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 The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]

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PostSubject: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:04 am

Clad in shadows, the dark green mare was a strange sight indeed as she sat in the shade of a large oak. Not only did she seem to have both wings and a horn, making her an alicorn, but she appeared to be petting a cockatrice, a notoriously aggressive creature. The beast let out a sigh, rubbing against her head before slithering away. The mare herself sighed and climbed to her hooves, her golden eyes glancing around the small clearing. She began to move away when a large wolf bounded out of the trees and moved to her side with a sense of urgency, nuzzling her side for pets which she provided with a chuckle. What have you found? she asked with a series of grunts and short barks.

Ponies... moving towards the old castle. Two of them... He replied, before glancing back towards the way he had come. Would you like me to lead you?

Yes... take me there. The wolf nodded and spun, bounding back into the trees. The mare shook herself once before following, her gait slow, measured. Eventually she reached the location, the wolf staring at the pair as they moved down the path. Joining him, the mare crouched down, her golden eyes staring intently.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:25 am

Celestial comes to a stop along the makeshift trail she'd been traveling, planting the tip of her sword in the dirt before turning to lift the muddy and ragged hem of her tabard from where it'd been dragging, sighing. "If you weren't my sister and on a just mission in the service of the Inquisition, I'd deck you Ara," she informs the pony walking behind her. "I admit irritation in ruining my garments to poke around for a moldering book in an abandoned castle."
Lunara smiles softly from beneath the hood she wears, her long fine robes with red trim somehow remaining untouched by the environment. "It is for the cause of justice that the Inquisitor goes about their work," she says in a lightly lyrical voice. "To bring and bestow justice to those who have never known it and cannot have it by any other means. You would trek across the widest and dryest desert with neither food nor water to defend the defenseless, and so we both trek through a wild and dangerous place to inquire of the knowledge of before so that justice may be done."
Celestial sighs but smiles very lightly. "I'm certain that Crimson Dart would be proud to see what became of her noble initiative in your person." She levitates her blade again and slices a swath of the underbrush out of their way. "I just wish it didn't mean my clothing was being frayed though."
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:13 am

Artenia's lips curled back in silent anger as the leader of the two mares cut down the underbush in front of them. How dare they raise a blade against the forest? Amadeus... would you like to gather your pack, give them enough of a fright to scare them out of here?

The wolf next to her snorted gently and shook his head. With all due respect Mistress, the wound they have inflicted on the forest is far less than even a scratch upon your glorious body. He returned his gaze to the pair and produced a wolfy chuckle. Besides, aren't you curious to see why they came in here?

Artemia was deadly still for a moment before releasing a tiny sigh. Fine... we shall observe them for a while longer... And yes, I guess I am curious to see what they hunt. she nodded and began to follow the pair as they forged their way forward, wings pressed tightly to her sides as she stalked them.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:53 am

Several sword swipes later, Sella once again plants the tip of her sword and grimaces. "Ara, are you sure this path is the swiftest and best way to get to the castle?"
Ara taps her chin thoughtfully, paying no attention to the bit of mud and debris now clinging to it. "That's a good question."
Sella turns and glares at her. "It's a good question? You don't know?"
"I don't exactly get my directions from maps, sister." Ara uses her horn magic to part her robe a little and an elaborate lantern floats out from under it. She swings the lantern back and forth, it glimmering a little brighter from inside every time it gets near her flanks. She sighs and turns completely around and does the ritual again, the lantern shining brightest when it's pointed behind them and north. "...um, I think it's this way..."
"You think? You think?" Sella facehoofs. "For Celestia's sake Ara!"
"There are no maps of the Everfree Sella," Ara replies calmly as she starts trotting in the new direction. "Thus, my way is the only way."
Sella pulls her sword out of the ground, grumbling as she trots ahead of Ara and commences clearing their path again. The new direction, however, requires much less clearing than before.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:15 am

Watching the pair argue, Artemia snorted and let out a tiny giggle. They appear to be lost... Should we help them or simply watch them struggle? she asked, glancing at Amadeus.

The wolf had let out his own snort of laughter and shrugged. It is up to you Goddess... But we don't even know what they seek... leading them there would be difficult.

