DarkArtificer

Open Renewal of an Age

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This is the RP thread for Renewal of an Age. New players must go [here], post a character, and wait to be accepted or denied before posting here.

Begin

The Gala was in full swing. Carriages trundled down the street by the dozen, quickly emptying themselves of passengers before leaving just as quick as the arrived. Ponies, Diamond Dogs, Griffons, Minotaur, Deer, and even a young Dragon or two could be seen spread throughout the palace. Garden parties were lively - food provided, of course. Countless rooms inside Canterlot Castle had been cleared and redecorated to host the largest incarnation of the largest party ever.

No longer was it a networking event for nobles and the influential. Now, it was a true representation of Equestria's unity. All classes and all species were welcome; if you could find your way there, and there was room inside, you were welcome. Naturally, many were waiting outside the gates for entrance. Others, those with invitations, were free to proceed inside. Guards, of course, patrolled the halls, fields, and gardens to prevent troublemakers; more than a few were kicked out for disturbing the peace.

In front of the palace gates, Princess Celestia stood, happily greeting every newcomer who cared to attend. After all, this was the only chance some ponies had to see their ruler.

Yet another carriage opened up, depositing its passengers of three ponies and a Diamond Dog in front of the palace gates. None spared them a glance; no longer were Diamond Dogs an unwelcome sight, not with the new treaties between the Gemmed Plateaus and Equestria.

This group was special, though, and the Guards new it. They were some of the few who had received invitations to the Gala and were allowed to enter without any waiting. Each was special in their own right and invited to this party via a personal invitation from the Princesses of Equestria.

Alex Van Gamer, a Diamond Dog from the Roving Packs. Unlike her brethren, she did not enjoy stealing nor slavery; instead, she sought to better herself.

Blue Thorn, an Equestrian Earth Pony, an example of Equestrian desire to find peaceful solutions to all problems.

Winter Bolt, a Pegasus Manehattanite, showing the cheerful nature of Equestria's citizens.

Finally, Strong Copper, a Canterlot native, representing the willingness of a pony to defend others.

All four were chosen to help represent Equestria to the other nations present, though none knew of it.

The four Guards present at the gates nodded to the small group, allowing them entrance. Several feet inside the walls, Princess Celestia stood, speaking to several farmers from Appleloosa. The carriage behind the small party slowly rolled away, returning to the city gates to provide passage to yet another group of party-goers. One of the Guards spoke. "Welcome to the Grand Galloping Gala. May I see your tickets, if you have them, as well as know your names?"

Edited by DarkArtificer
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@DarkArtificer,

Blue Thorn exited the carriage eager to stretch his legs from the somewhat cramped carriage, surprised that a Diamond Dog of all things could be invited to an event that was notorious for its elitist exclusivity barely a year ago. The whole situation, though a direction Blue Thorn was entirely in favor of, was never the less quite baffling to the stallion. Blue Thorn was primed to wake up from what feels like an elaborate dream for the whole trip, yet wake up he did not.

Being deeply distracted by his wonderment, Blue Thorn barely paid any mind to his travel mates. Even during the ride here, he wouldn't engage directly with the idle chatter if there was any, he didn't have the mind to remember such a detail. Whenever curiosity would land on him he would give short and closed responses, subconsciously directing the situation back to the isolation that Blue Thorn was used to; a bad habit he hadn't returned to in years science today. But, whether real or perceived, He felt change on the winds and this was his way of bracing himself.

Dispight this, when his hooves hit the path to the gala proper, it was with the gentle grace of an experienced gardener; slow and mindful. He kept his slightly extended stride up all the way to the pare of guards at the gate, with his invitation within the coil of his peculiar, if a little sinister, tail. He then opened up the invitation and showed it to the guards with said tail.

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"Blue Thorn, correct?' The Guard asked rhetorically, for his name was clearly displaced on the elaborately-written golden invitation. "Personally invited by Princess Celestia, no less. There weren't many of you; I think she invited about ten to the party, with her sister inviting another six."

Tonight was a night of festivity; the Guards had been told to abandon the usual stonefaced expressions they were well-known for. Some of the Guards took the order in stride, simply speaking as normal ponies. Others, though, were unused to it and were clearly awkward. This greeter was not one such pony. 

"In any case, go on ahead. Unlike last year, the Gala isn't really in the ballroom anymore. It's spread throughout the palace grounds as well as a number of gardens and rooms. Don't worry about going somewhere you aren't allowed to; there's barriers in place to stop that. Have a nice night, Mr. Thorn."

