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Prose Equus 4: A Day of Sun.

Mandroid Sep 25th, 2018 (edited) 182 Never
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  1. =Prose Equus 4=
  2.  
  3. >Celestia’s light gently graces the spires of Asgard as it shakes off the umbral blanket of the night. At least, you think it’s Celestia’s light. You’d no idea if the sunlight in the realm of the Gods was under her purview or not.
  4. >Gods and godlings stir from their slumber as the radiant light calls them to another day in the life of Asgard under the watchful eyes of stone-faced guardians manning the colossal boarder walls surrounding the city who kept sentry through the night.
  5. >Welcome here or not, you couldn’t help but feel some closer kinship to those on the wall then within it.
  6. >You twist your ankle and bend your elbow as the light traipses down the courtyard you were in. A trio of quick THOK’s ring out against the palace walls as you strike the training dummy with your newly obtained sword. You pivot with your shield raised, ensuring you keep your target ahead of it as you backstep into a thrust to its midsection, a strike which you follow up with a vertical slash and a bash of your shield to its face. You had learned that from your fight mentor back in Equestria, though Shining took to the maneuver easier than you did.
  7. >So focused were you on your drill, you almost didn’t feel the presence behind you.
  8. >”You rise early,” comes from the walkway above.
  9. >You cease your drill and look up, beholding the Queen of Asgard looking down at you with a single emerald eye.
  10. “Lady Sleipnir!”
  11. >You fall to one knee and place your sword point against the ground as you had done in court.
  12. “Your Grace.”
  13. >”Rise,” you hear from your side.
  14.  
  15. >You climb to your feet, finding Sleipnir next to you inspecting the dummy. “The noise you were making caused a servant to believe there was something afoot. Martial training is not often a task one does at dawn.”
  16. “Truly? I find it one of the best times, myself. The silence of the early dawn makes it easier to concentrate on my form and offers a serenity to the drills.”
  17. >You watch as she circles around the dummy like a predator.
  18. “Besides, at my age I think I’ve slept enough for a healthy lifetime. I’ll do the rest when I’m dead.”
  19. >”Well said.”
  20. >Sleipnir circles around to your other side and shifts her monolith gaze to you. “…Adequate strikes. You are already comfortable with the blade.”
  21. “Oh, aye.”
  22. >You spin your blade in your wrist and level it with your shoulder.
  23. “The length and guard are similar to my blade during the Secret Invasion of the Changelings some time back, and the weight is distributed like our old training swords in the Guard, albeit heavier overall.”
  24. >With another flick, you slide the blade back into its sheath without looking thanks to decades of practice.
  25. “Your daughter has as much an eye for blades as she does for mischief.”
  26. >”Perhaps a day will come when you will behold her collection of knives,” Sleipnir says, turning from you and walking along the path to the door.
  27. >”Clean yourself. Morning meal will commence soon, after which Baldur will further acquaint you with the city itself.”
  28. >Well, that decided your business for the day then.
  29. >You half-nod, half-bow.
  30. “By your will, Your Grace.”
  31.  
  32. >Breakfast in Asgard had amounted to more food than you had seen in your entire life. The occupants of the royal palace save Loki you had noticed, all gathered in a dining hall that stretched farther than the eye could see that was stuffed with game and fish and hay and a mountain of sausage that you had gorged yourself on. Luck was on your side that there were so many different species in Asgard. Griffons, toga’d minotar, Kirin with two horns, the odd dragon or two. You could never get such quantities of meat in Equestria without asking.
  33. >Baldur had sat with you some distance away from his Mother. during breakfast and regaled you with the goings-on of the palace and how things worked the entire time, remarking that without Loki or his other family here, he had no one to talk to. Something you were now discussing with him as you walk along the path from the palace.
  34. “Six children? That’s quite a bit, even for a God, Baldur.”
  35. >”You are telling me, friend.” He replies. “I could appreciate one, perhaps even two or three, but SIX? There are not enough hours in the day!”
  36. “Mm. Tell me about them.”
  37. >That gets him talking as you pass through the battlement gate and into the city proper.
  38. >”Well, Loki you know, the youngest of us. The oldest Scion of Sleipnir is Vidar, fathered by Thjassi at the end of the war which established the High Court of the Nine Realms.”
  39. “Which is?”
  40. >”Where the rulers of the good realms upon Yggdrasil convene to discuss policy, No-Name.”
  41. “Ah.”
  42.  
  43. >”Vidar is borne of giants, Hill Giants specifically, and was to signify the end of the long and bloody war Asgard waged against the Jötnar before the Court was raised. Mother formed a union with King Thjassi to ensure neither kingdom would raise arms against its heir.”
  44. “A clever tactic. Did it work? Is King Thjassi here? I’ve never met a giant before.”
  45. >”No, Mother slew Thjassi the year after Vidar was born when Thjassi kidnapped Iduun, claiming her to be a “better trade”.”
