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Legends of Magic - Chapter OneChapter One: The Vision of the Scholar Golden Oak Library was rarely a place without some research being done by its occupant and proprietor. Today was no exception, as Princess Twilight Sparkle found herself going over one of her many tomes in the hopes of finding some nugget of knowledge to aid in her research. She groaned as she put aside her latest volume and looked to her friends. “Any luck?” Quiver Quill looked up from the volume before him and shook his head. “Afraid not, Twilight.” He gently moved the book aside as a fresh cup of tea was laid out for him. “Thanks, Spike.” “Hey, no problem. I know how to handle things for long study sessions.” The young drake looked at the growing pile of discarded books and grumbled, “Kinda wish this one wasn’t going nearly this long, though.” Several of the volumes were enveloped in magic as Sour Sweet approached him and grinned. “Good thing you’re not the only one doing the cleanup now, isn’t it?” Spike gave an appreciative smile before the library door opened. “Hello everypony! I hope this isn’t a bad time.” “Of course not, Fluttershy, come on in.” Twilight quickly noticed that her friend wasn’t alone, and greeted the other new arrivals. “Zecora, thank you for coming by! And… Silver Spoon?” The bespectacled filly offered a polite smile as she followed the two adults in and closed the door behind her. “Hello Princess Twilight. I hope now isn’t a bad time to ask about something.” “Of course not. What’s the matter?” She shook her head. “Nothing’s wrong, but you remember that diagram I saw the last time I was here, with Diamond Tiara? I haven’t gotten a chance since then to ask about that, being grounded and all, and…” “And this was your first chance to come and satisfy your curiosity.” The filly nodded, and Twilight set aside her books. “Well Silver, there’s a lot about this that I can’t tell you, but I can at least give you the basics. Not long after I ascended, Princess Celestia shared several secrets with me and my friends, some involving the Elements of Harmony and where they came from. It turns out that they came from an artifact, one that she called the Tree of Harmony.” She pulled out the diagram in question and continued, “When my friends and I went into the Everfree weeks ago to stop the plundervines, we discovered the Tree had created a chest.” “And this diagram is of the chest,” Silver reasoned. At Twilight’s affirming nod, the filly turned awestruck. “Wow. But why did it make that chest?” “I have some theories, but I have to keep those to myself.” The filly frowned, but she was used to grown-ups keeping things from her for one reason or another. “Okay, but why make the chest with key holes? I mean, a key hole means that it’s supposed to be locked, or unlocked, right?” She gestured to the diagram and added, “And if the locks are pick-proof, then that means it has to be opened with specific keys, doesn’t it?” Quiver raised an eyebrow. “Those are very smart questions, Silver.” He then smiled proudly. “And you’re right. There’s no sense in producing a chest with locks for specific keys if those keys don’t exist. And ever since it was found, Twilight and her friends have been trying to track down those keys, and she’s called in help where she can for the search among those she trusts.” Zecora smiled as she chose that moment to interject. “Which is why I have left my nest, to aid Twilight in her grand quest.” She turned to the various books that remained stacked on desks and tables and noted, “Though I fear I’ll be of little aid, given the effort already made.” “You’d be surprised, Zecora.” Quiver offered an encouraging grin as he noted, “How many ponies would’ve thought to look for penicillin in bread mold?” The shaman conceded that point as Silver looked over the collected books. “So why are you looking at all of these books about Star Swirl the Bearded? What does he have to do with this chest?” “Well, let’s continue to indulge in critical thinking, shall we?” Quiver eyed the filly with encouragement. “Tell me Silver, how do you think Celestia knew about the Elements in the first place?” The filly considered that for a moment, then reasoned, “Well, either she discovered them, or somepony else showed them to her.” She glanced at the books and reasoned further. “Star Swirl the Bearded showed her?” “According to her, yes. She and Luna built the Castle of the Two Sisters where they did because of the Tree of Harmony.” Fluttershy frowned and admitted, “But the trouble is that in all of Twilight’s research, she hasn’t found anything about how he discovered it.” She then gestured towards the lone stallion present. “But Quiver thought that maybe since Star Swirl studied them himself, he might have shared his findings with other mages and learned ponies from his era.” “Happens all the time nowadays, and peer review didn’t just come out of nowhere.” Quiver frowned and admitted, “Unfortunately, we’re drawing blanks on that. There aren’t many ponies who come close to counting as a peer to Star Swirl, and the closest we’ve found so far is Mage Meadowbrook. Trouble is that many of the modern books that mention her all say the same thing, that she was an Eastern unicorn who crafted eight magical artifacts. It’s like researching my Nightmare Moon