Previous Session: http://mlpg.coluna_quest/616410.html /qt/ Thread: http://mlpg.co/qt/res/217221.html >You arrive in an area east of the Prancing Plains at a large encampment of soldiers >Luna tells you that Starswirl plans to tell Celestia about Nightmare Moon's brief appearance if you and Luna do not >You agree that you should both tell her together >You get a replacement sword and shield from Gold Heart who informs you of the situation in Taloran >You mustn't let on that there's anything going on with Tiamat so the citizens of Taloran don't panic >The disappearances are being kept hidden and for good reason >Thorn comes down in a chariot to take you up to Taloran >You promise Lucent to hang out with her later that night >You arrive in Taloran and meet Pierce, a dragon and advisor to Emperor Halberd >Gold Heart loathes Pierce >You learn about Glaurumat, father of dragons, and how the magic of Glaurumat's mind and the peace of Taloran are what keep the city floating and hidden >Unable to stand Pierce's presence any longer, Gold Heart leaves the group while they join the Emperor for breakfast >Gold Heart demands you come with her and you do
Gold Heart leads you back to the landing area where Thorn is waiting, free of the chariot that brought you there. Thorn doesn't wait for either you or Gold Heart to say anything. From the tight scowl on Gold Heart's face, he can alredy tell what's happened.
"Pierce?" Thorn said as he lowered himself for Gold Heart.
"Pierce," Gold Heart confirmed, jumping on top of Thorn's back and then looking to you. "We'll have breakfast at the embassy where Thorn and I live. Maybe we'll be able to get you a new shirt from one of the staff, and I'm sure Thorn's wife, Corona, will have a warm meal waiting." >Current Inventory:
- A strange key - A garnet, emerald, and an oval cut onyx - +10 to all combat rolls, and preception rolls while in combat
>Current Affection Levels:
Luna - Close Friends Lucent - Close Friends Gold Heart - New Friends Celestia - Low
>>616539 "I new shirt sounds good. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets quite cold up here in the evening - but where'd you get one? Its not like there are a lot of humans running around who could hand over on of theirs."
"I new shirt sounds good. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets quite cold up here in the evening - but where'd you get one? Its not like there are a lot of humans running around who could hand over on of theirs," you say, climbing onto Thorn.
"Clothing is more of a ceremonial garb for the dragons," Gold explains. "One of them should have something suitable for your size, though I would suggest having something for when we speak to Emperor Halberd. He's expressed his distaste for the royal robes, but customs are customs."
Thorn gives a deep chuckle as he takes off into the air.
"Thorn doesn't much care for them either," Gold Heart smiles.
As you fly around the city you catch glimpses of other ponies riding dragons as well, some not too much bigger than Thorn. Apparently, they provide public transport to ponies around the city. You notice that Gold Heart is the only one who seems to be riding alone.
"Out of curiosity: What do the dragons get from you ponies? I mean, they carry you around, let you live in their sky-city and so on - what's your contribution to this arrangement?"
"Our arrangement is that there isn't one," Gold Heart says. "I believe I mentioned that dragons are almost completely solitary, whereas ponies are not. They are fierce and deadly predators at the top of the food chain and, at the very base of nature, we are their prey at most. If there is one thing this world thrives off of, that we have seen all races benefit from the most, it is peace and harmony. The simple fact that we are together when we have no true reason to be, when there is evidence that we should be otherwise, is a testament to that. We are here because we want to be here, because things are just better that way."
Gold Heart looks out over the city and smiles.
"There was so much suffering before Taloran," she says. "For even longer than the princesses have reigned over Equestria, Taloran has stood as a symbol of peace for the sake of peace and it's physical beauty, this paradise you see, reflects that."
"Since you mentioned that, how long have the Princesses ruled over Equestria anyway?"
"Emperor Halberd had just matured when they came into power," Gold Heart tells you. "He wasn't even the Emperor back then. Just one of the citizens."
"We're home," Thorn announces as you come upon a citadel on the southern half of the floating island.
"The embassy looks about the same as ever," Gold Heart sighs. "Three days and how I've missed it."
Similar to the palace, the embassy citadel dwarfs even the larger buildings around it. Dragons and ponies wander about its golden pathways, and Gold Heart directs you to a landing area at the top of the citadel where a red dragon awaits you.
"That is Corona," Gold Heart says, "Thorn's wife. As kind as Thorn himself but with a better sense of humor. Don't worry too much about manners around her. She won't use them around you and would be insulted if you didn't treat her home as your own while you're staying with us."
Thorn lands before Corona and she brings her head against his. There are a few brief words exchanged in a soft, throaty language you've never heard before. The two are both smiling. Gold Heart hops off and introduces you to Corona.
"What a tiny, hairless little thing," Corona prods your chest gently with one of her claws. "Not too different from the ponies, in my opinion, but any friend of Gold Heart and Thorn's is a friend of mine. Come inside and we'll get you something to eat."
You follow them inside to what appears to be a dining room with a large spread of various fruits, vegetables, and gems.
You look around, unsure of what to do. Gold Heart has taken a seat at the table that's been prepared for you and is currently being served some sort of salad while Corona and Thorn munch happily on the biggest bagels you've ever seen completely with a crystal spread at an even larger table to the right of you.
"Go on, human," Corona smirks, fangs bared. "Eat up if you're hungry. There's no sense in being shy here. It's a bit rude to leave your girl eating all by herself."
Gold Heart, who had been sipping from a tall glass of orange juice, proceeds to cough and spray it across her food. A few pony servants rush to clean it up while Gold Heart composes herself.
Thorn makes a plead to his wife in their dragon tongue and she rolls her eyes. You grab your fill of food and proceed to eat.