Artemia nodded, conceding his point before watching the lamp Ara had pulled out curiously. She blinked as it swayed, yawning quietly before shaking her head. Magical fire... I best be careful around there tw- ah... ah... choo! Artemia sneezed loudly, her wings flaring broadly. She looked at the pair, now standing in the open. Balls.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:43 am

It was almost as if they'd rehearsed it because in perfect synchronization, the two sisters wheel around to face Artemia and Amadeus. Sella has her sword raised to a guard position as she steps in front of her robed sister. Ara meanwhile just raises her lantern higher so its light will spread further and Artemia would be able to tell that whatever is causing the light to come from the lantern, it's not fire based on the color of the light and how steady it is.
Both ponies look shocked to see Artemia, Sella dropping her sword tip to the ground as she and Ara stare unabashedly at her.
"Who...?"
"Who are you, milady?" Ara finishes Sella's sentence.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:41 am

Artemia stared at the pair, Amadeus slinking to her side with a huff that could only be a very wolf-like sigh. That could have gone better Mistress... they seem to be speaking the smae language as the purple one and her friends.

Artemia meanwhile studied the lantern, letting out a small breath of relief thay it wasn't a flame. Indeed... and they seem rather shocked by me... is there something in my mane? As shame they do not speak the language of animals. To Sella and Ara, it would seem that Artemia was staring into space, before turning her attention to the wolf at her side.

There is nothing in your mane Mistress... and yes, it is. Amadeus nodded several times before watching yje pair.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:44 am

"Well, of course we speak the same language as the purple one and her friends," Ara says, moving her lantern closer to the side of her face. "We're ponies, and Equiish is the language spoken by ponies. Do you not speak it, Your Grace?"
"Um Ara... what are you talking about?" Sella asks, glancing at her sister. "Who're you talking to?"
"Her," Ara replies, pointing at Artemia. "And him," she adds, pointing at Amadeus.
Sella looks blankly at her. "...you can talk to wolves?"
"I can?" Ara moves her mirror further to one side and blinks as she seems to realize suddenly that Amadeus is a wolf. "Oh. Well, I suppose so if I understand what he's saying." She moves the lantern close to her head again. "Pleased to meet you, milady alicorn. My name is Lunara Dray and this is my sister Celestial Dray. I certainly hope we're not trespassing."
"Ara, how the hay are you doing that?"
"Don't know, don't much care," Ara shrugs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:05 am

Artemia stared blankly at Ara for a minute before glancing at Amadeus. I feel like she's addressing me... Shame they don't understand us. Any idea how to communicate with them? This could get awkward otherwise.

Amadeus gave a shrug and glanced between the two. Well, they don't seem that harmful... Shall we let them continue on their path Mistress?

Artemia sighed and looked around, as if searching for a means to communicate with the pair in front of her. Perhaps... hmmm...
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri May 01, 2015 6:06 am

"Oh, so you don't understand what I'm saying." Lunara sighs. "This could become very difficult."
"OK, superb, they don't understand us and I don't understand them," Celestia frowned. "Are they going to interfere with us going where we want to go?"
"I don't think so," Ara says. "The wolf asked his mistress whether they should let us continue, and she said 'Perhaps'. I think that in the absence of any stronger indication of intent, we should bid them farewell and go along to the castle."
"I'm into that." Sella turns around and raises her sword again. "Wish I could figure out how the hay you're doing that."
"I wish I could too," Ara admitted, giving the wolf and alicorn a bow before turning to walk after Sella.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri May 01, 2015 11:45 am

Artemia stared at the pair as they started to walk off. Well... they seem to have assumed that we will let them leave.

Won't we though? Amadeus asked, cocking his head. I mean, we do want to see what they are trying to find. He began to follow them patiently, moving at a much slower pace than they were, though fast enough to remain with them in sight.

Artemia shrugged and began to move as well, rolling her eyes. The communication barrier is a problem though... I wish to warn them of their imminent peril, but we shall see whether they are capable I guess.

You speak of the quicksand pit?

Indeed... this should be very interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri May 08, 2015 8:20 pm

"I think they're still following us," Sella comments, glancing back over her shoulder after pausing to cut through more underbrush.
"I'd assume so," Ara replies indifferently. "I'm certain they mean us no harm, so I see no reason to be concerned about their presence."
Sella stops and turns to look at her. "There's a mysterious alicorn and her pet wolf following us through a creepy forest and you see no reason to be concerned." She sighs and turns around, taking another hefty slice out of the growth ahead of her. "We passed the 'reason to be concerned' point long ago."
Ara shrugged. "I would be more concerned about the creepy forest than the quiet and harmless occupants following us at a polite distance."
"Yes well, that's... whoop!" Sella puts her hoof forward and finds the ground to be suddenly vastly softer than she's expected and stumbles forward to start pitching face-first into the quicksand ahead of her. Before she impacts, however, she's caught by Ara's magic and hauled back against the sucking force of the quicksand. After a few seconds of Ara tugging, her front hoof comes free with a schlurp and she falls back on her plot.
"Quicksand," Ara comments.
"No bucking kidding," Sella sighs as she backs away and gets back to her feet. "Can you tell how far it goes and in what directions?"
"I'll see." Ara raises her lantern up higher and squints. "Well, I fear that quicksand can't lie and isn't evil so I can't really see its limits."
"Super." Sella sighs. "So what do we do?"
"You're the extensive traveler sister." Ara shrugs. "You'd know better than I."
"Well, I don't," Sella says sourly. "I'll bet that's why they were watching... they wanted to giggle at the two dumb ponies getting themselves into quicksand."
Ara looked back in the direction of Artemia and Amadeus. "I... don't think they're laughing at us..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat May 09, 2015 4:16 am

