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Madness of the Old Gods (Pony Horror OC)

By Mshakezilla
Created: 6th April 2021 02:43:18 PM

  1. >>>Part 1<<<
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  3. >Equestria. 1100 years ago, Discord's reign has ended at the hooves of the twin sisters Celestia, and Luna.
  4. >With the power of the Elements of harmony, he is no more, mere stone. A memory
  5. >Peace has set in. The establishment of the Royal guard force is made. To maintain, and protect the sisters and their new kingdom.
  6. >Among the guardsmen, a capable young unicorn, Nether Star, is made head of the Magical Anomalies Over watch.
  7. >Monitoring all forms of magic within Equestria. Finding those who would do harm to the empire with dark, or foreign magics.
  8. >But a new, dark force is beginning to make appearances across small, outlying parts of the empire.
  9. >Leaving only carnage, and death in it's wake.
  10. >The Over watch force is tasked to find, and identify the malevolent force, whatever or whoever it may be...
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  14. "Hmmm, this isn't right, I've never seen magic use quite like this before, it seethes into the land and corrupts whatever it touches. Could it be a form of Chaos magic?" You contemplate to yourself, the other guards and your lieutenant surveying the damages.
  15. >Be Nether Star, Captain of the Magical Anomalies Overwatch. Standing clad in silver, gold lined Armor. Your purple fur, black mane,
  16. and the yellow 4 pointed star surrounded in silver light, your cutie mark; made you easy to identify.
  17. "This is certainly troubling....the kingdom /must/ be protected from this...whatever it is..."
  18. >The small farming village, destroyed beyond recondition. Everything burned to ground and laid to waste. Cottages and homes, left in ruin. Bodies burnt and impaled on jagged pikes; from where they came you do not know.
  19. >The design in their hilts and blades were like nothing you had seen before these attacks. Jagged blades and purple dyed wood is what made them.
  20. >"Sir! Our surveying is complete, this /has/ to be a new form of Chaos magic we've never encountered, do you think it could be draconic?"
  21. >Light break, your trusted second in command. He walks to your side, as you observe a stone, seething with a dark aura. As if it infused with the magic's corruption.
  22. >Taking the stone off the ground, you observe the horror lay in front of you.
  23. "Perhaps..." Pausing to observe the damage, the still burning village and maimed corpses scattered around. Blood stained the soil, giving it a red mixed with a grey color.
  24. "But we cant be certain, Dragons don't normally leave bodies. They tend to /eat/ their prey."
  25. >These attacks had been happening in places like this for the last 2 weeks, and it has been...difficult to discover just what it was causing the senseless destruction.
  26. >It always seemed as if you were just one damn day too late.
  27. >Adjusting your armor on your shoulders you make your way to a cottage, still on fire though it was nothing but a crisp. How is it still burning?
  28. "This fire is unnatural." Still holding the stone you order one of the guards to bring you a containment casing, used for taking samples in unknown magics. "We must report back to the castle and have the alchemists test this rock..."
  29. >"A rock?" Light gives you a curious look, "Why a rock sir?"
  30. "Look at it, Light. It seethes with corruption, perhaps the alchemists at the castle can help identify just what were dealing with. Now, gather everyone, we'll be moving soon."
  31. >"Yes sir!, I'll get the team ready for movement right away!"
  32. "Very good..."
  33. >Light trots away shouting commands to the other guards as you place the stone into the small silver box, enchanted with a magic nullifying spell.
  34. "Don't let anything happen to this, keep it on your person at all times!" You say to the guard holding the case.
  35. >"Yes captain, I will guard it with my life!"
  36. >Light brings in the other guards, gathering behind you.
  37. >"Ready for movement sir, only awaiting confirmation order!"
  38. >Light stands in front of the platoon, 8 in number. All selected by you personally. They are friends, practically family. All skilled Unicorns in combat and surveying magic. You had trained, eaten, and lived together in the Guard-force's barracks.
  39. >They stood at attention, hooves together and faces straight ahead, each clad in dark grey armor, standard issue'd by the Guard-force.
  40. "Gentle-colts! We've been following this pattern for sometime now, were closer now to discovering whats plaguing our lands. We will /find/ it and PURGE it from our kingdom!" raising your hoof, you shout "For Equestria!!"
  41. >"FOR EQUESTRIA!" The guards and Light shout back in unison.
  42. "Move out! We will return to the castle of the two sisters immediately!"
  43. >The formation begins marching, leaving the still burning village, breaking apart into groups of 2s and 3s. Each group conversing among themselves.
  44. >Light walked with you as he usually did, discussing what you had found.
  45. >"It just doesn't make sense!" He says squinting his eyes, "How in Equestria could we have missed this until now, how could we have not seen this one coming?"
  46. >He was referring to the village. It had been the 5th in the series of attacks since being tasked to find the source of the malevolent force.
  47. "Yes I understand your frustration Light. Too be honest I'm unsure myself of what were dealing with, I spent my entire youth in magic. perfecting the arcane ways of Starswirl's teachings under Celestia's guidance..."
  48. >"Hmph, you always had a natural talent, more so then most unicorns..." Light smirks at you, elbowing your shoulder.
  49. "Hah! well I'm still far from learning as much as Starswirl, and I'm only a /little/ ahead of you Light."
  50. >"Yeah, always just one damn step..."
  51. >You both laugh as you walk.
  52. "Tell me, Light, do you ever look at this world and think; you would do anything to protect it? To, preserve it?"
  53. >You look into the distance, taking in the view if rolling hills of green, mountains piercing into the clouds off in the distance. The sky, partly clear, allowing the perfect amount of shade.
  54. >"Well sure heh, thats why I joined the guard after all..." Light says waving his hoof.
  55. "Right, but would you ever take...drastic measures I mean, to ensure it's safety?"
  56. >"Well, I believe we do what we must for the greater good sir."
  57. "Hm hm hm, good pony." you place your hoof on Light's shoulder.
  58. >A few hours go by, continuing the conversation and making small talk with the other guards, it was a tight nit group you formed with them.
  59. *Rumble* *Rumble*
  60. >"What in the Tarturas is that?" One of the guards says as rumbling continues.
  61. >A loud burst echoes through the hills and in the distance as a massive creature bursts from the ground, grabbing the gaurd in its tentacle arm.
  62. >"The dark days will come again, with our rebirth, the old ones will rise and RE-MAKE this world for the Black Empire!"
  63. >The massive abomination raises the guard over it's head and attempts to slam him into the earth before Light teleports the guard back to the ground.
  64. >"Just what in Celestia's name is that thing!?" Light shouts as he and the guards ready to attack.
  65. >The creature stood at least 20 feet tall, bipedal. Where its face should be was only a mass of flesh, tentacles portruding from it's chin, and arms. Eyes, glowing amber and speaking in a low-pitched deep bellowing voice. Deep purple skin, almost like scales, and a sash across it's waste; with a runic language written on it you've never seen.
  66. >"You will all face the end soon!!" It boasts, readying for another attack.
  67. "Avoid and counter-attack, surround and destroy it!
  68. >The guards move into position, avoiding the creature's massive arms as it smashes into the ground, flailing it's tendrils.
  69. >"I'll bring it down!!" Light says charging a magic missile spell.
  70. >It fires in a radiant golden light, striking the monster dead in it's chest, knocking it off it's feet.
  71. "Good shot Light, but we cant-" Your cut off by the monster's bellowing voice.
  72. >"Such weak magic....you will all break easy..."
  73. >The creature raises itself back to its feet, grabbing one of the guards.
  74. >"Uhhhhahh! AHHH!" The guard screams in agony, the strength of the monster's grip crushing his armor and body.
  75. "Cant get him in time!!" You say seeing the guard's armor break in it's grasp.
  76. >The creature smashes your fellow guardspony into the earth.
  77. >The sound of clattering armor and breaking bones fills your ears as you see one of your own die, lying there in the dirt. Blood, spurting from his muzzle.
  78. >"So easy...death will devour you all..."
  79. >Charging for an attack, you envelope yourself in a bubble of arcane magic; leaping into the beast's chest, tackling it and bringing it to the ground yet again.
  80. >Leaping off the massive creature's chest and to it's side you order the remaining guards.
  81. "NOW! Everyone attack!"
  82. >A mass of light envelops the area as you each charge your horns; casting a barrage of arcane at the creature, each shot exploding in a violent display of magic missiles and arcane light.
  83. >Creating a mass of dust a debris, it fades from sight, the attack ceasing as everypony catches their breath.
  84. >"Did we get'em!?" One of the guards say, remaining in a fighting stance.
  85. >"I don't know! What about Dawn!?"
  86. >Dawn's Light, the name of the guard who'd you just lost. An older unicorn, experienced in combat, this however was something you were un-prepared for.
  87. >The dust settles and the monster's corpse lay there, motionless, eyes still glowing a dark amber.
  88. >I journey...to Ny'alotha....for each of us killed...100 more take our place....the darkest days are still ahead...you cannot stop it...hehehehehe..."
  89. >The glow in it's eye fade into a lifeless stare.
  90. "Ny'alotha? What in Equestria-"
  91. >"Dawn!!"
  92. >your train of thought was interrupted by the snap back to reality, one of your most experienced magi just died.
  93. >"Dawn...how? Not you..." Light takes off his helmet, placing it at his chest, revealing his yellow mane, and orange fur.
  94. "This...how could this have happened..."
  95. >Theres a silence that settles over the battlefield. Each quietly mourning the lost friend.
  96. "We must bring him back to the castle, this new development is something I must bring to the sisters personally."
  97. >Ordering the others to carry Dawn's body back, you continue your journey, no one saying a word the rest of the way back.
  98. "The Black Empire..." You think to yourself, "What could that possibly be?"
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  102. >The following morning. Exhausted from the journey and the fight, your team makes it's way to the front castle gates, being greeted by a couple of larger earth ponies.
  103. >The usual types for gate guards. Their size and strength, making them ideal for ground security detail
  104. >"Ah, Nether Star, you've returned!" One of the guards says, happy to see you, "were you able to find the source of the attacks?"
  105. >Looking to the ground, you think to yourself the faceless beast your company had slain.
  106. "We did....and its far worse then we could have imagined." You look back to your fallen friend, "I must bring news of some new development to Celestia and Luna right away! And bring a medical team to care for our wounded!"
  107. >"Yes! Right away Captain!" The guards looks toward the rampart of the front gate, giving orders to the guards tending to the levers operating the gate, "Open the gate, let our fellow guards in! And bring a medical team to care for their wounds, Now!"
  108. >The massive silver barred gates open, a small team of medics trotting towards your group, surveying your friends. And taking Dawn's body onto a gurney, into the medical ward.
  109. >"Just what the Tarturas happened out their, Captain?" The gate guards asks, observing the looks of worry in your eyes.
  110. "We were ambushed, by some kind of monster. It had no face and stood larger then most creatures. It attacked with the ferocity of a dragon. Theres /no/ way we could have been ready for a fight with a monster like that..."
  111. >"Celestia...glad you made it back and...sorry for-"
  112. >You raise your hoof, stopping the guard from finishing.
  113. "Don't, just don't."
  114. >You close your eyes and hang your head in shame, nothing like this had ever happened before. You were responsible for their safety, and you failed them.
  115. >"Well, Celestia is in the main hall. Open court just started a few hours ago."
  116. >"I'm sure she'll put it on hold for what we have to bring her." Light says as he joins the conversation, holding the containment casing.
  117. "Indeed, lets not tarry any longer. Light, you come with me. The rest of you, be on standby until we receive further word. I'll meet you all back at the barracks."
  118. >"Yessir!" Your remaining guards not receiving medical care leave you, as you and Light make your way to the main hall from the courtyard.
  119. >"We can't let this darkness overtake our home, Nether." Light says as you walk by the market, observing the citizens all going about their day, not a care in the world.
  120. "Whatever it takes...I will protect it." Looking to the castle, you look in awe at the marvel that had been constructed sinse Discord's defeat. "Whatever it takes..."
  121. >Walking up the stairs that lead to the main doors of the castle, you and Light enter the main hall, a line of ponies of all types stand in line. Bringing whatever concerns and petty problems they may have to Celestia or Luna's attention.
  122. >"Yes, that will be taken into consideration, Mudhoof. The trade routes through the Everfree marshlands will have re-enforced security."
  123. >"Thank you your highness! We will be able to safely deliver salt and sugar to the palace much easier now!" The small orange earth pony takes a bow and leaves the podium. Allowing for the next subject to take his spot.
  124. >Light leans in to whisper "We should intervene while we have the chance Nether..."
  125. "Right right, this line seems to get longer and longer every month."
  126. >Stepping out of line and to the front two sides of the podium, you ask the princess for a private audience.
  127. "Your highness," You speak as respectfully as you can. "Light and myself humbly request a private audience to bring you a new development from the front."
  128. >"Nether Star, Light Break!" Celestia's voice raises, excited to see yours and Light's return. "I'm glad you've made it back, I'd be more then happy to hear your information."
  129. >Celestia leaves the throne quickly exiting the main hall motioning for the two of you to follow.
  130. >"H-hey! what about-" The Pegasus was interrupted by the guards in the hall.
  131. >"The Princess is on official military business, court will resume when she is done!"
  132. "Pays to have perks, Light."
  133. >"Yeah, no kidding." You both say as you follow Celestia out of the main hall to the water fountain outside.
  134. >Meeting the princess in front of the fountain, she greets the two of you again.
  135. >"My prized pupils return!" She paces her hoof on your shoulder, putting you at ease. Her presence was calming and warm. "You look terrible my little ponies, whats happened?"
  136. >Gazing into the fountain at your reflection, you can see the deep bags under your eyes. As well as the pink hue in the where they should be white, the recent conflict and journey taking more out of you then either you or Light had realized.
  137. "My princess," you say taking a bow, "first of all; thank you for this private audience, we will be quick with our report."
  138. >Looking to Light, you nod at him to show her the black stone within the magic casing.
  139. >"We found this at the most recent village we investigated, it seethes with a dark aura." Light reaches into the case and takes out the rock.
  140. >"I see...." Celestia looks into the stone inquisitively. "Is this what has you both so worried?"
  141. "No, your highness. Its much worse then we could have imagined, we believe that whatever has been destroying our outlying villages and towns utilizes a form of chaos magic we haven't seen before."
  142. >Light continues the report.
  143. >"On our way back to the castle after completing our survey, we were attacked by a creature of unknown origin, and terrible power."
  144. >Sparing no detail, you both explain the encounter with the monster, which you decided to name, "Faceless one".
  145. >"I see...it took that much power to bring down?" Celestia looks at the stone yet again, still shrouded in a dark aura, "Whatever form of magic this is, it deeply corrupts whatever it comes into contact with. It must be studied indeed. You've done very well bringing it here. And I am deeply saddened by the loss of Dawn..."
  146. "Theres one other thing, your highness, it mentioned a place called 'Ny'alotha' and it said the 'Black Empire' will rise again." Celestia's eyes widen after hearing this. "Do you...know what it could mean?"
  147. >"The sleeping forest..." She whispers to herself, lost in thought.
  148. >"'The sleeping forest', your highness?" Light looks to you and back to Celestia, "What could that be?"
  149. >Celestia closes her eyes and sighs, "I don't know much about it other then that its where an ancient evil sleeps, honestly I thought it was a mere myth. As its never been found before."
