Poll Results as of 9/30/19, 1:07AM:
0 Votes for Unicorns, Hippogriffs, Griffinstone, Unicornia, Mount Aris, Mount Canter
1 Votes for Yaks, Griffins, Earth Pony, Breezies, Yakiyak, Terratha
2 Votes for Deer, Pegasta, Griffins,
3 Votes for Pegasus, Everfree
4 Votes for Diamond Dogs
5 Votes for Dragons, Dragonlands
9 Votes for Badlands
14 Votes for Changelings
13 Votes for Kirin Grove
Winners: 18/51 for Kirins and 17/5 for The Crystal Empire
You have your doubts about this endeavor from the start, but high risk and high rewards are undeniably linked.
Of all the races in the land, your spirit reaches out to the Kirin: Rare creatures that could be mistaken for a Unicorn subspecies, possessing both fur and scales with a certain potential for magic. Even more so, an ancient curse upon their kind became their own salvation, their anger turning them into fiery counterparts to their normal selves. And it is so easy to conjure rage for the cold, the windigos and for Death itself.
No, the Kirin were not where your doubts lied, but in your chosen location.
The Crystal Empire. Even with your innate, godly ability to simply know certain things, you couldn't even begin to comprehend the history of this place. It had changed from hoof to claw more times than can be reasonably counted. Sometimes peacefully, others not. It was and is a symbol of power and hope. A beacon in the unnatural storm of the Frozen North. The Windigos have been simply more of the same for those within the Crystal Empire, with the Crystal Heart holding them back as easily as it does the storm. Naturally, it became a rallying point for various creatures to gather to, trying to live in and around the crystalline city. But there is always opportunity in disaster.
As your essence becomes more and more tied with the Kirins, you come to understand the present crisis more clearly through them.
Sombra, self-proclaimed King of the Crystal Empire, had used this chance to seize power from Princess Amora, current Keeper of the Heart. Revealing his nature as an Umbra-Pony, the dark tyrant used his power to weaken the seal holding his kind beneath the city. Even with Princess Amora losing, the Crystal Heart instinctively fought against Sombra and the dark ponies, aiding the soldiers and civilians that managed to resist him.
Pony or otherwise, all those foreign to the Crystal Empire scrambled to decide what to do. Many tried to aid Amora, and a desperate few even allied themselves to Sombra. But most were rushing to find enough supplies to try and find somewhere else to seek shelter in the white tartartus that seemed to blanket the whole world- from a mortal's perspective. Survival was a priority that most couldn't afford to ignore. And you weren't excluded from that.
With yourself becoming spiritually tied to these Kirins, you realized that you could influence them subconsciously. Not control or manipulate, you were far too young for that. But they could feel a general sense of what you desired, especially those that already desired it. Hence, those not already at the Crystal Empire already felt the pull drawing them to there, to you.
Staying was not an option long term. Food and room was growing scarce, even with many fleeing from this war between Love and Darkness. And you felt as one with your chosen race, for they were as uncertain as you. You could wash your limbs of this situation, take what you could and lead the Kirin someplace safe. safer than this by any means.
Or you could get involved with this conflict. But aiding one would doubtless make an enemy of another. You are young and of very questionable potency. Throwing your weight this early could be the very end of you, you know. And with you, possibly the Kirins as well. Assuming victory, Amora would undoubtedly grant you whatever assistance the Empire could spare to help you on your travels. Sombra was obsessed with enslaving all that he could, but this conflict was taking a toll on him.
Rewards were a gamble with Sombra.
Survival was a gamble with Amora.
With indecision coursing through you, you gaze outwards, southwards. You can see them, some of the lights, the other gods. The Sun and the Moon, as Chaos called the sister lights, were obviously trying to aid their own creatures. You could even sense that other godling, even more of a speck than you. They couldn't help. And Chaos? He was somewhere down there, doing something, but you could never guess what.
None of them could help either side. The Crystal Empire, both Sombra and Amora, were on their own. As were you.
