Fall, after the coronation of Twilight Sparkle
Red Velvet, Dewshine (NPC)
Memory is like a scent; it lingers, persisting as a trail of remembrances that lead into the dark, hidden past. In this case, though, it just led Nightshade towards Red Velvet's home tucked away in a quiet corner of Ponyville. The unicorn mare gazes at the opulent house, recalling her previous visit during more mundane times. She sighs through her nostrils, pondering how the significance of that place has now changed thanks to her investigations. Walking carefully, she steps up to Red Velvet's porch and knocks gently.
It is little more then the space of a moment before the dulcet voice of Red Velvet rings out from an upper story window, "Be there in just a moment, darling!" it is more like three minutes before the sound of rushing hooves is heard behind the door and the powder blue aura of Red Velvet's magic envelops the door handle, turning it and letting it sweep open. And there she stands, smiling at her friend whom she has not seen in simply ages! Red as ever looks stunning, and she is even wearing freshly applied make-up. She looks a little surprised at the unexpected visit but her smile never falters as she steps to the side, "Why Miss Nightshade! How lovely to see you, it has been so long since our last visit."
Nightshade looks as she always does when re-kindling relationships: stoic and tranquil. "It has been far too long, yes," she states, stepping inside. "Matters at the Palace have kept me quite pre-occupied but now, at last, I have some...leisure time."
Red_Velvet closes the door as the other mare enters and nods, "I do imagine your position keeps you even more busy then I find myself most days. It is quite understandable. But I am happy to see you once again, Tell me, aside from being terribly busy how has life been treating you?"
"It is well," says Nightshade, walking upto ecouch and laying herself on it. "Solstice is busy helping Father, as always, and Daybloom has completed her teaching certification. A new employee has presented herself to the Palace. You might have heard of her, a Mimic from the Crystal Empire."
Red_Velvet follows her friend and listens attentively, using her magic to fetch a snack tray from her upstairs kitchen area and offering it to Nightshade. "I have heard OF a Miss Mimic, but never personally had the pleasure of meeting her. It certainly does sound as if everything is going quite well for you and the staff at the palace, I am so pleased to hear that. Would you care for something to drink?"
Nightshade nods. "Of course, Velvet," she says, exepcting another fine export as before. "There have been some stories spreading around about Mimic's origins...and some stories about yourself, as well, Velvet. You are...associating with Miss Mixtape, last I hear?"
Red_Velvet smiles and a hint of a blush colors her cheeks as she levitates a small bottle of chardonnay from upstairs and pours them both a glass, it is chilled and while fine in quality more of a leisurely sort of wine then is usually served at Velvet's large gatherings. "Yes, we have been having the occasional trouble with reporters, being that I am in a relationship with Mixtape and she being one of my clients. But we are doing alright. Stories about myself? Good ones I do hope? I have not heard any of these discussions about Miss Mimic's origins myself, do tell?"
Nightshade does appreciate fine wine, and she helps herself to a sip as Red Velvet speaks. "Ah, yes, indeed. It seems that she has a rather significant connection to the Sombra regime, but that is...here or there." She takes another sip of wine, gazing at Velvet closely to gauge a reaction.
Red_Velvet looks above all things startled by this fact presented to her, but she quickly composes herself, "Yes well, that was a long time ago wasn't it? King Sombra was defeated in the end and everything has worked out splendidly of late has it not?"
"Memories of that time still linger," Nightshade states, "especially given that they were frozen for all of that thousand years, so it seems like....just last year to them, really. Memories of more distant centuries, where all involved have perished, are more difficult to recover, but there are ways." She looks at Red Velvet, and at once her gaze gains that piercing, interrogative quality that is usually reserves for subjects of investigation. "So, when were you going to tell me about your hidden chamber?"
Red_Velvet has been nodding along with everything her friend said, it was all true. Then the dire question is asked and Red Velvet becomes so flustered she nearly drops her own glass of wine, she quickly recovers and casting a glance at the expression n Nightshade's face she can see clearly there was no point in denying the fact, "Before I answer that, dear. Perhaps you would be good enough to tell me how long you have known of it and how you found it out?"