  150. "And the Black Empire? What of that your highness?"
  151. >"Enough, you have both done very well bring me this new information. I will handle it from here."
  152. >Her statement catches the two of you off-guard.
  153. "Wh-what? Princes Celestia please, allow us to continue our search! We can-"
  154. >"No. This situation will be handled. The both of you are dismissed, await further word from the royal guard Colonel."
  155. >Celestia takes the stone and begins to leave the fountain yard into the hallway leading to the alchemy lab.
  156. >"Well this sucks, why did she suddenly get so defensive after you mentioned the Black Empire?"
  157. "I don't know, but I want to find out. I'm gonna need to get stronger too. To fight these abominations." Looking back into the fountain, your mind races thinking of the coming conflict, "If what the faceless one said is true, then we are already on the brink of war."
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  161. >Later that evening, you find yourself back at the Over watch wing of the barracks, sitting in bed wondering to yourself. Getting lost in deep thought.
  162. "Why would she get so secretive, so defensive?" Rolling to your side, looking out the window to the moonlit sky, "maybe Luna would be more open about it? Doubt it, they are practically inseparable. Celestia probably already told her."
  163. >Raising up and sliding off the bed, you exit the room and make your way to the Alchemy ward.
  164. "I'm going to learn all I can, war /is/ coming. And damnit I'm going to be ready to fight!"
  165. >You bypass the many other guards enjoying their liberty and partaking in various drinking games or mindless bantering, as was common among young stallions in the guard.
  166. >The black stone, thats your main focus.
  167. >Approaching the alchemy ward's doors, you are greeted by two royal guards.
  168. "Evening gentle colts, is something wrong?"
  169. >"Uhh, naw, why would you ask that sir?" Says the larger of the two earth ponies.
  170. "Well....theres normally never any guards posted at these doors."
  171. >"Uhh oh. OH! Right, we were ordered by Luna to safe-guard the Alchemy ward while, in her words: 'important works is done'."
  172. >Guess that confirms Celestia telling Luna...
  173. >He closes his eyes and smirks, no doubt patting himself on the back as he remembered how to talk and breath at the same time.
  174. >Mindless fodder...
  175. "Right well, see, I'm actually here for that. I am an..expert in dark magics and Luna herself asked me to...assist in the 'important work'."
  176. >"Hes an expert bro, let him through!"
  177. >"Sh-shutup! I'm the senior guard here!"
  178. >The two guards whisper back and forth, beginning to raise their voices as they argue.
  179. >Casually walking past them and opening the doors, you enter the alchemy room. The guards still going on with their stupidity.
  180. >"Yeah well, last week I ran out of soap and used yours to wash my ass for a week straight!"
  181. >"Y-you son of a bitch!!"
  182. "Fools..."
  183. >The doors close as you navigate through the dark halls. Your only source of light being the dim glow radiating off your horn. The two guards fighting can still be heard in the hall.
  184. >Continuing through, you find a lone Pegasus sitting on a stool, working tirelessly to examine the black stone.
  185. >"Hey! You cant be in here!" He cries out, turning to face you.
  186. >The skinny young looking Pegasus sat on a wooden stool with his hooves barely touching the ground. His small frame and large glasses made him look as intimidating as his size.
  187. "Relax, I'm Nether Star, the one who brought that thing in!" You claim, pointing at the rock hovering over a set of measuring tools.
  188. >"I see. Well, make yourself at home I suppose. I mean, I heard about you losing a guy to bring it in, guess that means you can look at it at least."
  189. >Alchemists, always quick to avoid conflict.
  190. >The Pegasus continues working, turning back around and scribbling down notes as the stone begins changing colors.
  191. "Any idea of what were dealing with so far?" You ask, trying to subtly probe for information.
  192. >He turns his head to the stone and jabs at it with his quill.
  193. >"Well, good news is we know its chaos magic. Which means we can eventually come up with a counter to it...I think. Bad news is, its very ancient. Possibly older then even Discord..."
  194. >Incredible. Older then Discord? Theres no way.
  195. >"Which means that theres no way of knowing exactly how it works. Chaos magic is well....chaotic, by nature."
  196. >Examining his notes, you see he must have known what hes talking about. The symbols and writings were neatly done and he obviously had knowledge in alchemy.
  197. "Strange, I normally never see any pony but unicorns working with alchemy."
  198. >"Well we Pegasus /are/ the ones who chemically create rainbows y'know"
  199. >He turns and gives you a smug grin. He did have a point after all.
  200. "Right. Well, if theres nothing more to tell me about this thing. I'll take my leave."
  201. >You begin walking away before he stops you.
  202. >"One thing I will say about it, it may be the darkest form of chaos magic I've come across!"
  203. Navigating back through the clutter of books and small tables littered with vials, you shout back "Good to know! I'll keep that in mind!"
  204. >Exiting the ward you see the two guards still standing there, now rambling on about nothing.
  205. >"Hey."
  206. >"Yeah?"
  207. >"You ever wonder why were here?"
  208. >"Its one of life's great mysteries isn't it? I mean, why /are/ we here..."
  209. >Avoiding eye contact you manage to sneak away, into the library. There was research to be done.
  210. "Hmmm, elder magics? No. Olden ways of arcane? No. Magical ways of cooking- Damnit!!"
  211. >Throwing the book to the side, causing a bit of noise, the other ponies in the library all begin staring in your direction.
  212. >Going through several books and finding nothing. You were growing frustrated. Its been 4 hours in the library and there was nothing going into detail about chaos magic other then explaining how the Elements of Harmony were used to imprison Discord.
  213. "Ungh, my damn eyes are burning. Screw this I'm gonna get some shut-eye!" You say rubbing your temples.
  214. >Making it back to your room, you collapse back into your rack.
  215. *Sigh* "Maybe something will come to me in my sleep...hehehe."
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  219. >"Where, what...how did I get here?" You say, awakening with a gasp, not knowing where you are.
  220. >It was dark, pitch dark. You could only see small shimmers of shadows sputtering about in all directions. Fear and paranoia start overwhelming you, panic began to set in.
  221. >This place was somewhere you could only imagine in a nightmare...
  222. >"You...are weak..."
  223. >"Your friends will...abandon you..."
  224. >Your ears perk up as a dark voice bellowed, echoing in your mind.
  225. "Who's there, Show yourself!" You say turning your head and body in any and all directions, trying to find the owner of the sinister voice.
  226. >You were shouting in the dark, looking down you see laying before a corpse of another pony, who it was you could not tell. In front of you lye a great black forest.
  227. >The trees, twisted with gnarled branches. Dark lights emanating from their branches. You could see a dim red light off in the distance, illuminating what looked to be a cathedral of some kind.
  228. "Who...is?" Gazing down to the body examining it, you still couldn't tell who it was. The body was mangled and ripped apart.
  229. >"Your heart...will explode."
  230. "Enough games! Show yourself!" You shout back again, your voice echoing in the great dark.
  231. >Shadows dance and twirl, invading your mind with horrific visions of death and gore. Flames and darkness begin to envelop you as the voice grows louder.
  232. >"You...are...already...dead..."
  233. >A feint laughter can be heard from the figures, all mocking you in your fear.
  234. >The flames rise to envelop your entire body, melting your flesh and burning your fur, giving off a horrid stench.
  235. >The pain felt so real.
  236. "UHH HA AHHHHHHHH!"
  237. "NUHH GUHH!!" Waking and violently flailing about, covered in sweat, panting, you slowly catch your breath.
  238. "Was only...a dream...heh" placing your forehoof on your head, you wipe the sweat from your muzzle. "Celestia...what an insane dream, Should talk to Luna when I can."
  239. >Your attention is quickly brought to your door, out in the hallway you could hear numerous hooves hitting the ground and voices echoing down the barracks.
  240. >Opening your door you see several guards making their way out, all wearing their armor.
  241. >"Feels good being left out doesn't it..." Light says standing in his doorway directly across from yours, leaning against the wall.
  242. "The Tartarus is going on?"
  243. >"Word is that another attack happened, this time it was a larger town. And guess what the recon team's description of the attackers were..."
  244. "Lemme guess; large tentacle arms, no face, and really big?"
  245. >"You got it."
  246. >Damnitall! You couldn't believe they would be so foolish as to go hunting these things. They dont know what they're capable of...neither do you for that matter. You've only fought the one.
  247. >Looking back toward your armor rack, you frantically rush over to put it on.
  248. >"Sir, what are you doing?" Light says entering your room.
  249. "Whats it look like? I'm gonna follow their march and assist how I can. I need to gather information on just what these...'things' are."
  250. >"We have orders to standby for word though, directly from the Guard Colonel."
  251. "Screw orders! Besides, I'm not going off to fight. I'm merely taking a stroll...through town. You want to join?"
  252. >Smirking at Light, he knew what you were going to do. And you knew he would want to join.
  253. >"A /stroll/, yeah! Of course sir I'll join you, hahah!."
  254. >Both dawning your sets of armor and leaving the barracks, you see the platoons of guards forming up; preparing to march out of the castle grounds.
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  257. >>
  258. >"So, been meaning to ask, you look as if you didn't get a wink last night, whats bothering you sir?" Light asks, seeing the tiredness in your face.
  259. "I had a...dream last night, though it felt more like a vision more then anything else."
  260. >"Vision of what? Was it a nightmare?"
  261. >Looking at the ground recalling the horrific voice. Images of what you saw re-appeared in your mind as you look at Light.
  262. "I...I don't know. But its nothing now. I must have eaten something spoiled is all, hah."
  263. >Light looks back ahead, he was smart and he knew something was up.
  264. >You had been following the guard battalion for 4 hours. Taking cover and remaining hidden as best you can behind whatever the land provided. Marching into an open field, a larger town came into view. A trading village used as a hub between the castle of the two sisters and Griffonstone.
  265. >Whether or not it had been attacked from this distance it was hard to tell if it had been attacked or not.
  266. >Nearing the town, storm clouds gathered overhead. Bringing thunder and lightning with them, a dark omen of what was coming.
  267. >"Shouldn't the weather Pegasus be taking care of that?" Light asks looking to the sky.
  268. "They /should/. But not if they're all....oh no."
  269. >The buildings, now coming into view, were but cracked and broken ruins of what was the former trade town.
  270. >The situation seemed to grow more grim. For now you both knew. The village had already been attacked. And everypony was no doubt, already dead.
  271. >"Not far now..." Light says, the road to the village's main road coming clearly into view.
  272. >Pointing to a brush not far from the side of the town, you motion for Light to take cover.
  273. "We'll gather what we can, see how they fight. They may be strong, but thats an entire battalion down there. No way one of those things could stand up to that."
  274. >Rain began pouring down. Thunder roaring as both you and Light take cover under the tree, resting on a hill overlooking the village. The perfect view.
  275. >Gazing down, the battalion was coming to a halt. Breaking into formations as the commander stands in front of them, surveying the area.
  276. >"No...they're walking into an ambush!"
  277. >A loud crack of lightning booms in the sky, and with it; a series of muffled, tortured roars burst from underground.
  278. >Dark shadows seep from the very earth, and erupt in an magnificent display of chaotic forces as lightning cracks the sky.
  279. >So many Faceless ones, now stand surrounding the battalion. More then can be counted.
  280. >One of which, much larger then the rest, shrouded in shadow and a dark aura spoke. It's voice booming in the distance in a deep tone.
  281. >"At last...the feeding hour." Its voice booms in your minds. "Come little ones, savor your fear as we feast upon it!"
  282. >"ATTAAAACK!!!" The battalion commander screams, rallying his forces to defend themselves.
  283. >So many charge head first into the fray, magical sparks and explosions echoing against the horizon as the fight ensues.
  284. >The battle rages, so many of your fellow guardsponies die in the first few minutes. The faceless ones ripping them apart, bathing the soil in thier blood; melding in the rain. Making the earth itself turn a red hue.
  285. >"Yeess.....eyyessssss." The larger creature's voice boomed once again.
  286. >"Missile formation!" The unicorns yelled, gathering to fire a barrage of magic at the faceless army.
  287. >A flurry of magic and arcane rains down onto the faceless army, to no avail. Bringing down very few of their targets.
  288. >The larger Faceless one stands in the back, not even moving, only mocking and taunting the guards as they fight on.
  289. >"Do not fight death...welcome it...embrace it..." It says in a condescendingly sympathetic voice.
  290. >"This...this is horrible..." You both look on, watching them all die. Very few of the abominations being brought down.
  291. >"Air guard! Sweeping formation! Impale them!"
  292. "The Pegasus! They're taking flight!" You say, a glimmer of hope in your voice.
  293. >Every Pegasus in the ranks takes flight, dive bombing straight down and driving thier lances into the bodies of the abominations.
  294. >The move proves futile, hundreds of lances impaling the bodies of the faceless monsters, killing only a hoovefull. The ground shakes with the collapse of each faceless body.
  295. >Many of the Pegasus are grabbed from the sky, being wrapped and crushed within the tendrils of the beasts.
  296. >The sound of bone cracking can be heard. Coupled with the horrific sound of blood curdling from their screams, as they have the life squeezed from them.
  297. >More screaming can be heard then fighting now. The soldiers realizing their struggle was in vain.
  298. >More death, more blood...
  299. >Eventually, only the battalion commander was left standing, surrounded by the dark army.
  300. >2 of the beasts grab him in their tendrils, holding him down. Forcing him to kneel in the muddy blood soaked ground.
  301. >The foreboding shadowy figure, now standing before him.
  302. >"Get off of me!" He yells, remaining strong to the end. "I bow to no such creatures!!"
  303. >"Struggle no more..."
  304. >Lightning cracks the sky once again, illuminating the battlefield.
  305. >"Burn in TAR- GAH...huhhhhh..."
  306. >A large pike impales his back, tearing straight through his armor. The faceless creature brings up the pike and stabs it into the ground, leaving his body hanging upside down.
  307. Blood running down the hilt of the pike as his life flows out of him.
  308. >"A testament, to /My/ glory..." The creature turns and begins to walk away, "Death's cold embrace, awaits you all..."
  309. >The faceless army begins moving away from the village, fading into dust and shadow, returning to the earth, as the rain begins to let up.
  310. "They've gone, Quickly! We must help!" You say, practically flying to your hooves.
  311. >Sprinting down the hill doing your best not to trip over yourself, You and Light head striaght for the commander, still barely breathing.
  312. >"We've got to get him down, get that...thing from his back!"
  313. "Commander! Are you still alive?!" *pant* "Speak!"
  314. >The commander slowly opens his eyes. He wheezes, trying to take in air. "Huhhhh uhhhh...th-they are..."
  315. "Get him down, slowly. Easy now..."
  316. >Commander Firespark, a tenacious old Pegasus, large in stature and stronger then most earth ponies.
  317. >You both take the pike from the ground, gently lowering it down so not to cause him anymore pain.
  318. >"Sir stay with us, we can get you back to the castle!" Light says as he looks over Firespark's body.
  319. "I had no idea it was /you/ leading these ponies. Celestia no doubt wanted her best on this assault."
  320. >Firespark was a veteran guard, been in the guardforce for over twenty years and could still fight like a young stallion in his prime.
  321. >Light continues examining the wound, "We-we cant take it out without causing more damage, the stake is jagged." Light looks up to you, "And its in deep."