story all over again.” He sighed, closed his current volume and pushed it aside. “Only one thing for it.” Silver Spoon looked at him in surprise. “You’re not giving up, are you?” “No, just taking a break and considering something else.” Quiver picked up another tome and opened it as he explained, “Sometimes doing that helps to spark some creative energy. It might help me come up with a research idea.” Twilight caught sight of how close her friend’s drink was to the tome in question and warned, “Just be careful with that book, Quiver. It’s from the library at the Castle of the Two Sisters, and I haven’t had a chance to make a copy yet.” “Of course, don’t…” The stallion suddenly turned silent as he studied what was on the pages before him. “These look familiar.” Silver Spoon pushed over a stool to get a better look at the book as Fluttershy and Zecora approached themselves. She looked over the illustrations and noted, “They’re masks.” “Yeah, and it’s this one here that I was reacting to.” Quiver tapped one illustration in particular, that of a brightly-colored mask that brought to mind a tropical bird. “I swear I’ve seen that mask before, in a book I had when I was a colt…” “About a healer of legend who would never fail?” Heads turned towards Zecora as she recounted, “I only know of her from ancient folk tales. Mystical and masked, she came in the night and cured everything from hoof cough to fur blight.” “The Mystical Mask!” Fluttershy giggled as she recounted, “My parents would tell me and Zephyr about her whenever we were sick in bed!” “Mine too!” Silver Spoon smiled. “Well, once, when I was home sick with the horsey hives.” She turned to Zecora and asked, “But how did you know about her, Zecora? Your homeland isn’t even on the map in school.” “An oversight that I wish was fixed, but efforts to do so are mixed.” Quiver rolled his eyes. “Bureaucracy. Gotta love it.” “That being said, there was a zebra colony located near where Ponyville now stands right around the time Equestria was founded.” Twilight approached and explained, “It failed, and many of the colonists were forced to return home, but there was a measure of cultural exchange, and stories of the Mystical Mask could have been spread to Zecora’s ancestors and passed down that way.” At the zebra’s nod, Silver Spoon asked, “So what happened to them? The Mystical Mask, I mean.” “A century’s worth of tales are told of all her travails, but what became of the healer, nopony knows, for she disappeared a thousand years ago.” Silver considered that thoughtfully, and wondered aloud, “Well, Nightmare Moon was a thousand years ago, and she turned out to be real, right?” Quiver smiled proudly. “Exactly.” He then turned to Twilight and said, “Don’t suppose you found any books on ancient healers over at the old castle when you found this one, did you?” Twilight glanced over the books she’d gathered, then retrieved one from the stack with her magic. “Actually, yes.” She opened it as Silver realized, “If the stories of the Mystical Mask are old enough that Zecora’s ancestors passed them down, then maybe they began around that time.” Quiver grinned and tapped his nose with one hoof. “And if the Mystical Mask was important enough, then there will be an illustration. Might even be an identical one to what’s in the other book.” He grinned and added, “Ponies are lazy, and it’s easier to copy something than simply create something new wholecloth, especially if they have unicorn magic.” He leaned in close. “But Miss Cheerilee would call that plagiarism, and she doesn’t approve of that kind of thing.” Silver Spoon giggled. “Good thing I’m not a unicorn then.” She glanced over the book before them as Twilight looked through it, and tilted her head curiously at the language therein. “What’s it written in?” “Old Ponish. Languages are living things, so they grow and change and evolve with time, and effectively become new languages.” Pages ceased to be flipped and landed on one with the same illustration as the other book, and Twilight smiled. “And thankfully, Old Ponish was one of the subjects taught at the School for Gifted Unicorns.” She read over the page and her eyes widened. “Oh my gosh. According to this, the mask was worn and used by one of the pre-eminent healers at the time of publication, an earth pony born and raised in the Hayseed Swamps in southeast Equestria.” The filly looked up and asked, “But why would a healer wear a mask?” “So they wouldn’t get sick themselves while they went about their duties,” Fluttershy explained. “It’s partly why surgeons and dentists wear masks while they work on their patients today.” She then turned back to Twilight. “Does the book give a name for the healer?” Twilight nodded. “Mage Meadowbrook.” That caused those gathered to look among themselves in surprise, and prompted the youngest among them to ask, “But you said that Mage Meadowbrook was an eastern unicorn, and…” “And that book says the pony pictured was an earth pony.” Quiver thoughtfully considered that as he rubbed his chin with one hoof. “Which raises two possibilities. Either there was more than one pony named Meadowbrook who studied magic and came to be called a Mage…” “Which isn’t impossible, but would be a big coincidence,” Sour Sweet interjected. “…Or there was only one pony by that name, and somewhere along the line, the