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Open Bloodlines (S.O.L./Horror Mystery) [reboot]

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Emerald Gaze

 

( In case anyone has forgotten what Emerald looks like or not met her already: )

https://mlpforums.com/page/roleplay-characters/_/emerald-gaze-r3772

 

Reaffirming her poise and dignity, Emerald paused for a moment to collect her breath as she stood outside the wooden door to the dining hall. She binked a couple of times and shook herself very slightly - reaching up to adjust the long wooden pins that held her mane in place. It was a little disheveled compared to her arrival, but still far from unacceptable.

 

'Well, hopefully nobody will notice.' She breathed to herself before fixing a serene half smile on her face and pushing the door open - a faint green glow of light fading away as she did - the glamor spell would have to gloss over any slight flaws in her usually immaculate presentation.

 

"Good afternoon again everyone." She announced in a clear voice as she stepped into the hall. "My deepest apologies for stepping out so suddenly - I'm afraid I had some business that simply could not wait."

 

She flashed a slightly brighter smile for a moment while stepping forward and taking a seat - thankfully she seemed to have still been accounted for in her absence. Emerald wasn't particually hungry but refusing hospitality on such trivial grounds would certainly be unacceptable - no, it would be much better to see though the meal as usual. Besides, as a meal such as this the food - good as it might be - was barely even a sideshow: the real joy was the conversation and intrigue after all. There were questions that she had that she couldn't simply ask, and this might be the beat time to get her answers.

 

"No cause for alarm - simply a slight personal matter. So then, is everyone well? My apologies but I believe that I might have missed introducing myself to some of you. My name is Emerald Gaze - a pleasure to meet you."

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@@FortyTwo42

 

Summer looked around the room to try and locate where the voice had come from, she traced it back to a green Pegasus colt who had spoke to her and the other who had just arrived, she smiled in his direction and went to speak however, only a whisper of a voice came out. "Nice to meet you there...A...Aero...and Shadowhide?...I...I'm Summer C...Cloud." she kept the smile, what was that Summer? you talking to yourself? Most of the ponies gathered around the table and room either creeped her out or frightened her altogether, the exceptions being the colt talking to her and a red Pegasus. Both of them did not scare her.

 

Why am I in this place? I want to leave and go home. Summer tried to stay calm and eat, but her thoughts were not making her feel ok, she kept on her food trying for some reason not to panic she did not understand why she felt so after but a few moments in the room.

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Gemma

 

@@FortyTwo42,

 

Unlike nearly everyone else at the table neither Gemma nor Lapis made any move to grab food for themselves. Their daughters, however, poured each of them a glass of white wine before gathering food of their own. The two Thestral mares were seemingly content to sit and watch the guests for now.

 

Once Shadowhide addressed her Gemma smiled, apparently pleased that her offer to answer questions had been taken up so soon or perhaps she was just being polite. She listened intently, her attention focused on Shadowhide. She nodded politely after each of Shadowhide's questions. Only the last question was enough for Gemma to give anything more than a nod. The two mares shared an amused glance before Gemma spoke. "Don't feel too bad dear. My sister and I are, in fact, nearly identical twins. Only our children seem to be able to tell us apart. Though it really isn't that difficult." she said before pausing to take a sip of the glass of wine in front of her. "My left eye is blue and my right eye is green. Lapis' left is green and her right eye is blue. If you can remember that, you can differentiate us. I wouldn't worry about that if I were you though, we aren't so petty that we would be offended over you confusing us."

 

Gemma continued to speak as she began to gather some food onto her plate. She mostly stuck with apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, and other fruits along with other staples of the equine diet. "As for your other questions, If His Highness wishes to meet you, he will. Though, as we mentioned earlier, he has recently  fallen ill. So I wouldn't expect him to go out of his way anytime soon, but who can say, as princes often can be, he is awfully whimsical."

 

"The word you meant to say was 'role' not 'jobs'. We are nobles. We do not have jobs. 'jobs' are what commoners have to earn an income." Gemma frowned continued in a tone that suggested she was lecturing a child, "My sister and I were, and still are, the ponies that run this village. Until Prince Blueblood returned to claim his birth right, we were the only nobles in this village and therefore it was our responsibility to govern it. He has shown no real interest in taking over the mundane tasks that are required to keep this village functioning and so we will continue to govern it."

 

Gemma nibbled on different fruits while she took her time to respond to what was perhaps the most important question that Shadowhide had asked. "I do believe I mentioned that princes could be rather whimsical, especially when they are spoiled rotten. Well His Higness does believe that if the town can't please even the most common of the rabble in its current state, then there is no point in counting it among his possessions. If the town is unable to please the lot of you, he will have it torn down and sold. To be blunt, each of you were chosen because your word, ultimately, amounts to nothing in High Society. Basically it is because each of you are ultimately unimportant. If you begin to talk about how terrible this experience was for you, none of the ponies that are part of his social circles will notice."

 

The mare smiled, both her eyes and expression were of compassion, "I know it isn't the best reason to disrupt your lives, but nobles are rarely anything but unaware of the problems plaguiing the masses. We do hope you take the chance to actually enjoy this vacation. We did try to explain that the town wasn't ready for this sort of thing, but I'm afraid that he wouldn't listen. Is there anything else?" She asked as gently placed one of her hooves neartby Shadowhide's hooves.

 

Lapis

 

Lapis gave a half-smile as Aero called out to the other guests. She raised her hoof and used it to gently trace across Aero''s cheek and then down to under his chin, "Aw," Lapis teased, "So you can speak to strangers after all. And here I thought you were just shy." Lapis broke into a grin as she pulled her hoof back, "You don't need to be scared. Really. We won't eat you." She says before she turns her attention to the glass of wine in front of her. It's difficult to tell but you think you hear her mutter 'You aren't our type anyway.' as she looks away at the other guests..

 

Gemma and Lapis

@@The Elusive Cinder,

 

Both Gemma and Lapis looked at the pony that had just entered the room. Neither said anything to her but both of the mares smiled once they laid their eyes on her. Neither said anything, but they seemed delighted to see her. Perhaps they knew something the others didn't or maybe they were happy to finally see another pony that was graced with coat and mane colors so familiar to them.

 

Mirror Image

 

@@Golbez,

 

Mirror Image was seemingly content to do nothing but sit next to Cherry and nibble on the food that had been gathered for her. She muttered an apology for knocking the apple out of Cherry's mouth, stating that she didn't want to get into any more trouble with Gemma and Lapis than she already was in. She encouraged her friend to ignore her and talk to the other guests.

 

 

 

Harmony

 

@,

 

(OOC: By the way Harmony and Tragedy are pegasi. I'm not sure if it was a typo but it seemed like you thought they were batponies too.

 

Harmony had filled her mother's glass with her favorite wine, Moscato d'Asti and gathered herself some food to snack on. Today's theater practice had left her feeling a bit peckish but eating could always wait. Now came the fun part, the real reason she and her sister had requested to join their parents tonight, socializing! Harmony looked at each of the guests at the table. She had already met both Cherry and Mirror, though she wouldn't mind talking to pegasus again. The unicorn was too quiet and paranoid for her tastes. Both Aero and Shadowhide were already speaking to her parents. That left her with three ponies to choose from, the silent Earth Pony, Emerald Gaze the Unicorn, or the Pegasi.

 

Between the three, she chose the earth pony, she looked different from all the other ponies at the table. There was a quiet beauty about her, she even seemed a little intimidating. Bloodwell was utterly lacking in ponies like her. She put on her friendliest smile and turned to face the mare, "Hi there! My name is Harmony. Your mane is very beautiful, did you style it yourself?"

She said, her eyes transfixed on the vines woven into Lilith's mane. "I've never seen someone use plants as an accessory."

