A short story about the warlike origins of Cloudsdale.
Wingstead, the capital city of the pegasus empire, gets attacked by a combined force of the other two races. Long story short, the city is in ruins and there's no other choice but to move to the sky. What happens next, you ask? Read on to find out.
“Ever since the Pegasi were created, they could walk on clouds, and controlled the weather only for their race. They had no love for the unicorns or Earth ponies, and just let weather take its toll on them, while the areas that the pegasi occupied had clear weather every single second of every single day.
That is, until the day the other races invaded. The pegasi of Wingstead were having a hard time defending their city, and they were forced to flee.
“Commander Hurricane, my scouts have reported that the unicorns are flanking us from the east,” warned one of the lieutenants, named Speeding Blade. “We must be prepared to defend our walls.”
“Okay, Lieutenant. Gather your forces and defend the perimeter. We need all the strength we can muster against their amassed forces.” The Commander of the Pegasi was very distressed at the warning of her city being attacked. She sighed, as she equipped her armor and weaponry.
“ALL ABLE-BODIED PEGASI TO THE SQUARE! I REPEAT, ALL ABLE-BODIED PEGASI TO THE SQUARE!” came a cry from one of the higher-ranking officers in their militia. Everypony was prepared for the worst-case scenario, that the borders had fallen and the army had to fall back in a last defense.
Speeding Blade raced towards the town square, avoiding fleeing civilians on his way. When he arrived, however, the area was deserted, with not even a feather remaining. ‘Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me...’ he thought, feeling that everypony except him had fled the city. In reality, though, the whole city’s military force was flying high above the Commander’s residence, preparing for a dive-bomb attack. Blade flew up to the rest of his squad, falling silent.
The combined forces of the Unicorns and the Earth ponies was too much for the walled city to take. Soon, they had flooded into the streets, ransacking homes and businesses alike. In a matter of minutes, the entire city had been looted, homes and shops left barren, all the mares and foals had been evacuated. All of the Unicorns and Earth ponies converged on the town square, oblivious to the danger above them.
“ATTACK!” shouted the commander. She and her forces raced towards the ground at astonishing speeds, fast enough to shatter somepony’s spine if they weren’t careful. Speeding Blade barreled into a unicorn, immediately rendering him unable to fight for a few minutes at least.
Moments later, another fight broke out between Lt. Blade and an Earth pony named Fault Line. Blade wildly slashed at the Earth pony, his blades arcing and speeding towards the pony’s head, Fault easily dodged every strike with practiced precision. He then launched his own strike at the Pegasus, a powerful kick aimed at his neck. There was a loud crack, as Blade fell to the ground with a thud.
As he lay dying, Speeding Blade watched Fault Line briskly trot up to him. “Pathetic. You were nothing but a disgrace. I knew that the student always beats the mentor, but father, you were just... weak...”
“I... You... What? You’re my son?” I could swear I used protection...” The dying pegasus was extremely confused as to what was going on at the time. “This isn’t something I should hear as I lay here dying.”
Lieutenant Speeding Blade’s vision went dark as he finally succumbed to his wounds. His son was standing over the corpse, his face not even showing so much as a shred of emotion at the death of his father.
“Um... Commander? Commander Hurricane?” Private Pansy was attempting to tell her superior something, but her voice was drowned out by the sounds of battle. “Commander, Hurricane, um... Speeding Blade is dead.”
The commander of the Pegasus Empire had ignored her subordinate’s attempts to speak, and continued overlooking the battle, somehow not being targeted. She only responded when the private tapped her on the shoulder. “What do you want, Private?”
“Commander Hurricane, your lieutenant Speeding Blade has fallen. He’s lying there on-” The Pegasus was cut off by her commander rushing to the corpse of her most trusted advisor.
When Commander Hurricane got to the dead pony, she was trying to wake him up. Little did she know, though, that the pony was dead and his murderer was standing near the corpse. Without a second thought, Hurricane flew with the speed of a bullet towards the Earth pony named Fault Line. She extended her retractable hoofblades and rushed at the Earth pony, making several quick swipes, attempting to hit his vital areas but missing every time.
Commander Hurricane kept up her assault, attacking from many directions. She made low sweeping strikes, several fast jabs, and powerful downward slashes, all of them missing their mark by mere inches. Fault dodged each and every one of Hurricane’s attacks, his speed was becoming too much for the pegasus leader to handle. After only 3 minutes of fighting, Commander Hurricane was finally able to land a hit. She had aimed for the back of Fault Line’s neck, hoping to snap it, but her blade simply glanced off of the armour that the Earth pony was wearing.