facts about her became obscured, just like with Princess Luna.” The stallion frowned. “After all this time, though, we might never…” He was interrupted as Spike gagged and spat out a gout of magical flame, from which materialized a scroll. He caught it and unfurled it as Twilight asked, “A message from Princess Celestia?” “No, from Princess Luna!” He looked up and said, “She wants you to come to Neigh Orleans immediately! According to this, it’s got something to do with the Tree of Harmony!” Fluttershy gasped. “Maybe Luna found one of the keys?” “Or at least a lead.” She turned to Sour and asked, “How soon can you be ready to go?” The mare grinned. “I’m a professional, ma’am. I have a go-bag ready at all times.” “Alright then, head to the station and book us a train.” As Sour went off on her way, Twilight turned to the young drake and ordered, “Spike, tell Luna that Sour Sweet and I are heading her way.” “Um, Twilight?” Fluttershy stepped forward. “I’d like to come along, if I may. Neigh Orleans isn’t too far away from the Hayseed Swamps, and while you’re meeting with Luna…” “Maybe you can investigate what we’ve found. Great idea, Fluttershy.” Twilight then paused as she turned to her one-mare security detail, who had stopped the instant Fluttershy had spoken up. “The two of you won’t have any trouble traveling together, will you?” Sour smiled reassuringly. “No ma’am. Like I said, I’m a professional.” “Alright then.” The princess then turned back to Spike and asked, “Will you be alright with holding the fort here?” The young drake shrugged. “I think I can manage.”- Stygian was not the most impressive of ponies. He was small and slight of build, and while hardly disinclined towards physical activity, he would not be winning any hoofraces or carrying heavy loads for long distances. One thing that stood out about him, however, was his curiosity. The unicorn enjoying learning for the sake of learning, expanding his mind and seeing everything from every possible angle. Learn all that could be learned, and perhaps share it. He wasn’t idle with his knowledge, of course. He knew full well how to apply it, and had done so to help his fellow villagers, but they doubted very much that his more esoteric pursuits would in any way be of practical use. Perhaps knowing something about the tides would help in the harbors, but what use would his research on the tales of the lands’ heroes be beyond a bedtime story for a foal? And they certainly didn’t see the sense in his study of sea creatures. Still, Stygian was a decent pony, and his eccentricities didn’t bother anypony, so why not let him have his fun? In any case, it was autumn. Stygian found himself on a cold beach early in the morning, idly collecting new shells that had rolled in with the tide. He had no expectation of today being any different from any other. “Hail, land-dweller.” He looked up in surprise. “Hail?” He then looked about for the source of the voice – it had to be a stallion of some sort, the voice was far too deep to be of a mare. “Forgive me sir, but…” “Look to the sea, land-dweller.” “Oh, thank…” Stygian looked up at the sight before him, and found himself awestruck. “…you…” Before him, curled up imperiously upon a rock, was a creature unlike any he had ever seen. The first thought was that it was a seapony, as the creature met the general description of being part-pony, part-fish, but the creature was far too great in size, easily two to three times his own. It – no, he – was colored in varying shades of reddish orange, darkest at his fins and lightest at his upper torso with his tail somewhere inbetween, the darkest shade being on his hooves. Sitting on his breast was a blood red gemstone, one that looked as though it were embedded into his very flesh, and between all of that and the visible fangs at the tips of his maw, the creature was intimidating indeed. The smile that formed upon the creature’s maw did little to ease Stygian’s nerves. “You are quite welcome. Tell me, does this land have a name?” Stygian fought back his fear and attempted to be polite. Looks could be deceiving, after all. “Um, Equestria, sir. The Southwestern coast, in fact.” “Equestria, eh?” The creature stroked his chin with one hoof. “A simple name for a simple enough land. Still, one cannot expect all places and things to be named in such a manner as Basso Profundo.” He turned back to the stallion. “That is my name, you see.” “And a fine name it is, sir. Most regal.” Stygian bowed. “Please forgive me, but I must depart. The day is young, and I have much to do.” “Indeed it is, land-dweller.” The creature waved him off, but never lost that dangerous smile even as Stygian departed in an excited state. “Indeed it is.” - Located in Equestria’s southeast, Neigh Orleans was both one of the oldest settlements in the nation and the largest city nearest to the Hayseed Swamps. A place of culture and refinement, though not quite as sophisticated as Manehatten or Canterlot and certainly not mentioned in the same breath as either, ponies nonetheless flocked there year-round for its historical sites and its good food. Transit to the city had gone by with little trouble, thanks to the minor perks of being part of the nobility, and as soon as the party had arrived, they found a carriage and members of the Night Guard awaiting them. “Princess