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Prose Equus 1: The Hall of the Hanged Mare.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 02:11:22 PM
AIE Safe Anon OC Adventure Action Drama

  1. >Dying was not what you were lead to believe.
  2. >The sting of your demise does not ache in your soul after the fact and you were somewhat surprised to be remembering the experience at all.
  3. >The thought that this was all simply a dying dream of yours, and that your last memory before now where you had screamed your lungs to bursting while you stabbed your broken blade into the head of an enormous spider, and that you now occupied a space within its stomach as it digested you, had crossed your mind.
  4. >Though all the same, couldn’t your entire life up to this point had been the dream that precluded a death in a previous one?
  5. >Such thoughts do you no good, so you banish them.
  6. >You feel yourself pulled over Equestria, the land you’d called home for nearly your entire life, with nothing but the feeling of the incredible sights you’d seen in life passing you in your mind.
  7. >The Crystal Kingdom becomes a dot on the horizon, and then Yakyakistan. You pass over the Forsaken Forrest and the dreaded Ruins of Tambelon on your way through snow filled mountains containing the stoney edifices of the Griffon Kingdom on their faces.
  8. >Faster and faster you feel yourself move, now with the sensation of rising into the air. You become one with the sky and feel as though you could slide your hand across Celestia’s sun or press your face to Luna’s infinite starfield.
  9. >Your spirit beholds the totality of the realm below you in all its grace and grandeur before it winks away out of existence.
  11. >You open your eyes, actually open your eyes, on the floor of a golden hall.
  12. >”Ah! The newcomer is awake!”
  13. >Focus comes to your eyes in time and spots an older stallion getting down off a bench and looking you over with one healthy eye and another white and scarred from behind his bushy white beard.
  14. >He talks with a heavy accent. “What is wrong, man? Lynx got your tongue?”
  15. “Where…am I?”
  16. >You push yourself off the floor and behold the golden hall. Ponies and griffons and diamond dogs alike all gathered round tables that stretch endlessly beyond your sight lined with steaming meats and flowing meads. Laughter and cheers shook the very roof as everyone celebrated something or another.
  17. >You knew this place, knew it well.
  18. “Am I-“
  19. >”Dead!”
  20. >You bite back what you were going to say at his bluntness and see him rise and look at the hall in wonder. “Dead and welcomed into the hall of Valhalla! You must tell me of your deeds, stranger! Only those who earned their glory call this their final resting place!”
  21. “Val…halla?”
  22. >You get yourself to your feet and look around, the other souls seated at the table noticing your presence and raising their mugs or food to you in recognition of your entry into the afterlife.
  23. >You allow yourself a brief chuckle at the idea that at least some of the stories you had heard when you first came here turned out to be true.
  24. >”Welcome, brother…” your companion says as he ushers you to a seat next to him. “You have earned your rest I think…”
  25. >You nod and take a succulent piece of boar off a plate in front of you.
  26. “I can only hope my friend-“
  27. >The hall quakes as two doors at the far end are flung open and a voice from everywhere at once fills the air.
  30. >All eyes turn to the entrance of the hall as She walks in.
  31. >She strides among the tables and is taller than the trees. Her single eyed gaze silences each rapturous voice in the hall and ceases the feast. Her eight mighty legs firmly plant polished steel horseshoes on the ground as she whips her mane, somehow more golden than the hall around looking.
  32. >”Have the dead grown deaf since I last walked this hall?” She asks. “I know you have arrived here, no-name.”
  33. “Fine.”
  34. >All eyes now turn to you.
  35. >You stand and walk from your spot at the feasting table to the center of the hall.
  36. “You clearly know of me, stranger. I feel I know you as well, though only in whispered words spoken of in the harsher places of the world.”
  37. >In seconds you find yourself face to face with the newcomer, and you present as fearless a face as you did back in Equestria to her.
  38. “You would turn your judgement on me? I offer myself freely. However, my upbringing was based upon manners, and you have me at a disadvantage.”