 

Tragedy

 

@,

 

Whether it was intentional or not, Tragedy's movements were nearly identical to her sister's. She poured her mother a glass of wine and filled her plate with food before turning her attention to the guests. Cherry was certainly fun to be around but this could be her only chance to meet the other guests. Harmony had already claimed the Earth Pony. While the unicorn mare would likely have been great company, the pegasus mare was closer. She smiled and extended a hoof towards the pegasus. "Hi my name's Tragedy, it's a pleasure to meet you...." She trailed off, evidently she hadn't heard Summer introduce herself.

Edited by SilverHeart
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Shadowhide

@@SilverHeart,

 

Shadowhide listened intently as Gemma answered her questions. She seemed very eager to answer questions and went into a lot of detail, which were very great qualities. Shadowhide sure was fortunate to find somepony so willing to answer her questions. She was eager to keep this conversation with Gemma going so she can keep asking about the town. Unlike most ponies at the table, Shadowhide hadn't gotten any food yet, as she was instead intently focused on the conversation.

 

Fortunately, Gemma didn't take offense to Shadowhide mixing her up with Lapis. It seems like something they're used to, since Gemma emphasized that they're not petty enough to take offense should Shadowhide confusing them again. Although as a detective, Shadowhide prides herself on having a keen eye for detail. Now that she's been told exactly how to tell them apart, she should be able to do so from now on. Even if they wouldn't take offense, it would be a bit embarrassing to repeat that mistake now.

 

The next two answers gave her some interesting tidbits. She learned Blueblood is apparently very whimsical and is not interested in mundane tasks and so the task of maintaining the town falls to Gemma and Lapis. And those two were also maintaining the town before Blueblood arrived. Although they covered a lot of the details, there was one thing Shadowhide was still curious about. 'How long ago did Blueblood return to Bloodwell? And how long have you and Lapis been governing Bloodwell?'

 

She was rather off-put and annoyed by their 'lecture' on the difference between a 'role' and a 'job'. Until then, she had the impression that they were rather easygoing nobles, but that comment quickly established they actually had the typical noble behaviour of viewing themselves as 'above' the commoners. It also felt condescending to be treated like a foal who doesn't know any better as they explained it. Besides, the notion that jobs are only for the lower class is ridiculous. Nobles can't simply reinvent the definitions of words to suit themselves. Surely they still get an income from their 'role', and if they do, then it classifies as a job. Despite the annoyance she felt about this, she didn't voice any of it, as she had nothing to gain from starting an argument about the definition of 'job' with them. But it made Shadowhide view them as much more self-absorbed and entitled than she previously thought.

 

Shadowhide was mostly interested in their answer to the big question: why they're here. What they said was surprisingly detailed and actually made a lot of sense. She was expecting they would hide their motives with a short vague answer or a simple 'I don't know.' However, as Shadowhide thought about their reasons, there was one thing that didn't add up. She quickly glanced at Emerald, who had recently entered the room. While it's true most of them are unimportant in high society, Emerald is an exception. She's a royal diplomat, so she no doubt works with the nobility constantly. Surely her words must amount to something in high society. As good as the current explanation is, Shadowhide won't buy it unless they can explain everything. 'If you wanted unimportant ponies, why was Emerald Gaze, a royal diplomat, invited?'

 

 

Aero Wind

@, @@SilverHeart,

 

The pegasus Aero spoke to sure seems shy. He could barely hear her whispered response and only made out a few words such as his and Shadowhide's names. It sounded like she gave her own name too, but Aero simply wasn't able to make it out. However, as Aero listened to and watched her, he got the impressions she wasn't really shy, and instead seemed a bit distressed. He wanted everypony at the dinner to have a good time, so he tried to comfort her. 'Hey, is everything okay?'

 

Aero jumped a bit as he heard Lapis start talking to him and he noticed her hoof next to his cheek. 'Whoa! Uh, yeah, I can talk to strangers. I- I'm sorry about my reaction earlier. I guess the shock just got to me; the logical part of my brain is now working again and telling me of course you're not going to eat me. I think seeing you just reminded me of those stories about vampire ponies, but of course they're made up and vampires don't exist.' Aero gave an awkward smile after his somewhat embarrassing explanation. He then briefly glanced at her wings, seeming interested in them. 'So, uhh, are your wings really leathery, or is that just an amazing costume?'

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Sitting at the table reeking of purposeful flaunting of the host's wealth, Cursive Initial prayed that he would awake any second back in the familiar comfort of his hard-earned squalor. Empty wish; the waking up part had taken place several minutes ago aboard the carriage that belatedly delivered himself and the, shall we say, colorful band of other ponies aboard, to this ostentatious center of self-adulation repurposed to force that same feeling onto anyone arriving. Good thing the bell was so unnaturally loud, too. Having spent the previous night awake, Initial quickly decided dozing off was a preferable choice to unrequested attempts at premature socializing with whom he would most likely be forced to acquaint himself sooner or later anyway. Therefore, had it not been for the audible reminder of their destination drawing near, he would have missed even this scarcest occasion at making himself looking at least somewhat presentable. He had had some concerns as to how awkward his visibly-worn blackish jacket and bolo tie would make him look in such scenery -- even if he had had half a mind to show up looking as disheveled as possible to spite whomever deemed referring to him as a 'peasant' to be an appropriate incentive to do anything but. Looking around himself now, he discarded all that as bogus. The crowd gathered at the banquet table was as diverse as it was out-of-place in this setting.

 

Particularly pleased that he wasn't being paid excessive attention to, Cursive reached for a glass of water, an orange and a small hoof-knife. Keeping his eyes on the fruit allowed him to scan the hum of table-talk around for particularly interesting bits without appearing to be inviting conversation himself. The fruit's skin was nearly completely peeled before he caught something more than petty small talk. The wrinkles under his eyes stretched as a sour grin adorned his face upon eavesdropping a verily 'noble' remark from the top of the table, reaffirming his conviction that all those invited were seen as little more than cheap, mindless resource to be squeezed in every way that would be perceived as fit by oh-so-mighty royalty until further usefulness was disproven. The stallion's graying beard worked visibly as one corner of his mouth quirked further up before he bit into the fruit he had been preparing for the last while. That favor with the editor of Manehatten Daily might finally get called upon, and for a pretty penny too, if this relax-or-else excursion should prove to be even half of what it already started to crack up to be.

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@@SilverHeart,@@FortyTwo42,

 

Summer addressed both of her talkers with a voice this time, now they have said something now, you talk dummy "Hello, i'm sorry i'm timid, my name is Summer Cloud, i'm a weather pony from Ponyville." 

(OOC talking in order of posts)

 

@@SilverHeart,

Summer now gave the young mare a good looking over and nothing of note really stood out to her, apart from the twin sister, that was interesting. "You seem quite full of life for being named Tragedy? When you've grown up you should change your name to something more fitting of you personality, I changed my name so you can too and is that your mother or aunt is it? Why does look so down on us um less highborn ponies, I bet I could do her 'role'" making quotation marks as she said that "but I will endeavor to be a nice guest even if your family looks down at me". Her face looked sad at that statement

 

@@FortyTwo42,

"i'm fine now I guess thanks for asking". She said little more to Aero at time until he mentioned vampires, without thinking Summer cut into the conversation stating "I know one former and two current vampires, they would love to ask you what they have if it is not vampirism, because it sure looks like it to me and them." She realized she had cut into a conversation "I'm sorry for that i'll be quiet now." Her head and ears lowered and she went back to eating embarrassed again.

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Emerald Gaze.

 

Managing to refrain from pausing when the feeling of paranoia hit her again, Emerald continued as social norms dictated. She began to pick at some smaller portions of food, one ear flicking as she vaguely overheard her name from somewhere across the table. After a moment or two she couldnt help but inspect the others again glancing smoothly around, this time under the pretence of searching for the wine.

 

She was certain that she had been being watched.

