• Published 12th Mar 2024
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An Oath to Hashtor - Sterling the pegasus

A Ponyhammer: 40,000 story. Lieutenant Stormhoof of the Lamenters finds himself stranded on a feudal world. Away from his chapter, he is placed in charge of the defence of this world against the xenos that threaten it.

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Chapter Three

Flowerprance stormed into Dovewing’s room about half an hour before his training, to say that she was furious would have been an understatement.
“What did you do to the shock absorber of Lightningblade’s left foreleg? You will anger its soul if you keep damaging it-you feel its pain as much as you feel your own, why did you not tell anyone?”
Despite being the same age, she was his mentor and he her squire, she was a noble-the one who was assigned to teach him the ways of house Hastilude. Her enraged appearance captivated him-her beauty no secret. She was the youngest noble the house had seen in seven centuries. Her jet-black mane had been cut short-as was necessary for a knight pilot, and she was already in her bodysuit, the pale lighting of the fluorescent lights shining off the gleaming silver and magenta armour panels. He wondered every day if the two of them would be more than warriors of the house one day, if they would be together for life. If she was interested in him the same way he was in her.
He tried to concentrate on her words, pushing thoughts of their compatibility away-he was being told off, he should probably be paying attention.

Dovewing’s duties as a squire were even more monotonous than he had first imagined. As a jousting knight of his house, he had been trained in ground combat from a very young age. Clad in his sacred armour, the rites to become a scion had required that he beat his enemies, as well as close friends in the tournament of blades-a festival held only once a scion died. The last-an elder, had died of his aging, and a new festival had been thrown in his honour. Dovewing had won the tournament, he had been elevated to Scion, and had found his place as a squire of House Hastilude.
He’d been assigned to be Flowerprance’s squire-something that he was quite pleased with. She was a veteran of the house by now, and had protected Altheheim and its surrounding villages for almost a decade. The slaying of the creatures that threatened their ponies was a rite of passage for the members of House Hastilude. Monstrous creatures the size of a toad, to the size of one of the few Cerastus pattern centaur knights the House had roamed the mountains, forests, and plains. Those that lived and travelled by the oceans spoke of beasts that lurked below the waves, scales and fins that glittered in the sunlight when they surfaced.
The oath of the Knights of House Hastilude was to protect their families, their peasants, and their townsfolk from all that may threaten them.

Donning his hallowed Scion armour, Dovewing left his room. Peering out the windows he passed by on the way to the repair bay where artificer and technician unicorns worked tirelessly on Lightningblade he saw that a market was on in the town. Colourful stalls had been set up by the townsponies as others milled around, peering at the oddities on display. Fruit baskets and various meats hung on hooks displayed on some of the stalls-others featured hoof-crafted wooden bowls, spoons, and cups. Some boasted copper pots and pans. This was juxtaposed by one merchant who sold artificial light-globes and another who sold las-packs for home-defense lasrifles. Dovewing wondered often where this disparity in technologies had come from. He supposed that many of these devices had been left behind by the sacred Forefathers-those first to come to Hashtor, as well as those that had arrived during The Visiting. As time had gone on, the residents of the planet had forgotten how to make almost all of the technologies save for the few small manufactorums that still ran across various parts of the world. Nobody knew how to repair the machines save for the Sacrisants who maintained the walkers, and Dovewing felt fearful for a time when his planet would need this knowledge.

He stopped, squinting. Something was coming down the main street-a bright smear. ponies were beginning to form a throng around it-Dovewing could see that although it was taller than them-taller than any pony he had ever seen, it still had equine features. It got closer, he got closer. Dovewing watched with rapt attention as he grew closer and closer to the base of the tower’s walls. This new type of knight wore mustard-yellow armour, his massive pauldrons betrayed a checkered black and white pattern-at the centre of which was a red shape Dovewing could not quite make out from where he was, and though tough to spot, the Scion saw a long sword at his side-longer than some of the ponies following him were tall. He could see the ponies around the broad-shouldered warrior.

