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 Quaking in their boots

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The_Pariah

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PostSubject: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:58 am

The earthquakes began small, barely even noticed by the everyday ponies that moved across the planet's surface. But as they grew in size and in frequency, the populace began to grow in strength, and in frequency, panic took root in the ponies' hearts. Naturally worried for her citizens, Princess Celestia set out for the Everfree Forest, the only location on the continent completely unaffected by the disasters. However, Celestia has not returned from her investigation, and rumors have begun to spread that whatever lies in the forest has slain or captured her. As if to expedite upon their growing fears, the earthquakes only continued to grow, at the point where one was recorded almost every twelve hours.

With little other choice, Paladin Amor, Celestia's Personal Guard, placed a request an for the bravest warriors Equestria could muster, as well as those whom were willing to help their Princess. An interview was scheduled in the next few days for him to evaluate the the applicants, and gather a small group of the best to search the forest for the Princess.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paladin looked at the short list that had been gathered as he trotted backwards and forwards in the small office that he had gained upon becoming Celestia's personal guard. Grunting as he scanned it, his head jerked up at knock on the door, before opening for whomever stood outside. Cynthia trotted in and smiled. "Still going over the list?" She asked gently, leaning against one of his chairs.

"Yes... I mean, I assume that most of these ponies are capable, hell from all reports one them is some kind of angel or something, but then why the actual hell is he on this list?" He snorted and rolled his eyes. "He's not in the least bit... helpful."

"He could be, given that we are facing an unknown threat. Besides, he might finally be the 'chosen one' he wants to be. And even if not, the rest can cover for him," she giggled, before pushing to the door. "Come on, let's go greet our new strike force."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For those who had been shortlisted, they would find themselves gathered in a smallish room, one that resembled something of a foyer. The main doors would eventually swing open, a stallion with a cracked horn, and shining blue armour. His right ear twitched, the chunk that had been taken out of it obvious as he surveyed the group. "So," he started, eyes settling on each individual. "You are those who have been deemed strong enough to come with myself and Princess Luna to locate, and in necessary, retrieve, Princess Celestia. Amongst your number stand angels, those who can commune with the stars... One of you was the predecessor of Prince Shining Armor as Captain of the Canterlot Guard and part of Princess Celestia's personal guard, and were this a less intense situation, I would welcome him back to the fold. Another of you is mute, but if any of you let this fact distort your image of him, you can leave. One of you we have little record of, but is willing enough... and one of you I personally despise." Paladin paused, and shook his head.

"I will put those feelings aside for now, as we have a far more important task ahead of us. You have one hour to speak with me, before you depart for your houses to say your goodbyes. You will reconvene at the Southern Gate by seven am." Paladin nodded to himself and stepped into the crowd, ready to answer any questions they may have.


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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:26 pm

The white unicorn stallion Resonance turned about to look at Paladin as he entered the room, his electric blue mane bouncing a little under the drawn up hood of his hoodie. While the eyes seemed studious and curious, the rest of the face and expression were hidden behind a bandanna that had a sharp toothed grinning smile pattern on it, with crude looking extra thick decorative stitches zig-zagging over the teeth, creating the image that the mouth had been sewn shut, but the smile was pulling it open. The short dagger resting in it's scabbard and the saddlebags also shifted a little, but remained where they were for the most part. Resonance nodded once to Paladin as he left himself open for questions, but didn't say anything for the moment, seeming to be content to just sit back and watch. Though there could have also been the chance that he'd just been doing so out of intuition since anyone could see the cords for the headphones he was wearing, leading up and into his hood.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:25 pm

Blue was shocked about how there was apparently such little record on him! That took priority even over Celestia being missing, he was confident that everything would work out with her, but his own name would not maintain itself. Paladin was surely being coy. He had given only mild attention to the speech aside from the part he was mentioned, looking, but mostly playing with his mane. “It is hurtful how you downplay our relationship. You have surely heard of me, and my family keeps quite extensive records.” He didn't actually possess any real questions. He had no need of information as any of the brilliant plans he could have formed from it would likely be shot down anyway between Paladin and the other princess...With the princess in mind, one question did come to him. “Why does her highness have to come with us? As natural as her desire is, surely she is being kept busy.” Then again, from his interactions Luna was not reasonable and was liable to do as she wished. He could never get away with the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:22 am

Off to the side, stand three beings not of this world. Two of them are literally stardust possessing mortal shells. One of them is a fallen angel. All three of them are very, very drunk.
Fortunately, apart from the occasional stumble, they don't show it. They are, after all, an angel and two stars. Slurred speech isn't a problem with you simply twist the emotions of those around you to what you, or you simply don't care.

