Illiad Easle

Private A Cultural Exchange 1x1 with Drago Ryder

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OOC: https://mlpforums.com/topic/180634-return-of-the-cultural-exchange/?tab=comments#comment-5436187

 

@Drago Ryder

Midnight star stood at the edge of the Shimmerwood forest staring back at Archback Mountain with a tear in his eye, as the sun set he could see the small lights which dotted the mountainside, the plains at the base, and the castle near the top. In his heart he knew the children would manage just fine without him, they might even grow up stronger not having him there to guide them. 

He wiped away the last tear before putting his helmet on, completing the full set of armor he hadn't worn in nearly two hundred years. He turned away from the mountain, ready to begin his own journey, and galloped into the forest.

Some years later

He had explored much, learned much, but still much was left to learn. He had most recently studied with some dragons to the far south, past the deserts of the emerging nation of Troy. He had learned the dragon's language and a small part of their culture, but his hooves longed to travel, and so he bid them farewell to continue onward in his journey.

Some time later he would find himself encountering a new creature, a dragon a bit unlike those he had studied with. Despite the years of travel he had kept his armor in top condition, a chainmail coat covered by an enchanted cloth covered his body and much of his legs, a series of metal plates connected to a helmet covered his neck and head which leaving his white mane open to flow in the air. The metal was black, the cloth red with gold triangles on the border.

He first spotted the dragon while in a clearing of a lightly wooded area, he had removed his helmet to take a drink from a nearby stream, exposing the black of his coat and the blue of his eyes. He was curious, but not crazy. He would let the dragon approach if it desired, he knew better than to try and force interaction.

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(edited)

@Illiad Easle

Gale gave a light groan as she slowly woke from her slumber underneath on of the larger trees bordering the clearing. The dragoness had flown for most of the night, simply wandering and getting whatever she needed to survive from the environment. It wasn’t exactly the best life, but there never seemed to be a good place for her to stay as a permanent residence. Moving to stand, the dragoness stretched the tired muscles in her legs and wings to prepare for whatever the day might bring, though it wasn’t until Midnight’s scent reached her by wind that she noticed his presence.

The scent itself was rather strange, being a mixture of multiple species that inhabited the world, though dragon and pony were the only two that she could immediately recognize. Either way, she was rather curious as to why someone like him might be in the area, considering how isolated it was from any civilization that she was aware of. Slowly, the dragoness walked towards the edge of the river and lowered her head in order to drink. At the very least, it would help to at least sate her own needs before interacting with the pony. If he did spend time with dragons, then perhaps the two of them could communicate with one another. “I didn’t expect to see anyone so far from any city. Are you a traveller?”

Edited by Drago Ryder
  • Brohoof 1

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight would raise his eyebrows in surprise as the dragon approached, but refrained from any sudden movements so as to not spook it until it spoke. By its voice it sounded female, and young. He would slowly raise up his head and stretch to show that he was calm before speaking. While he had studied the draconian language it wasn't the best. "That is right. I travel far from here, and will travel far yet. Do you travel too?"

He inwardly cringed, knowing he was likely butchering the syntax, he hoped the dragon would not be offended.

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While the dragoness could have guessed that he knew some of her people’s language, she did not expect such a clear response. Sure, there might have been some mistakes here and there, but he could hardly be blamed for such a thing if he took the time to learn it. Judging by his voice, they sounded like they were relatively close in terms of age, though she didn’t really concern herself with that fact at the time. Either way, a gentle smile spread across her lips as she nodded in response to the question posed to her. “I have been for quite some time now. I’ve always been a bit curious about the world since I was but a hatchling, though it has been hard at times.” Aside from a lack of any permanent residence, the winter months in some regions forced her to find what little shelter might be available and hibernate until the warmth of a spring breeze blew across her scales, lest she freeze to death in their cold grip.