The other Guards levitated their polearms away, allowing the pony passage deeper into the Castle. In clear site stood Princess Celestia, though several Guards flanked her. 

"Mind your manners." The greeter added, as in afterthought.

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Winter Bolt stepped out of the carriage flexing his wings a bit. The crowds and glitter of the event were foreign to him. As a habitual traveler, he was not used to dressing up at all never mind finding himself with the upper echelons of Equestrian elite. His outfit was simple and if his parents saw it they would be sure to give him the withering looks of disapproval he always got when he was not as wound up as they are about appearance and approval. 

He wore the simple silver and sapphire necklace his uncle Spring Step had given him when he got his cutie mark. Other than that he had bought a sharp looking vest in a deep black with silver trim to offset his light blue and that was it. He knew it very possible for his parents to be at the Gala as they were important ponies in their field and often got tickets for one reason or another. He feared seeing them as not only did he not want comments about his simple outfit. But worse he had not been home since his uncles passing and did not wish to face the questions about his life that he always heard when he got home. 

He stood off to one side watching one of the ponies he shared a carriage with speak to a guard. He did not know if he could go in. But could he leave? I mean a princess of Equestria had invited him. Should he not at least pay his respects to her for that? He had always loved the Royalty of Equestria ever since Princess Luna had encouraged him to not give up on his dreams in a nightmare he was having about never being able to help with winter again. It was her advice that had set him roaming to find the place she believed he had....

 

Taking a deep breath he stepped towards the guard with his invitation out. He knew that he would be uncomfortable in what he always deemed his parents world. But he trusted the Princesses had a reason for inviting them all. 

 

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"Winter Bolt?" The Guard read from the invitation. "From what I heard, Princess Luna was eager to meet with you again. I'm not sure why, though. If you do see her, be careful. The Lunar Guard are far more protective of her then you'd think. It's like they're fanatics protecting their goddess."

The greeter went silent with a chuckled as he was bumped lightly by one of his partners, to which he replied. "Fair enough."

As he hoofed the invitation back to Winter, he added a last bit of advice. "I can see you're nervous. Don't be. There aren't many influential ponies here tonight; this isn't like that anymore. It's a party to celebrate another year of life, not a party for nobles to make more money."

As before, the Guards raised their polearms and allowed Winter Bolt to pass into the Castle proper.

Edited by DarkArtificer

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Nodding to the guards Winter Bolt took a deep breath and stepped forward and into the Gala. Why was Princess Luna was eager to see him? Why on earth would royalty want to mingle with him? His parents' friends could barely cover their disdain for his vagabond lifestyle. They always greeted the topic of his connection to his parents with pity at best or disgust at worst when it came to the distinction between the two worlds they lived in. So why on earth would royalty want to mingle with a homeless pony that does odd jobs to get by? His head spun around and around with reasons dismissing them as fast as he came up with them. He was so lost in through he had not even noticed how deeply into the Gala he had wandered until the scent of the food tables hit him. 

As he reached the food his stomach growled and he was tempted to grab a bite to eat. But he had no idea of the etiquette here. Did he mingle first and then find Princess Luna? Would it be rude to keep his hostess waiting? Could his stomach handle any food even if eating first was not rude? Would the fact that he had to choose between his room near here to accept the invite and eating dinner the night before impact him? This was why he wandered so often and took joy in simply helping with the weather.... snow he understood. Politics and other ponies not so much. 

Deciding at the very least to get a small glass of cider to get some sugar for energy and to not have a parched muzzle in case he was expected to talk a lot he walked down to the end of the row of tables. Carefully he filled a small cup with cider and started to sip it. This had to be the best cider he had ever tasted... he let out a soft whinny of enjoyment as he took a deeper sip of the drink. Starting to relax a little he looked around and saw that the guards were right. The place was filled with ponies that he would have seen anywhere in Equestria not just in the Manehatten elite circles. At the very least this made him feel a bit better. He wondered if anyone he knew from his wanderings were here. Then he remembered he ought to seek out the Princess first. 

 

Looking around he spotted the lavender armored Lunar guard. But he could not spot the Princess. Was she over there or where these guards set for another function at the Gala? Should he approach them or wait to be called? Not wanting to upset the Princess he so admired he started forward slowly looking around hoping to spot some sign that he was in the right place. He moved past many a pony before he got close enough to the guards that he thought he could be heard. Their cat-like eyes were even more imposing than the regular guard out front. He hesitated to speak up but knew that he could not dally all night. So he took a breath and mustered his courage to ask where he ought to go.... 

