The Rise of a King: Act I

by Medici

First published

Almost 200 years since the exile of the Nordic ponies after a civil war against Princess Celestia, a new ruler claims the throne. His younger brother, Dietrich Monetlius, a renown Nordic historian, grows weary of his brother's true intentions...

The year is 1032 After Celestia; nearly 200 years since the exile of the Nordic ponies from Equestria to their homeland of the Nordic Isles, a set of islands off the north-western coast of Equestria. It was the Nordics that led a civil war that spanned for 30 years against Princess Celestia and her regime, leaving Equestria in ruins and millions to bleed. As punishment for their treason, the Edict of Harmony was signed. The Edict stated that the entire Nordic race was to be exiled and secluded to their fatherland for 500 years, also giving permission for the Equestrian Navy to blockade these islands to limit trade and to cage all the Nordic ponies from leaving.

The Jarl (Governor in Nordic) and the ruler of Caroland, one of the two nations that reign on the Nordic Isles, has fallen into fatal sickness. His eldest son, Heinrich Montelius, is expected to claim the throne, and with that his radical ideals. He speaks out against the Edict of Harmony and Princess Celestia, and will do whatever deems necessary to see the Edict repealed and Celestia overthrown. As a result, he has gained popularity among both the nation's military and the poor, who of which make up the majority of the Carolean population. Some of Heinrich's followers even call him their King; a title that has been considered blasphemy since the assassination of their last King over a thousand years ago.

Prince Dietrich Montelius, a renown Nordic historian and the younger brother to Heinrich, grows weary of his brother's intentions and his unnerving hatred of Equestria and all non-Nordic creatures. In Dietrich's fears of the repetition of history, he will have no choice but to embark on an illegal voyage to Equestria in hopes that Princess Celestia will listen to his plea of warning of an uncertain future...

Current Proofreaders: BurntMyWater

Current cover is the most relevant cover I found so far by hussii on DA

Prologue: Nordic Ponies

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The ocean's rough waves crash upon the rocky cliffs reaching up well over three-hundred feet. At the top is a thin layer of green grass with patches of rock surfacing every once in a while. In the distance, through fields of treeless grassland and stone fences are rolling hills and mountains and reaching to the heavens. The seagulls calling, the crashing of the waves, the chilly winds, the near cloudless sunny sky, the beautiful view both inland and out; this is truly nature at its best.

Along the top of the cliff is road paved in rocks that have been set many years ago.

"This is my home." a deep masculine accented voice narrates. "There is no other place like these islands anywhere else. No scenery like in this part of the world."

Coming up a hill on the road to the left of the view you gaze upon, a covered wagon is being towed by two rather large stallions, each with two different shades of visibly thick brown fur, different shades of blue eyes, and blond manes. They are being led by a stallion slightly smaller than the two ponies pulling the wagon. He is wearing a gray hooded cloak, dotted with various animal furs and plaid designs, moving rather slowly to stay at pace with the wagon moving the same speed. His Cutie Mark is visible. It was a sword crossed with a quill pen on top of his russet brown thick fur. His tail was goldenrod blond at medium length, longer than most males, one section of the tail is tied into a braid.

"The land you look upon now is the southern nation of Druidia, one of the two nations that make up the Nordic Isles. This nation is named after a separate faction in the Nordic race that founded and rule this nation; the Druids. Me? No. I'm not a Druid, I am Carolean from the nation of the tundra and snowy mountains of the north, Caroland. Named after our last true King, and the last of Hjorvard's bloodline whose native to my lands, King Carolus; during a time when the Nordics were still united."

Your view still shows the small caravan of three moving up the stone road moving north, surrounded by the green grass. With the edge of the high cliff off to the left side of the road, and the endless view of rocky grasslands to the right, the scene was gorgeous.

"Look at me, I'm getting ahead of myself. Most of you Equestrians don't even know what is a Nordic pony is! I'll start from who we are, and then I'll briefly get into our history. We have some time until this caravan reaches it's destination anyways. In fact, let's fast forward a bit..."

Your view suddenly is transformed as if through magic; it is nighttime now. The three thickly furred ponies are still walking at their pace, but the scenery has altered. In the clear night sky, not only Luna's moon sits high at Half Crescent, the stars twinkle bright. But that is the least of that the sky shows. All across the sky, steams of blues and green soar in almost in a ribbon shape. The northern lights shine bright.

On the ground, around the stone road, thanks to the light from the moon and the northern lights, you can see that the ground is now a brown-ish-red, with green shrubs dotting the area. The landscape looks hillier than before, and the mountains in the distance seem closer and are covered in snow. Unlike before where the mountains took up just a portion of the horizon to the east, now they almost surround the caravan by the distant mountains on all three sides. The ocean to the west, now calm compared to before, dominates the fourth side. The road is still near the rocky coastline, but it is moved a little farther from the edge, and the cliff is not nearly as high as before either. Off towards the ocean, rock formations can be seen sticking out of the water, and with the moon's light reflecting off the calm waters, the sight could not be any more divine. The winds are still powerful, and even colder than before.

"You are now in Caroland. Is it not beautiful? So back to my tale, the Nordic ponies are an entirely separate race of ponies from the main three in Equestria. A fourth race if you will; although many Equestrian anatomy professionals disagree. They claim we are an ethnic group among the Earth ponies. This is false. We are very closely related to your Earth ponies, yes this is true, for we do not posses wings like a Pegasus, or a horn like a Unicorn, and our stamina is incomprehensible, like an Earth pony. Besides our physical appearance of thicker fur and larger physique, the major thing that differs us from the Earth pony is our ability of magic."

The caravan approaches and begins to ascend up a hill that blocks the view in front of them.

"Our magic, however, is limited. Always has been. In comparison, some of our greatest 'wizards' as you call them, have only fraction of the power of a common Unicorn. For us to learn magic and master the spells that may seem simple to most Unicorns, it takes years to learn. However, we do have a strong point in our ability of magic. We have an immunity to nearly all forms of evil and chaotic magic, as well as attack magic, but that is only the beginning. We have a special ability that enables us to use magic that no other pony besides Nordics can use. It is impossible for a Unicorn, or even an Alicorn to cast, for these spells are much like Cutie Marks, they are not specifically personal to the caster, per se; but they are unique, and have extraordinary power. Every Nordic pony has this gift of their own special spell, but having the gift and able to cast it are two different things. It takes years for one to discover the gift, let alone master it. I am one of the few ponies nowadays who takes the time to find, and master this gift. What is mine? Well... I'll tell you later."

The caravan is halfway up the hill. Unnatural light looms over the hill, and and with each step the caravan takes towards the top the light becomes brighter.

"In Equestria, you probably have been told that every pony in the world are all herbivores. This is not the case for the Nordic ponies: we eat both meat and plants. This makes us the only race to be omnivores. Through the evolutionary process, most of our ethnic history was being in snowy wastelands; where food is hard to grow, even in the non-snowy seasons. We instead have gone to the food of the lesser animals. That's just how nature and evolution works! Plus, their pelts make great clothing for the snowy seasons. Even in these thick furs, we can still freeze in some of the blizzards we get here."

The caravan reaches the top of the hill and the view ahead is clear again. In the distance is the source of the unnatural light. A vast, walled city. In the center of the residential houses of wood and stone is a steep hill with a large stone castle that sits on top, towering above the city. I has four tall towers on each corner and one wide, but shorter tower in the back. In front of the entire settlement is a wide river the leads into the ocean. Next to that lies a rock formation right at the corner where the river meets the saltwater of the ocean. The rock is similar to the castle's, but much, much thinner. On top of that sits a stone tower, built right into the rock formation, making it almost appear the rock is apart of the tower. On top of the tower has a lit fire, one that can be seen for miles on end.

The hooded stallion stops walking and motions the caravan to stop, he removes his gray hood with a hoof revealing his smiling and relieved face. His face was broad and stern, but with a sense of honesty coming from it. His eyes were a dark shade of blue, his mane was at medium length with a goldenrod blond shade of color flowing in the chilly winds. His bangs were parted to his left side where the tip of the hairs just graze his eyebrow. One small braid beside the left side of his face just in between his ear and eye that stretched down past his jaw that dangled and flowed in the wind, bouncing off his cheek. This braid had two beads that made the most contact with the young stallion's face in the wind, one red and the other green, with small Celtic designs carved in them that was tied halfway down the braid.

"Alan vasian arraka, Dietrich?" called one of the ponies towing the wagon.
(Why have we stopped, Dietrich?)

"Biaka ta hayen" called back the stallion before he started moving again towards the city.
(Just enjoying the view.)

The city has four walls, all in the shape of a circle around the castle. The first and innermost, being the smallest appears to be in rough shape as age looks like it got the best of it. It’s towers long abandoned and most of the wall sat in aged ruins.This wall surrounds the hill of which the castle sits on. After a mess of buildings thrown together, clearly the old section of the city, another aged wall stands. Aged and weathered like the first, the wall still stands tall and strong, even with the towers on this have to been long abandoned. After this wall it appears that the city is more organized and clearly was planned. The third wall looked much newer and stood strong with small towers symmetrically located, although it was thinner than the second wall. The outermost wall of the city was the largest of them all with towers to equal it's might. This wall instead of a circle, forms a U shape with the two ends stopping about 100-feet into the oceans waters, guarding the city's harbors and shipyards. On top of every tower holds large flag poles waving large banners. The same banner drapes the outward sides of the towers, however, even with the light from the moon and the northern lights, it is too dark to see the details of the flags. Unlike the other three walls, these walls have large holes on top to hold cannon positions. The only thing that stands outside the city walls are a few houses and couple acres of farmland.

"Welcome to Hjalmar," the voice narrates again. "the oldest city in the world – literally. There is no other city that still stands that is older. This city is the birthplace of Hjorvard who lived over 5,000 years ago. That lighthouse - Hjorvard Tower; is the oldest standing structure in the world, and is still being used like it did five millennium ago. That was around even before Hjorvard; the castle and the innermost wall were built during Hjorvard's reign. The city and the lighthouse are named after him."

The caravan descends down the hill towards Hjalmar at a faster pace than their previous pace.

"Who is this 'Hjorvard' I have said so much about, you ask? Hjorvard is our most important historical figure. He was one of the first rulers of civilized society in pony history. Long before Princess Celestia, Discord, King Sombra, and even the founding of Equestria, Hjorvard ruled the Nordics and was the first to create civilized life and to create a society, as well as an organized military. His greatest achievement was his conquest of the entire world, even in the distant continents. During that time, most of the world was made up of tribal nomads."

"Dietrich, biet fam conisum futan?" asks one of the stallions pulling the wagon.
(Dietrich, what is in this wagon anyway?)

"Relics. Relics en fuan Bibracte. Ambian arrkon da King Carolus." Dietrich answers back.
(Relics. Relics from Bibracte. They said they belonged to King Carolus.)

"According to legend, there was one other nation across the ocean that rivaled the Nordic's empire. Hjorvard spent over 20 years fighting that kingdom. That is only about half of the King’s accomplishments; it is said in folklore that it was he who defeated dozens of legendary monsters, including a full grown rampaging Ursa Major on his own. His legacy still lives to this very day as our deity figure and the commander of the largest army the world has ever witnessed. The words he spoke were bold and true. His main message was how conflict is always inevitable and peace must be balanced by war, or else peace loses it's value and the next conflict will be more catastrophic as a result. Hjorvard had written a set of commandments that we follow in our society like a holy scripture. He took everything he both liked and what seemed to work from the tribes he conquered and put it all in one set of rules of how government should run it's subjects, and the traditions to follow and honor; all onto paper."

"Unfortunately, Hjorvard is one of, if not, the most misinterpreted historical figures in history. Some historians admire him almost as a God, some despise him, claiming him to be a warmongering barbarian. Those same historians also claim every Nordic to be a barbarian and have won the opinions of Equestria to fear, and ultimately, forget us. But that's some other argument, and I think you get the idea behind Hjorvard, let's move along. You'll know more about him as I tell you the story I want to tell you."

The caravan passes by the lighthouse tower on top of the rock formation, almost at the stone bridge that crosses the river.

"Now, let’s fast forward about 3,000 years, the Nordic Empire shrinks from it's former glory. Entirely new nations take the place of the lands that Hjorvard once claimed. The Nordics still hold ground in today's Nordic Isles, the Frozen North, and in Equestria. Even though Equestria was already 'founded', it was still of sphere of influence under the Nordics and the Crystal Empire was not yet founded. It was at this time when Discord claimed entitlement of the Equestrian lands. For nearly 1,000 years he ruled, and his control of chaos was devastating. Fortunately, the Nordics were able to cage his power and keep Discord's influence to remain in Equestria and not to spread to the rest of the world."

Dietrich reaches the arched stone bridge over the river. It is the home stretch to the main gates of the city.

"During Discord's reign, the Nordics kept his chaos at bay by fighting him back and keeping his influence in the Equestrian borders. Thanks to the recent discovery of gunpowder, and help from our special magic, we were immune to Discord's powers and fought back with primitive firearms and cannons, which were enough to tame the beast. This was the most we can do; we even got help from other nations, including help from the Crystal ponies, and this was still barely enough to tame Discord, let alone stop him. Almost 1,000 years pass of fending off the chaos, King Carolus claims the throne and defends his lands from a monstrous invasion from Discord. King Carolus was also born here in Hjalmar and was the last King of Hjorvard's bloodline for he had no siblings, nor offspring. He was also the last King where the Nordics will remain united."

The caravan reaches the main gate, greeted by a group of eight guards each wearing identical uniforms. Blue wool uniforms with many buttons up the middle of the torso to the collar and on the cuffs to their front hooves. The collars stuck out with thick white sheep wool. The torso is crossed with a yellow strap up the the left shoulder, holding in place satchels to their sides. The strap connected to a yellow belt that looped around their bellies. The uniform stops at the belt except for the backside that continues to the tails, because of this their cutie marks are still visible. On their backs were muskets attached with bayonets at the end of the long barrel. The firearms are strapped around their bodies, although still easily reachable when needed. To their left sides, strapped to the yellow belt was a sheathed sword, on their right side was a holstered flintlock pistol. On their heads were black 3-pointed tricorne hats with a blue and yellow cockade and white outlining of the fold.

"Ti nay Polence?" one asks.
(Is that the Prince?)

"Dia en tin" cried Dietrich. "Fian con dienme?"
(Indeed it is.) (How fairs my father?)

"Non Bien," said the soldier. "do man fuan con castille en sarrakan)
(Not good, you should head up to the castle and see him.)

"Kan man fuan traciliant tes, tian do"
(I will head up immediately, thank you.)

The caravan moves past the guards and into the outer section of the city. Ponies happily moved about, most of which stumbling about as the a tavern was almost the first building in. All the buildings are made of both wood and stone with straw rooftops. There is the presence of an industrial feel as several smokestacks towered above the city and the smell of both smoke and fish from the harbor was intoxicating. The road the caravan was currently on was the widest and busiest as it was the main road that went up to each gate to the castle. There were market stands left and right, even at night this market was busy.

"Look at this, everyone seems to be enjoying the non-snowy season. Common sight in Hjarmar at night with no snow on the ground. Anyways, King Carolus was the one who led the Nordics through an entire decade of constant warfare against the invading force of Discord. Most of the fighting took place either on our ships at sea, or in the snowy wastelands you call the Crystal Empire. This was also the time King Sombra was in power, who at first was on our side despite the Crystal and Nordic pony's long-time ethnic rivalry; but that is for another time also. It wasn't until after the defeat of Discord, and the Nordics return home is where Sombra became the tyrant you know today."

The caravan reaches the next gate into the next section of the city. This section was more residential and quieter, although the main road still consisted of many thickly furred ponies, none of which were stumbling drunk as before.

"When Discord was focused on taking over the Crystal Empire and the Nordic Isles with his decade-long invading force, his back was turned from Equestria where two Alicorns, native to Discord's lands, took action. These Alicorns are none other than your beloved Celestia and Luna. They rose up against Discord just before another epic battle between his forces and the combined forces of the Nordics and Crystal ponies was to begin. He was turned him to stone and the ponies that suffered from Discord's chaos had ended. Without our King Carolus, and I guess King Sombra, though he barely helped in the effort against Discord, your Princesses would probably not be in power. I bet that to was left out of your textbooks as well."

