cannot be complacent this place feels . . . strange” snapped Willhelm the anger in his voice evident.

“Look you are clearly terrifying the poor things and they are evidently smart enough not to immediately bolt at the sight of over a dozen armed men like any other dumb beast. What, do you really expect a tiny purple unicorn to get the best of a magister of the Light Order?” said Pieter with a chuckle, taking to his knee in order to lessen the intimidation created by his hulking armoured frame.

The pink one bounced up to him, somehow springing with all four hooves, a curious look on its face. ‘They have such emotive faces’ thought Pieter as he fixed it with a warm smile. Tentatively it stretched out a stubby hoof, brilliantly blue eyes locked on his. Equally slowly Pieter matched the gesture with his clenched fist in imitation, their limbs a hand’s width apart.

Out of Pieter’s line of sight the purple unicorn under the watchful gaze of Willhelm relit its horn, a wave of purple magic spread gently across the immediate area.

The miniature pink horse gently pushed its hoof against Pieter’s gauntleted fist with a clink.


“Ha! Hey girls, I just hoof bumped the weird hairless metal monkey thing” declared an ecstatic Pinkie Pie.

“Oh I am the weird one am I? That is really something coming from a tiny, giant eyed, pink horse!” replied the kneeling biped, a bemused smile plastered across his face.

Pinkie Pie collapsed with laughter falling flat on her back, effectively shattering any tension that hung in the air. Twilight, Rainbow and Spike couldn’t help but giggle along with her.

“Well that is some impressive magic” remarked the older one in the white robe as he looked over the three ponies with an inquisitive eye.

“Thank you” replied Twilight, her confidence returned now the tension and weapons were lowered.

“My name is Twilight Sparkle, she is Rainbow Dash, she Pinkie Pie we’re ponies not horses really and he’s Spike, he’s a baby dragon” said Twilight pointing to each of them in turn.

“Greetings, I am Captain Pieter Von Grunberg, this here is Magister Willhelm Rekthofen of the Light Order and his apprentice Kurt Bohemond. We are part of the Emperor Karl Franz’s army in the Shadowlands, although I am fairly sure this place is not part of the Shadowlands.”

“Oh sorry where are my manners, welcome to Equestria. Ruled by Princesses Celestia and Luna, You’re in the Everfree Forest by the way, kinda picked the worst place to turn up in Equestria but I’m sure with so many of you it’ll be fine.” replied Twilight trying to resist the urge to bombard the newcomers with questions.

“Hey” interjected Rainbow Dash “don’t mean to be rude but what are you guys, where did you come from and what was with the explosions and screams and stuff?” immediately asking Twilight’s most prominent queries with as little tact as possible.

“Ah, yes well this will take some explaining. Firstly we are humans, not monkeys”, Pieter directed the final part at Pinkie who was still on her back, causing her to lapse into giggles once more. “Secondly we came from the Old World, precisely a nation of humans named the Empire. Thirdly we were essentially forced to pass through a magical gateway created by two Tzeentch Sorcerers who slipped through a few hours before us. Then some three to four thousand more Chaos worshippers turned up leaving us nowhere else to go. Those explosions were our artillery firing through the portal to keep them out.”

“Wow” replied all three ponies.

“Yes, it does appear to have got a little surreal” agreed Pieter.

“Right now we are trapped here, a lot of those evil bastards died trying to run us down and we lost some good men of our own” Pieter sighed looking away from the Equestrians, they in turn winced at the revelation that these two sides were trying to kill each other and this war of theirs was now being fought in Equestria.

“Girls I think we’re out of our depth here, did you bring the parchment Spike?” asked Twilight as she did her best to remain composed for the sake of her friends.

“Erm yeh got it right here” replied Spike waving parchment and quill in the air.

“Good, we need the princesses’ help”

“I can only assume you ponies are not accustomed to war then?” Pieter asked a look of curiosity on his face at the thought of a nation untouched by war.

Twilight was by now dictating a message to Spike leaving Pieter with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie and so it was them who had to answer the human’s questions.

“Well yeh pretty much, I don’t think Equestria’s had a proper war in like a thousand years” supplied an unsure Rainbow Dash. History had always bored her and flight school was always more concerned with putting out top notch athletes rather than eggheads.

“Actually Dashie does the changeling thing count?” Pinkie asked with a tilt of her head while stroking an imaginary beard.

“What is this, changeling thing?” Pieter asked, quickly realising this whole new world was going to lead to a lot of questions in the days they were likely to be stranded here, assuming the Saarls don’t just set up camp there anyway.

“Let’s just say they’re black shape shifting pegasus like things which can gain power through feeding off someponies love. Their queen attacked Canterlot with her followers but they were beaten back a few weeks ago. The Royal Guard have been chasing them ever since, but nopony got really badly hurt really so I don’t think it counts.”

“Sweet Shallya this place must be a paradise, look as much as we would all like to trade our recent histories, I need to report back to Markus. Stick with Willhelm over there, I’ll be back but expect to get questioned ok?”

