Worlds Apart: Unity

by MrBackpack

Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - The Nightmare

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Thunder and lighting rent the skies with their fury.

The winds howled in agony.

The sea tossed and churned, outraged at the small boat that dared sail that night.

The skipper of the small sloop held fast to the rudder, weathering the crashing waves and pouring rain, holding his vessel’s course steady.

The storm had crept up on him, coming in cold and fast from his rear, by the time that he had smelt it on the salty air, it had been far too late.

There would be no sleep that night, and, depending on how his little ship fared, might not ever be again.

A bolt of lightning tore overhead, illuminating the massive wall of water that was rushing in at him.

He grit his teeth, set his jaw, and cinched the thick rope around his midsection tighter.

Another flash lit the sky, he could see her in the wave that was now crashing down upon him.

Her grape and lavender mane.

The celeste of her coat.

Her turquoise eyes that held nothing but contempt and cold fury.

The memories crashed down over his small ship, crushing him beneath the waves, drowning him in pain, longing, and loneliness.

He opened his mouth to scream and the salty water rushed into his lungs.

Panicking, he kicked away from his remains of his ship only to be pulled ever further down, down into the blackness.


He was drowning!

He couldn’t see!

Cold, crushing, blackness overwhelmed him.

Dying! He was dy-

The door to my chambers crashed open, jolting me awake and about two feet into the air. There was a moment of total weightlessness and then shocking, but minor, pain as I ended up on the floor next to my bed.

“Terribly sorry Master Stroke,” said Windsor as he peered down at me, a mug of steaming coffee and a brush held aloft in his thistle colored magic. “Her highness wished to speak to you before you began your day.”

“Thank you Windsor,” I replied, still laying on the floor, savoring the cool slate under my body. I admit, I seriously contemplated just staying right there for the rest of eternity.

There was a moment of silence, gently accompanied by the soft, tinkly chime of my butler’s magic as he sets the coffee and brush on my nightstand. There was a few pulls and tugs and I rolled over with a small groan, letting him make the bed with the blankets that I brought down with me in my fall.


“Yes Master Stroke?”

“Why am I on the floor?”

“I would assume that you would know better than I, Master Stroke.”

Cheeky bastard.

With another series of groans and the popping of joints, I hauled myself to my hooves and shook my coal mane out of my eyes.

“Ah,” said my butler, floating the coffee over to me and, after seeing that I had a good hold of it, ran the brush over my sides and through my mane and tail. “Still the same shape today Master Stroke.”

I snorted into my coffee. Windsor had been my butler for nigh on five years now, Princess Luna assigned him to me herself. Apparently, he came from a long line of Grooms to the Royal Houses of Equestria, they are very good at their jobs.

I, of course, apologized to him for getting me instead of somepony important.

“I haven’t been anything but this,” I replied, stretching out one bat-like wing from my side. “For years now, Windsor, you know that.”

“Of course sir.”

“Then why do you insist on making that joke at least five times a week?”

“Let an old stallion have his jokes, sir.”

“Pretty sure that I’m older than you are Windsor.”

He ignored me and continued to brush my coat, he’d swapped to a large and very soft brush, carefully smoothing out the rough fur on the back side of my wings.



“Which princess wants to see me at this unholy time of day?”

“It is eleven in the morning, Master Stroke.”

“When you go to bed between four and five in the morning, anything before noon is unholy.”

“Of course sir.” He’d put the brush away and pulled out a comb, he looked at it for a moment before putting it away; I don’t like ponies touching my head. “And her majesty, Princess Luna, has requested your presence.”

“Was she even lucid?”

“It is not my place to question a royal summons, Master Stroke.”

I finished my coffee with one last, long pull and passed the empty mug back to my butler.

“Perfect as always Windsor, thank you.”

“You’re very welcome Master Stroke.”

“Can you have my barding prepared? I’m probably going to need to head straight into work after meeting her royal laziness.”

“I’ve already sent a couple of grooms down to the stables to fetch it,” The grey unicorn didn't even flinch at my insult, he’s heard me say worse, to her face too. At least he’s stopped looking like he was going to have a heart attack every time. “It will be freshly cleaned and oiled upon your return.”

“Not too much oil this time, please,” I reply, standing and trotting over to the door. “I still haven’t heard the end of it from the last time.”

That made him wince.

“I will oversee their work myself, sir.”

“I know you will, my friend. Are you ever going to take that vacation I keep trying to force on you?”

“Not until you do, sir.”

With another snort, I opened the door with a leathery wing and stepped out into the hall.

