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Law War

Chapter 6

World 1141, Designation “Meridocia”
Lecino, Zivgna
Sheltering Arms Inn
Late night


Eylen woke up to her wards shrilling alerts as well as smoke and screams. She dissolved her wards and coughed from the smoke was drifting under the door. Tefgir and Kameran were yelling in the hallway while fire magic was being cast at them.

She took a quick look out the window after she sat up. The burning building across the street cast a red glow on Eylen's face. She got out of bed then she dressed as quickly as she could. There was no doubt in her mind that the enemy that was attacking her group was the same one that burned down the town of Ceslia.

The door blew open with a slam while a bitterly cold blast of air covered her body.

“Sorry about that,” Fraenk said while looking down the hall for more enemies.

“We are going to lose our deposit,” Eylen joked.

“No, the innkeeper and most of his staff are dead. Use cold or divine magic against cult members,” Fraenk replied.

Eylen walked up to Fraenk and followed him downstairs. The building was filled with frozen bodies. A white fog hung around the corpses. Scorch marks covered the walls. Tefgir and Kameran waited for them downstairs.

“We need to find horses. The tomb is too far away to walk to,” Tefgir suggested while looking through the window at the burning buildings across the street.

Fraenk led the way out of the inn. The town was not that big and they could see that it was all except for the inn on fire.

“Unless we are willing to summon phoenix horses, we better start walking,” Kameran suggested.

Tefgir gave her a nasty look.

“Maybe we can steal the cult's horses?” Fraenk suggested.

Eylen sensed Fraenk was casting a horse locator spell.

“They are that way and there are enough for all of us. Hopefully everyone knows how to ride,” Fraenk said and pointed to the north.

“I don't know how to ride! Horses scare me!” Kameran said with fear.

Tefgir gave her a disdainful look.

“You can ride with me,”Eylen offered.

When they got to the horses, cultists were ready to defend them. Fraenk blocked a fireburst and fired a shard of ice at one cultist. It got him right in the eye then it froze his head solid. The poor cultist's head fell off of his neck and shattered when it hit the ground. The other cultist was torn in half by a large sharp chunk of ice summoned by Tefgir. Eylen was ready but the fight was over before she could do anything.

“Do you know where the tomb is?” Tefgir asked.

“Yes, its in the Desardo family plot. The richer relatives pay for the upkeep of the family cemetery plots. We went there a few times,” Fraenk said with a sad tone to his voice.

The group mounted three of the cultist's horses and set the rest free. Eylen and Kameran shared a horse.

“Please do not squeeze so hard, I need to breathe,” Eylen gasped when Kameran started to hold on to her waist too tight.

“Sorry,” Kameran said as she relaxed her grip around Eylen's waist.

As the horses climbed up into the hill country, Eylen could see that the town was still burning below her.

World 1141, Designation “Meridocia”
Rosagone
St Francis of the Peaceful Repose Cemetery


The sign over the black metal gates said “Saint Francis of the Peaceful Repose Cemetery,” but Eylen doubted that anything slept peacefully here. The burnt bodies on poles did not seem to be conducive to peace.

The team rode the horses slowly through the gates.

“How are we going to do this?” Kameran asked.

Tefgir and Fraenk exchanged glances.

“Who do we go after first, the demon or Regina?” Eylen asked.

“We go for Regina first. The demon draws power from her. Without her, he will be weaker,” Fraenk said with certainty.

“The Law angel will not let us interfere with her,” Eylen replied.

“I cannot help you there. Most of my magic is Law based. It will be effective against a demon's vessel but not a Law Angel,” Tefgir looked down as he explained.

“Its not a good idea to let you fight the cult by yourself,” Fraenk said with concern.

Tefgir sighed.

“Lets be logical about this, you have to fight Regina and the Law Angel. You will have Eylen who has access to a chaosspawn and Kameran. My power will not affect the Law Angel. It will be very difficult to fight Regina, Apyeron and the Law Angel at the same time. If we split up, I can keep the demon busy while you deal with your threats,” Tefgir explained when he looked up.

“Logic be damned! If we stay together, we can protect each other,” Fraenk said with passion.

“No, I will not do that,” Tefgir said.

“Tefgir makes sense, who knows what sort of strategies the Law Angel and the demon could work out together? I wish you well, Tefgir,” Eylen said.

Tefgir gave Eylen a bow and rode off to the eastern part of the cemetery.

Fraenk looked at her with an angry look on his face.

“We are wasting time! Lets save Regina and maybe we can be done in time to help Tefgir,” Eylen suggested.

Fraenk gave her another nasty look and rode west to the Desardo area. Eylen followed.

“The dead are angry here. I think I can get them to help us,” Kameran said.

“Good, we could use all the help we can get,” Eylen replied.

It did not take long before the team reached Regina's tomb. A large group of cultists wearing yellow and red were waiting for them. At the center of the group, a man dressed in maroon and gold waited.

“Burn them in sorrowful flames for the Master!” He exhorted his followers.

Fire and infernal blasts of magic headed their way.

Fraenk blocked attacks and summoned an ice storm that covered the area in ice and smashed tombstones.

“Now! Spirits! Get the ones that hurt you!” Kameran said with an eldritch green glow in her eyes.

Eylen wondered what damage spirits could do until she saw some of the charred corpses on metal poles raise their heads and jump down to the ground. Then they ran in a slow hunched over manner toward the cultists.

Fraenk got off of his horse and tied it to a fence. Eylen followed his example. In the distance there was an explosion. I hope Tefgir is still giving the demon vessel hell.

