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Prose Equus 19: Festive Fracas.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 02:16:02 PM

  1. Prose Equus 19
  2.  
  3. >It was the night before Hearthswarming and in one corner of land, something strange was occurring that no one had planned.
  4. >The colts and the fillies of Derbyshire nearby have spent each moment of night with an eye to the sky. They search and they search for a streak of red and jingling, the heralds that mark the coming of Krampus, the Hearthswarming King.
  5. >Each year it’s the same, a tale known by all, Krampus travels around bringing gifts to good ponies, the big and the small.
  6. >But alas, each year, just like the last, the stamina of children at night begins to fade fast. As watchers for Krampus fall to dream one by one, their parents take them upstairs talking of the next day’s fun.
  7. >It was a practiced tradition near the forests of Derbyshire; nestled next to the Crystal Empire.
  8. >With children asleep, they would get to work fast, placing gifts under tree like had been done for them in the past.
  9. >Each year they’d not notice the odd gifts none could recall, perhaps a new hat for a colt or for a filly a doll. They simply sigh in contentment and let warm memories form, after all overbuying for children leaned towards the norm.
  10. >For mothers and fathers, once children themselves, had long stopped believing in tales of Krampus and his Hearthswarming elves.
  11. >But…
  12. >The Kingdom is different these days, with more myth and more wonder, and tonight was a night with the odd clap of thunder.
  13. >Perhaps if they’d bothered, looked through the fresh snow’s fleck, they’d spot you out in the trees with your foot on King Krampus’ neck.
  14.  
  15. >Queen in Valhalla, this guy was a mountain of muscle! It’s all you can do to keep your foot on his neck to push him down and stay standing yourself.
  16. >The King’s of Hearthswarming lays in the snow and dirt before you, having taking a blow to the head from one of your partners as you all try to subdue him from the rampage he was on as he crept closer to Derbyshire. Heimdall had come warning of an insane creature who would destroy the town if something wasn’t done, and that’d make a crappy gift.
  17. >You adjust your footing a bit.
  18. “I need some help over her-“
  19. >His turquoise eyes cut through the dark of the night and lock onto you as his eyes snap open. In that moment you feel a deep and unnatural thought force its way into your head.
  20. >NAUGHTY.
  21. >Your body moves before your mind catches it, kicking off with your boots and propelling back on an invisible force an inch from the ground to safety as the hulking behemoth rises from the snow and snorts, leveling his horns at you even as they’re adorned with wreath leaves.
  22. >”INCOMING! OVER HERE, WIDE LOAD!”
  23. >A crack of thunder warns Krampus enough that he’s able to rear back and evade the sparking hammer that spins through the air before him.
  24.  
  25. >Mjolna lands next to you in the snow. “That was some quick footwork I saw!”
  26. “Thank the smithies.”
  27. >You clink the pommel of your mace against the golden metal adorning your boots.
  28. “They were able to graft the Golden Fleece expertly.”
  29. >Mjolna calls her hammer back to her and catches it in her mouth. “Yeah, they do that. He looking like he’s slowing down?”
  30. >You stand up and smack your mace against your shield. You’d had to abandon more lethal means of combat once you saw what the rampaging beast was.
  31. “No, but I learned he’s exceptionally strong.”
  32. >”Well hauling gifts in a sack’ll do that.”
  33. >The King shakes his head, stomping around and roaring as he knocks over trees with his massive horns and powerful frame
  34. “King Krampus! Please! Contain yourself!”
  35. >”He keeps up this much noise and we’re gonna be caught!”
  36. >”I’ve seen to that!” a shadow speaks. Snow from the branches of trees flies off its perch and collects on King Krampus’ face, forming a perfect sphere on his head before a barrage of tiny stones fires up and finishes the head of the snowperson.
  37. >Loki materializes to your right and stands as tall as she can, trying to look imposing. “I’ve established a finite field around this area. Any noise we may should be directed back in so as to not scare the mortals.”
  38. “Good, I don’t want to be the one who shows a bunch of kids what it’s like to beat up Krampus.”
  39. >”He might not be the one getting beat, look out!”
  40. >The head on Krampus the Snowperson explodes in a rageful cry as the King stomps his hooves, he takes a few steps towards you all and slams them down again, cracking the ground and sending forth a wage of magical energy that mixes with the snow. “MERRY ATTACK!”