"Got any secrets from me that you have to say it in dragon tongue, Gold Heart?" you wink at her.
"My secrets are my own and none of your business," she deadpans. "Just grab whatever food you can carry and follow me."
Gols Heart excuses herself from the table, salad half-eaten, and wanders off towards one of the halls. Ponies begin cleaning up after the two of you as you follow her out. Corona and Thorn can be heard talking softly again in their language.
"We're going to visit my father," Gold Heart says.
The hallway opens up into a square courtyard filled with flowers. At the center of it is a statue of rather strong looking stallion standing proudly on a pedestal with a lance tucked into one of his forelegs. A scar ran across his chest where a necklace hung. At the end of the necklace was a dragon charm. An inscription made up the spines in a language you've never seen. Probably the same as the one everyone has been speaking.
"He was a knight? And what does the inscription say?"
"He was more than a knight," Gold Heart says, looking up at him. "He was a former knight who became an ambassador to the dragons. Before he came, there were just as many dragons who wanted ponies to leave as there were who wanted them to stay. For the sake of peace, there weren't any major protests or outbursts, but you could feel from a lot of the dragons that ponies weren't welcome here. He changed that."
Gold Heart runs a hoof over the inscription on the statue.
"The inscription says, 'A True Dragon'," she continues. "Everything I am and everything I've learned was given to me by my father, including the values he clung to so strongly."
Her hoof falls to the ground and she turns towards you.
"I think I did, yes," she laughs for a moment, then frowns. "He died defending his ideals and the peace that Taloran was supposed to represent. It used to be lower to the ground when he was alive. His death is the reason why I can't seem to control myself when I'm around Pierce."
Gold Heart stops for a moment to take a deep breath. When she exhales, she starts again.
"Pierce's father was one of the dragons who resisted my father's station as ambassador," she says. "He believed that if a pony were to be the ambassador of peace between dragons and ponies, then they should follow the dragon's code, or at least have something similar. Do you remember what I said about dragon's challenging each other?"
"To continue his position as ambassador," she explains, "my father had to defeat Pierce's father in combat. Only then would he be recognized as a true dragon by the people. Emperor Halberd wouldn't hear of it at first, but pierced convinced him that for the good of the citizens of Taloran, the challenge would set everyone's minds at ease."
With a stomp of her hoof, she grits her teeth and lets out a growl.
"Pierce," she curses his name. "If he hadn't convinced the Emperor,his father wouldn't have gotten carried away in the fight and killed him. What's even worse was that after he died, most dragons believed that no pony would be suitable enough for the dragons to respect. Ponies began to feel even less welcome here and a rift was almost put between us again after so many years."
Tears are starting to well up in her eyes.
"All my father's work would have been for nothing," she says, "and I was so angry."
There's a long pause from Gold Heart as she wipes the tears from her eyes. When she finally cleans herself up, she speaks again.
"I challenged Pierce's father," Gold Heart says, looking you in the eye, "and I killed him, out of vengeance and out of my duty as ambassador."
She doesn't look away from you, studying your face carefully.
"At a price that I didn't want to pay," Gold Heart says, "but after that, peace returned to Taloran and the stability to Glaurumat's mind raised it even higher than ever before. I brought you here to explain my poor behavior earlier."
Walking past you and into the hall, Gold Heart smiles.
"I'm glad you understand," she says. "There aren't many I can talk to about this so comfortably, and as much as I'd love to settle things with Pierce, our rivalry essentially ensures that stability."
>>616575 "Look around you - without you things wouldn't be anywhere like they are now."
"Maybe," she shrugs. "Who knows how things would be if events had occurred differently. Oh, and that dragon charm, it was given to me by the Emperor. 'As a recognition of the first true dragon among ponies' he said. There was a big enough show of it."
There's a melancholy tone in her words, but she's smiling at you.
"Come with me," she says. "Thorn had some of the staff set up a wardrobe for you to look through."
You follow Gold Heart through the embassy, watching more ponies and dragons run about. Gold Heart ends up signing a few papers handed to her by various ponies, stops to talk to a few dragons in their native tongue, and other duties as you walk. This place has about as many winding halls Canterlot castle did, but at least you didn't feel like a children's toy walking through it.
"We're here," Gold Heart informs you, opening a door into a small bedroom.
The ceiling's actually low enough for you to jump up and touch in here. A rack of clothes have been set next to a large but simple bed of green and blue. The rack is full of ceremonial robes all gaudy to some degree with a few simple tunics thrown in.
"Go ahead and pick out what you like and I'll make sure you don't wear something offensive," Gold Heart says taking a seat on the bed. "We'll have someone take your measurements if you'd like something more form fitting."
Looking through the rack, you can see a beige long-sleeved shirt with a purple trim along the collar and sleeves, a golden shirt with long sleeves that extend past your wrist and intricate green designs sewn into the fabric, and a black, sleeveless shirt with a gold waistband and a full neck. These are the ones that don't seem to go overboard with jewelry or have holes in weird places.
You're not sure whether you should look through the robes or not.
"A trick would imply I did it intentionally," she says, waving a hoof in the air to dismiss your comment. "The feeling was there and I acted upon it. Something stronger takes a little more time, though if you've already fallen for one of our ponies, I guess not too long in your case."
"No," Gold Heart turns to face you. "Princess Luna?"
Her smile falls back into a smirk as she approaches you again.
"Well," she says. "As long as you're going after some other pony, I suppose I'll refrain from acting on these little feelings of mine. That's quite a scandal you'll cook up going after the princess though."
She picks up the sash and tosses it around your waist.
"Does she like you?" Gold Heart asks as she wraps the sash around your waist.