Luna must think this is very important to go to all this trouble,” Fluttershy mused as the carriage continued on its way. “I almost feel bad for needing to excuse myself once we get to her.” “I’m sure that she’ll understand, Fluttershy.” The carriage came to a stop as Twilight amended, “But it might be a good idea for you to wait until after we’re done here before heading to the swamps. Who knows what we’re in for.” The doors were opened, and a guardspony gently bowed. “Ma’ams, I present the Mare-ieult House of the Historic Neigh Orleans Collection.” The stallion waited for the three to disembark and for his associate to join them. “Princess Luna awaits you inside.” The guards escorted the trio into the building, with more than a few of the museum’s guests and staff noticing their arrival and gawking in surprise. They were quickly ushered out of the public areas and into the private sections of the museum, where past a set of ornate white doors, they found themselves in a fair-sized study with the one who had summoned them. “Twilight Sparkle!” The Princess of the Night smiled warmly as the party approached and their escorts took up guard outside. “I apologize for the abruptness of my summons, but I am pleased that you were able to arrive so quickly.” “Well thank you for the carriage and escort.” Twilight then noticed the portly stallion who was present beside Luna, and turned apologetic. “Oh! I’m sorry sir, I didn’t notice you at first.” The stallion chuckled and nodded. “It’s alright, your Highness. Better you noticin’ me like this instead’ve me startlin’ you. Ah do that sometimes, accidently mind.” He had a relaxed air about him, his yellow and gold mane, beard and tail tied off into thick bushes of hair and his vest and necklace giving him the air of a humble country pony. He bowed and introduced himself properly. “The name is Cattail, and Ah’m honored to be in your presence.” “Cattail is the reason I have summoned you here,” Luna explained. “I assume that you have heard of Mage Meadowbrook?” “Of course. In fact, we uncovered evidence about her just as your summons arrived that could rewrite the history books.” “That Mage Meadowbrook was not an Eastern unicorn, but instead an earth pony?” At Twilight’s astonished look, the taller alicorn explained, “I can assure you, your evidence is correct. I knew Mage Meadowbrook personally, and counted her as a friend over a thousand years ago. She was, indeed, an earth pony.” The younger alicorn gasped. “Omigosh, this is amazing!” Her elation turned to shock as she realized, “But how could the history books have gotten things so wrong?” “Well like my cousin said, written accounts about her were likely distorted over time and confused with some of her contemporaries.” Sour scowled and added, “Alternatively, there was some historical revisionism on the part of a few tribist unicorn historians, and nopony had the means to correct them.” Fluttershy turned to Luna in surprise. “And you’re the first to try, Princess Luna?” “I suspect that my sister put in quite a few efforts to set the record straight, fair Fluttershy, though by the time she did so, the misconceptions had taken root and could not be dislodged, much to my chagrin whenever I attempted to discuss such things with modern intellectuals.” An increasingly bitter tone was clear in her voice as she continued, “I would correct them on such things and they would say ‘Yes, Princess Luna, very interesting, Princess Luna, thank you, Princess Luna,’ and just carry on as though my words had no meaning. Nevermind the fact that I actually have first-hoof knowledge of that time.” She snorted. “For ponies whose vocation is learning and expanding knowledge, most are unfortunately far too close-minded for their own good.” Suddenly feeling a little uncomfortable, Twilight ventured, “Well, in their defense, you would need to provide some hard evidence to substantiate your claims.” “A fair point, given my own situation.” Luna smiled and continued, “And with that in mind, once I found myself with the time to pursue it, I began my own research into those ponies Celestia and I knew in our youth who had been dismissed as legends within the history books. Star Swirl, of course, has come into greater prominence in the wake of your ascension, Twilight Sparkle, but there were others who were prominent at that time who have faded into undeserved obscurity. Mage Meadowbrook was one of them, and perhaps the most egregious example given her distorted history. Consequently, I opted to begin my efforts with her, and that led me to the Hayseed Swamps and her home.” The princess turned to the stallion. “Where I found Cattail in residence.” “Mage Meadowbrook was my ancestor,” the stallion explained with some pride. “And she recorded a lot of her life’s story in her journals.” He gestured to a nearby table, where several ancient books of varying size sat sealed in plastic bags. Beside them sat a mane-dresser’s bust adorned by an ancient healer’s mask sealed in a glass case, its once vibrant colors having faded with time. “Ah even have the healer’s mask she wore when performing her duties.” Twilight gasped. “These are amazing!” She then turned to Luna and asked, “Have you had these authenticated?” “That’s why we came here, mostly because of convenience and because Cattail did not want to risk them being