A small group of summoned doglike demonlings sprinted towards them. Eylen summoned black spikes of sharp stone underneath them. With a gesture, she made the sharp spikes rise. The demonlings were impaled and howled in pain while they bled black ichor that burned and sizzled.

A blast of frigid air froze and shattered the creatures ending their agony.

When Eylen and Fraenk approached the tomb, they could see that the reanimated corpses were proving to be more of a threat to the cultists. The corpses would grab at the cultists and tear chunks of scorched flesh off of them. A lot of the magical attacks stopped coming as the cultists fought the undead.

Eylen summoned a frozen lance and threw it at a cultist. The enemy froze solid when the spear of ice entered her body. A flailing undead shattered the enemy to pieces.

The leader made a Sign of Flame and all of the undead threw back their heads and howled with pain as their souls were viciously torn from their burn covered bodies and placed in the Sign.


“The Sign of Burning Hatred binds the dead to me now! I, Emilio Renaty, will burn you with your own tricks!” Emilio said while spittle flew from his lips.

He gestured imperiously. A thin flaming apparition came out of the sign. It slowly approached the group while each of its steps seared the ground beneath it.

“I have this,” Kameran stated.

She started shrieking in a voice that cut like razors while a sign of greenish black started to form in front of her.

Eylen cast a spear of ice at the approaching flaming spirit but the spear turned to steam and did not strike its target. Fraenk cast some divine spells at the oncoming creature but they just slowed it down.

A greenish black beam shot out of the sign and hit the creature. Its color began to shift between red orange and black. Eylen prepared a few more ice spells to strike at the remaining cultists. She figured if she could kill some of them, the leader will have less support. Fraenk prepared his spells too.

The apparition turned black then it sunk into the ground. Eylen and Fraenk unleashed their spells while Kameran's sign fired a beam against the Burning Hatred sign. There was so much magical energy in the area, Eylen could not sense what was going on. A wave of infernal magic came back at them.

She cringed as a storm of spells flew at her and tried to tear the flesh from her bones. Eylen managed to generate a shield in time. Damn, this is nasty. Time slowed down as she focused on keeping the slashing and tearing hooks away. The shield shrank and Eylen could feel things bumping into it. I have to keep that shield up! The pressure against her shield increased then it faded.

Eylen kept the shield up just in case.

Emilio only had two cultists left. Fear crossed his face but he started another spell. The remaining cultists cast spells for protection. The sign of Burning Hatred exploded with a blackish red flash, throwing the cultists and their master a few feet away.

Eylen fired off some spells at the fallen enemies while Fraenk and Kameran also attacked. Somehow Emilio managed to stagger upright. His cultists did not get up.

The cult leader's maroon and gold robes were in burnt tatters but he was still alive. In some places, flabby pale skin was visible. Emilio gave the group a rude gesture before summoning more power. His eyes started to glow red when there was a loud explosion in the distance.

Everyone was distracted for a few seconds. Fraenk recovered first, he sent several flame and holy spell blasts against Emilio Renaty who did not recover fast enough. When the spells were finished with him, there was just a large smear of blood on the ground.

Kameran sensed that a flaming doorway opened to the Burning Hells and something grabbed Emilio Renaty's screaming and protesting soul. Once he was pulled inside, the gateway closed.

“Emilio Renaty is no more!” Kameran crowed.

A small smile covered Fraenk's face. “Good, now the hard work begins.”

He walked up to the tomb. It was a plain square gray tomb. Other than the name and date of the occupant's birth and death, there was little decoration.

Fraenk slid down to his knees.

Kameran started to move toward the tomb but Eylen held her back.

She gave Eylen a questioning look and Eylen just said, “No.”

A familiar pale face with dark smoke like hair flowed out of the tomb in front of Fraenk.

“What are they saying?” Kameran asked.

“Eylen replied, ”No.”

Then Aya kissed Fraenk for a moment. She floated back and two wispy hands grasped the blue Law crystal that stuck out of her forehead. The crystal shattered with a pure tone.

Everyone held their ears as a scream pushed them down to the ground. Eylen noticed that there was an element of triumph in it.

Another tone sounded in the distance, it felt like a warning. Dread filled Eylen's heart.  I am going to fight a law angel? How do I do that? Her fear was mirrored in Kameran's and Fraenk's eyes. They moved closer to Eylen.

“Things are going to get more interesting. Tefgir is being controlled by the Law Angel. Somehow, you must break the control spell on Tefgir without killing him. He is the only one that can get you to your objective. I am quite sure you can deal with this,” I'xazula purred.

Elylen grimaced. “How am I supposed to do that?”

I'xazula did not reply.

“Guys, Tefgir is not himself and we have to beat him without killing him. If we kill him, the mission is over,” Eylen said while she looked to the east. She could feel something was approaching them.

Fraenk shook his head. “And how are we supposed to do that?”

“I will protect you from the Law magic while you find a way to separate him from the Law Angel that is controlling him. Kameran, please help Fraenk,” Eylen said while preparing spells.

Kameran grimaced. “How am I supposed to do that, I just know Necromancy.”

Eylen could not answer, the sight of Tefgir approaching grabbed all of her attention.

He did not walk like a normal person, the controlled man strode toward them in measured mechanical strides. A halo of white runes circled his head. Tefgir's eyes told the real story, he was a prisoner in his own body. His panicked pleading eyes tore at Eylen's heart to spare him.

When Tefgir arrived, he said,”I am Hzk'iok of the Fourth Circinate, Comply or face termination.”

“Tefgir, if you are in there, fight for your freedom!” Fraenk urged.

Hzk'iok did not wait long for compliance, it fired off several white stunning blasts.

