Luna, Tweed Patches
OOC Date: January 9, 2014
Characters: Luna, Tweed Patches, Nightshade
Setting: Night Court receives a scholar with some odd inquiries
Palace of the Moon
Here, on a hill in the depths of Everfree Forest, a great city died. Now it stirs in its grave, answering the call of Princess of the Night and her unnatural servant. Amid that pile of rocks scaffoldings and tools and work benches are scattered. Many of the walls of the ancient Palace of Canterlot are back in place, although they're still grey and dusty and severe. The old throne room even has a ceiling, although it only covers the long stretch leading up to the throne and hasn't reached the throne itself. The rest of the ruins are still choked with suspiciously mobile plants, perhaps escapees from the brooding sharp-peaked shape of the Lunarium that sits at the bottom of the hill, right at the end of the road the workponies use to retreat to Ponyville at night.
Luna is using Night Court time productively tonight, although 'productively' can be a difficult word where princesses are concerned. She's abandoned her throne, and lies instead on the altar where the Elements of Harmony once rested. On the floor all around her is projected a map of the swamps surrounding Detrot. The map crawls as she studies it, the representation skittering back and forth through time to the many instances of that doomed city. Occasionally, giant skeletons flicker in and out of vision in the bog.
Tweed_Patches come trotting in - not through the main entrance, but rather through a side door - from the old kitchens of all places. Evidently he had tried clean himself up for the occasion - and while not exactly dressed in the height of fashion (his blazer of grey flannel passed out of fashion about the time he bought it, at a very considerable discount) he has made an effort. It makes the twigs and leaves sticking out of his mane and tail all the more conspicuous. He's grumbling to himself about ponies who advise shortcuts through Everfree, and dumbwaiters, brushing at his lapels, not noticing just where he is until he's well into the old throne room. As he notices where he is he stops, his eyes getting big, and bigger still as he see Luna at the far end of the room.
Nightshade's domain is internal management, not urban planning, but still she deigns to sit close to the Princess as she plans, looking over the bleak wasteland surrounding the city. "Are you considering drainage, your Majesty?" she asks, before she takes notice of Tweed entering. She remains silent, but watchful; it is Luna's prerogative to address him.
Luna's eyebrows actually rise at Nightshade's suggestion. She turns her head from the map to the advisor, and sounds surprised. "What a remarkable idea. We had not considered it at all. The dangers are considerable, but it might allow us to dig out Drakul's ugliest secrets." Looking past Nightshade at Tweed, she adds, "For the moment, it seems thou are in demand. It would seem we are about to lose yet another cook. A thousand years ago, ponies *enjoyed* the revolving kitchen."
Tweed_Patches, finding his mouth suddenly dry, wets his lips with his tongue tip, the horrors of the kitchen wing, and the dark trip through the circuitous cellars filled with cannoli and sconces that look like disembodied legs all but forgotten as he wonders if it's more politic to leave the foliage in his mane, or to scatter it across the royal floor. He shuffles in place, hesitating only for a moment before he takes a step forward, then bends a foreleg into a deep formal bow, lifting his voice in address...
Tweed_Patches's text is old - heavens only knows where he dredged it up from, but he delivers it smoothly - addressing tenure committees and grant boards has nibbled away at his fear of authority - or at least left it better masked, "Regina Luna, imperatrix nocturna, noster domina lunae plenae, domina de caelo astrifero, custode somniorum, in aeternum vive!" He pauses for moment, glancing up briefly before continuing, "Oh Princess, Queen of the Star Bejeweled Heaven, hear my voice and have pity upon me; may my supplications find thy ear, may my pleadings find grace in thy everlasting sight which pierces the dark, and lays all things plain. To thee, to whom nothing is hidden, who know'st what darkness lurks in the hearts of ponies, I plead: what is dark in me illumine, what is low raise and support, that I might find favor in thy eye, always waxing in the fullness of thy lunar care, in saecula saeculorum." There should probably be an amen there, but, eh.
Nightshade blinks, not having expected Luna to take up her idea. She is satisfied that at the least her clout with the Princess might have increased at least slightly. When Tweed performs his dramatic praises, she gazes at him, piqued.
Luna herself watches Tweed with a peculiar expression, blandly bemused, her eyebrows pressed up and together although her face is otherwise mild. "Well. We have not heard that heard that form of address used in four...teen centuries. Mainly because we beat the fool who came up with it soundly and threw him out a window." She unfurls a wing, curling it to beckon to him. "Come forth, sirrah. Thou can in no way damage our illusion, nor the Blood Pony take hold of thee through it." Her supplicant officially responded to, she leans her long neck down and whispers to Nightshade, "Has anypony been spreading rumors that we enjoy such ancient twaddle? Respect and tradition are one thing, but we have no need of lickspittles."
