Fiery waves – the ups and downs of Summer Pride
Chapter 6: Sic semper tyrannis
Ah, all this storytelling made me thirsty... Can I offer Ты a drink? Just let me check my saddlebag... Are Ты sure, Ты don't want one? This is something that sets the mood for the Далее part. It's a bottle of Witch Blood... Ты know how difficult it is to find such high quality wine these days? But I have a pretty refined taste, so it worths the effort... That's the spirit, here Ты go! Delicious, isn't it? Hmm... Got Ты a little curious, huh? I can see it all over you. You're like a giant Вопрос mark, my friend. This old mare has managed to surprise Ты with a few things, hasn't she? Oh, I should feel quite flattered... I bet Ты didn't know there was such a thing as griffon magic, am I right? Okay, okay, stop badgering me, I'll continue, just let me have a sip... Mmm, that's better.
Now, Ты probably assume I've revealed the secret of the ancient runes, broke the spell and made a miraculous escape to get back in time to inform Landslide about our brother's malicious intentions. Oh, think outside the box for a little, will you? This is life; cold, gray reality, not some movie filled with colorful birds and candy! Of course I couldn't escape!
Forever Wind kept me there, locked up in that room for over two years! Ты know, I'm not afraid of imprisonment, I've been a prisoner many times in my long life. But that's different... I ended up like that because of my own actions. Hah... everypony takes freedom for granted... especially these days. Ты don't know what you've lost, until somepony takes it away from you. Back then, we had to fight for our freedom!
The time I was forced to spend in Whisper Wind was one of the hardest of my life. I was helpless as my brother waged war on our land. And he was winning. I told Ты how great warriors the winged ones were... but we've never dreamed of seeing them as our enemy when we were fighting in the секунда Griffon War. I was left in confusion, doubt and fear, unable to help my subjects. Sometimes, I've managed to gather some vague news, “overhearing” my guards conversations. That was my only Источник of information.
I've learned that not much after my imprisonment; Whirling Abyss gave up her territory to the Pegasus Commonwealth. Poor Abyss! She was always the naive one. She thought this desperate gesture will preserve the peace. But if she could have the chance to look into Wind's eyes, like I did; she would have known, there was no chance for a diplomatic solution. I know she was led by pure intentions, but she only made the pegasi stronger. Unicornia broke up after 1100 years! And I couldn't do anything to stop this madness; I was trapped by those cursed runes! Forever Wind was victorious. But as his power grew, so did his arrogance and paranoia. He didn't trust a soul, not even his children или the most loyal officers. Everypony turned into a threat in his eyes... and he eliminated his enemies without hesitation, no matter who they were... Discontent and quarrel soon rose its ugly head in my brother's empire. That's when I learned about the true nature of the winged ones... Ты see, pegasi are free spirits by their nature. They indeed fight with great skill, but unlike us, unicorns, their passion is short-lived, like... like the burning paper или straw... if Ты set them on fire, they burn with great intensity, but only for a few seconds. Then they turn to ash. Forever Wind forced his kind to a narrow rand. A little too narrow for them to endure in the long run.
The number of his enemies grew with each day, as еще and еще ponies disappeared without a trace. Nopony could feel safe, for they could be charged with treason and executed, just by looking at my brother funny. Because of his insane and paranoid behavior, his worst fears seemed to have come to fruition. Ponies were whispering in every dark corner, plotting, waiting for the right moment.
His tactics of surprise, combined with overwhelming, rapid attacks prevailed and he conquered 2/3 of Unicornia. But his insane appetite could not be satisfied. In his arrogance, he set his sight on the Terran Republic, knowing the earth ponies alone shall not have the strength to resist him. Despite all his flaws, he was a great military tactician and knew he needed to refill his supplies, for the last 9 months of war has drained his resources. Еда has become a luxurious item in the Pegasus Commonwealth, but while his troops were living on short rations, he continued his hedonistic ways. The camps were loud with grumbling, as his soldiers were starving, yet the tastiest and rarest goods were ended up on his table. Even from my tower, I could see the signs of the impending collapse of his empire. He gained too much territory in too little time, his life-lines were too long and weak and he made too many enemies.
