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Gilda's had it rough for the past few years. She's been kicked out from her tribe, been barely surviving out in the wilderness, and her hopes with reuniting with her old friend have been shot. Unwilling to go through with the ultimanum her father ordained for her, she resigns herself for permanent life of an exile.
But that changes when Captain Iron Bulwark of the Farrington Guard offers her a job, which Glida accepts. After all, it's not like she has anything better to do. How will Gilda adjust to her new life as a Farrington Guard, and how will she come to terms with her feelings for her Captain?
This fic contains examples of:
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Gilda, who has apparently never used a crossbow in her life, picks one up in a desperate effort to take down a fleeing criminal, aiming for his knee. She doesn't hit that...
- Abusive Parents: Gilda's father, big time. Dealing with the lasting effects of his "raising" drives many of Gilda's interactions.
- Action Girl: In Chapter Ten, a group of nearly twenty would-be criminals find out the hard way it's not easy to kidnap an angry griffin.
- The Alcoholic: Implied in the case of Sergeant Sherry, at least while off duty. She lost her husband and fellow guard a few years prior.
- Aloof Older Brother: Iron Bulwark is the Captain of the Farrington Guard and acts as befits his position. His younger sister Maxie is a mail clerk and has a interesting night life.
- Alternate Animal Affection: Played with. Ponies kiss in the normal fashion. However, trying to do the same with a griffin's beak ends painfully for Iron, so they instead settle for nuzzling or Iron kissing the end of Gilda's beak. It also ends up as the butt of a joke when Iron asks Sherry for advice.
Sherry: "Well, you can either practice tonguing a knife or ask her."
- Broken Angel: Starfall's wife, having lost her wings by a griffin attack, which leads Starfall to hate all of their race. Turns out it was Gilda's father who did it.
- Character Development: Gilda is much more fleshed out than the arrogant Jerkass we see on the show.
- Fantastic Racism: A major theme in the fanfic, along with the repercussions. Gilda's father hated ponies, and took out his anger on her and any ponies that wandered over the border. At the same time, Starfall hates griffins (actually due to Gilda's father) and his hatred of Gilda drives many of the conflicts.
- Fantastic Slurs: "Half-breed" is apparently a derogatory term for griffins. Also, several citizens insult Gilda by referring to her as "that beast".
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Griffins are very similar to Germanic tribes
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Starfall seriously hates griffins. Gilda is a griffin. They're both guards. Gilda didn't have a problem with him in particular, but he made one.
- Foreign Cuss Word: "Hey, Fotze!" Gilda uses this to get the attention of a thief, right in time for her to catch a thrown baton to the face.
- Gratuitous German: Griffin tribes are based of Germanic tribes, so it makes sense that Gilda slips into her natural tongue occasionally.
- Hates Being Touched: After years of severe physical abuse at the hands of her father and other male griffins, Gilda is uncomfortable with even light touches, especially by those she invites emotionally close. Overcoming this to earn a Hug and Comment is a major step forward.
- Happy Marriage Charade: It's been pointed out that Starfall hasn't been in a particularly loving relationship with his wife, viewing her as "damaged goods" subconsciously. When he realizes this, he promises himself to try to amend their love.
- I Have This Friend: Gilda is confused about her relationship with Iron, so she writes to her friend Rainbow Dash for advice. Rainbow is just as uneducated in romance as her, so she goes to Applejack, using the classic device to explain Gilda's situation. It's vauge enough that Applejack assumes she is asking her about their relationship. Hilarity Ensues.
- I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: In the prologue, Bulwark doesn't register that Starfall stabbed him until he starts giving him judgement
- Interspecies Romance: Gilda eventually starts dating Iron Bulwark. She's justifiably worried that dating him could make others look down on him.
- And he's seriously concerned about the physical side of things. That Gilda's beak can score glass, and might be a bit tricky to kiss, to be precise.
- Married to the Job: Iron Bulwark's spent ten years on the force. He's willing to do a lot for a griffon he's only just met, but even when Make Up or Break Up is on the table, he's not going to stop being a guard. Unusual for the trope, his romantic partner both understands, and is beginning to become attached to her career, too.
- Never My Fault: Starfall challenges Gilda to an illegal duel and gets hospitalized during so. His wife visits him and berates him for almost getting himself killed and not thinking about what would happen if he lost, straining their marriage. Starfall still blames Gilda for this.
- Noble Bigot: Lieutenant Starfall hates griffins, on account of his wife being maimed by one. Gilda's father no less. He extends his hatred onto Gilda, making her integration to the Farrington Guard a lot less pleasant.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: At least from Iron Bulwark's viewpoint, Starfall's still a Good Cop, or at worst a Cowboy Cop, who genuinely cares for his kids and recognizes his prejudice against griffins enough to avoid giving bad romantic advice. Deconstructed into Troubled Sympathetic Bigot at best, as the Happy Marriage Charade and effect on Gilda goes far beyond being merely unprofessional, and jeopardizes everything he cares about in a way he can not comprehend.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Starfall puts his racism aside long enough to rescue Gilda from several criminals, freeing her from her bonds and defending her from would-be lethal blows. Although he did kill one (in defense of another), he was still arrested due to "vigilantism" by not being reinstated into the guard yet.
- Not a Date: The first time Gilda eats with Iron, she considers it paying him back for Iron buying them both lunch for the past week. A turning point in their relationship was when Gilda casually thinks of their upcoming dinner together as date.
- Overprotective Dad: Starfall loves his two kids. He's also very racist to griffins. So he attacks Gilda when he sees her talking with his family.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Outnumbered and outgunned by a group of kidnappers led by the brother of a perp she arrested, Gilda utters this gem:
Gilda: All of you are now under arrest.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Starfall and Bulwark, respectively
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: At one point in history, an 80-member tribe of griffons was eating ponies. Celestia caught wind of this and responded by personally killing 77 of them with one spell. The survivors only lived because she wanted them to tell the other tribes about it.
- Samaritan Relationship Starter: Iron Bulwark not only got Gilda a job in the guard, but also saved her life when she escaped from her tribe and helps her get used to dealing with pony etiquette.
- Throwing Your Baton Always Works: Out of options and faced with a taunting thief, Gilda tosses her baton to stun her long enough to get close and make an arrest.
- Turn in Your Badge: Done by Iron to Starfall after Starfall attacks Gilda, a fellow guard, while in uniform. This enrages Starfall, as he thinks it's Iron expressing favoritism for his new girlfriend. The next month after calming down, he realizes that he was fired because... he attacked Gilda, a fellow guard, while in uniform. After seeing Starfall change his attitude, Iron invites him back into the guard (albeit at a lower rank).
- Unequal Pairing: Iron is significantly older, takes a significant part in teaching her about pony society, and several ranks higher than Gilda in the Guard. Sergeant Sherry points out how creepy this can be, if Iron honestly considers the matter too severe for a romantic relationship now. Gilda, on the other hand, comes from a culture where Unequal Pairing is commonplace, and thus has a different set of concerns.
- Unreliable Narrator: Since the story switches between multiple first-person perspectives, some things stated either turn out false or don't paint the whole picture.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Lieutenant Starfall assaults Gilda and challenges her to an illegal duel. Why? Because she talked with his wife and kids.