  322. >"F-forget it heh, I'm done." Firespark attempts to speak, struggling with every word, "Y-you must go back to the castle...inform Celestia and Luna of our defeat here, they must know the evil we face..."
  323. >He pauses, hacking up blood and gasping for air.
  324. "Please, save your strength. We can-w-we..."
  325. >"Enough captain, heheh, if theirs one thing I know is when a subordinate doesn't know what they're talking about..."
  326. >He takes another breath, letting out his last words.
  327. >"You must find a way...to beat them. They are like nothing we've fought before. The magic they use...its too much for our own. Dont let the kingdom we've fought so hard for...burn."
  328. >Thunder echoes in the distance, as he takes his last breath now lying there motionless, dead.
  329. >Looking at his lifeless body in horror, grimace covers your face as you realize.
  330. "This, this is the vision I saw."
  331. >Light interjects "You /knew/ this would happen sir!? Why didn't you-" You cut him off.
  332. "Not this exactly, no! But in my nightmare, a body was laying before me. I couldn't tell who it was. But now..."
  333. >Silence sets in, screaming so loud as you both take in the view. A field of bodies, crushed and frayed beyond recondition.
  334. "We cant let this go on Light. We've got to do Something!!"
  335. >Light looks out to the battlefield. Gazing in horror at the bodies. "But what...were no match for them Nether, an entire battalion! Led by Firespark...they bent like weeds..."
  336. "We must turn their powers against them...I will learn chaos magic if I have to!" You smash your hoof into the ground, gritting your teeth as the feeling of rage built up in your body.
  337. >Light looks at you not knowing what to say. "B-but...thats against royal decree! Such forms of magic are forbidden!" He goes on, "We will find a way Nether!"
  338. "Look around you." Tears begin forming, doing your best to hold them back; you explain your reasoning, "Our kingdom, our /home/ is dying! We cant limit ourselves!"
  339. >Silence once again sets in, the two of you no longer having anything to say.
  340. >"W-we should...head back. I'll g-grab Fire..." Light takes the stake from Firespark's lifeless body, picking him up onto his back.
  341. "I must seek council with Luna, about this vision as well..."
  342. >Silence. Thats all that was heard, other then the sound of hoof steps and ambiance of the surrounding fields.
  343. >As you, and Light made your way back to the castle, carrying Fire on your back, wrapped in a cloth taken from the village that now lay in ruin.
  344. >His blood, stained the cloth. His body grew heavy on your shoulders, you had to take turns carrying him due to his size and weight.
  345. "Light...do you remember a few days ago, when I asked you if you would do anything to protect our home?"
  346. >Light speaks softly, both of you were still shaken by the horrible sight you bore witness to.
  347. >"Yeah-y-yes sir, I Remember." He says staring at the ground. Seemingly knowing what your about to say.
  348. "I meant what I said when I told you I would do anything to preserve our kingdom." You look back at the body on your back, "Our friends, and family..."
  349. >Looking back ahead, and remembering the black stone you brought to the castle just days ago...
  350. "I will find a way to protect it all!"
  351.  
  352.  
  353. >>
  354. >Arriving back at the castle gates, the guards look in horror as you bring in the body of their once proud leader.
  355. >"Wh-what happened! Wheres everypony else!?" A guard asks.
  356. "Dead. Now stand aside." You say to the guard. He moves immediately, hearing the seriousness in your tone. Looking up, you see your next destination.
  357. >Leaving the body with the medics and going straight for Luna's chamber, your resolve only grows.
  358. "Light, I wish to speak to Luna alone, I must ask her of this nightmare. And if there is reason to it's madness."
  359. >Light hesitantly agrees, not wanting to leave your side. "Y-yes sir, I hope you find the answers to what your looking for."
  360. >Placing your hoof on his shoulder, you give a comforting look.
  361. "We will endure, as we always have my friend. We will win this war, one way..." You begin walking away and whisper under your breathe, "or another."
  362. >"The princess is asleep /captain/, she will grant no audience!"
  363. "You don't understand sir! I must have her counsel, this information-"
  364. >"We /know/ of what happened out there, word has already been spread among the guard from the front gatehouse, just as we know of your direct violation of orders!" He leans in, speaking directly to your face. "Don't think that because Celestia showed you favor that the Uniform Code of Imperial Justice doesn't apply to you..."
  365. >This bastard...he would impede your seeking of knowledge. Plebeian fool...
  366. "Very well then, sir. I will await when she is able."
  367. >The earth pony stood there, standing tall over you, his rank; only one above your own. One of Luna's personal guards.
  368. >Rendering a salute and walking away, he boasts as he shrinks in the distance, his voice echoing down the hall.
  369. >"Don't think you wont be punished, you /will/ face consequences for you actions Nether!"
  370. >Gritting your teeth and looking back, you quickly compose yourself and walk away.
  371. "Damned fool. I MUST have answers!"
  372.  
  373.  
  374. >>
  375. >Exiting the hall to Luna's chamber, you run into Light, looking a little worried.
  376. >"Mind explaining what that was all about earlier? You seemed distant..."
  377. "Yes, I uh, am just a little shaken up by all this happening so fast, I admit." Looking to the ground, you think more of your dream. "The dream I had...it showed me a place I didn't think possible to exist, I'm not sure if it was a part of the pits of Tartarus, but it sure seemed like it."
  378. >"Mind describing it? I mean, you mentioned that Fire's was the death you saw." Light looks at you with a curious look, "What did you mean by that exactly?"
  379. >Recalling the dream, you can only think of that voice. Who could it have been?
  380. "When I said that I was referring to the body that was in front of where I stood in my dream. The body was...not in the best shape, i'll leave it at that."
  381. >"Did it look like Fire?" Light says as you exit the castle.
  382. >It was still early in the evening, still a few more hours of sunlight before Luna would awaken.
  383. "From what I could tell, it was. I just couldn't determine who it was in my dream I saw until I saw Fire laying on the ground..."
  384. >"I see."
  385. "And as far as how I acted at the gate when we got back...well, I'm sorry." With a deep sigh you begin to open up. Light was your best friend, regardless of rank. "Your right, I was cold. I should've given more reasoning as to why I was in such a hurry."
  386. >"Hah! don't worry about it, I do appreciate the sentiment though." Light says with a chuckle.
  387. "Right. Well, anyway, have you heard anything about whats going to happen to us as far as disregarding orders?"
  388. >"Nothing, yet anyway. Maybe this new conflict has all the higher ups too distracted?"
  389. "Hopefully..."
  390. >Making your way back to the barracks, you both continue the conversation. Keeping the talk to a whisper as you pass other guards in the area.
  391. >"So been meaning to ask, how did your conversation with Luna go? Was she able to shed any light on whats going on?" Light says as you enter the barracks.
  392. "Fraid not, she was asleep." You place your hoof behind your head, "Guess I could've picked a better time to talk to the princess of the moon other then the afternoon!"
  393. >"Heh...hehehahhaha!"
  394. >You both laugh, entering Light's room.
  395. >Light pulls up a couple of chairs, and walks over to his wall locker, breaking out his personal supply of Red Griffon Vodka.
  396. >"I think we /both/ can use a drink after these past couple of days." Light says pouring a couple of drinks, his orange aura lifting two glasses.
  397. "Thanks, Light. I think your definitely right about that." You say pulling up one of the chairs.
  398. >"Back when we first showed Celestia the black stone, why do you think she got so defensive so fast?" Light looks into his glass before taking a drink, "And what do you think she knows that we don't considering she ordered an entire battalion to investigate one town?"
  399. "She did say she had stories of the black empire before, theirs gotta be more going on though. What could have her so worried?" You say taking a drink.
  400. >"Beats me, maybe she went out and saw the destruction for herself?"
  401. "Who knows, I'll just have to ask Luna, she no doubt had a say in sending so many out on such short notice."
  402. >You pour yourself another drink, looking out the window as the sun started to set, illuminating the room in an orange hue.
  403. >"Maybe your right but, I just have one more thing to bring up before we trail off here." Light says stirring his cup in his hoof, "Would you really stoop to using chaos magic?"
  404. >Damn, why did he bring that up? The ponies who care about you most are always the biggest pain in the flank...
  405. "When I said I would do /anything/ to safeguard our home, I meant it." The room goes quiet for a second before you continue, "I made a promise to my father before he died, that I would become one of the royal guard, like he was during Discord's reign, and that I would sacrifice myself a hundred times to protect our fragile little kingdom."
  406. >"Your dad..." Light pauses before continuing, "You really looked up to him, didn't you?"
  407. "I barely knew him, only as a young colt. But I was always admiring his resolve to do what is right. And I believe if he were still here, he'd agree with me on this."
  408. >"Nether look, I know how you feel about wanting to protect this kingdom considering what it was like before." Light finishes off his drink, setting the glass down on the night stand next to his bed, "But dabbling in such magics can't lead to anything good."
  409. "There must be a way to control it. If these faceless abominations use it in battle and are so resistant to arcane magic, then we should fight fire with fire!"
  410. >You take one last gulp from the glass and set it next to Light's on the stand.
  411. "Besides, imagine what we could do with that kind of power, what we could create." You say looking out the window, now dark with the moon slowly rising. "We could create so much good with it, we wouldn't have to fear anything that uses chaos magic or any magic for that matter."
  412. >Light looks to you and speaks sternly.
  413. >"Celestia had it banned for a reason Nether, she knows what damage it could do in the wrong hooves."
  414. "/We/ aren't the 'wrong hooves' Light!" You say snapping back at him.
  415. >The room grows quiet again. The silence being broken by Light, changing the subject.
  416. >"Sooo, you ever gonna introduce me to your family? You always wrote letters to your mom back in basic, and even in the academy."
  417. "When this is all over, absolutely." A smirk grows on your face, "I used to write so much more to her then I do now...I need to take leave and go home for a bit when we win this war."
  418. >"Yeah buddy! I'll take leave with ya and we'll tour each other's homes, introduce family, and make allll the mares cry for our return!"
  419. "You know it!" You say with a smug face.
  420. >The both of you laugh, lightening things up even further as the night grew darker.
  421. "Well, heh, I think with that I'll head over to my own room, I gotta make myself at least a little presentable for Luna, hopefully that asshole guard isn't at her door when I arrive..."
  422. >"You mean Major Quartz?" Light places a hoof on his chin, "Yeah hes a prick."
  423. >You nod, exiting the room.
  424. "Thanks for the talk, Light. Forgot how much a simple conversation can lighten the load off us."
  425. >"Definitely!" He says as you exit, crossing the hall to your room.
  426.  
  427.  
  428. >>
  429. "Ahh, much better. That was much needed." You say exiting the shower, collapsing on your bed.
  430. >Laying there, you begin wondering if it would even be necessary to bother with chaos magic, thinking of how Celestia and Luna imprisoned Discord.
  431. "I wonder..could they both just use the elements of harmony again?"
  432. >You grow frustrated at your own thoughts, why must everything be reliant on only the elements?
  433. "No...why must we only rely on such things? We have to have more then just one weapon!"
  434. >Your thoughts grew more grim, thinking back to the vision over and over again.
  435. "There must be another way...there /has/ to be another way!!" You say sitting up in the bed.
  436. >Smashing your hoof against the wall, making a hole. You sigh and shake your hoof as you look at the damage. Taking a deep brathe, you try to calm yourself.
  437. "Maybe, I'm just working myself up too much. Ponies have had omens in their dreams before I imagine..."
  438. >Taking a deep breath you close your window curtain, only a small ray of moonlight illuminating your room.
  439. "Ahhhh my head, maybe I should get a /little/ sleep before talking with Luna...
  440.  
  441. >>
  442. >Awakening in a daze, you feel as if your laying in a pile of dead leaves and sticks poking at your body.
  443. >The smell of rotting flesh and bodies invaded your nose, causing your eyes to go wide. Giving you a jolt awake as you begin fearing having yet another nightmare.
  444. "No...not again!" Panic sets in once again, the dim red light off in the distance, now brighter. The same dark citadel was almost clear to see in the distance, closer this time.
  445. >A dark, foreboding voice rang in your head, the voice you were now growing all too familiar with. Vibrating your very skull from it's deep tone.
  446. >"You could not stop it..."
  447. >"Your allies think you are weak..."
  448. >"They will leave you behind..."
  449. "Stop! Enough of this! Who are you, what do you want from me!" You yell, rising to your hooves ready to fight.
  450. >Lighting up your horn, you quickly get a glance of what surrounds you. Dark, twisted figures of shadow and seething hatred stare down at you. Feeling as if your heart was sinking into your stomach, you see they dark amber and ruby glowing eyes, almost as if they could see into you.
  451. >Their gnarled claws and teeth, disfigured bodies, and bubbling skin and blood, made them out to be something from the darkest pits of Tartarus.
  452. *GASP* "GUH!! Oh Celestia! N-n-no!! What h-h-horrors are these?!"
  453. >Your light dims as you collapse to the ground, vomiting. The shock, fear, and rancid stench overwhelmed your senses.
  454. >"Yeeeess I can taste the essence of your soul, it is sweeeet...." The voice echoes once again.
  455. "L-l-leave me be! I don't want to see this anymore!"
  456. >The same menacing laughter can be heard, louder this time.
  457. "No, NO! I won't be made a fool of!" You say, firing off a magic missile into the dark, leaving a feint trail of light behind it. Revealing a massive horde of horrors surrounding you.
  458. >You fall to your haunches, leaning forward on your foehooves.
  459. "Damnit...why is this happening!?" You yell into the dark, shaking from fear.
  460. >Suddenly, it all vanishes, only darkness again. No noise, laughter, or eyes remain.
  461. >A light from above appears before you, not more then a few feet away.
  462. >A body lay in it's glow, lifeless.
  463. >Still shaking, you slowly crawl towards it. Whimpering in fear. You were compelled however, to know who it can be.
  464. >Sitting to it's backside, you see the deep purple fur and pink mane. The cutie mark, resembling a green swirl, looking all to familiar.
  465. "N-no, NOOOOOO!!" Your scream echoes through the darkness, realizing who lay before you.
  466. >It was the body of your mother. And based on the last nightmare, you could only revel in horror of what events may soon follow.
  467. >"Caress your fear...it will be the engine that drives you to greatness...."
  468. "N-NO! Make, It, STOP!"
  469. >You scream in fear and despair. Turning your mother's body to see her pale face, making absolutely sure it was really her.
  470. >Seeing her face, there was no doubt. She lye dead before you and you had no idea what could happen to cause it.
  471. >"Relinquish yourself...give in to your desires for power..."
  472. >You sit there, holding your mother's body, sobbing and wishing for it all to end as the voice continues.
  473. >"Feed your rage, make it your strength in the times to come..."
  474. >Your mother's body begins fading into dust, falling through your hooves into the ground.
  475. "No...no...NOOOOOO-
  476. -OOOOO!!" You awaken screaming. Breathing heavy and shaking profusely.
  477. >Looking down to your sheets, they were soaked in sweat.
  478. "Huhhh...I-I don't understand...why am I plagued with these nightmares?"
  479. >Leaving bed and into the restroom, you wash your face. The cold water feeling good on your hot fur.
  480. "I must speak with Luna...she will know. Damn the guards!"
  481. >Opening the curtain, the moon was still high in the sky. This was the perfect opportunity!