He eventually defiled the sacred treaty with the earth ponies, and set his hoof on their land. He claimed one of their biggest strongholds, but still... it was too little, too late. Even the pegasi could not rebel against the wrath of the united Terran-Unicorn Alliance. After his shameful campaign on the North, Forever Wind eventually returned to his impregnable fortress; the only place where he could go. It seemed he greatly underestimated Landslide, especially his diplomatic skills.
I remember, I was too surprised when I heard he made a new treaty with the griffons and called them in arms. I knew it was over and I'm sure Wind knew it as well... it was just a matter of time. Within six months, my brother Остаться в живых every territory he conquered and the unified armies were in front of the gates of Whisper Wind. The assault lasted for several moons. The mountain fortress was a hard nut to crack and the pegasi protected it vehemently, fighting to their last breath.
I thought I was completely forgotten, as the floor beneath my hooves was trembling from the cannonballs and my ears were filled by the noises of the battle. Two days before the end, the door opened and Forever Wind trotted inside. He has changed a lot since the last time I saw him. He Остаться в живых weight, he had giant bags under his bloodshot eyes and he was limping badly. His ears were flopped down and I immediately knew he was a broken spirit when I looked into his deep blue eyes. All the anger I felt toward him for imprisoning me there evaporated as I kept staring at him. He looked like a young, defenseless colt, who knew he did something bad. And despite all the unforgivable atrocities he's committed, he was still my big brother...
“Wind...” I began, but my mouth was dry and I could not find the right words.
“Landslide will launch a full scale attack tomorrow morning.” my brother сказал(-а) quietly.
He didn't have to say anything else, we both knew what that meant, we've both seen the whirling mass of unicorns, earth ponies and griffons around the fortress.
“Was it worth all this?” I asked coldly.
“Just look outside...” he replied and walked to the window. “This is exactly what I was talking about... see? Landslide is Друзья with the griffons now! Our oldest of enemies! He fights alonside those beasts!”
“Because you've left him no choice!” I retorted.
“Hah... I guess only the progeny will understand my vision...” Wind declared, gazing into nothingness.
I truly did not know what to say... I just kept asking myself the same Вопрос Whirling Abyss asked years ago...
“How did we end up like this?”
My brother remained silent and kept staring out of the window. Then he suddenly removed his шлем and took his Зачарованная armor off. He threw it on the floor, the metal clashed against the marble with a loud, eerie bang. My horn instinctively charged up with magic, seeing him tossing away his only defense against my wrath. But I wasn't angry no еще and I could not bring myself to shoot my own brother in the back, like a rat, even though deep down I knew I should have. Yes... I was too weak... my сердце was that soft back then...
Wind waited for a few еще минуты with his eyes closed, but when I didn't do anything, he turned around with a strange smile.
“How about a game of chess?” he asked.
I thought I heard it wrong... there was a fierce battle going on out there and he wanted to play chess? In that moment, I was certain my brother's rational mind sank beneath the sea of madness altogether. That weird, creepy smile and that sinister, insane flame in his eyes frightened me... Oh, surprised to hear that from a mare like me? Why? Everypony feels fear sometimes. Even the great ones. I bet even Celestia experienced that feeling in depths. Yes, I was scared of my own brother and what he might do to me. To be honest, I wasn't sure if my magic could protect me, if he cuts loose. He was a very strong stallion and as the Element of Air, he had the magic of his own. So I caved in and set the таблица for the game.
We played for hours as the stronghold shook from the giant stones the catapults were throwing at it. Cracks appeared in the walls and dust fell on us, but Wind didn't seem to care или even recognize that on the first place.
“You know, Summer, you've always been my favorite...” he remarked all of a sudden and made his Переместить on the chess table.
I realized, his hooves were shaking badly, but I didn't say a word about it.