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"Is there something you require?" The Lunar Thestral asked rather formally. His partner next to him bumped him, their dark armor clinking together softly. The first turned to his partner, clearly asking a question through his expression.

The second Thestral sighed. "Weren't you there for tonight's briefing?"

When he received a head shake, he sighed again. "This is Winter Bolt. The Princess wants to speak with him. You would have known if you woke up in time."

The first guard retorted with a slight smile. "I'm a Thestral and our Sergeant woke us up during the day. Is it really any surprise I went back to sleep?"

The second turned to Winter, ignoring his companion's comment. "Princess Luna wishes to meet with you. If you continue out the door to your left and into the gardens, you'll find her in the center, by the small pond. Be warned, she may seem alone but she is not. Make any threatening moves against her and you may end up in the hospital, or worse."

The Guard pointed to his right, Winter's left, toward a pair of large doors that had been propped open for the night. Outside, a well-lit courtyard was clearly visible, as well as sounds of mingling ponies clearly heard. "I don't think you have anything to worry about, though. You don't seem the traitorous type."

Edited by DarkArtificer

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Winter Bolt managed to find his voice and let out a soft " Yes Sir" 

Headed in the direction he was pointed the Pegisis made his way into the gardens. Seeing many a pony had decided to enjoy the rare opportunity to see the famed gardens of the palace. He weaved in and out of the crowd until he could start to see the pond that the guards must have meant. As he got closer his movement slowed as if the reality of who he was about to meet was setting in. He tried to calm his nerves. He had met the Princess once before. She had been so kind to him encouraging him not to give up on his dreams of sharing winter joy with everypony. That was the same week he got his cutie mark. 

He could just start to hear what he thought was Princess Luna when he saw the solid mass of ponies. He knew he had to be close but how to get through? Looking for an opening he almost hid in the foliage of the garden when he spotted a pony that he knew from one of his parent's many parties. This particular pony had always been rude to him but he could never say anything in return as he was a huge benefactor for his mother. He had the bits to fund over half of Honey Leafs research into botany. Knowing his mother if she were here she would likely be in the garden as would his father to see the night sky. 

Ducking out of sight Winter Bolt found his way around the edges of the crowd. He could now see the Princess talking to a few ponies at the center of the large circle near the pond. He slid closer being sure to keep his wings tightly tucked to avoid bumping anypony. As he got right up to the edge of the crowd he realized he had no idea of the official protocol for addressing a Princess or introducing himself. He was unsure if he should interrupt as he was expected. Or is there somepony he should talk to so as to be announced and brought forward. The formalities of these sort of events always made him feel caged in. 

Looking up at the clear night sky he longed to spread his wings and take to the clouds. At least there nopony would judge his clothing or speech. He didnt have to worry about formal greetings or guards warning him to not seem threatening. Heck even hungry the clouds were better then a party full of fancy foods he was not even sure if he'd like. Maybe he could ask Princess Luna for some advice on how to find his place in all of this. If only he could figure out how to greet her without being rude or cutting off some important guest or dignitary. Because with all the common ponies around there were still plenty of ponies of influance that he could upset. Other than making it snow that was his one true talent. 

Edited by Jedishy

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"I'm glad I helped your son banish his nightmares." Princess Luna stated, smiling at the tearful father in front of her.

"I didn't even come for the Gala." The Unicorn stallion said honestly. "I just wanted to thank you for helping my son. He was struggling to get any kind of sleep for months. Nothing we did helped him and the medicine our doctor gave us only lessened them slightly; it didn't stop the nightmares like we hoped. T-then, one night, he stopped tossing and turning. He even s-smiled in his sleep. The next morning, he told us you had helped him and his nightmare went away. My wife and I, well, that made us cry in happiness for him."

Princess Luna leaned down and gently nuzzled the stallion who nervously returned it. She smiled at him and he nodded reverently before he slowly turned around and left. Princess Luna stood to her full height and surveyed the smiling ponies around her. The Lunar Diarch was happy, she was being accepted back into society, even thanked for her work. If she had this a thousand years ago...

No, no need to dwell on long-past topics. She glanced to her right, toward one of her hidden Guards, to see him mouthing something to her. 

"Winter Bolt is here. Left side, edge of crowd. Nervous, shy."

Luna nodded imperceptibly and walked toward the edge of the circle. "Excuse me, please."