“Okie dokie lokie”

“Yeh sure thing”


“Pieter, report!” yelled Markus as the Captain made his way through the Greatsword lines across from Markus, who was with the Halberdiers. The atmosphere for the last five minutes had been intense; from his vantage point on the left corner of the Halberdier regiment Markus had witnessed the full carnage wrought by the Hellblaster on the Chaos worshipers. For now the enemy remained at a wary distance, fanning out over the entire area visible to Markus they howled in rage, beating
drums and gesticulating wildly.

The Captain strode up to Markus, his expression unreadable. Standing to attention and snapping off a salute Pieter began to smile in anticipation of the conversation to come.

“What was the commotion at the rear Pieter?”

“Magical, multi coloured talking ponies father. This is not the Drakwald; indeed we appear to have crossed to another planet” replied Pieter, his face was forcibly devoid of any emotion.

Markus stood there staring at Pieter for a brief moment, having campaigned with Pieter Von Grunberg for a number of years he knew his mannerisms and his personality well enough. Pieter knew not to play games in serious situations, especially with a man such as Markus and so Markus accepted the brief report with a nod, behind the nod though his mind raced.

“How many of them are there and are they a threat?” asked Markus.

“No father they are quite friendly, the pink one in particular is but the unicorn, pegasus and dragon are a little intimidated. This appears to be a largely peaceful world so” Pieter’s voice trailed off as fresh roars erupted from within the tribesmen’s lines.

“Are you trying to aggravate me Pieter? wait, a damned dragon?” replied Markus before catching Pieter’s gaze.

Forced out into the open, standing amidst a sea of charred corpses was an unhorsed Pistolier, his armour and weapons stripped from him. Blood was splattered across his white and grey slashed sleeves from where he had been cut at, his arms hung limp and useless at his sides.

“Volker” murmured Pieter.

“They will torture him in front of us Pieter, do not give them the chance” Markus responded, his grim expression barely concealing the seething rage he felt, all thoughts of this new world quashed.

Pieter turned at once running towards one of the Crossbowmen still stationed on a cart. Yelling at the man he took the loaded crossbow from his hand. Striding forward so that he was exposed in the empty area between the two infantry lines Pieter hefted the crossbow, taking aim at his target. Steadying himself he watched the Saarl flags ripple in the breeze and accounted for wind. Reducing the world to just target and bolt, Pieter exhaled softly and gently tapped the trigger.

Markus watched from behind as the bolt flew into the Shadowlands streaking towards its victim. The bolt struck home in the Pistolier’s chest killing him instantly. The man fell from the grasp of his captors as they looked towards the gateway in confusion.

Throwing the crossbow towards the cart Pieter marched up to his general, his face contorted in fury.

“Tell me we have a plan father, I cannot tolerate those bastards presence”

“For now we wait, we cannot abandon this bottleneck position and we cannot sally forth.”

“What about the sorcerers? What if they double back?!” Pieter yelled.

“Silence!” snapped Markus “Pieter we will discuss this at council not in front of the troops.”

Admonished and furious Pieter stalked off towards the rear, the eyes of the soldiers following him.

Markus glanced back at the Saarl tribe; their carts were pulling up into circles and the beating of drums was dying down, it appeared the enemy were here to stay.

“Hold your positions, Counts Champion Gerhart, Engineer Otto, come with me!”

Turning towards the centre of the Halberdier regiment Markus addressed the unit’s sergeant.

“You too Sergeant Kemper”

Marching towards the rear lines with the Sergeant, Markus prepared himself to take council, and to meet the natives of this new world.


Back at the rear under the watchful eyes of the Empire picket line Twilight sat down in front of Willhelm Rekthofen, she was trying to decide on the first question to ask this wizard from another planet.

“So, erm if you don’t mind me asking you humans don’t seem that surprised by any of this?” Twilight began.

“We are veterans; trust me, when fighting the followers of Chaos you become accustomed to their oddities and the Elves teach that the Old Ones could open portals to other worlds. Although this is definitely one of the weirder occasions and definitely our first time with a magical portal” conceded Willhelm with a smile.

“What do you mean Chaos followers? What do you mean Old Ones” countered Twilight, her inquisitive nature flaring within her, outwardly her eyes lit up with curiosity.

“Twilight Sparkle do I get a chance to ask a question?” retorted Willhelm with a stern expression.

“I’m sorry but I have so many questions, I mean a whole new world though. This is massive!”

“Hey Twilight, I sent the message to Princess Celestia” said Spike walking up from behind her.

“Oh good, she should be here in a few minutes then. Did you tell her where we are?” rattled off Twilight eager to return her attention to the White Wizard from another world.

“Gosh Twi I am capable of writing a letter you know” retorted Spike.

At that point the familiar sound of deep yells and shouts could be heard from some distance away causing everyone present to look up towards the infantry lines, some in fear others with trepidation.

In the gap between infantry, carts and artillery Twilight saw Pieter, his long wavy sword slung across his back and his bulky armour clad frame obscuring all but the lathe of the crossbow he held. She saw a blur flash across the small space visible to Twilight and the crossbow shuddered in Pieter’s grip. The yells in the distance fell quiet.

“Oh Princess Celestia where are you?” Twilight asked to no one in particular. She heard Pieter yelling but his voice was no longer being translated.

