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Ponies of the North: Book 1: Journey to the North: Chapter VI: Another Journey Begins

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At the same time the meeting was occurring between the Ponies and Sven, most of the staff of Castle Valhall were bustling with anticipation for the departure of Lady Skadi Friggsdotter and Týr Odinson, Princess and Prince of the North. While the servants packed the food supplies for the journey to the south mountain border, Skadi and Týr prepared their weapons along with Captain Heimdallr of the Wolf’s Guard and General Rollo of the King’s Army. The two old ponies were busy giving them the instructions for the journey south that the King himself couldn’t be bothered to give. Týr looked up at the window belonging to King Odin. He wasn’t disappointed. He’d gotten used to it. Odin had given them their mission and that was all he was required for. Why should he care enough to see them off?

Heimdallr removed his wolf head helm and rubbed at his scarred forehead before turning to Skadi. “My watch wolves have scouted out the area. There haven’t been any Caribou sightings or sign of tracks. The predators shouldn’t be out in the immediate area. However, I advise you to stick to the main road to the South, Your Highness. Don’t take any short cuts. And remember what the King said: A violet Unicorn with wings. Stop at the inn nearest to the South Mountains. She will have to stop off there as well so you cannot miss her.”

Skadi nodded while brushing her snow white mane out of her eyes. “I think Týr and I will be fine, Captain. Nopony or Caribou will dare cross the children of Odin.”

General Rollo smiled and gave a chuckle. “That’s what your father thought when he was your age, Milady. Why, I remember one time during the Caribou Wars, he and I were scouting an area for a campsite when suddenly…”

While Rollo went on with his story, Týr slung his broadsword, Varinn, across his back and draped his wolf skin cloak over him so that it cover his lame left foreleg. Skadi placed her spearhead cover over her short-spear, Jǫkull, and slid it into her saddle bags. Týr gave a small smile to himself as he watched his sister slip on her foreleg blades, her close combat melee weapons. While Skadi had been trained in spear fighting, she had decided that close quarters were more suited to her. She’d had these blades specifically made for her by the Pegasi blacksmiths allowing her to fight better than holding a spear in her teeth or in a saddlebag.

Týr, on the other hand, had been trained in swords by General Rollo. Even with his leg, Týr had learned how to overcome his disability by learning to always put pressure on his right foreleg and to never canter or his leg would suffer further damage.

As he stretched and flexed his leg, he heard General Rollo wrapping up his story. “…me tell you, your grandfather tanned our hides for that bit of stupidity. Anyway, stay to the path for the journey out and the return trip and everything will be fine. Believe me, your father would sleep better if he knew you were being cautious.

Týr gave a quiet snort in response to General Rollo’s words of warning. It was irritating to be talked down to like a pair of foals by anypony of the court, but to be told this by General Rollo, their father’s right hoof was the biggest insult of all.

Skadi, having heard the snort, glanced at Týr and rolled her eyes in agreement with her brother. “Being cautious” was the biggest indicator of the King’s lack of faith in his own children. Skadi had proven herself as a more capable warrior than Baldr, their eldest brother, the first born… the favorite, and they were being told to “be cautious”. She had killed in battle. She was a huntress in the Wolf’s Guard, not a helpless pup.

“It’s only a week’s journey, General,” She replied. “Caution won’t be required on an escort trip like this.” She hefted her saddle bags on her back and motioned for Týr to do the same as she walked to the gates.

Týr turned back to Heimdallr and General Rollo and gave a nod to them. Heimdallr gave a salute and Rollo smiled and nodded back. As Týr turned to join his sister, he heard a voice behind him. “Týr! Týr, wait!” Týr turned around to see a bright green Unicorn mare trotting up to him with a smile on her lips. She threw her forelegs around Týr in a tight hug leaving him stunned.

The young mare pulled back and gave him a big smile. “You didn’t think I would let my big brother and sister leave without saying goodbye, did you?” She leaned past Týr and smiled at Skadi and waved. Skadi returned it with a half-hearted wave. Kelda beamed at her.

“Father is sorry that he couldn’t come and see you both off, but he is busy preparing for the Morning Council meeting. Be safe. Please?” Her smile grew until it seemed to encompass her face. Týr felt uncomfortable just looking at it.

Týr gave a small smile at Kelda. “Thank you for coming, Kelda. Skadi and I will be fine. We will be back in a couple weeks. Take care of father and tell Baldr when he comes back that Skadi and I… were thinking of him when we left.” Kelda’s smile softened.

Týr gave her a kiss on the forehead, being careful to avoid the horn and turned to join Skadi. As they exited the gates and made their way to the tunnel leading out of the ring of mountains, Týr turned to Skadi.

“Why didn’t you say goodbye to her?”

Skadi kept her eyes on the path ahead. “She knows how I feel. No need to say anything.”

Týr rolled his eyes. “She is our sister, you know that.”

Skadi gave a small “ha”. “Adopted. She is adopted.”

Týr rolled his eyes, shook his head, and trudged onwards through the tunnel.

In his chambers, King Odin watched his children depart from Valhall. He really was sorry that he did not see them off, but he felt his debriefing them was more than enough. Besides, it was as Kelda had said. He had preparations for the Morning Council. However, that raised a question: If his General and his Captain of the Wolf’s Guard, both Council Members, could see his children off, why couldn’t their own father? He turned from the window and his eyes came to rest on the answer: His crown.

Inherited from King Bor, the crown signified everything he was meant to live up to. The crown was designed as if it were a tangle of trees with a pine tree of gold at the front, ornamented by a pair of wings. The pine tree had a triangle of three jewels embedded in it. The first at the top point was a ruby, symbolizing the Earth Ponies. The second one at the left point was a sapphire, symbolizing the Pegasi. The third point was a diamond, symbolizing the Unicorns. The crown had been smithed in the fires of the Pegasi forges especially for the High King of the North. And now it was his crown. His responsibility. And soon it would be Baldr’s crown. His to wear upon his brow. Now if only his son could prove his worthiness to wear it.

Odin sighed and placed the crown upon his brow. Adjusting his raven feather cloak about him, he glanced at himself in the mirror. He was about to leave when he remembered his eye patch. Placing it over his empty eye socket, he looked at himself in the mirror one last time. Now he was the spitting image of Odin, King and Warden of the North. Protector of Pony Kind. Slayer of Ymir the White. Now he was what his people required of him: A King. Not a father.

He departed, all thoughts of children and family leaving his mind, replaced with matters of court and politics. Týr and Skadi would be fine. The Winged Unicorn could not have asked for better bodyguards.