At the final gate before the final gate to the castle's stairs and wagon path the caravan enters the Old City. This had a mixture of everything from residential homes, taverns, factories, temples, markets, guard barracks; all mushed together in one section.

"Shortly after Discord's defeat, and the sudden change in Sombra's leadership to tyranny, which ultimately lead to his defeat from Celestia and Luna as well as the Crystal Empire's curse, King Carolus was killed by a shot in the dark at his own fort just outside of Equestian borders. No one knows where the bullet came from or who shot it, but it killed the King instantly. This then lead to civil unrest among the Nordics. The Caroleans, Nordics from the northern half of the Nordic Isles claimed it was the Druids of the southern half. The Druids blamed the Caroleans. These two factions were all called Caroleans during Carolus' regime, and the Druids have never given themselves a name until at this time of civil depute, but have always hated each other since Hjorvard's death through religious and political ideals; but for the first time their disagreements have turned to violence. The Nordics have gone into a civil war than lasted about six years."

The caravan reaches the final gate of the ancient walls. There were two ways to the castle; stairs or a leveled pathway made for carriages and other transports. They were stopped at the gate by a group of blue and yellow uniformed soldiers with muskets on their backs and black and white tipped 3-pointed tricorne hats.

"Halt" one cried.

"Ett salg nin, Dietrich, dian la krig" Dietrich says.
(It is me, Dietrich, let me pass)

"Dietrich, tian Gott. Do dienme con biaktrat le stud."
(Dietrich, thank God. Your father looks worse by the day.)

"Kian da tun. Premin carolean, hash fan rranaktat barrakius"
(So I hear. Be well soldier, times of sorrow are ahead.)

The caravan moves past the soldiers and heads up the wagon path that swerves along side the staircase to the castle gates into the courtyard.

"The Nordic Isles were devastated from the conflict, and refugees began to flee to peaceful Equestria where Celestia and pre-Nightmare Moon, Luna greeted them with open arms. Soon the civil war ended and the Nordic Isles where split into two, Druidia to the highland south, and Caroland to the tundra north. Those thousands who fled to the newly formed Equestria stayed and began to have room in Celestia's court which was still only about a decade old. It was at this time when many Nordics stayed, and lived in Equestria during a new dynasty of harmony and peace."

"Fast forward again to about 800 years, about 200 years from present day, centuries after that whole mess with Luna's transformation to Nightmare Moon, the Nordic ponies are just as common to see in Equestria as any of the other three races. After ruling a nation and maintaining balance for 800 years, Celestia grows more forceful in her rule. Imposing high taxes, forming discriminating laws against both Nordics and Pegasai alike, and banning valuable traditions of the two races; including the ban of the worship of Hjorvard, and Celestia's full control of Cloudsdale where the Pegasai have always obtained their own rule. This creates much civil unrest throughout the entire nation."

Ascending on the transport path to the castle gate, the view of the city is breathtaking, the sight of the 3 districts he was in only seconds ago. Dietrich admires the view of the outer towers, with the large silhouettes of the flags above the towers flapping away from the ocean. He can see the stone road outside the city he was just on.

"Finally, the Nordics and the Pegasai formed an alliance to fight against Princess Celestia, as well as many Earth and Unicorn ponies who to felt oppressed by the Sun Regent. Thus began a civil war that spanned over 30 years. During this time millions have suffered the wrath of war and Equestria, for the first, and only time under Celestia's regime had laid in scorched ruins. Many battles were fought, each with cannons, muskets, swords, and barbaric brute force, all of which non-existent in modern Equestria. Finally, the Nordics were defeated by Celestia and had to pay the price for the devastation of the country with the Edict of Harmony. The Edict insured that the entire Nordic race was to be exiled for 500 years to their fatherland. The Edict of Harmony also allowed the Pegasai to be set free to live among Equestrian life once more, and Cloudsdale to be ruled by the Pegasai once again. The Nordics were shipped back to these islands in droves, and these islands have been blockaded by the Equestrian Navy ever since to insure no one escapes. Let's just say Princess Celestia is not the most popular among my ponies. In fact, she is vilified for her decision and her treatment of my ponies. To many Nordics, she is considered a demon."

"The war had it's toll on Princess Celestia and her psyche. Ever since, she has been obsessed with harmony, peace, and kinship to make up for the devastation that she herself had caused. Although the physical evidence of the war is gone in Equestria, cities and towns were rebuilt and forests regrown; Celestia is still suffering from the memories. Many ponies died by her hoof, rebel or not. And here we stand; thanks to the Edict of Harmony, us Nordics are forced to never leave these islands. Never to visit or trade with other nations to grow our own economy and our expand our own technology. Nonetheless, you now know a brief overview of who the Nordic ponies are, now I can tell my story, hopefully without arising any questions."

The caravan crosses the castle gates being saluted by the posted guards. The caravan comes to a halt in the front of the main steps into the throne room.

"Tian do corrats," Dietrich says to the stallions pulling the wagon as they unhinge themselves. "Do forray kafein darraken, komina drig caroleans uminance en relics."
(Thank you friends, You are free to go, the guards know what to do with the relics.)

The stallions nod as they part way with Dietrich who is making his way up the steps to the castle.

"In case you have not realized yet, this is me." the voice narrates once again. "My name is Dietrich Montelius. I am the youngest son of the Jarl of Caroland. Since there has not been a King since the death of King Carolus and cease the Hjorvard bloodline, the Jarl, in your tongue means Governor, is to rule in their stead until Hjorvard returns to crown a new dynasty of Kings. So legend says at least. I want to start my story here because this is the last night I will have my normal life."

Dietrich enters the castle's throne room after a series of massive iron doors. It is too dark to get details, but it clear that the ceiling is several stores high with lit torches dotting the stone columns that was perpendicular to the throne itself at the end of the large room. On each column was the same flags the waved proudly on the outer towers in the dark, but it was hanging sideways and the flag was clear from the torch light. A blue banner with a yellow X crossing at the middle and ending at each corner of the banner.

Dietrich stopped to admire the stain glass window above the throne lit by the moon outside, one of 6 other windows in that room that tells major events in Nordic history. Above the throne's window held a clear image of Hjorvard in a heroic pose having one hoof firmly on the neck of a slain dragon and a sword securely in the head of the dragon being held by the other hoof.

After staring at the window for what seemed like minutes, pointing out the flaws in Hjorvard's appearance, he started to hear the sounds of metal clashing and masculine grunting towards a wooden door opened ajar on the right side of the room. Dietrich knows exactly what it is. He chuckles and shakes his head before walking to the door and enters the stone corridor.

He walks about about ten feet down the hall that was lit by torches. On the right side of the hall, opposite of a spiral staircase, this to made of stone, was an open door into a training room that was lit bright like the day. In the middle of the room were four uniformed soldiers holding muskets with sharp bayonets at the muzzles surrounding, and attacking a stallion also in the blue uniform without the tricorne, all standing on their back hooves, holding their weapons in their front. The uniform on the stallion in the middle was more prestigious and extravagant as it had metals, emblems, and fancy lace all over it. His fur was a lighter shade of brown than Dietrich's, and his mane was a dark brown, almost a black shade of color at a shorter length compared to Dietrich's with one braid along the back right of his neck. His bangs were brought back to a small ponytail behind his head. His cutie mark a rapier sword pointed diagonally up-right. His tail was short and unkempt with no braids like Dietrich's. The stallion was holding a rapier sword in a hoof with an aristocratic-like pose instead of a musket like the other four, ready for an attack from the four guards.

"Ket Torras! Torras!" cried the extravagant colt.
(Come On, attack! Attack!)

Dietrich half smiled and leaned at the doorway and waits to see what happens.

One soldier lunges at the extravagant colt with the bayonet. It is blocked and tossed aside from the sword, after much twists and turns around the colt from his behind blocked a sneak attack from the soldier behind the colt. The two soldiers who have yet to move lunge forward at once. The colt ducks and flips his back hooves all the way around to trip both attackers. The colt gets up and blocks another attack and shoves the soldier into a post. The last soldier just stands there on his hind legs holding the firearm at the ready, waiting for eye contact with the extravagant colt.

The colt slowly turns to meet the soldier's blue eyes with his dark brown with a sly smirk on his face. The colt flips the sword with a hoof and twists it around his back; rotating the blade back to the front he points it at the soldier. kneeing him in the gut and shoved aside like trash.

"Do Logian! Tiet de foal co kiet. Da imiagio yamas fot con umpiant. Et caroleans, do forre hymeckian keesain un geit trabarram komiam." the colt said without any evidence of exhaustion.
(You see! That wasn't so bad. I told you I won't hurt you. As soldiers, you must remain stable at all times and always think ahead of your opponent.)

The soldiers slowly put their muskets back onto their backs and returned to all four hooves on the ground, bowing their heads accepting the young stallion's advice, still dazed from losing a 4:1 fight.

"That is Milos 'Quick-Blade' Sjard." Dietrich narrates, "He is the son of my father's steward, and my best friend since our childhoods. Him and I have been through so much, the good, the bad, the awkward, you name it. He is one the last ponies in the world to master the Art of the Quick-Blade; a fighting style that was invented by one of Hjorvard's top officers, and taught the Art to his higher officers to both be flawless in battle and put fear into the less trained enemies. Today, less than a dozen actually have mastered it, and Milos being the youngest."

"Now," Deitrich narrates again, "I don't know about you, but I think it's fair since I am showing my story to an Equestrian like yourself, that this should be translated. I'm going to be quiet for a while, ans I know for a fact that you do not speak Nordic, everyone here on the Nordic Isles does; and personally, I hate reading subtitles. Give me a sec..."

"Trrakiat... English!"
(Translate!)

"There, now the rest of this story is translated into Equestrian English unless if the Nordic language is needed again. So, let's continue, shall we?"

Milos sees Dietrich at the doorway. "Dietrich!" he cried, "You crazy tail chaser, you! Did I not tell you those Druid girls were gorgeous! When did you get back?"

"Yes. Indeed they were, and I just walked in." Dietrich replied coming off the doorway and stepping into the training room.

"Good, good. Please tell me you got some." Milos stated with a tone of sarcasm.

"One might say that." Dietrich replied with a smile.

Milos laughed briefly and turned to the soldiers. "You men are free to go." he turns back to Dietrich, "Come, you can tell me all about it tomorrow when we hunt some game. For now, though, we have much to discuss; much has happened since you left for Druidia." he said sheathing his sword to a case on his left side.

Milos walked out of the training room and back into the darkened hallways, he motioned Dietrich to go up their spiral stairs directly across the hall. Dietrich follows and walks up the spiral stone stairs alongside his blue uniformed friend.

"Is it my father?" Dietrich asked.

"Yes, but there's more. Your brother has already gotten the vote from the Moot to be Jarl." Milos said solemnly.

"What? How? The Moot cannot decide the new Jarl until the death of the predecessor."

"I know, many of us are concerned just as much as you, but most Nordics side with Heinrich because his mutual hatred of Princess Celestia. That's how he won the Moot." Milos said as the two colts went up two flights and opened the door to another long and dark corridor, with only torches and the moonlight from small windows on the left side to serve as light. The two take a left from the staircase.

Dietrich frowned, "Equestria? Heinrich has talked about Equestria and and his hatred for Celestia before, and I tried reasoning with him that Celestia had her reasons to banish us. Her nation was torn between the races and most of the nation was burned. Millions of ponies bled and cried for justice; it was us who started the civil war and we lost. She almost had no choice." Dietrich says trying to dig memories out from past idle conversations.

"To no avail, right?" Milos asked.

"Right."

"I'm not keen on Celestia either, but I also agree; she did have her reasons."

"What has Heinrich been doing since I was gone?" Dietrich asked moving on from more history.

"Rallying his future subjects. Spreading his hatred of Equestria and his so-called 'plans' to restore the Nordics to it's former glory. Most of us seem to be excited for the new leadership, others are like me, a little uneasy."

"Plans? What plans?" Dietrich asked with almost worry in his voice.

"'To purify the fatherland' he says. Sounds more like an inquisition. But just honey words of the true evil, and the ponies see it to be something of good intentions." Milos says rather angrily.

"History has shown these same occasions many times, and yet ponies never seem to learn." Dietrich says, lowering his eyes to the floor solemnly.

"And this is why Hjorvard spoke true, conflict will always be inevitable as a result." Milos spoke also solemnly.

"And what of my father?" asked Dietrich changing the subject.

"Not good. He had lost all mobility and his ability to speak since you left. He is basically a vegetable ready to go at any moment."

"I wish to see him." Dietrich states boldly.

"Where did you think we are going, to the brothel...? Damn I wish."

Dietrich's face lightened up, "Down boy." he joked as the approached the end of the hall where a decorated wooden door is located. There were two guards in blue uniforms with yellow straps on each side holding muskets at the ready. Dietrich barely noticed them due to the darkness of the hall. Recognizing the two stallions approaching the soldiers saluted them and opened the split doors to a large bedroom. There was a room that was nicely lit by the fires, walls covered in tapestries and Caroland's blue and yellow banners. At the end of the room was large bed with red blankets surrounded by aristocratic ponies.

The two stallions walk in, noticed by the least fashionable of the group, he came over. Just a blue cape with white fox furs at the end.

"Dietrich, you returned." he says in barely above a whisper "That's good, I'm sure my son has told you of his state."

"He has, as well as Heinrich's election to be Jarl." Dietrich replied at the same soft tone with slight disgust towards the end. "Has Heinrich appointed you to remain Steward?"

"I don't know yet, I'll find out when he is crowned. Come! I'm sure your more interested in you father than my well-being." the Steward says motioning the two young stallions to the bed that lie a dying old Nordic pony.

Dietrich walks up to the bedside and sits on his flanks, taking in every detail of the dying pony. Only his head lying on silk red pillows was visible. His fur was russet brown like Dietrich's, his mane blended with aged white and bright blond, a beard in the same colors traced his jaw and around his mouth. His crest slowly rising and falling and his eyes closed.

"Hello, father." Dietrich said as if he would answer back. No answer came, just slow breathing. The dying Nordic then coughed loudly, breaking the peaceful silence. Dietrich feels a comforting hoof from Milos onto his shoulder as he tries to hold back his tears.

Suddenly the door to the bedroom bursts open and there stands a stallion the same height as Dietrich and Milos with hazel fur and a long, flowing, bright blond mane with no braids or in a ponytail; unlike the rest of the ponies in the room, male or female. His tail was trimmed short and left unkempt. Below his chin was a small pointed beard matching the same color as his mane and tail. He is wearing the blue wool solider uniform, many buttons aligned up from the chest and cuffs, the collar is made of thick white wool. Two yellow straps crossing from both of his shoulders to the yellow belt at his belly. On the uniform itself are many metals, including the Montelius royal family crest built into a large star shape piece of metal that took up most of the right breast. A blue cape, matching the color of the uniform, laid on his back with a yellow interior that is only visible to his sides, covering his cutie mark. On all four of his hooves were steel armor sabatons that shined in the light. On his front legs the sabatons met up with the buttoned yellow cuffs, covering his entire front section. On his head was a black tricorne hat that had gold a outlining along the edge of the folds instead of white like the common soldier, and white feathers at the top the surrounded the tips, and seemed to move to the slightest bit of wind. To his right side was a sheathed golden trimmed rapier sword, and next to that at flintlock pistol with golden trimmings in a leather holster.

His light sky blue eyes pierced across the room to Dietrich. "Dear brother, you're home!" he cried. "What in the name of Hjorvard are you wearing?" he asked changing his tone noticing the gray hooded cloak dotted with various animal furs.

"Heinrich." Dietrich plainly says.

"Honestly, no wonder why the world thinks of us a barbarians; wearing mutilated skins of animals is for peasants. I don't know why you try hiding your blood when you leave. The peasants should fear and admire you just by your presence!" says Heinrich in his aristocratic-like voice, moving closer towards the group.