lost or damaged over a long journey elsewhere. And I suspected that what I uncovered might lead to some clues on your search as well, hence my summons. Once the authentication is complete, we will see to it that copies are made.” Twilight squealed gleefully at this news, even as Fluttershy approached the mask and remarked, “Well, it does look like the illustration in the book, and it’s certainly pretty.” She idly lifted a hoof towards the glass. “I’m just sad that the color’s faded with time. It must have been…” As her hoof touched the glass, however, the mask seemed to glow with a pleasant, ethereal light, which faded as she pulled her hoof away at the others’ surprised gasps. “Oh my goodness! I’m sorry! I don’t know how that happened!” Before anypony could comment on that, the doors were forced open and one of the guards entered, accompanied by an unfamiliar mare. “Apologies, ma’am, but…” “But I will not be delayed in my duties by anypony.” The pony before them was a slender, severe-looking unicorn, her dark-colored mane drawn into a tight bun and a pair of glasses framing her eyes. Her stance and expression both spoke of stubborn authority, and gave the feeling that she wouldn’t easily give her ground. As Fluttershy reflexively took a step back, Twilight offered a polite smile and said, “Our apologies, miss, but we didn’t…” “Ivory Tower. Deputy Chancellor of the EEA.” The mare stepped into the room with barely any acknowledgement of the young princess or her entourage and explained, “I received notification that some documents had come to light of supposed historical significance, and came to investigate on behalf of my fellows.” She cast a critical gaze over the bound books before her, then cast her eye towards the stallion who’d provided them. “Speaking of which, do you honestly expect anypony to believe this rubbish? What was your name again, Dog-Tail?” “Cattail, ma’am, and none of this is rubbish.” The portly stallion kept a polite demeanor as he explained, “These journals were all written by my ancestor, Mage Meadowbrook.” The professor gave the rural stallion a thinly-veiled expression of contempt. “So you say. But history records Mage Meadowbrook as one of the greatest magical minds of her time, equal to Star Swirl the Bearded and the crafter of eight magical artifacts.” She adjusted her pince-nez with her magic and added, “As well as an Eastern unicorn. While it is indeed plausible that such a pony kept journals and notations regarding their life and their work, I doubt very much of them could be preserved, especially in such a humid environment.” “It is my experience that the history books are occasionally lacking in pertinent details, Deputy Chancellor.” Princess Luna stepped to Cattail’s side and firmly said, “I knew Mage Meadowbrook, and she was indeed a gifted magic user worthy of the title and equal in stature to Star Swirl himself. But she was also an earth pony, and a native of this region.” The scholar regarded the Princess of the Night for a moment before she responded. “Be that as it may, your Highness, these journals are still of dubious origin, and require thorough examination.” “Then by all means, ma’am, feel free to examine them.” Cattail stood tall and vowed, “These are as real as the day is long, and Ah will stand by them.” “And the entire reason Cattail and I brought them here in the first place was to have their authenticity verified, at this very facility. I imagine such a place as this is more than up to the task for examining them, is it not?” Luna’s mouth was neutral, but there was a glimmer of triumph in her eyes as she remarked, “And you will, of course, be willing to accompany us in witnessing the examinations proper.” The scholar glanced at the young alicorn and her two associates and remarked, “Assuming they are able to follow procedure, then yes.”- After the growing group of ponies were dressed and prepared for entering a sterile environment, aided by both assorted cleaning spells and protective garments, they found themselves in one of the various examination rooms within the museum. There, they found another pony awaiting them. “Hello everypony, please come inside! Princesses, welcome!” “Doctor Sacred Writ, I presume.” “Indeed ma’am, indeed, and I’ve been looking forward to this very much.” The unicorn stallion carefully took up the journals in his magic, then laid them out upon a waiting table, several implements and tools already organized and ready for him as he removed a journal from one of its protective bags. “To hold something with this much historical potential to it…” “Doctor, we expect a thorough examination, not a dismissal.” The academic laughed nervously at Ivory Tower’s remark. “Of course. I do apologize however, this will be a very time-consuming process, and even with the tools and knowledge I have at my disposal, I can’t give you exact dates. The best I can give you is a rough estimate based on the materials, and then judge the odds of these being written by the same pony.” He carefully removed the first volume from a bag and opened it, then performed some preliminary magical scans. “The first thing we do is see whether or not this text was composed with any sort of magic involved. Mind you, this is imperfect. Thaumic signatures fade with time, after all, but this will eliminate the possibility of it