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 The Lights of Harmony IV

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   20/8/2013, 1:32 pm

"Practice weapons. They're a little too jumpy about trying to hit me, it seems." She giggled and walked with him towards the mansion. "I was hoping I wouldn't dump more work on you right now, but it's not going to work out that way."

She opened the door for him and followed him inside. A glance told her that Worn Blade already had a hoof on another drink.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   20/8/2013, 1:46 pm

Axle pondered what Lightning was asking, hoping to find the right words to speak while Blade finished off what he counted to be his third mug of ale, a smile on his face and not a hint of drunkenness on his features.

The large unicorn stallion looked over at Axle and tilted his head.

"Who this be?"

Axle smiled faintly.

"Name's Axle Nut, blacksmith. You must be Worn Blade, Mist's father. A pleasure to finally meet you."

The large unicorn grinned.

"A pleasure a' well, laddie."

Blade quickly stood.

"Be righ' back, ge'in another mug."

He stood as he headed for the basement, Axle throwing a worried look at Lightning before resuming his smile.

"So Lightning, you need a series of practice weapons, eh?"

He tapped his chin before continuing.

"I think I can make some, though it might take a few days. I'll have to adjust the forge a little and get the ol' grinding wheel out, but that won't take too long."

The blue stallion leaned over the table a little more.

"Anything specific? Spears, swords, the like?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   21/8/2013, 9:31 am

"I sent Dalila with Quick Wit to get some training arrows, but I thing padded weapons are more your forte. Unless you're secretly a Fletcher?"

Lightning giggled and grabbed a glass of water for herself. She sat down at the table and took a sip. "Padded wing covers, swords, ends for spears - I think that's the general makeup of the weapon skills these recruits came in with."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   21/8/2013, 10:06 am

Axle tapped his chin and mulled over what Lightning said, thinking of designs and what he could do to make practice weapons.

"I suppose I could take armor padding off of a few extra training dummies and strap them onto a leather band to serve as wing guards..."

A small smile started to form.

"I think I could use some excess wood from the handles to make some thick wooden swords that have no edge to them, and I could make some special pads for the spear heads."

The stallion nodded to himself as Worn Blade made his way back to the table, another mug in his hoof as he took a large gulp of it.

Axle kept going.

"That's what I can do so far for the training weapons. If I can come up with something else, I'll let you know. I'm not good with rubber, so I can't make rubber spear heads, but pads will do."

Blade spoke up with a grin.

"Can' git the troops ta hi' yew? Ya, they'll hesi'ate the firs' few times, but once yew git them motivated, they'll lay it on like a bat outta 'ell."

He ran a hoof through his beard as he gave a thoughtful look, speaking.

"Then again....Ah dropped half o' them in a forest, so they might 'ave been a little pissed off a' me..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   22/8/2013, 12:40 pm

Lightning looked at him incredulously. "You did what?"

She smacked herself in the face and shook her head. "You know what. No, don't tell me. I'm probably going to consider what you've said, and I don't want to put my troops through that. But I will make them fight me - one way or the other."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   22/8/2013, 12:56 pm

It was at this point that Haze made herself known, having heard what was being said.

She smiled at Axle and Lightning before taking a seat next to Lightning.

"My husband was 'eccentric' when he trained other troops, to the point that some would ask to be taken out of that unit. Only the ones that stayed became real fighters."

Blade gave a hearty chuckle as he took a drink of his ale, with Axle looking at him strangely.

"Eccentric? I'm not sure a trainer could be eccentric, could he?"

Haze giggled as she spoke.

"When a squad is assigned a trainer or captain, that pony, griffon, or zebra would then have control of what you were to do. It was their responsibility to train you to fight, no matter how crazy they were. My husband was known as one of the most successful, yet nearly the most insane instructors in his sector. I was even in the last squad he trained before we fell in love and he retired."

Blade gave a small laugh as he smiled at Haze.

"It was love a' firs' sight....me lassie stole me heart the very minute after she broke a staff over me head."

Axle gave a look at Lightning before giving a small laugh of his own.

"Reminds me of my own parents on the farm. I remember my father telling me that when he met mother, he did something rather stupid that made her throw a flimsy bar stool at him. Somehow, that turned into love later on...."

He gave a small sigh and looked at Lightning.