 

Nothing - at least at a glance. Noting however the overall lack of enthusiasm that seemed to have taken hold of the table. Few of her fellow guests seemed comfortable with their situation , and from while her late arrivial had left her in a poor position for eavesdropping she was able to pick up on the general tone of conversation without much effort on her part.

 

What was more, despite her pretence she was almost as distracted as the rest seemed to be.

 

'It is nothing. Why are you unable to simply enjoy an evening? Blueblood might be an oaf but even he isn't so foolish as to try anything untoward, not here of all places. Relax - this is what you live for. Enjoy yourself.'

 

She closed her eyes for a moment before forcing herself to relax a little - smiling as she felt herself adjust back into her natural instincts. Taking a sip of wine she had poured, she raised a brow approvingly.

 

"Oh, now this is simply excellent." She stated to no recipient in particular. At these kind of events the right ears would always overhear a compliment. And a compliment it was - and an honest one at that. "Quite divine indeed. Somebody has excellent taste in wine, if I might be so bold as to say.

 

The sweet tasting alcohol served its secondary purpose delightfully as well - the paranoia faded a little as the nare began to relax. She watched the others, waiting for an opening. One of their company cut into a conversation while another - Shadowhide, she recalled - looked almost offended at some offhand remark that Emerald had missed. Another that she couldn't name was keeping his head down almost too intently...

 

'So all in all, not a typical dinner, I suppose' She allowed herself to think, suppressing a slight titter of mirth.

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@@FortyTwo42,

 

Lilith nodded her head slightly at the attempt to start a conversation by Aero, a small smile forming on her face as she sipped her broth some more. "My name is Lilith. It's a pleasure to meet you as well." Internally, she wasn't exactly fond of this pony- he was all but trembling in fear a few moments ago- but for the sake of being polite... well, it was a noble's estate. Politeness was but one of the many rules in the stuck-up world of politics, and perhaps one of the most commonly exercised.

 

@@SilverHeart,

 

However, it still did not exactly prepare for the young mare who presented herself to her and complemented her mane. Now, while she realized she was, in fact, a young mare, she did not expect a noble's child to find it in her heart to complement something. Perhaps she was foreign to her; were there no other Rangers in Bloodwell? It seems like it, if this child's eyes were anything to go by, though she hid her emotions quite well for a pony her age. If so, that was a cause for concern. She would have to inform the Unidecim on her return that there was need of a new outpost.
 

She blinked once before returning from her thoughts. "Thank you, dear... Harmony. I am glad to hear that it interests you. I did do it myself, using some of the local vines while on the way here. It's a style I was taught by... my parents, a rather long time ago. Perhaps I could teach it to you sometime if your parents agree- I know not everyone is exactly into weaving vines into your hair." She took another sip of the broth while waiting, letting the heat soak into her.

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Aero Wind

 

@,

Aero perked up a bit as he heard Summer mention her job as a weather pony. Now that weather, his greatest passion, was mentioned, Aero suddenly became much more excited and enthusiastic. 'Wow, you're a weather pony? That's awesome! I love the weather; it's so amazing, beautiful, powerful, elegant...' He trailed off, like he was trying to think of more adjectives but couldn't. 'Anyway, that's why I'm a meteorologist. Figuring out the inner workings of the weather is so exciting!'

 

Summer's later comment about knowing vampires came as a huge shock to him. 'Wait, what? You know vampires? As in actual, real life, living vampires? I thought they were just fiction. Are you absolutely sure they're vampires?' Aero found it a little hard to believe, but she seems very confident in what she said. It made Aero rather curious about them. 'What are they like? Are they friendly? Do they actually drink blood?'

 

@,

'Nice to meet you, Lilith!' Aero replied. He got the impression this mare didn't want to talk to him for some reason, so he didn't say anything else. She seemed happy enough just talking to Harmony. Or was that Tragedy? Aero couldn't tell. Anyway, Aero was already in a conversation with Lapis and Summer, so he was happy to just let Lilith talk to the young pegasus. But he was happy to keep talking to her if she said something else to him.

 

@@The Elusive Cinder,

In the middle of conversation, Aero heard a familiar voice saying something about the wine. Aero quickly scanned the table, and found the familiar face the voice belonged to. He waved at her and called out 'Hey, Emerald! There you are! Good to see you! Where've you been?'

Edited by FortyTwo42
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Emerald Gaze.

 

@@FortyTwo42,

 

"Oh, hello Aero." Emerald nodded, turning in the direction of the one who had addressed her - a familiar face at this table of strangers. She smiled and shrugged slightly at his question - not really wanting to go into such details at the dinner table... or at all for that matter. Casually brushing a not-quite smooth strand of her mane away from her face and back into position she gave a noncommittal gesture before speaking again.

 

"It was nothing, really." She reiterated with a slight wave. "How have you been enjoying your visit? I notice you've made some new friends."

 

The idle chit-chat about fairytales and Styling techniques wasn't of any particular interest to her, but she kept an ear out nonetheless - as one never knew when or where a useful snippet of information might uncover itself. Besides - it was interesting to learn a little more of her new acquaintances. Now that a couple of them were opening up and becoming a little more vocal she might overhear something useful.

 

 

@@SilverHeart,

 

Glancing around, Emerald tried to get a feel for exactly who of their number the locals were. It wasn't particually difficult - the nobleborn were clearly not guests, but exactly what their purpose here was, she couldn't say for certain. Did the nobles simply invite themselves for entertainment? They hardly seemed present to serve after all.

Edited by The Elusive Cinder
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Gemma

 

@@FortyTwo42,

 

Gemma continued to focus her attention on Shadowhide as the mare asked more questions. Only the final question really seemed to garner any special reaction. "Oh...is she?" Lapis said as she glanced over to Emerald and then looked across to her sister.

 

@@The Elusive Cinder,

 

Your countless hours spent gathering information at dinners, events, and parties have taught you to notice when other ponies are doing the same. Both Gemma and Lapis are eavesdropping on other conversations while holding their own conversations. Their daughters are attempting to do the same, but you notice their efforts are clumsier and inexperienced.

 

 

@@FortyTwo42,

 

Both Aero and Shadowhide are close enough to Gemma and Lapis to hear them chirp and squeak at once another. Their voices were quiet and could barely be heard above the noise of the other talking guests.

 

@,

 

Your years spent in surviving in the forests have forced you to hone your hearing to extraordinary levels. You can hear both Gemma and Lapis chirp and squeak at once another. Whatever language they are speaking stands out from the standard Equestrian enough that you can hear it clearly.

 

 

"We weren't aware. We understand that isn't a satisfactory answer, however we simply didn't handle that matter. One of His Highness' personal servants did." Gemma gave a half-shrug. Her expression was apologetic, "I can, however, answer the rest of your questions. The Prince first arrived a little over a year ago. The land of Bloodwell and everything upon it were an inheritance lost to time. I believe that it has been several hundred years since one of Blueblood's ancestor's lived here."

 

Gemma paused to allow Shadowhide time to digest the information. She glanced around the table, nearly everyone was eating. All except one guest. "Dear, you really should try some of the food. This is the best that we have to offer. I can't promise there will be meal like this again." She said as she waved a hoof at the food on the table. "Now then, my sister and I have governed Bloodwell since we were practically foals. We were the only ponies who had the education required to govern the town, as you've seen most of the populace are remnants of the descendent of the servants that have remained loyal to Lord Bloodwell's family." Gemma finished speaking and waited expectantly for more questions.

 

Lapis

 

@@FortyTwo42, @,

 

Lapis listened to Aero's explanation, her eyes widened when he said the word 'vampire'. For a moment she met his gaze, her eyes were filled with hate and malice and the next moment she was smiling along with Aero. "No, that's just a misconception. Thestral wings," she began as she stretched a wing outward, "...are closer to velvet than leather. To most ponies, they may look frail and weak but they're actually quite flexible and strong."

