"Every war has its traitors."
-Lara T' Soni, during the Cerberus attack on Sur'kesh. 2186 CE (Council Era)
Translation: Honor among gods and mayhem.
Location: Near the castle of the Empress of Equestria, Everfree Forest.
Rain was pouring heavily on the campsite of the Equestrian Army; everyone in the camp was getting paranoid and heavily agitated for the upcoming battle. The enemy had found them shortly after the betrayal of one of their own. Morale was very low from the last battle with the enemy. The soldiers kept themselves warm by the campfires from the freezing elements of nature itself. Thunder roared throughout the darkened sky; lightning flashed across the camp. It was a very terrifying sight for the little foals, tucking themselves beneath their mothers. But, not for the soldiers; they had endured a war that had plagued their land for fifteen long years.
In one of the many campfires, five soldiers of the 22nd Equestrian legionnaire force of the Everfree were wrapping themselves in cloths to keep warm. They were engaged in a
conversation about their recent defeat and their families back home.
”So, Storm how is you're family back in Cloudsdale? I heard from your brother he is in the Loxística,”A Pegasus messenger, by the name of Goliath, asked. His cutie mark was a sword cross with a bow and arrow. His mane was black with streaks of yellow in it, and his fur was a light brown with a mix of red. His tail was also the same color as his fur.
Next to him was another messenger, who wore the same silver armor that he was wearing.
Her mane was an aqua color while her fur was a pinkish color. The cutie mark on her flank was an orange about to be cut by a knife.
“Yes he is; originally he refused the offer for the position, but when our hometown had fallen, he changed his mind” Storm replied.
One of them, an earth pony with a green mane and a black coat with a shield as a cutie mark, levitated a piece of firewood and threw it into the raging fire that was struggling to stay alive against the oncoming downpour of rain.
“So,Thunderheart, did you hear that rumor about the human?” nudged the soldier next to him. The soldier had a red mane with purple streaks; his coat was mildly brown, and his cutie mark was a plow.
“You mean the Guardian?” he answered as he threw another log into the fire, slowly incinerating it.
“You know, the rumor about him screwing with The Empress.” His friend nudged him again, smirking in response.
Thunderheart didn’t respond. He had heard this rumor from many of his friends and comrades during battles and after. He, of course, had heard this rumor from the nurses in the medical tents. When he ate in the mess hall, he could hear the soldiers talk about how the Guardian would go in The Empress’ tent and spend the next fortnight.
Of course, there was barely any evidence of them having a…relationship. The only time he, himself, had seen the Guardian entering The Empress’ tent was during the aftermath of Terra Mortuorum.
He shuddered at the memories. The Battle of Terra Mortuorum was a complete disaster from the start. It took place on one of the open grasslands near one of the mountains that held the ancient city of Canterlot.
Discord Army, known as the 3rd army of the Daemonium, was camped there. Since their camp was close to the ponies, it helped give The Empress the perfect time on planning a counterattack. She had planned for two legions to attack during the night, hoping that defeating them would open up an opportunity to recapture some of the villages, including Thunderheart’s small home village of Hoofington.
His village was completely destroyed when it fell to the forces of chaos. They would pay dearly for what they took from him.
Thunderheart gritted his teeth as he remembered how Hoofington had been destroyed during the great counter offensive from Discord army. The anger in him grew as repressed memories began to surface.
Unfortunately, right before the battle was to take place, the Daemonium attacked their camp during the middle of the night; catching them completely off guard. Because of his absence at the battle, it was apparent that a unicorn General by the name of Lucky Star tipped off the Daemonium about the damn plan, convinced that the cause of freeing Equestria was hopeless, and hoping, by his actions, to be granted amnesty from Discord for himself.