Her subjects parted without complaint. She walked through, her long strides carrying her easily toward the nervous Pegasus. She recognized him; not very well, but she did. He was much older now, but if she could remember her sister after a thousand years, she could remember a pony after little more than a decade. Her Guard was right, he was clearly nervous being around so many ponies, and probably her presence made him shy as well. The Alicorn sighed internally. Not everypony is as calm around royalty as I wished.

She stopped a foot or two in front of him, slightly amused that he didn't notice her. Of course, since he was looking at the night sky, she didn't mind. "How do you fare, Mr. Bolt?"

Near the Palace Gates

Yet another carriage quickly made its way down the path, though far larger than most others. It, too, stopped before its doors opened, allowing what must have been thirty ponies to exit. Among them was a rather small, brown-colored Earth pony. The rather large group formed a line in front of the gates with the Earth pony near the end. Most of the newcomers were directed toward a large line that, though moving rather fast, was for the ponies who were not invited. Though, the number who showed up was far more than the Princesses expected; more rooms were being decorated to fit the surprising number of ponies that had arrived.

The line Survivor was in moved rather quickly and before long he was standing in front of the four guards at the gate. Two of them wielded large polearms while the other two had simple swords sheathed at their sides. On the other side of the gates, Princess Celestia could be seen speaking with several of the newcomers; she was, after all, greeting nearly everypony at the Gala.

One of the guards, clearly the greeter, spoke as Survivor reached the front of the line. "May I see your invitation, if you have one?"

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Hearing a soft voice speak his name Winter Bolt looked to spot Princess Luna only a foot or two at most in front of him. He backed up out of shock but remembering his manner he managed to turn it into a clumsy bow that brought an all to familiar snicker from his mothers' benefactor that had somehow weaseled his way closer as the crowd parted for the Princess. Winter Bolt's ears flattened at the sound that had often been followed by a talking to at the hooves of his father. He loved is father Comet Tail dearly but far too often had some petty breach of an unknown rule of etiquette gotten him in trouble.

All of this passed the across the young ponies features in a millisecond. Being naturally quick of mind and body his emotions flew just as rapidly as he did when he took to the sky. Mustering his dignity he bowed deeper and spoke clearly so as to ensure he was heard. 

" Very well Princess Luna. I thank you for inviting me to the Gala. How did your invitation even manage to find me out near the Appleloosan wilds? " 

He flinched inwardly about mentioning his wandering so publicly. But it's not like it was any big secret. He was a well known among the Manehatten upper crust for his vagabond nature.  Its not like he could pretend that he did not roam as he did. Why would he even want to? No not with his Princess. She would get his honesty. Even if he worried it made him look bad he could never hide anything from the only other pony to support his dreams. When he lost his uncle she became the only soul in Equestria that he had taken comfort it. Funny what one talk a decade ago could do for a pony. 

Standing from his bow Winterbolt was not sure if he should look her directly in the eyes. Which was the proper manner in which to engage one of Equestrias rulers? He thought about it for just a moment. He remembered Princess Luna's return and how it felt to be an outcast. Gathering his wits he smiled with a warmth that he rarely managed when dealing with others. The true care he had for his Princess showed through and he whispered softly. 

" Thank you for the guidance, Princess. I got my cutie mark that same week. " 

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Princess Luna laughed lightly, her eyes twinkling in amusement. "How did my invitation find you?"

She asked the question rhetorically, no mockery to be found. She answered her own question with mirth. "You forget that both I and my Guards are familiar with the wilds. After all, we are the ones who hunt down the monsters that threaten Equestria and her citizens."

"And I am happy to hear that you earned your Cutie Mark not long after our meeting. It was not entirely my doing, though. Remember, Winter, you are the one who earned your Cutie Mark. Nopony else." She said sincerely.

Princess Luna stepped forward and lightly drapped her wing across his back, smiling internally as she heard the same pony who snickered, gasp in shock. "Come, Mr. Bolt. Let us speak away from prying eyes."

"Unless, of course, you have other duties to attend to?" She added softly, curiosity in her features.

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Survivor look at the arms of the guard ponies and whistled "They really stepped up the security from last year" he thought to himself as he looked at the guards who had spoken to him, he flashed a friendly smile and started to rummage through his saddle bag "oh yeah....invitation invitation...…just one second kind sir!" He didn't have a invite but if he made a good act maybe he might get though and see what all the fuss is about in the Gala.

He put his bag away and tried to give the best act of his to the guard. "Oh Celestia….I guess I left my invite at home, but I'm sure you'll let in this world famous survivalist!" Survivor wrote a couple of books about his adventures in Equestrian wilderness but they were not on the same level of Daring Do books. Survivor guessed that it was because his books where to gritty and dark.He belived he showed the danger and mysteries of nature. Hopefully this guard was a bookworm.