 

Once Lapis felt that Aero had had enough time to examine her wing she retracted it back to her body. She turned her attention towards the yellow pegasus that had been speaking to Tragedy before 'cutting in' to  her conversation with Aero. "It's really quite fine, dear. You can speak up. No pony is going to hurt you here."

 

Tragedy

 

@,

 

Tragedy stared at Summer as she spoke, the mare's rather emotional response had caught her by surprise. The young mare stayed silent for several seconds before she replied. "First, I appreciate the sentiment but I think you've misunderstood. My name is a reference to the type of play called a Tragedy. I'm an actress, as is my sister. We're the leaders of the local acting troupe."

Tragedy paused, she filled her wineglass with some of the same wine she had poured for her mother, though she only filled it half as high, "Secondly, I think what you said was uncalled for. Nopony is looking down on you or the other guests. Neither of my moms would be here if they thought you were beneath them, they aren't like the Prince. Besides, I don't think that yo-" A black wing stretched out and rested upon Tragedy's back. As soon as it touched her Tragedy stopped talking. She glanced back at her mother before she turned back to Summer. She didn't speak but her expression made it clear that she had more to say.

 

Harmony

@,

 

Harmony smiled and nodded enthusiastically. She had seemed surprised that Lilith had been able to tell her apart from her sister but it didn't appear to have dampened her spirits. "Well I think it looks simply divine, I'll gladly take you up on your offer whenever you have the time, Mr.s Lilith." Harmony leaned back into her chair. Like most of the ponies at the table she was focusing more on socializing than eating any of the food. "Where do you come from, if I may ask?"

Edited by SilverHeart
  • Brohoof 2

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Emerald Gaze.

 

@@FortyTwo42,

(Also @@SilverHeart)

 

The corner of Emeralds mouth curled into a very slightly different smile. One of amusement, rather than generic polite friendliness. If others were playing the game then she would give them something to think about. Focusing her mind, she channeled a very weak glamor onto herself in the hope of drawing any wayward attention towards her bluff.

 

Leaning a little closer towards Aero, she spoke in a slightly (if barely) hushed tone.

 

"Actually, there was something quite interesting that I found." She added in a conspiring tone. "Though we probably shouldn't discuss such things at the dinner table. I'll find you later and explain."

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@@Golbez

Sitting still and silent is the single most effective method of avoiding detection, given the right circumstances. Sadly, the lush dining hall was not a Marezonian Jungle and it didn't take long even for a social outcast such as Initial to realize his awkward attempts at omitting what he viewed as unnecessary, false display of camaraderie actually made him stand out from among the pitiful pastiche of ponies. One classy looking mare in particular he believed to have caught eyeing him suspiciously - not entirely unexpected, given that she, too, seemed to at least try and sieve the din for the juicier tidbits. Therefore, the first appearance was misleading, as usual: there actually were some players among the assembly immersed in table talk.
 
Time was of the essence however, as with every word falling around him, the mute stallion felt he was drawing ever more despised attention. Glancing around himself in order to find a suitable target for the mandatory small talk, he had to wonder just how carefully the group had been composed. Apparel aside - formal expectations distorted any truth that might convey - there appeared to be a wide array of personae, ranging from the more eloquent, engaging their oh-so-noble hosts, through your average pony, discussing everyday topics with their not-always-adjacent neighbor... down to the underaged, unexpected yet probably unavoidable at a gathering of this proportion. One appeared to sport a taste for wine (not that her uppity mother minded) and another was actively preaching fairy tales, despite not sounding drunk himself. Perhaps the only thing missing was a humorously hyperactive harlequin for some reason focused on himself.
 
The look around also allowed him to single out the best potential partner for a non-consequential conversation: a smartly dressed mare, letting her red accessories neatly complement her complexion while the calm, black dress served to balance the whole of her appearance in that shaky point between lively and formal that was the aim of a quasi-official get-together such as this one. Her acquaintance did strike a little unexpected image, what with wearing a mask at a time such as this, but both mares were rather silent and collected, which allowed Cursive to hope that the talk would be scarce as desired, yet apparent enough to let him go further unnoticed.
 
Culling from memory all that he had learned about etiquette as a colt, he began with a mild compliment of "What a lovely dress you're wearing this evening, miss," thinking belatedly that perhaps he should have lost the voiceless labio-velar approximant* if avoiding attention was his goal. Alas, it was already out - at least that was one thing less to remember. Leaving the speech at that would make it sound improper, however, so he promptly attached an empty observation to neutralize it. "I trust that you and your companion are enjoying this extravagant surprise as much as I do." There, proper.
 
* - pronouncing "wh" as "hw", more here.

Edited by Hederik
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@@SilverHeart, (all text is written correctly Summer is half Geordie in the way she talks and i'm having a go at it too this time

 

Summer gave both tragedy and her mother distasteful looks for a moment "your mother's actions seem to justify me statements, but Ie said I'm not trying to be rude just verbalizing me opinion you see." Summer giggled "you must be saying something wrong for your mom to give you the wink wink nudge nudge, but do you know why Ie am here there's millions of ponies like me out there any idea how Ie got an invite?" Summer turned back to her food no I cant eat anymore Summer gave the food a look of disgust only from the fact she was now full.   

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Aero Wind

 

@@The Elusive Cinder,

Emerald gave a rather vague response about her actions, and clearly didn't want to give any details. He vaguely remembered her saying something about personal matters, which explains why she doesn't want to go into it. In response to her other questions, he answered 'It's been great! I've been having a blast, and I've met lots of new, interesting ponies. Oh, and you just missed the best part! Guess whose special someponies now!' He gestured to Shadowhide with a huge smile on his face as he finished speaking. Shadowhide didn't seem to notice him as she was intently focusing on her conversation with Gemma and facing away from him, so she didn’t react to the gesture.

 

Aero was taken by surprise as Emerald mentioned something to him hastily in an unusual tone. It sounded like she doesn't want others to hear this, so he tried not to let his surprise show. Aero nodded to Emerald to let her know he heard her, but didn't say anything for fear of attracting attention to them.

 

@@SilverHeart,

Aero studied Lapis's wings with intense interest while she held them out for him. He moved his head around so he could see the wing from different angles. 'It's... incredible! I never even imagined there were ponies out there with wings that aren't feathery, but here you are with your velvet wings!' Aero's speech slowly began to speed up in his excitement as he continued. 'I wonder how they compare. I mean, feathery wings and velvet wings will each have their own perks and downsides, right? Maybe one type of wings are better suited for flying fast and the other is better suited for flying for longer without tiring? I'd love to look into this!' As he finished speaking, Aero was grinning almost like a madman.

 

His excitement was quickly replaced with worry as he saw Lapis cut off Tragedy as he was speaking. Judging from their reactions and what they were saying, it looked like Lapis, Tragegy and Summer were about to get into an argument. Aero did not want to end up in any sort of confrontation with them, so he quickly became quiet and watched them silently. He slightly leaned away from them, like he was trying to put more distance between himself and their potential argument.

 

 

 

Shadowhide

 

@@SilverHeart,

Shadowhide noticed Gemma and Lapis quickly looked at each other, and she could faintly hear them quietly chirping and squeaking at each other. It was rather strange, not something she'd expect most ponies to do. But Lapis and Gemma appear to be something other than an earth pony, pegasus or unicorn, so maybe this was something related to whatever race they are. She suspected it was something they used to communicate. If so, that would mean they were saying something to each other that they wouldn't anypony else to overhear. Perhaps it's related to Shadowhide telling them Emerald is a royal diplomat. If they relied on their 'guests' having no high society standing, Emerald's presence would be an urgent matter for them.