"But back to what we were discussing before, from what I've seen from the smithing tent, they either respect you too much or are too scared to even draw a sword in your direction."

The blue stallion could only give a sadder sigh as he rested his head against a hoof.

"You, Dalila, and Temporal just have to find a way to motivate them into fighting you, short of threatening to kick them off of the Storm Hammers...then again, that'd probably shock some of them into fighting you out of desperation. Doesn't seem very....ethical, from a more standard point of view."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   22/8/2013, 2:29 pm

"If they are unwilling to perform in practice, then I will have to let them go. But not until next week. On Monday, I think that's when I will ask them to do that again. For now, sparring will be between recruits. Specifically, Null and Void. Tomorrow will be two on two matches."

She sat down and rubbed her head. "I just hope they perform better then, or we'll have a serious problem."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   22/8/2013, 2:56 pm

Axle nodded.

"True....sadly, if what Gold told me was right, you're going to need the best of the batch, and if someone doesn't meet the standard, then there's a no point in having them here."

He ran a hood through his short orange mane.

"For what you need the Storm Hammers for, there's pretty much no room for second place."

Haze spoke from next to Lightning, idly twirling a hoof.

"Misty has told us about that night as well....I wish there was a way Blade and I could help...."

She shook her head.

"But I suppose this is your battle Lightning.....just know that we'll be there if you need us."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 8:30 am

Lightning fluffed her wings in annoyance. It was hard to forget seeing Ruby in such a mess as she was. If she had her way, she'd have that whole family thrown in jail. There was nothing good coming from that place anymore, except the exiles. That should have spoken volumes, but of course, traditions are far more important.

"Worn Blade? If they can't get their act together, would you be willing to advise me on... More eccentric measures? My back is getting a little too close to the wall, and I refuse to be put against it. They have an opportunity to show me how badly they want to be Storm Hammers, but like Axel said, there's no room for error."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 9:13 am

Worn Blade gave a small, serene smile.

"Of course, lassie....jus' always remember ta keep ye cool when ye do these measures."

He sat up and gave a small sigh.

"These worn bones are always ready for a routine."

Haze gave a look at Blade.

"Now hon, I don't want you pushing your limits again and hurting your shoulder wound. There's a reason I asked for you to retire..."

The large stallion's hoof instinctively went to the large scar running over his right shoulder and leg joint, tracing the thick line of scar tissue.

He only smiled.

"Me love, yew know ah won't...."

He looked over at Lightning and gave a more goofy grin.

"Alrigh'y, jus' show me what I 'ave to work with an' I'll give some advice."

...

It was at the end of the day that a familiar burgundy unicorn mare and her fiery friend arrived at the front door of the mansion, Fine giving a small smile and a sigh.

"It'll be good to see the dears again..."

Pyro giggled as a fiery butterfly landed on her ear.

"Yeah, I missed them."

Fine nodded as she knocked on the door.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 9:33 am

Feral's ears perked up. While the other ponies were busy setting up the table for dinner, she had chosen to relax after her first scouting run into the forest. She was tired of pacing out the area, but the results were good. The forest here was bountiful of both flora and fauna. She didn't dare pick any berries from the bushes, but she did have Fauna make her a good lunch, as well as providing her a place to clean off the blood from her muzzle.

She could hear her wolves yipping at one another in the back field and a smile came to her lips. They rarely had time to play before she'd found her mates. But now? They were having the time of their lives.

Shaking her head, she rose and followed her memorized path to the door. She opened it tapping one of her back hoof to make out the shapes in front of her. Two ponies - male or female she couldn't tell, but she kept her gaze between the two of them, using her ears to guide where to focus her eyes. They were new to her. They didn't have the scent of other ponies she'd met. But there was a distinct smell of smoke tugging at the edge of her senses.

"May I help you?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 9:45 am

Fine tilted her head, then smiled.

"Oh, you must be Feral Whisper, the most recent heart stolen by our friends."

She then gave a small giggle.

"My name is Fine Print, a pleasure to meet you darling. My companion here is Pyro Technic."

The fiery unicorn grinned.

"Hi there!"

Fine took a slow step forward.

"We were wondering if any of our friends were here, specifically Lightning, Gold, Stone, Mist, Fas, or even Axle."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 11:50 am

Feral smiled. She immediately made note to distinguish between the two by smell, as she often paired with their voice. She noticed that, by virtue of name, Pyro smelled of old fireworks and smoke as she had observed before.