Edited by woodchunks66

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The Guards rolled their eyes, though they also chuckled. "You aren't the first to try that, though I do recognize you. I'm afraid I'll-"

The Guard was cut off from behind the gate as a warm voice spoke, clearly laced with amusement. "-unblock the gate and allow Survivor Hoof in."

The palace Guards snapped to attention when they heard their Diarch's voice from behind him. The two polearm wielders quickly uncrossed their blades and allowed the Earth pony entrance. The greeter quickly spun and saluted Princess Celestia. "Yes, your Highness!"

He turned back and nodded to Survivor. "You're lucky, Mr. Hoof. It seems Princess Celestia wants you inside ASAP. Go on ahead, mind your manners when speaking to royalty, and, of course, watch your hooves."

The greeter stepped to the side and fully allowed entrance, while also revealing Princess Celestia standing some feet behind the gates, smiling at Survivor. "Mr. Hoof, would you care to accompany me?"

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As soon as Lunas' wing touched him all embarrassment, fear, or self-doubt fled Winter Bolt like a snow dusting at the start of winter wrap up. His wings relaxed from his body slightly and his muscles once taut with stress relaxed. When his bliss addled finally registered the words being spoken to him Winter Bolt let out a soft chuckle and shook his head gently. 

No Princess I dont have any other duties. The last responsibility I had was finishing apple bucking a south field for a few bits in Appleosa. I finished that up and made my way to Canterlot as soon as I got the invitation."

 

He was so happy to be accepted by some pony, any pony. He couldn't even find it in himself to be embarrassed that he did hard labor most years just to get by. Nor by the fact that currently, he had his last two bits in his saddlebag back at his room. Right now he felt he could take on the world and that no matter what came he could handle it. He had not felt this way since the day he got his cutie mark. Despite what the Princess said he would always credit her faith in him for giving him the courage to ignore his grounding and going to help with winter in Manehatten anyhow. All though his parents did scold the horseshoes off him for causing a blizzard that canceled school for all the colts and fillies. His little game almost impacted the mayors' dinner for some important pony that was due in town that week too. But it hadn't mattered. The smiles of the young ponies and the appearance of his cutie mark had made it all worth it. Plus he had found out that he could whip up a storm that even experienced weather ponies had trouble stopping. 

The memory made him chuckle out loud garnering further scornful noises from the wealthy benefactor that whose name Winter Bolt couldn't even recall at the moment. But none of that registered. He was too happy. His sapphire necklace caught a bit of light and almost seemed to sparkle at the young ponies happiness. Finally coming out of his own head he looked at Luna with a small smile. 

" Princess, I do not wish to sound ungrateful but what made you invite me? I'm nopony.... heck I'm not even allowed to help with winter in Manehatten anymore after earning my cutie mark. That storm earned my mark and a place in the Manehatten Tribune for shutting down some rather important events. I am a vagabond that has no home and messes up things most places I got. That is why I've never settled down. I mess things up for everypony anywhere I go. I mean even helping in Appaloosa I managed to almost flatten my employer when I tried to use a bit of wind to help get the apples down and to market faster. Its why I leave every town and city I visit. I always mess something up. What could somepony as important as you want with a nopony like me? "

He was so happy to be here. So happy to be speaking honestly to somepony that seemed to care that despite the sadness that the words might have conveyed he was smiling. He spoke with earnest curiosity. Not the normal trepidation and sadness that would accompany the realities of why he never settled anywhere. 

Edited by Jedishy
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Survivor was dumbfounded as he looked at the princess, she seemed to radiate pure light....and beauty. Survivor swiftly tried to fix his uncombed hair but instead finding himself staring at the princess. he trotted along side the greeter who had saved him from the guards. They stopped in front of the supreme ruler of his land and tried to bow but he swung  his front leg to quickly and ended up falling on his side,

He scrambled to get up and gave a savvy smile to the princess " your highness...you called?" He was hoping that Celestia had a sense of humor.He never liked high society ponies, who needs society, all you need is a source of clean water a fire and shelter and your set for life.He bet most of these ponies has never touched a leaf in their lives. He looked around and noticed that everypony was wearing diamonds and ruby's as jewelry and all he had was his sharktooth necklaces. 

