• Published 4th Jan 2013
  • 658 Views, 63 Comments

An Equestrian Engineer - JetGrey

A unicorn inept at using more than remedial-level spells tackles the challenges of life in Equestria - with science! His story may just take him through the wildest places and situations imaginable.

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4: Everfree Convalescence

Journal: Day Ten,

I've spent the days thinking - in two weeks, I've been through more "Adventure" than my family has experienced in years. It's changing me - I know it is.

About yesterday... I am reminded about White Lace. Between my work and tired nights, I had not had a chance to think of her. She was told about my journey, and released from prior "arrangements". Memories of her are the last vestige of homesickness I have left. For my sake though, I must place thoughts of her farthest from my mind.

I have to continue. Machines will continue to fail, and perhaps fail critically. Magic makes life convenient, but it also means that there are only a few ponies who can do what I do.

Well, the castle is coming along. All of the main hallways had new stone mortared in. Many of the rooms now were safe enough to store more valuable machines. I have also (finally!) fixed that leak thirty-five paces from the stair in the western wing. The grounds are being kept, much to my nourishment, and the old garden has reached a semblance of order. The bridge took a good while longer, as I had to hew stone blocks for construction. I can safely travel across with a loaded wagon.

I do need to head back for some more chisels, pulleys, and chain. The caved-in chambers needed to be cleared before I could get much farther.

Every small fillie and colt in Ponyville are warned about the Forest's dangers. I was completely oblivious. The Canterlot upbringing in me simply dismissed said dangers; I hadn't even seen signs of beasts. No pony, however, can travel the forest long before encountering danger - often certain doom. Even when danger found me, I couldn't leave. It would later be my duty to be a steward of the Everfree.

Under Twilight's tutelage, I knew many of the the flora along the trail. What kept my trail generally safe was the fact it cut through a very large patch of an insidiousness herb. The low, spreading weed bloomed into phosphorescent blue flowers - any part of which housed a potent magical poison. Twilight stressed maintaining a safe distance. I can only imagine what contact would do to me...

Something about the trees tonight were foreboding. I chalked it up to nervous thinking - as this area always inspired the imagination. A slight rustle here, a branch snapping there, made me question this judgement. The very silence seemed to clutch at me. I raised a hoof to wipe my brow - but a long, low howl froze my spine.

I could smell them, too: Timberwolves.

Canterlot ponies would laugh at tales of sticks and twigs coming alive like some Nightmare Night tale. I had dismissed the stories of their savagery, but these were monsters! The wooden beasts had to be twice my size...

I didn't want to leave my wagon, but I could not escape with it. While I rummaged in my bag for a few tools, six of the beasts leaped from the shadows. A quick duck and swing brought me to face them, draining my little magic to levitate a four-and-four tenths pipe wrench. It wasn't my heaviest but it had the best reach. The Timberwolves surrounded me, moving ever closer.

I wasn't here to destroy the forest, or any part of it. If I could, I would discourage them to protect myself. I glanced at each, trying to find the Alpha. He was just to my left, old enough to start growing moss. He signaled to the others, then settled in to pounce.

Well, I pounced first.

My wrench's swing depleted the rest of horn, but drove the grizzled sticks back. Just before the rest of the pack could close on me, I brandished another tool - a cutting torch. The intense flame bought me some distance, and - hopefully - time to reason. Perhaps thew could understand me.

"I would rather have this end less violently. I have no quarrel with you beasts, as it is your land, but this is a road to mine." Here I gestured with the torch strapped to a hoof, towards the forest around me."Now, before I start playing with fire - Shoo!"

After triggering a small burst of even more intense flame, the Timberwolves retreated. I had no doubts that I would see them, or another pack later on, but I won some precious safety from them now.

I was shaking when I caught sight of town. Bravery is easy with hot blood, but I had escaped serious harm. I felt exhausted, and more than a little hungry. The dangers of the Everfree could wait until I had a full belly.

Above me, the weather teams ordered clouds in the sky. Pegasai finished their morning work in clockwork grace, but a few turned to play. My own eyes boggled as I watched them zip around. Their aerial agility was astounding! I watched in awe as some raced through graceful loops and reckless dives. These ponies had likely been training all their lives for this work. Someday, I too would thrive in my element.

I observed through lunch. I had to peel my eyes away though, as it was time for more study.