 

Shadowhide frowned slightly at Gemma's response about Emerald. It is certainly plausible they missed that and had no idea, but at the same time it's exactly the kind of answer one would fall back on if they wanted to hide their true intentions. It's very hard to tell whether she's being truthful or hiding other motives. She briefly wondered if she should've waited longer before revealing Emerald's job, since then it would've been slightly easier to tell if they knew already by asking them more questions about Emerald. But 'what ifs' aren't going to change anything. At least she found out something else that was interesting; apparently it was somepony other than Gemma, Lapis and Blueblood who put together the 'invite list', instead it was one of Blueblood's servants. It would be very helpful if she could find out who was responsible, but asking directly would be too suspicious. Time for some roundabout questions. 'Does Blueblood have many servants?'

 

At Gemma's insistence, Shadowhide begrudgingly grabbed an apple with her telekinesis and took a single bite out of it, then set it down on her plate. She didn’t feel much like eating; the conversations she's having and the information she's getting are worth far more to her than food.

 

Gemma also nicely answered Shadowhides questions about how long they and Blueblood have been at Bloodwell. However, Shadowhide was more interesting in the other things Gemme mentioned in her answer. This town spent a very long time without any ancestor of Blueblood present. It sure sounds like an isolated town. She wondered how much Equestria knows of this town, and vice versa. 'Is Bloodwell well known in other parts of Equestria? And does news from other parts of Equestria reach Bloodwell easily?'

 

She began to wonder how exactly they're going to deal with the issue of Emerald's high standing. Perhaps they won't worry too much about having one such guest. But it's also possibly they truly needed to ensure their guests to have no say in high society, which means they’d need to silence Emerald, which had some... sinister implications for her. For Emerald's sake, Shadowhide should warn her next time they're alone.

 

She briefly noticed Emerald quickly and quietly mention something to Aero. She couldn't hear what Emerald said, but she got the impression it was something Emerald didn't want Lapis or Gemma overhearing. Shadowhide decided to wait until after the dinner to ask him about it. It would be fortunate if they were arranging to meet afterward, since if Shadowhide could join in, that would provide a perfect opportunity for Shadowhide to give Emerald the warning.

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The ponies that had gathered around the dining table had seemingly concluded their foremost formalities - which she unconsciously did not partake in - and immediately proceeded to feast upon the expensive-looking meal displayed in front of them. On a lone seat, located not too close yet not too far from everyone else, sat Vivid Clover with her forelegs crossed, who had just been observing everything up until that point. The way they were enjoying themselves brought a faint smile to the mare’s indifferent expression.

 

It had been an unexpectedly long day. There seemed to have been a few complications with their ride to the Bloodwell resort and her carriage was behind schedule. Clover was hoping that she would be able to explore around the town a bit, but she was promptly rushed by the important-looking steward into the manor’s dining area. While somewhat taken aback by her current situation, she couldn’t help but to be amazed by the colossal building she found herself inside. The mansion resembled a Gothic-themed maze, with an eerie atmosphere that would send shivers down any unwary pony. More than anything, it seemed like a decent horror movie set.

 

The point that troubled Clover’s thoughts the most, however, was the invitation in question she had received. She asked herself just how often common ponies were so openly – and so passive-aggressively – invited to such high class royal events. Nevertheless, as odd as it might look, that was an opportunity the mare could not miss. For a few minutes she wondered if Prince Blueblood would be willing to bet some of his valuable-looking belongings in a poker game. While the rest of the guests were eating and chatting their worries away, Clover had her eyes closed, smiling at her own daydreams.

 

With a soothing sigh, the beige mare allowed her body to lean forward from her chair and poured herself a small glass of wine with her magic. She briefly swayed the liquid inside and proceeded to take a sip from it. She had been quietly listening to the other's idle conversations while waiting for an opportunity to speak.

 

@@SilverHeart 

“So… If I might I ask, what fun things do you guys do around these parts?” She directed a brief question towards the twins who seemed to be in charge: Lapis and Gemma were their names. But her eyes remained fixated on the glass as she continued to gently swirl the beverage inside. "...Oh, I'm Vivid Clover, by the way. But everybody just calls me Clover. Nice meeting you." She added with a smile, albeit appearing to be somewhat unconcerned about introductions.

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post-19423-0-10430900-1429454361_thumb.png


 

Despite Mirror abruptly knocking the apple out of Cherry's mouth, the red mare still held her mouth agape as she observed the infamous Gemma and Lapis make their entrance.

 

Ever since Cherry and Mirror came here two weeks ago, she had actually only heard a little about these two, most of it from Mirror herself when she was first requested to visit them.

she didn't think much about at first, Cherry merely assumed it was employment paperwork or the like that needed to be tended to...but then Mirror started to be requested to visit them on a regular basis.

 

Again, Cherry still didn't suspect much, by then they usually spent their time either rehearsing in the theater or relaxing together in some place around Bloodwell, they mingled with the locals the odd time but the majority of the time they stayed together, Cherry simple thought by then the two mistresses just wanted an update of what they were getting up too, there was no harm in that surely?

 

For the first week that's how it was, until Cherry noticed something peculiar about Mirror whenever she returned from her meetings with the Mistresses.

Whenever she would come into their little room, Mirror looked completely exhausted...drained even, and little by little it was only getting worse.

 

Cherry had proposed to confront the mistresses about this but Mirror, being the cautious pony she was, simply stated to leave it alone, insisting it had nothing to do with them and that she was just tired.

Cherry knew there was more to it than that, but reluctantly she agreed to Mirror's request, either in fear of losing their jobs or...something else.

 

In a way, Mirror Image did have a point, she had met with these two far more often then she had, the only times Cherry saw them for herself was the odd glimpse, in the corner of her eye or in the shadow...a trick of the light even, Mirror had met these two far more often, and if Mirror said there was nothing going on, who was she to think otherwise, she trusted Mirror after all.

 

But......saying that, it was still difficult not to think something was up.

 

From what she could assume from the brief glances she got of them before, Cherry just thought that these two were just ordinary ponies...that was until she saw them completely for the first time, and then it all started to make sense.

 

They were bat ponies....BAT ponies!!

 

Jumping to conclusions be damned, as the red mare looked at these two in shock and awe all the pieces were starting to slot into place in her mind.

They were the reason she came back to their room almost every night on the brink of exhaustion, because they were feeding off of her, no doubt draining Mirror of her blood on a frequent basis.

Oh...and of course knowing Mirror she would have been too scared to say anything about it......poor Mirror, had she known the entire time?!

 

Cherry looked up at the lean pony, despite the mask covering her face she could tell from her behavior thus far that was positively petrified, no doubt from being in the same room as...them!

Sadly she took Mirror's fore-hoof in her own, she felt guilty, if she had figured it out sooner maybe Mirror wouldn't have suffered for this long, Cherry gave the mistresses a subtle glare.

 

They were the reason Mirror came back on the brink of exhaustion,

They were the reason why she was too scared to say anything about it, 

THEY were the reason why Mirror didn't want her to confront them,

But she was going to put a stop to it, one way or another, this was going to end.

 

"What a lovely dress you're wearing this evening, miss,"

As if she was snapping out of a dream Cherry abruptly held her head up, glancing around briefly before meeting eyes with the elderly pony trying to catch her attention.

Instinctively she smiled at him, "Oh...why..thank you, that's really sweet of you to say!"

If she was perfectly honest with herself, Cherry knew she and Mirror were ina  bit of a pickle in their current situation, with very little idea on how to best approach it, but it would seem the best thing to do for now would to be at least draw as less attention to themselves and make idle banter...for now at least.

 

"I trust that you and your companion are enjoying this extravagant surprise as much as I do."