As such, the three otherworldly beings were leaning against a pillar, thoroughly plastered and armed to the teeth. "Hey... They talk regarding thing. The thing thing, Sol's pet. tia, that thing." "Wha? Why bring mention?" "Speak, ponies, thing. Here, location..." "Spoons? Why?" "Filly..... Filly-suntag..... Filly-suntag opal...... Query..... Thingy" "Oh..... Eava fall then..." "Acknowledged."

Having concluded the discussion, the three looked over at Paladin, listening attentively, and not understanding any of what he was saying. not because they were drunk, but because he was speaking Equestrian, instead of The Formless Void Between Stars or The Holy Script of Heaven, which were really the only two languages the three of them knew.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:05 am

Nox sat stiffly in the foyer, her eyes darting around to each of the ponies, focusing on the oddest ones most frequently. She’d been completely silent since she'd arrived; only her pet phoenix, who’d ridden on her belt on the way in here (Nox’s belt held her wings to her back in case she was startled or sudden wingboner), made any noises, and they were coos of uncertainty. Nox’s eyes rested most frequently upon the two changelings and what appeared to be a pegasus with two pairs of wings; changelings she did not trust from experience, and the pegasus… she wasn’t sure what to make of yet.

When the door opened and Paladin walked in, Nox’s attention snapped to him (as did her phoenix’s). Nox saw that the armored unicorn’s horn was broken at the top, and with a pang of sympathy wondered what had happened to him to cause such an injury.

Nox gave the unicorn her full attention as he spoke, careful to take in every word he said. However, one word sent her heart into her throat in an instant. Angels? What? The Angels, as Nox knew them, were dangerous zealots who believed in an afterlife beyond Luna’s stars, and only the most worthy ponies made it into this afterlife called “Heaven”. However, their idea of “worthy” was… strict, at best, and offensive, harmful, and dangerous at its worst. She’d dealt with Angels on only a hoofful of occasions, but none of those occasions had turned out pleasant; one of those occasions had nearly resulted in the decimation of a village and everypony in it. Nox shuffled anxiously, coincidentally at the same time Paladin mentioned her lack of records


Just how desperate was this pony? Or were these “Angels” not the kind Nox knew?

Nox’s eyebrow arched as Blue Sensation spoke. I think he was talking about me, genius. Nox thought. Although… “The stallion brings up a good point.” Nox said, speaking for the first time since she arrived. Her voice was formal but slightly scratchy. “Isn’t Princess Luna needed in Canterlot to keep order in Equestria during a time like this? Or has that duty been appointed to Princess Twilight Sparkle and the other Bearers of Harmony?” When she finished speaking, her eyes darted to each pony in the room, as if hoping to find an Angel. Her eyes once again fell on the two changelings (she made sure not to look at the other one’s tail this time) and the pegasus with two pairs of wings. Nox would be keeping a special eye on those three.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:08 am

Oathbound was silent throughout the whole exchange of words between the ones who had been assembled, anxious to move out into the Everfree to go search for the lost Princess Celestia.
He knew she was alive and that the rumors that claimed otherwise were based on falsehoods. He knew that the Solar Diarch was not going to be killed that easily. Whatever was causing these earthquakes, he knew she would survive them.
"I know that from personal experience..." He thought grimly, as his memories reminded him of the day when he left Canterlot and retired early out of his own volition. He quickly shook his head to clear those dark thoughts from his mind.

"I would not join the guard again, not voluntarily. I failed Princess Celestia once before and she asked me to stay. I refused. In fact, I most likely would have gone searching for her alone if not for Princess Twilight Sparkle sending me here." It was true, he was planning on going to the Everfree by himself to search for Celestia and either return with her or die trying. Only the intervention of the newest Princess of Equestria along with the Elements of Harmony made him come to this meeting.