 

Edited by woodchunks66

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With Princess Luna

"Come, this is not a discussion for prying eyes and ears." Luna said, light patting Winter with her wing to get him to move. They did so, soon walking toward a secluded section of the garden. Within minutes, nopony else was nearby and the Lunar Diarch knew she could speak truthfully; her Guards would warn her if anypony tried to come close.

"You asked me why I personally invited you, correct?" Luna asked rhetorically, something she seemed fond of doing. "You might find it hard to believe, but even as I helped you all those years ago, you helped me, too."

Princess Luna sighed softly. "As you likely know, I returned from banishment almost two decades ago. The children of the time, the very ponies whose nightmares I would banish every single night... they feared me. They would scorn my help, slander my name and accuse me of causing the nightmares. I began to lose hope, I began to think just as I did a thousand years ago, believing that this world cared not for me, and that none would care if I abandoned my crown and left Equestria."

The Alicorn craned her neck and looked Winter in the eye. "Several times, I considered gathering my Guards and fleeing Equestria, into the southern lands where nopony would ever find me again."

"There's no way for you to know this, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Did you know that, since my return, you were the first pony who was happy to see me? Oh, yes, there were many children who accepted my help, and just as many thanked me. All were wary of me; they regarded me with a rooted fear that would not recede, no matter how much I wished it to."

She smiled down at the stallion, heartfelt gratitude shining in her teal eyes. "I invited you, Winter, so I could thank you for helping me, all those years ago."

With Princess Celestia

The Solar Diarch giggled lightly when he fell, hiding her muzzle behind her wing. When he stood quickly and greeted her so informally, she couldn't help the laugh that escaped her. "Yes, Survivor, I called. I'm quite glad you showed up anyway."

She gestured with her wing for him to follow. As they walked deeper into the courtyard, toward the palace, she continued. "I sent my scouts to locate you and deliver the invitation to you, but they couldn't find you. My Guards are simply not as skilled in rural environments as Lunar's are. Though, mine excel in urban combat."

"Where ever in Equestria, or out of it as it may be, were you?" Princess Celestia asked, waving her wing around her for emphasis.

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Winter felt both a twinge of happiness and yet a sinking feeling at the words of Princess Luna. He knew too well how it felt to never be given a chance. To always be judged by your past but to never be seen for the deeds you do to make up for it. No pony in the upper crust of Manehatten ever gave him a chance either. He was always Winterbolt the clumsy, Winter Bolt the unrefined. Her words touched the reason for his wandering at its core. He was moved deeply and a sort of kind sadness overtook his features. 

"Princess I can understand how you feel. Nopony ever lets my past go either. At least in Manehatten. They always assume I'll mess something up. Even when I am getting pleading letters to help kick off a scheduled storm or fix a slow start or wrap up to winter. If only ponies would actually get to know you. I think they fear you because they fear the dark for some silly reason. I have traveled from one side of Equestria to the other and I dont understand how nopony has come to see the beauty of a cool night. The moon flickering over the mountains of Appleloosa  , the night breeze making ripples across the Winsome Falls, even the golden twilight shining between the buildings of Manehatten. It's all beautiful if you look for it. But so many ponies are so worried they cant open their eyes...." 

Realizing he was rambling about his travels Winter Bolt trailed off blushing a bit. He scuffed his hoof against the gravel of the garden path. He hadn't meant to ramble about his travels and how much the night had meant to him to royalty. He just felt so free around Princess Luna that he could speak all the hidden thoughts that normally only found a voice in his dreams. Then he wondered silently if she knew all this already. She was the Princess of the Moon and guardian of dreams after all. He tilted his head and wondered if there was more to this invitation then just a simple thank you. 

With the fear and self-doubt fading Winter Bolts' natural talkativeness and desire to be helpful were coming out. He was torn between gabbing the Princesses ear off and hanging onto her every word. It was like finding a place in Equestria for the first time. Only that place was somepony and that pony happened to be royalty. 

Edited by Jedishy
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While Strong Copper had arrived on an earlier carriage, it had taken him some time to prepare himself for the evening ahead of him. Crowds and formal events were a source of much anxiety to him at the best of times but as he had stepped off of the carriage that had brought him there a sharp pain had shuddered through his side, prompting him to politely walk to the side for a few minutes in order to catch his breath and let the tender soreness pass. 

It had been over a month since the incident with the manticore; The doctors had told him that the scars along his barrel would almost certainly be with him for the rest of his life, but modern medicine and quick treatment had ensured that once the wound had healed fully that it would just be a scar without any truly lingering complications. While time had already done a pretty good job of helping the process along, the area was still quiet tender and sore even after all this time. If nothing else, waiting for the pain to subside had given him some additional time to prep himself for the social activities ahead that he was going to have to endure. 