  482. >Exiting your room, the images you had just witnessed began to fill you mind. What in Tartarus could be causing such images to appear to you?
  483. "Luna will know...I hope....please know..."
  484.  
  485.  
  486. >>
  487. >Exiting the barracks, you look to the sky, thinking to yourself.
  488. >What if she turns you down? Would you even continuing to have these nightmares or are they only a nuisance?
  489. >No, they are more then just that...they are so clear and vivid. How is it that could feel so real?
  490. >The pain, the laughter...
  491. >Entering the courtyard, the other guards hardly even acknowledge your presence, no doubt hearing about how you had gone against a direct order.
  492. "Okay, how exactly am I going to bring this up without sounding like an incompetent fool?" You mutter to yourself entering the castle, "I'll just have to be straight forward, if she turns me away then at least I know I tried. Come what may!"
  493. >Determination grows, causing you to pick up the pace towards Luna's part of the castle.
  494. >Marching down the hall leading to Luna's chamber, the guard still standing his post; you demand to see her.
  495. >Stopping in front of the guard, he gives you a mean look. As if he already knew what you were going to ask.
  496. "I wish to seek an audience with Princess Luna!" The echoing of your voice can be heard all down the hall.
  497. >"Hah, an insubordinate fool like yourself cannot make such demands!" The guard pounds his spear against the ground and positions it in front of the door, "begone before I-"
  498. >The chamber door opens, revealing Luna. Her dark blue starlit mane flowing so beautifully as it always does in the moonlit castle halls.
  499. >"Whats the meaning of this noise, guards?"
  500. >"P-Princess! M-my apologies," Quartz kneels, his tone going from one of confidence to cowardice, "this insubordinate wishes a private audience, I was informing him that were to not be disturbed!"
  501. >Luna fixes her gaze on you, looking curiously.
  502. >"What is it you want, Nether?"
  503. >The guards looks up in surprise.
  504. >"Y-your highness, you...know him?"
  505. >"He was a promising unicorn under my sister's tutelage. Though now I understand he is more interested in disobeying orders..." She says raising a brow.
  506. "I apologize your highness," You kneel, speaking with utmost respect, "but recent events that have transpired have raised questions I think only you can answer for me."
  507. >Luna closes her eyes and with a long, drawn-out sigh, she opens her door and raises her hoof, allowing you entrance to her chamber.
  508. "Very well, for my sister's sake I'll allow it." She says opening her chamber door and entering with you following.
  509. >The guard gives you a deathly glare as you make entry behind Luna.
  510. >Closing the door with her magic, she gets straight to the point.
  511. >"What is it that troubles you, young unicorn? And why do you seek my council over Celestia's? You were /her/ student after all..."
  512. "I've had these...nightmares, They-" She interrupts, almost seeming annoyed by your statement.
  513. >"/Another/ one? Do you honestly think I don't hear this kinda of thing every single night?" Luna walks over to her window, gazing at her moon, "Hmph, do you and every other pony imagine I can be in /every/ dream at once? making sure /everypony/ is sound asleep?"
  514. >She continues, growing more frustrated. You obviously weren't the first one to bring this kind of thing up.
  515. >"Honestly, I have an entire kingdom of dreams to look after and I cant be everywhere at the same time!"
  516. >She stomps her hoof into the stone floor, cracking it.
  517. >No wonder the guard feared her, she was quicker to anger the Celestia.
  518. "Y-yes your highness I understand! But, these aren't normal dreams. One of them came true!"
  519. >She doesn't look surprised. No doubt she had heard this before as well.
  520. >"Dreams may seem like they can come true in life but they are mere coincidence."
  521. >Shes not budging, maybe she'll open up more if you bring up the black empire?
  522. "Then tell me this at least, your highness. Have you ever heard of...Ny'alotha? Or the Black Empire?"
  523. >She turns to face you directly, walking within a few feet from in front of you, keeping a straight face and maintaining composure.
  524. >"Celestia...she told me of what you and your team encountered." Her voice tones down, "I had hoped it was all nonsense when she first told me."
  525. "I heard it from the faceless one we encountered after we found that black stone, it said 'I journey to Ny'alotha' whatever that means."
  526. >"I've only heard tales of it." She pauses, looking out her window, "A time long forgotten with the ages passing, though now it seems dark times wish to return to Equestria."
  527. "Your highness, if you and Princess Celestia had only heard of these things in stories, then why did she send so many off to the trading town? Does she think the stories you used to hear are all true?"
  528. >Your tone grows a bit louder, becoming angry with how Celestia forbade you from gathering more information against the faceless beasts.
  529. "And why would Celestia want my team to stop our search? We could have gathered so much more information!"
  530. >Luna walks over to the center of the room, facing you yet again.
  531. >"You had already confirmed the suspicions she had." Luna looks to the moon yet again, "When she first tasked your team to find the source of the recent attacks, she kept going on about a feeling of a dark presence making itself known. Like a long forgotten evil, I told her she was being paranoid. Whatever would come we could deal with it. After all, we defeated Discord..."
  532. >Luna looks back to you, continuing to explain Celestia's reasoning.
  533. >"She had always believed they were more then just stories. More then mere scary tales to be told before bed, thats why she ordered so many to the trading post. To make sure there would be enough to face whatever dark presence that could appear. But it seems we under estimated our enemy's strength..."
  534. "That would explain a lot then." You look up to the moon from the window, "Will the both of you be using the Elements of Harmony again on this new threat?"
  535. >With a sigh Luna responds.
  536. >"It may very well have to come to that, if we can't find another way, but I don't want it too. It may sound harsh I know, but the two of us can't be relied on to deal with every new threat that comes up."
  537. >Luna pauses and thinks for a moment. "If something horrible were to happen to either of us, the elements would become useless. Without all of them working together in unison, They are mere stones..."
  538. >Her tone grew more serious and worrying.
  539. >"Nether, describe to me your dreams, what happened in them?"
  540. >She takes a seat on one of the large golden laced pillows on her floor, gesturing for you to do the same as she hovers another next to you from the corner of her room.
  541. "Yes! Of course, thank you your highness."
  542. >Finally, she'll hear you.
  543. >She listens intently as you describe the two dreams, as well as the whispers of the voices. And that of the creatures that you witnessed slaughter Firespark's brigade.
  544. >"As I Feared. All the stories seem to actually hold truth...the Black Empire..." Luna closes her eyes and talks to herself, "Oh Celestia, you were right about all this it seems..."
  545. >She gets up off the pillow and walks over to a large cabinet next to her bed, pulling out two glasses and a bottle of fancy looking wine.
  546. >Using her dark blue aura emanating from her horn, she pours two glasses, giving one to you.
  547. >"I had my suspicions when Celestia told me of your initial report, but I was more doubtful then anything. This place, 'Ny'alotha', is known as the 'sleeping' or, 'black' forest." She takes a drink, finishing off the glass in one gulp, "The myth goes that it conceals a great gate that leads into a place, that could rival the darkest pits of Tarturas in horror."
  548. "I...I feel like I've seen it." You say taking a drink.
  549. >"From what you've described it seems that way. I'm very sorry you had to witness such horrors. But, I promise you, they are only dreams." she says with a sympathetic smile.
  550. >Her words were comforting. Normally you had always gone to Celestia seeking guidance but Luna, she was just as wise it seems.
  551. "Just one more thing remains, what of the black stone we brought back? What sort of chaos magic surrounds it?"
  552. >"At a first glance I could not tell, it looked like something they may have come from early on in Discord's reign, but the studies of it would prove it to be even older. I don't know exactly what kind of magic it holds. But I'm not going to dwell on it, there are bigger things to worry about. At this point we can only wait and see."
  553. >Finishing the wine she poured you, you thank Luna for the help and counseling.
  554. "Thank you, your highness, your words have put me much at ease." You make for the door, "I will take my leave now, thank you again."
  555. >"I will monitor your dreams more closely. If it happens again, I will be there to help!"
  556. "Th-thank you your highness! I don't deserve such generosity, thank you!" You say happily, bowing your head.
  557. >She gives another comforting grin as you bow your head, and exit the room.
  558. >Exiting, the guard once again gives you a deathly stare. Shrugging it off, you make your way back to the alchemy lab. Wanting to take one last look at the stone, maybe with a clearer head you can figure something about it out.
  559. >Or just see what the Pegasus studying it has found out about it.
  560.  
  561.  
  562. >>
  563. "Strange...where are the guards?"
  564. >Observing the alchemy ward doors, the two guards from earlier weren't present, no guards were for that matter. And the door was slightly ajar.
  565. >Entering the room, everything seemed as normal. Nothing broken, only a clutter and disorganized mess of stacked books and papers scattered across the tables, as they usually are.
  566. "Hmmmm, I wonder if that Pegasus is still here? Probably not, its late. More then likely sleeping." You think to yourself entering the doors.
  567. >Illuminating your horn to navigate the dark narrow walk way between the massive bookshelves and large tables, you find the desk where the Pegasus left his notes...and the stone.
  568. "Hmm. Maybe it really /is/ just an old rock, chaos magic is really a mystery." You think to yourself, staring down at the stone.
  569. >The stone was still glowing, giving off a dim red light. Growing curious, you closely examine it.
  570. "What in Equestria could have kept this thing around for so long? How did it not just break down with time?"
  571. >Now inches from it, you begin hearing a feint voice calling your name.
  572. >"Netherrr..."
  573. >Impossible...
  574. "What the-HEY!" You snap back as a pair of hooves grab your leg from under the desk. "Un-hoove me!"
  575. >You charge your horn ready to blast the attacker.
  576. >"I-I'm sorry Captain Nether, sir!"
  577. >It was the Pegasus from before. He was shaking, looked as if he hadn't slept in days. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were pale.
  578. "What are you doing under there? Whats the meaning of this? And where are the guards?" You say calming down and power down your magic.
  579. >Crawling out from under, he lets go of your hoof as he begins his explanation, shakily getting on his hooves.
  580. >"Well, a little while ago, the stone began acting up. 'Till now its just kinda been...a hunk of rock, and they had to remove the guards posted here to take ponies from 'non-essential' areas as they told me."
  581. >Guess Luna and Celestia really are prepping for a full blown war...
  582. "Acting up how? What has it been doing?"
  583. >He glances back at the rock, then back to you.
  584. >"I could hear...voices from it. Whispering to me my greatest fears. I never told anypony any of that stuff, but they knew. They described them all so vividly...like they could see into my mind or something!"
  585. >He takes a step back farther from the stone, looking worried "Whatever that thing is, I know its evil."
  586. "Calm yourself, how do you know you weren't just hearing things from being so tired? Its late, why are you even in here still?"
  587. >"Late? How late?" He places his hoof on his head, "I've been so intrigued with trying to figure this thing out that I've been losing track of time these past couple of days."
  588. "Its late enough, have you uncovered anything about this thing since I last came here? It's origin? The type of Chaos magic it holds?"
  589. >"I've only found out very little, its definitely dark magic though." He says placing a hoof on his chin, "To be honest I was beginning to lose hope of really learning anything about it till a while ago."
  590. "Whats your name, almost feel kind of rude asking now honestly." You say scratching the back of your head.
  591. >"Its Chemtrail, but thanks for asking."
  592. "Heh right, mind if I take a look at the stone then Chemtrail?"
  593. >"Not at all sir, just...be careful."
  594. "Trust me, after seeing what I've seen theirs nothing this rock can say that will bother me." You say confidently.
  595. >Looking closely, the stone's dark misty aura seem to intensify. As if it knew you were looking into it, now very dimly pulsating a dark red light.
  596. >A feint whisper can be heard, the voice almost seemed familiar.
  597. >"Travel to the black forest..../we/ will guide you too power..."
  598. >No way...you weren't just hearing things...Chemtrail wasn't just hearing things. Something was using this damn thing to communicate.
  599. >Gazing deeply into the stone, you attempt to respond to whatever is on the other side.
  600. "Power...what power?" You say curiously.
  601. >"Power to save your kin, your kingdom...you will be stronger then any other..."
  602. >A crimson swirl of energy envelops the stone and enters your eyes, leaving it but a mere husk. A rock, sitting on a table.
  603. >"What happened? Who were you talking to?" Chemtrail asks curiously.
  604. "I-I don't know, but its gone now." You avoid showing him your worried gaze. "Y-you should keep researching that thing..."
  605. >You scramble to avoid any other questions, hastily leaving the room.
  606. >"But sir! Wait I-"
  607. >You close the door before he can finish, breathing a little heavy.
  608. "Just what the Tarturas was that..."
  609. >Moving to the nearest window, you look at your transparent reflection. Checking your eyes and face, making sure nothing had gotten into you.
  610. "Maybe I'm just getting myself riled up over nothing..."
  611. >Shaking your head and closing your eyes you begin to make your way back to the barracks.
  612. >Walking down the halls leading out of the castle, feint whispers can be heard. As if they were coming from all directions.
  613. >"The sleeping forest awaits...to Everfree you must go."
  614. >"Power awaits...find your destiny..."
  615. >That voice, its quiet yet oh so familiar...
  616. "Are these the voices from the black stone?! Or are you just another nightmare waiting to come true?!" You Shout in the dark lit halls, only the echo of your voice answers back.
  617. "Hmph. Whatever you are, you could try to be more consistent!"
  618. >You continue walking. Your heart skips a beat and sinks as the voice returns, much louder now. As if it were right in front of you talking. The torches in the hall flicker, as a cold breeze blows in from the open windows.
  619. >"We are forever...our patience, is forever."
  620. "What do you want from me then?" You say looking in all directions, walking cautiously, "Better question, what the Tarturas did you do to me with that stone!?"
  621. >"It held a fragment of our essence...now it is held in you..."
  622. >You could recognizing the voice, it /is/ the same one from your nightmares.
  623. >"We want in our rightful world. The sleeping forest awaits you..."
  624. >Stopping in your tracks. Your thoughts go back to what they said earlier. What power could they be speaking of? To save home?
  625. >"Yeees, let it consume your mind until there is nothing left but thoughts of chaos..."
  626. "Enough! You spoke of a power to save this world from the faceless ones, what did you mean?"
  627. >The voice echoes again as a swirl of green dust rises from the ground, showing you a vision of a tome, a book covered in runes among other things you could not make out.
  628. >"The tome of our magic within Ny'alotha, is your prize. With it, you would wreak havoc on the faceless..."
  629. >The vision fades and disappear into dust, dissipating in the wind.
  630. "How can I trust you?" You say snapping back to reality, "If this 'prize' of your is in Ny'alotha, then why would you want me to use it against the faceless?"
  631. >You raise our voice even further.
  632. "And just how should I even know that you aren't one of them trying to manipulate me into going to a trap!?"
  633. >"Do not trust us, die with your home..."
  634. "Why do you want me to use this power to fight the faceless?"
  635. >"They have strayed from our gaze for too long...they seek to re-make the world in the image of the empire.../our/ empire..."
  636. >He can't mean...
  637. "The Black Empire you mean? If thats true then aren't they doing what you want them to?" You say still looking around, making sure nothing would leap from the shadows.
  638. >"From the earth they draw strength...our earth...our strength. It will not be used unless to /our/ benefit."
  639. "Just who are you..."
  640. >"We are the endless cycle of life and death...the engine of life to which all souls are bound..."