being a recent fake crafted by a unicorn, alicorn, or another creature with similar magical capacities such as a changeling or kirin.” “How recent a fake?” “Oh, within five years or so.” Sacred Writ laughed and continued, “In any case, I’m not sensing any sign of a fake, but these do appear to have traces of preservation spells placed upon them, and very strong ones at that.” He then took up a magnifying glass and continued his examination. “Princess Luna, what do you recall of the making of books from your youth?” The Princess of the Night coughed nervously. “Such things weren’t what I commonly concerned myself with, though I do find that modern paper is not quite as strong as the paper used in the early days of mine and my sister’s reign.” “And with good reason. Modern paper is made from wood-pulp, whereas paper in that time was made from linen rags, far stronger and more durable than what is used today. It’s only within the last few centuries and the development of movable type printing that modern paper became popular, however, given the few advantages it had over papyrus or parchment. That being said, parchment is horribly uncommon for obvious reasons, and you can’t make a book using papyrus. Far too fragile.” “Hence why papyrus was used for scrolls instead.” “Precisely.” Twilight allowed herself a grin as the doctor continued his examination. “In any case, this is clearly not modern wood-pulp, and appears to be linen paper.” He carefully turned a page with his magic and explained, “The feel is different, and that composition combined with the preservation spells lends authenticity to this journal at least.” He then lifted the book and examined the spine with approval. “And notice the binding. From what I can tell, the stitching along the ends was done by hoof, and the materials for the cover include wooden boards and tanned leather.” “Um, may I have a look? Please?” Sacred Writ moved aside as Fluttershy approached. “I’m sorry to intrude, but…oh! This looks like snake leather!” “Which would be consistent with the use of local materials.” He put the journal down and continued his analysis. “Finally, there’s the matter of the ink. Based on my analysis, the ink in this journal appears to be carbon ink, readily common up until its replacement with metal-gall ink but still easier to make. Everything is consistent with materials available around the time of Equestria’s founding.” “And would somepony living in swampland have been able to do such things?” Ivory Tower’s tone suggested impatience as she prodded, “Surely this would not be done cheaply.” “Oh no, of course not. Access to such materials would be limited to very few ponies at that time, such as the nobility, the clergy or learned scholars and healers.” He turned away from the journals and explained, “In any case, what I’ve done thus far is give a run down of the physical evidence. I haven’t proven or disproven their authenticity, just demonstrated evidence in favor of their legitimacy.” He turned back to the journal and continued, “From here, however, we go for the last resort. Paleography.” The magnifying glass was taken up again as he continued, “On its own, that approach cannot be used to pinpoint dates with high precision.” “But combined with the material analysis, this should lend authenticity to the journals.” “Precisely, Princess Twilight, though I’ll admit that it will be rather time-consuming.” As he continued to glance over the journal, he explained, “A great deal has to be taken into account when you examine such things. Languages are, of course, living things, which change over time. Old Ponish evolved into Middle Ponish as it mixed with other languages, then Modern Ponish as it mixed further, and as it did so, spellings changed and consonantal shifts formed. And that ignores the fact that early Equestrian settlements were divided as much by language as they were by distance.” “Indeed, many ponies in the higher echelons of society needed to be multilingual.” Luna smiled as she admitted, “One advantage of this modern world is the welcome addition of the common language of Modern Ponish. Assuming one speaks clearly, one is likely to be easily understood. Something which, thankfully, took root in our early reign.” “And if Cattail is correct and these are all from one hoof, then the hoofwriting will show signs of evolution over time, becoming smoother and less rough with practice.” Sacred Writ briefly turned back and noted, “As I said, this may take some time, so if anypony wishes to leave, they may do so.” After a few seconds of waiting, he nodded, then resumed his work. His audience watched and waited in silence as minutes went by and the scholar examined each journal, carefully going over every word on every page from cover to cover. Even Twilight found herself a little bored by the experience, and perked up once Sacred Writ finished his examination of the final volume. “Let me start by saying this needs to be reviewed and cross-examined, but…” The scholar turned to face the gathered ponies, his gaze on Cattail and Princess Luna in particular, and said, “Given what I’ve seen, both in what went into making the journals and their contents, I’m inclined to believe their authenticity.” At Twilight’s gasp, he turned to her and added, “There are details in them that are not only internally consistent, but