  41. “Move!”
  42. >Loki vanishes into the shadows and Mjolna takes to the sky, letting you dash away on a pad of air under your Fleece.
  43.  
  44. >”We don’t want to fight you Krampus, but that doesn’t mean we won’t!” Mjolna says, touching down on a rock.
  45. >The King roars at her and charges, his horns glowing green and red. The princess easily evades as he smashes through the boulder and shakes his headache free.
  46. >He stomps forward, his horns glowing a festive green and red as he whips them towards you and arcs blasts of kringle magic at you.
  47. >You try to track the blasts, but they go wide before sharply turning in to hit you from either side. No way you can get both.
  48. >”Have no fear, I am here! Get the green one!”
  49. >Your body obeys the new voice, turning to face the green blast of energy and swatting it into the snow where it explodes, the red energy pops behind you and is overpowered in a soft golden glow.
  50. >”Your work is meant to be done in a single night, dear fellow!” Baldur says, stepping forward “And dawn has come!”
  51. “Thanks for the save.”
  52. >”My pleasure. Do we know why he’s like this? I thought King Krampus was meant to be a jolly old soul.”
  53. “He is, we haven’t the foggiest why this happened.”
  54. >”It HAS to be a curse.” Loki says, coming out of a shadow. “The fool must have stumbled onto something.”
  55. >”Any clue why he’s so strong?” Mjolna asks on her way down from the sky.
  56. >”Holiday spirit.” Loki says dryly.
  57.  
  58. >King Krampus lowers his head and breathes heavily, charging at you while the bells around his ankles chime in the wind.
  59. “Well, let’s give him his seasons beatings! Baldur, cover me! Princesses, you go from the sides!”
  60. >”Tallyho!” Baldur shouts. He lowers his head and intensifies his glow, charging at Krampus.
  61. >You raise your shield and follow behind him.
  62. >The prince’s aura of invincibility shimmers against the freshly fallen snow and repels the attacks of the Kringle King, the exploding ornament balls that shoot from his beard, the eight foot candy canes that jut up from the ground, and a pelting of old fruitcake from the sky.
  63. >”You’ll have to do better than that!”
  64. >Baldur leans forward and continues his charge, breaking through Krampus’ attacks until he’s right on top of you.
  65. >The following heartbeats happen slowly. Your mace reaches the apex of your backswing as you prepare to slam it into Krampus’s face, but you trip on something.
  66. >Or someone.
  67. >Baldur’s charge stops on a dime, the prince digging his legs into the ground and suddenly wanting to be anywhere but here. The sudden stop is too fast for you to correct against in the snow and so your momentum carries you into his ass and over his head into the snow.
  68. >Using your last moments before you hit the ground, you see Baldur staring at Krampus’ beard as it sheds a torrent of holly leaves. Baldur’s eyes are transfixed on the bits of plant raining down and his pupils shrunken to the heads of pins, you could feel the fear coming from the invincible prince’s eyes.
  69.  
  70. >You land in the snow like a sack of potatoes.
  71. >”Baldur, what the Hel?!”
  72. >”BACK! STAY AWAY!” he shouts.
  73. >You get yourself up and see Baldur’s hind legs shakily taking him back away from King Krampus.
  74. >The King shakes his head, raining more holly onto the ground as he trudges towards Baldur. The god of light backs himself into a tree that prevents any further escape as Krampus towers over him.
  75. >”DON’T TOUCH HIM!” you hear over your shoulder.
  76. >Like she’d done with the Ursa Major, Mjolna flies over your shoulder and impacts Krampus hammer first. The two go barreling through trees over a hill.
  77. >Loki wades through the snow after them. “No name, see to Baldur! I have to aid the idiot!”
  78. “What’s going on!?”
  79. >”Just see to him!”
  80. >Loki hops through the snow and you crawl over to Baldur, who’s still shaking against the tree and panting heavily.
  81. “Baldur, Baldur it’s me. Calm down.”
  82. >”Heh. H-hello No-name.”
  83.  
  84. >You give the prince some room to breathe, recognizing combat fear.
  85. “It’s all right its-- he’s gone. Take a deep breath and hold it for ten seconds.”