It was at that moment that she came to the realization that neither knew the other’s name, and figured that it would be best if such a thing were fixed before continuing on. At the very least, it would give her a name to identify the strange pony by. “I don’t believe that we have ever met before. You may call me Gale.” It might not have been the best way to go about such a thing, but it wasn’t every day that she got to interact with another individual.

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight smiled at her understanding, it seemed to him that she was a kindred spirit, if he understood her correctly. "Thank you for sharing, I only recently began my travels a decade or so ago, I passed much study with other dragons. I would have recognized you had we met before." He bowed his neck down at her introduction, raising his head up again to give his own. "I am Midnight Star, but Midnight is sufficient."

Given it seemed they would be talking for some time he lowered himself to the ground. "It is a pleasure to meet you Gale, you appear different from the dragons I studied with, what kind are you?"

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Gale, now feeling a bit more relaxed with the conversation, moved to lay on the ground near her rather unexpected conversation partner. It wasn’t as if she had any pressing matters to take care of anyway, and it would have been rather rude to simply end it there. “I guess the best description for the type of dragon I am would be a Night Fury.” It was something she had sort of come up with on her travels in order to answer that sort of question, though she could easily be wrong about such a thing. After all, much like Midnight, she had yet to meet another of her kind either, though she didn’t really know if she could have divulged such information to him. 

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight looked intrigued, both that she elected to sit near him and at her response. Given what he had learned it was a sign of respect to sit so close. "You sound unsure? One would think one would know one's type, but I suppose I understand. While I may appear it, earth pony only approximates my type." He looked off into the distance, "Perhaps we are similar in such a regard. Forgive me if I misspeak, but I suppose you too lacked parents to tell you your type?"

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Gale gave a light nod in response to Midnight’s words, though it surprised her that he would notice such a detail, let along bring it up. Of course,mshe was also rather curious as to what type of pony he was now, though such a question would not be proper at the given time.“For the most part, yes. I don’t really have much in the way of memories when it comes to my biological parents, though I am sorry that you had experience the same situation.” While she did have other dragons to help raise her, she had always assumed that she experienced some mutation rather than actually being a completely different type all together. It wasn’t until she found out about that difference that she started wandering the world. 

 

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight would wave a hoof dismissively, "It is no matter. I would guess your travels are in hope of finding one of your type? See if you are not alone?" He would sigh, "I cannot hope to find another like me. So instead I travel to learn all I can, fully develop the gift this world has given me."

He would turn to look at her more directly, "What do you know of yourself? If you don't mind my asking, is there anything other than appearance that makes you different?"

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Honestly, it wouldn't have surprised Gale if she were the last of her kind as well, but she was still unaware of whether or not such was the case. Either way, she simply nodded in response to Midnight's words before moving on to the question posed to her. She didn't exactly know what the purpose of such line of dialogue was, but it probably wouldn't hurt to at least divulge some information about herself to him.

"I don't mind at all, though there isn't really much aside from my appearance. My flight speed is faster than most dragons my size, and I can use echolocation in order to find my way in caves and other such environments. As for my fire, I suppose it would just be best to demonstrate it." With that being said, the dragoness took aim at a decently sized stone and let gas build within her body. After a few seconds, a shaped charged of purple fire exited her mouth and exploded into a small fireball upon impact. She didn't exactly want to draw attention to them, but it would probably be enough for the pony next to her.

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@Drago Ryder

To say that Midnight was surprised by the demonstration would be an understatement, as he had leaped to his hooves at the explosion, but he didn't run away as most ponies would, he had turned fully towards it. Despite his strong stance it took him a few moments to calm down enough to respond. "That, is certainly impressive. It looks like a bit of explosive magic combined with the fire, very interesting."

Once he had calmed down enough he laid himself back down, "I have not even heard of a dragon like you in my travels, but I have hardly traveled the whole world, so there may yet be another like you." He laughed to himself, "I am dominating the conversation aren't I? Many have said that I am far too inquisitive, the dragons I studied with grew especially tired of my constant questions. I should let you ask of me as well, it seems only fair."