read as those written by an actual pony, particularly from the author’s youth.” He gestured to the mask, also present on the desk and wrapped in its own additional layer of plastic. “I’m afraid I can’t do much to verify the mask, however.” “Ah didn’t think so. Ah just brought it with me because Ah didn’t want to risk it getting misplaced, or stolen.” Cattail retrieved the mask and said, “Thank ya kindly, sir, for helpin’ me bring my family’s history to light.” “Glad to help sir, now let’s get out of here. I don’t like being in these things longer than I need to be.” - “This is absolutely amazing!” Twilight’s tone was practically euphoric as she emerged, stripped of her clean room garments and thrilled at what had just transpired. “I mean, yes, there’s still peer review and examinations and all of that to come, but still! What we’ve uncovered is going to rewrite the history books!” She then caught herself. “Sorry, I mean…” Luna and Cattail laughed, clearly not offended by her enthusiasm. “Don’t worry, Princess. Ah’m just glad the facts are getting out there. Thank you, both of you, for helpin’ bring my family’s history to light.” “Indeed.” In comparison to the rest of the ponies present, Ivory Tower was decidedly cold and aloof as she made her way to depart. “If you will excuse me, your Highnesses, I will need to report this to the rest of the EEA. It seems we’re going to have to go back to the publishers. Again.” As the mare departed, Sour Sweet snorted. “Ain’t she a ray of sunshine.” Fluttershy turned to the freckled mare in surprise. “Sour Sweet! That’s not a very nice thing to say!” “Maybe not, but that doesn’t change the facts much.” The soldier tipped her head towards the journals. “I can understand wanting to authenticate these things, but the way she acted? It’s like she just assumed they were fakes when she came in. And now she’s pouting like a spoiled brat because she didn’t get her way.” She turned to the two princesses and added, “Call me paranoid, but something tells me this isn’t the last we’re going to see of her or her organization.” Twilight frowned. “Maybe. Still…” She shook her head. “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” She then turned to Cattail and asked, “Now, I know that the work needed to authenticate these is still ongoing, but is there any way I can make copies of the journals? I’m researching a project of my own, and these could be a valuable resource.” “Ah don’t mind you makin’ copies of the journals, ma’am, just so long as you don’t take the originals by mistake.” He carefully held up the case containing his ancestor’s mask and added, “Maybe that’ll explain what caused the mask to react to your friend the way it did.” “Yeah, that was strange.” Twilight then turned to Luna and asked, “Though all of this does raise a question. Why did they think Mage Meadowbrook was an eastern unicorn?” “As your assistant noted earlier, her story was likely conflated with that of her contemporaries, among whom were several eastern unicorns. Jasmine Flower and Mistmane are both likely candidates.” The Princess of the Night smiled encouragingly. “The journals will likely help to shed light on that mystery, and I will continue my own researches. Should I find anything I think will aid you in your efforts, I shall inform you immediately.” “Thank you, that…” Luna’s words clicked in the young princess’s head, and Twilight exclaimed, “Wait, Mistmane was real too?! And you knew her?!” Fluttershy giggled as Sour Sweet rolled her eyes and laughed, both fully aware that this was just the beginning.- Stygian was afraid. Basso Profundo, whatever sort of creature he was, seemed polite and cultured, but something about him gave an aura of menace and danger. He needed to find out more, try to glean more information. Alas, he had very little to go on. Basso’s word choice, however, did provide a clue about where to start, and Stygian combed through his library for every tome he had on sapient creatures native to the seas, or sapient creatures period. What little he knew led him to conclude that seaponies were off the list, but perhaps Basso was part of the same family of creatures? The one tome he had that he felt could provide him the best answers was written by a pony whom Stygian had never met, but whose word was legend. Star Swirl the Bearded, one of the most experienced and gifted mages of the time. It was said that he had traveled further than anypony, encountered more creatures and crafted more spells than any other sorcerer. Stygian considered him a hero, his word sacrosanct, and as he opened the tome and went directly to aquatic creatures, he found something similar to Basso Profundo within. “Of all the creatures native to the seas, the kelpie is the most enigmatic and alluring. Gifted in song and beauty, they are as capable of good or evil as the average pony. Treat them with respect, for their magic is strongest in their voices, and with the right song, they can command multitudes.” The illustrations were close, but not exact. Basso Profundo looked like a far more vicious and animalistic kelpie than what was described. Still, this was perhaps the closest he had. Perhaps a return trip to the shore? Basso might be willing to answer some questions… That was when Stygian heard the odd sounds from outside his home. He looked outside his