“I know.” I nodded. “But Ты have a strange way of expressing Любовь by keeping your own sister as a prisoner.”
“Ah let bygones be bygones!” Wind whisked. “It will all be over soon. Once I defeat Landslide and his filthy allies, you'll understand.”
“You can't be serious!” I called out as my jaw dropped in surprise.
“I'm deadly serious.” my brother grinned. “This is just a minor setback.”
“You're delusional, Wind!” I countered passionately. “The only thing Ты can do is surrender!”
“Then Ты will be destroyed...”
Disappointment and sorrow overwhelmed my soul as I admitted to myself that Forever Wind has completely Остаться в живых his mind. He was such a great warrior and a true leader... and look what he has become! What a waste!
“What do Ты want me to say?!” he shouted sternly.
“I want Ты to face reality! Ты cannot win now! Your pursuit of power has gained Ты nothing but enemies and countless fallen warriors!”
He didn't react, he just sank into the game, staring at the figures on the table. I could not get him to talk more...
“Check.” I declared after a while.
Wind tried a few moves, but just like in the real world, he has Остаться в живых the battle. This was the first time I've managed to beat him in a game of chess. I was expecting him to burst out in anger, but I'm a proud mare and I couldn't let him win, just because I was scared of him. But what happened afterwards surprised me on a great level. Not only he wasn't furious, but he broke out in tears instead.
“I just want things to be like in the old times!” he cried and collapsed on the floor.
I couldn't say a thing, my swirling emotions have rendered me speechless. I was unable to decide what to do. Forever Wind was kneeling on the floor, and fat, shiny drops of his tears fell down on the polished marble. What should I do? I kept asking myself. What would you've done in my place? I've done the only thing a sister could do for her brother in such situation. I trotted over and sat down beside him. He put his head on my lap and I stroked his mane gently, just like he did, when I was a little filly and had night terrors. He was always there to comfort me when I was scared of the dark and was rocking me, until I fell asleep. I could not deny him this final act of kindness, even after what he's done. I kept stroking his royal blue mane as the mighty King of the Pegasi was crying on my lap.
“Kill me, Summer...” he suddenly whispered, breaking the intimate moment.
“What did Ты say?!” I asked and my hooves froze.
“Kill me... Otherwise I won't stop... I can't stop...”
“You know that's not how we do things.” I replied, trying to adapt the warmest, most soothing tone I was capable of. “You must face the consequences, Wind.”
“Yes...” he nodded and nuzzled even closer.
We stayed like this for some length, then he stood up. He put on his Зачарованная armor and шлем once again and opened the door. I followed him with my eyes, but I couldn't speak. We both knew what was the fate of all tyrants.
“I want Ты to have this.” Wind said, turning back from the doorway.
He handed me an ancient scroll and I immediately recognized the ancient runes on the paper. I looked at my brother with an obtuse expression.
“You're the smartest пони I know. You'll figure it out.” he smiled. “Farewell, sister.”
I stood immovably for quite some time trying to comprehend what just happened. The door closed with a loud bang, but I didn't hear it, I was sunken in my thoughts. Then I focused on the scroll. With the key in my possession, it wasn't really difficult to crack the code. The runes acted like a combination lock, all I had to do was to find the correct sequence. It took me a few hours nevertheless... but little did I know this день was far from over.
On that night, the pegasi revolted. They had enough of war and hardship and wanted to surrender to Landslide. Of course, my brother was reluctant. Ты can imagine how bad the situation was, if his own troops, his most trusted officers have turned against him. Forever Wind was stripped of his Зачарованная armor and his crown and the infuriated soldiers dragged him to the middle of the parade ground. His wings were tied against his barrel and his ankles were chained. One of his first sons, Nova grabbed a sword and raised it above my brother's head.
“Sic semper tyrannis!” he yelled the ancient phrase. “Thus, always, to tyrants!”