"You'd be surprised how much record-keeping the Palace has been doing," Nightshade explains, softening her tone and sipping some more wine, but she keeps her gaze on Velvet. "Births, marriages, geneology, curses....geneological curses. It was really quite an accident, in fact: one of my agents informed me about your little trip to the Empire, and I started get curious about yourself and your motivations. So, I thought I'd research your family line a little...and it was more than enough."
Red_Velvet nods and after a moment turns and places her wine glass on the reception table, "Well, dear. Being that you know about it and my secret bit of shame brought down on me by my ancestor...would you care to see them? The Room and the Amulet I mean. I should warn you that while the danger is greatest to my own person it does not mean you or anypony else is exempt from her wroth."
Nightshade nods, slip off the couch and setting her wine glass down. "I shall, but first...I need to summon my specialist." She turns towards a loveseat, one casting a large shadow, and focuses her strange, dark magic upon it. The shadow of the loveseat seems to extend and grow, and then from that the shadow of a pony emerges, and from /that/ the wispy outline of a unicorn stallion, his mane silvery and his fur a dark, forest-green. "Velvet, this is Dewshine, my artifact specialist. If you permit, he will accompany us."
Red_Velvet nods and turns, heading down the hallway to the right of the reception desk, "That will be quite alright, although I should warn you that great grandmother is in a foul temper. I recently got the better of her in a battle of wits and it does not sit well with her. I call her great grandmother but if you have done as much research as you claim to have you know that she is roughly two and a half millennia older then we are, great grandmother is a beastly over-simplification." As the party moves into the back hall of the offices Red passes the public washrooms on her left, then the stairwell up to her apartment on her right, then turns to the bare wall on her left and reaching out a hoof touches a place on the wall that has a nearly indiscernable difference in color from the rest of the wall, there is a soft *click* and a panel pulls inward and slides into the wall itself, revealing a long black staircase leading downward, at the bottom somewhere there is a dull pulsating glow, the color of blood.
"Perhaps Their Majesties had a personal acquaintance," Nightshade states. As they come to the threshold of the hidden passage, Dewshine's horn glows a deep forest-green, his eyes gaining a weird sheen for a few seconds. "It's a big one, Miss Nightshade," he says, his voice a bit high and nasaly. "I'm reading about four, five megamerlins." -- Nightshade nods. "As we'd estimated. Take the rear."
Red_Velvet listens to each of the ponies with her and then nods, "Perhaps, I'm not entirely certain how old the Princesses are, but they may have had some experience with her. One final word of warning, in your research you may have come across mention of The Maiden's Trappings. An artifact of immense power. Family oral history tells us that this was the name of Crimson Maiden's burnished bronze armor, and that it contained half her strength. So do keep in the fore front of your mind that we are dealing with the spirit of a mummified earthpony, dead for more centuries then I care too count, and without her armor which empowers her, and the weight of her will still very nearly crushes me. But being of her bloodline she has a great deal more effect on myself. You may feel something but perhaps only a quarter of the pressure she will be exerting on me." Red then turns and starts down the polished onyx stairs, halfway down the formerly drywall crafted walls also turn to onyx, polished to a high gloss.
Nightshade gazes, observes, notes the common theme emerging in the architecture. "I do wonder how you were able to bring her into town without setting off every warning alarm in the area. An onyx-covered carriage?"
Red_Velvet shakes her head as she continues down, "Oh I thought of that, but in the end I had a box constructed, the amulet sits within it on a pedestal down here. I simply kept the box in my saddlebags. It also serves to restrain her influence through the amulet. When the box is opened she is able to speak through the amulet, it is simply a conduit through which she can reach, the place where her spirit truly resides is inside her corpse, located within the tenth chamber of a vast tomb buried beneath the earth. But as to the box, when I shut it she can no longer speak and her power is restrained, when I lock the box, it severs her ability to even see the outside world through the ruby pendant. The onyx serves as a dampener for her powers, that is why the room and stairs are made of it, and the box as well. It holds her in check."