Sniffing the air softly, she noticed that Fine Print smelled of dry ink and a feathered quill. Her ears flicked to the sound of Fine's step, and she moved to let them inside. "Pleased to meet you as well. You are correct. They are setting up for dinner in the other room. Extra plates were set out for you and Mist's parents."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 12:41 pm

Pyro smiled as she trotted in.

"Cool, I was wondering when I was gonna see ol' Worn Blade again."

Fine gave a more shaky smile as she entered in more controlled pace, smiling at Feral.

"Please darling....I don't mean to be offensive, but you don't have to pretend you can see around us. Just having my friends accept you into the herd means that you are an alright mare to me."

She gave a small, reassuring laugh to Feral as she walked by her.

"I do say though, Pyro and I have missed so much in our absence....I must catch up with our friends on current events....and I would certainly love to get to know you better deary."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   23/8/2013, 11:27 pm

Feral's smile waned slightly. "Not looking at another pony while speaking to them tends to be disrespectful. It implies that I do not care about the conversation. I did not want to give you the wrong impression."

She closed the door and joined her in walking to the kitchen. "It has become a habit."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   24/8/2013, 6:20 am

Fine held a hoof to her mouth.

"Oh, oh dear, I'm very sorry deary, it never really occurred to me..."

She gave a sheepish smile.

"I suppose I put my hoof in my mouth for that...."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   24/8/2013, 11:24 am

Feral smiled and shook her head. "Please, it's alright. I didn't mean to upset you, I was just trying to explain. It helps to look as normal as possible when some ponies cannot tolerate the strange and the different. I've adapted."

Lightning poked her head out of the dining room and smiled. "Fine! Pyro! You made it in one piece, I see."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   24/8/2013, 11:45 am

Fine gave a small laugh as she spoke.

"Lightning, darling, it's been awhile. I was wondering how everything was going, and when Stone sent me that letter, I just couldn't stand waiting anymore."

She gave another small laugh at seeing the sight of the Whisk leaving the dining room in order to bring in some drinks.

"And I see that things have expanded so much from when we were last here."

Her eyes were alight with excitement.

"And to put the cherry on top, you're home and this part of the district are now an entirely new settlement! My word, I must help in some way. I'm missing all the excitement!"

Pyro giggled from her chair.

"Somehow, she's more hyper than I usually am. We're excited to see what's going to happen later on."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   24/8/2013, 12:27 pm

"Actually, I have an idea on how you can help. But dinner before business. Come on in and I'll introduce you to the staff." Lightning brought Fine and Pyro into the dining room with Feral close behind. It was set up so that the table had accommodating several extra places.

Flora was on task that evening, and to help out - as well as keep sharp - Lightning was also making some delicious pasta dishes to go with the main course. She walked over to the table to top her pasta with Parmesan Cheese and placed a hoof on Flora's shoulder. "This is Flora, one of our cooks on staff. I'm also cooking tonight, but you've had my pasta before."

Flora smiled and bowed. "Pleased."

"I have to go grab the ziti from the oven. I'll let Mist introduce her family."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   24/8/2013, 1:48 pm

Fine gave a small laugh.

"I certainly remember her father, but her mother I just HAVE to meet."

She turned, leaving Lightning to get her food and made her way over to the forest green furred, purple maned unicorn mare that was talking to Mist.

Said unicorn smiled and stood as Fine approached, bringing her into a quick embrace that the burgundy mare happily returned.

"Mist, it's been forever already..."

She let go and smiled at Haze.

"Ah, and this must be your mother."

She bowed her head.

"Fine Print."

Haze giggled.

"Haze Spectral."

It was then that they engaged with their much-needed conversation, finally choosing to catch up and share knowledge about themselves so that they knew each other better, Mist soon joining in. Fine even called Pyro over in order to have her introduce herself.

Problem was, Pyro had followed after Lightning, choosing simply watch her as a few fiery butterflies flew around the fiery unicorn's head.

She gave a teasing smile as one of the butterflies grew a little, fluttering over and landing on the stove in front of Lightning.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   25/8/2013, 4:27 am

Lightning hefted the casserole out of the oven and froze when she saw the butterfly. Her eyes lingered on the beautiful wings which had finally been given colors. The magic behind it glittered in the pale light. Flora gave it a passing glance before recognizing its importance to her employer.

