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Aug 22, 2019 6:45 PM
and meets Peter Pevensie
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"I'm not asking you permission, Sir. Eustace?"

At this, Eustace goes to the door.

"You mentioned being able to teleport?"

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Nightmare nods and then, on seeing their new recruit is willingly present, lucid, and unlikely to panic dangerously, teleports them all back to Peter's school's hallway without further ado. It takes a bit out of her due to the distance, but she's fine after catching her breath, and walks into Milliways after the children.

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Peter closes the door behind them.

"You said you'd explain what was happening?"

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"Yes. This is Princess Nightmare Moon of Equestria,"

at this Jill curtsies and Eustace bows.

"which is not in Narnia but in another world of talking animals, where humans were until now entirely unheard of. This is Milliways, which is another world again. While that door is closed, time is stopped in England; getting you two here was so urgent because Milliways' resources might be able to help us win the war.

This door opens to the home world of whoever opens it. But some people can choose to open it to other worlds they've been to. The four of us can only open to England. But we hope that, since you haven't been barred from Narnia, you might be able to open it to there."

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A fairly accurate summary, save for the "talking animals" bit, which Nightmare raises an eyebrow at but doesn't contest for the sake of expediency. She inclines her head at the gestures of respect. Interesting that Peter made no mention of Equestria's own need. She would have, in his place; it puts her at a disadvantage in the exchange. Perhaps Jill and Eustace are the sort to insist on helping regardless of any benefit to themselves, or Peter means to undermine their trust in her by making her appear greedy. Or, she realizes after a moment, the opposite: that her interest in the war should be taken as altruistic. It could be more likely that they will find Narnia if they believe they are trying out of the goodness of their hearts, rather than as part of a bargain. Two to one that it behooves her to be candid, but perhaps only after the attempts.

"Well met, the both of you. I do not know if luck should factor into this sort of travel, but if it does, may you have the best of it."

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Jill and Eustace each try the door.

It continues to open to the school corridor in England.

"Princess Nightmare Moon also suggested that if you couldn't access Narnia ordinarily, granting you a peerage there might strengthen your connection enough that you could."

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"I don't know if that would work. Under Frank's law a peerage wasn't fully valid until the peer had set foot in their domain, and given that we don't know which lands the Telmarine kings have granted since we were last in Narnia we can only grant peerage provisionally, so the peerage we could grant would be short of a full one in two significant ways. And it's Telmarine law that matters now, but I'd expect granting peerage under circumstances this unusual would be comlicated under that system too. If only we had a Telmarine lawbook to consult."

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"Bar says she can lend us a current Narnian lawbook and list of fiefs."

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"Well, that's convenient."

Edmund proceeds to obtain and skim a current Narnian lawbook and list of fiefs.

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"Could you lend us anything like that from Equestria?"

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Nightmare solicits and receives a list of townships within Equestria and their various leaders, "but large swathes of the land are still wild zones, and our system is far less formal than yours seems to be. Most towns simply can't afford to depend on someone who doesn't even live there. Why do you ask?"

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Are any of these towns obviously recently-conquered?

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"Do you have lawbooks as well? Those would be useful for working out exactly what we'll be dealing with when we relocate you to Earth?"

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"Bar, might I have a copy of the Windigo Accords?" A thin book appears in front of her, and she flips it open and turns it so the rest of the table can look it over. "Thank you. The core of these laws were created and ratified under the Fire of Friendship, which is possibly the only way any of it ever got done, though of course there were amendments and additions later, especially after Discord was sealed."

At a quick glance, most of the laws concern making sure the three races treat each other as equals. No government buildings or apparati may be made of clouds (with exceptions for cloud cities, and even then cloudwalking amulets are to be given out for free) or require telekinesis to operate; no one can refuse to hire a pony based on race if the job does not legitimately require a certain type of magic. Newer laws, towards the back of the book, describe provisions for the education of, say, a unicorn foal born to two pegasi. A solid half of the Accords are plans for government-run weather services, crop rotation, education, rationing, regulation of sunrise and sunset, and other such basic amenities designed to ensure the country runs smoothly. Equestria's property laws seem to work on what a human would call "common sense." Notably, there are only two mentions of other species: one law declares that non-pony sapients are exempt from the Accords' restrictions and protections unless they choose to forsake their own nation's laws, and the other, very near the end, mentions "tenant species" and the good treatment of them but doesn't explain what either of those are, instead saying that until the 407th meeting of the Reunified Equestrian Council, they should be legally treated as ponies with some form of mental handicap.

There are also no mentions of either rape or murder, though it may take a closer reading for that fact to be apparent. The closest any law comes is the decree, early on in the newer half of the book, that isolating a pony or forcing them to deny their talent with malicious intent to cause distress shall be punished by "personal appointment to the Palace." Jail time is very sparse when applicable, and often the sentence is mandated as no longer than "until everypony calms down." The leader of each settlement is required to personally visit anyone imprisoned daily. There is one mention of using the Elements of Harmony to "cleanse" anyone who poses a clear and dangerous threat to a majority of the country's safety, but otherwise, ponies are by and large expected to talk their differences out peacefully, with the help of a mediator if need be.