"Our family has been elected by the Moot since the Two Years' Civil War, we have no blood to call us royalty. Something you forgot when you held the Moot before you were supposed to." Dietrich almost yells.

"You and your traditions, brother. If we are to thrive we must move forward and progress." Heinrich chuckles now face to face with Dietrich.

"History has shown when traditions that have worked been suddenly dropped, so to does society." Dietrich replies with his dark blue eyes locked in anger with the Heinrich's light blue. Heinrich is smiling as if he expect what Dietrich was to say.

He laughs putting an arm around Dietrich's shoulder, "Dear brother, come with me, we have much to discuss." he says dragging him away from the bed. Dietrich throws his arm him violently.

"I'm not a colt anymore, Heinrich; and you are not yet Jarl."

"You're right, I am not to be Jarl. I am to be King." Heinrich says.

Dietrich's eyes widened and lost his source of thought.

Milos steps in, "Only rulers with the blood of Hjorvard can deserve that title! In case you forgot our own history, the bloodline died along with King Carolus!"

Heinrich steps towards the bed again at Milos, "I know that, very well in fact; but for how long can we claim no Kings?"

"Until the return of Hjorvard!" answers Milos.

"Oh, please! How long will that be, exactly; a decade, a century, a millennium!?" Heinrich powerfully yells. "How do we know if Hjorvard will return at all!? How do we know if the bloodline is really dead!?" he turns to Dietrich, "Dietrich here, 'the most renowned historian in the land'; said it himself in one of his books: Hjorvard spent many nights with mares from the lands he conquered, sometimes several at once. With lack of... ahem... 'protection', and through the countless number generations since, all of us in this room could be related to Hjorvard, for all the knowledge that we posses."

The room was silent.

Dietrich breaks the silence, "Your disregard for our ways will be your downfall, brother."

"The ponies of this land side with me, regardless." Heinrich begins, "I have spent months rebuilding our once powerful military, redesigning the muskets and cannons, as well as whole new weapons to use upon our enemies. Up in the River Straalsund, away from those blasted Equestrians, I am building an entire fleet of ships to fight off the blockade. We will be free from Celestia's clutches, the Edict of Harmony burned, and I plan nothing but to bring our ponies back into the shine of glory we once were; and THIS how you treat your King!?"

"Sounds more like your planning an invasion. Where is this funding coming from? The 'peasants'? To fund a war we cannot afford? Outside Hjalmar's walls our people suffer starvation and poverty!" Dietrich raising his voice.

"To be ruler, you must look past the petty needs of the subjects." Heinrich fires back in his normal aristocratic voice, "The subjects are like rats, give them aid and they will only come back for more. To be ruler you cannot be ponytarian, you must look up above their heads to the future, and what I see is glorious. I see our legacy living once more and our enemies kneeling for mercy, and that is the vision of a true King."

"You are wrong, Heinrich. History has shown your faults countless times before, all end in the same outcome regardless of the time. Continue down your path of tyranny and only misery awaits you. End it now before the power is given to you!" Dietrich says, giving his final word to the argument.

After a short silence Heinrich speaks, "Leave me. I wish to see my father in private."

The aristocratic ponies looked at each other in confusion. Dietrich and Milos continued to stare at the older sibling.

"NOW!" Heinrich yells.

With that the aristocratic ponies left in confusion to their sudden retreat, followed by the Steward. Milos walked by Heinrich giving him a disgusted eye and up to Dietrich was was waiting for him by the doorway and left together and shut the door behind them, leaving Heinrich alone with his father.

After a couple seconds of Heinrich staring at the bed in silence thinking of the past argument, a smile grew on his face. He walked over to the bed and took off his fancied tricorne, placing it on the bottom corner of the bed, revealing his chipped right ear. He reached into his satchel attached to the yellow belt and pulled out a small black vial with a tiny cork on the top. The label on the bottle had a pony skull and crossbones printed on it.

"Hello father, just a little something to make you feel better. Traditional Nordic medicine, so it probably doesn't taste too good." he says in a friendly tone.

He pops off the tiny cork and places the opening to the small bottle to his father's mouth. Black liquid slips into his mouth and he swallows thinking it is medicine.

"This will help take the pain away. Sleep well my Lord.", and with that Heinrich places his feathered hat back on his head and starts for the door with a sinister smile and eyes imprinted on his face. He came to the door and opened it, greeted by the two guards.

"Is... is it done, my King?" one asks.

Heinrich gave no answer, just maintaining his sinister smile and started down the hall with his head held high leaving the guards to close the door he left open. He chuckles to himself quietly walking down the hallway.

--

On the other side of the castle only a few minutes after Heinrich intrusion, Dietrich makes their way to one of the two towers on the ocean's side of the fortress. The castle has five towers, two on each side that houses bedrooms, lookouts, guard barracks and libraries, and one large one on the back which is apart of the throne room which is also converted into a ballroom and a feast hall for the occasions. Dietrich and Milos slowly walk down another dim lit corridor still talking about what has happened only a few minutes ago and plans for the future.

"I still have a horrid feeling about Heinrich." Dietrich repeated. "His entire life he has cared for only himself. I have never seen him give a piece of silver to a beggar in Hjalmar's streets, and the only time he has ever left this city was for military expeditions and purposes, never to a Nordic village and see how the 'peasants' live." Dietrich preached and quoting his brother.

"Are you saying you will be a better ruler of the Caroleans?" asked Milos.

"My wish is to not gain power, Milos. I just wish for what is best for our ponies. I can care less for the throne. The citizens of this land look to me as their friend, an ally; not as their Prince. Which is how I prefer, history has shown that leaders can be respected more positively through informality." answered Dietrich almost fiercely.

"And that's why Nordics, Carolean or Druid regardless, admires you. But for now, get some rest." Milos says as the two male ponies stop at a wooden door. "I need you rested if we are to have some good venison tomorrow."

"You're right, my friend. I will see you in the morning." and with that the two bump their hooves together and Milos turns away.

As Dietrich opens the door, Milos turns around to speak once more, "Dietrich! After the hunt we must head to the brothel."

Dietrich shrugs, "We'll see. Although, it's not like a potential tyrant is claiming the throne to the country soon and make everyone's lives miserable. The last time we went, I had that courtesan stalk me for a month."

Milos laughed, "You know what the ladies want, my friend! And plus, you owe me after that whole quarrel with Mia."

"Don't say that... she-devil's name! She nearly broke our friendship for her own amusement!" Dietrich cried.

"Exactly! You owe me, and I need some flank! And just cause I saw you blush by the...ahem... M-word, you probably need some more than I do. You still need to get over her..."

"Fine..." Dietrich sighed in defeat. "Those courtesans do know what they are doing, anyways. As long as I get the prettier one this time!" Dietrich demanded raising a hoof.

Milos turned away again pleased he got his friend to submit to his request, "Yeah, yeah..."

Dietrich chuckled quietly to himself going into the room he tried entering before and shut the door.

He enters a circular room that is two stores high with a dome-like wooden ceiling. To the left was a large desk with quills, parchments, and stacks of tomes scattered the desk. To the left, a bed with red blankets. The walls were surrounded by bookcases and several portraits of landscapes and naval ships fighting at navel warfare. On the far end was a large opening in the stone wall that leads to a balcony looming over the outer walls of the fortress that lie right on the edge of the steep cliff to the ancient decaying walls below, and then into the Old City. The balcony itself looks over the city of Hjalmar and its harbors, then to the calm ocean where the moonlight and the northern lights reflect off.

Dietrich moves to his left and takes off his gray pelt covered cloak and hangs it on a rack, along with other outfits, including a blue and yellow strapped military uniform seen multiple times this night. His russet brown fur is the only thing covering his surprisingly muscular body.

In the center of the room was a target-like circle customarily made to fit into the stone floor marking the center of the circular room. Dietrich trots over to the stone marking and stands on it bracing himself for something. He closed his eyes, and muscles tense.

The voice of Dietrich narrates once again, "Now, remember when I said all Nordics have a limited ability for magic, and all Nordics have their own magic that only we can cast that is unique to only us? I also said I would tell what my magic ability was, but instead, I think it's best if I show you."

Dietrich softens up and opens his eyes. "June 16, 849 A.C, 9:34 AM, on the shores of Ingolstadt, 13.5 kilometers north of Duufladt." he says as if he as talking to someone.

Suddenly the room magically transforms. The bookcases, door and balcony are no longer there, instead they turn into gray skies and grassy green and rocky hills. Dietrich finds himself outside once more in landscape that looks like Drudia once more. The skies were cloudy and rain was falling, although the water droplets did not land on Dietrich and went straight through him as if he was a ghost. When the room was fully transformed to the outside rainy world Dietrich took in the details. He was standing on a grassy hill looking to the the gorgeous view knowing exactly where he was. He smiled in pride.

Voices were shouting behind him and the smell of smoke was vibrant. He turned around and in front of him at the bottom of the hill were entire formations of military regiments. On the left, wearing green uniforms with white straps over their soldiers connected to white belts, with tricorne hats on their heads and muskets at the ready. Flying high above the formatted soldiers flew a green flag that had a white cross going to the middle of each of the flag's edges flapping in the wind.

To the right was the same thing except with the blue and yellow stripped soldiers with muskets at the ready with their blue flag with a yellow X going to each corner.

"Excellent, I'm at the right place, the Battle of Duufladt." Dietrich mumbles to himself looking over the two opposing regiments.

With a fiery voice from the green uniformed side the front line kneed down and pointed their muskets to the blue and yellow regiment. The blues did the same. "Torras!" cried the leader of the green side and the firearms boomed in unison filling the front line of white smoke. On the blue side, soldiers in the front dropped dead at different locations, and those still aiming down their muskets fired. The two sides switched lines with the second line to repeat the process.

"Torras!" the two sides cried and load booms from both sides fired all at once making a mess of white smoke escape from the muzzles of the guns, making a line of white smoke in front of the regiments. Stallions on both sides continued to drop, some screamed in sheer agony on the red stained ground. The thunder of guns can be heard through the echoes.

Suddenly the stallion yelling commands on the green side pulled out his sword at pointed it at the blue side "Chrrogal!". In unison the green uniformed stallions charged towards the blue side with their bayonets. The front line of the blue side places the butts of the muskets to the ground and the bayonet facing out, bracing themselves.

"Pause!" cried Dietrich observing the battle below. "Save as recording six-fifty-seven."

The room the transforms back into the bedroom Dietrich was originally in. He trots over to his desk and pulls out a quill that was on his desk and writes on one of the parchments that had writing of dates and words on it:

August 9, 1032 A.C - The Battle of Duufladt, June 16, 849 A.C: After a long debate through almost 200 years, it was the Druids who fired the first shot of the Two Year's Civil War, not the Caroleans. Be sure to write this down in the next book to insure this mystery is solved - Recording 657.

"I knew I was right, now I have proof to Jarl McBride that it was them who fired those first shots. I defiantly have to show him this the next time I am in Bibracte. Hopefully he'll give me a drink for this discovery of his ponies starting the war... or not..." said Dietrich to himself after writing the notes down.

The voice of Dietrich narrates again, "Told you it was better if I shown you instead, or else you'd think I'm insane. I have the ability to look into the past. To witness history with my own eyes. Although witness is all I can do. These visions are more like recordings and I am not really there, as if I'm like a ghost unnoticed. Therefore I cannot alter history in anyway, only watch and observe. I can scream into somepony's ear as loud as I can, and they will still hear nothing. I can even walk through them or dance in front of them, and still no one knows I am there."

Dietrich yawned, "I need some fresh air" he walks over to the balcony outside the large hole that takes up almost a whole side of the circular room.

"Although, I currently can only look into the past at a minimum of 100 years, this is how near the present I can see. However, I think it is also to insure other ponies's privacy. A fair deal of you ask me. When I first discovered my gift I looked back about 20,000 years ago when ponies where still, for the most part, of the same ancestor and there was no intelligence level high enough to create civilization yet. As I practiced through the years my time frame to look back grew closer and closer to the modern day. I studied rigorously the life Hjorvard and his future dynasty, as well as the birth of Equestria, the rise and fall of King Carolus, and Discord. And my personal favorite, the Thirty Years' Civil War, also known as the Great Equestrian Civil War. I have written many books on these topics and are widely popular through both nations of the Nordic Isles."

Dietrich stops at a thermometer just outside of the door, hung on the walls looking out to the view. It read '59 Degrees Fahrenheit'. Rather warm for a Caroland night, even in the non-snowy season.

Dietrich narrates, "The beautiful thing about history is that it never seems to end, and to find the answers that we long to answer takes thousands of years of trial and error."

Dietrich heads for the stone railing at the end of the balcony, staring off to the beautiful ocean. Chilly winds pick up that cause Dietrich goldenrod mane to flow. His small braid against his face with the two red and green beads flow along with his young hair moves with the wind as well. He puts his front hooves on the railing and takes a deep breath enjoying the wind against his russet face. His eyes were closed and a smile bloomed, and his braid bouncing off his cheek with the wind. Dietrich was at peace.

"Tonight is the last night my life will stay the same." Dietrich narrates one last time. "For tomorrow, history will repeat once again, and once again pony-kind will have to trial and error to find our answers we all long to answer. For tomorrow, my life will be forever changed. For tomorrow... the world will be forever changed..."

“This is my story...”

----

Author's Note: Hello everyone! This is my first piece of fanfiction in a long, long time. Not since my pre-teen days on Balto Source. This is also my first ever appearance into the MLP: FiM world. Before I just enjoyed the show and read fanfics in the shadows. It took me a while to join the Brony Army, but I finally enlisted! Please give constructive criticism, I'd gladly appreciate it and use it for the next coming chapters.

I actually had the idea for this story months ago, but I had to postpone everything when I found out the Crystal Empire in the show's third season was located right where I planned to have the Nordic Ponies exiled in the arctic north. So I just decided to postpone until after the premiere to start writing so I can get the Nordic history to blend perfectly with the current plot and move them to an island instead.

For those thinking Skyrim played a role in this: yes and no. Jarls in the story, that are used in Skyrim, are actually real positions in medieval Sweden, so it seemed fitting regardless.

In case you didn't catch it, the story has a setting mixed with a 17th and 18th century feel to the story with my descriptions of clothing and primitive firearms. I had this idea because in MLP the show there are still carriages and lack of modern technology like phones, automobiles, and TVs and a post-Middle Ages feel to the atmosphere (Although there was some modern-tech like alarms, salons, and others, but I'll explain how that is to be later). And with the treatment of Princess Celestia and other royalty made me feel like the show is set during the Age of Absolutism (1500-1750 approximately). So I combined my knowledge of this time period and made the Great Equestrian Civil War that kicked the Nordics out an allegorical version the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) which you will get details in later chapters, and the current time period around 1730-1770-ish.

Thank you BurntMyWater for proofreading this!

--

Below I have some definitions in the story that have historical significance, hopefully to erase any confusion I may have caused and to disclaim these ideas to erase ideas of plagiarism from others, there won't be nearly this amount in later chapters.

Caroland - A fictional nation based off of Norse and other Scandinavian culture named after the Caroleans (see below) in the story, and is an allegorical version of the Swedish Empire.

Caroleans - In real life, they were Swedish military force under King Charles XII. Their tactics were strictly offensive and were the backbone to the Swedish Empire. In this story they are name of the inhabitants of the northern nation of Caroland where Dietrich originates.

Druidia - A fictional nation based off of Druid, Celtic, and Pict culture that is named after the Druids (see below) in the story. It is allegorical version of Ireland and Scotland's scenery with an 18th century society.

Druids - In real life, the earliest-most form of the Celtics in Europe in present day Britain, Ireland, and France. Only through what Greek, Roman, and other writers and artists have depicted of them is all we really know, and through archaeological evidence as well. In this story they are the inhabitants of the southern nation of Druidia.

King Carolus - "Carolus Rex" was the nickname to King Charles XII of Sweden and is his own name translated into Latin due to his imperialistic transformation of Sweden. His reign lasted from 1682-1718. In the story, both Nordic and Swedish Kings have had similar lives: both had military excellence, both praised and admired by their people, both the last true Kings, both died from a shot in the dark from an unknown killer, and both have had their nation's suffer from their deaths.