"Oh indeed we are, although it's not so much as a surprise to us, well me and Mirror anyway, because we actually work here, see we work as performers, Mirror here is a Magician and I am her glorious assistant! Have you seen the theater yet? It's a little run down, much like most the buildings here, but it's pretty nice in it's own way, rustic I think the word is? Cute? Charming? I'm sure there's a word for it, I'll think of it I'm sure. OH! Speaking of dresses there was actually a really funny story about a costume come to mention it, see before me and Mirror came here, I needed to get a suitable outfit for performing in and when Mirror came to me with this job offer it was like really REALLY short notice, i was completely unprepared for it so I had to go around town and pick up a few necessities, y'know toothbrush, haircomb, that kinda thing? But the one thing I just needed to have was a nice outfit to perform in, because a performer can't perform if they don't have a performers outfit, because it would look totally boring, but with a performing costume then it comes like really super funny, I know that doesn't make much sence now but I promise you that when you see me in my outfit Then you'll understand...now, where was I? OH YES! so we found this cute little outfit store on the outskirts of town and we both go in and we find it's like filled with really funny and bizarre looking costumes, like..for example some of the mannequins were wearing leather straps all over them and with like a spiked collar around it's neck, and there was another mannequin that was completely tied up and hanging upside down from the ceiling, I didn't think much of it at the time because before I worked with Mirror I worked along with another Magician know as The Great Grand Golbez Grandalfo, have you heard of him? He's really good, if not you should go look for him in Los Pegasus some time, you can't miss him, anyhoo.....so we're looking at these mannequins and Mirror just couldn't stop blushing for some reason, I find like this really cute short skirted dress with a little top hat with a  bow on the side, Mirror asked me if this was something that i really wanted and I said YES! because it was just soooo cute, anyhoo, so a mare popped up behind us and asked us if we'd like any help, and I said yes and asked if they did this outfit for pegasi like me, she said she would need to get it measured out first, so......"

 

And Cherry went on....and on...and on...with no end in sight.

Edited by Golbez
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@@Golbez 

 

His compliment kindly accepted, Cursive Initial was ready to return to the state between hiding inside a crowd and fishing for any tidbits worth overhearing. He faked a smile, hoping it was convincing enough that there would be no need to comment on it. Maybe it was too believable, though... the mare just kept on talking. His plastered-on smile slowly withered as the flood of words continued, threatening to drown all table talk beneath it. She could well be an auctioneer judging by the tempo with which she was spewing words, but the lack of sophistication in her speech pointed towards something more down-to-earth. The fashionable accessories that caught his eye before were suddenly looking more akin to cheap glass than well-picked jewelry.
 
Having no other choice, he involuntarily took in the story relayed to him. An assistant to a magician? An inwards sigh followed his interlocutor's admission of her profession. He might as well have began a chat with the janitor, except the stallion in question had the common sense to avoid coming anywhere near this bottomless fountain of chattiness. Yes, the janitor surely must be a stallion. In a manse of this proportion and splendor, mares were expected to have jobs that forced them to be visible, as though they were supposed to serve as living ornaments. Of course, the house guests weren't supposed to watch these adornments either. These were the personal possessions of the Lord, Prince, Master, whatever the conceited bastard living here demanded to be called.
 
Shaking his head a little, the elderly stallion snapped himself out of the sour reverie. It was a good try, but the damnable trap of a dialogue he sprung wasn't going to disappear just because it was being ignored. Even if the proportions of this exchange of words were quickly turning it into more of a soliloquy. What was it even currently about? By Jove, the mare has launched into a recounting of a visit to a boutique of some sort. From what she recounted, not the sort of a shop she had expected, however, although... having to keep his eyes semi-focused on his talkative neighbor, Cursive couldn't avoid imagining the sort of an outfit described covering (however scantily) the mare. Realizing where his thoughts were taking him, the stallion forced his face in check, promptly assuming a look of mild interest, rather than... uh... something unfit for the gathering of this magnitude.
 
"Yes," he agreed to a question asked so quickly he barely had a chance to understand it, "but-" the question, as well as his approach at a response, was discarded even faster than it had been posed, impossible though such a feat may have seemed. "I-" the attempt at another intrusion into the mare's lengthy confession met with a similar level of success. Instead of letting himself get upset by it, Cursive accepted the unstoppable wave of sound as simple background noise. While still hearing most of what was being thrown at him by the red pony, he made an effort to look and listen around himself once more as well. There was a unicorn starting to lick the hosts' metaphorical behinds he hadn't even noticed before and there were several other conversations from which something worthwhile might be culled. Allowing a bigger part of his mind to break free of the stream of consciousness he was being subjected to, the unicorn immediately felt more like himself. Except...

 

...why was there an image of a top hat lodged hopelessly in his brain?

 

Trying to get past it, the male wrapped a bottle of wine sitting nearby in a pallid telekinetic grasp. At first, he intended to just fill his glass, but before the bottle drifted halfway there, he stopped himself and directed it to the side instead. "Would you care for a glass, miss?" he asked, paying little heed to the fact that he was practically cutting into the mare's utterance. If he had waited for her to end, the 'party' might pass by in the meanwhile. There were also several things to gain from such a display of a gentlemanly conduct, most of them summed up in the fact that both the need to answer the proposition and the alcohol itself could serve to shut this... magician's assistant up.

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Intriguing. They have their own language; or a backwater dialect of Equestrian. I wonder if Prince Blueblood is knowledgeable in this alternate form of communication. It would explain how ponies could potentially be able to turn a blind eye to his potential threat.

 

As she thought to herself this, she lost Emerald's conspiring message among the consistent stream of babble that one of the ponies was putting out close to her. Closing her eyes for a moment, she looked back towards Harmony.

 

@@SilverHeart,

 

Lilith regarded Harmony closely. It was not unknown that nobles would use children to wheedle out information from unsuspecting patrons. Call it paranoia, but perhaps the truth wasn't exactly needed here. "Well, my family helped keep the Everfree from spilling monsters over the border, so we lived right inside the northern borders of the forest, near Manehattan. One of my few friends decided that she liked the job a lot more than I did, and I began to wander Equestria." She snickered a little. "Now that I say that out loud, it certainly sounds like the beginning of a movie, doesn't it? Heh... let's hope this doesn't become like that movie."

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@@The Elusive Cinder,

 

You notice that shortly after you whispered to Aero both Gemma and Lapis casually glance at you.

 

 

Gemma & Harmony

@@FortyTwo42

 

Gemma chuckled softly to herself, as if Gemma's first question had actually been a joke. "Why, yes. I  believe he has a large number of servants. He is royalty after all, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Sisters themselves had as many servants and holdings. His family has an unfathomable amount of wealth and so many possessions and properties that they can even afford to forget they owned an entire town." She rolled her eyes as she sipped from her glass of wine. "Truly, the wealth and power of royalty knows no limits." She said, her voice carrying a mocking tone. The mare looked off to the side and stared at the wall behind Shadowhide. She blinked twice before she turned her attention back to the mare beside her. Clearing her throat, Gemma spoke up again. "I'm afraid it's a 'no' on both accounts. Bloodwell hasn't been on any maps for hundreds of years, so I doubt that many ponies know of its existence. Since we don't get any visitors, we only learned of the return of the Princess of the Night a few years ago. It was quite the shock to learn that our beloved Princess had returned to us. We thought she was little more than a fable..." Gemma trailed off as she looked in the opposite direction at a mare who had just asked her and her sister a question.

 

@@Lume WMj,

 

She smiled briefly smiled at Clove as glanced over the mare, "As much as my sister and I love the night, being nocturnal does have its drawbacks. Very few ponies are awake when we are." Gemma placed a hoof on her daughters shoulder while she spoke. "I believe our daughters would be able to answer your question better than either of us could."

 

Harmony glanced at her mother before turning her attention to Clover. She gave the friendliest smile that she could muster, "Of course, I would love to help. Um...." Harmony trailed off, her hoof tapping on the table as she was lost in thought. "Well, what kind of things do you like to do? If I knew I could probably tell you something specific."

 

Harmony

@,

 

While she waited for Clover to respond, Harmony looked back to Lilith with the same smile she had given Clover. "It sounds like you've lived a very interesting life. But uhm..." she looked around the table, once she was satisfied that no pony else was paying attention to their conversation, her smile faded into a slight frown. She leaned closer to Lilith, her voice was barely above a whisper "...what is a movie? The word is kind of familiar....but I'm not sure what that is...."