  641. >They make themselves out to be gods. But they seem more like devils.
  642. >"Use the power we offer, or die with your home. They will not stop, and your pathetic arcane magics won't save you..."
  643. "The Elements of Harmony, Princess Celestia and Luna won't let them win! Not so long as they can use them!"
  644. >Silence falls, but only for a moment.
  645. >"And how many will have to die...before they do. We can see more then you know...they won't use that again until they are desperate..."
  646. >They're right...Luna said it herself. How much time would go by, how many lives would be lost?
  647. >No. If they offer a means to end this conflict quickly, you must take it. Saving lives.../thats/ whats best for the kingdom.
  648. >"Do not accept our gift then, die with your home and people. Die in fear knowing you could have been saved..."
  649. >The voice begins to fade out.
  650. "Wait!" You yell stomping a hoof into the ground, "...Wait." *sigh* "What would you have me do?"
  651.  
  652.  
  653. >>
  654. >The following morning. You hadn't slept at all for the rest of the night, not since waking up.
  655. "Let's see, going to need a least a few days worth of food as well as a some first aid supplies, never know what I'll find in Everfree..."
  656. >Packing up two saddlebags with food, water, and other things needed for a journey through the forest, you open the door to your room and begin the journey. Not knowing exactly what you may encounter, but it will be worth saving this world.
  657. >As you lock up your door, you are greeted by Light. Walking down the hall from the common area.
  658. >"Sir! your back, were you able to receive guidance from princess Luna?" He says with a worried expression.
  659. >He looks down to your bags, growing more curious now.
  660. >"Looks like your prepping for one hell of a journey, why all the packing sir?"
  661. "I'm leaving, for how long I'm not really sure, but I think I may have found the key to ending this whole thing before it escalates too far."
  662. >Light joins you as you approach the doors exiting the hall, directly to the doors leaving the barracks.
  663. >"What did you find? Did Princess Luna tell you how to fight them?" He asks curiously.
  664. "No, though she did help me make this decision..."
  665. >"What do you mean? Did she know anything about those nightmares of yours, or anything about that black empire place?"
  666. "She did, actually."
  667. >Walking from the barracks approaching the rear gates leading directly into the Everfree, you try to explain why your leaving so suddenly without actually saying why.
  668. "See, Princess Luna had told me that her and Princess Celestia both have heard of these things and places before, and that Celestia suspected they were real."
  669. >"Is that why she became so hesitant to tell us anything when we brought it up a few days ago?"
  670. "I would think so, as well as why so many were sent off to that town to fight the battle we witnessed. Celestia apparently wanted for whoever was going out there to have the numbers and strength to fight them if they appeared."
  671. >Neither of you say a word for a minute, thinking back to that day.
  672. >"I guess we know how that turned out..." Light says hanging his head, "But that still doesn't answer my question, why exactly are you leaving?" He asks glancing at your bags.
  673. "Like I said, I may have found the key to ending this damn thing before it gets out of hoof."
  674. >"And what key is that...your not still hung up on using chaos magic are you?"
  675. >There was no clear answer. If you say no, he'll dig deeper. If you say yes...
  676. "Listen, Light...how long have we been friends?"
  677. >He seems surprised by the question, stuttering in his answer.
  678. >"Uh, well I think...jeez I don't know its been awhile." He says with his hoof behind his head.
  679. "Exactly, and in that time have you ever known me to get into something I couldn't handle?"
  680. >Approaching the back gates, you both continue with conversing.
  681. >"Since recently? No."
  682. "Exactly my point, I'm not going to rush off and free discord or make a deal with the devil if thats what your thinking." You say with a chuckle.
  683. >You were being honest, mostly anyway. Though withholding your exact reasoning to leaving.
  684. >"Well then I think you should know, before running into you I was overhearing a conversation with two of our higher ups. Magic Overwatch is being disbanded, were all supposed to get separated and put into normal battalions soon..."
  685. *Sigh* "I guess I should have seen something like this coming." You say, looking towards the sky "We /did/ disobey a direct order when we followed Firespark."
  686. >Stopping at the rear gates, you could see only a minimal number of guards posted. Normally there would be at least a dozen, but theirs only 4. One for each tower and gate lever.
  687. "They're pulling a lot of bodies from places where they don't see fit for there to be it seems." You say scanning the gates.
  688. "How soon did they say we'd be getting dropped into somewhere else?"
  689. >Light shrugs, "Don't know, I never got that piece of information, I was at the chow hall when I heard the two talking a few chairs away from me." Light places his hoof behind his head, "I'm just glad they didn't see my dumb flank, haha!"
  690. "Well...hopefully things turn out for the best. In the mean time, I'm-"
  691. >Light stops you mid-sentence.
  692. >"You still haven't answered my question y'know. What /exactly/ are you going off to find?" He asks in a more stern voice.
  693. >Pausing for a second, you try and think of how to dodge the question.
  694. "I'll tell you this my friend, if what it is promises as much, this war will be over quickly."
  695. >"Is it chaos magic, Nether?" Light asked, keeping a straight face.
  696. >You had no answer, it'd be better keeping him in the dark rather then letting him know who or what it is telling you of this. It matters not anyway, if this power source is as strong as the voices make it out to be, you'll return and make a hero of yourself!
  697. "And if it is?" You say looking him in the eye.
  698. >*Sigh* "I know this much, it doesn't matter what I try to say to keep you from going. Your stubborn flank wouldn't listen even if I did."
  699. "Will you tell them where I'm going then?"
  700. >Light cracks a smile, "Hah! And tell them what? You waltzed right up to me, told me your gonna find some super crazy chaos magic and use it?"
  701. >He stops himself, preventing himself from getting too loud for the other guards to overhear, "Despite it being against the law and that I just stood there and said 'yeah go for it'?!" He says waving his hoof.
  702. >Light is a good friend. Truly unfortunate this may be the last time you see him considering the re-assignments he mentioned...
  703. >"As far as /I/ know, sir, last I saw you; you were on your way too see princess Luna."
  704. >He gives a grin.
  705. "Good pony." You say placing a hoof on his shoulders.
  706. >Approaching the gates, you order the guards to allow you to exit.
  707. >"Just, promise me one thing, Nether Star..." He says as you walk out, "Come back...still you. Alright?"
  708. "Hah! I've never been known to lose my head old friend, thanks for the concern though."
  709. >With that you leave the castle grounds, entering the brush of the Everfree.
  710. >The promise of power, to save your homeland; was more then enough motivation for you to see this through to the end.
  711.  
  712.  
  713. >>
  714. >Days had passed since leaving the castle. The thought of leaving home at such a crucial time weighed heavy in your mind.
  715. >Leaving them all to fight the faceless armies without you. Despite the no doubt small contribution you would give, it still ate at you that you were on this fool's journey to a place that has never even existed on a map.
  716. >Would there even be a kingdom left to save? Would Lightbreak, your only friend, survive; or even except you if you return with this no doubt dark power?
  717. >Would the vision of your mother's death come true as the last one did?
  718. >"You are getting close..."
  719. >The voice, now your only companion; guided you on your way. Pestering you every so often, preventing even a moment of peace.
  720. "I feel like this journey will never end, the Everfree spans for a long time." You let out a sigh "I'm also beginning to think that this promise is nothing but a lie."
  721. >The supplies you had brought were running out, the rations running low, and drinkable water running dry.
  722. >"When your are in Ny'alotha...your hunger for mortal things will cease..."
  723. "And what does that even mean!? All you've been telling me are riddles, nothing but mindless blabbering about death and betrayal!" You say stopping mid stride, turning to yell and let out some frustration.
  724. >The burden of their whispers was beginning to get to you, they were insatiable. Not letting you sleep, or rest.
  725. >"Keep...moving..."
  726. "Hugh! Damn you!"
  727. >The whispers seemed to be growing louder, the dark voices rumbling in your mind as if to make your skull vibrate with each word. As if their powers were growing the closer you got...
  728. >"You will witness true greatness soon...."
  729. >Coming up to a clearing, you stop and rest. Sitting on a log covered in small mushrooms and moss, you pull out what is the last of your rations, only a small red apple.
  730. "Dammit...just what the Tarturas will I do." You think looking into your now empty bags, "My hooves ache with each step, you've been keeping me going for days!"
  731. >Looking at the bottoms of your hooves you see how eroded they've become from the non-stop march.
  732. >"Your appetite will be sated...your hunger will cease."
  733. "Just keep barking..." You say taking a bite from the red apple, the last bit of food you have.
  734. *Sigh* "Maybe a little sleep would be helpful, I haven't slept since before talking with Princess Luna..."
  735. >"Sleep? ...No sleep...only walk..."
  736. >Insufferable voices...
  737. >Finishing off the apple and going farther along you come up to a marsh, littered with dead logs and trees.
  738. >Looking to the sun, you can see it was almost dark, and being this deep in the Everfree with no light other then your nearly exhausted magic, navigation would be difficult.
  739. "Its dark now, I have barely enough energy to walk." Breathing heavily, you lean against a tree, sliding down against your back into the muddy ground, "I need to rest, I'm gonna be useless to you if I cant even move!"
  740. >"You are near...the power calls to you...the power to control life itself...the power to save those you care about." The voice grows louder, "Surely you wish to save the last of your family?"
  741. >You Rise back up, now covered in mud, leaving the bags and pressing onward.
  742. "I hate you..."
  743. >The sound of your hooves stamping through the mud was the only thing you could focus on other then the voice, keeping you awake.
  744. >"Good...it will make you stronger."
  745. >It was nearly pitch dark. The light of Luna's moon could not penetrate this deep into the forest, only tiny rays of light that could barely provide enough sight for you to see your hoof in front of your face.
  746. >Using only the feint outlines of the trees in front of you, you continue on still.
  747. "I'm just surprised that nothings tried to attack, this place is supposed to be home to all kinds of predators. Come to think of it, this place has been completely dead since I got here..."
  748. >"They know our presence, they fear our power."
  749. "Of course they do..."
  750. >Your attention is caught by a large hallow dead log that lay only a few yards in front of you, red dark light glowing from it's insides.
  751. >"Stop here...the light....enter it and be taken to the place of our design..."
  752. >Looking around, you take a deep breath and walk over to the log.
  753. "Whats inside of this thing, looks like a dead log to me!"
  754. >"Do It..."
  755. >The voice boomed in your head, seemingly making your skull vibrate, sending a chill down your spine.
  756. >Now only a few inches away, you shake off your doubts and enter the light. A feeling of temporal displacement overwhelms you. As if being dragged to somewhere else.
  757. >"Yeeeesss."
  758. >The portal spits you out into the cold hard ground. The soil was black, as were the rocks, and plant-life.
  759. "I recognize this place..."
  760. >"Enter, and behold our world...."
  761. >The voices were no longer ringing in your head, but seemingly coming from the dark red-lit skies overhead.
  762. >In front of you are great black gates, spires and twisted spikes protruding upward from the ground, twisting and curving into the clouds.
  763. >They surrounded the gates, like a tunnel leading whoever is unfortunate enough to find this place into it. A deep red glow eminated from beyond the satin bars, radiating onto the black ground, giving the whole place an even more menacing appeal.
  764. >The atmosphere made it hard to breathe, the heat and insane humidity filled the air. Making it near impossible to catch your breath after hitting the ground.
  765. "Where...is this..." You say breathing heavily.
  766. >"The entrance to our world...Now enter...claim your destiny."
  767. >The gates open, creaking a loud pitched creak causing you to cringe and cover your ears and revealing a vast, seemingly unending forest of horror. Aberrations, monsters, phantoms, and hideous deformed creatures, all roamed freely.
  768. >Taking in the view, you fall to your knees, breathing hard and shaking. Gritting your teeth and trying to keep yourself from having to see any more.
  769. *gulp* I-is this N-Ny-alotha?"
  770. >"A small part...yes. Now go, Your power is near..."
  771. >The creatures trucked on, not even noticing the opening gates or you standing there. As if you were invisible to their eyes.
  772. >"They do not see you...not yet."
  773. "And if they did?" You ask as you begin walking down the trail from the gate.
  774. >"You would already be dead..."
  775. >This place is certainly inviting.
  776. >As you make your way down the trail, the sound of the indigenous wildlife can be heard. Constantly filling the dark atmosphere with a chorus of wailing voices and sounds of death.
  777. "Just stay focused...ignore them..." You think to yourself, focusing on each step.
  778. >After what seemed like forever, a clearing comes into view. Revealing a shrine, run down by time, walls cracked and broken, covered in vines. Spires protruded from it's walls, giving it a menacing presence.
  779. >"There....go there..."
  780. *gulp*
  781. >You make your way towards it's entrance, trying to control your fear as you walk in. Your steps echo in the vast, empty halls.
  782. >You look upon the walls, decorated with skulls and bones of so many creatures, including that of your own kind. The ceiling depicted a large painting of a massive swirling void, taking in all manners of life around it, the look of agony and pain depicted in the faces of those being taken by it seem so real.
  783. "Just what is all this...who could make such a place?"
  784. >"The main hall....go to the main hall..."
  785. >Navigating the corridors, you find a large open room. Lined with candle stands, black in color. Green flames danced on the candles, only adding to the wickedness of the depraved shrine.
  786. >"Your prize lay before you.../take/ it."
  787. >At the end of the inner hall, a book laid on a table. Wrapped in a brown and red stained cloth.
  788. Approaching the table, you can almost feel being pulled towards it. As if it were made for you to find it.
  789. "This is it..." You say unraveling the cloth, revealing a book with a series if symbols covering it.
  790. >A Squid-like head at the top of the cover had it's tentacles twisting all around the center, where malevolent looking stars within a circle was etched in. Dark runes were drawn around the outer edge of the circle, sending a terrible chill down your spine.
  791. >The book's cover was made of some kind of leather. Giving a feeling of old rubbery skin in your hooves.
  792. "No...this is the darkest of magic...I've-I've never seen anything like this..."
  793. >"Open it...absorb it's knowledge and power. Take our blessing..."
  794. "I-I can't! Th-this is...." You say as your body shakes in fear.
  795. >"This is what you came here for...take it's power...you will become a force of reckoning on your enemies..."
  796. "And if I refuse?"
  797. >"Your spirit will linger here forever...as /they/ do..."
  798. *Tortured roars*
  799. >From behind you, twisted, mangled corpses of ponies, wolves, manticores, and so many others you could not tell; Were slowly creeping towards you. Shear agonizing cries pierced your ears as they creep closer.
  800. >They had no eyes, only a white and red glow came from where their sockets. Bones and muscle tissue were showing across different parts of their bodies. Howls of horror filled the entire cathedral, echoing throughout the halls and in your ears.
  801. "Away with you!!"
  802. >Your horn lights up, firing off a series of arcane missiles into the monstrous menagerie.
  803. "I-Impossible!"
  804. >The missiles had gone straight through them, the holes left behind quickly reformed in a dark misty aura. They were but shadows, unaffected by your magic.
  805. >"The tome...it is your only way to survive now..."
  806. "You led me here! You planned to reveal me to them after I found this book to give me no choice!!"
  807. >"Hm hm hm hm...You brought yourself here..."
  808. "Damn you!"
  809. >Looking down to the book, you knew that there was only one choice, it was right. At the end of the day /you/ made the decision to come here.