/\ ^._.^ /\

Celestia’s sun poured through the windows of each and every hallway that I trekked through, my hoof falls muffled by the plush scarlet runner that covered the center pathway. I’d been this way so many times that I didn't even bother opening my light-sensitive eyes.

I could hear the occasional whispered conversation as maids and other servants rushed about the palace. Many of the corridors have had to be closed off, or were blocked by piles of rubble, the Chaos Rifts afflicting the majority of Equus did not leave Canterlot unblemished.

Pristine marble statues were cracked and broken, stained glass windows shattered and replaced with basic glass, the white stone of the walls, floors, and ceilings were being checked over by master stone cutters, one by one, and many had to be replaced. I fully expected that, in the next few years, most of the palace would end up being new.

The two guards at the double doors leading into the Throne Room’s antechamber saluted me as I approach, their spears clacking against the stone at their hooves in unison.

“Sir,” said the one on my left, I cracked my eyes open to take a look at the stallion who had just spoken. He’s tall, pale blue, and clad in the golden bronze of the Solar Praetorians, his companion, to my right, is a shorter mare with a dark grey coat and clad in the purple and silver of the Lunar Sentinels. “Her highness told us to expect you.”

The two of them moved to open the door for me.

“Ah ah ah,” I stopped them with a wave of one wing. “Protocol my friends. Not even I am exempt from the scans.”

It was true too, I was the one that put the policy to Celestia after conferring with the captains of the two guard forces that protected the castle. After everything that had happened before, we wanted no one within striking distance of the diarchs who wasn’t who they said they were.

No exceptions.

Most of the checking was done at the castle gates, before any ponies even entered the castle in the first place and passive scans were done on the palace staff constantly.

The two guards looked at each other uneasily before nodding. The Solar Praetorian passed his spear to his partner and ignited his horn, casting a series of detection and dispelling charms over me while she held her spear at the ready.

The spells aren’t painful, but they are unpleasant, especially on the wings.

“Clear sir,” said the thestral to her partner, returning his spear to him and shouldered her own.

“Clear,” the stallion confirmed, taking his weapon from her. This time, I didn’t stop them from opening the doors and ushering me inside into the cool darkness of the antechamber.

I took a moment before speaking to shake myself, trying to get the feeling of the invasive magic out of my burgundy fur.

“You summoned me, your laziness?” I asked after a long moment of silence.


I was assaulted by a teenaged, navy blue, vaguely princess shaped, missile.

With a grunt, I caught the Princess against my barrel and rolled with the impact, ending up on the floor again. It wasn’t the first time that she had done this, and I’m sure that it won’t be the last.

Blowing my mane out of my face, I turned my head down to Luna and scowled at her.

“I was so worried!” She sobbed into my chest before I can say anything, her front hooves are locked tightly around my neck. “You were in so deep in that nightmare that I couldn’t find you to break it.”


My own hooves come up and encircle her smaller form, cradling her to me as I did when she was much smaller, my wings wrapped around her as well.

She was crying, great wracking sobs shaking her little body as she pressed into me.

“Shhh shh shh,” I cooed into her mane, rocking her ever so gently. “It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.”

“N-n-o-o-o it’s NOT,” she wailed. “I’m supp-posed t-to b-be thu-thu-thu d-dream g-guard-dian an’ I c-can’t-t even g-guard you!”

She must have been really be upset, she hadn't stuttered like that in years.

“Hey,” I said, my voice still low and comforting. “You don’t need to worry so much about me, I’m a big strong pony and you’re still a little princess.”

She didn't respond, just squeezed my neck even harder.

I sighed and stood, pulling the Princess to her hooves with me, letting her lean into me, still shaking and trying to get her emotions under control.

“C’mon Lu, you know better than to try to break my nightmares,” I consoled as I draped one wing over her and give her another hug. “There’s nothing anypony can do about them, your sister said so herself.”

“T-t-they’re m-my d-domain,” she sniffed as she lets go of my neck, her stutter almost under control. “T-Tia wouldn’t-t know her f-flank f-from her head if I had-dn’t-t t-taught-t her.”

“Of course Lu,” I chuckled in reply. “I know that, you know that, Princess-”

She stopped me with a delicate hoof over my muzzle.

“No, not while we’re alone.” She whispered, looking up at me with deep, sea green eyes. “You do not call us by our titles while we’re alone, Feather. Not you.”

She must have been serious, even the stutter was gone.