He looked around at the assembled force that was talking about Princess Luna's involvement in this.
"As for Princess Luna's part in this... I'm confident that Princess Sparkle can keep order within Equestria while our Lunar Diarch joins us to search for her sister. And I for one will not deny her that chance." With that, he sat down and began to sharpen his conjured weapons in order to prepare his mind for the journey ahead.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:40 am

Paladin was quiet for a moment as Blue asked his question, taking several deep breaths, before groaning and running an armoured hoof down his face. "I'm not entirely sure whether you are actually that stupid, or whether you're playing dumb Blue, but when I referred to the pony we have little on, I was referring to the mare with the phoenix. I was talking about you when I said there was someone here I despise. In case you still haven't worked it out, the pony I despise is you. I would gladly throw your stupid ass out of here and never see you again were these not dire circumstances." He groaned and shook his head. "I forgot for a moment how aggravating you are. As for your second, actually valid question, and for you too, Miss New Moon, Princess Luna is coming with us for two very simple reasons. The first is that she has been apart from her sister for a thousand years, and she has only just returned, relatively speaking. Could you honestly tell me that if you were in her position, you would not want to be reunited as soon as possible?"

He began to move towards the small group as he continued. "The second reason is that she wants to, and I sure as Tartarus am not going to stop her. I have been around Celestia since before the Nightmare Moon return, and I would say that as her personal guard I know her better than just about anyone else alive. Unfortunately, even I do not know the extent of the powers of those two... Despite this, Luna is powerful enough to melt wood. I do not want to get in her way."

"As for Princess Twilight and the Elements, they and Discord have been assigned to protect and watch over the capital and by extension, Equestria whilst we journey to the Everfree forest," he said as he stopped in front of the group. "A shame that you won't rejoin Oath... But I can understand why." He glanced at the three ponies who lounged in the corner, and the stallion who had not spoken a single word the entire time. "Now, are there more questions you would like to ask of me?" He asked, glancing around.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:09 am

“You would throw me out, but you would hate to be deprived of your greatest asset.” It was part of schoolfilly games to say one thing and mean another. It was only the high stress situation that a made Paladin act like that. It meant he had to correct him. “I don't not know from where the lie about the fragility of nobility stems from, but I will prove it to be just a lie.” Blue sighed tiredly before forcing a smile as his chest inflated. “The chosen one needs no instruction, but I will humor you; do you feel there is something we should know you are keeping from us? No detail too unimportant when your job does not involve look for the big and pointy. I also think it is unwise to try and probe the depth of her highness’ thoughts. The regal mind is an interesting one, but hard to view with clarity.” Trying to empathise with Luna was a fruitless endeavour, seeing as her mind was unstable. It was probably best such an unproven ruler was being kept away on reflection of things. New Moon was so silly for asking that question about if she was coming. Of course Luna would act against reason. They'd be perfectly fine without out, they had two guards to hit things and him to do all the hard work.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:34 am

Oh, why do I feel like this pony is going to be a great pain in my flank? Nox thought, her brows furrowing as she stared at Blue Sensation with a mixture of incredulity and annoyance. And "Chosen One"? What? "While I appreciate your desire for any information that will aid in our mission," Nox spoke up again, her voice hard and her irritation with the pony weaving in and out of her words. "I fear you may be using the term "Chosen One" incorrectly. You see, a Chosen One is, as the title implies, chosen; he or she does not bestow the title upon his or herself. To do so is extremely pompous and arrogant, and concerns me about your true value and ability as a member of the team meant to retrieve one of the Princesses of Equestria."

Nox paused to take a deep breath; through her little rant, her words had come out increasingly fast and cold, and now she took a moment to calm herself. Pyra, meanwhile, seemed to be grinning widely at Blue Sensation, as if he were a bratty foal who'd just been told off in front of the entire class.

"So," Nox continued, not having taken very long to calm herself. "have you been deemed a chosen one by somepony, a being that is not a pony, or some kind of magical tablet, scroll, or other important artifact? Because if not, then I'd greatly appreciate it if you did not presume yourself a pony chosen to be above all others."

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:42 am

"No. You truly cannot understand the burden I live with and why I cannot join the Guard again." Oath said, feeling his mood darken by the minute. He knew he should stop being so negative about things, lest he bring about something that could jeopardize this whole mission, but it was hard to resist...