 

Lapis & Tragedy

@@FortyTwo42, @,

 

Aero's genuine excitement put Lapis off. As he babbled on and on, Lapis slowly retracted her wing. Her smile didn't fade, however she did sit a little further away from the scientist than she did before. "I assure you, there have been quite a few studies on the subject. While it isn't a subject that truly interests me, I believe that we have several books and essays on the subject in the library. You're welcome to search for them whenever it suits you. Please excuse me for a moment." Lapis excused herself and looked to her left at at both Tragedy and Summer.

 

"Miss Summer, you'll have to forgive our daughter. We've done our best to teach our daughters proper etiquette and while they have learned well, due to Bloodwell's remote location they haven't had enough chances to put their knowledge to use. To address your concerns, We don't know handled your invitations. Likely, it was one of the Prince's personal servants in Canterlot. As far as we know the process was entirely random. If it wasn't, no pony has deemed it important enough to inform us. Do you have any other concerns?"

 

Tragedy glowered at Summer but she didn't say anything. Instead she quietly picked at the food on her plate, as far as she was concerned, her conversation with the rude pegasus was over.

 

Mirror Image

@@Golbez, @@Hederik,

 

While everypony else talked Mirror was very content to sit next to Cherry and do nothing else. If she were honest she was feeling hungry but with all the strangers around her and the stress and anticipation of her meeting with Gemma and Lapis she couldn't find it in herself to eat. She stared sullenly down at the table until Cherry took her hoof in her own. The magician looked up and smiled at her marefriend. It wasn't until she noticed Cherry's look of sympathy that she spoke up. "What's wrong, Cherry?" She said with a hint of worry. Cherry was always so upbeat and happy that for her to look so concerned, something had to be very wrong.

 

Her question went seemingly unheard as Cherry began to overwhelm some poor stallion with one of her trademark speeches. It might have been possible for her to stop Cherry, but she didn't really want to. The less ponies wanted to talk to her or Cherry the better. Mirror held Cherry's hoof as she listened to her story.. At the very least she wouldn't have to bother with an introduction now.

 

Mirror leaned back into her chair, she was certain it would be several minutes before she would really get Cherry's attention again. She readjusted her mask, making sure that it wouldn't fall off and was properly positioned. The mare sipped from the glass of water that had been in front of her while she idly listened to Cherry's story. She said something about a funny story and a dress? Her earrs twitched as she finally started to pay attention to what Cherry was saying.

 

 

 

.for example some of the mannequins were wearing leather straps all over them

 

Mirror gasped as she figured out which story her impossibly innocent friend was telling. She sunk into her seat, her face felt like it was burni- she shuddered. That was a terrible analogy. The flustered mare nervously glanced at the stallion across from them. At the very least he wasn't staring at her and his expression was neutral enough that she shouldn't be too worried. Maybe he was had tuned Cherry out and was just following through with the motions of a conversation. Yes that was it. He might not have even heard what the store actually was. While Mirror was busy convincing herself that her and Cherry weren't being branded as degenerates and perverts, she didn't hear that the stallion offered Cherry was some wine.

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Shadowhide

 

@@SilverHeart,

Shadowhide had expected that Blueblood was extremely wealthy, but she was still surprised when Gemma explained they're so wealthy to the extent that they forgot they owned a whole town. Hearing they probably have as many servants as the Princesses also came as a shock, and Shadowhide probably would've dismissed it as a gross exaggeration if their extreme wealth wasn't explained. As it stands, she already knew the town was forgotten for some time, so even though it's surprising, it's also very plausible. Besides, they'd have little reason to try to lie about Blueblood's wealth and servants. Unfortunately, having that many servants means finding out which servant is responsible for the list of 'guests' is going to be very difficult.

 

If Shadowhide wants to find out more about Blueblood and Bloodwell, it would be ideal if she could spend more time around the manor and go into rooms that are normally off-limits. This lead to a potentially crazy idea. It's a long shot, and chances are she won't attempt it, but it couldn't hurt to Gemma ask about it and see what she finds out. 'How does one get hired as a servant of Blueblood?'

 

Gemma also confirmed that there is almost no communication between Bloodwell and the rest of Equestria. It makes sense; Shadowhide certainly hadn't heard about Bloodwell before she received the 'invitation'. She didn't have much else to say about that; it was simply another thing for her to keep in mind as she finds out all she can about Bloodwell. However, her comments on their 'beloved Princess' was certainly interesting. Presumably, they are talking about Princess Luna, and it seems they have high respect for her. This sounds like it could lead to some valuable information, so Shadowhide focused on this point. '"Our beloved Princess"? You are referring to Luna, correct? May I ask why you call her that? Does she hold special significance in Bloodwell? Also, if Bloodwell is so isolated, how did news of her return reach Bloodwell?'

 

 

Aero Wind

 

@@SilverHeart, @,

Aero got taken aback slightly as Lapis told him she wasn't interested in the subject. He adopted a slightly more serious tone and said 'Oh, I just babbled on about science again, didn't I? I'm very sorry. I just get so excited about these things and I forgot not everypony also shares my interest. If I ever do that again, just stop me, okay? I know it's a bad habit of mine, so I won't be offended if you tell me to stop.' He then took a brief pause as he returned to a more cheerful tone. 'Anyway, I'd love to look for those books and essays in the library sometime. Thanks for telling me!'

 

Although he wasn't directly part of the following conversation, Aero still heard Gemma mention something to Summer about the selection process for the vacation being random, which came as a surprise to him. He leaned towards them to join in the conversation. 'Wait, it was random? I just sort of figured all of us had somehow earned this vacation, even though the criteria were hidden from us. Well, I guess it doesn't really matter since, whatever happened, we're all here now. I think I'm just bit... what's the word? Disappointed? Yeah, disappointed that it's just a fluke we're here and it wasn't due to anything special we did.' He quickly realized he might be coming off as rude or unappreciative to Lapis, so he hastily added 'N-Not that I don't appreciate being chosen for this vacation, even if it was random!'

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@@SilverHeart,  

 

Summer sat at her chair she had seen that her anti-upper class bias had offended both Tragedy and her mother, she turned to the young lass, she was not looking at her at, "I'm sorry Tragedy, I have my biases and I took it out on you, your not to blame for your position or your mothers, I just...just well my life has not been easy and I resent those who have had it easy in life, i'm going to not bother you anymore."

 

@Everyone

 

Summer turned from her and looked at her plate, her features had lowered the first pony she had talked to since she got here and she had offended her, this was not going well. She wished somepony else to talk to but her fear of starting conversations with ponies she did not know was horrible so she sat there not eating waiting for the dinner to end, so she could go to bed room and sleep maybe tommorrow will be better. For now she was stuck at dinner with strangers.

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Emerald Gaze

 

Emerald inwardly smiled to herself as she noticed the glance cast her way - evidently she was correct: there was something interesting happening here that she wasn't supposed to know. Now the only question that remained was what exactly.

 

Well that shouldn't be too difficult find out. No doubt she would be confronted at some stage soon - all she needed were enough clues to make them think she knew more than she did.

 

'... Beloved princess...?' She echoed mentally, taking care not to give any outwards indication of her musing. It was probably nothing, but there was something about that line that she didn't like. Of course Luna was the obvious reference, but she wasn't the only one such a statement might relate to. Was whatever secret they were hiding something sinister? Rebellion or Regicide? At first she had suspected some kind of personal secret, but now she wasn't so certain.

 

And then the one called Shadowhide started asking questions with all the subtlty of a Sledgehammer in a glasshouse.

 

Emerald glanced around. Ideally, she should speak with someone, but doing so would mean having to divide her attention - better to keep to herself as much as possible and simply observe for the time being.