Eylen managed to block them in time. The law controlled man focused his attacks on her. At first, they were low level spells designed to knock out or stun. Eylen knew that after a while the enemy would move on to more dangerous spells.

That did not take too long, hooked and sharp green crystals floated around Eylen. They tried to cut and stab her but she managed to summon a chaotic shield to block their attacks. Eylen wondered how long the enemy would keep trying to take her out before moving on to Fraenk and Kameran.

Fraenk tried to disconnect Tefgir from the law angel but his spells failed. Kameran had turned away from the battle and was doing some sort of magic. Eylen could not spare the attention to find out what she was doing. Keeping the law angel from destroying everyone had her full focus.

Blunt red spells bashed at her shield. Unlike the sharp edged stuff, these spells were harder to defend against. Eylen felt something warm and wet drip down her forehead. She reached up and touched the substance. A quick look showed it was blood. Dismay filled her heart. Too many hits like that and I will be dead or worse, she thought. With a sigh, Eylen decided to go on the offensive even if Tefgir might end up dying.

A quick flurry of red and black chaos bursts blew Tefgir off of his feet. The blasts made him fly back and smash several tombstones.  Hzk'iok had his puppet regain its footing.

Eylen was ready with more spells to smash Tefgir's legs when a small blonde ghost girl ran up to him.

“Daddy! Daddy! Pleeese!” The ghost girl screamed.

Eylen delayed launching her spells so she could see what would happen.

The glowing runes around Tefgir's head started blinking.

“No, Ashphodelia?” Tefgir said with surprise and longing. The runes started fading.
Ashphodelia began to fade. When she was gone, the controlling runes disappeared.

Tefgir sunk to his knees and lowered his head. Eylen could hear him cry.

He spent a few minutes before he raised his head. A look of pure hatred was aimed at Kameran. Tefgir got up then strode angrily toward her. Eylen and Fraenk would have moved closer to Kameran but she waved them off.

“Tefgir. The mission, we have work to do,” Eylen stated.

She managed not to flinch when Tefgir's hatred filled gaze hit her like a blowtorch.

“Bitch! You desecrated my daughter,” Tefgir breathed.

“If we fail, your daughter won't have a place to rest.” Kameran said quietly.

Tefgir glared at Kameran, then looked away.

“Leave me alone until I make the portal to our destination,” Tefgir said in a voice of cold ashes and dust.

Eylen wanted to say something to alleviate Tefgir's pain but she knew that her tongue was too clumsy. Maybe later?

For a few minutes, everyone just looked around awkwardly until the white portal appeared.

Without a word, Tefgir stepped through.

Then everyone else followed quietly.


Funereal World 8
Landing Lounge 640


Eylen looked around the landing lounge. It was just a beige colored room with dark brown chairs. Brown and beige doors were to Eylen's left, right and front. There was a holosign that displayed the words, “Funereal World 8.” This was her first time on a world dedicated to the remains of Org heroes and researchers.

Necromancy was a reality and no one wanted to have Org heroes turned against them, so these worlds had very heavy security. In fact, most Org agents did not even know such worlds existed. There were rumors but they were pretty vague.

Gray and gold armored Guards with raised weapons came into the room, everyone raised their hands. Eylen figured that mages in security alcoves were also scanning them too. Tefgir pulled out his datapad. One guard took it and stuck the pad into a larger device. A light on the security device shone green. The guard pointed at the door.

“Follow the path outlined on your datapad. Deviations will be punished.” The guard said. All of the guards left the room.

“Please put me on the ground,” I'xazula requested.

Eylen reached around her neck and barely caught the heavy necklace before it hit the ground. Tefgir watched with barely hidden distaste as Eylen placed the necklace on the ground.

I'xazula appeared but she looked different. Now she wore a black robe with an obsidian screen covering the hood.

“I will dress this way to show respect for the honored dead,”  I'xazula said.

The group walked through the plain halls. While they walked, Eylen hoped that this time they would get info about the broken ward. She was getting tired of bouncing around from world to world. Then again Eylen felt that maybe her hope would be dashed and there would be another complication. All she could do was to keep going forward. In a few hours or less, Eylen would know for sure. Deep down she was expecting anything but finally getting to the mission goal.
HHC

Chapter 7

Abu Shak'kiin:
Afghanistan, 2013
Alpha Two, Helicopter wreck

“We have to go further down that way,” Leroy pointed weakly down the street. “A few blocks away there is a gate. Once we get out, take a left and we should meet up with friendlies,” Leroy said and closed his eyes.

Goldie looked at Marcia to confirm. She just kept looking at Leroy while he lay on the dirty ground.

“You carry Leroy and I will keep the imps back,” Marcia suggested with a sigh.

Goldie picked up Leroy carefully and they were off. It was still quiet. After fifteen minutes of walking they found the gate. Marcia gave the “hide” signal and Goldie put Leroy on the ground behind some piled demon trash. After one errant sniff, she decided not to breathe too deeply.

Whoever or whatever designed this area did not bother to line up the street with the gateway. That was good because the team had cover and a place to observe the gate without being seen. They can just peek around the edge of one of the buildings to see the imps guarding it.

The wall was made of metal, bone and some unrecognizable stuff that Goldie did not want to look at closely. In the middle of that was a black metal guardhouse filled with alert imps. To Goldie and Marcia's dismay, the red metal gateway was closed.

Goldie knew if they crossed the space between the gate and the last building, the imps would fire on them for sure. Staying put was not a good idea because enemies could show up at any time. Goldie and Marcia moved away from edge of the building to go back to Leroy.

“Do you have any more mojo left?” Marcia asked.