But resist he must. He already has one task in hoof, no sense in adding him to complicate it.
"But I do have one question. Will we have to be silent about this mission, especially about Princess Luna's involvement?"

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:01 pm

While the others seemed to be starting to bicker and squabble among each other, and the whole mood was starting to diminish around here, Resonance lightly tapped a hoof to the ground. Now while this feet might have been usually unremarkable in nearly every aspect, the effect it created would likely serve his purpose and that was the light little hoof tapping causing a sound at levels that were closer to a small explosion. When Paladin might bother to look over at him, the mostly covered pony would shake his head from side to side to silently say "no" and then throw the same hoof up and over his should with a gesture backwards as if to say either "I'll be going now" or "I got someplace to be," without actually saying a word. Then Resonance would turn about and walk out of the room, the music that had apparently been playing from his headphones, some kind of heavy techno dubstep, turning up to where nearly everyone in the room would be able to hear it even though the devices were still currently over Resonance's own ears.

An impossibly short while later, Rez could be seen entering a neon lit up club to the cheers of several ponies waiting in line to enter. He waved to them as he passed as well as to several of the ponies that were already in the club and starting to party, there wasn't however too many bodies on the dance floor yet, an issue that Rez thought to remedy rather soon as he weaved and worked his way over to the stage. He quickly found himself behind the array of equipment and devices that would fill the place with music and with practiced ease, Rez had his headphones plugged in and had the first track playing while adjusting the sound levels to make it better for the rave. Seeing as this was probably going to be his last show for at least a little while, something Rez had made sure to inform the owners and fans, Rez worked towards filling the obligation of making this party the best he'd performed for yet. Track after track was to be played, each one near seamlessly blending into the next at certain points as the minutes slowly turned to hours.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:02 am

Very slowly, Paladin turned towards Blue, electricity sparking and crackling across his horn before he took a breath and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Blue. As our good friend Miss Moon over here has pointed out, you are not a chosen one. No-one chose you, you chose yourself. So in answer to your question Miss Moon, no-one chose this ignoramus, he is a self styled chosen one. And the only reason that you have not been cast from the castle is not because you are an invaluable asset, which you are not, it is because-"

The small sound explosion interrupted him, and he turned to Rez, bowing minutely. "My apologies... I shall put Blue's... abrasive nature to one side. You are, of course, free to go sir. Just remember, 7 am tomorrow."

"In answer to your question," a new voice filled the room, the doors Paladin had used earlier swinging open to reveal the Princess of the Night in all her fearsome beauty. "We are afraid that it is better not to worry the populace any further. If We were to announce that We were heading to the Everfree to locate Our sister, We are afraid that it would only cause more panic. Rather, We see it being a better choice to let Twilight, who is a national hero, take control in out absence, and simply portray Us as the moody loner the ponies think Us to be."

She trotted over to Paladin, glancing at Blue in the process. "I believe that it is hard for one who cannot understand the most basic principles to grasp any sort of reasoning, and that is why you struggle to understand me," she regarded the stallion for a moment longer before turning back to Paladin. "Has Pariah sent word from his scouting of the Everfree?"

"Uh, yes Princess..." he paused to pull out a notice. "He says: 'The Everfree is strangely calm, but there is no sign of the Princess. I've marked a path towards her last known location, so it's all yours Moonbutt.'" Paladin turned back to the group and smiled. "Unless you have any pressing issues, I'm afraid that is all for today. You are dismissed."

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:29 am

The party was going great, or at least it had all the signs that it was going great. The music thudded and bounced throughout the club, yet with just a subtle use of his magic, Rez was able to balance it evenly within the space so that the crowd could even hang out and dance next to the speakers without going deaf. Lights flashed, ponies danced, a wave of cheers would erupt when Rez would switch over to a different but recognized song, and there Rez was bobbing his head and occasionally pumping a hoof to the beats behind his station.