But, before the final blow was struck, a crimson magic beam knocked the blade out of his hooves. Yes, it was my magic. I've finally discovered the secret of the griffon runes and broke free. Just in time to intervene. Actually, it is quite funny as I think about how I was driven by such noble, merciful intentions at that time. Have I changed that much over the centuries? Even after the horrors he's done, I couldn't let them massacre my brother.
“How dare you?!” Nova shouted vigorously, glaring at me, like I was some unholy abomination.
“Enough of the senseless destruction already!” I retorted furiously. “There's been far too much bloodshed!”
“You don't have the right, unicorn! This is pegasus business!”
“I have every right! I am Summer Pride, the Princess of Central-Unicornia and I demand to stop this insanity at once!”
“If you're with him, Ты can die with your brother!” Nova declared and charged at me.
“Insolent fool!” I roared and released a powerful magic beam.
The fiery red blast struck down the pegasus and he plummeted into the earth unconsciously.
“Is there anypony else who dares threatening me?!”
“Forever Wind must pay!” a voice called out from the crowd, after минуты of deadly silence.
“Yeah!” another voice joined.
“And he will be brought to justice!” I nodded. “He will testify before the court and will be punished! But not like this!”
“This is our business! Let us settle it the way we see fit!”
“I've seen your ways. They are cruel and barbaric!” I yelled. “And you've seen what I do to those who Вопрос my authority.”
“We don't need a new tyrant instead of the old one!” the crowd shouted.
“Let me clear this up for you: Ты are in no position to make demands! Ты have lost! Landslide will launch a full scale attack at dawn! Ты have no chance to survive unless Ты surrender at once!”
I knew I was playing a very dangerous game. I was greatly outnumbered and if the pegasi were to turn against me, there would have been no chance to survive; they would have torn me apart, despite my magic. But I can be very convincing. My voice was heard and I've seen the doubt and confusion appear on the soldier's faces. I stood in the middle of the круг of pegasi, waiting for their reaction. It meant life или death for both Forever Wind and me.
“She's right.” a tough voice сказал(-а) all of a sudden.
It was Nova, who eventually recovered from my blast.
“Enough blood has been spilled. Open the gates! We surrender!”
I let out a discrete sigh of relief as the winged ones agreed. Later I learned, Nova was секунда in command after my brother and the troops listened to his words. The drawbridge was pulled down and a white flag marked the pegasi's capitulation. Landslide moved in, leading hundreds of warriors and occupied Whisper Wind.
“Summer!” he smiled when he spotted me. “We thought Ты were dead!”
“Well, it's a long story...” I replied and hugged my oldest brother. “I'll tell Ты everything later.”
Landslide didn't say a word to Forever Wind, but I saw the frown of despise in the corner of his lips. All the pegasi were captured and the cruel war was finally over. Landslide explored the fortress, visited every room and he was very displeased of what he saw. The signs of Forever Wind's endless revels were everywhere. When he came back a few hours later, he threw a short speech to his troops in the middle of the parade ground. I stood right beside him.
“Warriors!” he began and his deep voice echoed all over the place. “Unicorns, earth ponies and griffons! This is the день of a new beginning! We let irrelevant offsets divide us for far too long! But not anymore! This battle was the proof that we can put aside our differences and fight together, side by side for the greater good. Today, we have vanquished the last of our enemies, who happened to be my brother unfortunately.”
“My сердце is heavy and I am deeply ashamed of his treasonous acts. But I've sworn to protect my subjects from any aggressor, even if its my own flesh and blood. I assure you, justice will be served. The judgment will be быстрый, стремительный, свифт and righteous! Forever Wind and his accomplices will be brought back to Central-Unicornia for their trials. I honor all who fought with me in this war and I am forever grateful for your service! But we have one last task to do, before we leave! An example must be made to prevent such a terrible disaster from happening ever again! And we have to start right here, right now! SOLDIERS! DESTROY THIS HEATHEN FORTRESS! BURN IT TO THE GROUND!!!”
Landslide, the ancient Element of Earth