Hjorvard - According to Norse mythology, Hjorvard is one of the twelve sons of a feared berserker named Arngrim who kills Hjalmar in a dual. In this story he is depicted as the Nordic's Messiah-like figure. He is has the appearance and culture origins of the Ancient Norse Viking's Thor (not the Avenger's), the wisdom of Ancient China's Sun Tzu, and the legacy and following like Jesus Christ, Mohammad, and/or Buddha.

Hjalmar - In this story, it is the capital city of Caroland and named after Hjorvard. In Norse mythology Hjalmar was a man who fell in love with a woman named Ingeborg. The love story ends in a tragedy where Hjalmar is killed by Arngrim in a dual leaving Ingeborg heartbroken.

Bibracte - One of the Celtic's largest settlements located in Gaul (modern day France) before it was finally left to be abandoned after Julius Caesar's conquest of the land. In the story it is the capital of Druidia.

Ingolstadt – A city in southern Germany, and the main setting to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (fun fact). In this story it is a county in Druidia mentioned during Dietrich's blast to the past at the Battle of Duufladt, which this is literally a name I made up on the spot.

*** The Nordic language is NOT a real language, those words are literally words I made up that sound like, or is relevantly sounding to a Scandinavian or a Gaelic language. However, some words are actually taken from those, or other languages but are most likely not used in the same sense.

--

Music is a great inspiration; this link is a homemade soundtrack that helped me with many scenes through this whole story, including the opening scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjzLmA3ryGk

Hope you enjoyed this so far! Stay tuned for Dietrich's journey and to witness history change in the world of Friendship is Magic...

I: The Crown of a False King Pt. I

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Please be sure to read the Author's Note upon finishing.

The Crown of a False King Part I: The End of an Era

14 Years Earlier...

March 11, 1018 After Celestia

It was a bright sunny day in the ancient city of Hjalmar. The snow piled high on the rooftops, walls and towers. Smoke poured out of the chimneys of every home and the blue and yellow flags flew high on the outermost towers. The walkways were cleared for the ponies to freely walk about as they talked, bartered, traded, and drank alcohol. The ponies of the city appeared to be happy and enjoying themselves in the regular life of Caroland's capital. Up at the ancient castle the mood was equally as enjoyable. Through the stone corridors laughter from small colts can be heard brightening the mood to anypony's day who heard the playful sounds.

A group of three small foals turn the corner running playfully into another set of hallways brightly lit from the sun's light through the small windows on the colt's left side. Each had different shades of thick fur and blond manes, and all three of them blank-flanks. One was russet brown with a goldenrod mane and had a small piece of his mane braided on the left side of his cheek and his eyes a dark shade of blue. Another was rusty red with a darkened dirty blond mane what was both cut short and unkempt, his eyes were dark blue, like the other colt. The last, and the smallest of the three had yellow fur with a grayish-white mane that was bed wrangled and messy.

"Wait, guys!" cried russet brown colt stopping at a wooden door, "We didn't try in here yet." The other two foals stopped and turned to see what the foal with the braid against his face pointed out.

"Good idea, Dietrich. He has to be in there!" cried the rusty red one.

They slowly opened the door and stepped lightly into one the of the several libraries in the castle. The room was a circular room two stores high with bookshelves on every wall with a latter on both floors that was attached to wheels so that it can move all the way around effortlessly. In the middle of the room were two red lounge chairs being separated by a bear rug, which this was next to a wooden staircase leading to the balcony to where the second set of bookcases was located. On the second floor was just one red lounge chair at the far end of the balcony and the latter to the bookcases.

The group remained in close together as tip-toed into the room.

"This is the last place we'll find Milos." says the rusty red colt enthusiastically splitting away from the group and heads for the closest lounge chair. "Anywhere near books! He thinks he can out-smart us by hiding in the place he hates the most; we're sure to find him!"

The remaining two colts went off in separate directions. "You bet." the very young and Cutie Mark-less Dietrich cries looking behind the bookshelves. "He hates books, we're sure to find him."

"I don't know." the yellow colt says, in disagreement looking inside the mouth of the bear attached to the rug that is wide open as if someone could fit in there. "There isn't very many places to hide in here."

"You're so negative, Noak. Look on the bright side for once." cried the rusty red colt climbing the stairs to the upper level of the library.

"Yeah, Noak!" Dietrich comes up to the foal and playfully punches his shoulder with his hoof "Lighten up scardey-filly!"

"Aha! I found him!" cried the rusty red up in the balcony, "I found Milos! He was behind the chair!"

"Good find, Ivor!" Dietrich yelled from below.

"Yeah, yeah. You found me. I thought for sure I'd win this time." said Milos coming out of his hiding spot.

"How do you win hide-and-seek, anyways?" asked Noak from below.

"Who cares!" cried Ivor as he and Milos climb down the stairs.

"Until everypony gives up, I guess." Dietrich says.

"We should play manhunt, you guys." Milos said as they reached the floor.

"Now?" asks Noak.

"No, next Thursday... YES now!" barked Milos reaching the group, forming a circle of the four colts.

"It needs to be nighttime, stupid." Dietrich says.

"You're stupid!" Milos replies pointing a hoof at him across the circle.

"And outside." Ivor adds.

"You're stupider!" Milos replies pointing a hoof at Ivor next to him. "It could be daytime manhunt! Twice as cool!" he adds.

The three others looked at each other briefly, then Noak speaks up, "That sounds... like the dumbest idea I've ever heard."

"Ooohh!" Ivor chuckles, "And the little one fights back!" he cries like he is an announcer for a game.

Ivor and Dietrich both laugh while Milos stares down, the now frightened, Noak. After several moments of silence Milos finally says his comeback. "You're dumb..."

The three laugh while Milos begins to blush in embarrassment, Noak has never stood up to anypony before, and Milos being the first really drops his ego to a much lower state than it normally is. Dietrich wraps his front leg around Noak, "Our little Noak is growing up, Ivor! He'll soon get his Cutie Mark and be taking down an Ursa Major like Hjorvard.". Dietrich and Ivor laugh more.

"More like an Ursa Milos!" Ivor says through his laughter. Then Dietrich falls to the floor through hysterical laughter, Ivor soon follows, leaving only a proud-looking Noak, and an embarrassed and angry Milos standing.

"You guys suck..." Milos says looking away, trying to hide is rosy red face.

Suddenly a loud high-pitched boom echoes the hallways and into the library door still wide open, startling Noak into hiding behind the closest lounge chair. The noise causes Dietrich and Ivor to stop laughing and Milos to stop blushing. Several soldiers in the blue uniforms, yellow straps and black tricornes to sprint past the door, the group of small foals only see them for a split second but can still hear their hoof steps growing more and more distant. Several more of those loud noises fill the halls, followed by the scream of a female.

Ivor returns to all fours, paying more attention to Noak's reaction than the noises in the hall. "So much for taking down the great Ursa Milos."

"Man, shut up!" Milos shouts.

Then an even louder boom hits the foal's eardrums, causing Noak to cower more. This one sounded much lower-pitched and much more distant; as if it was behind a wall. Whatever it was, it violently shook the floors beneath them. The foal's eyes widened in fear and realization.

"That was a cannon." Dietrich cried.

"Are we... Are we under attack." Noak quietly asks still cowering behind the lounge chair.

"It must have hit the castle!" Milos added.

Then more soldiers run past the door; then another blast from the cannon, this time the vibrations broke some windows in the hallway. Just as the sounds glass breaking ceased, a teenage young stallion with hazel fur, bright blue eyes and a short trimmed bright blond mane and tail stands at the doorway panting from exhaustion. He was wearing a blue soldier uniform with no metals or straps. Just the yellow belt around his belly and buttons up to his white wool collar. His expression on his face was filled with horror and blood stained his yellow cuffs and front hooves.

"Dietrich!" he cried short of breath. "Thank... Hjorvard's Heavens I found you!".

"Heinrich, what is happening!?" Dietrich asks.

"It's a Coup d'etat... The soldiers are rebelling against Dad... the citizens are starting to joining them... Mom... They... They killed Mom!" he cried in between his frantic breaths.

The whole group was speechless, "What?" was the only thing Dietrich could say.

"Those bastard rebels...! Mom is dead! They shot her... but I killed them... I killed them back..." Heinrich's voice was raspy and he sounded like he was forcing back tears.

Dietrich notices the blood stained on his brother's cuffs. "Is that... Mom's...?"

Heinrich swallowed knowing at what his little brother sees, trying extremely hard to hold back his tears. "We need to go." Heinrich speaks shakily. "Dad told me to get you... and your friends out of the castle before the rebels take us to. I'll explain everything later..."

Another shot from the cannon goes off and hits the castle, this time blowing a hole in the hallway ten feet from where Heinrich was standing, knocking the teenage pony off his balance. He regains his balance immediately and stares angrily at the four colts. "NOW!" he screams.

The four colts made their way out the door to the library following Heinrich. Heinrich stops at the large hole where the cannon outside shot only moments ago. He quickly looks out above the castle wall to the ocean directly in front of him, then down to a courtyard that is covered in snow seeing the cannon aiming at the castle that is operated by three soldiers. They wore the standard blue uniforms, but had scraps of red fabric tied to their legs. Luckily they where in the process of reloading the piece of artillery and did not notice Heinrich and his followers in the hole they just made. He notices that some of the castle walls are not too far below him, and some scaffolding from recent restorations to the castle are still there, making a jump down to the walls easy, even for the young foals.

"Jump down to the walls!" Heinrich cries to the foals.

"What, are you nuts?" Milos yells.

"Just do it!" Heinrich yelled back. With that, he jumps down and hides behind one of the blocks of stone sticking up from the sides.

Noak was the first to jump after being shoved by Ivor - Ivor directly after him. The two foals landed on a snow pile and crawled up right next to Heinrich.

Dietrich wanted to go last, making sure his friends were safe. Milos was hesitant; he never liked heights, even in this jump-able distance of a few feet to safety. Dietrich looked back to the cannon in the courtyard three stores below, it was aiming back at place where they shot before.

Dietrich's eyes narrowed and reacted. He tackled Milos out of the way. The cannon went off and hit the hallway just a couple feet opposite from where the two were standing before. The loud explosion behind them caused their ears to ring. Dietrich slowly gets to his hooves and went over to Milos in front of him and offered him a hoof back up.

"You... saved my life..." Milos says in shock.

"You can thank me later, we need to go." Dietrich replies.

Dietrich presses himself against the wall and hides behind the last bit of the wall from the hole to see what the cannon is doing without being seen again. He pokes his head out just a little to see the rebels are still reloading. He motions Milos to jump, he did so this time barely looking, landing in the snow pile. Dietrich follows after and also falls into the snow pile, reuniting with his friends and brother in hiding behind the wall's cover.

Voices can be heard from the right; from the main courtyard. "You! Bring the cannon around here. We want to give the Jarl a warm welcome when he tries to rescue General Angus!". Heinrich can hear the cannon being pulled by it's wheel away from his position, relieving him.

Heinrich silently motions the group to wait for the cannon to be hauled around the corner of the building before moving.

"There is an escape route on this side of the wall." Heinrich starts getting up and trotting on top of the wall in the opposite direction of the main courtyard with the four foals closely following him. "As soon a we get there, we'll make our way out of the city, there should be a caravan to take us to Niflhel. Father plans to have soldiers come up the castle steps to suppress the...." he trialed off as he turned behind him, feeling someone leave his presence. He looked behind him and saw Dietrich climb onto the sides of walls ready to jump.

"Dietrich!" Heinrich cried.

"They have Uncle Angus! We have to do something!" Dietrich cried frantically.

"Its too late for him!" Heinrich yelled, "You'll be in Angus' same position if you go down there!"

"We can't just let them take Uncle Angus!" Dietrich argued.

"It's a sacrifice we must make! This is an uprising! Mother is already dead and so will we if we do not get out of here!

"How can you live with yourself if we cannot try!"

"This no time to play hero, brother! Our lives are at risk!"

Dietrich had enough. He gave his brother a disgusted look and leaped off of the wall and into a snow bank below. He began to ran through the snow towards the main courtyard.

"Dietrich!" shouted Heinrich, placing his front hooves on the edge in shock. He sighed and got off of the wall knowing it was hopeless. All he can do now is get him and the remaining three foals to safety.

Heinrich starts down the castle walls again, and again a presence next to him vanishes. Heinrich looks back once more and sees Milos ready to jump, although much more timid about it that Dietrich was.
.
"Ok... I can do this... for Dietrich..." he mumbles.

"Milos! If you jump, I swear to Hjorvard I will..." Heinrich demanded but Milos jumped before he could finish. Milos lands on the snowbank and runs after his friend. Heinrich sighs again, trying his very best to relieve his anger.

"You two." Heinrich turns to Ivor and Noak. "You're staying with me." he said turning to find that secret escape route on those walls.

--

Dietrich ran as fast as he could, in reality it was not very fast considering his small size and the thickness of the snow. The commotion of angry ponies can be heard louder and louder each step he took towards the corner of the castle's structure where the cannon was hauled to just moments ago. Just before reaching the corner a series of gunshots are heard fired in unison.

Dietrich turns the corner and sees a large mob of ponies. Most of them wearing the blue soldier uniforms with red fabric tied to their front legs, as well as many dirty poor-looking citizens. On the castle steps to the throne room is a line of Loyalist soldiers in line with a line of white smoke in front of them. They are in the process of reloading their muskets; biting off the paper to gunpowder, pouring the substance down the muzzles and shoving their ramrods down them. On the ground below them lay several ponies on the ground dead, one screaming in agony.

The crowd continued to throw whatever they could at the soldiers on the stairs: stones, snow, ice, rotten food. All the soldiers could do is continue reloading, blocking the projectiles the best they could.

On the other side of the mob is a platform used as gallows for public executions, on it had a set of five nooses, each perpendicular to each other. The far left noose was already used as a mare dangled from the rope around her neck. This caused Dietrich to freeze in shock.

A familiar voice pulled Dietrich out of the brief shock, "Traitors! The punishment for murder is death. The crime for treason is the gallows! You will all pay for your crimes today!". The voice came from the stone balcony above the iron door to the throne room.

"We have you're brother, Jarl! The General to this collapsing army!" cried one of the rebels holding up a half conscious stallion in a blue uniform covered with metals with crossed yellow straps over both of his shoulders and and a blue cape over his back. His face is bleeding and currently unaware of the situation.

"Someone!" cried the Jarl from the balcony. "Destroy that cannon!" pointing to the cannon that was hauled over from before.

With those orders several Loyalist soldiers above on the outer walls of the castle, who Dietrich didn't notice before until now, aimed their muskets downward to the three operators of the cannon and fired. The shots hurt Dietrich's ears, but the next thing he knew the cannon operators were dead.

"Dietrich!" cried a young colt's voice from behind him. "Are you insane? If those bad guys see you, they'll take you captive to!"

"I have to save Uncle Angus, Milos!" Dietrich cried holding back his tears. "He is my teacher and mentor, I can't leave him!" With that he bolted for the angry mob.

"Dietrich!" Milos cried trying desperately to grab him, but to no avail. Dietrich is lost in the crowd. Milos wanted to follow him, but being the Jarl's Steward's son, he was also considered royalty, and Milos wanted to save his friend while staying alive as well. Milos ran over to a nearby haystack and hid behind it brainstorming ideas.

Dietrich ran up to the rebel, supposedly the leader, holding up the General. He turns around to buck him in the leg. "You leave my Uncle Angus alone!" he cries.

Feeling something hit the rebel leader he looked down and recognized the source of the weak buck. He smiled wickedly and threw the half conscious General to the ground and picks up the foal with a hoof by the neck and raises him above the mob.

"Look at what we got 'ere, everypony! We 'ave a hero among us! The Prince no less!" he shouts.

Dietrich struggles for air as he is strangled by the rebel leader. All the Loyalist soldiers on the stairs, walls and balcony, most importantly, the Jarl gasped and hesitated on what to do. Milos behind he haystack began to become frantic.