She regained her focus, then initiated her second attack. This time, though, she aimed for an unprotected area, the front of his neck. With a direct jab, her blade hit its mark, puncturing the pony’s neck, severing his carotid artery and causing blood to squirt out uncontrollably. The fatally wounded Earth pony grabbed his neck as if he were choking. He hacked and sputtered, trying to form his last words, but he collapsed on the ground. The last sight he ever saw was that of an angry mare glaring down upon him with all of the hate of the Pegasi.
The commander of the Pegasi was relieved that she had just killed the pony that so brutally murdered her lieutenant. After she got over the slight euphoria of killing a hated enemy, she looked around the old city. The battle had ended, with minimal losses to the Pegasi. The commander returned to her army, which suffered the loss of 100 militia and 15 civilians.
She gave a short speech to all the citizens of Wingstead about the battle that the city had just witnessed.
“Everypony, I have good news, bad news, and worse news. Good news, we just survived an ambush by the combined forces of the Earth ponies and the Unicorns, and we only lost 100 ponies to their 1,000. Bad news, my second in command, Lieutenant Speeding Blade, died on the battlefield today. He will be remembered fondly. Worse news, the city is destroyed. We have to either rebuild this city and risk another attack, or relocate to the sky where we’ll be safe to plan out an attack to cripple the enemy. What do you all say?”
The Pegasus stronghold of Wingstead was in ruins. Bodies littered the ground, and the metallic smell of blood combined with the stench of corpses. The pegasi who had built their homes, their entire lives, in the ruined city were devastated. Their grief was not only directed towards the way of life that had been lost, but the lives that had been lost as well. Though the pegasus families did not lose as many as the unicorns and Earth ponies, the loss was still a hard hit on the general mood.
“So, what’s the vote?” Commander Hurricane of the Pegasus Empire asked her subjects.
The general response to her question of whether or not to move was to, at least temporarily, move to the skies. There would be a small village on the ground away from Wingstead while the city in and of the clouds was created. After a swift response from their ruler, all of the ponies took flight in search of a good area to build their new homes.
A few hours later, everypony was exhausted and decided to take a rest before starting construction. The mares and children who could fly went to the ground to get food for everypony while the others stayed in the clouds, building the foundation for what would become Cloudsdale.
Laying down the groundwork for all of the many buildings in the floating city, workers gathered clouds from the surrounding area for materials. Construction was not always that easy, though: clouds were still relatively unpredictable and couldn’t be made on demand. There was a lot of waiting involved in the building of the city just because of the nature of the material. Luckily, though, once touched by the hooves of a pegasus, a cloud would no longer be subject to wild magic.
Days passed. Weeks seemed longer and longer with each passing day, yet the pegasi still worked diligently on their new homes. Houses were built first, then lower priority buildings such as schools were built as families moved in. Over the span of six months, Cloudsdale had all of its houses, a public education system, stores, and various entertainment centers built.
Commander Hurricane was wondering what to call the new stronghold of the pegasus empire. She decided it would be best to ask the citizens what they thought, and she received many strange replies: ‘Wingstead 2: The Second One!’, ‘Flightland’, ‘Haha, unicorns suck! City’, and ‘Whitebank’, to name a few. She also got some sane replies, like ‘Storm Capital of the World’, ‘Cloudsdale’, and ‘Land of Many Clouds’.
‘I figure I’ll go with Cloudsdale. It seems like the best name for this land anyways,’ Hurricane thought to herself before announcing the official name of their new home, Cloudsdale.
Now that the city was almost complete, a meeting was held in the war room, made of storm clouds, of the capitol building to determine the best plan for revenge.
“I say we go in hard and fast, killing them all before they have a chance to retaliate. In fact, why not rush them while they’re sleeping?” one general suggested.
“No, that would never work. Why not send out ponies, hidden in clouds, to create a massive storm cell to destroy the other races’ cities with tornadoes, floods, and lightning?” another replied.
“Wait, wait, wait… Why can’t there just be peace between the three races? We’ve coexisted for so long, so why not try to coexist again? United we stand, divided we fall,” the only peace-loving pegasus in Cloudsdale, Private Pansy, mumbled.
“What was that, Private? I couldn’t hear you,” the Commander asked her second in command.