  39. >Her single emerald eye narrows and the hall gapes at your nerve. For some reason, she humors you. “I am known by many things. I am All-Mother, I am Skylord of the Eastern Cosmos, I am the living Daughter of Fire and Lord of the Day and the Night, I am She Who Knows All Things. The Griffons call me Othinus, the Minotaur call me Typhon. I am Sleipnir. And you…”
  41. >She leans her head in closer to you, already taller than you by a head and a half, to examine you closer. “Are not one of mine…though I may find use for you. I would know your name, speak it.”
  42. “I have no name, one-eye. The world welcomed me into it with no knowledge of who I once was and crafted for me a new purpose to defend the weak. I am simply Anonymous, stranger, and any God or demon that would damn fighting for those who cannot is not worthy to speak my name.”
  43. >The hall is now so silent that a drop of sweat hitting the floor would sound like a hurricane. Battle-scarred feasters look on with their beards nearly hitting the floor.
  44. >Sleipnir left eye narrows to a slit, and you see your face in the reflection of Her too-green eyes, the consideration of which gave you a sense of vertigo, but you would not allow yourself to show such weakness and power through.
  45. >She bends her long neck down and looks you dead on. “You will do.”
  46. >With that, she turns around and begins to trot at a brisk pace towards a doorway through which pure white light billowed.
  47. >”Come, No-Name!” she demands.
  49. >Sleipnir leads you out of the great feasting hall out a door of blinding white light, which surprised you since you didn’t remember walking after her. You both exit into a causeway flanked on either side by four guards clad in shimmering golden armor and spears that scrape the sky.
  50. >Despite yourself, you feel your gaze turned back to the door.
  51. “Was that-“
  52. >”Valhalla is not opened to you yet, No-Name. You yet have tasks ahead of you before you may be welcomed at my table.”
  53. >Sleipnir speaks with her back to you, but pauses in the middle of the path.
  54. >You look past the guards finally and take in a sight so grand that it might just kill you again. Beneath the cause was a pool of water that lead to a series of falls overlooking a vast city of alabaster stone and stretches of life. Statues of heroes past rose higher than the Royal Castle and overlooked the city below. The sky above you had not a cloud within it as the sun shone down through the leaves of the biggest tree you had ever laid eyes on stretching too far into the sky for you to see.
  55. >Words escaped you for some time.
  56. “…I never expected to go to Asgard when I died.”
  57. >You only now notice the One-eyed Queen next to you. “Many never will. More, if you tarry.”
  58. “Why have you brought me here?” you ask.
  59. >Sleipnir must not deem you worth the effort to move her entire head, simply turning her eye down to you. When she speaks this close, you see the magical runes carved upon her teeth.
  60. >“You walk among my kingdom because I deem you may have purpose within it. The realm of the Gods has stood strong and powerful for longer than any soul in Midgard has existed for, my duty as the All-Mother of the Nine Realms is to defend them both from threats both beyond…and within.”
  61. “What place could I have in such a duty?”
  63. >”All things above and below are within my dominion, No-name…save for you. Your existence beyond the cycles of this world offers certain…attributes I would have use for. Asgard is not the only home of the Gods within this realm, but your actions among the mortals these last many years have not escaped my eye.”
  64. >You bow your head.
  65. “You honor me, All-Mother.”
  66. >”I summate.” She answers before a pause. “…Circumstances have been engineered to prevent my duty from being fulfilled with mine own hooves, so I must act through mortal means.”
  67. >You feel that green eye gaze through you again. “I have judged you, No-Name, and found you of interest in my grand designs. You once protected Midgard from threats to her, I would have you be true to your nature and do so again by my command.”
  68. >You blink and think of those who had grown close to you in your time in Equestria, how Twilight Sparkle and her friends had taken you in and how the Princesses of Equestria had welcomed you to their land. You had arrived in this place with no memory of your name or past life, and so very long ago decided to repay them by protecting them from all you could.
  69. >Now, with one so wise telling you that more dark threats loomed on the horizon, how could you turn your back on them?
  70. >You nod.
  71. “I will.”
  72. >Sleipnir arches her eyebrow. “So ready, are you? The path you would walk will be one of strife and conflict, you that into your life once more?”
  73. “Why are you changing your mind?”