"I say we let the Jarl know where we stand!" cried a mare, face blackened from ashes and teeth decayed. "String 'em up! Both of 'em!"

"Aye!" cried a rebel soldier in the crowd, "Good lesson t' teach the Jarl, that!"

Milos struggles on finding an idea to save his best friend. "Hiding behind a pile of hay will do nothing!" he mentally yelled with still no plans to mind.

Finally finding words, the Jarl spoke out. "No! Do what you want! Burn the castle, claim the throne; just leave my son out of this!"

"Is that an offer t' exchange?" cried the rebel leader. "Save your son with yer own life!?"

The Jarl remained hesitant. "Where are those damn reinforcements!?" he cried desperately, trying to hide his cowardliness.

"That's what I thought!" cried the rebel leader, "To the gallows, everypony!"

The next thing Dietrich knew he was thrown onto a wooden platform. Coughing to regain control of his breath after being strangled for so long. With barely anytime to recover he was picked up and thrown onto a stool that was placed under one of the nooses on top of a trap door.

--

"Oh no. NO! Think Milos! THINK!" Milos yelled out loud pressing his hooves against his head. Suddenly he had an idea: the rebels at the cannons; they had swords!

He looked over to the three dead rebels by the cannon. He sees the swords on the side of their corpses. "That's it!" he cries bolting over to the corpses. The sword was twice his size, impossible to carry by hoof on his own. He grabbed the sword's handle by his mouth and pulled it out of it's case. He struggled by it's weight but he found a position to keep it steady.

He ran a couple of steps and stopped, rotating the sword so the blade faces the other way and to adjust his position as he gradually makes his way to the angry mob.

--

Dietrich didn't know what was happening, everything moved so fast. He was being strangled one second, then onto this stool the next. A rope was placed and tightened around his neck by the rebel leader. The noose was ready to break Dietrich's neck at any moment. But that didn't settle in his brain yet, he was focused on his surroundings:

In front of him crowds of angry ponies yelling hurtful things to the Prince. "You'll never be MY ruler, Blank-Flank!" one cried. "Hope you rot in Hell you spoiled brat!" cried another.

To his right was the young mare that was already hung, her blue eyes still wet from tears. Dietrich recognized her; she was his foalsitter. The poor girl must have been at the wrong place at the wrong time, she was normally never interested in politics.

To his left was his Uncle Angus being dragged to the noose next to him. After a bit of struggle, and a few punches to the face, the rope went around Angus' neck.

As the rebel leader rallied the crowd, enraging the Jarl further as he still cowardly watched from the balcony, Angus turns to Dietrich.

"Nephew." he says in a raspy voice "You were so brave. I'm so proud of you..."

"I'm sorry I couldn't save you, Uncle Angus. I tried..." Dietrich whimpers.

"That doesn't matter. I will go peacefully, knowing my teachings payed off. You are fearless, Dietrich. A true hero. Hjorvard will smile upon you, little one."

Dietrich's mind now finally comprehends the situation. This is it! Dietrich was about to die, barely begun to live. He has not even discovered his special talent and earn his Cutie Mark. Never got his first kiss, or his first sword. Tears form in his eyes. "I'm so sorry, Uncle Angus!" he sobs.

"There is no need to be sorry, I am so proud of you, little one. More than you will ever know." and with that, the lever beside him was pulled by the rebel leader and the trapdoor opened beneath him and the stallion dropped. The rope tightened. Even with all the sounds of angry ponies in front of him, Dietrich can still hear the piercing sound of bones snapping as clear as the mob.

The rebels and protesters cheered. The General was dead; killed by his own soldiers.

Dietrich could only stare at his Uncle that hung next to him with wide eyes and mouth ajar as his mind went into shock, the sounds around him blurred and time seemed to have drastically slowed. He looked up to his father in the balcony screaming in agony about his reinforcements. "Fire!" Dietrich heard him scream. "All soldiers fire at will! Save my son!". Soldiers from the balcony, staircase, and walls fired their muskets onto the crowd. Through the smoke was a small figure of a colt holding what Dietrich could tell was a stick of some sort sticking out of his mouth, but Dietrich could not tell. It jumped over corpses, backs, and heads of ponies as it dashed towards the gallows.

Dietrich began to sing. A song known to boost morale in Caroland's military that his Uncle had taught him:

"Facing the storm, battered and torn,
Fighting for our Glorious Land." he sang.

His father still desperately shouted orders from the balcony, "Kill them! Kill them all!" he cried as the piercing sound of gunshots and white smoke fill the crisp winter air.

Every sound around Dietrich went silent except for the young colt's raspy and frightened voice as he sang.

"Come, take my hand, together we stand,
Defending our Glorious Land."

The main gate bashed open and in swarmed dozens of Loyalist soldiers, firing their firearms mercilessly at the rebels and protesters. Dietrich's eyes were filled with tears, his body tensed and weakened, his breath shortened, and his mind went blank except for this one thought. His mother is dead. His beautiful mother murdered. This makes him weep more. Now his Uncle, his teacher and mentor, also dead. Two huge roles in Dietrich's life gone forever. He knew now he is about to join the two of them. He is going to die...

The rebel leader made one last desperate move before getting shot himself and pulled the lever. Dietrich felt the stool he sat on vanish and he began to fall. Before closing his eyes to his death he sees a colt jumping off the back of the rebel leader just as a projectile penetrated the rebel leader's heart, and right over Dietrich's head. That stick was actually a sword, and the blade swished right over Dietrich's head cutting the rope just as tension began to form between it and Dietrich's neck.

From that instant moment time moved fast again. Dietrich landed hard onto the dirt ground head first after falling through the trap door, nearly knocking him out. Milos dropped the sword after landing on the other side of the platform. Realizing Dietrich fell through the trapdoor he jumped down below off the edge he was next to and sees his friend lying in the dirt next to the toppled stool, between the the two sets of hanging hooves.

"Dietrich!" he cries running over to his friend. He is barely conscious; rolling him over to his back and places his head in his arm. "I did it, Dietrich!" he says using the other hoof to loosen and take off the noose around Dietrich's neck.

"You... you saved my life." Dietrich whispers.

"Just returning the favor." replied Milos tossing the rope aside, hoping his usual playful tone will keep him conscious.

A flash of light appeared on Milos' flank for a brief moment. Magically a sword took the place of the once-blank spot. The sword was the very same sword he used to cut the noose just moments ago.

Milos pays no attention to his new Cutie Mark; he didn't even notice, but Dietrich did. Dietrich weakly laughs "Looks like the Ursa Milos will kill us all after all..." he says. Still not getting the reference, Milos took the comment as a symptom for shock.

Milos looks out to the scene in the courtyard. Nearly all of the rebels and protesters lie dead, the last remaining were taken prisoner. Most likely sent off for public executions. This is a dark and bloody day for the nation of Caroland.

Dietrich begins to loose consciousnesses.

Noticing this, Milos tries to keep him awake until help comes. "Dietrich." he says.

Dietrich passes out. "Dietrich! Stay with me!"

"Dietrich!"

"Dietrich!"

The voice sounds like it is dropping in pitch.

"Dietrich!"

"Dee!"

"Dee! Wake up, man." a sudden rush of cold air hits his body.

"Dietrich!"

"Dietrich Monetlius, get up!"

"Get your lazy ass... UP!", this time Dietrich felt the surface beneath him shift and then himself flying through the air and landing on a hard stone floor.

Feeling the cold stone floor beneath him, he grumbles and lazily opens his tired eyes. He was in his room. Several torches are still lit from the night before, however the room is mostly lit from the small amount of sunlight creeping above the ocean's horizon that is coming in from the balcony outside. He then heard a hysterical laughter from the other side of his bed.

"You... you should have seen... your face!" the voice cried through the laughter.

Dietrich looks up at an analog clock above the door to the balcony. Dietrich growled in frustration. "It's five-thirty in the morning, you blasted oaf!" he cried.

"I know that. Get up! We have deer to kill and mares to screw!" replied the voice. Dietrich still remained laying on the floor closing his eyes again, hoping he could instantly return to his slumber.

Hoofsteps can be heard coming around the bed. "Come'on Dee! I want to be out of the city before the sun rises."

Dietrich opens his eyes and looks up at a light brown stallion with dark brown eyes and black mane. His mane is long on the front bangs, but the rest is short, yet long enough to still be bed wrangled. His bangs came over to the sides of his face in strands, some in front of his eyes.

"Damn it, Milos." Dietrich moaned. "Why so early?"

"Because the deer like to come out early for food. I just got up to, so quit your complaining. Let's go!" he said kicking Dietrich's side.

"Alright, alright. I'm up. It's not like I walked here all the way from Bibracte last night..." Dietrich yawned.

"Bitch, bitch, bitch... that's all I'm hearing right now..." Milos mocked as he walked away towards the mirror by the door, next to a glass cabinet.

Dietrich slowly got to all four hooves, adjusting to the new day. He lazily headed for the balcony to get a view of the day.

Reaching the mirror Milos can see Dietrich still groggily walking to his destination. He took a red ribbon that was hanging on the mirror's corner and pulled his hanging bangs of his mane into back to form a ponytail. When Milos finished tying the simple knot to the short stubby ponytail Milos speaks, "So Dietrich, old friend." he began. "I heard you mumbling in your sleep when I walked in. Something about your Uncle Angus... and an Ursa Milos?"

Dietrich stopped at the thermometer outside reading the temperature. 51 degrees Fahrenheit it read. He refused to answer Milos' question.

"You dreamed about that day of the uprising, didn't you? The day I got my Cutie Mark." Milos asked turning around to face Dietrich, who is out at the balcony not paying attention to him.

"Huh." Dietrich says as if he is interested in the thermometer. "It's colder than last night!"

"You're avoiding my question..."

"Have you seen the view out here?" Dietrich asked. "How's your view? You get the Asgard Mountains, right?"

"Dietrich. It's been almost 20 years since then, your still afraid of that?"

"Of what?"

"You know... that... thing... what almost happened?" Milos said trying to give an idea in his best friend’s head. An idea that is already there, just getting it out of him is the hard part.

"It's been 14 and a half years to be exact." Dietrich blurs out. He was never much of a liar, "And what did you expect? I lost both my mother and my Uncle that day."

"Not that!" Milos corrected, "The other thing that happened that day..."

Dietrich shrugs, avoiding eye contact, rubbing a hoof over his throat protectively.

Milos chuckles slightly, "Somepony hates showing weakness."

Dietrich sighs in defeat walking back into the bedroom. "I'd rather die any other way: shot, stabbed... Hell, spontaneous combustion..." he says lowering his head, "I'm not afraid of dying in those ways... just anything but getting... you know..." Dietrich continued to rub his throat protectively.

"What? Getting hung?" Milos replied in a light tone, hoping to lighten the mood, "I thought you were past that fear a while ago. It's simple! Don't commit murder, and you won't get hung."

"Ha! You are hilarious." said Dietrich sarcastically walking over towards Milos.

"That's enough talk about phobias, this is supposed to be a good day." said Milos motioning Dietrich to the glass cabinet next to him, "Come, grab a bow. We want a nice clean kill. We get more silver for the pelt with an arrow hole than a bullet hole."

Dietrich playfully shoves Milos away from the mirror to fix his own mane. Neatening the bed wrangled goldenrod hair and adjusting his beaded braid against his face.

Once Dietrich was finished he moved over to the left to the glass cabinet, opening it. Inside was a set of weapons. Two muskets with bayonets at the ends, three flintlock pistols in leather holsters, two sheathed rapier swords, one sheathed long sword, a wooden recurve bow with a leather quiver full of twelve wooden arrows, on the ends are blue and white feathered fletchings. Dietrich first grabs the quiver by the hoof and wraps the leather straps around his body with the quiver on his back, fletchings over his right shoulder. Then grabs the bow and puts his left foreleg in between the string and the bow having the body of the bow on his back diagonal to his right shoulder, along side the quiver.

"I shoot, you skin? Is that the plan?" asked Dietrich closing the cabinet.

"Yeah. You've always had the better shot, and I know how much you love gore." Milos joked.

"Hey, I felt sick last time."

"You threw up last time... and the time before that... and before that to!"

"First of all..." Dietrich starts raising a hoof to point out his excuses, "that smell was horrid! Second I was-"

"Yeah, yeah. Let's go before you feel insecure again. I have to go get my knife anyways, and we need some saddlebags to carry the killings, so we gotta stop by my room on the way out." Milos interrupted as he opened the door and went into the castle's hallways.

"You're an ass." Dietrich replied with slight sarcasm, with laughter from Milos as his reply as they left and shut the door to the room.

--

August 10, 1032 A.C

One hour later...

1.4 Miles north of Hjalmar, the Asgard Mountains: 6:31 AM

After walking through the empty sleepy streets of Hjalmar and into the tundra plains, Dietrich and Milos make their way around the massive outer walls of the city to the snowy mountains just north of the city. Both Dietrich and Milos are wearing saddlebags that hang from their sides, each have a small bag full of silver coins for an emergency. Milos has a hunter's knife sheathed in a leather case that is strapped to his left flank. At this point the sun is higher than the horizon sitting beautifully above the ocean's calm waters, surrounded by the cloudless blue sky as it lights the world flawlessly below. Hjorvard Tower still burns it's flame at the top along side the Sasom River. Dietrich still cannot comprehend how that lighthouse still stands after 5,000 years. Above each one of the towers of the massive outermost walls, Caroland's national banners flew graciously in the ocean's winds. They have followed a stone road for most of the way into alpine tundra where they stayed below the tree line instead of going up the mountains; into the snow covered forests of pine and spruce. After deciding where to turn off from the road the two end up walking through knee-deep fluffy snow - talking.

"So lemme get this straight..." Milos says recovering from laughter, "You first get into an argument with Jarl McBride about who fired the first shots of Two Years' Civil War, then got drunk at a tavern. Two Druid guards come in and call you out for being a Carolean - you punch them out; then put the moves on a Bride's Maid from a wedding that happened earlier that day. Her boyfriend then tries to pick a fight with you - you punch him out. This story can't be real!"

Dietrich beside him also recovering from laughter replies, "I cannot make this event up, my friend. So then the Bride's Maid realizes who I was and takes me to her friends, a group of more Bride's Maids. I continue to play my 'Prince Charming' role and all of them want to have their way with me. They then start fighting among themselves to who will have me!"

"Are you serious? How many were there?" Milos asked.

"Just four. So, they began to fight which at first was only verbal, then it became physical."

"And you were drunk through all this?"

"In every sense of the word...! Not drunk enough to not remember this, but enough to start this chaos."

"Chaos? Sounds like Heaven to me!"

"So, like I said, the fight went on for about a minute or so. Finally I told them I could take all four of them at once... I'm sure you can make up what happens from there..."

"Did they treat the Prince of Caroland well?" asked Milos sarcastically.

"Let's just say it was one of the best nights of my life!" Dietrich laughs, "One of them was rather hostile, but nonetheless I awoke the next morning with them happily clinging to me in their sleep."

Milos chuckles, "You played your role well, then."

"I left Bibracte for home almost immediately after I awoke."

"You tapped and ran?" Milos asked, "You truly are an aristocrat. I should seriously go with you the next time you head for Druida. Those Druidian mares are one of a kind, and you always seem to get them."

"It's not that hard. They seem to really enjoy the royalty persona. Just stand up straight and use big words, and they almost pounce you onto their beds." Dietrich says regaining his posture.

"Too bad that doesn't work so well in Caroland, especially outside Hjalmar."

"No; but the Carolean mares do enjoy soldiers."

"That it does, Dietrich! That it does!"

The two stallions have been talking for so long they have lost track on where exactly they were. They stop talking and cease their movement, realizing the situation they look around to study their surroundings. They already knew they were a good distance away from the stone-paved road which they walked on from Hjalmar. The two are surrounded by pine, spruce, and other coniferous trees that had a thick layer of snow on of the needles, whitening the dark green vegetation. The two were deep into the wilderness.

Dietrich looks around and sees a thin set of indents in the snow in front of them, forming a line that travels away from him.

"Milos." he whispers. "Over here..."