Tweed_Patches straightens up as he's beckoned towards the Presence, a slow grin creeping up his muzzle, "Through a window? Indeed? I'll have to make a not of that." He starts forward, prattling as he comes, "Hippolitus the Younger is where I found that bit, ma'm. Had a little - uh - astronomy society when I was at school, and it was thought that a proper invocation to the moon was appropriate before the - er - proceedings." Okay, it was 'The Society of Nightmare Moon' and mostly they sat in the college courtyard and dank ale, but so it goes, "I never thought I'd have to opportunity to - well - use it properly so I do, rather, beg your pardon, ma'm."
"Your cult has enjoyed a resurgence since your return, Princess," Nightshade relates quietly, being also an expert in the latest rumours and goings-on in the Realm. She let's Tweed have his say, intrigued by his tale of a college society and remembering her own days in the Academy.
Luna curls her wing back against her long, blue body. She lifts a hoof instead, waving it in vague dismissal at Tweed. "We recall not this Hippolitus, and presume he copied it down as history. The... invocation was one of the lower moments of a rather noxious young stallion's career. Our mood was particularly dour at that time, and he thought that by playing up to us he could easily gain power. We recall not his name." Her eyebrows raise, and she muses, "Perhaps it was Hippolitus after all." A faint shrug, and she orders, "State thy business, sirrah. We have a plan to make and an ancient evil to destroy. AGAIN."
Tweed_Patches ahs, and nods, "Well, I suppose - uh -" He's going to make a comment about age, and memory and probably some other impolitic things, but realizes his impoliticness before those words make it out, "I suppose I'd best get on with it then, whot?" He glaces to Nighshade, smiling faintly to the familiar face, "I was after some records and, Mistress Nightshade there suggested that I speak to you about it."
'Mistress' Nightshade; that's definitely a new one. "It is as he says," she tells Luna, leaning closer. "Though, in my opinion, your Majesty," she whispers, "his request is rather...frivolous."
Luna argues back in a downright amused tone, "'Frivolous' is a weak crime indeed, Overseer. Our sister has created an entire frivolous Equestria in our absence, and it is much happier and stronger for that frivolity." Her hoof waves again at Tweed, this time impatiently. "Come, come. Be specific in thy claim. We shall be interested to hear what the Overseer found objectionable, and then return to our planning. The shambling dead, we regret to report, wait for nopony."
Tweed_Patches's first inclination was to refer to her as 'Deadly Nighty' but didn't think that would quite cut it here and now. He's got his formal face on; it's one of the only benefits of his boarding school education - well that, and he can polish hooves until he can see his reflection in them, but in spite of the earnest wishes of the headmaster, and most of his teachers his tendency towards distraction, "Shambling dead? Have you tried applications of nitrates of silver? The Malleus Immortui reports effectiveness against zombies AND wrights in 86% of -- er -- Beg your pardon ma'm." He clears his throat, "Uh, yes. I was wondering about a certain filly that I encountered in Ponyville some while ago." HE glances to Nightshade, not certain what, if anything, has been related, "I saw her walk away from a rather - uh - severe accident, and seemed rather - uh - disconcerted when I started asking how that was possible."
An entire frivolous Equestria. Nightshade makes careful note of that, but in the meantime she bows, submitting to Luna's correction. "Of course, your Majesty," she says, listening closely to Tweed's request. Ah, yes...this wll be interesting.
Luna tilts her head to one side, staring down at Tweed curiously. "Thou seem to bear the conceit of a scholar. Surely no dearth of options come to thee. It seems a harmless enough interest, but we also see not how the palace can aid thee in thy quest." She folds her forelegs, bluegreen eyes interested but also regally detached, unlike the tentacles made of vine-tied bones that climb up out of the illusory swamp Tweed stands in, wrapping around his ankles in what would be a convincing display of reality if they had any physical presence and he could feel them at all. (They don't, and he can't.)
Tweed_Patches blinks a few times, "Well, of course I'm a scholar, didn't I say... Oh! I say, I never did introduce myself did I!" He clears his throat, "Dr Brittlegum Wilberforce Harris-Tweed, at your service, ma'm." He pats himself down for a card, but finds that he's lift them in his other coat. He also finds that illusionary tentacles. He inclines his head to the side, watching abstractly, only half attending to what he's saying, "Uh, I'm - my field is natural magic, you see. I - uh - I've never heard of a - er - any similar..." He reaches and pokes at the image, "Begging your pardon, ma'm. But what is that?"
Nightshade persists in remaining a silent observer in these proceedings. She is very much interested in seeing how Tweed acts in Court, however.
Luna becomes a bit more emotional listening to Tweed's name. That emotion is bafflement. Her head cocks back, brows lowering, and her mouth curls up slightly on one side. Leaning aside and down, she whispers into Nightshade's ear, "From what corner of our empire come such baffling and peculiar names?" Then, being a princess, she gets to pretend she didn't just obviously do that. She leans forward instead, looking down at Tweed's hooves. As he pokes at the tentacles, they retreat into the miniature illusory swamp, and Luna answers him blithely, "Representations of the crawling malice of Drakul the Blood Pony. Pay them no mind. If thy studies are natural magic, surely the tremendous vigor of a powerful earth pony leaped immediately to thy mind? And thou checked the foal's cutie mark, that they were not protected by that greatest of all magics? Specifics, good doctor Brittlegum. We cannot aid thee without knowing more, or at least what aid thou desire."
