Illiad Easle

Private A Cultural Exchange 1x1 with DwhitetheGamer

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@@DwhitetheGamer

Wind Surfer had been feeling a bit down on his luck, he was doing well enough in school at Archback Academy, he was looking to graduate soon enough and he had already learned enough about engineering and areodynamics to construct, with the help of his brother Wind Lift, a few gliders and wing enhancers that he could test out on the strong air currents up the back side of Archback. Despite all this success though, it seemed no one from his old class group could get over his twin tails.

But, when Nightshade, THE Nightshade, the pony who was the official go-between of Gari to the Equis Global Council, asked HIM of all ponies to be one of the first to participate in a cultural exchange 'for the good of the world', nothing could keep his spirits down. Except for learning that he would be paired with an Equestrian, one from one of the only nations that refused to be part of the EGC, but even then it only dampened his spirits a small bit. He had never been far outside the borders of the Archback territory, and it would be a great opportunity for him to see more of the world.

He quickly set to work writing a letter of introduction as Nightshade had instructed, to find out about whoever he would be paired with.

Good evening,

My name is Wind Surfer and I was selected to be your pairing in the cultural exchange. To tell you a bit about myself, I am a young adult pegasus from the Children of the Night colony on Archback Mountain. I have a light blue coat with a two tone blond mane and tails. My mark is a straight wing on the wind, representing my talent in flight and gliding. I'm currently studying aerodynamics to help my brother Lift test out some inventions that could help all creatures fly like me. I'm very excited to find out more about you and where you come from, and am doubly so to show you what my home can offer!

Sincerely,

~Wind Surfer

With the letter taken care of He entrusted it to the care of Nightshade who assured him it would go out to the first suitable candidate they could find. He then went back to his life, eagerly awaiting a response.

(You receive a notification from the Cultural Exchange program stating your acceptance and informing you that you have been paired with Wind Surfer, a young adult pegasus. It instructs you to watch for a letter from him and to respond in kind when it arrives. You receive Surfer's letter the very next day.)(Questions can be asked in quotations or in the OOC thread)

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@Illiad Easle

Copper Strikes had just returned to his house from his mail pony duties in Ponyville when he received the letter from Wind Surfer.  He blinked several times at that point.  "I can't help but feel as if I've seen this kind of letter before," he said to himself.  "Cultural Exchange?  I remember a pony giving me a tip for this type of letter."

Shrugging, he decided to go along with whatever was happening.  He trotted to his house and set down a piece of paper with a quill, beginning to write.

Wind Surfer, 

A Cultural Exchange, hmm?  I think I heard of this kind of thing before.  Whatever the case, I am quite interested in this situation.  My name is Copper Strikes, and I'm an Earth Pony who resides currently in Ponyville, Equestria.  I was born in Appaloosa but moved to Ponyville and have a job as a mail pony.  I'm mostly blue with the exception of my brown eyes and cutie mark, and I have a spiky mane and short tail.  My cutie mark is that of a yellow streak, representing me flowing freely with the wind despite being an Earth Pony.  And to be frank I may have had a dream of this Archback Mountain, but I digress.  I'd really like to know about the Archback Mountain regardless.

Sincerely,

Copper Strikes

 

With that, he put the letter in an envelope and sent it out to where it was meant to be.

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@@DwhitetheGamer

Wind Surfer was excited, like really excited for the first time in a long time. Nightshade had told him that they had finally found someone willing to participate in the exchange, and that he would be receiving a letter from them shortly. He could hardly sleep the next few nights as he anxiously awaited the letter for him.

Finally it arrived,

A mail pony? Sounds like fun, though I don't know if an earth pony would be so easy to show around... I suppose he'd get along fine with my brother, maybe he could help out with that Diane system he got from the science program?

With a confident smile, he began writing his response.

Dear Copper Strikes,

I am pleased to make your acquaintance in this exchange, and more so to have been paired with someone like you.