Milos looks at the direction where Dietrich is now shuffling through the snow to reach, trying to identify what he has discovered. Dietrich stops to investigate the indents; Milos now sees them moving through the snow to reach them.

"Tracks." whispers Dietrich.

"Are they deer tracks?" Milos asks.

"Yes..." Dietrich puts his snout just above the snow. He lifts his head eye level with Milos once again. "And recent to."

"Good. Let's go."

Quietly they begin to follow the tracks made by the wildlife. After shuffling through the snow for about 100 feet they begin to descend down a hill. There at the bottom they see a doe eating from a shrub sticking out of the snow in the middle of small patch where there we no trees. Dietrich and Milos see the doe through the trees and look at each other.

Dietrich nods his head. Milos mouths to him silently "It's a doe."

Dietrich motions his head and eyes to the two trees in front of them, indicating that he wants Milos to go there.

Milos mouths his words again, "We need a buck."

Dietrich replies with another motion to the trees, this time moving towards them before Milos denies the action again. With that Milos had no choice but to do as Dietrich did. Dietrich takes the tree to the left, Milos on the right, stalking the female deer.

Dietrich stands on his back legs and takes off the bow strapped to his back places it securely in his left hoof, grabbing an arrow from the quiver on his back with the right hoof. He secures the knock of the arrow onto the string, the shaft onto the rest on the left side of the bow.

A stick cracks from where Milos was taking cover. Dietrich turns to him, "Hey, I have an idea." he whispers to Milos, "Let's be as loud as possible."

"Sorry." Milos whispers back.

Dietrich sticks out from behind the tree with the bow aiming at the doe. He draws the string back to his right cheek, aligning the tip of the arrow to his target. The doe looks up towards Dietrich aiming at her. It was as if the doe was looking directly into Dietrich's eyes, forcing thoughts of guilt and doubt into him. Dietrich tries hard to ignore the eye contact between predator and prey.

After taking several seconds to ensure his shot is precise, a little fawn appears from a tree further back from the doe. Dietrich sees the baby deer and mentally debates with himself. A moment passes and finally Dietrich slowly loosens the string and takes of the arrow and places it back in the quiver; returning to his proper position with the right hoof on the ground, the left hoof still holding the bow. Looking back at Milos he had a smug look on his face. Dietrich only reacted by a simple shake of his head.

Milos rolled his eyes and looks back at the doe who has resumed eating from the small bush and the fawn by her side. Off the right another deer appeared through the trees. This one was larger and had large antlers on it's head. Seeing this, Milos eyes widen and smiles with glee, waving a hoof to Dietrich who now starts to follow his tracks in the snow back to where he and Milos once were.

"Dee!" he whispered. Dietrich looked at him, still disappointed from the doe. He sees Milos motioning him back to where the deer were "It's a buck!". Raising an eyebrow he looks back and sees the male deer inching closer to the doe. Smiling with determination, Dietrich goes back to the tree and readies his bow again. With the bow still in his left hoof he leans against the tree once more, stands on his back legs and pulls out another arrow from the quiver and places it on the string of the bow, draws back, looking down the arrow with his right eye, closing the other. The buck moved into the patch of forest bare of tree, giving Dietrich a perfect shot to the animal's vitals. Aligning the sharp tip to the buck's heart region of the body, directly behind the front leg on the lower part of the chest that of which is now facing Dietrich. He takes an extra second to insure his shot is pinpoint accurate. The bowstring is released and the arrow silently flies through the air. The next thing Dietrich did was watch and listen. Just after the sound of the arrow penetrating the skin and bones, the fatal shriek from the deer then hit Dietrich eardrums. Instantly the doe and fawn run in the opposite direction from the buck who then frantically ran for several feet, then dropped into the snow.

"Nice shot Dee!" cried Milos out loud knowing its safe to speak. "Right in his vitals.". With that he made his way to the carcass, followed by Dietrich putting the bow back on his back. Pushing through the soft snow the two reach carcass, now surrounded by a small pool of blood with a wooden arrow sticking out of the lower left corner of the buck's chest. Milos first grabs the arrow and forces it out of the animal. He hands the blood-soaked tipped arrow over to Dietrich.

"I believe this is yours?" he says.

"See that shot?" Dietrich sarcastically asks wiping the blood from the tip into the snow beneath him "A shot you only dream to make." he chuckles.

"Oh yeah?" Milos says pulling out the knife from the leather case on his flank, "My turn to impress you!"

"Please don't."

With that Milos stabs his knife into the deer, beginning the skinning process.

Dietrich gags at first. "You could have told me to look away..." He tries to resist watching Milos do his work, but curiosity got the best of him.

"What's the fun in that?" Milos asks sarcastically working on the skin, , "Your reactions are priceless!"

Milos continues his job. After most the the skin is removed he begins to cut out off the major muscles. While doing this the deer's organs start to become visible, making the already disgusted Dietrich react more.

"Ah... Malda! Tyres can fuanta..." he says sickly looking away from the gory mess, covering his face with a hoof.

"Cursing won't help, you weak bastard!" Milos comments without looking away from his job.

"Fuanta do etto!" Dietrich says from behind his hoof.

"Cursing at me won't help either." Milos says, now working his way to the rest of the deer.

Feeling an unpleasant pressure building in his stomach makes Dietrich focus away from the deer. "Oh no..." he whispers. The feeling gets worse and Dietrich shuffles through the snow to the nearest tree. Milos notices this and rolls his eyes.

"T-Minus five... four... three... two.... one..."

Just out of earshot from Milos the sounds of hurling, gags, and coughing fill the air.

"You have a weak stomach, Dietrich!" cried Milos, "I hope you know that!"

--

Four and half hours later...

Hjalmar's Markets: 11:09 AM

After several hours of more hunting, filling their saddle bags with valuables and meats from yet another deer and multiple hares and foxes, the two stallions return to the walled fortress of a city. After crossing through the group of guards at the first massive gate into the markets which is now a whole lot busier than earlier that morning. Ponies all sorts, stallions and mares of every age barter from the dozens of stalls, selling every sort of merchandise possible; fillies and colts play in between the adults. The sun is much higher and in the cloudless blue sky, making the market more prone to customers. The two attempt to reach a hunter's vendor somewhere in mob of ponies and vendor stalls. Thankfully, the tavern had just opened a few minutes ago, so no pony was stumbling drunk in the crowds yet to make the passage through the mobs harder than it already was. Common situation later in the evening. In the center of the mob is a platform what had a band of musicians playing traditional Nordic instruments. The music from two fiddles, tin whistle, bodhran drum, and the bouzouki guitar filled the air beautifully, making the shopping experience a lot less hectic. Nordic music is regarded by some as the most culturally beautiful music in the world.

Moving through the crowds, Dietrich and Milos come up to into an old beggar mare who wore ragged robes and a face battered from poverty, and body abnormally skinny.

"Oh please!" she cried. "Could you spare a piece of Silver...? Oh! Prince Dietrich!" noticing who she begged to she dropped her front legs and bowed before him. "I had no idea... please forgive my ignorance!" her voice becomes hasty through fear.

"Get lost ya' old hag..." says Milos. Dietrich slaps his shoulder as if to disciplined a child.

"Please excuse my friend." Dietrich starts. "Rise." the beggar rises. Once she is eye level with Dietrich he speaks again in a sympathetic tone, "Everypony goes through hard times and Hjorvard rewards the patient.". With that, Dietrich pulls out some extra silver coins that were in the small bag before the hunt that were meant for emergencies. This counted as an emergency to Dietrich. He hands them to the beggar.

"Here you go. This should be enough to regain your strength." Dietrich says seeing the overjoyed expression on the beggar's face. Clearly this is the most luck she has had in a long time.

"Bless you, Dietrich. May the Lord bless your generous soul!" she cries through her joy and runs off to buy food she so desperately needs.

Milos watched in both amazement and disgust, "Really Dietrich?" he asks, "How do you know she wasn't acting?"

"You can tell if they were actually in poverty or not, Milos." Dietrich replies, "Learning body language is the key. She had certain physical aspects, her posture, her insecurity, and her excessive faith in religion was all I needed to know."

The two begin to walk again through the crowds. "She only asked for one; you gave her five." Milos pointed out.

"I live in a damn castle, Milos! I also made a quite a profit on my books. I can afford to give 5 Silver to somepony who actually needs it." Dietrich fires back.

"Yeah... I guess you're right." Milos sighs in defeat.

After moving through crowds, getting bumped into several times from rowdy shoppers, the two see a hunter's vendor over the heads of the shop-thrifty ponies. The stall has a display of various meats and pelts, as well as dead rabbits and pheasants hanging from the sign above the table. The merchant behind the stall is a young attractive mare with a tomboy aroma about her. She wore leather padding around her body and a musket strapped to her back. It is rather common for a common mare in the Nordic Isles to be more masculine than the mares of any Brothel or at Hjalmar Castle since life was rather hard out in the countryside. Both Dietrich and Milos found that feature in a mare attractive; unfortunately for them, they were usually the hardest to get. As suspected, this dragged Milos over to the stall, Dietrich followed mostly due to the fact that there was no pony at the stall unlike the rest.

"Hello, beautiful!" cried Milos placing his elbows on the table and cupping his hooves under his chin.

"Well, well. If it isn't the only royal dickheads I don't mind! You got some kills for me?" she asks.

"Indeed we do, Helena." Dietrich came in before Milos flirted again, pulling out some venison and dead rabbits and putting them on the table.

"Great!" says Helena in relief, "I ran out of venison an hour ago."

"Helena, baby." Milos starts, hooves still cupping his chin, "How about you and me go for a round two."

"Normally I'd take this musket and shove it where you would least like it; but since it's just you, and your pathetic attempts to attract me... again, I'd rather enjoy seeing you get rejected again."

"Com'on, baby! You and me had a great time!"

Helena rolls her eyes, "Stick it up yours, Milos."

"I would if I could."

Dietrich looks at Milos in confusion, "Wait, what?"

Milos gets off the table and wraps his front leg around Dietrich's shoulder. "How about Dee here? He is still suffering from heartbreak from his Ex." he says making a pout-face to Helena, completely ignoring Dietrich's expression.

"Please explain that last part..." Dietrich says maintaining his confused expression as Milos wrapped his front legs around him.

"Maybe." Helena answered Milos. "If I have a good day at the stall, the we'll talk." she says smirking in amusement.

"Well, I promised him a little trip to the Brothel anyways," replies Milos getting off of Dietrich, "so your loss."

"Sounds more like he promised you." said Helena.

"Did you just say you would do that if you could?" Dietrich says still looking at Milos, ignoring the conversation between him and Helena.

Milos looks back at Dietrich and paused. "Nope."

"I'm pretty sure you did..." Dietrich replied.

"I don't know what your talking about."

"Yeah, he did!" Helena sarcastically jumps in.

"Dee com'on! I promised you that Brothel visit." Milos says.

"No you didn't you begged me to go with y-" with that Milos was already walking away towards the next district of the city.

"See what I have to deal with?" Dietrich asked Helena.

"Sounds torturous." she replied sorting some silver coins into a bag, "42 Silver for what you gave me." she says handing him the bag of silver coins.

"Thank you, Helena. You take care of yourself." Dietrich then follows Milos to the Brothel.

"Tame that hog of yours!" she cries.

--

Dietrich and Milos head to the middle residential section of the city. They turn off from the main road and walk down several back roads in between the stone and wooden homes. The come up to a large building made from the same materials as the buildings that surround it. This building however is much different in comparison that surrounds it; pink curtains in the windows, bouquets of wild flowers hanging from the corners of the building, the window's shutters have heart shaped hole in them.

"You realize you forgot to give Helena your killings." Dietrich says as they approach the feminine designed building.

"Oh damn, your right!" said Milos "Oh well, I'll go back to her later."

"As you wish." finished Dietrich reaching the door to the Brothel.

"Allow me." Milos bows to Dietrich. He knocks at the door. After a few seconds a small slide opens towards the top of the door; beaming blue eyes stared down at the two. It startled Dietrich, but Milos didn't flinch.

"Password." said a deep masculine voice from behind the door.

"Nordic castles in Saddle Arabia." says Milos bluntly.

The slide closes and the sounds of locks unlocking can be heard behind the door. The door then opens and there stands a massive stallion at least twice Dietrich's size. His blond mane is long and braided and a full beard equaled it's length. The beard is split into two braids going all the way down. Cutie mark: a war hammer. This guy was the very definition of a Viking pony. In other words: do NOT mess with him.

"Hello, Raginok." Milos says cheerfully. Dietrich gave a sheepish smile from his intimidation from the massive pony.

"Milos!" the bouncer cries, his voice almost shaking the building. "Weren't you just here last week?" he asks.

Milos chuckles, taking off his saddlebag, still full of his killings, and placing it by the door. Same with his knife that is strapped to his left flank. He trots into the pink-covered interior of the building, "Ha. Probably. I just can't get enough of my girls!".

"Ah the Prince!" Raginok says. And by 'says', it means he vibrates the area of where his mouth points. "The good Prince to, not that self-centered one. I quit the Army because of him. You are the reason I still have faith in the Montelius family."

"Thanks. I appreciate your support." Dietrich replies trying not to lose his posture from intimidation. It's good to hear that he has a mind of his own, and at the least Dietrich remained on Raginok's good side. Who knows, it may be worth his kinship one day. He takes off this bow, quiver, and saddlebags off his back and puts them alongside Milos'.

"I'm sure the girls will take a liking to royalty. You've been here before so you I trust know the rules." Raginok comments allowing Dietrich in and closing the door behind him, locking it once again. He walked into the room observing all the pink. Pink walls, pink curtains, pink heart-shaped furniture, pink floors. There were several females walking about wearing rather suggestive clothing. One walked right in front of Dietrich giving him a seductive expression on her face, followed by a wink.

He looked up at the balcony to the second floor. He sees an angry looking female beaming down at Milos. She is orange with a dark brown long and styled mane. The green eyes she has was Milos' favorite feature.

"Milos Sjard!" she shouts angrily. "You have a lot of balls coming here so soon!"

"You should know, baby!" Milos replies back with sarcasm in his voice.

Dietrich sighs. Typical Milos, screwing over a prostitute... yet again. The mare on the balcony violently stomps to the staircase on the far side of the pink room. Going down the stairs she is followed by several other mares whispering to her.

"I can handle this girls!" she says to them stomping over over to the sheepish Milos.

"Hey Anika, hope you didn't miss me t-" Milos was cut off my a hard slap across his face, causing his entire head to turn.

"That was for leaving before you were supposed to!" she yelled in his face that turned back around to face her, his cheek had light pink hoof-shaped mark that throbbed in pain.

"I'm not one for rough foreplay, baby."

Anika slaps his other cheek equally as hard, his head rotating the other way.

Dietrich looses his control from watching this and breaks into laughter. Anika notices him and gives a mischievous smile. "Well Milos looks like you made yourself useful by bringing Dietrich here. Girls!" she calls, "Show the Prince a good time, will you?". She reaches with a hoof behind Milos' head and pulls him closer to her, she speaks in a low, intimidating voice, "You and I have a a job to finish" dragging Milos over to one of the couches.

Five mares seductively approach Dietrich from all directions. Dietrich was startled at first by their sudden appearance. Two go on each side of him, one pulls him by the hoof to the nearest heart-shaped couch. The other two follow close behind. Dietrich's face is now rose red as he his motioned to lie on his back on the couch with the females surrounding him.

"You a historian, right my Prince?" one asks in a seductive voice climbing on top of the defenseless stallion, eyes half lidded full of lust.

"Y-yes." he half whispers.

The mare lowers her face right to Dietrich's, her lips millimeters from his. "How about you and I make some history for ourselves?" she whispers playing with his beaded braid.

Before Dietrich could answer she presses her lips onto his. In Dietrich's mind he wondered if he should continue. His emotions and hormones were bliss, but his mind wanted to fight back. Naturally, he quickly gave in and returned the kiss. His hoofs began to explore the mare's backside. The other four mares that surrounded the couch only watched with lustful eyes.