Tweed_Patches waves a distracted hoof towards Luna, "Oh, they're family names. Cadet branch of the Trottingham Harris-Tweeds, whot?" He's still staring at the apparition, "Certainly not Drakul the Dragon of Trotsylvania? I heard he was banished in the last age?" The remark about cutie marks makes his head snap up, "Why yes. I had noticed that. I had assumed it was related to her high flight. Highest flying filly, I believe?" He clears his throat again, wincing, "I'm afraid I've made a hash of things from the beginning. Specifics." He closes his eyes, thinking.
"He speaks of Ms. Diamond Dancer," your Majesty," says Nightshade, choosing the more direct route. "He wishes to enroll her in a series of...tests." She gives the absent-minded professor a stark, emotionless look.
Luna definitely reacts to that. Her head lifts up, and her eyebrows lift up higher. "The Star Seeker? Thy question is answered, sirrah. Her cutie mark has naught to do with height. She is, herself, a fallen star. Dense as iron, blazing with innocence, untouchable by fire and barely dented by the most forceful of impacts." That face hardens slowly, as does her voice, and she tells him, "She is our personal servant, and subject to no order of thine or any pony, even Celestia. If she wishes to cooperate in thy experiments, thou have our permission to ask her. It is her decision, and hers alone. We do not approve or disapprove. If we find thou have misprepresented our neutrality on this matter, it shall go harshly."
Tweed_Patches snaps his eyes open as Nightshade speaks, his mouth scrunching up as an expression of - what? Distaste? Revulsion? Anger? Perhaps all three combined pass over his face in rapid succession before he straightens himself up, tugs firmly on his tie, and composes himself, "With all due respect to your - remembrancer, she is rather understating things." He narrows his eyes, just a touch, "It's my understanding that there WERE tests. Tests that have been -- ARE being held back. Information, knowledge that could be used to further the understanding of ponies, that could be used as a foundation for further learning." He stamps a hoof against the stone, "With all due respect to your Highness, holding the results of these tests back does a dis-service both to Phiolsophic understanding, and the subject of the test." He pauses, runs a hoof through his mane, "That filly, Diamond Dancer - what I saw was incredible. It is, as I said, unlike anything I've ever seen. Unlike anything I've *heard* of. I want to know what happe
Tweed_Patches says "I want to know what happened. I want to know how. Can it be duplicated? Can it be cured? Can it be understood?" He pants a little, out of breath, flushing a little as he realizes he may have overstepped his brief, "Begging your pardon ma'm, but..." He cuts off as Luna speaks, his eyes getting bigger, "I - I had been lead to understand that she was in thy - er - your employment. I - I..." He sags a little, dipping down into another formal bow, "Yes ma'm."
Tweed_Patches shuffles his hooves, the answers he's given only leading to more questions, but he bites his bottom lip, nodding again, more to himself than anyone in the court.
Nightshade sits back in silent satisfaction. Whatever her misgivings, she can always rely upon the Night Princess to be forthright - and forceful - about her will.
Luna is definitely starting to scowl at all of these arguments. She switches into outright exasperated lecturing mode as she tells him, "It is her CUTIE MARK, sirrah. It cannot be reproduced. It cannot be cured, because without her mark she is not a pony. She has a wasting illness, and we are prepared to cure it when the time comes that she will prefer that cure to her sickness. Is thy own cutie mark so-" As her voice rises to snappish anger, she cuts herself off. Sighing heavily, she lets her head sink down and her ears sink further. "This topic tasks us, sirrah. As with tests, what records the Star Seeker will allow released is entirely her own decision. Thou may ask her. If she resists, do not press. Do not mirepresent our neutrality on this issue. If she seeks this information herself and any attempt to stymie her, have her contact ourself. Despite her age, she IS our personal servant, and will be treated as such." Her wing unfurls suddenly, and gives a sharp wave. "Dismissed. Leave us to ponder why Drakul does not hide that he escaped his casket, or to where he has fled."
Tweed_Patches presses his lips together into a tight thin line, his expression settling into a neutral blank, well practiced from countless dressings down from aunts, cousins, and one particularly large and sporty mare who insisted that he give up all that booky-wooky nonsense and go on a walking tour with her, though it might be rather hard to make out, with his head still dipped at the nadir of his formal bow, "Yes ma'm. Understood ma'm." He swallows, and straitens up. Not exactly shaking, but lot looking unshaken, "Please ma'm, please understand I, my curiosity is simply..." He bites off his words, his teeth clacking together, "Thank you, Highness, for your time. I pray you have not felt it misspent, with other such pressing matters to attend to."
Nightshade watches curiously as Tweed departs, wondering how much ire he would direct her own way, but she is much more curious about what Luna said about a 'cure'. So...that's how it is.
Thursday, January 9, 2014