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Gale couldn't help but let a light giggle escape her lips at Midnight's reaction, though she was also a bit surprised that he wasn't afraid of what he had witnessed. Granted, that was probably because he lived with dragons for a extended period of time, but that was besides that point. "Thanks. I never really thought that it was based in any sort of magic, though I suppose that is a possibility."

Either way, the dragoness merely shook her head at his concerns, a gentle smile gracing her lips. "I don't mind at all. That sort of thing is good to have in most cases, though perhaps it would only be fair that you tell me a bit more about yourself. I'm sure you've had quite a few adventures over the years."

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight smiled, both at the compliment towards his inductive reasoning and towards his innate curiosity. "Indeed I have, though honestly the ones I had before were much better than the one I'm on now, at least so far." Midnight seemed to relax as he prepared to speak. "I used to be quite the scoundrel, I'm fairly certain that Canterlot would still honor the bounty on my head despite claiming I'm only a legend. Sir and I liberated quite the number of zebra slaves, it was exhilarating. Back then slavers were quite common so we were never long without some adventure to be had."

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Gale gave a light nod, though he didn't exactly seem like the kind one would think of as a criminal. If anything, he was more of a hero for freeing slaves with another individual than anything else. "Well, you don't have to worry about me turning you in for such a thing." Still, he seemed a lot younger than the time he had described, though that might have to do with whatever abilities he might have been given to him at birth. For now, she would let him be the one to divulge such information if he wished.

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight would smile lightheartedly, "You'd be hard pressed to try, though I wager you'd do better than most who have tried." He would sit pondering for a moment before continuing. "Outside of our adventures with the slaves... hmm, there was our escapade with," his face fell at whatever memory he had brought up, "Nevermind," he shrugged, "I guess I haven't really done much outside of this journey now and the slaves back then, though I have broken up a few slave caravans lately, who knows why they haven't stopped yet, but they are dying out." 

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“I suppose they’ll always need some way to make a bit extra in life, even at the cost of someone else’s. Still, I’m sure that you’ll have a few good adventures at some point, though it is also good to relax every once in a while.” Granted, she couldn’t really say much due to her own habits, but that was besides the point. “What have you studied so far over the course of your travels?”

An idea then popped into Gale’s head, though it was a rather unusual thing for her. They seemed to be on their own at the moment, and travelling alone could be both deadly to one’s health in this day and age, and rather dull if nothing of importance was occurring. Still, perhaps it would be better to wait until the conversation progressed a little further before posing that question.

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight thought for a moment, "I suppose my main purpose in my journey is to learn what I can. Most notably so far I encountered a fairly new nation that calls itself the Trojan Empire, they claim to be based on full inclusion of all races, and they seem to be doing a good job of it, they even fully outlawed slavery. After them I went through the southern badlands and learned quite a bit from the dragons there, there was much about the history of the world I don't think I fully understood, but it was insightful to become part of such a vast oral tradition. So I did learn the language, but you can tell that already." He thought for a moment more, "Since the dragons I've mostly been focusing on natural study, exploring forests like this one to see how the creatures and plants interact. It hasn't been too informative so far, I'm much more inquisitive than investigative."

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Gale raised a brow in slight curiosity when she was informed about the new empire. She couldn't recall ever visiting such a place before, though that could easily change one day if she were lucky to find the way. Most of the time, she just went wherever the wind took her. It was also interesting that such a civilization would not have to rely on slaves for the more menial tasks, but that was merely encouragement for her to do such a thing, if anything. "Either way, I'm sure you know more about the world than most individuals could even dream of. What were your traveling companions and the dragons that you studied with like?" 

