First Strong Messenger yearns for the freedom of his country, the Land of Running Water, from the Griffon Empire. When he is assigned to the mission of assassinating the heir to the Griffon throne, he is excited by the chance to make his mark on history. But who — or what — is really behind him? And what sort of mark will he make on history?
May be found here.
Tropes in this story include
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Politically true of some of the team, who are both anarchists and South Speaker nationalists. Also literally true, in that the team is armed with two main types of weapons — concealable repreating crossbows, and hoof grenades.
- The Chosen One: Deconstructed, as First Strong Messenger thinks he's been chosen by destiny for a sacred mission, but he's actually been chosen by Nyarlathotep to start the Great War and neutralize the continent of Taura as an obstacle to the coming of the Night Shadows
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The story shows a whole host of them, many involving literal name translations Some important ones include:
- Fighting Stallions = Serbs
- Griffon Empire = Combined Austro-Hungarian and German Empires.
- Lippanzer = Austria.
- Peak of Running Water = Sarajevo.
- Red Speakers = Russians.
- (Land of) Running Water = Bosnia.
- Shining City = Belgrade.
- Speaker Ponies = Slavs
- Ten Tribes = Hungarians.
- Wolfen = Turks.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: First Strong Messenger, and many others on the team, are perfectly aware that they are risking a war, possibly a general war, but they care more about the independence of the South Speakers and the Land of Running Water than they do about peace or equine life. Strong Messenger hopes that the Griffon Empire will simply give up after the assassination, but his hopes are based wholly on emotion rather than reason.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: First Strong Messenger and the rest of the team to which he belongs. All of them are willing to risk and probably lose their lives in the name of freedom for the Land of Runnning Water.
- Wrong Side All Along: It is quite true that the Griffons originally oppressed and even preyed on the Ponies of Taura. But the Griffon Empire has long since become more civilized. First Strong Meesenger's mission, far from freeing the South Speakers, will plunge them, and all Taura, into a long and bloody war, whose true purpose is to weaken them all — Griffon and Pony alike — for conquest and consumption by the Night Shadows.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Black Hoof is clearly a terrorist organization, yet we see it from the First Strong Messenger's (sympathetic) point of view.