With a deep breath and a small stretch, Copper finally made his way towards the guards that were checking for invitations. He had clearly made the effort to look presentable for the occasion having forgone his normal hoodie for a proper suit, but anyone with an eye for fashion would have noticed that it wasn't personally tailored to fit his body to begin with and was instead altered to fit him; a store bought suit. Copper wasn't made of money.

Holding up his invitation in his magic, he offered a small smile to the guards as he introduced himself as "Strong Copper. Busy night so far?" 

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After passing by the gates, Blue Thorn took a moment to steal himself at what he assumed to be the foyer and tucked the invitation back into his left saddlebag when he saw an even more nerve frayed pegasus walk by him. The pony had a very formal suit which put things into perspective for Blue Thorn. If a more formal pony than me can be more nerves without making a fool of himself, then he was practically guaranteed a good time here. So he got comfortable with the gala. It's not like it was just going to be nobles out her tonight after all.

He decided to wait for another pony to walk through. These parties always favored a crowd and now that he thought about it, there were a few people on that wagon that seemed relatable to him. Now that he had an idea of what he was doing at the party, Blue Thorn was starting to feel pretty optimistic about the night.

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Survivor blushed when she laughed and trotted up quickly to follow the princess when she gestured. The alicorn was at least a head taller then him, That didn't faze him, very much most animals he hangs around with are much bigger then he is. He actually befriended a Usra Major he affectionally calls it Steve. Its strange how whenever his in nature everything seems to go his way, the Timberwolves don't bother him and the harmless animals help him sometimes. Many ponies compared him to Fluttershy because of this, to them he says "Take any of Fluttershys animals, enlarge them and give them sharper teeth. Those are the animals I hang around with."

He chuckled,  when she mentioned her scouts. "Actually I was following them, I never saw your guard before so I got curious, they have very very cool armor by the way. Anyhow I wanted to asked one of them for a picture but they looked like they were looking for someone or some thing. I thought that they were going to hunt down some dangerous beast that I haven't seen before. But after a few days they started to walk back to Canterlot and I just when to the nearest town to get a bite to eat when I saw a flyer for this Gala and I decide to come!"

Survivor scratched his head and smiled at the princess "must have been fate huh?" Survivor was actually very nervous, he was pretty sure he was sweating, what in equestria would she want with him? 

Edited by woodchunks66

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With Princess Luna

"Ponies fear the night only because they do not know what is in it. They can not see through the darkness, so they fear it." The night mare said factually. "If I had known this more than a thousand years ago, I never would have fallen."

She smiled at Winter. "Though, that does not change the fact that your words warm my heart. So few ever speak openly around my sister and I. It was as such a millennium ago, and is as such now. It makes me content to know that you hold no such fear."

Then she laughed, her voice carrying through the night. "Though, you are still nervous. That is to be expected, to be fair. Truthfully, my sister and I wish that others would see us as ponies, not goddesses as so many do."

Suddenly changing topics, she asked Winter a question. "Mr. Bolt, how do you feel about this party tonight?"

With Princess Celestia

Princess Celestia laughed loudly, her angelic voice quieting nearby conversations as ponies stopped to hear their goddess laugh. "My Guards, when they returned, told me story of something that had followed them. They never discovered what it was, nor did they find tracks. The squad leader was convinced it was a pack of Timberwolves. He requested a small group of pyromancers before returning to the forest."

She looked down at the pony to her side. "That may not have gone too well for you. I'm glad I denied the request, now."

"As for fate?" She asked rhetorically, looking off into the south. "I suppose it may have been."

Outside the Castle Gates

The greeter took the invitation, reading it over quickly. "Decently busy. The other gate's had more work, though. Not many ponies received personal invitations."

The other swordspony, on the opposite side of the gate, spoke up. "Rumor is that you've were hurt some time ago. Is there any truth to it?"

The greeter rolled his eyes. "That's not our job to know, Strike. Just keep your eyes out for any trouble."

He hoofed the paper back. "Go on ahead, Mr. Copper. Welcome to the Gala."

Inside the Palace Gates

Several guests walked though the palace doors. Most of them were ponies, though some were Gryphons and even a young Dragon, barely taller than a pony. One of the new guests, a rather strange individual, was a tall Minotaur, though he was wearing traditional ornamental armor rather than any form of suit. He walked quickly and purposely deeper into the palace, sparing a short nod to Blue Thorn as he passed by. 