“No, I used almost all of it on the tower,” Goldie replied with annoyance. Maybe if you had handled this a bit better instead of putting everything on me, we would not be here, she thought.

Exhaustion pulled at her but Goldie managed to stay upright. A shot sounded and Goldie ducked behind the edge of the building. An imp had seen her! Crap! Now more of them would pour out the gatehouse after them. Goldie and Marcia clutched their rifles grimly in anticipation of the imps coming around the corner. Any minute now, they would have to fight for their lives with limited ammo.

Goldie sensed some sort of familiar energy buildup and release. It was Equestrian magic! The ground shook from some sort of explosion up ahead. The imps did not have too much time to scream, their fear filled screams were abruptly stopped. When the noise died down, Marcia carefully peeked around the corner.

“Hoo Yeah! The gate is gone!” She crowed.

Goldie looked around the corner to see for herself. Marcia was right, the gatehouse was gone. Bits of melted metal and imp body parts littered the scorched ground. They could run through the still smoking hole in the wall and head north to friendly forces.

“What the hell happened?” Leroy gasped weakly.

“Somebody blew up the gate and we are leaving!” Marcia said with glee.

Goldie picked up Leroy and followed Marcia outside the hole that used to be a gate. While they passed through, a blue alicorn with a wavy light blue mane appeared. Marcia aimed her gun at the creature but Goldie screamed at her to put the gun down. The pony winked and faded away. Goldie sent a silent thanks to Luna.

“Was that another demon?” Marcia asked tiredly.

“No, that was an ally,” Goldie responded.

She could see exhaustion in Marcia's eyes. They trudged along the edge of the wall until a friendly patrol found them. Goldie passed out soon afterward.

Abu Shak'kiin:
Afghanistan, 2013
Alpha Two, Outpatient Medical Tent


Goldie lay on the cot resting. Her body was totally exhausted but her mind was still active. It went back to where it all started, back when Penny Marsden was human and ponies were the furthest thing from her mind.

Cleveland, Ohio:
USA, 2010
Penny's Apartment


A worried woman with light brown hair and gray eyes looked at a pile of bills in her apartment. It was not the largest or the most well decorated or cleaned but Penny did her best. She looked away and looked back at the pile of paper. So many bills, so little money to pay them with.

Penny had worked at Unicom for five years and now the company was gone. She had seen the signs but with the faltering economy, it just did not seem like the right time to jump ship. How could I been so blind? Now she was afloat in strange seas with the other flotsam and jetsam and there was no help coming. I will make my own help, she resolved while giving the pile of problems a smack. Papers flew off of her table onto the floor.

She did not care. Penny got up and grabbed her keys. She was filled with seething anger but she knew a quick walk would calm her down. Outside, the cold gray sky seem to mirror her situation while cold winds slashed at her.

At least there were no snow or rain, just a cold wind. Again, she went over her situation. No job, dwindling savings and so far nothing good on the horizon. It would not take long before she could not afford her apartment. That thought made her grimace. Her fury subsided and now she just felt like she was full of cold ashes.

Penny stopped in front of the Unemployment Office for a few minutes. She had seen the notices for jobs yesterday. Most of the jobs were menial, dish washing or waitress stuff. Now, she was not interested in those types of jobs. Penny scowled as she looked down the list. Her hopes that today would be different were close to being crushed.

She was disappointed, even though the names were different, the same menial jobs were there. Penny was about to leave when she saw that Luna Personnel was looking to fill some positions. She used to work as an Executive Assistant so maybe Luna was looking for someone with her background. Penny smiled a bit before it faded away. Too many times, she had felt that that one letter would get her an interview or something would happen but nothing ever happened.

Penny resolved to check the place out. She realized that she had nothing to write on but that was no problem. The office was filled with forms. She grabbed one and borrowed a pen and wrote down the phone number and address of Luna Corp. Hope started to bloom cautiously inside Penny's breast.

When Penny got home, she dealt with the bills quickly. Since she was going to the personnel office the next day, Penny spent a lot of time preparing. If this was going to not work out at least she would not have to wait long. Penny got her paperwork ready. Tomorrow might just be the day that things changed for the better.

Cleveland, Ohio:
USA, 2010
Luna Personnel
Testing room C
Next day

Four hours later and Penny was tired of being in Luna Personnel's office.

Her hand had turned into a painful claw from filling out all sorts of forms and tests. Myers-Briggs, Kensington Stapp Ethicals and other names swam in her head as she tried to remember all of the tests she took. The only consolation was that she was one of a few that had survived.

When Penny arrived, the room was full of people. They had been there before her and she ended up with a tottering chair that had seen better days. The secretary would call the names of people and they would go home. The remaining folks would get more tests. Her stomach grumbled. Penny's jaw clenched, she was going to stay here even if her hand fell off. If necessary, she could use her other hand to write. No way am I going to lose this prize unless they tell me no, Penny resolved.

Now, there were just four left. They eyed each other from across the room. Penny wondered if her hand would recover from writer's cramp before they brought more paperwork for her to fuss with.

After a few minutes more of waiting, a secretary wearing a yellow sweater with blue butterflies on the side walked up to Penny.

“Um, Mr. Withers wishes to see you. He is, um,through the door on to the right and in the middle of the hall. You, um, can't miss it,” The secretary said and pointed to the door.

Penny left the classroom and followed the instructions. The hallway had a few posters on the walls about attitude and being prepared. In a few seconds, she was outside Mr. Withers's office.

She looked into the office, it looked like every other office she had been in. Pictures of relatives on the dark wooden desk and gray file cabinets behind the desk.

Mr. Withers was balding with brown eyes. He waved Penny into his office.