  46. >You nod your head.
  47. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…”
  48. >”Hel, No-name. Only one L.”
  49. “What?”
  50. >Baldur ignores you as he leads you through the city streets. The stones beneath your boots are smooth and weathered, but not dirty from scuffs at all. Buildings and archways and statues are carved of the same smooth stone and all things are confined in boarders of mighty gleaming brass.
  51. >”Vidar left Asgard many years ago after a…disagreement with Mother, shall we say. He farms now!”
  52. >You nod.
  53. “Not a poor trade at all, one of the best ponies I ever knew was a farmer.”
  54. >”I bet they weren’t as grumpy as Vidar!”
  55. >You laugh.
  56. “What’s the difference?”
  57. >”Hahn?”
  58. “Between giants. One was the father of your brother while your Mother made mention of Frost Giants when she brought me here yesterday.”
  59. >The only frost you find at that moment crosses over Baldur’s face. The normally smiling unicorn’s eyes fall half over his irises, and the corners of his mouth reverse course and turn down. His armor seems to hold slightly less shine to it. “There are no Frost Giants…” he says.
  60.  
  61. >The walk becomes a funeral march as the two of you part through those in the City of the Gods simply aiming to live their lives, though you feel as though you must be radiating death thanks to your words.
  62. “I’m sorry, Baldur.”
  63. >He glances over at you curiously.
  64. “I clearly misspoke.”
  65. >Baldur’s mouth turns to a tired smile and his armor begins to glow again with a simple laugh. “Pay it no mind, my friend. Hardly a story, I’d say…”
  66. “Are there others?” you ask, trying to change the subject.
  67. >”Hmmm…only the Fire Giants, but they and their lord Surtr are locked away in Muspelheim until Ragnarok comes.”
  68. “Fire, eh…? I’d hate to be there during the summer.”
  69. >Baldur’s cheeks expand like a stick of dynamite went off in his mouth as he stifles a laugh. His eyes regain the life they held within them as he devolves into a snickering fit.
  70. >An infectious one at that that spreads to you.
  71. ”Keep going.”
  72. >”Well -pftahaha- after Vidar is Tyr, God of War, Justice, and the Lord Commander of Asgard’s defense.” Baldur says. He stops and points behind the two of you, past the palace and the city beyond it on the other side. “I’ll bite my tongue as I’m positive you’ll meet him soon enough, his station is the Wolfkeep on yonder wall, guarding our Northern border.”
  73. “A war god? I think you a seer, Baldur, I would be very interested in meeting him.”
  74.  
  75. >Baldur laughs once and keeps walking through the city, pointing out sights and greeting many along the way. A quick aside from him told you he knew almost none of their names for how little he got out, but he would greet them as if they were family.
  76. >”Where was I?” he ponders. “Ah yes, after Tyr is my older brother Hermod, the fastest horse alive save Mother Herself! A pious disciple of Ratatoskr is he, as well as Mother’s messenger between the Nine Realms.”
  77. “A-huh. And this Ratatoskr is?”
  78. >”The magic squirrel who carries insults between Veofolnir at Yggdrasil’s peak and Nidhoggr at its roots.”
  79. “Oh. Of course, how foolish of me to ask.”
  80. >”I know!”
  81. >You and Baldur share a laugh. “After Hermod came me! Little Baldur.”
  82. “What about after you?”
  83. >Baldur stops in his tracks and looks at you.
  84. “You said their were six, you plus Loki makes five so was there someone else after you?”
  85. >”Haha…Yes, yes, Mj-“
  86. >Baldur is cut off by a fearsome growl coming from several streets over. Both of your ears turn to it, but only your feet immediately take off running.
  87. >”No-name, wait!”
  88. “No time! Come on!”
  89. >You don’t look back, but you hear Baldur’s horseshoes against the pavement behind you.
  90.  
  91. >The two of you burst onto a scene from the legends of the gods around you. Before a golden gate fought a beast whom you were intimately familiar with, who’s lion man flapped in the wind made by its bat-like wings and covered for its scorpion tail that jabbed over its head towards a trio of wary guards in gleaming armor. Under its legs did it batter at the shield of a figure you couldn’t quite see due to its body nearly covering it.
  92. “Manticore!”
  93. >”Blast it!” Baldur shouts running up next to you. “He must have gotten loose from the menagerie!”
  94. “I’ll get it back, you get the one its after!”
  95. >You leap from your elevated position to the street below. You hear Baldur shout “Wait, No-name!” but time is of the essence and a coordinated strike not an option if you wanted to save that poor soul underneath it.
  96. >You dash past the guards, amazed at their cowardice, and let out a mighty yell as you rush forward with your shield braced by both hands.
  97. >Your roar frightens the beast for a hairsbreadth of a second, all the time you need to slam your shield into its face and push it back. The manticore roars in rage with blood leaking from its nose, letting you step over the fallen prey it was going for and get your sword out.