Artemia trotted along behind the pair quietly, glancing at Amadeus occasionally before snorting. Though they take a longer path... do you think that they head to that castle the purple one travels to occasionally? She asked, glancing at the sky thoughtfully.

Perhaps... It does seem that they seek knowledge... The wolf replied, before raising an eyebrow at Sella as she fell into the pit and was promptly pulled out by Ara. Do they not test the ground they walk upon? How on earth did they manage to stay alive for so long? He sighed and blinked as Artemia began to walk towards the pair. Are you going to help them Mistress?

Artemia nodded and trotted closer to the pair, brushing the sand from Sella's hood before smiling. Though you do not understand me, I shall lead you to the castle the purple one frequents... I do not know why you took such a strange route though... She smiled and stepped into quicksand, though she did not sink. Behind her, the ground solidified, and to prove that it was safe, Amadeus bounded onto it and followed her.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Wed May 13, 2015 7:23 am

"We took an unusual route because we don't really know the way," Ara tells Artemia as the alicorn solidifies the ground for them. "And your companion guesses correctly that we're going towards the castle that Twilight Sparkle and her friends are known to visit."
"Which begs the question of why we didn't simply ask them to tell us how to get there.." Sella grumbles. She smiles in gratitude at Artemia, however, and follows both her and Amadeus over the quicksand.
"You know why sister," Ara chides her gently as she follows behind. "These matters are to remain secret. It's a command passed down from the very first of our orders."
"Unlike us, they had a damn good reason."
"Unlike them, we've been given commands with our noble commissions and must obey."
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat May 16, 2015 3:51 am

Artemia glanced at the pair again as Ara spoke, cocking her head in confusion before looking at Sella and her smile, smiling back. She turned her attention to Amadeus who raised an eyebrow. I feel like they were addressing us again. He nodded and glanced at the duo before letting out a wolfy sigh. They were, weren't they? At least they are capable of showing gratitude.

Nodding, the wolf glanced around. Indeed they are addressing us... this language barrier is getting troublesome. Particularly since we have no idea if we are even leading them to the right location.

Artemia giggled and rolled her eyes. Oh ye of little faith. Even if they do not head for the castle, it is a hub. At the very least we can send them down a less treacherous route home.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Wed May 20, 2015 7:11 am

"I agree, this language barrier is really getting in the way of a good conversation between us," Ara says. She then shifts the lantern more forward to get a better look at the path ahead. But I'm certain you're leading us in the right direction, she says, unconsciously having shifted the lamp close enough to being between herself and them that its magic translates her words for them. We're just trying to get to the castle for the purposes of research, and a particular tome that my own research indicates can be found there.
Sella glances back at her curiously. "I think your lantern is doing something strange to your voice, Ara. It sounds like there's two of you talking at once, and one of you is speaking a completely different language."
Really? Ara blinks and eyes the magical item. That's odd. It's designed to reveal truth, not do translations. Are you sure you're not just hearing some odd effect of the Everfree?
"Pretty sure." Sella grins. "Heh... maybe that thing isn't as silly and pretty as I thought it was."
Well, it's never been pretty and I'm faintly offended that you'd call it silly, Ara huffed. But I can't imagine the lamp having some hidden purpose or function I'd know nothing about.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon May 25, 2015 10:50 pm

Artemia was quiet for a second, stopping in her tracks before very slowly turning around to face Ara. How are you talking to me? She glanced at Amadeus, who nodded, having understood her as well.