"I suppose you can't just deposit it at the Palace for...safekeeping?" Nightshade asks, feeling some measure of the tremendous power emanating from below. Truly, it is a powerful, angry spirit they are dealing with.
Red_Velvet nods, "Well It may surprise you to know that I had intended to do just that, to problem I ran into was a bit of a hiccup however. You see the amulet came into my possession through my older brother Outlaw, who is a bit of an adventurer and an archaeologist. He sent it to me as a birthday gift after doing a bit of exploratory work around a set of ruins he believed house the tomb of our ancestor. However what he did not realize was that the Red Velvet he sent it too was not I, but the impostor. She...not knowing what she held in her hooves, and feeling nothing from the amulet pretended to cherish it and put it in my wall safe in my office. Upon my return I had no idea it was there and. When I opened my safe Crimson Maiden sort of...'leapt out' at me you might say. Now the amulet and I are bound one to another and I cannot leave it. Much as I would like too."
"How unfortunate," Nightshade states, reminding herself to fill in her dossier of Velvet (and Outlaw) with these new details. "If resources availed themselves, I would certainly assign them to finding a solution, but for now containment seems to work."
Red_Velvet sighs as they reach the bottom of the long stairwell, and there on a black pedestal, situated atop a velvet pillow sits the box, and through the keyhole shines a crimson light that flickers and flashes as if a mini thunderstorm were brewing inside. "Perhaps, although I would be pleased if the Princesses were notified. I am not sure how it may affect things if my ancestor were to be brought into proximity to a pony as powerful as our rulers, but they would perhaps have some insight."
"I am certain that they can assist you, somehow," says Nightshade, who has already decide that a mere 5 megamerlins is no match for either Princess. As the box comes into view she looks upon it with a cold eye, forming her first impressions of the object as Dewshine steps forward to scan it. "Open it."
Red_Velvet nods and hesitantly steps forward, lifting a hoof and reaching for the lid before pausing, "I feel I must warn you both. Great grandmother is most...displeased with me. I put her in quite a state last time when as I mentioned I outwitted her. I also should note that while neither of you will be as affected as I am, you should still be very careful. My particular weakness comes in my shared bloodline with her, but she can do things to other ponies as well, and enjoys preying upon your most secret fear or desire. I will open the box now..." With her warning concluded Red Velvet flips the lid open, and there upon a satin cushion in the box lay an extremely large ruby pendant, with crimson ghost flames dancing about the jewel. The intensity of the light filling the underground room is magnified greatly once the lid snaps open.
As the lid comes off, Nightshade is bathed by the eerie, unnatural light, her eyes gleaming with the amulet's dark reflection. She unconsciously steps back, eyeing the thing with obvious alarm. She can /feel/ it, it's anger, it's voraciousness. So, too, can Dewshine, whose eyes have snapped wide open in the face of this confrontation. "It's...it's gone up to /twelve/!" he declares, quickly cutting off his magical detection. -- Nightshade nods, her own magic dying down as she cuts herself off as well. "Use the arcane oscillator; no direct links until I make my determination." She turns to look at Velvet, displaying an unusual (for her) amount of expressiveness. "So...this is the Crimson Mare."
Red_Velvet has actually sprawled on the floor, her breathing is labored and her coat is foam flecked as if she had just run a marathon. She was not kidding it seemed when she said that the pendant had a far greater effect on herself. "Y-Yes...the ancient warmare that predates the rule of Discord. Crimson Maiden, my infamous ancestor. Her current goal is a rebirth through me or another of my bloodline, That is why she presses so terribly hard upon me. She is trying to make me surrender my body for her use."