“Celestia then,” I grumbled after she puts her hoof down, she nodded. “Celestia may have learned everything that she knows from you, Luna, and she may not be as attuned to the dream-aether as you, but she does have the power to overwhelm most nightmares. She couldn’t help me.”

“Nightmares do not require power to defeat,” Luna huffed with a scowl. “Tia should know better than to try.”

I rolled my eyes, this was an old argument. The two of them were sisters after all, they bickered and fought like school foals at times. More than once I had to step in and prevent magic from being thrown around.

“Which one was it?” she asked, catching me off guard.


“Which nightmare was it, Feather?”

“Oh, the boat.”

“You’ve not had that one in a long time.” She said with a wince. “Do you want to talk about it?”



“I’m sure, Lu.”

“Was she there?”

I wasn’t able to answer that question fast enough.

“Of course she was.”

The venom dripping from her voice made me wince.

“It’s been five years-”

“We are not having this discussion.”


“No, Luna. Not now. Not ever.”

Luna looked like she was about to try and contest my point.

“Lu, I love you like the daughter I will never have,” I interrupted her before she can get going. “But we are not going to talk about her. What’s done is done and there’s no changing it.”

I could tell that she didn't want to drop it, but I didn't really care.

“Was there anything that you actually needed from me, Luna?”

“No, Feather,” She admitted, deflating from her worry. “I was just so worried about you.”

“I know Lu,” I said gently, giving her a soft nuzzle behind her ear, right where I know she’s most ticklish. “And I appreciate it.”

She giggled and batted at me with one of her own wings.

“I’ll see you at night court then,” I continued with a grin. “I still have a job that I need to get to unlike a certain lazy princess.”

“I can still fire you, you know? I am, technically, your boss,“ She said as she put on a regal face, or as much as she can with tear tracks running down her face and a grin still half-formed at the corners of her mouth.

“But you won’t,” I countered.

“I could assign you as my butler or even to my guard.”

“You could, but you won’t.”

“I should, though.”

“Perhaps, but you won’t.”

“Get to work, you overgrown thestral, you haven’t stopped complaining about the one time you were late four years ago.”

“It was your fault too,” I shot back with a mock scowl. “You insisted on that ‘tea party’.”

“It was my birthday party, not a ‘tea party’.”

“Sure looked like a tea party, Noodle was there and everything.”

“Hmmph,” she crossed her hooves and huffed at me. “See if I invite you to anymore birthday parties, jerk.”

I gave her another nuzzle and followed it up with a terrible bow and took my leave, making sure to close the doors behind me before the guards can do it.

“Do try to get her into bed,” I said as I pauses next to the Lunar Sentinel. “She’s up way past her bedtime.”

The thestral mare clicked her spear against the stone floor and nods, giving me a small grin. “We’ll do our best, sir.”

“And that’s all that I ask,” I replied with a nod of my own before beginning my long and entirely too bright journey back to my rooms.

/\ ^._.^ /\

True to his word, Windsor was waiting with my barding by the time I returned to my room, a pegasus groom next to him. I took my place upon the small dais next to the long bench that held my barding and the two of them immediately set about tying the protective gear around me.

The barding had been a present from Princess Celestia, dug out from one of the old armories that hadn’t been damaged in The Fall. According to her, it had been a gift from an ancient minotaur empire to Equestria’s south, part of a fifty piece set, designed for soldier craftsponies to wear in either occupation.

It was a smooth and supple leather-like material that neither Windsor nor I had ever seen before, beautifully and intricately stitched together with minute patterns stamped into every strap and inlaid along every edge.

I bit back a groan as the groom pulled my wing to full extension and Windsor carefully placed the cold silver wing guards in place. Those had been issued by the Lunar Sentinel High Marshal, Evening Song. My wings had taken a beating during my first few weeks of work and she, another Thestral, had demanded that I wear them when working.

“You should fly more, sir,” said the groom as he used his hooves to fold and unfold my wings. “Your flight muscles need as much work as your legs and, given how big you are, even more than you think that they do.”

“I’ll glide to work and back-”

“You will not sir,” interrupted the groom, his scowl almost as fierce as my own. “With as bad as your muscles are right now, the extra weight of your barding will only make things worse.”

“I like this one Windsor,” I said after a long moment of the two of us just staring at him, giving my butler a wry grin. “He’s got chutzpah.”

“As you say, sir,” Windsor replied after a moment, I could tell that he wanted to disagree.

“What’s your name, son?” I asked as I rolled my neck and shoulders, checking the fit.