Looking down upon your Kirins, camped as far from the city as possible while still inside the protective bubble of the Crystal Heart, you could tell that no matter what, some would stay. But you could push a majority to follow you through an unknowing proxy.
And among them, you discovered three of significant potential in terms of charisma, among other things.
Shaded Gold, one of the greatest hunters among the migrating Kirin. While not exactly omnivores, their Nirik forms do allow the Kirin to safely consume meat. Disregarding that, they have always had the need for Hunters, brave and skilled Kirin to protect their home and kind from enemies. Be they wild beasts or rival creatures. Shaded is uniquely gifted in the use of his Nirik form as he has learned to suppress the flames and use the dark coloring to enhance his stealth.
However, he has become amongst the most jaded and cynical of the Kirin, his honesty far outweighing his kindness. The idea of siding with Sombra is not unappealing to him. Nor is the idea of just taking the city for themselves, if Sombra proves treacherous or ungrateful to their aid. His reputation as a great hunter and defender of other Kirin has earned him enough respect to attempt such a thing, with the right motivation.
He also symbolically represents the Kirin that have embraced their Curse and see it as a gift instead.
Frozen Meadow, a life long forager that knows all the secrets to finding edible plants even in these hard times. Normally foragers work to reap the spoils of nature while simultaneously nurturing it. While not as potent as Deer, Kirins are more directly connected to plants in general than Earth Ponies. Frozen is famous for not only her near peerless ability to track plant-based food, but also for milking a few fruits out of otherwise barren plants. However, long term use of this is not only fatal to the plants, but to herself. It is widely believed, even by herself, that this has led to her being infertile.
Frozen is often considered the Chieftess in all but name, and has made great efforts to keep peace between the traveling Kirins and survivors of other races. While she has a genuine appreciation for all Shaded Gold has done for all Kirins, she is truly saddened and disapproving of how heavy his heart has become. Sombra and his ilk are obviously evil and she believes it wise to help stop them here before they grow too powerful to be stopped without massive bloodshed.
Like the Kirin of old and many still today, Frozen believes that their Nirik forms are a curse.
Last but not least is Quick Blade, a young but observant young Kirin. He was of the generation that knew very little or nothing at all of the world before the Windigo Winter, leaving his views less influenced by better days but also without him being jaded or saddened by recent events or failure. He has simply took everything as a learning experience. While not possessing the skill of Shaded or talent of Frozen, he does possess a practical wisdom about him, and- practically by accident- formed a maverick group of Kirins that search for new and inventive uses of their abilities. From using their Nirik flames to melt snow and purify water, to using magic to make a rope out of grass.
The opinion of Quick is very mixed. While his ability to just emotionally shrug off most failures has left a sometimes-reluctant admiration in his fellow Kirins, it is underpinned by a clear inexperience that often renders him naive, sometimes even reckless in his ventures. Due to this, Quick is often oblivious to how much sway he has, but not in this: He doesn't consider himself heartless, but he believes they must do what is best for themselves. And, practically speaking, the Crystal Empire has never truly 'fallen'. It has always just shrunk, grown, and traded ownership. This is technically just another notch in its long history. Now would be the time to leave before getting caught up in the whirlwind of this clash.
Quick is of the small but growing number of fringe Kirin that see their Nirik forms as neither curse nor gift, merely a part of themselves they've been suppressing out of fear.
You can sense these three intently. They are all loyal to their own kind and even if their desired path isn't taken, they will follow the group rather than abandoning it. And while there will always be different opinions on the Nirik form, a leader's opinion will gain some traction no doubt. But in time, you have no doubt you can steer the majority away from that opinion. For now, it is best not to let that rule your judgement.
For now, you must choose a mortal. Not to lead the Kirins in any official or indefinite sense, but to sway them on the path you believe they need to take:
A. Shaded Gold
B. Frozen Meadow
C. Quick Blade
Surprise! Yeah, don't get use to this. I was just overly motivated to write this due to the overwhelming response. I intend on this being a weekly thing with a few surprise posts.