Princess Luna teleported herself down into the bowels of Canterlot castle. The floor and walls shook as she appeared, and she stumbled. The spell did not compensate for outside forces like that. Catching her balance, she hurried deeper into her private armory, navigating the twisting corridors lined with arms and armor of every description. In moments, she arrived at a featureless wall, bare of decoration apart from her sigil, inscribed deeply into the stone.
She pushed magic through her horn and out to touch the sigil. She spoke the words the wall waited to hear. “I am Luna, the New Moon and the Full, warrior of Equestria, her Sword and Shield. My need is great, and you will open.”
An instant passed, frozen in time as though the castle around her held its breath. Then the wall receded from her and slid aside, sifting a fine pall of dust onto the flagstone floor. Luna strode through the widening gap, into the inner sanctum, the secret armory within her secret armory. It contained only a handful of items, resting on widely-spaced racks and shelves.
In the center of the small round room was an armor mannequin wearing her Barding. She always thought of it like that, with the capital letter. It was far from her only set of armor, but this set was special. Dangerous. Seductive. Terrifying. The castle shook again, and she frowned and approached the mannequin.
She levitated the Barding to her and donned it, piece by piece. She stepped into the high crystal boots one after another, pale blue like the first second of sunglow around the curve of the world. She brought the breastplate around her shoulders and latched it across her withers. The two pieces of the Barding pulled at each other, using her body as a circuit.
She lifted the helmet from the mannequin and held it above her head. She took a deep breath, held it, and thrust the helmet down over her horn to sit snugly against her skull.
The instant the final piece touched her skin, power raced through her body, like her spine had been packed with black powder and the Barding had touched a flame to it. She shook and mewled in agony, waiting for the Barding to finish its work.
At long last, after entire seconds of being routed hollow to make room for the power, it was done, and the pain fell away in the blink of an eye. She blew out her held breath, and sucked in the dry air of her secret armory. It smelled of violence. The Barding’s power rushed through her, filling her to the brim, spilling out of every pore. She felt as though she could do anything, could accomplish any task, could slay any enemy.
She tamped that feeling down, dousing it with caution and memory. That was the danger of the Barding, that seductive feeling of omnipotence. Or, truly, the danger lay in the fact that the feeling of omnipotence was not far from the truth—only far enough to get her killed, if she did not remember that she had limits.
She breathed deep, finding the balance point between Luna and the Barding. She had nearly lost herself the first time she had used the Barding, and after Celestia had saved her, Luna had locked the Barding away in this chamber, only to be used in the direst of circumstances.
The castle shook again, and masonry dust filtered from the ceiling, even as deep as she was. Her brows drew down. Dire circumstances merited dire action.
She pushed magic into her horn, felt it flow like thought, as though she was the magic and her body was just a puppet it moved. She assembled the teleport spell in her mind, and the runes and formulae come together in a beautiful, effortless dance.
She disappeared, the bright flash of her teleport reflecting off of the implements of power in the little round room.
She reappeared in the open air high above Canterlot, and opened her wings to hover there. Below her, thousands of dragons wheeled and flamed, intent on bringing Canterlot down to rubble, and then, no doubt, all of Equestria. Pegasi and unicorns fought them, bravely, valiantly, but they were grossly outnumbered and outmatched. Canterlot would certainly fall.
A flash of magic drew her attention: Celestia, wheeling amidst a tangle of dragons, the smallest of them ten times her size or more. A ragged pile of draconic corpses littered the roofs and streets of Canterlot town below her, and Luna smiled grimly. Celestia was a mother, not a warrior; her heart was devoted to loving and protecting their subjects. But as the dragons were learning, an angry mother was no small threat.
Luna folded her wings and pitched down into a dive toward the thickest part of the dragon horde. She brought together the runes for flame, and when she was almost on them, a blue-white flame lanced out, cauterizing the air clean of the draconic infection. A hundred dragons tumbled like burning leaves toward the ground.
A great roar went up from all around. Thousands of dragons wheeled to attack her. She bared her teeth in a bloody-minded smile. The dragons had seen what ponies could do, and they had found it lacking. Now they would learn what a god could do.
An epic story, Norse. The story is filled with a tense, warlike feeling throughout, and the Barding is such an intriguing object, giving just enough details to intrigue us but not enough to bore us. We can truly feel the armor’s power, and its danger. And the ending feels like a scene from an epic movie, launching into its action filled climax. The picture was clear in my head, and it sent chills down my spine. Well done, Norse.