To answer a bit of your question, Archback mountain has been home to a number of creatures over the centuries, starting before the time of Nighmare Moon with the freed zebra slaves, quickly followed by Midnight Star and the children of the moon. As the centuries passed the colonies expanded, the zebra taking up the grassland between the mountain and the river, and the children taking the mountain. Eventually a colony of Thestrals from the Fastar clan formed on the edge of the Shimmerwood forest, just on the other side of the river from the zebra.

In more recent centuries the mountain has become host to delegates from almost every major nation in the world to form the Equis Grand Council, which meets to discuss world problems and prevent large scale conflicts when possible.

I can't say I know much about what goes on in there, neither can I say I know much about Equestria, could you tell me more about it and your homeland?

Sincerely, Wind Surfer.

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The moment he received his response from the Pegasus had Copper smiling.  He had a feeling that this exchange could be quite fun, especially with what Wind described on the outside of the Archback Mountain.

He had a BUNCH to take in with this.  Children of the Moon?  Thestrals?  And of all things, zebra slaves?  Those things alone had his interest written all over it.  With that, he wrote again to Surfer.

 

Dear Wind Surfer,

That really is interesting about the Archback Mountain, the history of the place, its inhabitants, all of that.  I'm glad I can get to know the place from someone who resides there.

As for Equestria, it was formed many centuries ago by two Princesses and their family.  I'm sure you're aware of Princesses Celestia and Luna, yes?  Well, Equestria went through a bunch of stuff in the past millennium, from King Sombra's imprisonment and curse of the Crystal Empire to Luna, or at the time, Nightmare Moon, being banished to the Moon by Princess Celestia.

Appaloosa is an interesting place.  It's right near the border between Equestria and another country, and when I saw it I was thinking that Appaloosa could've very well been a part of the other country.  And Ponyville, where I currently live, hosts the Castle of Friendship, where a friend of mine, Twilight Sparkle, resides in.  She's the Princess of Friendship and she tries to solve friendship problems with her friends.

I think we should talk some more in pony, since I'm very interested in meeting you and visiting the Archback Mountain.  May you send me a map to show me the way?

Sincerely,

Copper Strikes

 

After sending the letter, he began packing his things.  He assumed it would be a good while to make it to this Archback Mountain regardless of being able to fly there with the magic from his Amulet.

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@DwhitetheGamer

Wind Surfer was surprised by the response, He wants to come over already? He's only just met me! he looked about at the disheveled nature of his abode, and I've hardly started cleaning!

He hurried about, starting to get the room in some sort of semblance of cleanliness as he wrote the letter. It wasn't ready yet, but it would be by the time his guest arrived.

Dear Copper Strikes,

I had heard as much about the history of Equestria from school, but I'm sure once you get here and when I get to go there I'll get to see how it is on a more social level.

I think I heard about Appaloosa somewhere, but I forget what it was about. Though if what you say is correct it likely had something to do with border disputes.

Also, Princess of Friendship? I of course don't mean to be rude, but seriously? a Princess of Friendship? My brother thought the idea "Absolutely ludicrous" as he put it when I showed him your letter.

Oh! He's excited to meet you too, I don't think I mentioned him earlier, but he's been working on some sort of glider thing to allow non winged creatures to fly, and he thinks an earth pony night have the strength to actually get it off the ground. If you want to help that is, I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

Anyway, I'm excited to meet you as soon as I can! I don't think any trains come up this way, but you'd easily be able to catch a ferry west from Manehatten. It's the easiest way I think you could get here from there as walking it's a few hundred kilometers distance. Even with the ferry you'd be out a few hours.

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

~Wind Surfer

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@Illiad Easle

Copper couldn't help but chuckle as he read the recent letter.  "Who said I would be taking a train?" he asked himself before trotting to his room.  He put on his wing suit before his Amulet, and then he called up a couple friends to tell them where he'd be headed.

A few minutes later, Copper was gliding on his way to the Archback Mountain.  He was thousands of feet in the air, and it took about an hour to get there.  Before hoof, he found a map to the Archback Mountain and planned the course out for his gliding.