"Of course, there are other laws, like how to register a new spell with the Mages' Guild, procedure for accessing the Canterlot Archives, how tall or wide a house can be before you need an architect to sign off on the plans, that kind of thing, but those are mostly--trivia," Nightmare finishes. "Either unimportant or too specific to bother with in an overview."

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They go over these for a while.

"Could you also lend us some general political and geographic histories of your realm?"

What she really wants to do now is talk to some of these "tenant species", but that will have to wait until they're ready to restart time in Equestria.

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"Of c--hmm. Bar? Is it possible for you to lend us books from Equestria's--well, no, never mind, Equestria's future is a pile of ash. Histories of pre-Unification, early Equestria, Discord's reign, and modern Equestria, if you please. And comparable texts from other nations, if they exist." A stack of books appears on the counter; Nightmare Moon floats them over to a nearby empty table. "I confess I'm curious about some of those myself. I'm one of the oldest ponies around, and most who were alive before Discord broke us... did not remain so. And naturally exchanging knowledge between countries is difficult and time-consuming." She eyes the stack, which is taller than her horn is long. "That said... perhaps I could summarize the important bits."

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"You could, but one of our reasons for asking after books is that having multiple perspectives on your world migh give us a more complete picture. Still, a summary would let us put things into context more easily."

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"Smart of you. I keep forgetting we have all the time we need, here. Everyone who wants to read, take a book, and we'll pass them around so everyone can read everything." She takes the one on the top. "Ooh, changeling history. I didn't know they even had a written language."

Of them all, the Equestrian history is the most complete; it's unclear whether this is because they value writing the most, are the most advanced civilization, have suppressed other nations' records, or some other factor. The accounts match up, plus or minus some bias and mistakes, with what Nightmare Moon has already told them of her world's history. The "Windigo crisis" she mentioned earlier was apparently a period of extreme cold lasting multiple years and forcing an exodus out of Equestria, which was only averted by the friendship between a unicorn mage, a pegasus soldier, and an earth pony farmer. The Fire of Friendship, apparently a product of this, became the catalyst for lasting peace and brought about a sincere effort to unite as one nation of ponykind. The young nation continued to struggle, however, until a young pegasus by the name of Sunny Skies ascended (somehow--nobody is very clear on what actually happened) to become Celestia, the world's first alicorn, who took over the cycling of the sun and ended the hemorrhage of unicorn magic. A decade later, a unicorn named Luna ascended as well, moving the moon to Celestia's sun.

The next section has an awful lot of flowery language, but when deciphered says that the unicorn king Bullion ceded his throne and died shortly after Celestia's ascension, and the country was nearly brought to civil war again as they argued over who should rule, and how. Princess Platinum, Commander Hurricane, and Chancellor Puddinghead, who had also made friends at or near the end of the Windigo crisis, served as an interim council until Celestia was appointed as a representative of all three races. (A later book notes that she was likely meant as a figurehead, but look how long that lasted.) She, and eventually Luna, took the title of "Princess" so as not to outrank each other. With someone everypony could agree on in charge, the new nation actually begin to function. Other nations around the world were likewise on their own paths to country-wide government, though none of them, including Equestria, usually paid much attention to anything outside their own borders.

Approximately two hundred years later, or around 250 Era Unitas, Discord, the "Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony," appeared out of nowhere and toppled the Equestrian civilization in less than 24 hours. He destroyed the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters and warped the surrounding Everfree Forest into a wild, dangerous, magic-resistant place. None of the authors know why he targeted ponies specifically, and there are very few primary sources from that time. The events have largely been reconstructed from later accounts and research. In short, Celestia, Luna, the unicorn mage Starswirl the Bearded, his unicorn apprentice Clover the Clever, and several other unnamed ponies collaborated in secret to create a set of powerful artifacts called the Elements of Harmony. These Elements, which are described only as "gems," were wielded against Discord to seal him into a stone statue, which is kept in the gardens of Canterlot Palace under the watchful eye of Princess Celestia. A new calendar, Era Luminae, began once the survivors reformed a rudimentary government. The modern history book was published in 405 EL.

The more recent history documents the rise of city-states, where outlying towns are considered under the jurisdiction of the nearest metropolis, restored trade relations with the seaponies after Princess Celestia banished the sirens from the Gulf of Mexicolt, and the decadent indolence that plagues the unicorn nobility now that they are not sacrificing anything to justify their special treatment (the author is clearly not a fan of either group, though refrains from outright saying as much). The last chapter notes that this is the longest period of peace and prosperity Equestria, or indeed Equus, has ever seen, and speculates loftily about what new developments might occur.

Nightmare Moon snorts when she reads it. "Don't pay attention to the last part of this. Brighthoof can do his research but his imagination is sorely lacking. Trading with the zebras for gems, honestly. We can just grow our own."

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