“Come in, come in. You have done very well.” Mr. Withers said with a smile.

Penny sat in a chair in front of the desk. He gave her a sheet of paper to sign.

“Its a NDA, no big deal. You do have to sign it before I can tell you more about this great opportunity,” He said while handing Penny a pen.

She tried to read the NDA but the legalese made her feel drowsy. Finally she just signed the last page and handed it to Mr. Withers. [i]I hope I did not sign away my soul or my first born or both.[/i]

He checked all of the pages and made sure she signed the form.

“Good. To be clear, I am not the hiring manager. My client has bound me by contract not to reveal certain things like their name. I will tell you that you have done well and are eligible for the second phase. Those candidates that are ready for phase two will have the option to go to my client's offices from more testing.

Before you groan, hear me out. My client is going to pay you for your time. The more time you spend there taking tests the more money you make. Also your transportation there and back will be taken care of. My client is willing to pay two hundred dollars extra if you decide to go to their offices tomorrow. If you wait a day, the signing bonus is only one hundred dollars. Would you like to start tomorrow?” He asked with a smile.

Two hundred dollars, she could use that to help pay her rent. Penny thought about the plans she had for that money. It did not take long for her to make up her mind.

“I will take the early signing bonus,” She said.

“Fine, you get a check now and we will call around a quarter to seven to make sure you are ready. The car will pick you up at seven am. Please do not be late,” Mr. Withers finished the instructions with a smile. Before Penny got up from the chair, he gave her the bonus.

She looked at the check to verify the amount then it went into her bag with the resumes and other paperwork.

“Thanks,” Penny said and shook the Employment Manager's hand. With a few strides she was out of his office and heading for the exit.

Maybe things will get better, she thought. While she walked home, the cold air did not feel so bad.
Gleaner Chronicles
Chapter 3

Town Hall Basement
Meeting Room 3

Gray cracked plaster on the walls and scuffed floors gave a good clue that this room had seen better days. Other than that it was clean. The ponies hiding underground had different priorities than fixing floors.

Three ponies sat at a beige wooden table. Two of the cracked white plates in front of the ponies were empty. The last plate had food on it.

Margot eyed the small pile of hay and dried daisies on her plate. Cheerilee and Sweetie Belle watched Margot.

"I am sorry we have so little food," Cheerilee explained. “Our supplies are running low. The resupply caravan from Lower Canterlot is late.”

Sweetie Belle’s stomach growled loudly.

Margot realized that she needed to eat before her food was snatched away. She stuck her muzzle into the plate and ate. It tasted OK but she was still a bit hungry afterward. I want a cheeseburger now! The thought of eating the flesh of another animal made her stomach flip. OK, stomach, I meant soy burgers! The queasiness faded.

"Okay, lets begin," Cheerilee said, and looked into Margot's eyes with her green ones. "You must go to Lower Canterlot and meet the Prophetess. She will answer your questions in more detail."

"No, I want to go home," Margot replied.”Please send me home.”

Cheerilee blinked in surprise.

Margot had to get back home and finish the mission there. No going on trips with ponies.

"I can't send you home, I don’t do magic," Cheerilee replied firmly. “There is no pony here with the power and knowledge to do that. If you want to go home, you have to go to Lower Canterlot and talk to the Prophetess.”

Margot looked deep into Cheerilee's eyes to see if she was lying. It would be easier to find out with magic. Maybe I can do the Synchronization Ritual now?

Cheerilee moved closer and raised her right forehoof. Margot stopped concentrating.

There was a knock on the door. Sweetie Belle got off of her chair to answer it. An orange pegasus filly waited outside with a drooping tail and ears.

"Apple Bloom is getting worse and the healers won't get to her in time," the filly said with concern. She peered into the room at Cheerilee and Margot and then walked up to Margot.
"Do you know how you got here?" she asked pointedly.

Margot replied, "No."

"Scootaloo, this is not the right time for this!" Cheerilee said with some anger.

"Margot needs to know how she got here, and know that she owes us." Scootaloo walked up to Margot and stood up on her hind hooves. Her stubby orange wings unfurled. Scootaloo stuck her face so close to Margot's that she could smell her sweet pony breath.

"We lost a friend and others got hurt getting your unconscious body from aboveground Ponyville," Scootaloo whispered. “You owe us.”

Margot looked at Cheerilee and Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo went back to all fours. "Is that true?" Margot asked.

Cheerilee looked away and replied, "Yes, but I was going to mention that later. It is a bit much to tell somepony along with the other info." Cheerilee looked back at Margot.

"I am sorry for what happened to your friends, but I left a world where buglike ponies set off some sort of device," Margot said. “I think many people got hurt or killed. I have to go back and help my people. They expect me to do so.”

"Buglike ponies?” Sweetie Belle asked with surprise. “Did they have holes in their legs and wings?"

Now, it was Margot's turn to be surprised. "Yes, how did you know?"

"Those were changelings. Now do you see why you must go to Lower Canterlot?" Scootaloo asked with annoyance.

"Where are these changelings? How can I find out more about them?" Margot asked.

"Go to Lower Canterlot and ask the Prophetess," Cheerilee said. “She knows more about what's going on.”

"We have to heal Apple Bloom now!" Scootaloo said to Sweetie Belle with urgency.

"OK, lets do it," Sweetie Belle followed Scootaloo out of the room.

Margot looked at Cheerilee.

"They will be fine. We need to cover some other topics, Margot," Cheerilee said firmly.

"How do you know my name?" Margot asked with more surprise in her voice.