Pieter stormed back through the gap in the units towards the rear guard. His helmeted head hidden in shadow and the light from another world made him look like a horror of Tartarus. Upon reaching Willhelm he uttered a series of incomprehensible and guttural words much to Twilight’s confusion. Willhelm looked over at her noticing her and her friends’ confusion at the exchange.

“Ah I understand it now. Twilight Sparkle could you recast that translation spell please, the portal is sustained by magic and it appears to be able to drain it from a certain distance. I’ll explain shortly so please be patient” Willhelm explained before Twilight could bombard him with more questions.

“Oh erm, ok then, no problem” Twilight replied as she charged up the translation spell once more subconsciously trying to avoid its area of effect from nearing the portal still hidden behind ranks of infantry.

“Thank you, it will be necessary to recast that spell when Arch Lector Holstein calls his council. Just so that you are aware” added Willhelm.

“How long will that be?”

“About now” responded Willhelm with a knowing smile.

On cue a hulking figure strode towards the group of Equestrians with three other smaller humans in tow. The light from the portal again cast the first one in shadows as he walked in that strange, straight backed striding fashion of the humans. It was strangely fascinating to watch as the humans’ front was lit up and the dark bronze plates of his armour became properly visible.

‘They are all males aren’t they’ wondered Twilight, ‘they all shared similar physical features as stallions do and using the masculine personal pronoun suggests there must be a female variant.’

The intricately linked and segmented plates of his armour slid over each other flawlessly as his arms slowly swung in time with his legs. Each plate was inscribed with strange shapes around its edges. The centres of the larger plates such as the pauldrons and chest had more identifiable images. Across the chest was a griffon; talons stretched wide, wings flaring. In both fore talons it held hammers whose heads were made of gold. Below the chest plate a long flowing red robe rippled in time with the humans’ strides, two twin tailed comets embroidered in gold and facing inwards marked the two corners of the front of the robe just below its knees barely concealing the plate shod boots which crushed the forest undergrowth.

The human was bald with facial features which looked as if they had been carved from stone, a combination of sharp, angular cheekbones and wide-set jaw. His eyes were dark brown and completely devoid of any emotion, the little lines of hair which these humans had above their eyes were a similar colour to his eyes.

Twilight, remembering Willhelm’s advice recast her spell for the third time.

“Wow, what in Sigmar’s name was that” exclaimed the second human back, unrecognisable now the other two soldiers behind it took up all the light from the portal.

“The light from the portal has ruined your night vision Otto, this unicorn here cast a spell, allow me to illuminate the area” answered Willhelm from beside Twilight, rising to his feet he walked over to the nearest tree and place his hand upon it.

Twilight felt a surge of energy and watched as Willhelm’s hand began to glow white. Immediately smoke began to erupt from between the wizards hand and the trees gnarly bark, pushing forward abruptly there was a flash of light and the tree was severed. It began to fall away from Willhelm guided to the floor by magic; the light of Equestria’s sun pierced the now broken forest canopy illuminating enough of the forest floor to reveal both parties to each other properly.

‘Show off’ thought Twilight.

A stunned silence pervaded as the newcomers took in the sight of the three ponies and their baby dragon companion.

“Pieter, when you said they had a dragon I was expecting something a little, well bigger” said the giant bald one.

“Hey I’m a baby dragon, I’m actually quite tall for my age” replied Spike indignantly.

Rainbow Dash burst out laughing before pointing out “Spike, you’ve never met another baby dragon before, the youngest ones you met were like sixty years old or something.”

“Ulric’s beard, miniature dragons and horses that speak Reikspiel, where in the Old World are we?” asked the human with the giant fearsome looking spear axe thing held against his shoulder

“That was me sorry, I cast a translation spell” answered Twilight raising her hoof sheepishly.

“Twilight Sparkle!”

The yell reverberated impossibly loud and yet it seemed so far away, Twilight recognised the voice immediately but she had never heard the owner of it use the Royal Canterlot Voice before. Her confusion quickly turned to relief as she realised her letter had been answered.

“It’s the princess, she’s here!” said Twilight happily, sending a purple flare into the air with her magic, she tried to contain her elation as the humans gathered together trading quiet words.

A flash of white and a crack announced the arrival of the porcelain white alicorn, appearing exactly in the centre of the newly created clearing she flapped her wings twice to allow her to land softly on the ground, positioning herself between her student and the armoured humans before her.

“What are you and what are you doing in my land?” demanded the princess, her head lowered and eyes narrowed.

“Princess Celestia please they’re friendly, its ok we’re not in any danger from them” interrupted Twilight as she galloped up next to her teacher, and attempting to ignore the fact that every human present had levelled any weapon they had to hand at the new arrival as they spread into a defensive stance.

“Twilight, the letter I received did not indicate that you were safe” replied the alicorn, her horn still pointed menacingly at Willhelm who himself was glowing softly, causing the magical fields to ripple slightly at the standoff.

“Spike! What did you say?” demanded Twilight. She glared at her little dragon assistant, who in turn attempted to make himself even smaller.

“Oops” replied a nervously smiling Spike.