Nightshade blinks, seeing Red Velvet on the ground, and then immedietely she erects a barrier around the distressed mare. "This won't do much, but I surmie that it will take the edge off. Now, as for this attempt as possession...let us see what can be done about that." As cool and as calm as ever, she walks over to the amulet, studying its patterns, its shifting form. "Dewshine, prepare the ley needle." -- Dewshine noddles quickly and complies at once, focusing his magic upon a shadow in the far corner of the room, a diminutive patch of darkness struggling to keep itself despite the lgiht from the amulet. As he himself had arrived, the shadow stretches and congeals into a form, a box-like thing with a ornate, rune-engraved syringe-like object attached via a long pipe. Dewshine magicks the whole machine over to Nightshade, who takes the needle and directs the tip right near the surface of the amulet. "Let us see what secrets await," she says, pricking the surface of the jewel.
Red_Velvet seems to recover slightly as the barrier is brought into being, it is indeed not much. But Red is able to stand once again at least, She pants softly, "It isn't usually this bad...I think great grandmother is actively trying to hurt me for refusing to locate her enchanted barding for her. She does long for her armor so." Red Velvet takes a few steps back from the pendant while remaining within the barrier. Her color improves slightly with the added distance as she watches the proceedings. When the jewel is pricked there is a small eruption of phantom fire from it's surface and a voice reverberates through the chamber, making the very air vibrate. "Foolish, pathetic little Velvet. How many more ponies are you going to gather to try and resist me? You are weak, your magic is weak, your body is weak. You are a disgrace to my lineage, Why do you continue to fight me? Or perhaps you would like this fate to fall to some other pony? Maybe your little brother Lime Light? Or Your older sibling Outlaw? Oh! I know
Oh! I know...maybe I'll take your little Diamond Dancer from you? How would you like that? To watch as I usurp your daughter's body?" Red seems to wilt under the words of her ancestor, until her daughter is threatened, then she seems to bolster, even pushing back against the influence of the pendant, "You will not touch her! I won't let you near any of my family you dried up, scrawny old witch!" Red's still not doing terribly well, but her determination not to see any other pony hurt has her standing firmer now.
Nightshade works in silence, manipulating the needle to get a better undersanding of the dark magic at work in the amulet. She pokes, prods, presses, recording data into the oscillator, coming to know the patterns, the waves, of magickal energy.
Red_Velvet falls silent herself as the mocking laughter of Crimson Maiden fills the chamber. Red's cheeks flush with impotent anger at the taunting spirit of an ancestor so far removed from her both by time and by temperament that she cannot even begin to fathom how the wicked pony's mind works.
"Your time in this world is long past," Nightshade states, persisting in her examination despite the terrifying and spooky situation. "You make for yourself an image of horror, but you are just a pony like any other." She is getting quite a bit of data from this, if the constant chugging of the oscillator (a sort of TV-like machine that Dewshine is working with) is any indication.
The intensity of the rage coming from the pendant ramps up even more at Nightshade's words, The Maiden responds with a soft tone, that carries all the threat as if she had been shouting, "I am far more then you realize, you insect! This pendant is nothing more then a conduit for my power. It is the means with which I reach out to my granddaughter. My tomb is the seat of my power, and if she were to stand before me in person, she would not last a second. Nor would anypony. I am invincible, and once I am free again to roam these lands as I did two and a half millennia ago...I will be very willing to prove that fact."
"We shall see," says Nightshade, making a few final prods with the needle before drawing it back. Her team will have much to study about this phenomenon, much indeed. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to. Good day." She reaches forward and attempts to shut the case.
Red_Velvet watches and as the case is shut she seems to immediately improve. Red stops shaking and seems to gather herself, even as the light spilling from the box's keyhole flashes angrily, "Thank you Miss Nightshade, you are a true friend. With how she was railing I wasn't sure if I would be able to shut it myself. That is why the room is made of the same material as the box, there are times when I have to flee her presence, wait until she has calmed down or become distracted with something else before I sneak back and shut it when it is less...intense down here."