"The Prophetess told me a lot about you. Please return to the table so I can finish the briefing,"  Cheerilee suggested. "I will send the Cutie Ma--um, excuse me, Sky Hoof Crusaders, to protect you. I think I can get one or two volunteers to come along. It is a dangerous trip. The area between Ponyville and Lower Canterlot has turned into a desert-like area called the Shatterleg Wastes. Also, Gleaners, Remnants and worse wander there. In the past, you could just take a train but that has changed. When the Gleaners came to Equestria, a lot was lost and or changed for the worse," Cheerilee explained and looked down.

"What are Gleaners and Remnants?" Margot asked.

Cheerilee looked up. "Gleaners are ghost like creatures that feed on life and emotion. When you see the pale green glows heading toward you, gallop as fast as you can away. Remnants are ponies that were not killed by the Gleaners when they were drained. They live a horrible half life trying to chase down the living so they can replace what was torn from them. We stay safe from both groups by hiding underground." Cheerilee said sadly.

“Where did the Gleaners come from?” Margot asked while looking around the room.

Cheerilee just shrugged. ”No one knows. Then there are rumors of something called the Train. I do not believe such a thing is possible."

"Train?" Margot asked.

"If you want to waste your time with rumors, you can ask Apple Bloom or the others," Cheerilee said haughtily.

"I noticed that Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle have blue horseshoes? What do they mean?" Margot asked.

"There is a being called Oonte, she is not from Equestria. The horseshoes are given to her faithful. Some of them might be able to do miracles with her help but I am not sure. I do not know too much about her. You will have to talk to the Sky Hoof Crusaders, SHC, for that," Cheerilee said.

"You did not answer my question about Cutie Marks earlier. Do I have one?" Margot asked.

"I am not sure, it’s a blank space. Its like a piece of paper waiting for something to be written on it," Cheerilee looked around the room.

"I have to round up the volunteers and supplies for the trip. Please stay here," Cheerilee requested. She turned and left the room.

Margot sat in the empty room and thought about her options. She wanted to go home and find out what happened at the mall but then she could see that these people or ponies needed help. Not being able to do magic was also bothering her. If Margot ignored those issues, it felt like the type of work she did, helping locals fight strange things.

Somewhere in the distance, a pony let out a fear filled scream. Margot stopped her musing, then she left the meeting room to investigate.

A few tunnels away, two stallions guarded a locked wooden door. The screams seemed to be coming from behind the door.

"Hay! You can't go in there!" the light pink pony said and moved his hoof to block the door.

Several more screams of fear burst out of the door.

"What is going on in there?" Margot asked while pointing at the door with her right fore hoof.

"This room is for the partially gleaned. Sometimes the Gleaners are interrupted before they totally drain a pony. Most of the higher emotions are gone except for fear," the green pegasus said.

"Nobody can cure or heal them?" Margot asked. She wished she could help but even if she had her powers working, they could do nothing for emotion based magics. All she could do is give them a quick and painless death.

Both guard ponies sadly shook their heads no.

The light pink pony said, "They will live in fear of everything until their poor hearts fail."

Margot could not imagine living a life of constant fear. I will not ask about putting them out of their misery. That would sound cold.

"Thank you gentlestallions," Margot said and walked away.

The guard ponies smiled at her.

She tried to get back to Meeting Room Three but she ran into Cheerilee. Busted. She gave Margot an annoyed look.

"Please come with me, we are almost ready to leave for Lower Canterlot," Cheerilee said.

"What building is this?" Margot asked as they moved from the tunnels to stairs.

"This used to be the Town Hall. It had a small tunnel to help the Mayor escape and we expanded it and added more tunnels," Cheerilee explained.

"We had a Mayor and a support staff but they did not make it. Those terrible days were so chaotic,” Cheerilee said with sadness in her voice.

"I gave some good advice and somehow I became the new mayor," Cheerilee said with a breaking voice.

They waited a bit so Cheerilee could regain her composure.

The two ponies walked into a room filled with pictures from a happier Ponyville in the past. In a lot of the pictures, a light brown-coated, gray and white maned mare presided over different events.

Margot pointed her right fore hoof at the wall and asked, "Is that..."

Cheerilee replied with sadness, "Yes. I have her job now but it is a heavy responsibility. Somepony has to make sure things are running smoothly. Twilight Sparkle, um, Princess Twilight Sparkle would have done a better job but for some reason I have heard little of what happened to her."

"Who is Princess Twilight Sparkle?" Margot asked.

"To be brief because we have a lot to go over, she is one of the Elements of Harmony and a close friend," Cheerilee said then sighed.

“What is an Element of Harmony?” Margot asked with more curiosity.

Cheerilee sighed. It was a lot to tell a foreign pony and she did not really want to get in a long conversation.

“Harmony is one of the most powerful magics in Equestria. It is wielded by six special ponies that embody Honesty, Loyalty, Laughter, Generosity, Kindness and Magic. They used the Elements to defeat many enemies but for some reason several of the ponies are missing. Only Rainbow Dash, the element of Loyalty and Applejack, the Element of Honesty are with us. In the past, all of the elements lived in Ponyville. If you want more details, please speak to someone in Lower Canterlot,” Cheerilee said.

“I guess if you had all of the elements, the Gleaners would be defeated?” Margot asked.

Cheerilee shook her head yes.

A pony discreetly coughed. Margot turned her attention to the rest of the room and its occupants.
Two ponies sat at a shiny black wooden table patiently waiting for Cheerilee. One was a brown male pegasus with a black mane and tail. The other pony was a female light blue unicorn with a red and white striped mane and tail. Something about the way the unicorn looked at Margot, gave her the impression that the blue unicorn would be snooty.