She leaned closer, examining the lantern as the pair spoke in front of her, still unsure as to how she was able to understand the mare. Artemia shook her head and blinked again, deciding to deal with it later. So you are heading to the castle then, that's good I guess. I'll lead you the rest of the way then. She smiled and started walking away, moving slow enough that the mares xould keep up with her.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:03 am

I believe that the lantern I'm carrying is doing it, milady, Ara says as she follows along. It's enchanted to be a tool for determining the truth and revealing it. I can only guess that it's acting to reveal the truth of what you say to me, and reveal the truth of what I say to you.
"Makes sense," Sella says. "Sorta weird but it makes sense. So, ask her who she is."
That would be rude but... I suppose it can't hurt to ask, as politely as possible. She looks towards Artemia. May I ask your name, milady, and the name of your companion? And how you came to be in this place?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:13 am

Artemia nodded slowly as she took this in, before glancing at Amadeus. I assume you can understand my friend as well? She asked, before cocking her head. My name...? Ah, well, I guess you can call me Artemia. She held up the necklace around her neck, displaying the faded nameplate. As for how I came to be here, there is a long and sad path... I would rather not discus it, if that is alright.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:35 am

I have no issue leaving your past alone, although my own is very important to me, Ara says. The history of the creed I follow is a proud one of which I am proud, and I cannot bring myself to leave it unsaid and in the distant mists of times gone by. She turns her head to Sella. "Her name is Artemia and she asks that we not probe deeply into who she is and from whence she comes."
"Swell," Sella sighs. "Well, at least she's not hostile."
"She appears to be harmless at worst. Still, watch closely. Even if not her, there are other things that may harm us or wish us harm." She turns her head back to Artemia. If your companion doesn't mind, I should like to know his name as well, and be introduced to him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:34 am

Amadues sighed and stepped forward, before bowing slightly. My name is Amadues. I am a devout follower of the Goddess. It is a pleasure to meet you both.

Artemia smiled and petted the wolf gently, before raising at an eyebrow at Ara. You seek the castle that the purple one frequents, correct? If it is knowledge you seek, surely the purple one has already found it. Unless, the knowledge you seek is hidden?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:15 am

A pleasure and honor to meet you, Amadeus, Ara says. And a pleasure to meet the Goddess as well. We'd have never imagined seeing her here, having no knowledge beforehand that she even existed.
"Probably wished to be left alone," Sella offers. "I mean, if I was an alicorn who preferred to be left alone, I'd live in a creepy forest and make sure no one knew I existed."
Yes, we seek knowledge from the castle that the purple one frequents, Ara confirms. If it matters to you at all, her name is Twilight Sparkle and she is a princess, a peer to Celestia and Luna. As to the knowledge we seek, we can only be certain that Twilight doesn't have it. Whether it is hidden, or how it is hidden, is a question we seek to learn by traveling to this castle.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:14 am

I'd prefer it if no-one knew I existed. The forest is quiet, and the announcement of my existence is bound to cause a stir... besides, I assume that your Princesses are Alicorns, no? By that Virtue, I would be one as well. Artemia paused and looked at Ara, though she kept walking. Hmmm these names seem familiar, and yet so foreign. Celestia and Luna? she raised an eyebrow questioningly as the castle began to become visible through the trees.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:40 am

Ara blinks in obvious surprise and turns to Sella, although her lantern is positioned such that Artemia could understand what she and Sella are saying. She says she doesn't know who Celestia and Luna are.
"That's absurd," Sella scoffs. "To be ignorant of the princesses, she'd have to have been stuck here since the castle was just being built, and whatever their flaws, they'd have certainly noticed an alicorn wandering the forest near their home."
However absurd it must be to you, sister, the magic that conveys the true meaning of her words to me across a language barrier would certainly highlight any untruths she speaks, Ara says, sounding very stern. She is in earnest; she knows nothing of the alicorns that guide the sun and moon.
Ara then turns to Artemia, clearly unaware that Artemia could understand the conversation. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are the alicorn princesses that magically guide the sun and moon across the sky. I find it very odd that you'd have never heard of them, although it's clear that you are speaking the absolute truth; the magic conveying the true meaning of your words would not convey anything untrue. She smiles with warmth. And we are pleased to keep your secret Artemia; if you wish to remain unknown and enjoying your privacy, we shan't speak a word of you to any pony.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:57 am

Artemia's eyes darted between the pair as they discussed her ignorance, and she sighed. If I may... I believe you may think me older than I am. I was born roughly 11, 844 Luner cycles ago... I believe that would make me 987 years old, correct? Further, I moved to this forest around... 20ish years after my birth. The castle was already heavily damaged by the time I was here. Further, I never received any sort of teaching beyond that that Mother Wolf gave to me.

Artemia paused and looked to the sky slowly, before returning her gaze to Ara. They... guide the sun and moon? How? Surely objects such as those heavenly bodies do not need magic to guide them. And how would one even move such an object? It would take magic of th highest power... thank you for keeping my secret.
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