Nightshade is calm and collected as always, but it's clear to an outside observer that the procedure has taken it's toll upon her. Her fur is sleek with sweat and her telekinesis is a bit unsteady. As Dewshine packs up the equipment she walks over to Velvet to assist her to her hooves. "There are...occasions when you have to open it, I presume?"
Red_Velvet allows her friend to help her up and nods with a bit of a sad expression, "Unfortunately yes, Crimson Maiden was a brute in her day, and in the end was vanquished when her ten generals turned against her as her methods became more and more unsavory. But in the intervening centuries she has learned the value of patience and a good scheme. I have found it needful to out think her mentally in the past in order to foul a few of her plots."
's horn emits a low, magical hum as she uses a spell that dries herself off, but the wavering magickal field will require more detailed attention later. "I see, and have you ever obtained any...assistance?"
Nightshade's horn emits a low, magical hum as she uses a spell that dries herself off, but the wavering magickal field will require more detailed attention later. "I see, and have you ever obtained any...assistance?"
Red_Velvet tilts her head and rubs her chin thoughtfully, "Other then yourself Nightshade, only four other ponies know of this, My daughter, Bardigan, Virga, and Match Maker, Match Maker is trying to do what she can to help with changeling magic, but nothing has come of it yet. (This is an outdated situation as recently she pulled the spirit of Crimson Maiden into her, leaving Red with all of the Maiden's powers but none of her fury. However this development came between our last scene and the continuation here. You can assume Red Velvet sent you correspondence about it when it occurred.)
Nightshade nodnods. "I see, I see. Well, I can assure you that my particular expertise may prove most beneficial in the near future, and...ah, if you'll excuse me." She turns to Dewshine. "If you please, you may return to the Palace with our data." -- Dewshine bows. "At once, Miss Nightshade." With that, he grabs a hold of the instruments and fades into the shadows. -- Nightshade looks upon Red Velvet again, but now her expression is...softer? More tender? It's hard to tell, but there's definitely the beginnings of pathos. "I can assure you, Miss Velvet, that I will use as much as my power allows to resolve your suffering."
Red_Velvet waves a farewell to the departing underling before turning her attention back to Nightshade, slowly a small smile crosses her muzzle at the words of the other mare and she nods. "Thank you Miss Nightshade, and if it isn't overstepping my bounds..." The fabulous agent then takes a step forward and lightly presses her neck and chest to the other pony's, hugging her friend close, "You are a dear and kind friend, if there is ever anything I can do to return the kindness you have shown me, you have but to ask. All that is Red Velvet is at your disposal." wishing not to make Nightshade at all uncomfortable she steps back and nods.
Nightshade's eyes snap wide open for a brief instant as she becomes the subject of affection. Then, unexpectedly, she returns the gesture, wrapping a hoof about Velvet's shoulders. "I wish for nothing but merely to see to your welfare...friend," she says, looking at Red Velvet with uncharacteristic tenderness. "I think we should leave this wretched place for now."
Red_Velvet is indeed surprised by the return of the hug, she had in all honesty been expecting Miss Nightshade to become stiff or distant after such a display. But she is clearly pleased with the new closeness, and nods at Nightshade's suggestion, "Gladly. Will you be heading back to Canterlot at once? Or may I treat you to a meal before you depart?"
"I think after all of that I would appreciate a repast," Nightshade admits, moving towards the staircase and letting Velvet lead the way. "Did you...have something in mind?"
(misposted the repose during the RP here, so the continuity is a bit jumbled)
"Life is well enough," says Nightshade, "but there has been a fair share of trouble lately: urban discontent, princesses disappearing, that sort of thing."
Red_Velvet turns back looking very disturbed by this news, "Oh dear me, I am so sorry to hear that. Darling if there is ever anything I or my company can do to help you or the crown in these dire times of need. Well, I do hope you know that you have but to ask?"
"I do appreciate your offer," says Nightshade, "but so far the Palace is perfectly capable of dealing with such problems. Besides, I feel that you have your, ah, own share of problems."