“Well, I said that we could all... um… live together in harmony? We could for so long, until the others attacked us, so why not now?” she repeated, louder this time.
Everypony in the room stared at Pansy like she was infected with the plague, then she got rushed by a mob of war-loving ponies that had the intent of forcibly removing the yellow pegasus from the war room. She was literally thrown through a wall, which repaired itself almost immediately after, but luckily she could fly well enough to escape meeting with a terrible fate.
Back in the war room, the pegasi had reached a decision. “So, it’s agreed on that we use clouds, under cover of darkness, to build a giant storm to take out the combined armies of the unicorns and Earth ponies?” Commander Hurricane asked all the leaders at the meeting. The response was a resounding “Aye!”
The plan was going along smoothly. The pegasi started building up their supply of clouds, but they weren’t for building homes this time. The clouds were for their final, and hopefully deadliest, attack against the combined army of the unicorns and Earth ponies. The cloud gathering was probably the longest and most grueling part of their attack. The arduous process of taking spare clouds whilst making it seem like natural movement and avoiding their enemies’ bases took hours to gather enough for a small rainstorm. Slowly their storage of clouds grew, taking up almost all of the spare space in the city in the sky. Slowly their storm grew in power, creating what may have been the largest storm in the history of Equus. Finally, after weeks of building, the supercell, dubbed the Cloud Bomb, was completed.
The afternoon after the Cloud Bomb was finished, the pegasi held a war meeting to make sure they had all the details of their plan in mind. Commander Hurricane, the leader, oversaw her troops as usual, greeting them with simple greetings as they all filed into the building.
“Tonight, my friends, we shall finally crush our foes beneath our hooves! Our Cloud Bomb has been completed, and we will use it against the boneheads and mud horses! Scorching lightning will crash upon them, burning their homes to cinders. Torrential rain will wash down on them, drowning those unlucky enough to be in the lowlands. Howling winds shall blow, pushing over those weak-bodied unicorns so they get trampled in the outrage! Let no pony survive!” the Commander shouted at her troops, all filled with enthusiasm at the prospect of eliminating their enemies once and for all. She finished her speech simply, “We fly at dusk.”
The commander’s hoof-picked regiment of her army, popularly known as the Wonderbolts because of their extreme speed and flying ability, were to be the strike force. Instead of pushing the supercell into the target zone, they would be hiding in the storm, preparing it for the attack and then flying out to kill the stragglers after and during the storm. Their job was the most dangerous, so the commander only trusted her best to complete it with minimal casualties.
Night fell. The pegasi involved in the war effort left their homes, uttering their possibly final goodbyes to their families. None of them knew if they were going to survive the night, yet they kept optimistic and hoped for the best. They all assembled in front of their superweapon, performing the final checks necessary to make sure none of them would be killed by a misfire or backfire. The Wonderbolts entered the cloud, keeping their bodies fully inside the cloud and making sure it doesn’t lose shape on the long journey to their destination. The cloud started moving, ponies in black pushing it along to the largest of the unicorn-Earth pony camps five miles away. Their projected arrival time would be midnight.
Life around camp was pretty easy for the average citizen of the Terramagis Legion: three hot meals a day guaranteed, the duties around camp were tiring at most, and there were tons of places to relax and take a nap if one so desired. All in all, nopony felt like they needed more than they had. It was perfect, or at least it was until the leaders started getting antsy and paranoid. They always thought they were going to be attacked by the pegasi, but didn’t know how or when. The citizens started having daily war drills, resentment towards their leaders growing as they drifted farther and farther away from their comfortable life with each passing day.
Rumors jumped around the camp about a coup. Removing Princess Platinum and Chancellor Puddinghead from power was their goal, and they decided to have their seconds-in-command, Clover the Clever and Smart Cookie, respectively, serve as the leaders for their races. Tension rose as the pegasi were beginning to execute their final assault, halting the defense preparations. The next night’s storm would herald the Terramagis Legion’s doom. That is, until one scout caught a glimpse of a pegasus collecting a cloud to finish up the supercell. He warned his brethren that the fear of an attack was real. Everypony started panicking, hoping to find shelter for the rising storm.
The pegasi finished moving their bomb into place above the Legion’s camp, making sure everything would trigger with one solid kick from everypony at once. They let loose on the cloud, sending large amounts of their innate magic into the cloud channeled through their hooves. The magic sparked the storm energy deep within the cloud, and then the first bolt of lightning struck.