  810. >Feeling desperate and not ready to die, you open the book. The dark symbols and drawings within begin lighting up as you turn the pages.
  811. >An emerald aura surrounds you, giving off rays of light and energy, waving off the shadows.
  812. "Arghhhhh!! What...is!?"
  813. >An intense pain overcame you, it felt as if your very soul were being cast into an inferno.
  814. >"Shhh...it will all be over soon..." The voice continued in your mind.
  815. >Even through this pain, this heat. They would not leave you.
  816. >Writhing in agony, the whispers continue. Being heard clearly through the sounds of your torment.
  817. >"The pain will be short...the power will not be."
  818. >It goes on. Every moment feels like an eternity, the burning inside your body grew only more and more.
  819. "NGHHH!! I-I will make you pay for this!!" You scream, falling to the ground.
  820. >Green fires surround you, burning a symbol into the ground in the shape of two stars within a circle.
  821. >The pain finally subsides, steam rising from your body as a burning image of the stars that were on the book cover surrounds you, burnt into the ground below in an emerald glow.
  822. *pant* "Ughhh...is...is it" *pant* "I feel only...."
  823. >The burning comes again.
  824. "AhhhhhNGGGGGG!!"
  825. >Your cutie mark, fading away as it is replaced by the green star. Dark runes skittering across it as it forms.
  826. >"You will become the harbinger of our fury...Nether Star, the scourge of our enemies."
  827. >You rise to your hooves, still breathing hard as if you had just finished a marathon.
  828. >Looking up to the hall, the shadowy figures slowly began walking towards you, in a massive amalgamation of shadow, tooth, and claw.
  829. >"Use the magic...feed on their life."
  830. "Wh-what? H-how do I?"
  831. >"It acts on your will...think it and it will act accordingly"
  832. >One of the monsters lash out, leaping towards you bearing its claws and long sharp teeth.
  833. "Damnit! How do I- AGH!"
  834. >The beast's claw meets with your chest, giving you a large gash. But still only a flesh wound.
  835. >Leaping back to the wall, eyes darting all around seeing only masses of shadow of fang, tooth, and claw, you throw caution to the wind and begin to charge a magic missile as you normally would.
  836. >Your horn lights up a magnificent green glow. It's light illuminates the entire altar, humming with power and sparks of green energy coming off your horn. As well as green flames dancing around you.
  837. >The creatures are blinded by its glory, as a dim red glow comes to your eyes.
  838. "Magic missile!" The bolt of energy fires with great force, detonating against one of the larger shadows in a violent display of emerald fire. Incinerating the beasts where they stood.
  839. *pant* "In-incredible..." *pant* You say looking at your hooves.
  840. >Examining your body, you see clearer, hear clearer. All your senses heightened. You fur and mane, even, were more prominent then before. Darker streaks of purple cover your body and white lines ran through your mane.
  841. "I feel immaculate...this is...unreal. I-"
  842. >A massive shadowy creature steps forward from the fire, roaring in pain as it continues creeping towards you.
  843. "No way! How could it have survived!?"
  844. >"The creatures of this world aren't like that of your mortal world...they are much stronger..."
  845. >The black beast continues forward, getting nearer. It's bony structure and large claws clattering as the fires continues to melt pieces of it's flesh away.
  846. >"The fuel for your magic...is life...take this one's life and become stronger..."
  847. "I just /tried/ to take it's life!"
  848. >The emerald flames began dying down, as the creature's flesh started to mend. Gaining back it's strength.
  849. >"No...drain it..."
  850. "Drain? How do I?"
  851. >"You took in the tome's power and knowledge...think...you know how..."
  852. >The beast swipes it's claws at you, missing only by an inch as you leap away.
  853. "Dammit!" Running to the side wall, you avoid another slash and make for the exit.
  854. "Drain it's life?! What does that even mean!?"
  855. >"TAKE it's LIFE! Drain it of it's essence and make it your own!"
  856. >The voices echo loudly through the halls, giving away your position.
  857. >Running out of the door, you are knocked forward and to the ground by the beast crashing through the walls behind you, letting out a loud roar while doing so.
  858. "How!? How do I drain it!?" You ask in anger, getting back to your hooves.
  859. >The beast takes another shot, catching you off guard and smashing you you into the ground with it's palm.
  860. "MHPHFFFF!"
  861. >The monster grabs you in it's hand, bring you up to it's face and squeezes hard, crushing your body.
  862. "H-HOW!?" You hack up blood, hearing you ribs break in it's grip. "N-no...I..."
  863. >Your vision was fading as you struggled.
  864. >"Come all this way...only to die here...you are weak..."
  865. "I...am...NOT!
  866. >You gain a final burst of adrenaline, your horn glowing brightly once again. Blinding the monster, causing it to drop you as it covers it's eyes and roars in pain.
  867. "NOO!! I won't die here! There is too much left for me to do!"
  868. >Quickly getting to your feet, with one hoof holding your ribs. You power up your spell.
  869. "Not Yet!" You scream, eyes glowing red yet again.
  870. >The creature begins glowing in a white light, white mist begins leaving it's body and flowing into your horn, changing to green as it does so.
  871. "Your life is mine!"
  872. >The creature's body begins fading, as if it's body were decomposing to a skeleton over the course of just a few moments.
  873. "Not...by a stupid monster...I won't die..." You say standing up straight.
  874. >You quickly realize that your injuries have suddenly healed, you were no longer in any pain or discomfort.
  875. "My wounds...they...healed?"
  876. >Examining your injuries, you couldn't see or feel them anymore.
  877. >"Draining life...gives /you/ life...and power...with enough, you could be unstoppable...."
  878. >You look at the lifeless husk of the monster, fading into dust before you.
  879. "This is certainly useful..." You say, still looking over yourself, "But how did I- wha-whoa!"
  880. >The same feeling of temporal displacement overcomes you again. Pulling you from the nightmarish realm, back into reality.
  881. >The portal spat you out back at the large hollow log. The voice, speaking to you once again.
  882. >"Where you tread, death will follow. Use this power... /save/ your kingdom..."
  883. "You may think me simple minded, but I am no pawn! I will use this power only to save lives!" You say barking in the dark.
  884. >"Of course, indulge yourself, learn your new magical prowess..."
  885. >The voice fades out. leaving your mind, for now.
  886. "Hmph, I wont be made a servant. My loyalty is to my home, my friends...my family..."
  887. >Looking into the trees, observing what small glimpse of the moon shining through that you can; your mind goes back to the vision of you mother's death.
  888. "I won't let any harm come to them..."
  889.  
  890.  
  891. >>
  892. >7 days had passed since you last saw Nether Star. Trying to remain focused on your current duty, you could not help but wonder where he could have gone.
  893. >The disbanding of your Overwatch was eating at you as well. Being dropped into a normal guard battalion wasn't something you were accustomed to but, you really had no choice.
  894. >Not to mention being separated from all the other friends you had made during your time in the Overwatch. And the fact that Nether was...absent during the re-assigning caused quite a bit of commotion.
  895. >Of course, he was a friend, and you denied knowing exactly where he had gone. Luckily the investigation didn't last as long as it should have, only a few days. With the war being the main focus of all the Royal Guard's higher ranking officers chasing down ponies going AWOL wasn't their highest priority, thankfully.
  896. >Since then each individual guard of the Overwatch was re-assigned to different infantry battalions, splitting the group indefinitely.
  897. >Nether, however, is now wanted for questioning in light of what he had told Princess Luna along with his sudden disappearance.
  898. "Ugh I cant believe they would put a mage with my skills in security detail, I belong on the front!" You say scratching your ear in annoyance.
  899. >A small unit consisting of 12 guards, 6 Pegasi and 5 Earth ponies, including yourself as the only Unicorn, were stationed in a small garrison to guard a farming village.
  900. >Not the most exciting thing to do, but it made you feel better knowing the locals felt safe with your presence.
  901. >And on top of that, this village was supposedly where Nether was born. His mother still lived here, least thats what the description in the briefing of the village you received had stated.
  902. >It was a small quaint little place, not much more then a handful of house constructed of straw and logs, along with a small river running through it's center. A small bridge connecting the two sides of town.
  903. >A few larger buildings stood at the edges of the village as the town hall and storage houses for various farming tools and equipment. The crop fields took up most of the space, consisting of mostly corn.
  904. >Small canals were dug up leading to the crop fields from the river, rather efficient form of growing food.
  905. >They had also stated to bring Nether in for questioning should you see him there, by force if necessary...
  906. >Be Light Break, and this place was ever so dull. How you longed to fight against the shadows that threaten your homeland.
  907. >Word of the destruction of so many towns and outlying posts had spread quickly. Causing much fear and even distrust to the Royal Guard force in the larger cities of Equestria.
  908. >Walking through one of the few roads of the rather small village you are caught unawares by one of the guards ponies stationed here with you.
  909. >"Lieutenant Light Break, sir! We've received a message from a nearby combat patrol unit! They're under attack from the faceless and have requested the nearest security detail to assist!" The guard says in a panicky tone, accompanied by a messenger Pegasus. No doubt from the patrol under attack.
  910. >That would leave this place completely defenseless, whats the point of trying to keep trust in the citizens of the kingdom if you were just going to abandon them anyway?
  911. "How can they expect us to protect this place and assist them at the same time? We don't have the bodies for that!"
  912. >As much as you would love to, going off and fighting would mean that these ponies would be left wide open for any sort of attack. Whether it be from bandits, or the faceless armies.
  913. >The messenger Pegasus approaches you with an angry look.
  914. >"Sir, under Equestrian noble law, when a guard unit requests re-enforcements, you are obliged to-"
  915. "Don't lecture me on the law!" You say now pointing at the Pegasus, "You are the messenger, correct?"
  916. >"Yessir!" He says snapping to attention.
  917. "Very well, I and 6 other of my guards will join you."
  918. >The messenger looks surprised, he obviously didn't know of you pony-power situation.
  919. >"Such a small amount? Were gonna need-"
  920. "Its all we can spare," You say cutting him off, "we weren't given much in the first place. Too many resources are being spent to protect the larger cities and towns to mind small places like this..."
  921. >"I understand sir, I apologize for my rudeness!"
  922. >The messenger renders a salute.
  923. "Don't worry about it," A grin grows on your face, you've been waiting for another crack at these faceless bastards, "Besides, I'M more then enough reinforcements, I'll have you know that I was one of Celestia's prized pupils!"
  924. >"Ex-excellent!" He says with his face lighting up, "with your help we just might be able to push them back!"
  925. >Nodding in agreement you call out to every guard in the village. Luckily being in such a small area meant you didn't have to scramble looking for the guards under your charge.
  926. "Guards ponies! We've been tasked to assist our fellow warriors in battle, I and 6 others will be going, the others will remain here and safeguard this village!" Placing a hoof to your chin, you point out the Pegasi in your unit, "Which one of you is the fastest?"
  927. >"I believe I am, sir!" Said the most slender of the pegasi.
  928. "You will be one that remains here, Aircutter, should anything go awry during our absence you are to seek us out at the battlefield and bring word of whats happened."
  929. >"Yes sir! I won't fail the kingdom!" He says giving a salute.
  930. "3 Pegasus and 3 Earth ponies, thats what I'm taking. The rest of you, maintain air and ground patrol. Don't grow complacent!"
  931. >"Yessir!"
  932. >"Are you all leaving us?"
  933. >A deep purple coated, pink maned colored unicorn asks with concern in her voice, approaching you.
  934. "My apologies miss, but we are bound by law to assist our fellow knights." You say humbly taking a bow, "We are leaving some to stay though. If anything happens we will be able to have word sent and return and defend your homes."
  935. >"I see, just be careful out there. Come back to us safely, your presence here makes us all feel at ease." She looks back over the village with worried look, "No pony here is trained for combat or warfare, were just a small farming village."
  936. "I understand ma'am, we will return as quickly as we can." You place a hoof on her shoulder, in an attempt to put her at ease, "Though, just out of curiosity, why is a unicorn living in a farming village of earth ponies?"
  937. >"Well you'd be surprised at how much a little magic can help the irrigation flow to the crops during the drier months."
  938. "Heh, right. Well anyway, although I can't make any promises, you do have my word that once the battle is over we will return with all we are able." You say to help put her at ease.
  939. >"I know what obligations you have as military ponies, as a mother of a son in the guard I know the duties you have."
  940. >Hold on, she has a son? And shes the /only/ Unicorn in this village. Don't suppose she could be...
  941. "You son's name...what is it?" You say staring at the ground then back to her.
  942. >She gives you a curious look, but answers nonetheless.
  943. >"Why, my colt Nether Star. Do you know him?" She asks, eyes going wide, no doubt hoping to hear of her son.
  944. >What are the odds, the brief was correct. Nether's mother really was a resident of this little village. You had paid no mind to a lone Unicorn living here before now.
  945. "Yes, I uh, served with him for a good while. We were both students in Celestia's school for gifted unicorns. We quickly became friends."
  946. >"Oh! You must be Light Break then!" Her face lights up, "Its so nice to finally meet you! My son had written about how you and him had become two of Princess Celestia's favorite students."
  947. "Haha! I'll have to scold ol'Nether for not introducing me to his family sooner!" You say placing you hoof behind your head.
  948. >"Sir, we should get moving." Said the messenger, meeting this kind mare almost made you forget entirely.
  949. "Yes! Of course! Make preparations to depart, gather your weapons!" You turn back to her as you issue the order, "I never got your name miss...?"
  950. >"Starsurge, thank you for asking. I look forward to seeing you return soon!"
  951. "Heh, definitely!" Before departing you leave her with a few words, feeling as if you should remind her that her son is okay, "Miss Starsurge, your son is by far one of the most dedicated ponies I've had the privilege to serve with. I'm sure where ever he is in this conflict, hes no doubt doing great things."
  952. >She wipes a tear from her eye, "Thank you, Light. Please, if you see him before I do, tell him his mother misses him. And that he needs to send more letters home!"
  953. "Of course, we will return!"
  954. >With those final words, you depart for the front. Ready to fight.
  955.  
  956.  
  957. >>
  958. >Emerald fire and flame engulfed the area, burning down everything it touched. The Hydra's body laying half in the water, the other half chard and smoking on the muddy ground. Only ash and bone remained of the once mighty predator.
  959. >It was nothing but a chard husk, withering away into the wind as the ashes fluttered away like fireflies in the night.
  960. >You stand triumphantly over the still burning corpse, the green flames not showing any sign of being extinguished until what its burning is no more.
  961. "This chaos magic is incredible...it didn't take much to take down a full grown Hydra." You say watching the ashes float away.
  962. >The emerald light surrounding your body begins to fade out as you power down and take a breath.
  963. >"The more life you drain, the more powerful you become..."
  964. "Oh, your still here? I hadn't noticed..." You say leaving the hydra's corpse behind.
  965. >"The essence in the stone is now in you...we see what you see."
  966. "Be sure to /not/ remind me of that the next time I have an intimate moment."
  967. >"Your impudence, will be your death..."
  968. "Mindless babbling as always."
  969. >It had been only 2 days since you left the black forest and started making your way back to  the castle. You hadn't eaten or slept in that time, as if the life essence you had been draining from whatever animals in the Everfree were unfortunate enough to cross your path had been sustaining your body as well as your magic.