A few hours into his set and Rez was starting to feel the strain so with a few quick switch flips and a couple buttons pressed, Rez left the system to run on automatic while he took a few moments to relax. Rez then slid as discretely as he could from behind the station and out onto the floor while trying to work his way over to the bar. A quick hoof wave to the bartender, and the stallion passed over a small yet powerful shot and a cool damp washcloth. Carefully sliding the shot glass up under his bandanna, Rez tilted his head back to put all the act of downing the shot, but in truth he was just putting on the act while hiding the liquid. Then came the damp washcloth that was actually being used to cool off, though while he was a body was suddenly shoved into him. It was nearly enough for him to lose hidden liquid, but he barely managed to keep it contained while turning about to see who'd crashed into him.

It was a mare at least, and a cute one by the looks of it. Even with her mane flustered and covering most of her face, she was already apologizing profusely and bent down to pick things up. When she finally looked up, her eyes went wide and the apologies mixed with a higher tone and compliments until Rez raised a hoof to her mouth to silence her. He then winked at her and made a gesture with his head towards the stage. The mare suddenly turned a little timid and shy, but the goading on from her friends was more than enough to overcome those hesitations and she was then following Rez up onto the stage and joining him behind the console. She watched in awe as Rez started up the second half of the night's set and even motioned for her to hit a few of the buttons when she wasn't too busy dancing next to him. When the party finally started winding down and the crowd began to disperse, the mare was practically hanging on him with exhaustion and with his help, they went back to his apartment.

The next morning, Rez woke up to the ringing of his alarm that he'd barely managed to remember to set amidst the night's other activities. He glanced down then to the mare that was still partially wrapped around him, his eyes lingering on her flank for a few extra moments before he detached himself from her and set about getting cleaned up and ready. The last thing he did before leaving was leave a note explaining why he wouldn't be there and that the mare could help herself to some breakfast before leaving. Compared to the night before, the walk to the gate wasn't nearly that exciting and Resonance used it to wake up a bit more getting there.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:42 pm

Astra and Stella did, in fact, have pressing issues. But these issues did not at all involve Paladin. Rather, they were focused entirely on Luna. They both walk over to her, Radiant trailing behind.
As soon as they are close, they both bow low to her...... Then tackle-hug her.
Speaking in a language no one else in the room would understand, the language of Stars, they say "We missed you! We were so worried! We're sorry we couldn't save you. Please, forgive us!"

Radiant, meanwhile, stares at the ceiling.

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"To allow you to live serves no purpose. Knowledge must be preserved, and I already have yours."
"We are opposites.... And strong."
"I'm on my way Sister."
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:21 pm

Nox merely glanced between Paladin and Blue, her most concerning thought being that she still wasn’t used to being called New Moon, even after over 300 years of using the false name in public. Probably, she thought, because she hardly ever went into the public, or anywhere near a single pony, if she could help it. Still hadn’t gotten used to the name. Or maybe it was that she wasn’t used to being addressed, at least not in a positive or at least neutral way-

The sound of a small explosion caused Nox to jump in her seat, the tip of her horn lighting up and her wings attempting to flare, momentarily bulging underneath her cloak and tight belt. When she saw by Paladin’s reaction that it had just been Resonance, she calmed down, but wondered how in Equestria the pony had made such a sound.

7 am tomorrow.
Nox thought. Okay… so now I need a clock. With an alarm. I hope Pyra’s picked up enough stray bits for one… That wasn’t even mentioning that Nox didn’t have a place to sleep. Not really.

"In answer to your question,"

Nox’s head turned so fast her neck cricked. She paid the pain no mind. It was Princess Luna! Nox squeaked, which she attempted (rather poorly) to pass off as a coughing fit. With a bright red blush.

Nox’s heart was suddenly pounding. She tugged at the neck of her cloak and scratched her throat.

Then Nox looked rather taken aback. Moonbutt? That was rather… informal.

She was prepared to leave- perhaps Pyra would wake her up when it was 7 am -when those two changelings approached Luna and bowed. Then they tackled her, shouting what might’ve been speech, in a language she didn’t remotely recognize. It certainly wasn’t changeling chatter.

Nox jumped out of her seat and lit her horn. “What are you doing to the Princess?!” she demanded.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:44 pm

“I am sure all children are afraid of your first school teacher ranting. I would apologise but I fail to see any offence that the facts could cause, miss. It is a simple case of learning to read the omens. Things such as this are easy when you are a genius such as I am. It was the wind that conveyed to me the universe's message. It wishes for me to succeed in a grand fashion. Any denials of this are just displeasure about my grander destiny,” He slowed his speech and gave a glare to Paladin, highlighting one such whiny soul.