The attack was quick and devastating. Without enough time to organize, the ponies didn’t have a fighting chance. The casualties were heavy. The Daemonium had torn through the camp, leaving behind many of their dead enemies behind them. Of the six thousand ponies that were part of the operation, only about two thousand survived. If not for the interference of the Guardian, the casualties would have been even higher. With the loss of so many stallions, it left their left flank guarded with raw recruits barely trained in the many training camps hidden near the home of their Goddess in the Everfree Forest.
But now the Equestrian Army was in somewhat of a disorganized state from the disaster. The screams of the wounded, as the doctors performed amateur amputations on them, were washed over only by the roaring thunder above them. Many will not live to see another day. Captains of the once powerful and respected legions of the Equestrian Army scrambled to find and organize any survivors, and count how many had survived the initial attack. Most of the generals in the command tent argued amongst each other over the sudden betrayal of one of their own. Hell, the argument almost turned into a full blown brawl when one of Lucky Star’s closest friends, General Treue, began defending him, causing the generals to suspect Treue of helping Star deliver the information to the enemy. Fortunately the Guardian stopped it before it had gotten too far.This, of course, placed Treue on constant surveillance requiring him to be escorted by guards at all time to and from the command tent to make sure this betrayal was the last one.
Thunderheart’s ears perked up as he heard the grass behind him crunch under the thumping of hoofsteps. And speak of the devil, there he was; Thunderheart craned his neck to see the lucky bastard. The general was wearing a tar coat to keep himself warm from the cold rain. Walking alongside him was two of the Goddess’ personal elite guards. Their armor was covered in an unknown silver alloy that, if the rumors are true, is almost unbreakable. Their helmets almost cover their heads except for their mouths. Thunderheart couldn’t help but stare at the legendary warriors of The Empress in amazement and in fear of their awesome armor that would give even the god of chaos himself a challenge. But, despite their high mortality training (having been trained by The Goddess and The Guardian themselves) and their overwhelming, undying loyalty to their Empress, they were too few in number to turn the tide. Thunderheart watched as the general talked to some of the soldiers in a nearby camp, trying to boost their morale after the complete disaster at Mortuorum. He gritted his teeth again as the general gave his usual warming smile to the troops, assuring them that everything will be fine.
Despite him being found innocent for charges of treason and espionage, many of the Equestrian legions do not trust him. Even though Treue was a great tactician among the rest of Equestria’s citizens that were or not under control by Discord and his Daemonic armies, his spirit for fighting the enemy directly is somewhat…cowardly. Before the emergence of the god of chaos and the war that sparked from it, unicorns, like their earthen and winged counterparts, were the political leaders of the Equestrian government. Even though about ¼ of the government jobs were filled with Pegasus and Earth ponies, still the majority were unicorn. Yet, even though the unicorns have excellent experience in governance and their legendary diplomatic skills could convince an arrogant Minotaur to back down, their military skills were somewhat questionable in terms of fighting and courage.
Their style of fighting is, of course, using combat magic. Since unicorns have the ability to create new spells in the confines of their castles, their military was able to create spells to enchant their armor and weaponry and also use spells to conjure up shields to protect the castle, an entire village, or an entire city. Of course, magic doesn’t come without a cost. Magic can drain the unicorn’s stamina which can prove a disadvantage when entering hoof to hoof combat. Yet, despite their weakness in stamina when using magic, the common unicorn can unleash some devastating magical power on their opponents. Despite their confidence in their ability at destroying their enemies with their all-powerful magic, their arrogant attitude towards other species and their own, has cost them greatly during the tribal wars. When the foodstuffs of the unicorn states were in short supply due to the everlasting winter, they declared war on the nearby Earth pony tribes in the Everfree region, subjecting and controlling their only source of producing food and mines full of raw materials.
The campaign in the Everfree region turned into a stalemate as some arrogant unicorn Generals, inadequate against the Earth ponies’ abilities at warfare, gave the occupied populace hope and caused some to form resistance cells to disrupt supply runs and harass unicorn troop movements.