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@DwhitetheGamer

Wind was idly going about his day, it was the weekend after all, so he had elected to help his brother out in his workshop. It had only been two days since he sent out his letter, so he wasn't expecting a response for another day of two at the earliest, given how long it took for mail to travel all the way to Equestria and back. Thus he wasn't worried that his room was still not quite ready to receive guests. After all, he had forgotten to even give him his address in the last letter.

Anyway, that was all secondary to the task he was accomplishing, testing out the wing straps for his brother's invention. "They're a little tight bro," he tried to flex his wings, but the straps restrained him, "And pretty darn uncomfortable."

"They're supposed to be tight, how else will your minute movements be able to translate into the dozens of flaps out on the wings? Again, don't try to flap. I don't want wings ripped off."

"The glider's? Or Mine?"

His brother shrugged, "Either, or both."

Wind stood stock still so as to not risk anything as his brother continued adjusting the straps. Only moving very carefully as his brother asked him to.

They would likely be at this all afternoon until Lift was happy and released Wind from the straps. "That should work well enough now. Still, it will be hard to test it without something to power it. It looks like at least two earth ponies would need to get it started, but once that's going only one to keep it moving." Lift sighed as he looked back at the parts in his workshop, "I'll just have to build another of Diane's machines, blast."

Wind had gotten the impression that they were not easy to build, but didn't really have the head for that sort of thing so let his brother go about it.

[Approaching the Archback Valley]

As Copper approached the treeline that his map designated as the border between the Shimmerwood forest and the Archback valley he became aware of a pair of thestrals adorned in dark armor coming up to either side of him from the forest. One of them, a stallion by the look and sound of him, shouted out as he approached, "You're entering the restricted airspace of the Fastar Clan, please state your business."

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Copper looked at the Thestrals with a bit of confusion before clearing his throat a little.  He half expected that there was some sort of security in the Archback, but he wasn't worried.  "I am here because I've been paired with a Pegasus who resides in the Archback Mountain, by the name of Wind Surfer, in a Cultural Exchange between Equestria and the Archback."  There was no hesitation in his voice only because he was telling the truth.  In fact he gave one of the Thestrals a piece of paper showing his inclusion of the Exchange.

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@DwhitetheGamer

Given he wasn't expecting anyone, and he was rightly sore from all the experiments he was put through by his brother, Wind simply made his way home from his brother's lab.

[Approaching Archback Valley]

The thestral nodded as he returned the paper, "That's fine. Continue straight to the valley. DO NOT land in the forest, no one will go looking for you in there if you go missing."

With that the two thestrals broke off from following him, leaving him once again alone in the sky over the Shimmerwood forest.

In the distance, and outlined by the sun setting behind Archback Mountain, a village could be seen which took up most of the valley on the far side of the river, lights beginning to shine as the shadow of the mountain slowly crept over the buildings. Quite a bit of movement could be seen throughout.

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It wasn't hard to follow the order of not landing in the forest, because it would also risk injury even if he landed in a safe spot, due to any wild animals in there.

However, he had forgotten that he didn't let his Amulet charge all the way.  As soon as he did it was too late, and he suddenly fell down, screaming in a cry for help.  Luckily he was past the forest and near the village so that his cry would be heard.

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@DwhitetheGamer

A few heads turned in his direction to see what the fuss was about, a few shocked expressions as they saw that he was not about to stop himself from hitting the ground. One in particular, a zebra, who apparently had a bit of pegasus in her family, flew out to intercept him.

But due to the fact that he as much heavier than she had expected, and heavier than her by a wide margin, she was only able to slow him down so much before they both crashed into the valley.

She was dazed, but didn't seem to be injured.

A number of zebra from the village were now running towards them, forming a group to one side of them as the zebra who had tried to save him got back on her hooves. A large zebra parted the crowd to come closer to Copper, he spoke with a very deep voice. "What is your business stranger? We don't need any more trouble around here." A few of the other zebra moved to care for the pegazebra.