Blue took a deep breath as he readied himself to speak further, but such was never meant to be the great vibration and sounds having shook loose his thoughts, cutting him short and causing a flinch. He sighed with weary superiority and turned to leave. He was already halfway out of the door by the time Luna entered, and he did his best to not even look, departing in good time whilst ignoring the princess.

By the time he had made the short walk home, the words that had him fuming before were vented. He spent some of the evening looking through his library for books about the forest, though he hardly had the latest scientific journals nearby. He also looked into seismic activity and how it could be achieved through magical means, trying to size up what would be needed to make it work. Once he felt prepared, the thought occurred to him that he should go on ahead, and that he was wasting his time with such a group, but he also knew few would believe his exploits with witnesses that were reliable. The nobility could fight as well, better than anypony! There had to be a reason why they avoided it when possible. He would pen a letter impersonating Luna praising his own bravery and suggesting that some reward be given; mostly a fail safe action since he held his doubts the princess would be so generous. With his preparations complete he would retire for the night.

Having done all that he truly wanted the night before, Blue could spend his time making sure he looked as good as possible, pulling all of the vain stops. Better and cleaner looking he was now, the better groomed he would be when finished. Once ready, he ate a gluttonous breakfast at one of the few places open so early in the morning, wanting the avoid reliance on whatever food might be brought with them. He knew he would see little of such supplies.He was at the gate around twenty minutes before seven AM, allowing time for interruptions which never occurred.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:52 pm

Oathbound raised his eyebrows at the name Moonbutt. Rather informal to use such a nickname in front of the princess, not to mention potentially offensive, even if it is on point.
Then the two figures who were supposed to be stars, quite literally, glomped her.
His axes flared up as they did so, ready to be telekinetically launched at the two figures if need be. This was also heightened at the sudden hardening of Oath's features as his eyes became sharp and drilling deep into the two solar figures who just tackled the Lunar Diarch.
He was going to demand the two beings to release the princess at once but New Moon's question was fired first, so he simply let that one gain all the weight in the conversation.

His veteran instincts were kicking in, slowly. He had no idea what these star-like being were capable of but if they tried to harm Luna, they'd go through him.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:20 am

Luna raised an eyebrow as Nox let out a squeak, but she said nothing, instead chuckling at Pariah's name for her. "I see... well, it is good to see that he has not been taken by the same forces that took my sister. I-" She paused as the two ponies bowed to her, before letting a surprised yelp as they hugged her tightly, her eyes drawn to Nox who cried out, and Oath who had drawn his weapons. "Please, both of you, be calm... these two and I have... hostory together. Paladin, if you could escort them out?" She asked calmly, petting each of the star-ponies gently.

Paladin nodded and bowed, before he moved over to Oath and Nox. "I'm afraid the princess has requested a private audience. If you have further questions, you can ask them tomorrow morning. Am I understood?" he asked, looking more at Oath than at than Nox. If either pony tried to push passed him, a crackling blue shield would erupt between them and the princess, before he would forcibly pushed the pair out.

Once they were alone, Luna smiled gently and continued to pet the pair. "My dear, dear stars, I missed you too... and you have nothing to be sorry for. You tried your best after all, and I have returned, safe and well," she murmured before she looked over them at Radiant. "And it seems you have made a new..." she paused and sniffed the air before looking at them incredulously. "How much have you had drink?" She asked with a frown.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before the sun had even risen, Paladin was standing at the southern gate, a dark brown hooded cloak curled over his armour, the hood resting on his neck. He yawned quietly, resting against one of the walls, and waiting. The first to arrive was a mare, who was dressed in a similar brown cloak, her short grey and white mane shining as the sun started to rise beyond the horizon. He smiled and waved, before yawning again.

