This fanfiction is a loose retelling of an actualblog created by the Candlekeeper, called Hurt/Heal. This fanfiction contains foul language, violence, and decent amounts of blood. If you are under the age of 13 you should not read this. Read at your own risk.
Begin Chapter 17
You can only do something extremely dangerous for so long until somepony ends up dead. Usually after that happens you stop. The survivors realize doing it again would probably get more of them killed. War is different. When ponies die, more rise up through the ranks to replace them. We may never truly learn our lesson. That no one wins in war.
I’m having these thoughts while sitting in our old base camp, a month of hiatus from our camp has left it falling apart. The hot summer sun mercilessly on our tired, wounded bodies. It’s now the first of August, the war has been raging for over a year now. With no end in sight many ponies have now dug in for the long haul. It seems no diplomat can make sense of the chaos and restore order to our once beautiful, now broken land. The death count has top the one hundred thousand mark. Despite that massive death toll and another pony leader falling to the factionless, Lyra, more reinforcements are coming in everyday.
I looks around at the revolting sight of it all. Ponies with limbs missing, massive lacerations on their sides, and the cries of pain heard from those who are being operated on. We ran out of ether the other day, there is no way to deaden their pain. Everytime one of their pleas pierces the air, I am chilled to the bone.
I slowly rise to my feet, I’m needed at a war counsel in a few minutes. We have already decided that we shall attack the Lunars today, shattering the alliance we once had like a sheet of glass. I start to trot towards the main tent in the middle of our ramshackle camp. As I trek, I look around at the faces of the ponies around me. Some are distressed, others confident, and still others impossible to read. Even inside the camp the stench of sickness and bile hang in the air. Even that is muffled by the choking stench of death that has hung on the air since the beginning of the war. It’s almost omnipotent now. Burying bodies becomes more difficult everyday, and I fear some of the bodies may have become some starving animal’s meal. It’s an awful sight, like hell on earth.
The suffering is great, but Candle keeps pushing his army harder and harder. Candle took many of the soldiers out on extremely taxing training. When they returned a few had broken legs. After that Candle stalked off to his tent and has been there all day. I have almost reached the tent when I see a pony covered in small welts and blisters. He cries for help and reaches out to me and I quickly snap back. ‘Oh my sweet Celestia.’ I think in awe, ‘He’s got the Plague.’
I quickly rush off, knowing that the Black Plague is very contagious and very dangerous. This problem has to be addressed immediately. We will have to send out for medicine immediately, some place must have something to treat the fatal illness. I pass a nurse wearing a mask and ask her if she can move the pony with the Plague to an isolated area. We cannot afford for that to spread through the camp.
Arriving at the middle tent, I see that Ugly, Candle, ComputerPony, Chrysalis, and Celestia are already inside. With them stands a few of our most skilled strategists. Not smarter than me of course, but still pretty damn smart. Candle is stiffly pacing back and forth, muttering under his breath, wincing every time he lands on his bad leg. He’s about to start pacing back across the tent, his eyes lie on me. “Ah, good to see you Grovyle.” He says, “We were starting to worry where you had gone. Well now that you are here we can start the meeting.”
He unlatches his saddlebags, sets them on the ground, and starts to rummage through them. “Ah, here it is.” I hear him say.
He takes out a rolled up piece of parchment and lays it out on our rickety old wooden table. It’s a map of Ponyville and the surrounding area. He has also marked where the Lunar, Rebel, and our own camps. He has also marked out nonaligned outposts and areas of severe threat. Those areas are everywhere on the map. “So this is a map, as you can all probably see.” Candle says, “Now,” He points at the Lunar’s camp, “we have just gotten word that the Lunars are in unrest due to our recent escape. Agent Shadow has told us this. Now,” He points at the northern point of the enemy camp, “Agent Shadow also has discovered a weak point in the wall on this side of the camp. Though they have doubled their guard I have a feeling that we should be able to easily overpower them and siege the camp. Their spilled blood will run swiftly on the ground.” He says this last words in a flourish.
The end of Candle’s plan is met with silence. Maybe because of shock in Candle’s change in behaviour or the fact that we weren’t expecting to attack the Lunars so soon. Finally I decide to break the silence, “Now this plan is all well and good, but we can’t just send every one of our troops into a tiny hole in the wall. We’ll get slaughtered.” I point at another spot on the map, “This is the entrance to the camp. I suggest we send a smaller dummy force to attack the entrance while sending a larger force through the weak spot in the wall. They will be completely taken off guard by such an attack on their camp.”
The other ponies in the room ponder my suggesting for a while. Then one of the strategists speaks up, “Ok, but do you seriously want to send a smaller force to the camp entrance?. You’ll be sending them to be killed like lambs to the slaughter. I say that if we are to send a force to the front gate that it should be the larger.”
“That may be true, but I have yet another surprise for you all.” Candle says, “Come, we need to go outside to see it.”
He trots out the door and leaves us to just look at each other. The others appear to be just as confused as I am. Before I can think about it, I push through the flap and walk out into the glaring sun. I see Candle flying off up onto the hill on the outside of our camp. He lands on the crest of the hill and looks down upon his camp. Sighing, I use the teleportation spell and blink onto the hill next to Candle. “Look at it Grovyle.” He says, “Look down on the land. Look down on my perfect machine of war. Nothing can stand in our way.”
“Oh and did Prodigy tell you that, hmm?” I push, “Honestly, do you think he can lead us to greatness? Or will he lead us down into a pit which we shall face our deaths?” “Of course he will lead us on the right path.” Candle says, “I would trust him with my life.”