“Thunder Cloud, sir,” the pegasus answered quickly, shrinking into himself. “I’m sorry for speaking out of turn. Please don’t fire me, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“No you won’t,” I chuckled, giving him a closer look over. He’s young-ish, maybe seventeen or eighteen, with a seal coat and rusty mane, his cutie mark is covered by his wings and I wasn't about to ask him to show it to me. “I like that you’re willing to speak your mind, I was almost convinced that no one here knew how to do that anymore.”

He didn't say anything but he did stand a little taller.

“Hmm… Windsor?” I asked after another moment of inspecting the groom.


“See if we can get him assigned to me on a more permanent basis, I’m tired of the yes-ponies that follow me around. I need someone other than you and Luna to tell me when I’m being stupid.”

“Yes sir.”

“Good,” I nodded at my butler and then turn to the gaping pegasus. “That work for you son?”

“Y-yes sir!”

“Good. I’ll see you after my shift ends. We’ll need to find a good place for you to remind me how to fly. Windsor?”

“Yes, Master Stroke?”

“Try and get him used to my eccentricities, would you?”

“I can try, sir. Usually shock therapy works best.”

“Maybe, I don’t want to break him though.”

“Uh… What?”

My butler and I both turned to the groom, he was blushing and his feathers ruffled.

I knew immediately what he was thinking, hell, if I didn’t know me I would have thought the same thing.

“Oh, sorry Thunder,” I said, giving him what I hope was a reassuring smile. “Not that, no.”

“I would say so, sir, “ Added Windsor, a faint blush spreading over his cheeks as he caught on to what the colt was thinking. “No Mister Cloud, Master Stroke here just has no respect for authority nor titles, at least not in private. You’ll get used to it.”


I honestly can’t tell if he’s relieved or disappointed and I didn't really want to know.

“Yes, well,” I sighed hoping beyond hope that it doesn’t sound as awkward to them as it did to me and stepped over to the door. “Thank you Thunder Cloud, I look forward to working with you again.”

As I close the door, I heard the young colt ask my butler:

“Can he read minds, Mister Windsor?”

/\ ^._.^ /\

I saluted the foremare as I entered the construction area, grabbing my hard hat from the hook, the yellow number nine brightly contrasting with the grey that made up the hard resin shell.

“‘Bout time you got here colt,” she shouted from down the hall. “Get your butt over here and show these fillies how to haul.”

I huffed and trot over to her, she’s already covered in enough white dust that I can’t see her plum coat anymore. There are four mares with ropes in their teeth pulling at a large section of a collapsed archway.

“Ladies, if you would please step to one side,” I said after taking one of the ropes from them.

“Are you sure?” one of them asked, I didn’t see which one. “Shouldn’t we help?”

“Naw,” The foremare laughed. “Feather here can take care of himself, don’t you worry about that.”

“But, but-” said another, she had a higher pitched voice. “He’s a stallion. He shouldn’t be doing this!”

Oh yes, I had forgotten for a few precious days, things were different here in Equestria, and I wasn’t even talking about being a quadruped either. The herding part of their society was a little strange, but you get used to that pretty quickly. The swapped gender roles take a little more time to fully internalize.

Generally speaking, fillies and mares were expected to be the more assertive and dominant ones while colts and stallions played the role of eye candy and were to be protected. Sure, there were the outliers here and there, like the Solar Praetorians, traditionally stallion dominated regiment of the Equestrian armed forces, but that was the generally accepted status quo.

I had heard loads of different reasons for this societal norm, some of them more believable than others and just shrugged and went on with my life. It got irritating sometimes, but you do, eventually, get used to it.

I took the slack from the rope, situated it over my back, braced it against the steel plate between my withers and shoulder, and began pulling.

With a rumble, the broken arch pulled away from the pile of rubble that it had been resting against, sending a fresh cloud of powdered stone into the air and covering everyone in the hall.

After a fifty feet or so, I stopped and dropped the rope, panting, that archway was bigger and heavier than I thought that it was.

The foremare walked over to me after directing the mares that had been pulling on the thing to start with the other pieces of rock that were under the arch.

“You alright there big guy?”

“Gimmie a min and I’ll be good to go.”

“Hmmph,” She huffed and looked at her clipboard, checking something off on a list. “Sorry about that, by the way, they were being a bit mouthy when they saw you in your armor. I don’t abide by that kind of talk, not on my job site.”

“No worries Hard, no worries. Anything I should be concerned with?”