  970. >Strangely, all manners of indigenous creatures to the Everfree were active now.
  971. "Strange though, why are the natives of Everfree now so much more active then from before?"
  972. >"Our presence has dwindled, only a lingering slither compared to before. Bringing you in and out of Ny'alotha took much power. They will fear you...as they do us, soon."
  973. "Teleporting me twice took that much from you? Perhaps your not as strong as you make yourselves out to be."
  974. >"Our current strength even within the black empire is but a mere whisper compared to what we could be if manifest into the mortal world..."
  975. "The longer you linger in my head, the more I want to get you out!"
  976. >"Our souls are merged...we are one forever."
  977. "Thats just grand..." You say continuing your journey through the forest.
  978. >Hours go by, trecking through the murky waters, mud covering your hooves as you leave the marsh behind to more solid ground within the forest.
  979. >The tall trees with low hanging branches and vines no longer seemed as menacing as before considering what you had been borne witness to, you were only more concerned more with arriving at the castle.
  980. >What will they all say when they see what your capable of? Will they cast you out? Imprisonment? ...Death?
  981. >No. They should revere you and your power. For soon it will make you a hero among them all.
  982. >The nightmare of you mother's death still lingered in your thoughts. Dictating your next move.
  983. "I should visit home first, at least make sure shes safe."
  984. >No way that vision would come true...you can't let it come true.
  985. >Finally exiting Everfree, you are greeted by an open field. The rolling green hills and fresh air feel so refreshing since having been in such dark and gloomy places the past week.
  986. "Ahhh, finally. Fresh air, away from that damned humidity." You say taking a deep breath, felt as if the very jungle itself wanted to suffocate you at times.
  987. >You look towards the horizon observing the sun, now beginning to set to the west.
  988. "Lets see...the castle is directly west of here, which means home is...that way." You say pointing to the south.
  989. >Before starting for home, you notice a large red glow off in the distance. The telltale sign of a large fire or battle...
  990. "Must be a large battle, this is my first chance to see what I can do against those faceless abominations!!"
  991. >Changing course directly for the red glowing horizon, you full on sprint towards it. Feeling invigorated by the confidence you have in your newfound power.
  992. "Hah! The chaos magic has made me so powerful! I will slay so many of those faceless mongrels as they have done to my people!!" You say, still picking up speed.
  993. >Your pace continues to pick up as your galloping grows more intense, running even faster as en emerald glow emits from your horn down to your hooves.
  994. "Haha! Wh-wha? What the..." You say floating through the air, picking up more speed, "This is incredible! I can fly!"
  995. >A trail of green flames follow your hooves as you gallop through the air, only making you more excited to finally join the war.
  996. "They will see now! They will see just what I can do!"
  997.  
  998.  
  999. >>
  1000. >Smoke and dust filled the air, clouding out the night sky. The only light available was that of the flames dancing and flickering as homes and chariots burn to the ground in the streets of the once thriving town.
  1001. >Breathing was made difficult due the intense heat and lack of oxygen in the battleground, making every breath seem to burn as it entered the body.
  1002. >There was little reprieve, only constant carnage as the battle rages on. The sounds of blades and spears carving into flesh filled the atmosphere, as did the roaring of the faceless monsters.
  1003. >Bolts and sparks of magic filled the air, exploding in violent displays of power. Golden rays and flashes of dark energies illuminated more fighting in the thick dust and smoke enveloping the area.
  1004. >So much yelling and screaming echos in the distance as your fellow soldiers and guards attempt to communicate over the carnage of the battle.
  1005. >For every one faceless abomination slain, so many more soldiers were lost. Numerous corpses littered the ground, staining the dirt with blood.
  1006. >The glow of amber in the eyes of the faceless beasts made them easy to target, thankfully. Their size didn't help them either. They gave themselves away with each move to attack they made.
  1007. >"They're coming! They're coming back!" A voice shouted in the distance from atop one of the ruined structures, alerting you all to the group of faceless entering the streets.
  1008. >"Light, orders sir?!" Asked the Unicorn standing beside you behind a crumbled wall.
  1009. "Wait for it! Wait! Don't attack until you see the amber in their eyes!" You shout back.
  1010. >Fortunately for you and the rest of the guards you brought with you, you were able to join in and take charge of a platoon of guards in a section of the town.
  1011. >Hiding in the alleyways of the long gravel street behind debris and within any still standing structure, your new platoon only awaited the order to spring the ambush.
  1012. >A rumble is felt in the ground as they walk, each vibration growing slightly as they grow closer. The smalls pebbles and rocks on the ground move and shake with every step they take.
  1013. >Beads of sweat run down your face, both from nervousness and the heat from the fires surrounding the area.
  1014. >"Come out come out..." A deep voice echos.
  1015. >Faceless began slowly making their way into the open street, knocking aside any piece of building or other debris in their path. Few in number, thats really all it ever takes a few to wreak havoc on unprepared opposition.
  1016. >"Your cowardice will only make killing you more enjoyable, ponies..." The same voice says again, growing in volume as they get closer.
  1017. >"Light, we should-"
  1018. "Not yet, give it a few more seconds, just a little closer..." You quietly whisper to the unicorn hiding with you, powering up your magic.
  1019. >"We will find you. Your deaths will be especially painful." The faceless creature continues on, scanning the area for any signs of life, "We are the very things you fear, the monsters in your nightmares..."
  1020. "Thats right you bastard...just keep talking, let me know exactly where you are..."
  1021. >The deeper into the streets they got, the closer they grow to your ambush. So many Pegasus, Unicorns, and Earth ponies alike were awaiting the order within the shadows.
  1022. >Their footsteps grew louder, and shook the ground more and more the closer they got.
  1023. >The tension began building up in your body, causing you to develop a nervous shake.
  1024. >footsteps grew closer still. Taking a deep breath you position yourself to surprise the encroaching faceless horrors.
  1025. >"You should all just give up and give in. Fighting death itself is so-"
  1026. "Take those words and choke on them!" You yell out, firing a radiant beam of golden light from your horn over the wall.
  1027. >The beam makes a direct hit against the head of the beast. The ground shakes with it's fall, blood now pouring from it's open wound.
  1028. >Luckily the arrogant monster's bragging gave you enough time to charge such a spell.
  1029. "Now, everyone! Do not let them regroup! Bring them down!" You cry out, ordering the attack.
  1030. >Guards began emerging from the shadows and smoke, war crying and raising their weapons and shields as they assault the beasts with great fury.
  1031. >Unicorns all fire off magic missiles and beams of light, striking the creatures from all directions. Pegasi and earth ponies work in unison bring the beasts to the ground with long grapples and rope, wrapping up and tripping the creatures over.
  1032. >"On it! Get on it and slay it!" Shouts one of guards as they begin climbing atop the beast frantically impaling it over and over again with so many their swords and spears. Black blood poured from the wounds, draining into the roads as the amber glow in it's eyes fade out.
  1033. "Don't relent, keep fighting!" You shout as you continue firing bolts of magic at the other creatures being brought down in similar fashion.
  1034. >Dark black blood began to fill the streets from the bodies of the fallen creatures, pooling in large puddles on the ground and flowing in the cracks of road like rainwater.
  1035. >The others would follow in suite. Using this strategy was rather effective, considering their size and the environment you were in. Seemed something would finally go in your favor...
  1036. >"I won't be brought down by you mortal filth!" Shouted one of the faceless, breaking the rope bindings. "Shadows will take you all!"
  1037. >Wrapping a nearby carriage in it's tendril, it hurdles it down the road. It crashes into one of the crumbling buildings, causing it to collapse. Killing two of your soldiers.
  1038. "NO! Bring it down, quickly! Before it can wreak any more havoc on us!" You call out as the creature continues to lash out.
  1039. >"Die insects!"
  1040. >The faceless forms a bright purple orbs in it's arms, pulsating and radiating a dark aura. Throwing it to the ground it detonates with enough force to knock you and every other guard back a number of feet, knocking the air out of you.
  1041. *cough* "Ugh, damn chaos magic using..." You mutter to yourself, shakily getting back to your hooves.
  1042. >"Your kind's end will come soon, we will take this world as it's true masters!"
  1043. >It raises it's tendrils over it's head. A deep purple light begins to emit for the tips of it's arms. A ball of chaotic energy forms and grows, humming with raw power.
  1044. >"We won't survive a blast like that!" A guard yells as the creature prepares another attack.
  1045. "UNICORNS! Missile Formation!"
  1046. >The other unicorns and you line up and each fire off a barrage of magic missile spells at the beast, each one stopping just before impact and being absorbed by the dark orb, growing in power.
  1047. >"Send me all you magic, I will take it! This one blast will go off with enough force to wipe you all out! Will any of you try and stop me!?"
  1048. >The orb of chaos energy over it's head was growing, raw energy and darkness emitted from it. Giving off a deep purple glow, illuminating the road way.
  1049. "No...we won't just roll over and die! Rise my fellow soldiers, rise and face death with honor!" You call out to your fellow guards ponies, attempting to rally them.
  1050. >"We're with you!"
  1051. >"We'll die with honor!"
  1052. >"For Equestria!"
  1053. >"Your tenacity is admirable, BUT POINTLESS!" The large beast cries out, "You fight against death itself! The dark shadow descends on your world, and it will devour you all in a wave of torment!"
  1054. "Take him down! Show that we won't go without a fight!"
  1055. >The guards all rally into one group behind you as you kick the dirt behind you getting ready ot charge.
  1056. "Charge! Wipe him out!" You say now leading the charging formation, preparing a magic missile.
  1057. >"Yes, YES! Bring your rage to bear, TRY to stop me Ahahahah!
  1058. >The massive creature raised his arms higher over his head, The mass of chaotic energy shining even brighter in a blinding light.
  1059. >"This one blast...it-will-TAKE YOU ALL!" His voices raises as he laughs in triumph.
  1060. "Do not fear! Keep up the attack!"
  1061. >The platoon continues it's charge, the sound of hooves hitting the dirt echo off the building walls as the gap closes.
  1062. >"Die, DIE!! AHHHHAHA- UHg...AHHHHHHHH!!"
  1063. >A mass of green light pierces through the creature, giving it a wide burning hole in it's now smoking chest.
  1064. >The mass of energy over it's head quickly dissipates into the air as it loses it's balance, writhing in pain.
  1065. >"NGGGGHHH! Wha-what is this!?" It says turning to an emerald glowing pony.
  1066. >"I-impossible..." It says falling down on it's backside, shaking the ground on impact.
  1067. >The platoon stops the charge, looking in awe as the creature collapses.
  1068. >The faceless monster's eyes fade out, and its body begins to glow. White mist, it's life energy, leaves it's body.
  1069. "What in..." You think to yourself as a familiar voice begins speaking.
  1070. >"Your life will bring much power...as will the /rest/ of your kind!" Nether says as the life energy is fully drained, leaving a grayed out withered husk.
  1071. "I-I don't believe it..." You say to yourself, looking in shock having seen Nether slay one of them with seemingly little effort..
  1072. >"Who is that? And where the Tarturas did he get such...power?" One of the guards ask.
  1073. >The guards all begin talking among each other of what they just witnessed. It took so much to defeat only a few of them, yet here Nether stood taking one down so fast.
  1074. >"Maybe hes using chaos magic?"
  1075. >"I think he turned to black magic"
  1076. >"Could it be rune magic?"
  1077. >"look at his eyes, he must be a demon!"
  1078. >Nether looks to the sky, and begins to yell into the dark.
  1079. >"No more, fools! No more lives will be consumed by your dark crusade on our lands!" Nether boasts, reveling in his triumph.
  1080. "Nether? No...it can't be." You say talking to yourself.
  1081. >His eyes were glowing with a dim red. He had dark purple highlights in his fur as well as white streaks in his now wild an unkempt black mane. His cutie mark had changed as well, resembling some kind of rune covered circle with two stars inside of it.
  1082. >"Light, is that you?" He asks looking to you and the other guards, "Looks like I made it just in time then."
  1083. "Nether...so it /is/ you..."
  1084. >"It is." He says as the red light in his eye fade to a dim glow, "With this power I can turn the tide in this war and save our kingdom Light!" He said walking towards you.
  1085. "What happened to your cutie mark, what is that runic symbol?"
  1086. >Nether looks to his flank as grin grows on his face.
  1087. >"The symbol of my new power..." He turns back, the grin growing on his face, "I told you, Light. I would find a way to end this war quickly, and with this chaos magic I can do just that!"
  1088. "At no heed to the cost? Look at you! That red glow in your eyes! That...mark..." Your tone grows more serious as you try to reason with your old friend. "We've go to get you to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna right away, to cleanse the corruption from you!"
  1089. >"What corruption do you speak of? I may look a little different but-"
  1090. "Look at yourself..." You say pointing to a shard of broken glass.
  1091. >Nether walks over to the shard and looks down, actually being able to really see himself for the first time since coming back. He put a hoof to his face and looked into his glowing eyes, the streaks in his mane. Even his teeth had changed, they were more...sharp then before.
  1092. >His expression turned to one of anger as he continued looking at himself.
  1093. >"I..."
  1094. "Please, old friend, see reason!" You pleaded, as he continues staring at himself in disbelief, "Your obsession with trying to find a way to use chaos magic has made you lose sight of who you really are! I should have stopped you while I had a chance..."
  1095. >"If I have to sell myself to save my home...I would do so and I have!" Nether stomps on the glass, breaking it apart, "And I would do so /again/!"
  1096. "Nether, think! Right now your a wanted pony! And /this/" You say gesturing at the drained corpse, "Will only confirm any suspicion that the royal courts have that your dabbling in dark magic! Even when the war is over you'll have to face trial for going AWOL, /and/ for using chaos magic despite that it is forbidden!"
  1097. >"Trial?!" He shouts in anger, "Did you not see me take out the faceless?! Did you not see how easily I-"
  1098. "Yes! I did!" You look to the battlefield, the faceless one's husk now turning to ash and blowing away in the wind, "But at the cost of your soul?! Your very being!?" You turn back to face Nether, "Did you think this is what Celestia, Luna, or even your mother would want?!"
  1099. >"M-my mother..." Nether says falling back on his haunches, looking at the ground. His angry expression turned to one of grimace, "I-I became so obsessed with the thought of protecting her and everpony else..."
  1100. >Nether looks back to the broken glass, seeing himself in small pieces.
  1101. >"I never even realised the darkness now lurking within me..." Nether continues staring into the broken glass reflection of himself, "Di-did I make the right choice?"
  1102. >"Light Break! Sir!!" A Pegasus yelled flying to your position. His mane had black marks along with his fur, like he had just been in a fire.
  1103. "Aircutter?! Why aren't you back at the village, what happened!?"
  1104. >He lands and immediately falls to a sitting position, breathing hard.
  1105. >"W-we were ambushed, *pant* by a dark, shadowy figure, *pant* it was massive! It destroyed the village, killed everypony!" The Pegasus turns back to the direction of the village. "I...was the only one who made it out."
  1106. "Oh no...DAMN!" You say stomping a hoof to the ground, "I told the civilians there that we..."
  1107. >"A village?" Nether whispers to himself, seeing the direction the pegasi came from, "Thats south of...no that can't be..." His eyes go wide and jaw drops when he realizes exactly where your talking about, "NOOOO!!"