  86. >Baldur nods and listens to your instructions, puffing his cheeks out as he sucks in.
  87. “Now slowly release it.”
  88. >Baldur exhales and steadies himself, his shaking stops.
  89. “There…can you tell me what that was?”
  90. >Baldur chuckles. “No. I cannot. I know what it is, but I cannot.”
  91. >More secrets from the royal family.
  92. >You hear an unholy sound from over the hill and the shriek of a Loki, meaning now wasn’t the time to take care of this.
  93. “Baldur, listen. I believe you when you show me this fear, but the battlefield isn’t someplace we can deal with it. What happens next will depend on your answer, so I’ll ask once. Can you still fight Krampus?”
  94. >Baldur takes several deep breaths and pushes himself to all fours, his back two legs still shaking. “I…am afraid, not something I feel very often.” He says. “But to be brave is not to never feel fear, but to overcome it! That is what I believe.”
  95. >Baldur’s radiance returns, and he flashes his shining teeth to you. “Come! Let us see what has my sisters shouting so!”
  96.  
  97. >”YOU KILLED HIM!” you hear Loki shout as you crest the hill. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU KILLED HIM YOU STUPID CLOD!”
  98. “Oh no.”
  99. >”HE’S NOT DEAD!” Mjolna shouts back. “HE’S JUST…not moving…”
  100. >“YOU BEAT THE INSIDES OUT OF HIM!”
  101. >”THOSE AREN’T ORGANS YOU LITTLE IDIOT!”
  102. >”YOU CLEARLY LIQUIFIED THEM!”
  103. “What in your Mother’s Eye are you two arguing about over here?!”
  104. >You stomp around a tree and find Mjolna and Loki nose to nose glaring at each other over the body of Krampus. Krampus’s eyes are rolled back into his head and his mouth open, and a large puddle of a beige liquid pooled around his body.
  105. >”Mjolna killed King Krampus and RUINED Hearthswarming!” Loki gets in first.
  106. >”I TOLD YOU HE’S NOT DEAD!”
  107. >You walk over and look at the King.
  108. “He LOOKS pretty dead. What did you do to him?”
  109. >Mjolna bites her bottom lip. “…I hit him in the stomach with my hammer.”
  110. “How hard?”
  111. >”Eeeehhh…”
  112. >”Sister? Don’t most things you hit with your hammer die?”
  113. >”You’re not helping here, Baldur.”
  114. >A foul stench carries up through the air, everyone but Mjolna gags and it hits you.
  115. “Oh lord we just killed Krampus.”
  116.  
  117. >”That’s what I was TELLING HER!” Loki shouts, starting to lose her composure. “We need to do something now! Before the mortals find out and get their pitchforks!”
  118. >The princess paces around looking to the ground to think, with her helmet sagging a bit over her eyes as it sometimes did. “We need to get the body away! Far away! We’ll need to chop it up and bury it in several different areas so no one finds it. Oh, are there any carnivorous animals here? We can feed him to them!”
  119. >”Loki!” Mjolna scolds. “We are not feeding the Krampus to any dire wolves!”
  120. >”You admit you killed him!”
  121. >”SHUT UP!”
  122. >The two sisters shoot sparks at each other from their eyes while their brother sniffs the death-liquid and recoils. “Surely nothing would WANT to eat something so repulsive!”
  123. “It doesn’t look like any intestinal soul I know…but it sure smells like it.”
  124. >”Oh right, that reminds me.”
  125. >Mjolna bends her neck down to sniff the liquid and makes a face, then sticks her tongue out and dips the tip into it.
  126. >Loki’s cheeks immediately fill up and Baldur looks away. You join him to avoid seeing the horrid display.
  127. >”Eeeewwwwww! Sister, why would you-“
  128. >”This is eggnog.”
  129. >A silence hangs in the forest air as that settles into your ears.
  130. “…What.”
  131. >”Eggnog, this is eggnog. About…forty different kinds of it, too.”
  132. >Mjolna smacks Krampus’s body with her hoof and gets a low groan from the Kringle King. “Muckle…damn…raindeer…” he groans.
  133. >”King Krampus is…drunk?” Baldur asks.
  134. >You look between the King and Mjolna, relieved that he’s alive but curious.