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He muttered a thank you to Princess Celestia after he had been saved by the Pegezebra.  Well, he didn't know at the time it was the zebra because he was too busy screaming out of the top of his lungs while he was in the air.  He got himself up, cricking his neck a few times before taking a look around.  The words of the deep voiced zebra didn't strike him yet before he looked at the tall stallion.  "Oh," he said.  "I came here in a Cultural Exchange between myself and a Pegasus known as Wind Surfer.  Do any of you know where he is?  I'm not here to cause any sort of trouble, I promise." he added.  "Also I need to charge up my Amulet."

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@DwhitetheGamer

The tall zebra's eyes narrowed at Copper, "There is no Wind Surfer in MY village." He pointed at the mountain that the sun was setting behind, the shadows now allowing the small lights of the colony to shine through. "If he exists, then he is up there, in the mountain."

The gathered zebras then left, returning to the village. The pegazebra started to follow behind them, before coming back to Copper, "Hey, it's getting late. I don't think you'd have too much luck finding whoever it is you're looking for before nightfall..." She seemed unsure, then shrugged, "You could stay at my house, if you want. It isn't much but it's warm enough, then you can get a fresh start in the morning to find your friend."

She started to walk away before looking over her whither at him, "You comming?"

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@Illiad Easle 

Copper nodded at the Pegazebra before trotting forward and following her.  He thought about where he was currently.  A village of Zebras, huh?  This was fascinating for him at the very least.  He did half expect there to be more in this world than what he was told, but he mentally shrugged it off.  Eventually he'll have to find Wind Surfer in the Mountain like she said in the morning.

Anyways, he said to the Pegazebra, "Thank you for saving me as best as you could.  Any bit helps.  My name is Copper Strikes, and as I said I'm here in the Archback to do a cultural exchange with who I mentioned earlier, Wind Surfer.  What's your name?" he asked out of curiosity.  Anyone could tell he liked greeting new ponies whenever he could.

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@DwhitetheGamer

She gave a slight smile as she continued leading, "It was nothing, I'm Exotic Myst."

It wasn't long before they reached a small hut, baked mud walls with a thatched roof, round, with no light on inside. She opened the door and beckoned for him to follow before lighting a lantern inside.

The inside of the hut was rather barren, just a smooth floor, smooth walls, a small window by the door, a sort of loft with bedding on it and a fire pit in the middle with a large metal pot on it that seemed to have something in it, still warm by the soft glowing coals beneath it. True to her word, it was warmer inside the hut than outside.

"Feel free to make yourself at home. I don't have much, but I'm happy to share it with you for the night."

She retrieved a blanket from off the loft area and passed it to Copper, "Well, any place is as good as any other here, so you can sleep where you like." She took a seat on the now mostly empty loft, which now just had a thin sort of sheet and a small pillow.

She seemed to be watching Copper with a silent fascination.

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@Illiad Easle

Copper was humming along as he made himself in this temporary home, enjoying this from the Pegazebra.  He quietly hummed a tune as he laid his Amulet down next to him.  "Thank you very much, Miss Myst," he said to her kindly.  "This is my first time in the Archback so I'm very grateful."

He then closed his eyes, wrapping the blanket around him, and dozed off to sleep.  He kept a hoof on his Amulet in case somebody tried to steal it, that way he would know.

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@DwhitetheGamer

[Archback Mountain]

Wind Surfer was awoken by the ringing of his alarm, it was time to get ready for his classes at the academy. His teachers had cleared him to take two weeks off for the cultural exchange, but hose only started once he had an official start date from his companion, something he hoped to get in the mail today. Then he could tell the ponies at the ferry to let him know if anyone matching Copper's description came in.

But until then he had classes to take.

[Mohotma City]

Faint glimmers of light shone through the window of Exotic Myst's hut, directly onto Copper's face.

Mystic was already awake, mixing together something in the large pot at the center of her hut, whatever it was it didn't smell very pleasant at all. 

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@Illiad Easle

Copper felt the sunlight on his face and it made him wake up.  Thankfully he was used to it so it didn't bother him that much at all.  He yawned a little before putting on his Amulet, and walking to where Exotic was.  "Hey, Exotic," he said.  "What are you making?  Doesn't smell very pleasant, but I don't mind it much."

