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 It's Been so Long

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Discorderly



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PostSubject: It's Been so Long   Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:42 am

It was such a minuscule endeavor, such a small task in the grand scheme of things. Other ponies did it all the time, and so did he, every day in fact. But on this day, knowing what lie ahead, it felt like the hardest thing he had ever done.

But he had to get out of bed at some time.

Cross had been planning this for months, setting the date again and again, and every single time he set it something would come up. His therapist had told him that it was him sabotaging his own plans, out of fear and anxiety and all sorts of blockers. But he had to do it, it had to be today, if it wasn't today then it would never happen. He took a deep breath and slid out of bed, beginning to prepare for what would surely be an...Interesting day...

...A few hours later found the stallion walking perhaps a bit too slow towards the looming architecture of marble and stone, which gleamed like a beacon in the distance. He'd made sure to make himself as presentable as possible, brushing out his usually unkempt mane and tail carefully and donning the saddle piece that had once been coupled with the full armor that he'd worn, it was all he had to mark him as a former guard.

A thought crossed his mind that stopped his motions, would anyone even remember him? It had been quite a while by now, would they recognize him? Sure he hadn't changed too much, but he'd certainly become more gaunt and the dark circles under his eyes showed that years had not been kind on him. He took a deep breath and steeled his nerves, the castle was looming into view now.

It almost took his breath away as he approached the arching gates, he'd long forgotten just how beautiful this place was, but it also held so many memories, good ones and bad. He noted as he approached that the gates were open, always inviting to any who might seek audience with the Princess, but there would surely be guards close by who might spot him entering, he tried to force more confidence into himself as he stepped over the threshold of the castle gates for the first time in years.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:51 am

Respect in Canterlot was a tricky beast, one that almost all young fillies and colts spend the majority of their foal hood learning to tame. For tourists, and passers-by, the general rule of hoof was that the closer you were to Celestia, the more respect you were afforded. Mostly.

If you were to go into more detail, then respect was also reliant on the two pillars of civilisation; history, and money. Money was easy. The more you had, the more you got. History....that was the complicated one.

Take this scenario. When redesigning and updating the old palace gates, the team leader would usually be the elderly, more experienced ponies with more than a couple of projects under their saddle. In most cases they would definitely have priority over a fil- young mare with, well, exactly a couple of projects attributed to her name.

But these elderly ponies only had a single lifetime, or at most a few generations of history. Elegance of the most noble Design lineage had a family history stretching back to the founding of Canterlot itself. It was, indeed her family that built the palace in the very first place. Furthermore, Elegance's two projects included the Memorial Monument (which was, interestingly enough, also her cutie mark) and the Midnight Palace, Luna's domain after she had returned.

So Elegance Design called the shots. It was something her colleagues accepted (albeit grudgingly) but by Celestia it still stung to be bossed about by a pony about a quarter of your age.

"I do not care what the a Crystal Empire does," Elegance snapped, "I am not going to throw away centuries of history for a fad that literally-" she stomped her hoof for emphasis, "Appeared out of nowhere. Upgrade and improve was the design brief. NOT Be foalish idiots, star struck by glitter."

"Have you been to the Empire, miss?" Said one of the older ponies carefully.

"Yes," Elegance muttered, "It hasn't changed in a thousand years, and dear Celestia, it shows."

_________________
The maiden, the mother, and the other one.

Spoiler:
 


If Paradise Blossom speaks in red, she is speaking Neighponese.

I do my best now and am preparing. Please wait warmly until it is finished.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:27 am

The appearance of the castle certainly did bring back memories, and craning his neck up at the towering spires, he had to admit that more were good than bad. He couldn't help but smile as he thought back to the days where he spent nearly all of his time here, when he wasn't doing his patrolling duties, he would spar with the boys or relax in the garden. He could appreciate the solidarity of the castle, unmoving, unchanged, a sparkling beacon in the distance no matter where in Equestria you happened to be.