  74. >That causes the All-Mother to blink. You cross your arms.
  75. “I have been the anonymous protector of Equestria and all those who walk the earth below for as long as I can remember. Strife? Conflict? Ruin? Ptah! I spit on such attempts to shake me.”.
  77. >She doesn’t speak, letting you continue.
  78. “I did not enter into this world with a destiny like they did, so I had to become what they needed me to be! If the Gods above need me to be the same as I always was, then that just means that I made the right choice.”
  79. >No emotion flickers across Sleipnir’s face. “Good.”
  80. >You grin.
  81. “Then what awaits me? Am I to be slaying Frost Giants by day and spending my nights among the embers of dead trolls?”
  82. >Sleipnir turns her eye away from you and looks over the city as two jet black dire birds land on her haunch. You catch something behind her eye but it vanishes when she speaks.
  83. >”There are no Frost Giants.”
  84. >Her words feel as icy as the beings they described as they leave her mouth, but you nod again.
  85. “None around to slay? Fine then. What would you have me do?”
  86. >She turns her eye back to you like nothing had happened. “North, the Crystal Kingdom. A beast of shadows and sap roams the shores of Luminous Lake. You will kill it.”
  87. >You nod, you knew those mountains well from when you and Shining Armor secured his boarders from the Changlings.
  88. “Why’s this animal taken up home there? I don’t recall any dangerous creatures in the snow plains when I last walked the ground.
  89. >Sleipnir glances down off the walls to the world below. “Rumor tells of a maiden who has begun to reside within the center of the lake, there she waits with a blade encased in ice, waiting for those brave enough to best the beast to bequeath it to.”
  90. “Well send me down, she won’t have to wait too long.”
  91. >”A fiery heart will serve you well…Come. Your success is my desire, so I will at least put something between you and your foe.”
  92. >The All-Mother doesn’t wait for your response and you follow with none to give.
  94. >You get lead to a fortress that nearly scrapes the sky affixed along a thick wall on the southern end of Asgard’s lands.
  95. “Are you expecting trouble to come knocking?”
  96. >”Not in the south, no.” Sleipnir answers curtly as she pushes open the massive stone doors.
  97. >The room beyond contains warriors, about two dozen or so, moving about with purpose. They transport supplies up further into the keep or sharpen weapons in the corner, each of them notices your arrival and bow their heads to the ground at the passing of their Queen.
  98. >All but one, one with a dark coat and golden armor that stands before a well of rainbow light in the center of the room, his orange eyes not blinking as they stare into it.
  99. >”Has she moved?”
  100. >”No, my Queen.” He answers with a booming voice. “The lake, just as she has been.”
  101. >”Good.” Sleinpir answers as she leads you over. “You will take the Bifrost and return to Midgard, No-Name. Heimdall, how close are you able to place him?”
  102. >The watchpony slightly tilts his head. “Within the mountains, away from prying eyes, a short hike to lake.”
  104. >You feel the God-Queen’s gaze turn to you again and meet her.
  105. >”Do not draw attention.” She says. “Find this lake, defeat its guardian, and return. That is your purpose this day.”
  106. “Am I to do all this with my bare hands?”
  107. >Sleipnir scoffs. “If mortals could do anything worthwhile unarmed, I would not have to be here.” With her magic, She pulls a cold iron aegis from its place on a weapon rack and slides it up your forearm.
  108. >”You remember how this works, I hope.”
  109. >You smirk and strike the shield with your gauntlet.
  110. “Just a shield against an unknown threat? Give them a chance, One-Eye.”
  111. >Sleipnir remains stonefaced and pulls something from her mane, a long leather strap by the look of it that attaches itself to your wrist opposite the shield. “When you are close, it will work.” She says.
  112. >”My Queen, the window approaches.” Heimdall says.
  113. >Sleipnir keeps eye contact with you but steps aside, clearing your way to the rainbow font. “You might tuck your legs when you jump.”
  114. >You smirk again and run towards the well, leaping over the edge and falling into the tunnel of light.
  115. “I’ll bring some of my leftover glory back along with the beast’s head!”

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