“Not after that little show you just put on. I’ve actually got you helping out Smooth today, he insists that you’re the only one to show his statues the proper respect or some horseapples.”

I couldn’t help the grimace that made its way across my face. Smooth Stone was the master sculptor in charge of repairing and replacing the numerous carved edifices all over Canterlot Palace.

“Wonderful, thanks Hard.”

“You’ll be fine, he’s only got three to move today.”

I grunted in response and walked over to the cart that I knew Hard Hat had set up for me, there were two mares waiting to help hitch me to the wagon.

It was going to be a long day.

/\ ^._.^ /\

With a final grunt of effort, I shoved the last statue into place with my shoulder. It was a magnificent piece, both princesses carved form a singular block of marble. From what Smooth Stone was telling me as I lugged the thing from his shop to the palace entry way, he had found this particular section of stone in his master’s stores. At first, he had thought it was a simple, if massive, block of pure white stone but, as he began to cut and carve through it, the white had given way to a large black marble seam running the majority of one half of the entire block.

I looked back up at the stone faces of the Princesses, both carved with exceptional skill and beauty, the figures might as well have actually been them. Each feather in their massive outstretched wings was perfectly in place and their tiaras and peytrals delicately inlaid with matching gems and gold filigree.

Smooth slapped his hoof on my withers with a laugh.

“Ha!” he exclaimed with a huge grin splitting his face. “Not so correct now is it Feather?”

“Hmm,” I hummed in reply. “Give it a few more years and she might look the part.”

He laughed again.

“What say we go get ourselves a cold drink, eh Feather? Celebrate a job well done.”

I looked up at the sky and noted the position of Celestia’s sun.

“I’ll have to take a rain-check, Smooth, I’m still on duty tonight.”

“Ehh? It’s Friday! Nopony is coming to court tonight of all nights.”

“You know that, I know that, the Princess knows that.” I replied, as I tried to roll the kink out of my shoulder. “But the court has to open anyways.”

He studied me for a long moment before shaking his great, bearded head.

“You work too hard Feather, take a night off, enjoy yourself.”

I ignored him, and wave one wing at him in farewell.

After a quick stop off at Hard Hat’s office to hang up my protective headgear, I began the trot back up to my rooms.

/\ ^._.^ /\

Windsor was there waiting for me, Thunder Cloud nowhere to be seen.

“Scare him off already?” I asked, stepping into my foyer and wiping the dust from my hooves and fetlocks.

“No, Master Stroke,” my butler replied as his horn ignited and the ties on the metal around my shoulders came loose. “Mister Cloud is still a young stallion and could not wait for you to return, his masters also insisted that you have an older groom assigned to you if you wished a personal one.”

“Basically, we tried to keep him up past his bedtime and the Stable Master still doesn’t like me?”

“Quite so, sir.”


“Hmm,” Windsor hummed, his magic taking hold of the wing guards and gently pulling them off as I approached the dais. “I can still arrange to have a groom here in the evenings if you would like sir.”

“Nah, I appreciate the thought though, Windsor.”

Working in tandem, without a third pony, to get the barding off was always a mixture of gymnastics and hilarity. I have to turn this way and that way for some pieces to come loose, even with my butler pulling on them with his magic.

It takes a few extra minutes to pull the sweaty and amazingly dusty armor from my large frame, I’m actually kinda glad that the kid didn’t have a chance to see me like this: My barrel, frontlegs, and wings are my usual burgundy color while the rest of me, even my mane and tail, are a fine grey-white.

I take another couple of moments to take a long look at myself in the mirror on one side of the dais.

My reflection stares back at me with orange-yellow eyes. The maroon thestral in the silvered glass is huge for a race of smaller ponies, easily two-and-a-half heads taller than Windsor and he’s a big unicorn. I ruffle my wings, not the wings that I would have chosen for myself but they’re what I have. Maroon fur covers their backs and the fingerbones while the inner membrane is a dark wine purple.

With a sigh, I hopped down from the raised stonework and, before I could ask, Windsor interrupts me.

“Your bath is drawn and waiting for you sir. I will have fresh towels sent in in a few moments after I fetch your regalia.”

“I don’t have regalia, Windsor,” I snorted as I began trotting over to the large bathroom. “I have a sash and a fancy necklace.”

“A torc is much more than a necklace, sir.”

“Tomato - tomahto. At least you agree with me about the sash.”

I could hear him grumbling behind my back as I entered the bathroom. Unlike most rooms in the palace, this one was fashioned almost entirely out of slate, shale, and obsidian, not a single hint of white or bright stone anywhere.