As Blue arrived at the gate, Paladin sighed and rolled his eyes. "Well, I mean, at least you're able to somewhat punctual," he said sarcastically, pulling the mare in the cloak closer to him as he gave a subtle glare. The glare faded as Rez approached and he smiled and nodded to the stallion. "And good to see you as well Mr Rez," he said politely.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:25 am

Oathbound slowly gauged Princess Luna's eyes as she told them about the stars and how they knew one another. He then dismissed his weapons which disappeared in light-blue wisps of light. "Apologies Princess. Perhaps if I could communicate with your friends this can be avoided in the future? I'll try to find some translation spells to make this possible." With that possible solution presented, he turned away, patting New Moon on the shoulder and motioning towards the door. He knew better than to try and push past the guard, for he knew how dangerous a shield like that could be when used by a trained guard. And Celestia's personal guards were the best of the best.

Once they were outside, Oath turned back towards Paladin. "You're a good stallion, Paladin." He then laid a hoof on guard's shoulder. "Keep up the good work. Don't make the same mistakes I did, even if the princesses claim that it was a mistake anypony would make. It's a heavier burden than what any being should bear." With that, he turned away and walked towards the ramparts of the castle to reminisce for a while before going to the library to study up on any possible translation spells for the night.

As the dawn arrived Oathbound was on the ramparts once again, looking at the rising sun with a sad sigh. Reminiscing about that night was not something he liked to do, but times like this forcefully brought those painful memories back to the forefront of his mind.
Once everypony was assembled, he jumped down from the walls closest to the south gate, using a spell to make his landing completely safe. He used that spell often way back when, using it to allow quick responses to calls for aid, either within the castle or without.

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An empty mind is like unto a freshly turned sod, if not sown with the seeds of love, duty and honour, the insidious weeds of heresy will take root.

- Prefect Xavier Lanate, from his essay "Heresy and Faith: an Introspection"

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:07 pm

Resonance waved to Paladin when the guard called out to him, though Resonance himself remained as silent as usual. Rez stretched a little when he got to the station and seemed to let out a yawn, before pulling up his headphones and turning on some music while he waited with the others. He didn't really pay the others much mind for the moment, not addressing them with more than an occasional cursory glance as he continued to lightly bob his head to the music.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:26 pm

The two Stars nod, still hugging their Luna, only releasing and giving her some breathing room when everyone is out. She still stay close enough to be petted though, having missed her greatly. Radiant continues staring at the ceiling.
"Oh, yes, Radiant Hope. We met her a year or so ago. She's a Fallen Angel. We just finished teaching her Star Speech, and she has been teaching us Equestrian and The Language of Heaven."
When Luna questions how much they've had to drink, all three heads snap towards her with a look of alarm, then try desperately to look nonchalant. They all three fail perfectly.
"Not, uh, that much...." Astra says, nervously. From over in her corner, Radiant calls out "We won a prize for out-drinking all the others. Free drinks. The limits of this prize were tested post-haste."

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:15 pm

Blue shook his head as Paladin spoke. Perhaps it might have been better to come later...His hope had been to arrive before the stallion.He had planned to tell the stallion something anyway, though his mood had been slightly soured.  “I have yet to even speak and you've already taken that tone? Being purposefully antagonistic goes against what you said yesterday about ingoing your feelings. Did you forget that this your own responsibility and you asked for help. I'm helping you do your job as nobility must be more sympathetic to those less fortunate. They should also not renege on promises so try to stick to your own words.” He was helping and was going to help no matter how he was spoken to, or however Paladin chose to answer his next question. “There is one more thing I wished to ask you yesterday, but Luna’s presence may have coloured your answer. Is the mission to eliminate the source of these disasters or to rescue Celestia...Should it come to an either-or situation?” He seemed oddly hesitant, and his voice was quieter and less proclaiming than usual. He was somewhat curious about what each member of the group was actually there for. All but the antisocial headphone pony seemed like a group of princess worshipers. For him as a chosen saving a pony below him in all but title was not at all the mission, but he was also nobility as he loved to speak about and that came with rules, like the ones he stated.
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:04 pm

History? With changelings? Nox blinked, taking a moment to process this information, and the magic surrounding her horn having dispersed. Then she nodded at Paladin, bowed low to Princess Luna, then turned and left the building, Pyra balanced on her haunches.

Once they were out of potential spotting distance of Oath, Paladin, Luna, or anypony else from the group, Nox stopped. Pyra left Nox for a few minutes and flew around the castle grounds, as discretely as a phoenix could at night, and when she returned she guided Nox all the way into the royal gardens.