windows to see the early morning sky becoming distorted with an eerie red aurora, one not normal for this time of year. The sound itself was loud, not exactly high but not low either, and hauntingly melodic. What few ponies he saw outside his window found themselves drawn in one direction, towards the coastline. Stygian was many things, and foolish was not among them. He had some beeswax at hoof, the remnants of earlier studies, and stuffed it into his ears as best he could before he stepped outside of his door. The sound was all but gone, but the aurora was still present in the sky. He followed it and the other villages at a distance to the overlook at the edge of town, and what he saw made his blood run cold. In the valley below was a growing number of townsfolk. Most were fighting among themselves, but a slowly growing number were standing transfixed, their eyes blank as though they were under an enchantment. All around them swirled an aura of magic, sickly green in glow and swirling skyward. And floating high above, collecting that aura and drawing it into the gemstone upon his breast, was the source of the apparent singing was Basso Profundo, eyes closed but an expression of greed upon his face. Stygian immediately dashed back to his home. Whatever sort of creature he was, Basso Profundo was definitely not benevolent. His village, perhaps even all of Equestria, was in danger, and Stygian was in no position to face him. This might well have even… No. This was not his fault. Anypony could have led Basso to the village. It was only Stygian’s bad luck that it happened to be him. Or was it? He was no hero, merely an amateur scholar. And there was a chance, however slim, that Stygian might well be the one lucky pony in a position to do something about it. Again, he was no hero…but he knew stories of ponies who were. He only hoped that he could find them in time. - Ivory Tower briskly made her way out of the museum, her sight focused on the path ahead of her as she exited the building and climbed into the carriage that awaited her. She secured the door behind her, then pulled a large briefcase out. There was nothing outstanding about it, aside from the unique lock. Rather than a key or a combination, this one required something different to unlock it – the tip of a unicorn’s horn, and the specific thaumic signature of a specific pony. Namely, herself. She inserted the tip of her horn into the locking mechanism with her magic active, opened the case and pulled out a small notepad and fountain pen, ink at the ready. The invention was relatively new to Equestria, and would eventually find its way onto the market. For now, however, its use was reserved for particular individuals, herself among them. A quick note was written, and then the fountain pen set aside and another, small device retrieved. With a flick of a switch, the note was consumed by magical flame and sent off elsewhere, and both the notepad and device locked away in the suitcase until their next use. Her associates would soon receive it, and with any luck, this matter would be addressed, before anything else occurred ahead of schedule. Harmony would be maintained. In the meantime, another of her associates needed to be informed of this development, before anything else was discovered. to be continued...
Writing Commissions Open 2022Decided to refresh my commission info! Here you go: Examples of my work: ( 1, 2, 3 ) I also have this tumblr account specifically for my writings.As you can see, I am capable of doing both short stories and multiple-chapter stories. I am very flexible in general. Fandoms I am most familiar with:Dragon AgeMass EffectAssassin's CreedWitcherAmnesiaOkami RWBYDisneyTransformers (specify universe)Historical fictionLOTR/the Hobbit/The SilmarillionGoT X - FilesHarry PotterPercy JacksonTwilightWarriorsSilent HillSupernaturalATLA/ATLKHetaliaPokemon/DigimonStar TrekStar WarsMLPThe LabyrinthLovecraftian horrorMortal KombatMarvel/DCUSteven UniverseFNAFLeague of LegendsDon't StarveKingdom HeartsSonic the HedgehogFinal Fantasy (VII/VIII/X)Dragon Ball ZBleachFullmetal AlchemistSailor MoonTomb RaiderDnDSkyrimOverwatchResident EvilAlienPredator (franchise)Fire EmblemDoki Doki Literature Club!Yu-Gi-Oh!And if you don’t see a fandom here you can ask me and I will tell you if I know it or not! I didn’t list them all here. Things I will write:Your OCs/Self-insertsLGBT+NSFWOriginal Fiction (as long as enough information is provided)AngstFluffHorror/CreepypastasCrossovers (If I know the series)HeadcanonsTorture/GoreBDSMOmegaverseAUsRape/DubconTentacles/AliensVampires/Werewolves/Monsters etc.Furries/Anthro (both SFW and NSFW)Fetishes (please specify so I can see whether I’m okay with it or not)If I haven’t mentioned anything that you wish to know feel free to ask as well! Things I will NOT write:Pedophilia/UnderageDD/LG (Daddies/Mommies and littles)Vore/CannibalismInflationWatersports/ScatBestialityNecrophiliaEven if I haven't mentioned something, there are still things I may still not like and will not write it. Prices:Short and simple! 1 USD for every 100 words, which I think is pretty fair. I take payments through PayPal. PLEASE NOTE that I have every right to reject a commission, even if it fits my rules.Send me a note if you have an offer! ...
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