He mused over this as he trotted through the old gates, surprised to see no guards posted in the immediate vicinity, how odd, but then guards weren't usually posted unless there was a need for them to be, a threat or danger that would require their alert eyes to watch. He could remember the long nights he'd spent, during times of danger, watching his post and sharing stories with his partners to keep their spirits high.

He shook his head a little to clear the cobwebs of times long gone, that was not his reason for visiting, he had spent too many years locked up in his memories. He was about to head towards the castle itself when he heard a voice, rather young sounding, but it held a very sure and authoritative tone. He tilted his head and decided to follow the sound, after all, it surely couldn't hurt to find out what was up, right?

What he saw was surprising, a young mare berating her seniors, it was actually an amusing sight, they looked rather nervous to question her as she spoke, it was clear that SHE was running whatever operations were going on.

He approached just as he caught the last bit of the conversation, though he felt bad for the slight eves dropping, he couldn't say that he disagreed with the sentiments of the younger mare. He cleared his throat gently as he approached and smiled, "Excuse me, ma'am." He dipped his head, affording the younger pony the respect that her voice commanded, "Apologies for eves dropping, but did you say something about renovations?" He craned his neck to look over the old but still gleaming archways of the gates, "I think you are absolutely right." He let out a soft chuckle, "I don't know a lot about aesthetic and design, I'm afraid, but I can appreciate the preservation of history."

He remembered himself and looked a little embarrassed, he was prattling and clearly these ponies had important work to do, "Apologies for interrupting...It's...Been a while since I've been through these gates." He said the last bit with a smile.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:12 am

As one pony, the assembled group of royal architects and renovators turned to the interloper. Whilst it was clear that there was at least an attempt at looking respectable, it was equally clear that the former guard had seen far better days.

This meant that the scene of an apparently jet-lagged guard staring at a group of well dressed noble ponies was stuck in a painting of silent awkwardness for several moments. Somepony coughed, and the awkwardness extended for a bit longer afterwards.

Finally, thankfully, Elegance broke the silence by throwing a question out to the open air. "Tell me, when this brief was proposed, did anypony think of asking the palace guards themselves for input?"

There was a chorus of unconnected intelligible mutters as the other architects became incredibly interested at the clouds in the sky, the grass on the ground, and in the case of one of them, an incredibly fascinating tree.

Elegance brought a hoof to her face to ease away the sudden and intense headache that afflicted her. "Of all of the..."

She turned to the former guard. "Sir, do you happen to be busy at the moment? It appears this project has been missing a major piece of input that would probably vital for its success."

_________________
The maiden, the mother, and the other one.

Spoiler:
 


If Paradise Blossom speaks in red, she is speaking Neighponese.

I do my best now and am preparing. Please wait warmly until it is finished.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:31 am

His ears perked, then laid flat against his head as all eyes suddenly turned to him. These ponies were all dressed in such respectable attire, and he realized he must look a sight in comparison, the effort had been made to look presentable, but time can often be a stronger player, and he did look somewhat a mess. Thoughts of fleeing flashed through his head.

But the thoughts were quickly dispelled when the young mare spoke, it wasn't a question directly to him, but he could tell he had sparked it. And it was all he could do to stifle a chortle at the faces of her companions...Employees? He wasn't sure what they were to the young mare, but it was clear now that SHE was the one in charge. Which made the situation all the more comical.

He flicked his ears forwards again when she addressed him directly this time, giving a bow as if by instinct, "Ma'am I'd be honored to help however I can." He smiled and looked over the walls fondly, "I served for 18 years, I might not be a grizzled old vet but I'll still help however I can." Why not? This was certainly better than dwelling and reminiscing by himself, after all.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:04 pm

"Good," Elegance nodded, "It's good to see that some ponies have their heads on correctly. As you have probably figured, we have been given the project of renovating and renewing the outer palace gates. What I wish to request from you, a former guard and thus constant worker of this area, the general problems and difficulties with current structures..."