There were showcases of devotion to this being. Everywhere he looked he saw ponies lowering themselves, throwing themselves at his hooves, climbing over each other to touch him with a hoof or showering him with gifts-most of which were turned away unless they managed to snag on some part of his armour-he watched as a mare managed to toss a ring of flowers over his head and around his neck.
He saw some of the guards out at the fortress’ gate move towards him and attempt to disperse the crowd to little avail. The knight in yellow stopped before them for a moment as the crowd parted at his words-Dovewing witnessed as a moment passed, and then the guards both lowered themselves as well. He had seen enough.
Galloping down the stairs, Dovewing swerved past a very confused Flowerprance, and bowled into a group of Scions. Ignoring their protests, he pushed off of them, and continued. He had to know who this newcomer was, wether he was of this planet, and most importantly, if he posed a threat to the ponies under his protection.

~ ~ ~

Stormhoof stopped before the gates of the fortress. It was masterfully built-so much so that he wondered if his cousins in the Imperial Hoofs had once been here long ago. The crowd had watched with bated breath as he confronted the guards, and had all exhaled a sigh of relief when they had allowed him entry.
A moment passed, then another-Stormhoof wondered if he would have to find his own way behind the walls. Finally, the portcullis groaned open. He watched as the heavy adamantine gate lifted up, Turning back to the crowd, he turned up the volume of his helmet’s vox-speakers, and boomed ‘Thank you, citizens of Altheheim for your hospitality. Know that the Emperor’s knights will always defend humanity from its greatest foes even in the darkest of times. Now please, go back to your homes.”

At his command, the crowd reluctantly dispersed. ponies trickled back to the markets, glancing back at him. He did not like how the ponies had treated him. It was as if they viewed him as a deity-he had even heard one of them call out that their father was deathly sick and that only his holiness could heal him.
Turning back towards the open gate, a series of figures had gathered. There were figures clad in ancient silver carapace armour, some featured purple markings and crested helms. Others were in a different type of carapace armour, similar to the bodygloves worn by Imperial Knight jousters. All were marked with purple and silver. The pilots did not have their helmets on, and as he clopped closer, one of them-a mare, approached him. She held his gaze better than any of the townsponies had.
“Greetings Warrior. You are not from here, but have treated our ponies with respect-you may take the necklace off now if you so wish, it will not cause any offence”
“My thanks.” Responded Stormhoof, removing the flower necklace, and then his helmet. A few of the guards stiffened upon seeing his features. He was stoic, square-jawed. On the left side of his forehead were three metal studs, one of which was almost covered with the front locks of his golden mane.
“My name is Stormhoof. I am a Lieutenant of the Lamenters Space Marine chapter. My ship was shot down by traitors a few days ago. I have heard that an Imperial Knight house resides here and I have come to talk with you.”
“I apologise, Lieutenant, but what do you mean by Imperial Knight?”

~ ~ ~

Captain Rocksteady was furious. The Nightgallopers had escaped his fleet again. Although the Spear of Silence had been destroyed, the warband’s leader had not. He had managed to flee by some accursed warp abilities, and the rest of his fleet had simply kept running. They had lost ships, they had lost brothers, however, the Lamenters were still on the cusp of victory-even now, closing in on the enemy fleet.
The marine Captain turned as one of the Imperial Navy officers hailed him. “Speak.”
“M-my lord. Many apologies, but I have picked up a message from where our boarding action commenced.”
“What does it say”
“It is barely understandable, Lord, but I believe it is a threat from the Ork breed Xenos. They say they are threatening the planet below.”
The Captain stopped, confused.
“Why would we care?”
“W-well my lord, Further scans of the newly discovered planet indicate that it is a feudal world, a world of Ponies.”
The Captain paused, he wanted to pursue the Nightgallopers further, every fibre of his being was telling him they had them on the run, that the Lamenters were on the cusp of victory.
“How many ships?”
“Enough for a full invasion force, my Lord”
He cursed under his helmet, slamming his hoof into the railing in front of him, leaving a dent and causing most of the ponies on the deck to look back at him in fear. He knew what he must do, but that did not mean he had to like it.
“Very well then. Send a message out to the fleet, we are withdrawing back to the initial engagement zone of our latest battle. The Ork menace has chosen us for its war. Let us give them the fight they so desire.”