Prolouge: Maretonian History Lesson
Maretonia... one of the most famous and written about nation in the lands surrounding Equestria, and yet one of the least visited and understood. Everybody- er, everypony knows about this county and it's adventure-filled lands from popular literature (such as in the Daring Do novels, mostly set in Maretonia), yet very few ponies have ever actually visited the place, or researched it's true history. With the tale I have decided to lay out the true history of this land, and introduce you to this proud nation and it's history.
The nation of Maretonia is a large duchy located on Equestria's northern border, and west of the Crystal Empire. Maretonia is centered on the Tenochtitlan river Basin, a river an it's tributaries that cover an entire valley floor. Maretonia is a tropical environment, despite being as far north as the Crystal Empire and Yakyakistan. This is due to a powerful enchantment over the entire basin (which I shall describe below) that keeps Maretonia warm. The duchy is about 70% tropical jungle, 25% cultivated farmland and village, and 5% urban city areas.
These lands are home to the Maretonians, a proud and hearty nation of ponies native to the region. They have a culture based around family and tradition. They are most famous for their unique cuisine, featuring such dishes as hay tacos and tortillas. Among this nation's most (in)famous ponies are Dr. Caballeron, author/adventurer Anita Karyme (A.K.) Yearling, and the Terrible outlaw unicorn mage, King Sombra.
The nation's history begins in the paleopony period, where the earliest cave ponies known to have inhabited this region arrived. They lived in an extremely primitive state, until a leader named Keztwctl the great united the tribes, kick-started civilization, and founded the Mirtanian empire. She became the first Ketztwctl Empress, founding a royal bloodline that rules Maretonia to this day.
The Mirtanian empire quickly developed mighty engineering, artistic, and magical skills. The built great step pyramids that lined up with the constellations in the heavens, and a sophisticated writing system based on also created powerful artifacts, like the Radiant Shield of Razdon, which amplified the sunlight to keep the basin perpetually warm. Legendary relics such as the cursed Rings of Scorchero, and the Amulet of Atonement would become the things of legend to ponydom. The empire would spread it's powerful rule over what became the north of Equestria, and many of it's ruined pyramids and ballcourts can still be seen there today.
Soon, the empire expanded its rule beyond the valley of the river basin, all the way to the borders of the Crystal Kingdom. This brought Mirtainia to the attention of the other early nations of ponydom, leading the great unicorn mages of history to seek through the river basin, and recover many of it powerful lost treasures. Among these were Starswirl the bearded, who made his famous trek through the Mirtanian caves in the century before Equestria was founded. The great unicorn wizard was followed by many others, who mapped out the river valley for the ponies of the three tribes during the pre-classical era.
This knowledge came to be the undoing of the Miritanian empire, as the great blizzard of the windigoes that followed the three pony tribes to Equestria, also effected the empire's weather. While the shield of Razdon protected The Tenochtitlan basin from the blizzard, there was still a great temperature drop that destroyed crops, and wiped out jungle vegetation and animals. The Mirtanian empire collapsed under a food shortage, starvation, and local civil war, and most of it's great cities were abandoned, as most Miritanian ponies fled back into the jungle to become a tribal society once more.
It was at this point that settler ponies from Equestria began to pour into the abandoned regions of the empire south of the river basin. They found the ruins of the great step pyramid cities, such as the great fortress of Talacon, but had a hard time believing the primitive tribes of the basin had built them. As the Equestrians built farms and cities, the tribes of the region resisted by launching raids on their settlements. The Equestrian army was called in, and the drove the tribes back into the jungle. The Miritanian pony tribes still live there, ever resentful of the Equestrians who stole their home.
The Tenochtitlan Basin, however, fared much better than the southern half of the old empire. Traders and explorers made it there first, and intermarried with the local tribes. Knowing the threat Equestria possessed, the tribes of the basin united under Auriken, a chief of the ruling house of Ketztwctl, and formed armed bands to resist the pony settlers. The tribal forces used hit-and-run guerilla tactics, winning smashing victories over thew Equestrian army all throughout the basin.
Determined to take the north (and not understanding the situation with the settlers and natives) Princess Celestia herself led the full force of the Equestrian military to pacify the basin. Chief Auriken was ready, meeting the Equestrians in a massive battle at the mouth of the river basin. The united tribes fought valiantly that day, but the Equestrians would have claimed victory, had it not been for Auriken's clever trap. When she approached Princess Celestia for hoof-to-hoof combat, Auriken used the rings of scorchero, which had power over the sun, to paralyze Princess Celestia, and render her powerless. When the natives took the alicorn prisoner, the Equestrians were forced to surrender.
In the Negotiations that followed, Equestria was forced to recognize the The Tenochtitlan Basin as an autonomous region, free to govern it's own affairs. Auriken explained to the royal sisters that the settler ponies craved their lands, and been deceiving the alicorns about how primitive the tribes of the basin actually were. Celestia and Luna vowed to punish the settler ponies, and decreed nopony was to set hoof over the northern border, or they fall under the tribes swift justice.
The tribes reorganized the basin into the duchy of Maretonia, and Auriken became the first Duchess of Maretonia, continuing the royal bloodline of the empresses from ancient times. While not as large as the old Mirtanian empire of their ancestors, the Maretonians still rule a land they call home. The tribal lands to the south, annexed by Equestria, overrun by settler towns and angry Mirtanian tribes recognizing no authority, became a lawless frontier. This was the region that the adventures of the Maretonian heroine A.K. Yearling took place, on which she based the fictional exploits of her novel character, Daring Do. By contrast, Maretonia itself remained a peaceful and orderly society, that is just waiting for the other ponies of the world to come and discover their culture.
Dream Castle historian