Due to their magical connection to Mother Nature herself, the Earth Ponies’ great endurance and their natural physical abilities made them excellent in the art of tramping through the wilderness around them and the dozens of regions that dotted next to, or bordered the large Everfree Forest that is their home. They were considered legends even before the unification of Equestria down to the last of the legendary race, The Alicorns.
Since the emergence of the Earth Pony tribes, there had been constant sightings of “winged and horned ponies” reported by hunters that traversed through the forest to hunt for manticore pelts that were used for winter clothes and trade for basic essentials. Mostly their reports are regarded as superstitious nonsense by the Earth Pony populace since there was no possible way for a Pegasus pony and a unicorn hybrid to exist due to the rising tensions of the two tribes, and the unicorn’s negative views on interracial relationships.
Of course, the reports of these “winged, horned ponies” did reach the ears of the Pegasus tribes in their fortress clouds over those they considered inferior in fighting. Many of their warriors had traveled and failed to find these special ponies and hunt them down to prove their worth to their God of War, Bellum Damnationis, and gain prestige for their families in the political scene.
But the most noticeable thing in some reports was the telling of a bipedal creature, carrying a bow and arrow or sometimes a sword, accompanied by two small versions of the winged unicorn.
The unicorns’ reaction to the reports of winged unicorns living in the Everfree was…well quite mixed. The reports caused a stir in religious leaders across the unicorn states, including the church of the Matercula Equa.
The church of Matercula Equa was one of the oldest religious institutions dating back to when the unicorns founded and settled in the city of Canterlot in nine hundred eleven BECE (Before Equestria Common Era). Unlike their earthen and winged brethren, who worshiped their gods who helped them make the clouds or gave them good luck on the next harvest, the unicorns, who followed the church, worshiped these beings of untold magical power that they described in their scrolls.
Legends foretold of these beings of unimaginable magical power that were able to bend the heavens themselves. It was said that Alicorns were the first on their planet to reach the apex of their civilization, carving out their small settlements on the planet making cities that could breach the heavens. Many believed when the Alicorns ‘transcended’ from their lands to fully become the gods that they were destined to be, they left their wonderful cities to crumble and be overrun by the forces of nature. Their empire and their impressive technology that could bend the very facet of matter itself were left behind for those who wished to use it. They chose those they deemed worthy to ascend with them and left behind the worthless deemed unsuitable for transcendence; the world would burn to destroy the unclean and life would begin anew.
Of course, most of the descriptions on the scrolls were either ruined by years of disuse or too damaged to be translated. But a religious fire was provoked in several unicorn cities including Canterlot, declaring that sightings of the winged, horned ponies was a sign that their gods were beginning the purge of their world. Thankfully, the current monarchy, ruled by Princess Platinum II, was able to put out the fire before it could spread, and cause untold damage and a huge political shit storm from the other tribes.
But, when the everlasting winter began and the unicorns had begun the invasion of the Earth ponies’ homeland, the fire that was once put down, sparked yet again through the fires of war. During the invasion, a young general, by the name of Silverheart, commanded the 45th legionnaire force, or known during the war as Legionnaire Group Furia of Army Group A.
Silverheart was born in the city of Canterlot to a military family. His father was a general of one of her majesty’s most precious armies. His reputation in the army had gained him major political points in her court, but he began to slowly lose the political prestige due to his relationship with Silverheart’s mother. She was a peasant by the name of Charm Flower, who owned a small Floristry shop in the upper districts of Canterlot where the wealthy and governmental officials lived. They met when his father was having a short leave in the city and was picking up flowers to visit the grave of his late Grandfather, General Hammerfield. The meeting and the beginning of their relationship was somewhat a mystery to their friends and, even their family.Some said that the general had used his wicked charms on the mare and she fell in love with him, but others said that Charm flower used a spell to make the general fall for her.
Regardless of the rumors, it did cause great consternation among the nobles. To see one of their own having a relationship with some pony, who is not part of government, nor born of nobility, is quite unheard of. This scandal almost cost The General his job more than a couple of times with the chain of command, when some of the higher members started openly criticizing the relationship and ordered his discharge, but were always blocked by the Queen.