Edited by The Elusive Cinder
  • Brohoof 2

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She smiled briefly smiled at Clove as glanced over the mare, "As much as my sister and I love the night, being nocturnal does have its drawbacks. Very few ponies are awake when we are." Gemma placed a hoof on her daughters shoulder while she spoke. "I believe our daughters would be able to answer your question better than either of us could."

 

Harmony glanced at her mother before turning her attention to Clover. She gave the friendliest smile that she could muster, "Of course, I would love to help. Um...." Harmony trailed off, her hoof tapping on the table as she was lost in thought. "Well, what kind of things do you like to do? If I knew I could probably tell you something specific."

 

Clover returned a kind smile to the young mare. For a few minutes she pondered about her question, placing down the almost empty glass of wine and lying back on her chair, stretching some limbs in the process.

 

"Oh, where do I begin? This town of yours is just so fascinating!" She said with an unexpectedly joyful tone of voice, with which one couldn’t tell whether she was being serious or not. "I mean, I can only assume that Prince Blueblood and his lovely crew have something special planned for all of his guests, right?" She then shook her head, realizing she might’ve been getting off topic.

 

"But well, anyway... I mostly like to play card games such as poker; that’s what my cutie mark stands for. Other than that, it’s kind of hard to say. I guess I just like fun things in general." She giggled. "Nevertheless, I’m excited about what you might have in store for us."

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Gemma

@@FortyTwo42, @@The Elusive Cinder, @Everyone

 

Gemma cocked her head at Shadowhide's first question. Her eyes widened a little as she gave a Shadowhide a once over as if she were looking for something. "I....couldn't say. My sister and I aren't his servants. At least not in the traditional sense. Most of the ponies here are still servants by blood. I imagine that in this day and age, employee management is handled by a third party that specializes in sourcing servants for noble families. Equestrian society has changed much in the last hundred years, though I'm certain some families still gain new servants the traditional way. Unlike the rest of the ponies in this village, my sister and I haven't lived here all of our lives. We still have connections outside of Bloodwell, even if communication has been sparse as of late."

 

"In Thestral society Luna is highly revered. I'm certain that some of the ponies at this table could guess why, but I'll explain for thos who don't. Before the civil war, our kind tried to integrate into Equestrian society. We forced ourselves to be diurnal, changed our diet, where we lived, and nearly everything else. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that's up to you," Gemma lowered her voice as if what she had just said was very controversial. "We were never successful. You've already seen how some ponies react to our appearance," she says with a nod towards Aero, "Despite what you may have learned, the years before the Civil War were very chaotic, at least for us. We were seen as sub-equines with no rights. Most ponies reacted with fear to our appearance while others fetishized us and took us as slaves both for physical labor and more....carnal purposes. We were blamed for disease and plague, accidents and deaths. Which lead to more persecution and violence against us."

 

"In the century before the civil war, relations between Thestrals and the other tribes were at an all time low. We have never been as numerous as the other tribes and we were scattered throughout all of Equestria. As a species, we were going extinct. More of us were dying than giving birth. After years of abuse and mistreatment the hooves of other ponies, we realized how hopeless our situation was....and so did Princess Luna. She was the one that encouraged us to return to our own cities and isolate ourselves from the rest of Equestria. While there is little evidence, its believed that she used her own wealth and influence to bribe and coerce other ponies in order to free us from enslavement."

 

"At the Princess's behest, we secluded ourselves to our cities, if you could even call them that. At the time they were overglorified hovels in caves and caverns. Under her guidance our cities thrived. Within two centuries our population was larger than it had ever been before. While Luna was never as well loved by the rest of Equestria, the attention and favour that she showed us cost her greatly. The nobles of the other tribes began to completely ignore her. She was considered a traitor and rumours began to circulate that she sought to murder Celestia to take the throne for herself and that she was plotting with enemy nations to invade Equestria. Supposedly, these rumours were untrue...at first. However, the more of a social pariah that Princess Luna became the more time that she spent in Nocturne with us. Understandably we were hungry for vengeance. Even two centuries of unrivalled prosperity couldn't sate our thirst for vengeance. Whether it was because of the constant whispering of our nobles in her ears or because of her own free will she eventually chose to go to war. As you know, during the siege of Canterlot we lost. Our saviour was lost and our army was routed. Without Luna to lead us our army fell into chaos."

 

"If it were not for the natural fortifications of our subterranean cities, I'm certain that the price of our 'betrayal' would have been more than our species could pay. Celestia and her forces pursued and cut our the remnants of our army down until they reached the safety of our cities. At which point we surrendered. Since then our cities have been in various states of decadence and decline. While the rest of Equestria forgot that she even existed, we have never forgotten that we owe Luna everything. Overtime Princess Luna became more of a goddess than a diarch that showed us mercy and favour."

 

"I know that was a tad long winded explanation but our adoration for Princess Luna is mostly cultural. None of the other villagers knew who she was nor do any of them share our affection for her. It was quite the culture shock for us to learn that very few, if any, ponies knew of her on the surface." Gemma leaned back into her chair as she tossed a few grapes into her mouth. She glanced around the table looking at each of the guests while she sipped her wine. Her eyes came back to rest upon Shadowhide as she waited for her response.

 

@@The Elusive Cinder

 

These are things I've been meaning to have Emerald notice for a while now but always forgot. Realistically, she would have noticed the moment she walked in.

Emerald: You glance at the two thestral mares and their clothing and jewelry. You're reminded of something. Even though you've met hundreds of fellow diplomats and foreign dignitaries in your time, the only other pony that was dressed even remotely like the two bat ponies was a diplomat you met when you visited the city of Nocturne, an Independent City State in all but name. It's considered the Thestral cultural capital. It even has it's own royal family, supposedly descendants of Luna herself. Whether it is true or not you don't know, but most ponies in Nocturne seem to believe it to be true.

You visited it once, but even you were not invited into the inner sanctum of the city. You had to make due with what you could find out on your own.

The outer sanctum (where you had stayed) was full of soul-crushing poverty. The Nobles of the city saw everypony else as their personal playthings and resources. Few cities in the world still have such a large gap in power between the common ponies and the nobles. While everyone else lives in abject ruin, scrounging for food the nobles in the Inner Sanctum live in a decadent manner that not even mighty nobles of Canterlot can enjoy. Partying, pleasure and hedonism abound in the Inner Sanctum. At least...those are the rumors, you were never able to find a way into the Inner Sanctum besides the heavily guarded portal at the center of the city.

 

The dignitary you met that day was very cross that she had to leave the inner sanctum to meet with a pony like you. Despite the fact that both of you were  the same rank of nobility she was insulting and condescending throughout the entire meeting. From what you could gather, it was an attitude that was very common with Nocturne's Elite since the days of the Civil War.

 

 

 

Lapis

@@FortyTwo42,

 

"Well there very well could have been some requirements for being chosen that we aren't privy to..." Lapis shrugged, "Though I'm sure you will enjoy the library. Have you been to it yet? Mr. Cask had mentioned that he had let some of you visit to check the books. Lord Bloodwell was somewhat of a collector of rare books. He even wrote a few of his own. I'm sure there isn't a library like it elsewhere."

 

Harmony

@@Lume WMj,

 

"Umm....okay..." Harmony stared at Clover for a few seconds, as if she were searching her face for an answer,  "Well...I guess there's the tavern. Some of the villagers gather there in the afternoon to play games. I know they've played card games before, but I don't know if they play 'poker' but they do gamble." She tapped her hoof against her chin while she tried to think of other places that Clover might enjoy. "You could also go talk to the mare that works the docks. She used to be a seacaptain, I know she's travelled a lot and probably knows lots of gambling games." Harmony looked across the table at her sister and then both of her mothers before she whispered to Clover, "I'm not sure if it is something you would like to do but my sister and I are practicing for a play that we are going to show in a few days. You could come by sometime if you want."

Edited by SilverHeart
  • Brohoof 2

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