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@DwhitetheGamer

She grimaced at Copper's response, "I know, I really am awful at this whole potion thing. IT just seems to come so easily to the others..." She sighed dejectedly, "I guess I simply didn't inherit that magic." her feathers ruffled in frustration, "Just these stupid things."

She sighed again as she shook her head, "Anyway, I suppose you're off then? Up the mountain to find your friend? Then I wish you a safe journey, you can't miss the mountain as it dominates the view, once you get to the base of it you should have no problem getting to wherever he lives."

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"I think it's because you're half-pegasus," he explained to her as she made the potion.  "I understand your kinds really like to get into potion-brewing, but I think it's because they dominantly inherit Unicorn prowess.  That's just me, though."

"Well, I'll see you later, then," he nodded as he heading out of the tent.  Afterwards he took off in the direction of the Mountain, his Amulet around his neck nice and comfy.

 

Image result for a few moments later

Copper had made it to the town where Wind was, having done a quick and easy sprint up and around the Mountain to get there.  He wasn't wasting any time, since he was known as one of the fastest Earth Ponies in Equestria.  He had once reached a speed of 40km/h with no help.  It made him unable to move after that for a few hours, but he was fine afterwards.  He looked around town for a brief moment before trotting to one of the locals.  "Hey there," he said.  "I'm looking to find a pony by the name of Wind Surfer.  He and I are supposed to be in a Cultural Exchange together."

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@DwhitetheGamer

As he moved through the zebra village it became clear that it was huge! Much bigger than Ponyville in both area and population by at least double. And, with only a few notable exceptions, they were all zebra.

And they all gave him a wide berth as he sped through town.

Once he reached the base of the mountain it was clear, if he thought the zebra town was big then the mountain promised to be twice that just by what he could see on this side of the surface, hundreds of ponies of all shapes and colors going about their business. The streets were crowded and winding, making a sprint near impossible without hitting someone or something, but someone to ask for help was easy enough to find.

The stallion in question simply looked at Copper with a look that seemed to ask him if he was serious, "Wind Surfer? Can't say I've heard of him, you do realize there are over two million creatures living on this mountain don't you?" He laughed as he turned back to his newspaper, titled 'The Midnight Star' "Do you have an address? Some sector of Archback to narrow down your search? A description? Because seriously, if he's descended from the children you're not going to find the right one with just a name."

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@Illiad Easle

Somehow he had expected this stallion to not have the answer he needed to help him with his search, which was funny considering how unprepared he was.  He didn't have a picture of Wind Surfer and he showed his disappointment.  He shrugged and said, "Sorry to bother you then.  I'll let you be with your day.  Thank you anyways."  He trotted away, going for a more calming pace and not wanting to cause any sort of trouble.

He made his way to the local school, where he had stopped to look at the building itself.  He remembered Wind Surfer saying he had learned of Equestria through his school, but it was never mentioned how much he knew.  'Hmm," he thought.  "I assume this school is the place where he learned about Equestria.  And in that case, I wanna see if he knows what I know."

With that, he sighed contently and walked into the School.

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@DwhitetheGamer

A pleasant looking mare greeted him as he entered the building, "Good morning, Is there anything I can help you with?"

The plaque on her desk indicated that her name was Miss Gleeful.

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@Illiad Easle

"Yes indeed... uh, Miss Gleeful," he nodded at the mare after looking at her plaque.  "I'm currently searching for a Wind Surfer in this area.  My name is Copper Strikes and I am participating in a Cultural Exchange with him.  Do you happen to know where he is by any chance, or should I wait if he's busy with School work if he's in this building?"

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@DwhitetheGamer

"Wind... Surfer..." she taped her chin before moving to page through a binder before looking up to Copper curiously, "Would you happen to know how old he is? We actually have two by that name here."

She looked back at the binder, "Or, perhaps a physical description?"

A slight smile came to her face, "If it's the one I hope it is, I'm very glad you came. He's really been through a lot lately and could use a good friend."

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