Dietrich peeked with one eye to the other couch across the room where Milos was thrown on to by Anika, followed by her pouncing onto him. Dietrich closes his eyes again and continues to kiss the courtesan that pins him. From the front of the room the sound of the door unlocking and opening can be heard and unidentifiable chatting was heard from Roginok and another male voice, but Dietrich ignored it and focused on his building lust for the mare, whose name is still unbeknownst to him.

Several moments pass, Dietrich has completely forgotten about the unknown male voice coming in. He began to motion his hooves up the mare's back and back down to her flanks. The mare above him moans as she plays with Dietrich's tongue with her's. She presses her entire body onto Dietrich's even more. The blissful feeling of the mare's fur and body heat onto his only made him want the mare even more. The feeling and taste of her tongue on his to felt bliss.

"Ahem" somepony clears his throat, clearly tying to get Dietrich's attention. "I was going to ask how you were, but you look like you're doing well." says a male's voice.

Dietrich grumbles and opens his eyes and sees who it is. That voice was familiar, but why now of all times? He looked up to see a stallion standing in between the mares surrounding the couch wearing the blue and yellow soldier outfit with rusty red fur with a short unkempt dark, dirty blond mane and dark blue eyes, the same color as Dietrich's. His cutie mark is a fiddle.

"Ivor!" Dietrich cried breaking the kiss from the courtesan. The mare then begins to kiss the sides of Dietrich's neck. "How long has it been? I thought Heinrich sent you to Fort Straalsund?" he asks trying ever so much to be polite about the intrusion.

"I did, but I'm... on leave. Look, I need to talk to you in private." he says with a much more alarming tone in his voice.

Dietrich, still trapped beneath the mare, really did not want to get up. "Now's not really the best time." he says motioning his head to the mare, "Can't it wait for another... say, twenty minutes? Grab a courtesan, and enjoy yourself, Colonel."

"Yeah, Ivor!" cried Milos over Anika's shoulder on the far chair as she was nipping at his ear. "This is a place to be alive! You're on leave anyways, so be alive, you Twit!"

The two mares that Ivor went in between to reach Dietrich began to seduce the soldier. "As tempting as that offer is, I have to decline..." he says looking up, trying so hard to ignore his instincts and the mares that pressed their body heat on the soldier. "For now, at least. Dietrich, this is important, and I need to tell you now before this news gets public. With all the loose lips at the Castle, it could be any moment."

"Is it that important?" Dietrich asked.

"Yes."

"Ugh. Fine" Dietrich replies lazily inching his way out from under the mare. The mare stops kissing his neck and gets off Dietrich allowing him to get up. Upon getting to his hooves he glares at Ivor. "This better be good."

"Oh my Prince?" the mare lies on her side and a hoof under her chin, "You will come back, won't you? I have never had royalty before."

Dietrich wanted to go back to her badly, "It will be my pleasure, my lady." he bows.

"Ivor sucks!" cried Milos sarcastically, "Always that guy who stops the good parts!"

"Thank you, Dietrich." Ivor ignores Milos' usual outbursts. "I'll buy you a drink for the trouble."

"That sound like a good payment." Dietrich replied.

"Good, let's head to the Market then, I'll tell you everything on the way." Ivor heading to the door.

"Dietrich!" cries Milos again from the chair. "Sell my killings to Helena while you're there! I going to need a few minuets, if you know what I mean. I can take your bag once I'm done here."

Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, "Don't hurt him too much, Anika. He might be useful some day." Dietrich jokes, grabbing Milos' saddlebag, putting it over his back, as well as his bow and quiver full of arrows, and heads out the door where Ivor stood waiting outside.

--

Roginok closes the door when Dietrich steps out to his soldier friend.

"Milos seems to be in good spirits." Ivor says as the two begin to walk side by side through backstreets of the residential district of the city and back to the Markets.

"He should be. He got recognized by Caroland's military to be a General. Although, Heinrich has a huge say on military matters and those two don't see eye to eye too much."

"The poor fool has wanted to be General since he discovered his talents with a blade."

"So what is so important that you interrupted a stallion's most important business?" Dietrich asked still disappointed from the intrusion.

"Well..." Ivor starts, thinking of what to say, "There is no easy way to say this, so I'll say it as bluntly as possible. Your father is dead."

Dietrich was silent. Although his face showed no emotion and kept the same pace.

"I'm sorry for the loss." Ivor reasoned. "I really am. I wanted to tell you before the news of his death gets public. I figured it's better to hear it from a friend than to town crier."

"It's fine." Dietrich responds, again showing no emotion, "He should have been dead months ago. At least he died peacefully and suffers no more."

"That's the thing, Dietrich. They found him dead this morning, but he didn't die naturally. We found poison in his system."

"What!?" Dietrich now showing his emotion: Shock and disbelief filled his mind, "Why would somepony want to murder somepony who is already bound to die?"

"Perhaps somepony who wants him out of the way sooner than later..."

Dietrich stopped walking. Eyes wide open in revelation staring off in the distance in front of him.

"Dietrich?" Ivor noticed this.

Dietrich's mind began to flow with memories to the previous night where he had seen his father for the last time. Heinrich - he has won the Moot, allowing him to Jarl by his father's passing. Heinrich had both the military and the citizens of Caroland on his side; the only thing standing in his way was the the survival of his predecessor. His father. Heinrich was sure to be last to see the Jarl after ordering everyone to leave. What did he do in there? It couldn't be! The ruler of an entire nation murdered by his own son in cold blood? Can the thought of power really cause a pony commit such an act? The thought of Heinrich's rule of Caroland scared Dietrich even more by this assumption of conspiracy.

"Heinrich." Dietrich says barely above a whisper. Ivor catches the name just enough to hear it. "It was him."

"There's no proof of that, Dietrich."

"He was the last to see him last night, and was rather late when he ordered everyone to leave my father's room." Dietrich says walking towards the main road again with Ivor beside him once more. "It's enough to make one wonder."

"Heinrich blames an assassin."

"Why would an assassin want to murder anypony that is already about die!?" Dietrich asks as the two reach the main road, turning south towards the gatehouse that leads to the market.

"Maybe your father had some enemies that wanted him dead by their own hoof instead? Although if that were the case they would have shot or stabbed him rather than poisoning him. Poisoning somepony is a way to murder without arising too much suspicion. Although, it did seem rather odd that Heinrich first blamed the Druids for the murder this morning, then the Equestrians, and then the Druids again in a matter of minutes."

"That is odd, isn't it." Dietrich states. "I'm glad you pulled me out of there, this is terrible news. Well, maybe not glad..."

Ivor shrugs, "Sorry, bud."

The two stop talking as they approach the gate that had five stationed guards. Knowing that most Nordics are loyal to Heinrich, it's best to assume that the guards are loyalists as well. The music from the traditional Nordic instruments can be heard into eardrums of the two stallions. This makes Ivor at ease being a musician himself. After walking through the gate and past the guards they talk again.

"So you still playing the fiddle, Ivor?" Dietrich asks to lighten the mood as the music reminds him of Ivor's passions, also attempting to catch up with his friend after so many months.

"Oh, yes. It's a great morale booster for the soldiers. They love it when I show off my mastery in six other instruments. Are you still playing the piano?"

"And the penny whistle. Every once in a while though, it helps me think when I need to."

"That's what music is all about! Providing a light through the darkness." Ivor cooed. "You and me should play again sometime, when the circumstances are better of course. The last time we did was to impress those two mares a while back, remember?"

"I remember that. That was at least two or three years ago."

"Five years."

"It's been that long? So much has happened since our teenage years..."

"Exactly."

The two begin to head into the bustling crowds. "How about Noak? I haven't seen that poor sod in months, not since Heinrich made him lead engineer."

"He's not much of soldier, as you can imagine, but he is one Hell of an engineer! He planned nearly all of ships built at Fort Staalsund and is working on a modification to the muskets that make the projectile goes four times it's speed, distance, and accuracy."

"Is that possible?" Dietrich asked.

"I guess. If it is possible and is mass produced, it will change the face of warfare, that's for sure."

"That is a scary thought with Heinrich's intentions. It still alarms me that Fort Straalsund was by Heinrich's order. I'm still not entirely sure what Fort Straalsund is - Heinrich never gave me a straight answer."

"Fort Straalsund is a military base on the River Straalsund an-" Ivor is interrupted by Dietrich.

"I know that, but what goes on there?"

"Mostly a place to assemble and rebuild Caroland's military, as well as the construction of a new Navy since Equestria destroyed our old one as directed from the Edict of Harmony. Noak is in charge of all the research that happens there."

"Research?"

"I'm not supposed to tell anypony, I've said too much about Noak, but-" Ivor stops for second to insure that all the ponies around him are not listening. "Firearms. Heinrich is constructing firearms that the world has never seen. I'm not exactly sure what, myself. But I do know is that they will make world tremble." he says quietly.

"Heinrich has mentioned that before." Dietrich responds.

"What? That doesn't sound like him. We were given strict orders for secrecy." Ivor whispers.

"Last night, he mentioned redesigning the muskets and cannons. As well as new weapons..."

"Hey, didn't Milos want you to sell those killings fro Helena!?" Ivor yells loudly, changing the subject in fear that other ponies are eavesdropping.

"Oh yeah! She's around here somewhere." Dietrich gets the idea of what Ivor is doing. He leans his head closer to Ivor "We'll talk about this later..." he whispers.

Ivor whispers back, "Just not here..."

--

At the hunter's stall in the market, Helena has no customers, unlike the stalls around her. So far, today was not the greatest days to sell pelts and meats. She sits at her stall sharpening a large knife with a water stone. She wore a bored expression on her face and not playing attention to her surroundings. Suddenly a large saddlebag plops onto the table in front of her, startling her. She looks up to the two stallions now in front her that seemed like to appear out of nowhere.

"Dietrich!" she smirks, "Back already? Did one of those girls chase you off from some disease, or did I make an impression?"

"That will be me," Ivor says, "I got him out."

Helena laughs "Ivor! You always were a cock-block."

Dietrich grew a confused expression "You two know each other?"

Before one of them answers, Dietrich notes that they are exchanging looks, as if they were hiding something. A relationship that they want to keep secret, perhaps? No. That doesn't sound right. Helena doesn't seem the type for military stallions. They were partners in a crime spree? OK, now Dietrich was making things up...

"We met..." Ivor stops.

"On a hunting trip!" Helena steps in, "His platoon got lost a while back and I ran into them and got them back to Fort Dalsand."

Ivor whispers very softly, "Straalsund."

"Straalsund!" she corrected herself, "Fort Straalsund I brought them back to."

Dietrich nods, although that did not sound right at all. First, Ivor is a Colonel - Colonels don't need platoons. Second, River Straalsund is a major river; it is hard to forget that for somepony who is as bright as her. Something was up, but Dietrich had enough on his mind as it is, so he just let it go.

"Is this the bag Milos forgot to give me?" Helena asks looking through the saddlebag to the two sets of deer skins, meat, antlers, and two rabbit corpses.

"Yes." Dietrich says plainly.

"Well that adds up to 37 Silver." Helena says pulling out the number of silver coins to make up for the amount in a small bag.

"Thank you, Helena. I'll be seeing you around." Dietrich turns to head back, but the lack of presence that should be Ivor next to him makes him look back, he finds Ivor leaning over the table to whisper something in Helena's ear.

"WHAT!?" she cries out loud, Ivor tries to shush her and whispers more in her ear. Helena nods to whatever Ivor is whispering.

This confused Dietrich. Something was up between those two. As Ivor turns back to Dietrich's direction, Helena whispers loudly back to Ivor, this time Dietrich can pick up what she said. "Got it..."

Ivor returns to Dietrich's side heading out of the crowds. "What was that about?" Dietrich asks.

"Something about playing a prank on Milos." Ivor responds.

Dietrich's mind screamed 'horse-apples!' "Oh, that should be hilarious!" Dietrich says ignoring his instincts.

After heading out of the crowd the two decide to go on several errands while they were in the market and head to several shops and stalls.

--

About Half and Hour Later...

The two stallions had stopped at some miscellaneous stalls, went to one of the city's printing presses that Dietrich usually goes to for his books, and to a local blacksmith to purchase a new flintlock pistol for Ivor. During this time of shopping, the news of the Jarl's death had reached the public through town criers, newspapers, and posters around the city. With that, news of the time when Heinrich is to be crowned Jarl. Tomorrow at noon. Tonight was to be the Jarl's funeral at 7:00 PM at the Temple of Hjorvard - a cathedral in the Old City.

Dietrich and Ivor have had enough of walking around and decide to head to the Tavern right next to the main gate into the city. Ivor had promised Dietrich a drink for pulling him out of the Brothel and to give sympathy for the death of his father. Dietrich was more than happy to oblige for free alcohol. In order to get to the Tavern was to make the ordeal through the Noon rush hour markets.

As usual, the markets on the main road of Hjalmar was bustling with thickly-furred ponies; but unlike before, the atmosphere included a sense of uneasiness and the ponies seemed to be more on edge. On the platform above the crowds that usually had the local musicians playing traditional Nordic music is instead replaced with a Nordic pony that poverty has taken it's toll on his appearance. He was giving a fiery speech in the Nordic language to the crowds that is alarmingly large, mostly filled with battered looking ponies. Dietrich and Ivor wanted to ignore the pony as they cut through the crowds and lines to stall vendors, but his voice was too loud to just simply not hear.

"Piatkrat le ca tashed! Tobrro atta ketastis krig Jarl anon led nat! Non krigoan diat can stas le povetrra! Ett Caroland dian le krig logen! Unta pritrriactat diask poteskis yanton ett kittat Hjorvard!"
(This is a new day! Our new Jarl will restore our glory! No longer will we have to suffer! Caroland has a new leader! One that will bring a new age of Hjorvard's vision!)

The pony raised his hoof as he spoke, eventually sitting on his flanks and pointing both of his front hooves to the sky in ecstasy when Hjorvard's name was spoken. The crowd before him cheers. Some shouting their hails for the soon-to-be Jarl.

"Atta hail King Heinrich!" somepony in the crowd cries. This one shout caused Ivor's head to turn due to the fact that Heinrich's name was titled King.

Dietrich tried his hardest to let the speech go through one ear and out the other, but the pony's words remained and lingered in his mind. He remembered what his brother said the night before.

"Looks like Heinrich has built himself quite the following." he says to Ivor.

"It's getting worse." Ivor replied, looking back forward to their destination again, "Some soldiers at Fort Straalsund address Heinrich as their King as well. Looks like the poorer and less educated citizens of Caroland are now to."

"He plans to become King after he is crowned." Dietrich announced.

"What? He can't do that! That is only for those with the ancestry of Hjorvard himself." Ivor says with a hint of worry in his voice.

"Not if the citizens agree with it. I tried to reason with him when he told me - well, Milos tried to actually."

"Milos thought of something besides mares?" Ivor joked. "Your brother must really be up to something if he is doing all of this. I just hope the ponies of this land see this as we do soon. He has the support of the military and the majority; he already has control of the nation without the throne. I cannot imagine what will come when he is crowned Jarl, let alone if he is entitled King also..."

"Heinrich treats his soldiers well," Dietrich responds picking up his pace towards the Tavern in an effort to escape earshot from the speech, "and gives them the hope for glory and to bring food to their families. For the less fortunate of Nordics, my brother offers them hope which no Nordic has had since Edict of Harmony - a chance of economic redemption. A chance for the poverty stricken ponies of this land to finally escape their misfortune. That is something my father payed no attention to; the well being of all Nordics, not just the wealthy."

"If only these ponies can see the true evil..." Ivor says solemnly looking back to the speech in sympathy.

"How can they? Unlike us, they do not have the time or the willpower to think such atrocities while their families starve. Their survival, and the well being of their loved ones, are far more important than adding two and two together in politics. You and I are fortunate enough to have the necessities we need to look beyond the false hope and the consequences they bring."

"I just wish we could do more. All of these ponies have been mistreated and lied to for so long and only disappointment, or worse, has only greeted them. I want to convert them to the side of logic, but they are so blinded from the true nature."

Dietrich shrugs, "They are blinded because they can only see what they want to see, and Heinrich is the best hope they have had in a long time. My brother is ingenious for this political maneuver - getting the side of the majority to worship him. It will make his opposition dwindle and cower. The power of numbers is a dangerous weapon, and Heinrich knows that very well."