With Nox taken care of, Pyra flew into the city, found and mimed a request to a thestral pony to wake her at 6 am, and went to sleep herself.


Nox arrived at the southern gate at 6:30 am, coffee in magic, dark bags under her eyes, and Pyra working feverishly through what appeared to have been a nasty bedhead. She nodded to Paladin and the mare she didn’t recognize next to him.

She also nodded to Rez. Blue, though, she just stared at blankly, glad she was too groggy to let this stallion anger or irritate her. Or, at least, that’s what she thought, until the stallion opened his mouth; Nox’s jaw actually dropped.

“Why is he here again?” Nox grumbled to Paladin. Really, this stallion is so full of himself that he considers saving the co-ruler of Equestria charity work?! Nox swore to herself that if this stallion’s loyalty came into question, she would not hesitate to eliminate him and his dangerous mentality from the group.

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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:54 pm

Previous Night

Outside the castle Paladin gave Oath a small smile and shook his head, before looking up at the castle. "A good stallion? Perhaps... Who can say, really? I try my best though, if that's what you mean. And yes, I will not fail where you did, I will make my own mistakes... it's all a part of living after all," he looked back at the former guard and smiled. "I've read your files Oath... even the secure ones. I won't tell anyone your secret, but do not act as I do not know what you are going through. We all have our own demons."

Inside, Luna raised an eyebrow very slowly at the trio and let out a tiny, inaudible sigh of annoyance. "Really? A drinking competition? Are you not the wise and powerful stars who sided with Us at Our fall?" She asked, still hugging and stroking them gently. What in Our sister's name possessed to consume vast amounts of alcohol?" She asked with a confused smile, before looking at Radiant. "And you are not off the hook either. Why would you think that it is appropriate for an angel, even a fallen one, to get drunk enough that it would kill an ordinary pony?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Early Morning


Paladin looked at Blue and gave what could only be described as the most sickly-sweet smile to have ever been etched on the face of a pony. "Blue, when did I ever say anything offensive? All I did was make a verbal note that you were in fact punctual to the early morning meeting. And Blue, my... acquaintance, I outrank you. So please, if you would, for the sanity of everyone here, please either keep your mouth closed, or stop talking so much. Thank you." He paused and considered the question. "If the situation ever arose that there was the choice to be made, I'm sure the chosen one could... face the threat long enough for the rest of us to save the princess. If that is not an option, then the world comes first," he replied.

"He is here because he signed up, and haven't you heard Miss Moon, he's the chosen one," he leaned in, and out of earshot of Blue, whispered into her ear. "And besides, he might make a good distraction," he murmured, before straightening up as Oath arrived. "Now, I bet you are all curious as to who the mare next to me is. If you would introduce yourself...?"

The mare nodded and stepped forward, bowing her head, dark blue armour flashing under the cloak. "I am simply called the Dark Hound of Celestia, and I will be accompanying you throughout your journey. Is that alright with you all?" She asked, her voice melodic, yet quiet, and she gave a fierce grin. "If not, we can fight now, and I shall judge you to see if you are worthy..."
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PostSubject: Re: Quaking in their boots    Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:42 am

Rez kept his headphones on while the others arrived and talked, his eyes darting to those that were speaking as if he was following the conversation even with the headphones still covering his ears. Rez's expressions however were still mostly hidden thanks to the bandanna that still covered more than half of his face, featuring the same stitched shut smile pattern as the one he'd had on the prior night. The little expressiveness that came from his eyes was then also kept to a minimum, or he was still a bit sleepy and just not that expressive yet, it would be a little hard to tell with so much covered.

Either way, when the new pony introduced herself Rez gave her a curious look that managed to shake off the prior sluggishness. For a moment, there might have even been a hint of fear in his eyes, but then it faded after another second spent studying this Dark Hound of Celestia. Rez's horn dimly lit with magic as a dry erase board and marker were levitated out of one of his saddlebags. The marker made some quick scribbles on the board before it was turned around to be read. Don't mind, but do you have something else we can call you? Like Shadow? Nights?... Freckles? Dark Hound of Celestia is just a little long to be writing everytime, was crammed onto the little white board in thick, black marker.
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