Magically, Elegance had rolled up her blueprints. Eyes closed, and right hoof in the air, she explained her duties and what she wanted.

"...furthermore, it is critical that..."

The fact that her explanation went on for a little bit too long was a bit of an unfortunate detail.

"... Some of my colleagues, though experienced, have the habit of not exploring every opportunity. I do things in a more detail orientated manner..."

At this point, her companions had their eyes glazed over, clearly not paying any more attention to the overly flowery and purple prose of Elegance.

"...and thus, I am of the opinion that- that- oh! How rude of me!" She held out a hoof. "My name is Design the Elegance, or Elegance of the noble Design family, Elegance Design. May I know whom I am talking to?"

_________________
The maiden, the mother, and the other one.

Spoiler:
 


If Paradise Blossom speaks in red, she is speaking Neighponese.

I do my best now and am preparing. Please wait warmly until it is finished.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:27 am

What an odd turn of events, here he had been expecting to find only sad memories and he was in the presence of a rather colorful group. He was somewhat thankful, though, for the distraction from any bleak thoughts he may have had while conversing with actual guards.

He flicked his ears forward, and was about to reply when the young mare set off on her explanation, he'd never heard such eloquent and dramatic speaking, and her explanation seemed to go on for longer than he expected, her companions all but completely gone from the current situation the hapless stallion was in.

He couldn't help but smile when she suddenly broke her train of thought to introduce herself, extending his own to give her's a shake, giving her a respectful bow, "I have heard your family name spoken around the palace in the past, pleasure to meet you!" He chuckled and nodded, "My name is Crossed Swords, but you can just call me Cross." He craned his neck to look back over the gates, "I'm not much of an architect, and I've never been artistic, but I'll help the best I can, Miss Elegance."
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:45 am

"Elegance in functionality," said Elegance, nodding to herself in confirmation, "What I need to get from you is this."

Extracting one of the blueprints from her bundle, she stretched it out in front of them. "This is the current design of the castle gates, relatively unchanged in about 50 years. In those fifty years, the needs and requirements of these gates have changed somewhat. What I need from you, as a former guard, is a viewpoint on what worked and what did not."

"So I guess we'll start with the obvious question: What, in your opinion, should be the primary purpose of these gates?"

_________________
The maiden, the mother, and the other one.

Spoiler:
 


If Paradise Blossom speaks in red, she is speaking Neighponese.

I do my best now and am preparing. Please wait warmly until it is finished.
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PostSubject: Re: It's Been so Long   Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:02 am

Cross smiled and came closer to look over the blueprints as she unrolled them, listening carefully to what she had to say. He pondered on the question for a moment, combing his memories for anything that stood out to him.

He looked back up towards the arching gateways, then back at the blueprints, "In the past," He began, as he mulled over exactly how to put this, "the castle has had no need for sturdy defenses, sure, we patrolled the grounds every night." He put a hoof to his chin, "but other than the occasional colt or filly entering without permission on a dare, there was never really any trouble."

He chewed his words a moment, he was never the most eloquent, certainly not when it came to situations like this, "But in recent years, there have been more and more incidents where we have had to defend the castle." He gave a soft chuckle, "I'm no guard anymore, but word still gets around. And the main problem I'm hearing is that they're being caught off guard." He pointed a hoof to either side of the entrance, "They need guard towers, somewhere that they can see trouble coming before it gets here."

He shuffled his hoof a bit and chuckled, "Or that's what I would suggest, Pegasus guards have no issue patrolling, but I know from experience that it can be a blow to morale to not be able to help see danger before it hits." He chuckled, "So I think giving earth pony and unicorn guards a way to keep watch from above would improve that. Plus, the more eyes the better."

He felt like he'd been speaking too much and chuckled, looking a bit embarrassed, "Basically these gates need to be as much about protection as they are about welcoming, they don't get closed often, but with guard towers they wouldn't need to be, they'd see shady characters coming before they even got close." He nodded in affirmation of his point, hoping he hadn't sounded foolish.
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