Red_Velvet nods and offers a rather wan smile, "Well yes, I do suppose I often seem to bite off more then I can chew. Still the offer may be considered to be on the table. You may be assured that Miss Velvet sticks by her friends. And thank you for your help as well, I am not sure I say that enough, but I do appreciate all you do for me Nightshade, dear."
Nightshade walks over to the nearest couch and settles down onto it, her tasseled tail hanging off the side. "I do appreciate your gratitude, but also share my own thanks for enduring my...particularities. Perhaps, in time, there will be more ways we can help each other."
Red_Velvet nods and takes up a seat close by, her magic fetching them both a beverage from the kitchen area before she continues, "You are most welcome Nightshade, dear. I do adore you as a friend, and you may always consider my door open to you. I hope as well that in time we can grow only closer still."
Nightshade has a sip of the coktail, letting the buzz settle over her tongue. "Indeed, the feeling is mutual," she says. For a while she just lays there and sips her coktail, enjoying Velvet's company. Then, she asks, "When was the last time you went on, ah, a vacation?"
Red_Velvet smiles and actually seems to have to think about this, "Well, I suppose it has been a little over a year now, it was right after I was rescued during the entire Changling fiasco really. I went to the bahamares for a week and a half to try and get my head on straight so to speak. It had been so stressful and I had been forced to do such unpleasant things to survive while wandering the northern wastes, I was barely myself. And you? When was the last time you had some time to recuperate and let your mane down?"
Nightshade remembers: brisk mountain air, the songs of the birds mingling with the breeze, and a young mare, barely grown from a filly, smiling at her. 'We were meant to rule the wo-' -- "Not in a long time," Nightshade tells Velvet. "Not since my days at Celestia's academy, in fact. I think...that I will be needing one soon."
Red_Velvet tilts her head looking at the other mare for a moment, it was for just a split second, but she thought their were traces of a wistful look in her eyes. Oh they never made it as far as her face, but something had gone on in Nightshade's head that she hadn't seen fit to share. Red would not press though, "Well perhaps it is time we both went somewhere for some R&R?"
"That would be most fitting," Nightshade states, looking quite herself again. "Do you have suggestions? I have my own, but I'd like to hear from you, first."
Red_Velvet taps her lower lip with a hoof as she thinks for a moment, "Well there is always Prance, I have not been there in quite awhile, I suppose though our first decision should be whether we wish to go someplace warm and bask on a beach, or someplace cold and indulge in more winter time relaxation such as skiing?"
"Perhaps I will let you surprise me," says Nightshade, "though I do prefer someplace temperate. I am told that Albion, across the ocean, is a fine destination."
Red_Velvet smiles and nods, "oh it is a lovely little country indeed, and so rich culturally! Have you ever been there? if not then that is most certainly where we must go. I will have to take you to my favorite restaurants there."
"I am looking forward to it already, Velvet," Nightshade say, the vaguest hint of joy appearing in her eyes. "I will have to adjust my schedule, of course, but cetainly it is a thing that must be done."
Red_Velvet smiles and nods, lifting her glass in a toast, "To good friends and good times, both past, present, and future." She giggles softly, "I must admit I am very excited at the idea. I am certain you are a veritable wildcat when you let your hair down." Was she joking?
"We will see," says Nightshade mysteriously, raising her glass. "To friendship and peace, then." She has a good long sip, finishing the whole thing. "Ahh, a rather splendid time we've had, it turns out. Sadly, I must soon be going." She slowly slips off the couch, stretching her legs a little.
Red_Velvet nods and finishes her own drink before standing and readying herself to walk Nightshade out, "Well it has certainly been a treat having you, do come visit anytime you like, darling. My door is always open. We can work out the details of our vacation next time we visit, can I be expecting you at the social this month? We will be having it at the Rue de Florine, a lovely establishment in Manehatten, A slight change from the usual venue but I do try to keep the gatherings fresh and entertaining.'
"I will do my best to make an appearance," says Nightshade bowing respectfully. "Good day, Velvet, and...good luck." She steps towards the door and proceed out into the brisk autumn day.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013