Just the way that I liked it.

There was a fire burning in the room’s hearth and a small brazier near where I liked to rest my head on the tub’s edge, I could smell the faintest hint of citrus and clove wafting from the hanging bronze fire.

I quickly washed the dirt and grime from my fur, mane and tail using the shower to the left of the tub and hop up the small steps leading to the tub to lower myself into the warm and scented water.

Apparently Windsor wanted to impress somepony tonight.

The warm water, familiar scents, and my aching muscles pulled at me to sleep, just to nod off and let Luna handle the court that night by herself.

“Master Stroke, sir?”

“Hmm?” I looked up, Windsor sent in one of the three maids that look after the rooms themselves. This one, Orchid, a pegasus with a pale pink with a cream and cinnamon mane, was one of the newer ponies to my retinue. She and her husband work for the crown. She, as my maid, and her husband, as a groom in the Lunar Sentinel stables. “Oh, Orchid, how are you this fine evening?”

“Doing well, sir,” she replied with a smile, setting the fluffy towel down and within easy reach. “Thank you so much for asking, sir.”

“Think nothing of it Orchid, mi casa es tu casa.”


“Don’t worry about it Orchid, just a stupid saying from back home.”


“Yup, been a while since I slipped like that, sorry.”

“It’s no trouble sir.”

“Hmm… oh! When’s Rose due?” Her herd-mate was expecting, Orchid had been so excited when she came to work the next day, bouncing up and down and everything.

“In the next couple of weeks, sir, she’s fit to burst any time now.”

“Ha! I remember when my sister was pregnant, She would complain and complain all the time about how big she was, her bo-coltfriend would often come and hide out at my place just to get a little shuteye.”

“Too right,” she giggled, one hoof delicately over her muzzle. “Brass is convinced that the foal will be a little unicorn filly, Rose believes another pegasus just like her grandpa.”

“And you?”

“Oh I don’t care one way or the other, I love all foals and this one is special.”

“They’re going to have the best parents in all of Equus, I’m sure.”

“Ummm… Master Stroke, can I ask something of you?”

“Of course!” I replied, raising my head from the side of the tub and looking right at her. “Always!”

“Would- would you come to The Naming?”

The Naming ceremony was a big thing in Equestrian culture, it was when the parents announced their foal’s name to the wider world, there was even a section in the newspapers for namings. Mothers always knew the name of their foal, usually in the first moment that they held them in their arms, but it was never shared outside of family until The Naming.

“I would be honored, Orchid. Touched and honored.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said with a happy smile. “Rose and Brass would like to meet the stallion that I work for, they’ve heard all about you.”

“Oof,” I winced. “Are you sure you want me there? Are you sure that they want me there?”

“Mister Stallion of mystery, the Savior of Princess Luna? Everypony who is anypony wants to meet you!”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at her antics and she giggled again.

“I’ll be there, make sure to give the date to Windsor and he’ll make sure of it.”

“The invitations will go out as soon as they’re born,” She said with another smile and turned to leave. “I’ll make sure that you get yours, Master Stroke.”

I smiled back at her and returned to my relaxing bath for another few moments before, grumbling, I got to my hooves and splashed out of the warm water and over to the towel that Orchid had brought me.

/\ ^._.^ /\

Windsor was waiting for me when I exited the bathroom, towel around my withers and my mane still damp. He had lit the main fireplace in my chambers and the room was more than pleasantly warm, it was like walking into a warm hug.

“I really need to give you a raise,” I said as he took the towel from me and passed it off to a waiting maid, one that I don’t recognize.

“Only doing my job to make sure that you’re comfortable and presentable, Master Stroke,” he replied with a sniff. “I take it your bath was enjoyable?”

“I didn’t even want to get out. Thank you for the new incense.”

“You mentioned that you liked the scent from before, it took a little while to locate a quality supply, but you’re welcome, sir.”

I shook my head at my butler, I had mentioned that, in passing, five years ago and had never brought it up again.

“Are you going to let us brush your mane tonight, sir?”

“If you must.”

“We must.”

I sighed and tried my best to not wince as two other maids and Windsor descended on me with brushes, combs, and other grooming implements.

Author's Notes:

It has been just over eight long years since I started PonyFall: The Dawning of Twilight. As I'm sure that many of you can tell, life hasn't been the best.

Here's to a new story and thank you for reading.

Next Chapter: Chapter 2 - Night Court, Wings, and Breakfast Estimated time remaining: 2 Hours, 21 Minutes
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