"I'm just scared is all..." Ivor admits, "He is not even crowned Jarl and some title him as King, a title that has not been used in over a thousand years."

Dietrich wants to continue his rants of the physiology of the poor, but instead collects his thoughts to sum up the discussion due to the fact that the Tavern is only a buildings away. "Power is the most dangerous weapon in the world. No magic or spell can comprehend to the might of a pony with an army of followers backing him, willing to die for their beliefs. Therefore, power can cause the most evil than anything else in the world. And the scariest part about power - anypony can obtain it, unlike magic where you are born with it. Say the right words, gain the trust of the subjects, treat your armies well; and the world will bow to your will, regardless of your intentions and motives."

The tavern is a large three story building made of wood and a stone outlining that also served as an inn for travelers. It has a prime location being right next the the main gate into the city and it's size was large enough to fit a good 200 ponies comfortably - 300 if it was a crowded fit. In front of the building is a wooden porch that stretches from one corner of the structure to the other and a staircase in the middle that leads to the main door. Above the stairs, nailed into the building, is a sign that read "Ett Rott en Carolus, Kotan ta Tinta". Translated into Equestrian English means "The Pit Stop for Carolus, Tavern and Inn".

The two reach the stairs to the tavern that had drunken ponies leaning on the railings of the stairs and on the porch having the Dietrich and Ivor maneuver around them. One pony stumbled out of the front door to the Tavern to one of the railings on the porch and vomited from the alcohol off to the right of Dietrich and Ivor. The two stop in front of the door for a second to take in the scenery of the excessive amount of drunken ponies outside. Suddenly off to the left the window gets broken through from a pony drunk enough to lunge himself through the glass. He slowly gets up and several stallions inside the window cheer for him. Both Dietrich and Ivor turn to each other chuckling.

"My kind of place." Dietrich says which makes Ivor chuckle. "Where it's perfectly normal to get wasted before Noon..."

"Everypony loves royalty with informality." Ivor says through his snickering. With that the two enter the rowdy tavern. Dietrich looses himself in thought. A Prince like him in a rowdy tavern is unheard of in Druidia, or Equestria for that matter.

Dietrich has always felt better where formality is non-existent. Dietrich loves the thrills of his wild side. That is probably why he has been best friends with Milos for so long. Something about getting away from being called "Prince", followed by a bow, or a salute from a soldier sets Dietrich's mind at ease. Throughout the years that Dietrich has been traveling across the Nordic Isles, he has built a reputation from both the Caroleans and the Druids to be very informal. Preferring the commoner's rowdy bars and taverns over the Royals exquisite feasts and dances. Dietrich has been to a fair amount to both scenarios, but at taverns, he feels like he compelling to his subjects more rather than "displaying" that Nordics are a cultured race of ponies at the Royal's events. To Dietrich, there are far more important things than trying to show the world that Nordic ponies are cultured; especially while the ponies of this land suffer. Even though Dietrich is not the pony giving the mandates of the nation and signing the edicts, he still feels the responsibility to care and understand the citizen's ordeals. The hope that he can be the common pony's voice is one of the greatest feelings he has. The best way to do that is to stoop down to their level and live, and suffer, as they do.

The two stallions enter the rowdy tavern. The sound of enlightening tunes from the fiddle, acoustic guitar, and a bodhran drum fill their ears, bringing Ivor into the most happiness hearing how that all three of the instruments are being played properly and in sync with each other. To the right, a bar room brawl taking place, to the left was a mass of ponies circling around a stallion standing on a table singing Nordic folk songs. Dietrich only took a quick look at the singer, he looked familiar, but his voice was terrible regardless. His attention was then taken away by the bartender in front of them.

"Dietrich!" cries the bartender behind his counter cleaning a tankard. "Come'ere ol' boy! Round on meh, come'on!" he cries motioning the two to come over as he places two shot glasses in front of him. Dietrich and Ivor take their seats on the two empty stools.

"Ah wish ah could'a caught yer at ah bett'a time" he says pouring whiskey into both of the glasses.

"Don't worry about it, Frej." Dietrich says as Ivor shoots his liquor, "He should have past on months ago."

"Well, tha' be good you 'ave hi' spirits. Bah the way, Milos came in just'a few minutes ago."

"Really?" Dietrich asked. "Where is he?"

"That's 'im right ther'a" Frej says pointing a hoof to the singer on top of the table.

On top of the table is Milos standing on his back legs, with a tankard in his hoof, singing clumsily to the crowd who are just as engaged as he is.

"AND THEY ALL DIED... ON THE COLD, COLD... GROUND...!!!!" he sang stumbling on the table with no pitch or tone; more like just yelling words. With that, he stumbled on the table and drank the remaining of the alcohol in the tankard and threw the tankard hard on the ground. The drunk crowd around him cheers. Milos raises his front hoofs in the air, cheering as well; losing his balance he falls off of the table and onto the floor. Milos laughs hysterically through his intoxication as he lies on his back, the crowd still cheers.

Dietrich put a hoof over his face.

"You have got to be kidding me." Ivor says looking over Dietrich's face-hoofed head to the scene.

Dietrich sighs and opens back up to take his shot of whiskey. "Thank you, Frej." he says and starts over to the crowd to get Milos. Ivor and Frej exchange looks and Ivor follows his friend.

Dietrich cuts through the crowd to where Milos was lying on his back on the wooden floor still laughing. "Milos! What are doing here!" cried Dietrich reaching his intoxicated friend, looking down at him on the floor.

"What does it look like, you Prince... Gay-lord!" Milos yells with his words slurred.

"How long were you here? I thought you were going to be with Anika for a while?" Dietrich says giving him a hoof to help his friend up.

"Screwed the bitch, and came here, what's it look like!?" cried Milos as he clumsily got to all four hoofs with the aid from Dietrich.

"I was only gone for half and hour and your already drunk?" Dietrich asks.

"What...? You slut! I'm not *hiccup* drunk! I'm fine!" he cries. He wobbles again and collapse to the floor, laughing.

Ivor comes and stands next to Dietrich who looks down at Milos and shakes his head in amusement. "Need help getting him out of here?" he asks turning his head to face Dietrich. Ivor can see the expression on Dietrich's face was a mixture of amusement and disappointment.

"Unfortunately, we can't leave him here." he says going to Milos' head side as Ivor stays where he is. In unison the two use their heads to pick up the drunken stallion. Milos, still laughing, was placed on the two stallion's back and they cut through the intoxicated crowd and headed for the door back out side.

--

7 Hours Later...

Hjalmar Castle, 7:16 PM

The sun has gone down and the city of Hjalmar has gone quiet with a somber aroma through the empty streets. In the main courtyard of the castle it is filled with two groups of ponies of all ages and social classes that split onto each side leaving an empty pathway to the main gate to the stairs and wagon's road that lead to the city below. The two groups are separated by soldiers standing at attention with their muskets at the ready perfectly perpendicular to each other, wearing two crossed yellow straps on their blue uniforms, tricornes tipped with white feathers on their heads and blue capes with yellow interiors over their backs. Each pony, besides the soldiers, are carrying a lit candle that lightened the faces of each. The iron doors to the throne room opened and a parade of soldiers dressed in extravagant versions of the standard military outfit, like the soldiers outlining the pathway. The soldiers are followed by a bed carried by more of the fancied soldiers having the deceased Jarl on his back wearing his ceremonial military outfit: steel chest plate armor over a blue silk under shirt, a blue cape is on his back that had white fox furs at the tip of the cape that the body lays on. His front hooves on top of each other, eyes closed and an expression of peace imprinted on his deceased bearded face.

The soldiers that marched up front reached the bottom of the stairs to the courtyard, the pallbearers halfway down the steps, the Jarl's loved ones exited the iron doors led by Heinrich, wearing the same outfit he did the night before, the same as the soldiers in front of pallbearers, but with steel sabatons on his hooves and a large star-shaped piece metal bearing the Montelius family crest on his left breast. Other aristocratic ponies followed Heinrich, as well as the deceased Jarl's steward, generals, treasurer, Chancellor of the Moot and Senate, and other government officials. Dietrich and Milos (still buzzed from before) walked together towards the back, both wearing their military uniforms, which where almost identical to the rest of the soldiers, except Dietrich to wore his family crest on his left breast like his brother. Dietrich is not used to wearing his uniform as the collar choked his neck, and his tricorne seemed to always block his view as he is not used to wearing a hat either.

Besides the marching hoofsteps of the soldiers and the sniffling of some of the females in the parade, it was completely silent. As the bed bearing the deceased leader of the nation was carried by, the ponies on both sides of the courtyard bowed their heads in respect of the their fallen leader. Dietrich saw in the crowd behind one of the soldiers holding muskets at attention Ivor, and next to him is Helena, both of which are holding candles like everypony around them. Ivor gives Dietrich a nod. Dietrich smiles acknowledging his friend's presence.

The parade of soldiers went all the way down to the Old City, guided by a pathway made up of citizens of the city holding candles on each side of the road to the Temple of Hjorvard - the national church of Caroland. The building is a stone cathedral that was built with Gothic architecture that stood 10 stores high, steeple another 7 stores. The parade went in through the cathedral's iron door and down the center aisle over it's black and white checkered marble floors. The bed is placed sideways with the deceased Jarl's head towards the left. The Jarl's loved ones first entered and sat in the first two rows of benches of the cathedral, the rest dozens rows of benches where filled up with civilians in a matter of minutes. Some ponies went up the the alter next to the Jarl's body is the emblem of the Nordic's religion: Hjorvardism, stood about as tall as the average pony. The emblem is made of stone: it is a sword sticking out of a dragon's skull where a horned helmet is placed onto the handle of the sword. Half way down the blade were crossed spears behind the blade. This is the complected version of the emblem, the basic and most commonly used emblem of Hjorvardism is a Chi Rho shape with a sword as the vertical bar. The ponies kissed and silently prayed to the emblem, paying their respects to both Hjorvard and the former Jarl.

Dietrich and Milos take their seat in the front row with grim expressions on their faces. Heinrich sat a couple of ponies down the bench.

The Priest of Hjorvard emerged from his chambers off to the side of the cathedral. He wore plaid robes had a long braided blond beard. On his head is a steel helmet with metal wings pointing up on the top-sides of the helmet.

"Do gosh vientist" he says is the soothing voice every Priest has.
(You may be seated.)

With that, everypony in the room sat and prepared themselves for the funeral service, as well as Prayer of Hjorvard which is the most sacred verse in Nordic culture. It is used to both open and close church services and any other occasion that requires Hjorvard's blessing and guidance, like the battlefield or the birth of a foal. It is so sacred that the Prayer can only be spoken in the same words as Hjorvard himself spoke them 5,000 years ago in Ancient Nordic. It is considered a sin to say these words in any other language, even modern Nordic.

The priest sat on his haunches in between the deceased Jarl and the emblem of Hjorvardism to make his front legs free. He opened them as if he was embrace someone, closing his eyes and looking to the arched Gothic ceiling and spoke with everypony in the room speaking with him in prayer:

"Fadaler ambiant som da rran hirrelen helgat varrde ditt namn
Tillkomme ditt rrike ske din vilja.

Sosafiel som da rran hirrelen do ock uppon jorden le dott brood dott idag
Sveel foorlat tian varran skuld."

--

One Hour Later...

Just outside of Hjalmar at the Sasom River, 8: 22 PM

After a funeral service of the Temple of Hjovard, the Jarl was placed into a closed casket and carried by soldiers through the street with mournful ponies on each side holding the candles in their hooves. They go through the markets and out to the Sasom River just outside the city. From here the Jarl is to be placed onto a boat that will go upstream for about 60 miles to the Gorge of the Kings; this is where all the Kings of the Nordics and Jarls Caroland after King Carolus are laid to rest in tombs built into the cliffs of the gorge.

The Jarl's loved ones watched at the shores of the river and on the stone bridge as the deceased Jarl is placed onto the boat that is docked on the far side of the river from the city next to the bridge. Only soldier were on the far shore while civilians witnessed the event on the city's side of the river, or on the bridge. The nation's flag is neatly spread onto the casket. One soldier holds a flag neatly folded into a triangle that bears the seal of Jarl's regime. As in tradition, the ruler of the nation, King or Jarl regardless, has their own flag bearing their seal, each ruler has a different seal. When the ruler dies, the flag is to be burned in the flames of Hjorvard Tower that stands at the mouth of the Sasom River opposite side from the city. A soldier is given the flag bearing the Jarl's seal. Upon obtaining the folded flag he salutes the giver and marches off the boat and to a group of a dozen fancied soldiers that await the march to the lighthouse that looms over everypony's heads.

The group of thirteen stallions marched towards the lighthouse in unison, the lead soldier who stood solo up front carries the folded flag in one of his front legs and continued to march with the other. As they set off, the boat carrying the flag-covered casket sets off upstream.

"Salute!" cries a soldier on the bridge, breaking the dead silence of the scene.

Every soldier on the shores, bridge, and on the boat itself salutes the casket, civilians weep and mourn as they get their last look at their former leader.

Dietrich stood in between Milos on his left, and his brother Heinrich on his right. Trying to bottle up his feelings as usual, Dietrich struggles to retain his tears as he watches his father for the final time. He can feel a comforting hoof on his left shoulder from Milos. Dietrich can still tell he is still buzzed from the incident from the tavern which cheered him up.

Minutes pass and the boat carrying the former ruler of the nation's body disappears in between the mountains. In silence everypony thinks solemnly on their connection with the Jarl. After a couple seconds of remembrance the attention is turned to the inferno above the ancient lighthouse where the flag that was taken up and is tied to a wooden pole and is lifted by ropes high above the flames. The wooden pole sticks into the ashes and oil of the lighthouse and the flag unfurls and flies in both the wind and the rising heat from the fire. The former Jarl's personal emblem lies in the center of the blue banner that everypony below can see.

The pole catches on fire and spreads upward towards the banner. Anywhere within eyesight of the flames of Hjorvard Tower can see the banner that symbolizes the reign of Dietrich's father, the final connection to the rule of Caroland that spanned for twenty-four years.

A cringe hit Dietrich's heart as a tear fell from his eye. It finally hit him. Watching his father's banner in the night sky get lost in the inferno, Dietrich comes to a revelation. This is the end of an era. Dietrich's fears flooded his mind that the regime of his father will be considered the "good ol' days" after hi brother takes power.

Power - the true root of all the evil of the world, and his brother is to obtain it.

Dietrich wipes the tear off his russet face, forgetting he is wearing a hat he knocks his tricorne off position. He turns back to his right side where his brother stood as he looked past his head to the sight of their father's banner burn into the flames of the Hjorvard Tower. No identifiable emotion is on his face. His eyes, the windows of his soul showed determination, while his face showed sorrow. It was impossible to tell what he is thinking, but the thought of what Ivor had told him earlier is too unbearable to set aside - even if it was false. Nothing stood in Heinrich's way now. The citizens have their respect for him, the military have their swords drawn and ready to die for him, and the government have their vote to back him; Heinrich is to be ruler. Nothing can stop that now.

Heinrich sees that Dietrich is looking at him and into Dietrich's eyes, giving him a comforting smile as he wraps his front leg around his brother. They both turn back to the burning of the flag. Normally Dietrich would shove him off, but his mind was racing too much to fight back:

If everything went as Dietrich fears, then one day Dietrich will have to fight his own brother and most likely kill him. The last thing he wants to do is kill his own brother; unfortunately, being a historian he knows more than anypony else that sometimes there is a fine line between what wants to be done and what needs to be done.

The flag vanished into the inferno and Dietrich still lost himself into thought as all the ponies around were dead silent in remembrance and respect.

All Dietrich can do now is hope. Hope that all is fears are just in his head. That all of this is for the right gain. Maybe Equestria is to blame for the Nordic's suffering. Maybe there is more to that story then what Heinrich is letting on. Maybe that getting rid of the Edict of Harmony through force maybe best coarse of action after all.

Hope. It is the only weapon that Dietrich has now...