"So, thats it, Cheerilee?" the brown pegasus asked.

Cheerilee nodded her head yes.

"Are those annoying Cutie Mark Crusaders going to be joining us?" the light blue unicorn asked.

Cheerilee replied with a bit of anger, "Yes."

"I surely do not want to be rude but I think such power should not be in the hooves of those fillies. It is just not right," the light blue unicorn complained.

"When you meet Oonte, maybe you should share your concerns," Cheerilee said snidely.

Margot knew her first impressions about the light blue unicorn were right.

"I have to get the supplies ready. Please introduce yourselves," Cheerilee said.
She turned and left the room.

The brown pegasus walked up to Margot and stuck out his left fore hoof.

"My friends call me a pain in the plot, but the name I was given is Far Traveler. The few friends I have left call me ‘Far’," Far Traveler said with a wink and then a smile.

Margot shook his hoof. "My name is Margot Summerholt," Margot introduced herself.

The light blue unicorn walked up to Margot and gingerly offered her left hoof to shake. "I am Skybreeze Cloud, Professor of Higher Magics at Hoofvard in Canterlot, sorry, Lower Canterlot," Skybreeze said.

Margot touched her hoof and there was no shaking. It was more like a hoof bump.

A few seconds later, the door burst open and squabbling fillies could be heard.

"Gleaners don't eat apples!"

"Then they will leave the trees alone!"

"The gleaners buck up everything so your orchard will be changed!"

"Ladies?" Far said and walked up to the squabbling fillies.

Margot recognized some of the voices. She turned around to see.

Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and the yellow filly that Margot had seen earlier were chatting with Far. Far pointed to the table with his left fore hoof. The SHC headed to their seats.

The yellow filly with the pink bow walked up to Margot and introduced herself in a slight Western accent. "Mah name is Apple Bloom."

"Hello, Apple Bloom, my name is Margot Summerholt," Margot introduced herself.

She noticed that Apple Bloom was walking fine, the bandages that covered her fore hooves were gone.  Margot wanted to scan her and see how the bones had mended but again she cursed that she could not do any magic.

"I see that the healing was a success," Far stated.

"Yes!" Scootaloo announced.

"Alright, my little ponies, I will brief you on the trip to Lower Canterlot. All of you should know how to get there in case we get separated," Far said.
"We have to go straight north, too much to the west or east and things will get worse. It’s either the Rotten Lake and swamps or the Train. I have been with the supply caravans so I know the way," Far said with a serious look on his face.

"The Train is just a rumor," Skybreeze stated.

"Maybe so but I would rather not find out the truth," Far replied.

Cheerilee returned with a sad look on her face. "We don’t have enough food and water for you," she said and looked at the group.

"We could find the caravan--" Far started.

"No, it is taking too long. Something has happened to them," Cheerilee interrupted Far.

Margot watched as the SHC exchanged glances. They touched their right fore hooves together and intoned some words. A blue glow covered their hooves and then a brown wooden barrel of water appeared in the corner of the room, afterward brown wafers appeared on the table and floor.

"Thank you, The Merciful," Sweetie Belle said with gratitude.

Cheerilee's green eyes seemed extra large as she took in the sight all of the food. "Well, um, thanks, girls," Cheerilee said.

"Praise Oonte!" Scootaloo said and bowed.

Margot noticed that the SHC seemed a bit less energetic, almost tired.

"This looks like there is enough food for our trip and for the town," Far said while he sniffed the wafers in front of him.
Cheerilee left to get some help in moving the wafers to the food storeroom.

Margot looked at the ones in front of her. The wafers were shiny brown with either fruit or hay in them. I wonder what they taste like?

Several ponies returned with Cheerilee, they gawked with surprise at the sight of all that food. Sweetie Belle counted six wafers and put them into the bags. Margot thought the wafers were light but her saddlebag felt like she was carrying lead bars. A yellow unicorn filled up bottles of water and placed those in the bags too.

"These bars feel heavy. We just might need one a day. It takes four days to get to Lower Canterlot," Far said.

"What is Lower Canterlot?" Margot asked.

"Canterlot was the home of the Dual Rulers, Celestia and Luna. They moved to a refugee area at the foot of Unicorn Range. That is now Lower Canterlot. Gleaners roam Canterlot now. I don't know more because we also used the caravan to relay news about what is going on in the rest of Equestria," Skybreeze said with sadness.

After a few minutes, all of the saddlebags were ready. Sweetie placed the bags on the traveler's backs. Then she placed a saddlebag on her own back.

"This is good, six travelers, just like the six Elements of Harmony," Far joked.

"Follow me and I will lead you to the exit," Cheerilee opened the door and pointed down the tunnel..

"Please be careful, all of you," Cheerilee warned the ponies waiting at the wooden doorway when they lined up to leave.

Margot could feel a familiar excitement fill her heart. Yes! She was going on an adventure. Hope, I survive this.

deviantID

sevenofeleven
Aaron Weaver
Artist
United States
Current Residence: Behind the Italian restaurant, next to dumpster.
Operating System: Windoze/Mac OS X
MP3 player of choice: Winamp
Skin of choice: My own skin
  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Feral: Hungry
  • Reading: Game of Drones: Unsanctioned Flights
  • Watching: Skanky Hollow: Whore of Babylon
  • Playing: Army of Moo
  • Eating: Pomeranian Frites
  • Drinking: AppleJack Daniel's sipping sider
Here is a list for October of folks whose work I like.

These two artists do old school surrealism, one of my favorite art genres.