Edited by DarkArtificer
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Winter Bolt thought of all the different ponies he had encountered and considered his view on the party with a slight frown. He did not want to come off as insulting but he was never comfortable in such settings. Yet as he silently contemplated the faces he had seen they had all been full of joy and excitement. Could he really put down an event that was clearly special to so many? Just because he had been given a negative view of such parties from youth did not mean that they felt that way to everypony else. With a slight sigh he looked up and spoke without worrying about how he might sound.

" Well Princess it seems to make everypony but me happy to be at such parties. Which has to mean that there is something good to all of this. But for me it just makes me aware of how much I dont fit in. So many rules and expectations of behavior. How to dress, how to eat, how to speak to the ponies that matter. Its all just a cluster of rules that always confused me. Ever since I was a colt I embarrassed my parents at parties and in high society in general. So even if the common pony folk are here it just reminds me of that."

With the truth out there Winter Bolt wondered if he had done it again. Messed up something else and so he would have to move on. Not that he had anywhere to go. There was hardly a town in all of Equestria that he had not set hoof in and bungled something. Never anything as bad as his first winter storm but always something. Or a string of small something. Had any pony been given the chance to tell him he would know that it never really bothered anypony. But not wanting to face rejection he always flew out of town as mysteriously as he arrived. So he thought far worse of himself then anypony he had ever met. Its amazing the damage two well-meaning but distant parents could do with just a few scoldings. 

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Princess Luna just smiled in reply. "Mr. Bolt, this party is not of that caliber. No longer is the Gala a place of manners and high expectations. Many ponies are welcome here; noble and commoner, rich and poor, sheltered and wander-stricken. Ponies, Gryphons, Dragons, Diamond Dogs, and even Minotaur. All are welcome her, Mr. Bolt. Do not concern yourself with expectations, rules, and behavior. Simply enjoy yourself, just as many are wont to do. Don't think of what others think. I know my sister and I plan to enjoy ourselves."

She smiled slyly to Winter, mischief dancing in her eyes as her teeth shone in the dark. "I know we'll be making several stops at the bar tonight. If you feel like testing your constitution, ask for Royal Pink. I recommend being careful if you do, it may not be your kind of drink."

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With a whinny of laughter, Winterbolt remembered the only time he had overindulged in drink. It was in some small town farm between Ponyville and Fillydelphia. He had been invited to partake in some of the hard cider from that year's crops after helping the local weather patrol clear the sky. Not realizing his limits he had a few too many cups and ended up sleeping in a haystack before waking to a terrible headache and flying crookedly into the barn doors. That had made for a long walk home to visit his Uncle. With a slight frown, he realized how many of his happy memories revolved around Spring Step. 

" I wouldn't mind a drink or two. It might relax me a bit. But I've never been much of a party pony so Ill have to be careful. Then again I can't recall the last party I've been to so that could explain my lack of experience."

With his consistent traveling and failure to give other ponies, a chance Winter Bolt had spent nearly every birthday since he left home camped out in some remote location between towns. He only remembered he missed it when one of his parents' letters with a few bits in it reached him each year. Thinking about his parents he wondered how they were doing. If his mothers' research on zap apples had ever gone anywhere and if his father was enjoying his retirement from Manehattens astronomers guild. He would have to remember to try to write them before he left Canterlot. 

"Princess do you think we might get something to eat before we find our way to the drinks table?" 

He was suddenly feeling the impact of traveling for a full day to get here and then spending most of his remaining bits to get a room. Sure he could always message his parents and they would find a way to get him some bits. But he was so dead set against that, that he never asked them for so much as a blanket since he left home. His stomach rumbled and he felt woozy on his hooves for a moment. Shaking his head he cleared the fog and prepared to find a bite to eat. 

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"Of course we can. There is a wide variety of foods out on the tables from all over Equestria." Luna replies. "Though, if you do wish to get a drink, I don't actually recommend Royal Pink. It is a drink that was specifically made for my sister and I, due to our Alicorn nature. Anything less and we aren't affected by it."

Luna waves her wing toward the palace. "Come, what kind of meal would you like to partake in?"

She starts to slowly walk toward the palace, slowly moving so Winter could catch up easily. "There are treats and snacks from Ponyville, Appleloosa, Manehattan, Trottingham, Colton, Dodge Junction, Cloudsdale, Fillydelphia, and, of course, Canterlot. There is no shortage of variety here tonight."

She glances back and continues. "Of course, some of the providers, you may recongize, such as fair Applejack from Ponyville."

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