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight was quickly discovering that he enjoyed answering questions almost as much as asking them, even when the answers where less than pleasant. "I, actually haven't had any companions in this journey. Before, I journeyed with Sir, who was simply the best. We journeyed for a time with one Mohotma, a young zebra who's parents died before we could save them, he went on to become chief of the zebra slaves we freed over the years. Since them I have yet to travel with any other."

He shook himself from his pondering, "As to the dragons I studied with, they were large, much bigger than you, and they were stern, but kind enough once trust was established."

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Gale wasn’t really surprised by the fact that the dragons Midnight had encountered were larger than her, as such a thing had been the case in her original home. She had always been on the smaller side compared to the other dragons, though none were like her to begin with. For all she knew, she could be on the larger side when it came to her own species. “That sounds about right. Sir and Mohotma also sound like good beings, and it’s always good to have friends whenever you can.” Aside from a few she had growing up, the dragoness didn’t really have any that immedietly came to mind, though such relationships might have helped her in some instances over the course of her travels.

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight nodded, "Indeed, they were the noblest of all the creatures I've had the pleasure of meeting." He would sit quietly for a moment, "I suppose I should return questions to you at some point, what have you learned in your travels? Have you been traveling long?"

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Gale tilted her head in thought in response to Midnight’s question, though there wasn’t much that she thought might interest the pony. Being one if the few dragons that actively travelled outside their territories was a rather odd occurence, and it settled a good bit of attention on her during those rare occasions where she was within the walls of any settlement. Still, that didn’t mean that she wouldn’t at least try to give him a satisfactory answer. “I’ve been traveling for about eight years now, though I’ve tended to focus more on survival than anything else, though I do enjoy a few of the myths this world has to offer. I also came across a few tribes a year ago that lived in almost complete harmony with nature on an island to the north. They were one of the few groups that had a... peaceful reaction to my presence.”

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@Drago Ryder

Midnight appeared quite intrigued by her response, "It seems that although your travels have been short you have yet experienced much. You say you've been focused on survival, do you find it difficult to subsist in this climate? It is a bit more wooded here than the lands I studies with the dragons in, though I would have supposed the abundance of life in these forests would make living rather comfortable for a predator. Still, I was under the impression that peaceful dragons were respected among small communities, it surprises me that peaceful interaction was not the norm, especially given your smaller size compared to other dragons." He shrugged with a contemplative expression. "It goes to show that I have yet much to learn of this world and the cultures there are. I suppose I should head off to the north then, see how it differs from the south. I've heard much of the griffons and their many kingdoms. Have you met them perchance?"

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Gale merely shrugged as she stretched out her wings in an attempt to relax. “Yeah, the spring and summer aren’t exactly bad, but I tend to encounter the most problems when the weather becomes a bit colder. It’s a lot harder to find food, so I tend to spend most of my time sleeping or moving to someplace else.” That was most likely due to her reptilian biology, but she doubted that such a thing would need to be pointed out. “As for my interactions with others, it honestly depends on the area and the kinds of dragons the inhabitants interacted with prior. That tends to be the biggest factor, so it’d certainly take some time to learn.”

Either way, she did show some interest once the topic changed to that of griffons, shaking her head in response. “I don’t think I’ve visited any of the kingdoms, though I have met a few in my travels.” Most had been traders looking to sell their wares to outside customers, though nothing had really caught her eye at the time. 

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@Drago Ryder

(I was just wondering about you)

Midnight nodded with a look of comprehension, "That does make sense, the lands down south don't get nearly as cold so hibernation was not as much of a factor, I can see why that would make the northern country a bit more difficult for you. Perhaps your type is more suited to the temperate climate?" He shrugged, "Regardless, we've got a few months yet before winter returns, making it perfect to explore without fear of freezing to death. Though the griffons seem quite suited for it given their many feathers."

He sighed as he stood from the ground. "It pains me to say it, but my hooves will not allow me to rest longer, I simply must continue to travel." He paused for a moment as if contemplating something, "If... if you would like I wouldn't mind the company."

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