In the second year of their relationship, the couple announced that they were engaged, and were having their wedding at the Canterlot Castle. Of course, it did get some nobles to quickly threaten to boycott it, but they were silenced when the Queen gave a warning that if any of them attempted to disrupt the ceremony, she would forcibly remove their status as nobles and take away their entire wealth as punishment. They quickly backed off in frustration. The wedding went off successfully and The General announced that he was retiring, shocking everyone present. One year later, Silverheart was born.
Even though Silverheart and his father weren’t members of the church, it didn’t stop him from trying to find out the truth about The Alicorns. During the pacification of the southern Earth Ponies’ tribes, he was able to convince his men to follow him deep into the Everfree forest by promising to reward them with riches and glory from the kingdom. This was done without the permission of the other generals. They never came back.
The war ended when the leaders of The Pony Tribes were able to stop a race of demons called Windigos, who fed on fighting and hatred to fuel their everlasting winter and had the ability to turn ponies into flesh eating cannibals.
No one knows where the 45nd legionnaire force went, but some rumors had persisted that they were killed by the creatures of the forest, or were intercepted by the Earth ponies forces, wiping each other out to the last pony. Others said that Silverheart actually found The Alicorns and stayed in the forest with his men, seduced by the very creatures they were out to claim for glory and honor.
Thunderheart sighed and turned away from his glare at Treue as thunder roared again across the sky, this time louder than the last one. He began to quietly hum as the rain pounded harder on his rain coat, singing the song, “May the Empress protect”. It was one of the many short songs that were sung by the many soldiers in the legions during the war, often to cope.
“Through the heavens she watches, guides us, protect us over the darkness itself. She is the sword and shield of Equestria. She is the fire in our souls to fight on, the angel who inspires hope.”
“We are the children of The Alicorns.”
The others stopped what they were doing and looked at their comrade, singing.
“She watches us from above, leading to our future, hope, kindness to all. She is the light in the darkness. Her order will destroy the chaos. Peace is our greatest weapon.”
“The spark of our Empress will never be vanquished. She will lead us to glory for our race. The blade of her light, the shield of our kingdom, we’re the children of her blessing.”
“We are the Children of Harmony.”
One by one, each solder in the campfire began singing, lifting their spirits from the depression and sorrow. Others nearby began to notice and they, too, began to sing as well.
“Harmony is part of us, we will survive, and we will overcome.”
“As we march on to coming darkness and chaos, as the empress watches over us in the coming suffering and the coming of the storm, the empress will watch us all, even in our afterlife”
“The Empress protects us all.”
The song ended, and the legionnaires’ began to smile, despite their defeat at the hands of the forces of chaos. They looked up, to see some thunder flash across their camp and observed that the rain had died down. They hadn’t noticed, however, a creature flying through the storm, watching their little song-analog in the cold rain.
The creature smirked at their attempt to keep their morale up, even though as they smiled, it could sense deep down into their minds that they were afraid. Like every creature and sentient being in this land, down to even the basic of their animalistic nature, fear has its way of clawing though the skins of millions, making them scared of the unknown, causing them to make mistakes, and mistakes cause chaos.
The creature turned away and gazed his eyes on his prime target - a large ceremonial red tent in the middle of the camp, guarded by two of the Empress’ personal guards, just meters across from each other and the tent’s flaps. The creature was goaded and very annoyed at their presence. They first appeared in the war 5 years prior, during the battle of Tramplevania, when they struck the flanks of the chaos army, completely taking them by surprise. Even though the Equestrians failed to retake one of their small cities, the elite guard was able to put out tremendous casualties on the enemy; not even a single chaos beast could beat them.