  135. “How could you tell it was eggnog.”
  136. >”Because I’m an alcoholic, No-name.”
  137. >Right, Norse pony.
  138. >You look down at the king again and ponder.
  139. “…Kick him again, we need to learn more.”
  140.  
  141. >After several bucks to the back, you and the other godlings put the situation together.
  142. >King Krampus, on the eve of the holiday, had gotten into a massive argument with the reindeer who pulled his sleigh. Apparently, they wanted to unionize.
  143. >The argument turned heated, as they often did, and Mrs Krampus had taken their side and thrown the King out of their home.
  144. >And so bereft of a sleigh, reindeer, or wife and with a kingdom’s full of deliveries to make, King Krampus decided to steal as much eggnog as he could and black out through the night.
  145. >Leaving you and your partners in a precarious situation, one you couldn’t let alone as a former Royal Guard with a duty to Equestria and its population.
  146. >It was up to you to save Hearthswarming.
  147. >Acting fast, you found Krampus’ crashed sleigh and put your resources to work.
  148.  
  149. >”This is cruel and unusual punishment.” Mjolna says with the harness around her snout.
  150. “Yeah well you’re the one who hit him and knocked him out so it only makes sense that you pull the sleigh.” You say.
  151. >You throw the bag of toys from nearby the sleigh into the back after collecting them all.
  152. >”And how come I have to do it too?! I can shapeshift! I can BE Krampus!” Loki screams.
  153. “Because you’re the only one here with antlers on her helmet, Princess!”
  154. >Loki turns her gaze away from you and fumes while Mjolna laughs at her. “My hammer can keep us in the air, but what will you do in this scheme, No-name?”
  155. “Drive and help with the gifts!”
  156. >You grab the reigns and the massive list beneath the seat.
  157. “I stand out too much to be King Krampus, but I can read!”
  158. >”Astonishingly.” Loki snarks.
  159. “We’ve already wasted enough time so it’ll have to be fast if we want to save the holiday! King Krampus, are you ready?” you call.
  160. >”Hoes hoes hoes! Jolly Jinglemas!” Baldur shouts, stepping from beyond a bush where he got changed. With the real King Krampus either asleep or in a coma, he wouldn’t need his cloak or the bell adorned wrappings he wore, and Baldur’s mane was JUST the right color.
  161. “Climb in and get jolly, your highness! We have an entire kingdom to hit before sunrise!”
  162. >Baldur climbs in and smiles a big smile, putting more of his mane down below his chin to serve as a beard.
  163. >You grab the reigns just as Mjolna picks up her hammer and Loki resign herself to her fate.
  164. “On Thunder! On Mischief! On Sunlight and Sword!”
  165. >Mjolna does most of the pulling to get you into the air, putting Loki on the naughty list.
  166.  
  167. >Tales speak of one Hearthswarming Eve well past the midnight hour where gifts were delivered by a great divine power.
  168. >For King Krampus the Wise had far too much cheer after drinking his own weight in festive egg beer.
  169. >In his place stepped the Godlings, of Asgard on high, to make sure the holiday spirit stayed alive.
  170. >They flew from the east to the west, over every sleepy town, delivering gifts so no child would frown.
  171. >On sleigh pulled by Mjolna the Strong and Loki the Clever, who both made No-name vow to keep this secret forever.
  172. >The Anonymous Man raced down the list good and quick, doing everything to copy King Krampus’ shtick.
  173. >And the Lord of all Lights, Prince Baldur the Brave, swallowed all mystery fear and did Hearthswarming save.
  174. >They raced from midnight to dawn on Krampus’s magic, delivering gifts to all ponies, the lucky and tragic.
  175. >At the hour of sunrise at the last stop on the list, Baldur took the last gift and said “Yes yes, I know the gist.”
  176. >He snuck to the last house with his party outside, using the decorations and furniture to hide.
  177. >His fellows wanted to trust him, to believe the lord, but it wasn’t long before they heard shouting and “Honey, go get the sword!”
  178. >”We need a fast exit” was what No-name suggested, before the God-Prince was captured and later arrested.
  179. >And so the Bifrost tore open with all of its might and across Equestria was heard “Happy Hearthswarming and to all a good night!”
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