  98. >The manticore screams in rage at you and swipes with its claws. You dodge the left swipe and block the right, keeping your distance for-
  99. >Your arm moves before your body reacts, raising your blade and parrying the dripping poison tail of the manticore.
  100.  
  101. “Quick one, aren’t you!”
  102. >You swipe wide with your shield to force it back further and deflect another blow with your sword, this time riposting and dragging a crimson line across its shoulder. A roar of pain from the beast tells you that it’s not used to being hurt and forces it to open its mouth, presenting your opening. As you pull your blade back to drive it into the mouth of the beast as you did with the Timber Wolf, a streak of gold rushes past your side screaming “NOOOOO!” and deflects your weapon off invincible skin, then a heartbeat later you’re tackled to the ground by the very guards you ran past.
  103. >”Halt!”
  104. >”Do not move!”
  105. >”Stay away from the Prince!”
  106. “Wait, prince?”
  107. >Someone’s hoof comes down on your mouth and silences you, but you can still see Baldur rush up and calm the rampaging Manticore with some pats on the cheek and soft words.
  108. “Mfffmm mffm mfm fffmm mf mfffm mm?”
  109. >”What?” asks Baldur, signaling for the Guard to remove his hoof.
  110. “Ptew. I said ‘Baldur, what the Hel is going on?’. What’s this about a Prince?”
  111. >Baldur nods and looks to the Manticore, now calmed. “My nephew, Svaolifari.”
  112. >Your eyes dart between the manticore and your friend several times.
  113. “Your nephew is a manticore.”
  114. >Baldur gives a slight smile. “It is different for gods.” He looks to the guards and offers the same warm smile. “Alright my friends, we are all well here. I think we may put this ugliness behind us. No need to alert his mother or cause a scene, simply a misunderstanding.”
  115. >You hear the guard look at each other. “By your will, Your Grace.”
  116. >The pressure on you lets up and they head back to their posts.
  117. >You push yourself up as Baldur goes back to his oddly shaped nephew. Just them, your mind goes to the one the Manticore was after.
  118. >A glance to your right lets you see it, a dark furred shape getting up from underneath a battered tower shield.
  119. “Hail fellow, are you-“
  120. >You stop as you recognize it.
  121.  
  122. >He stands about as tall as you were in a mix mash of leather and mail armor, covering all but his head. His dark fur, now matted in places with Manticore drool, gets straightened by his pawed hand going down his face and letting slitted green eyes lock with yours. He snorts through his snout as he identifies you as well and the both of you go for your weapons, his being a large axe at his feet.
  123. >Baldur catches the sound on the wind and dashes between the two of you.
  124. >”Wait! Wait! What is this! No-name, explain yourself! Rover! What are you doing here?”
  125. “Get away from him, Baldur, he’s dangerous!”
  126. >Baldur snorts. “None are a danger to me, only from me.”
  127. >He sounds like his Mother when he speaks like that.
  128. >The diamond dog snarls and lowers his axe slightly “Rover remembers you…packs talk about two-leg in pony town before Rover comes here.”
  129. “Yeah, me. And how’d you end up here, friend?”
  130. >Rover spits onto the ground. “Fell through a hole.”
  131. “This is the face I wear when I believe people who lie to me.”
  132. >”He isn’t lying No-name.”
  133.  
  134. >Baldur walks around your side and over to Rover who relaxes slightly around him. “Rover is known to all of us, arriving by some whim of fate during a battle Tyr took part in. Tyr credits Rover for aiding in his victory and thus, was he offered shelter in Asgard.” Baldur’s eye drifts to Rover, but he still wears a smile. “But not without the occasional brawl at yonder tavern.”
  135. >Rover turns his head away from Baldur and snorts, Baldur himself straightens. “Apologies, friend Rover. No-name only arrived yesterday, you can remember the shock of being here, can’t you?”
  136. >Rover looks between Baldur and yourself and growls slightly before relaxing. “Fine.” He picks up his axe and battered shield and skulks down the road. “Don’t let it happen again, Pony Prince.”
  137. >”I’ll try!” Baldur calls out.
  138. >You sigh and relax yourself, sheathing your sword.
  139. “That makes two sorry’s I owe you, my friend.”
  140. >Baldur responds by tilting his head back so he’s looking at you upside down. “I shall place it upon thy tab.” He says, then sticks his tongue out at you.
  141. >You laugh, Baldur does too, both of you sharing it in the small alley.
  142. >”Come, let us return my nephew to his home in the Menagerie and treat him for his injury.”
  143. >Baldur rights himself and begins walking, Svaolifari prancing close next to him. “Along the way I shall tell you of the fight that drove Vidar from Asgard and how he threw a barn at the palace!”
  144. >That indeed sounded like a tale.
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