:icondanielramosruiz:
Whim 4 and 5 by danielramosruiz
gray landscape by danielramosruiz

:iconphinomena:
Twenty Six by PHInomena
Imprints by PHInomena

:iconearthsong9405:
Speedpaint- Light among Dark by Earthsong9405
Eclipse- Reunited with You by Earthsong9405

:iconsanity-x:
Ferrus Mane, Primare of the Xth Legion by Sanity-X
Space Mareine Trailer by Sanity-X

:iconchristopherpollari:
Love And Passion. by ChristopherPollari
Holy Crap. by ChristopherPollari

:iconmarkhosmer:
Where the Sidewalk Ends by markhosmer
House in Orange by markhosmer

Every picture is a story.
One of his works inspired a story for me.

:iconmichaelbrack:
Dark room by MichaelBrack
The mill by MichaelBrack

:iconfensterer:
FATE mtep by fensterer
Abysmal Torment cover by fensterer

:iconnatan-estivallet:
Summer Afternoon by Natan-Estivallet
Autumn Trees by Natan-Estivallet

:iconartlmntl:
Biomechanical Greenscape by artlmntl
Sentinel 00 by artlmntl

:iconcogwurx:
Vivaldi - Desktop by cogwurx
Bounce by cogwurx

:iconnawaf-alhmeli:
Lingering Memories 1 by Nawaf-Alhmeli
Life Without A Soul by Nawaf-Alhmeli

:iconbernhoft:
Blue fire by Bernhoft
Finally by Bernhoft

:iconglenox66:
Light After The Rain...90cmx90cm by glenox66
wattle tree's by glenox66

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:iconlauramizvaria:
LauraMizvaria Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
Welcome to :iconthewritershaven: we are glad to have you!
Feel free to take a look at our Monthly contest or our raffle!
  October Monthly Contest! This month's theme is..."Ghost Stories"!!  
Deadline: October 31st
:bulletgreen: Just submit your Deviation to the Monthly Contest Folder here: http://thewritershaven.deviantart.com/gallery/47077659/Monthly-Contest
:bulletgreen: Up to two entries per person is allowed.
:bulletgreen: Your entries can be old or new works, but must relate in some way to the "Ghost Stories" theme. Be creative!
:bulletgreen: The administrators will choose the winner fairly and objectively based on the quality of both the concept and execution of your piece.
:bulletgreen: The winner will be announced soon after the month of October has ended, and the runner-ups will also be give recognition!
(If you'd like to donate a prize of any sort, let me know and I'll add it to the journal!)
Comment below with any questions! :squee:
   Supergroup Raffle!:iconthewritershaven: is going to be hosting a big fat juicy raffle, to raise the capital to upgrade to a supergroup!
Currently, we are accepting prize donations, to be raffled off at the end of the year.
DONORS RECEIVE:
:heart: A raffle ticket! (Send a note to LauraMizvaria!)
:heart: A journal feature, showcasing their artwork!
:heart: A lifetime feature in the "Generous Donors" folder, which will be on the FRONT PAGE, once we upgrade!
:heart: A custom-made literature author tag from copper9lives or LauraMizvaria!
:heart: Llamas from all admins!
ABOUT THE RAFFLE:
:heart: Raffle will be held at the end of the year, or when we sell all tickets, whichever comes first.
:heart: Winners will be selected by random number generator... so hang onto that ticket number!
:heart: Tickets are 80 :points: each! (That's only $1


-Laura Mizvaria, group Founder
Reply
:iconsevenofeleven:
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
Thanks for allowing me to join.
Reply
:icondawnrex15:
dawnrex15 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Every night , someone thinks about you before they go to sleep,

At least fifteen people in this world love you.

The only reason someone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you

There are at least two people in this world that would die for you

You mean the world to someone.

Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

When you make the biggest mistake ever,
something good comes from it.

When you think the world has turned its back on you, 
take a look.

Always remember the compliments you've received.

Forget the rude remarks.

So if you are a loving friend, send this to 15 on your list including the person that sent it to you. If you care

Tonight,
at midnight
your true love
will realize
they like you.

Something good will happen to you between 12 in the morning
and

four o'clock pm

tomorrow,

it could be anywhere . Get ready for the biggest

shock of your
life

If you break this chain YOU will be cursed with

relationship problems

for

the next ten years . Send this to fifteen people

in fifteen minutes !!

Make Someone else's day! Help get a smile on someone's face! Help someone out! remember that your loved.
Reply
:iconflyingbrickanimation:
FlyingBrickAnimation Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014   General Artist
Everything Wrong with Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles (feat. Dan): flyingbrickanimation.deviantar…
Reply
:icondawnrex15:
dawnrex15 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
YOU'VE BEEN HUGGED!! Hug Huggle! 
Spread the DA love around! (you can copy and paste thismessage on their userpage!)

RULES:
1- You can hug the person who hugged you!
2- You -MUST- hug 10 other people, at least!
3- You should hug them in public! Paste it on their page!
4- Random hugs are perfectly okay! (and sweet)
5- You should most definitely get started hugging right away!
Send This To All Your Friends, And Me If I Am 1.
If You Get 7 Back You Are Loved!
1-3 you're bad friend
4-6 you're an ok friend
7-9 you're a good friend
10-& Up you're loved
Reply
:icondawnrex15:
dawnrex15 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Will you be working on the prologue soon?
Reply
:iconsevenofeleven:
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
Yes.
As soon as I find the link.
Reply
:icondawnrex15:
dawnrex15 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It's in the note I sent you.
Reply
:iconsevenofeleven:
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
Yep, got it.

Thanks.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconseangregory:
seangregory Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  New member Professional Traditional Artist
thanks for the fav!
Reply
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