But like every creature, plant, and microscopic germ, they have a weakness. Due to its enchantment by magic, their armor gave the user extra protection. But, it also wore the user down because of an unknown alloy in the armor that actually rejects the magic. Thus, it made the user tired from long use of the armor. In the weeks since the first appearance of the elite guard, there were reports of some of them falling in the battlefield from fatigue. Even with their brutal training, they’re not invincible.
But still, the creature wasn’t here to simply watch them out of boredom. He was here for her.
As he silently slipped the flap to the tent, he was amused to see that the elite guards didn’t detect him. He couldn’t help but grin at the thought of seeing her again. It had been so long since he last saw her in the Everfree Forest all those years ago. He glanced around the tent. There were four purple cushions in a circular position around a table. At the front was also a table that had several maps with pointed arrows on them to mark troop movements. Then his gaze fell upon another flap entrance to the second area of the tent.
The creature grinned again as he floated towards the flap to that bitch’s quarters. He opened the flap and poked his head inside. The room was small and cozy. There were several pieces of furniture in the room; one of them with a mirror on top of it in the far corner. Amongst the furniture was a small bed. On it a small shaped creature lay sleeping.
“There you are,”
Instead of floating towards the bed, he decided to walk, careful not to make the occupant aware he was there. As his feet touched down on the tent floor, he slowly made his way towards the bed, hoping not to wake the occupant or to spoil his surprise for her. As he made it to the bed without a sound, he looked down at the small bundle under the bed covers. The bundle was no other than a small Alicorn, about the age of a filly; her mane was a very light azure while her coat was a light phthalo blue. Her wings were tucked behind her back under the covers.
He traced his paw around her forehead, feeling her soft fur. His own heart ached at the sight of her, as he thought of the many times the filly had asked him why he was hurting her mommy. He never answered those questions and made some cowardly excuses to change the subject.
He removed his paw and snapped his fingers on his other hand, summoning in a flash of light on his hand a necklace. In the center of the necklace was a blue crystal hanging on a chain; surrounding the crystal were several small crystals of the same kind, but different colors. Inside the blue crystal was a floating energy that could change colors based on emotions. They glowed faintly throughout the room, reflecting off his skin and hers.
The creature sighed. This was supposed to be the last time he would ever see her again. He looked down at her again. Her breathing was very shallow. He could tell from the breathing that she was very tired from the day. Her time was spent playing with her big sister in the woods, ignoring what was happening all around them. Oh yes, their mother was very good at hiding what was going on with her. Only her big sister knew what was happening in the world. He snapped his fingers again, and the necklace disappeared from his hand appearing on the Alicorn filly’s neck, without waking her up. The filly stirred, moving the covers a little, but then stopped and continued her sleep. The creature let out a breath of relief.
But his relief quickly turned to anger. He didn’t want to stop this, regardless of what would happen if her mother and that bastard of a guardian found out. He glowered at the thought. He didn’t want her caught up in all of this. No, she was too innocent to know. He never wanted all of this; only wanting to live in peace and protect the balance. But no, her mother wants to upset it all, to bring prefect harmony to her subjects’ land, but that would mean destroying what he had brought to this land.
He didn’t do it just because he was evil.
He didn’t do it just because he hated the world.
He did it because it was in his nature to uphold the balance of the world.
And he will protect it until his last brea….
His eyes went wide. His breathing stopped when he heard her voice; that sweet voice of hers that could put his anger aside. He looked down at the Alicorn again. Her body was still covered by the blankets while her head was slightly up from the pillow. Her eyes bored through his; those majestic eyes of hers that could make his heart stop.
He didn’t know how long he was into his thoughts, but it felt a long time. Whatever happens in this goddamn war that he started in the first place, he never was going to forget that beautiful face of hers; the one that made him the perfect Lord of Chaos that she always loved.
“Uncle Discord, why are you crying? Did mommy hurt your feelings?"
No, this war isn’t over by a long shot. Because now, he wasn’t doing all this for the balance… he was also doing this for his niece.
In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future - Alex Haley.