"If I might, dear?"

Lightning snapped back to reality and nodded. Flora took the ziti from the counter and left her and Pyro alone in the kitchen.

"Your butterflies have gotten a lot better," she said quietly. Lightning turned to look at Pyro with a smile on her face. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes as it dug up well buried memories. Only months ago, she was on the battlefield and with Pyro and her mares. Love forged in battle, it seemed.

What about Pyro? That was a question she had months ago. But whether it registered the same way in peace than in war was something she hadn't thought about. She grabbed her in a big hug and squeezed Pyro tight. "Thank you," she whispered.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   25/8/2013, 6:34 am

Pyro smiled serenely as she held Lightning in the tight hug, giving the pegasus a light nuzzle on the cheek.

She spoke in a tone as quiet as Lightning's.

"Fine has been helping me refine my magic....making my magic more beautiful than destructive...."

She sighed faintly as she leaned back, a fiery hummingbird appearing between them, which quickly fluttered up and landed on Pyro's mane. The bird quickly dissipated after Pyro let out a breath, a small bead of sweat on her cheek.

"Of course, it takes concentration and puts a strain on my magic..."

The unicorn pulled away and gave another serene smile, her visage much more calm and clear than when she first met Lightning.

She spoke in a calming voice.

"I've....never really had the chance to say this back when we were running from Noble Victory....but, that night, when you couldn't sleep and instead woke me...."

She felt herself blushing, the red even visible through her coat color.

"....after all that we had been through, you still fought on...you didn't get bitter and hopeless about it, you chose to keep going, even when it was near impossible. I..."

She gave a sheepish smile and scuffed a hoof.

"...I really admire you Lightning, but this isn't admiration like you have with your mares, but this is the kind of admiration one has when they're older brother beats up their younger brother's bully, when a mare sees her secret crush defend them from an abusive boyfriend....when a mare like me sees a mare like you fight off the influence of hopelessness in order to make everything right in the world..."

Now she was blushing even more deeply, her body radiating heat like a freshly lit fire.

"Again, it's not that I love you or anything, but I really admire you for what you've done...Fine does too..."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   26/8/2013, 6:59 am

"I know," Lightning said. She wiped her eyes with a hoof. "C'mon. The best I can do right now is to give you dinner. Besides, you and fine seem... close."

She giggled and swatted her with her tail. She trotted into the dining room to see that it was almost finished. "Alright, girls," she paused and added, "And Worn Blade. Let's eat."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   26/8/2013, 7:41 am

Blade only gave a short, yet sharp laugh before he started. His horn glowed as he, much to Haze's protest, grabbed a respectful amount of the casserole in his magic and placed it on his plate.

Haze gave him a look and then lightly slapped him on the back of the head.

"Next time dear, use your manners and wait until it's given to you."

Blade only gave her a helpless shrug, which she returned with a glare, and that only made him shrink away a little before he started eating slowly.

Mist rolled her eyes while Gold chuckled.

Fine turned her head to speak to Pyro, who had finally joined them after slowly walking in from the kitchen with a thoughtful look.

"Pyro, dear, is something wrong? You seem....deep in thought, and rather quiet than usual..."

Said red unicorn's eyes glanced at Lightning before looking back at Fine, a soft smile on her face.

"I'm alright. Just had a thought that's been on my mind for a while."

She gave a large grin as her horn levitated some food onto her plate.

"I'll tell you later."

Fine didn't miss the glance, but she simply smiled.

"Sure hon. As long as you're alright."

Pyro nodded and smiled.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony IV   26/8/2013, 10:11 am

All throughout dinner, Lightning had been sure to dance around the issue of what she thought Fine Print could be able to do in the town. Most of the talk had been reflected to other topics of conversation. Most of those presented by Worn Blade inevitably earned him a smack in the back of the head, but he didn't seem to care.

Once desert was on the menu however, their newest cook strolled into the kitchen with a focus she had never once seen or expected of the mare. But as Zest moved with practiced precision on the desert, she seemed almost to lose herself in creating the dish. Lightning quietly removed herself from the kitchen to let her work.

"Coffee? Tea?" She asked, as Flora brought in the last of the plates.

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