“What!?” I exclaim, “He’s been trying to kill you for years. If he had the chance I assume he would still try to.”
“Ah, Grovyle.” Candle replies, “You know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass out of you and me. Prodigy can be a bit violent at times, but I have the feeling that he never truly was in allegiance with the Lunars. I believe that he has been working against them for this entire year. He just used the Lunars to gain a more powerful position than he was in earlier. He is a great asset and don’t you deny it for a single second.”
I look back down on the camp and I begin to imagine it in flames. Maybe Prodigy will lead us into some sort of Golden Age, but I highly doubt it. After our chat most of the ponies at the meeting have either teleported, flew, or trudged up to the peak of the hill. Candle spins around and looks down the hill, I join him on the other edge of the hill and follow his gaze. He is looking down at what looks like five hunks of black metal and a ton of boxes. Wait...those aren’t hunks of metal. “Are those cannons?” I hear Ugly ask, “Cannons, Candle? Are you serious?”
“Never been more sure about something in my entire life, Ugly.” Candle responds, then he looks up at the sky as if he’s challenging the heavens, “With this heavy artillery we shall crush the Lunars underhoof. Nothing can stop us now!”
This is an incredible change in personality for Candle. He’s usually so calm and now he’s yelling at the top of his lungs at something that isn’t even there. “Candle?” I ask quietly, “Are you sure-?”
“Rally the troops!” He shouts interrupting me, “Get them in battle formation. For today we march on the Lunar’s camp!”
A roar goes up and I turn to see that thousands upon thousands of ponies had followed us up the hill, probably wondering what was going on. Before I utter a single word they form ranks and a few thunder down the hill to grab the cannons and its ammunition. It also appears some regular ammo is in the box as some of the soldiers are helping themselves to magazine after magazine. ‘I do hope Candle got some more musket balls for my flintlock.’ I think to myself.
I trot down the hill and join the greedy, grabbing ponies at the bottom. I see yet another box, this one with the word “guns” written on it. Using my magic I pry it open. Inside are numerous assault rifles. I pick one up, check the action, push a bullet into the chamber, turn of the safety, and set it to burst fire.
I precede to look for a target and I finally see one. A twisted sign of my eleven o’clock. I square up to the target, raise the iron sighted rifle so I can look down the sight. I line up the sight and after a few deep breaths, I unload a few quick bursts on the sign. A perfect hit. I lower the gun and toss it aside. Despicable weapons, I’ll stick with my flintlocks.
I pull two out of my belt that contains many more. Bringing both up to neck high, I am once again and fire both. A magnificent boom followed shortly by another can be heard. Once again I hit the sign, this time knocking it over. I precede to reload the two pistols and once again slip them into my belt. ‘I’m ready.” I think to myself.
* * *
After all those who are fit to fight have been rounded up and organized into lines. We begin the five kilometer march to the Lunar camp. Behind the lines a few earth ponies are dragging the five canons and the ammunition. We had to spend almost twenty minutes to teach them how to load, fire, and then reload the canons. I have also been appointed the job at shouting commands at the artillery, telling them when to fire, when to reload, and when to fall back. It is not a task I will take lightly.
I was also told that I must make sure the Lunars do not get their greedy hooves on the artillery. ‘Oh, I’ll make sure of that Candle.’ I had thought when he told me this, ‘If Prodigy so much as puts one hoof out of line, I’m going to blow that upstart to bits. Soon we can see the Lunar camp on the horizon. It’s on an upslope, but it forms sort of a bowl at the crest. I’m sure that the Lunars dug out that bowl by themselves. Now, it’s easier to defend. We decide to stop here. We set up the canons as they can fire over five hundred meters. No need for them to get too close. I was also told by Candle that Prodigy may have to attack some of ours, but he’s just going to try to wound them, not kill. Fat chance. Prodigy will pass up an opportunity to spill the blood of his enemies.
After much arranging and rearranging, we finally have the canons in place. Thirty ponies are to man the cannons, seven for each. Two to roll it back after it fires, one to load, one to clear the cannon after you fire, one to aim, and one to make sure no air gets into the gun. After rolling the cannons into formation the group splits into two groups. The group to attack the main gate is considerable smaller than the group attacking the north wall.
It takes way too long for us to get everypony into position and when we finally do Candle trots to the front of his army. When he gets to the front, he clears his throat and begins his speech: “I look at all of you and I see fear and terror. Fear of dying in this battle. A few years ago I would be feeling the same thing. But this is not a few years ago, this is today! I want all of you to fight the hardest that you can. Do not fear death, the only thing you should be fearing is losing this battle. Fight with the power of those who have fallen before you. Show no fear in the face of the darkness. For the Solar Empire!”
No roar follows this speech as we all know that we cannot afford to be detected quite yet. Candle orders the north wall group to move into their position. After they have left Candle turns to me. “Grovyle,” he says, “I give you the honors of the first shot.”
I take the ripcord that will ignite the cannon. I hesitate for just a second. I look at our army. I wonder how many of them will not come out of this alive. How many dreams will be shattered because of this battle? That’s all this battle is going to be. Broken glass and shattered dreams. I banish these thoughts, and look back up at the Lunar camp. ‘No time for regrets.’ I think to myself.
I pull the cord. I hear the shot. The glass has been broken.
End Chapter 17
Orginal Blog Creator- The Candlekeeper
Fanfiction's title inspiration- Guildmaster Grovyle
Main Supporter- Seaswirl10
Template Creator- Meester Tweester
Special Thanks to the Candlekeeper, Guildmaster Grovyle, Bluelighting, UglyTurtle, and ComputerPony for letting me use their usernames in this chapter.
Thanks for Reading