Twilight Sparkle had a guest though. Of all the ponies, a zebra I knew only as the other resident of the Everfree Forest. Curious, I trotted in. This "Zecora" was apparently an herbalist and guide. She spoke in hushed tones as she handed over a bundle of odd flowers and herbs.

"For a pony like me, it does not care; but you, Twilight, must beware! The Wraith will seek a unicorn - feasting on magic within the horn."

Something about her metered lines struck me oddly, as if I had heard of a wraith before. Father's study held plenty of books about several types of ghouls. As I mused, Zecora hurried past me toward the door. It was the zebra's phrasing that triggered my memory; a poem drifted to my mind.

Darkness comes to magic homes
Fear the terror as it roams
A presence dark and will malign
reaps it's bounty, leaves no sign
but chill winds and chiller cackling -
Fallen 'corns with magic lacking
To one with horn, with me flee!
The Wraith has come, the end of thee

I came to, realizing I had recited a piece of my ancestor's, Storm Grey's, eulogy. His was a darker time in Equestria, several hundred years ago. A prodigy my family used as a role-model (and ammunition for my brother), his stand ultimately failed against the Wraith. It took the Princess's solar magic to bind the thing in Tartarus. I thought aloud:

"How would a creature escape Tartarus, though? Cerberus keeps an eye out for that sort of thing."

Twilight waved away my concern. "Zecora was just bringing up a potential danger. I already sent a letter to Princess Celestia. Besides, these herbs..." She stepped up to a earthenware brazier, coals hot. After placing a few herbs inside, a heady vapor arose. My senses sharpened, and I felt aches and pains melt with the aroma of exotic spice. I developed a small urge to run through a brick wall.

My tutor explained that this sent was anathema to the beast, and would keep the town safe until the Princess arrived. Yet, even though the threat was downplayed, I felt there was something wrong. Why was Zecora bent out of shape if she had these herbs and no pony was in danger? She sighed as I voiced these concerns.

"She cannot use the herbs in the forest - she could drive the Wraith into hiding, or to another town. While it is in the forest though," her countenance fell, " it is eating the life of the Everfree."

Though I had little love for Manticores, Cockatrice, or Timberwolves, I knew Twilight had a friend who must be heartbroken over this event. Beyond that, the forest was now my home; running away from my problems would drive me away from that. Mix in the bitter family history - a generation of fear - and I knew I had to take down the Wraith.

There remained the question of how I could go about that.

I finished a study session that day, then drifted home with a wagon load of parts and a head full of ideas. A voice in my head was absolutely certain that what had defeated a wizard of legend could easily do the same to me. Even so, its tiny buzz was lost as I thought of all I had recently learned. Perhaps my skills and confidence in them had grown enough. If not that, then Zecora's potpourri was getting to me.

Blast those herbs.

Comments ( 11 )
Comment posted by JetGrey deleted Jan 7th, 2013
Comment posted by Aporatael deleted Oct 11th, 2015
Comment posted by JetGrey deleted Oct 11th, 2015

After just one chapter, I can tell that this is going to be a very good fiction. However, a loss of some formallity in your narration and a bit more details would serve you well.

I was tempted to quote the whole thing.

Anyway, small fixes have been finished. I'm fleshing it out more as I post this.

1913237 Good to hear! Can't wait to read more :twilightsmile:t

Comment posted by JetGrey deleted Oct 11th, 2015


I am learning that it is truly a fine line to get a story moving, keeping enough detail, but condensing it to keep a strong pace.

I'll keep working on it, though. Thank you for your input.

Comment posted by JetGrey deleted Oct 11th, 2015

First off: BRAVO!! :yay:

Like and a fave.

Secondly, your pacing is quite good; the chapters are short enough to hold the reader's interest while doing some good plot development. Don't worry too much about condensing, especially where details are concerned as your chapters are still rather short. Based on your style of writing, you could probably increase chapter length by 500-1000 words and still keep a brisk feeling pace while adding some extra details to enrich the overall story.

I'm loving the overall feel and plot of this story and I'm looking forward to seeing more (in other words, I'm addicted to it :twilightsmile:)

Comment posted by Northwest Brony deleted Oct 11th, 2015

Sorry for the deletions! Just removing posts with fixed grammar/rewrites!

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