  1108. >Nether jumps back up and begins running towards the south, green fires appearing on his hooves  as he takes flight.
  1109. "Flight? But how in...wait." Your eyes go wide and you heart sinks, knowing what he just realized. "That village was where his..."
  1110. >You collapse to your haunches. Heart sinking even further into your stomach as you stare at the fading trails of emerald fire.
  1111. "I'm so sorry Nether...I am...so sorry..."
  1112.  
  1113.  
  1114. >>
  1115. "I've got to make sure! I-sh-she! NO! She /will/ be okay!" You say trying to re-assure yourself, hastily soaring back to your place of birth. Speeding through the air, trails of bright green fire trailing behind you.
  1116. "Damnit Light, why did you leave them, WHY!?"
  1117. >A dim light glows in the dark as you grow nearer. Your mind races thinking of what could have happened, the vision once again flashing in your mind.
  1118. "There! I can only hope I'm not too late!" You say descending down to the ground.
  1119. >The small village lay in ruin, razed by whatever abomination had come through the area.
  1120. >Landing near the village center, you see what has become of your once humble home.
  1121. >All the homes and farmhouses lay in ruin, embers and fire still burning all around.
  1122. "No...this...this cant be happening." You think to yourself, scanning the area.
  1123. >Observing the damages, you try to get your bearings. Trying to remember exactly where your old house was. Everything was in ruin, it was hard to tell.
  1124. >Following the stream running through the center of town, you see the bodies of so many dead, laying out in various places on the ground. You can only imagine the panic when they were attacked.
  1125. >Looking into the river glowing in the moonlight, you see your reflection.
  1126. "Can't let her see me like this..." You say looking for something to cover with.
  1127. >Seeing a tarp caught against a wooden pole sticking form the ground, you grab it and drape it over yourself like a hood.
  1128. "They left this place...left it open and vulnerable." You say gritting your teeth, muttering to yourself, "They /knew/ something could happen...and they still left..."
  1129. >You start recalling the layout of the now ruined village. Coming up to the bridge as you continue walking, quietly thinking to yourself.
  1130. "The bridge is here, which means town hall was to the west side of town," you whisper to yourself as your heart begins to race from memories beginning to flood your mind of your childhood. "Which means home is...oh no."
  1131. >You spot your old house, a crumbling waste of it's former self. Only small pieces of the frame and chimney still stood, the rest was but burnt wood and ash all over the floor.
  1132. >Wasting no time, you go straight for the ruined farmhouse, calling out for your mother, Starsurge. Wanting to make sure she was alive.
  1133. "Mother!? Mother are you here?" You ask as you dig through the rubble in frantic desperation, "Where are you? Answer so I know!!"
  1134. >Tears began filling your eyes, blurring your vision as you keep digging and throwing aside pieces of charred wood and debris.
  1135. "Damnit, where is she! C'mon! C'mon..." Your digging slows as you begin to weep, "I-I cant..."
  1136. >"N-N....Nether...is that you?" The voice faintly calls out.
  1137. >Ears perking straight up, you look towards the right half of the house. There was mom, still alive.
  1138. "Mother!" You cry out running directly towards her, taking the fallen planks and rocks off her legs and torso. She winced in pain at this, her hind legs were bruised and swollen. Broken by the weight of the house when it collapsed.
  1139. "I'm here," You say pushing aside the debris, "I'm here..."
  1140. >"Nether! My dear, beautiful colt!"
  1141. >She immediately embraces you in what felt like the longest hug. You could feel a wave of relief wash over you as you felt the warm embrace. It had been so long since you had actually talked to her. It almost felt surreal.
  1142. >"You've been gone so long Star, I thought..." She says breaking the hug.
  1143. "I've been...busy since you last saw me." You say holding her upright in your forhooves, "I've gone through a little...change. I won't let these monsters wreak anymore havoc against our home!"
  1144. >She looks down in surprise at the fur on your front and hind legs, seeing the dark streaks of purple running down from your shoulders. Taking the hood off your head as she inspects your face, she rubs her hoof against your cheek and through your mane.
  1145. >"Your coat, your mane...Nether, what happened? You look so...different." She asks, looking into your eyes.
  1146. "I've been through Tarturas and back...but don't worry, its going to be okay. With my new power I will protect all of Equestria, no more of this will have to happen." You say with a smirk.
  1147. >"But...your eyes."
  1148. >Her expression turns to one of worry as she sees the red in your eyes, glowing ever so faintly.
  1149. "My appearance may be different, but...I-I did what I had to to be able to save our land." You say trying to hold back anymore tears, you were unsure as to whether you were trying to convince her, or yourself.
  1150. >"Your as determined as your father once was..." She says, a smile growing on her face.
  1151. >"He always believed, that doing whats right is whats best for the world. And that protecting what you care about is most important."
  1152. "Seems I'm more like him then I thought, heh..." You look down and away, "Even if I did the wrong things..." You think to yourself.
  1153. >She wipes the tears from your face.
  1154. >"My son, your father always believed there was greatness within you. He always said how proud you would make us..."
  1155. >You try your hardest to hold back anymore tears rolling down your face, your mother didn't talk much about father, and you only had feint and vague memories of him when you were a colt before he died.
  1156. >"He knew, as I knew, that you would make us both proud, if only he could see you now..." She says looking over her right shoulder to an envelope, covered by ash. "That was a letter he wrote for you. I didn't want you to see it until I knew you were old enough to understand it."
  1157. >Starsurge reaches over trying to pick it up, not being able to reach.
  1158. "Here, I got it." You say leaning forward to pick it up off the ground, tilting it to the side and letting the dust fall off.
  1159. >"I kept it safe for so long and while we were attacked, I think your ready to read it now..."
  1160. >Gently setting your mother back down, you stare at the envelope, reading on the front: "To my son", the back of it only read his name: "Shining Flare"
  1161. >Opening the seal on the front, you slowly take out and unfold the letter, reading:
  1162. >"My son, I write you this letter, knowing that after today I may not ever get another chance to see you. We have lost much in this conflict against Discord's kingdom, and now we venture to search for the fabled Elements of Harmony within the Everfree. All our life, we have lived under his rule. A world I hope you won't have to see, where chaos rules and there is no peace. Princesses Celestia and Luna say the Elements of Harmony are the key to defeating him, but until then, we can only struggle to maintain our very lives in hostile lands. I have no doubt, however, that when this is all over and you grow up to become a stallion of your own..."
  1163. >You lose your place as you begin shaking, words blurring as you can't withhold your emotion. Taking a deep breath, you compose yourself and read on.
  1164. >"You will bring pride to your mother and I, and if you stay true to yourself and become one of the royal army, Equestria will be a better place because of you. But, my son, do not ever let desperate times cloud your judgment and beliefs. Do not ever allow darkness to take hold of your heart in trying times. I know, preserving harmony and protecting what you hold dear, is the noblest aspiration. But forsaking oneself to do so is never an option. Honor and spirit, my son, now matter how dire the battle; never forsake it..."
  1165. >You drop to your haunches and get lost in thought at your father's parting words. You had done exactly what he said not to.
  1166. >You had sacrificed your own soul for power.
  1167. >Looking down at your new cutie mark, you think of how you had changed; you begin to question every decision you've made till now.
  1168. "I did everything he said not too..." You mutter as a feeling of heat begins rising in your body in anger. "I did everything he said not too!!" You yell into the sky, stomping your hoof into the ground and breaking through the floor.
  1169. >"Nether, what are you talking about?" Starsurge asks, grabbing your hoof.
  1170. "He told me in the letter...don't let your judgement be clouded. Look at me!" You say gesturing at your body and eyes, "I allowed darkness to take hold! I-I allowed..." You say collapsing back down.
  1171. >"Nether, you did what you thought was right." She places her hoof back on your cheek, "Whatever happens..."
  1172. >She brings you in for another hug, which you return.
  1173. >Getting caught in the moment, you don't notice the mass of shadows gathering around. Beginning to manifest.
  1174. >"I love you, son..." She says as a figure emerges from the shadows.
  1175. >"Touching...." A dark voice says, echoing in the night.
  1176. >Your mother's embrace is broken abruptly by a large tentacle wrapping itself around her, pulling her away and into a large claw.
  1177. >"Nether!! HELP M-"
  1178. >"She is mine now..." The monster says as she is swallowed by it's claws.
  1179. "NOOO!! MOTHER!" You scream, collapsing onto the floor.
  1180. "You...damn you...DAMN YOU!"
  1181. >Tears now stream profusely down you face as the pain grows and grows into a roaring fire in your heart.
  1182. >"Hmph, how easy it was. Tearing apart this pathetic little spit of land you call home to pieces." It takes a step forward, shaking the ground with it's massive size, "Soon, all will suffer the same fate..."
  1183.  
  1184.  
  1185. >>
  1186. >The beast takes another step forward, fully revealing itself.
  1187. >It had appendages growing out of it's back, claws with gnarled spikes for hands, and like every other of the faceless;  a squid-like head was on it's shoulders complete with the same burning amber eyes.
  1188. >"I can taste the essence of her spirit...I can feel her fear and despair." The beast squints it's eyes, "Shes asking, why you didn't save her?"
  1189. >You sit staring at the ground as he continues on with his speech. This was without a doubt the same one you saw decimating Firespark's brigade that day.
  1190. >"I am called Korthax, the future ruler of this world! With Discord sealed away, we have a new opportunity to make this world in our image..."
  1191. "Stop talking..." You mutter, still looking at the ground.
  1192. >"Hmhmhmhahaha! Under my rule this world will be ushered into a new age of strife! Your kind's rule will be short lived as you see what a /real/ empire looks like!" Korthax looks down on you, seeing the symbol that is now your cuties mark, "Ahh, /they/ gave you chaos magic. Tell me, what did you think of Ny'alotha?"
  1193. "Shut-UP! I'm done listening to your damned voice!"
  1194. >Your horn lights up, emerald light emanating from your body and eyes as an orb of green fire grows at the tip.
  1195. >"Hah! you think to implement chaos magic, against me? Hahahah!"
  1196. "Die!"
  1197. >A bolt of emerald fire shoots from your horn, directly aimed for the massive creature's head.
  1198. >Korthax knocks away the attack with his massive claw, laughing as he does so.
  1199. >"Hmhmhmhm, Yes. They certainly gave you a powerful form of chaos energy, but I wonder, how well can you use it!?"
  1200. >Korthax raises his claws over his head.
  1201. >"You cannot control such magics! You don't even know how to use it!!"
  1202. >He brings his claw down upon you, smashing into the ground, destroying all that was left of your crumbled childhood home.
  1203. >"Hah, so weak...what!?"
  1204. >A green bubble surrounded you, managing a barrier at the last second.
  1205. "I wont be brought down so easily! I will-NGH" You cringe in pain, despite the barrier the impact of that attack still hit with a lot of force.
  1206. >"How long do you think you can prolong your pathetic life!?" He says raising his claws over his head yet again.
  1207. >Korthax smashes his claws into the barrier again and again, hammering you into the ground. The thunderous impacts can ring in the distance and echo off the distant mountains. The pain from each impact can still be felt form the shear force, booming in your ears and causing your legs to shake with each hit.
  1208. "D-damnit! I cant...AHH!" You cringe in pain as the hits start to overwhelm you, cracks in the barrier begin to form as your power wanes.
  1209. >"You don't know how to use your power..." A voice rings in you head, the same oh so familiar voice.
  1210. "Wh-what do you want?! Get out of my head you damned deceivers!"
  1211. >The claws reign down again, the cracks in the barrier grow even larger.
  1212. >"Let us show you what you are /truly/ capable of..."
  1213. >You begin feeling a sense of weightlessness. Your vision fades to black only for a second as control of your body is lost.
  1214. >"I will unmake this world, for MYSELF! Rivers of blood, roads paved in skulls, walls decorated with the corpses of your bravest warriors will stand testament to my power!" Korthax raises his claws yet again, leaning back to finish you off in one final blow, "I, Will, Have, MY, WORRRLD!"
  1215. "Its not your world to take, fool."
  1216. >"EHHAHH!" Korthax brings his claws down, as a bright green light lights up the entire area in a radiant glow.
  1217. >Your body shoots up into his arm, going straight through his shoulder. Causing his claw to explode into a mass of green flames. Black blood and bits of flesh rain down all over the ground.
  1218. >"NGAHHHH! How!? Not possible! Where did you get this surge of power?!" Korthax says holding his severed limb as the fire still burns into his body, stammering back in pain.
  1219. >Your body hovers directly behind him, as he turns to face you. Green fire surrounds your entire being in an aura of raw chaotic energy.
  1220. "Your deceit is unforgivable Korthax, you've spat in the face OF GODS!" The Old God's spoke through your body, in a chorus of horror.
  1221. >"That voice...NO!" Korthax says, taking more steps back, still holding his shoulder where his limb was severed.
  1222. "Have you forgotten who we are? Have you forgotten, what WE can do!?"
  1223. >Your horn glows brighter then ever before, as white mist begins draining from the faceless leader's body.
  1224. >"No...NOOOOOOO!"
  1225. >For the first time ever, you see fear in the eyes of one of these creatures, as well as in it's voice.
  1226. "Your life will ultimately contribute to our return..."
  1227. >Korthax's body fades as the life from him drains, directly into yours.
  1228. >His husk collapses to the ground, uttering his last words.
  1229. >"I...travel once again...to.....Ny'alotha...." He says as his body turns into a withered, dried out husk.
  1230. >"Follow his path, or fail us...and you will know eternal anguish..." The voices say, fading out.
  1231. >You feel control returning as you fall to the ground. You land hard on your hooves, you frantically feel around your body, making sure you aren't dreaming or still under their control.
  1232. "What the Tarturas was that? How did I..." You ask yourself, breathing heavy and ecstatic.
  1233. >"That is a small glimpse of what you can do at your fullest..." The voices rang in you head.
  1234. "My...fullest? Wait, you...you took my body!?"
  1235. >"A small piece of our essence is within you...we may take what remains of your soul at anytime we desire..."
  1236. >This power was becoming less appealing by the minute. What point is there in having it if you are only a slave to another's will? If everyone thinks of you as a monster more willing to sell his soul to make a dark pact for power?
  1237. "Never again My body is my own! I told you, I /won't/ be made a puppet!" You say banging your hooves into the ground.
  1238. >"Your will is no longer your own...you belong to us, forever."
  1239. "I'd prefer my own will thank you, I just witnessed how you would handle your servants..."
  1240. >Nothing was making sense. If Korthax was a general in the Old god's armies, why would they want you to kill him?
  1241. "Why did you use me to kill him anyway? Sounded like his vision for a world was what you wanted..." You say looking at the husk being taken in small pieces by the wind.
  1242. >"It is as we said. Our power won't be used unless to benefit us. The fool believed he could stray from our sight and take this world for himself..."
  1243. "So, what will become of the faceless armies still roaming around then?" You ask, looking off into the distance.
  1244. >"With Korthax's death, they will sense the absence of their leader. They will return to the earth and their power will return to us..."
  1245. "They will go back to the black forest, thats what you mean?"
  1246. >"Yes...and with them gone, /you/ will be the one that brings about our second coming..."
  1247. >No, you took this power to save your world, not end it...
  1248. "You...you betrayed me! You only wanted me to kill him so that you had nothing to take the world you wanted!"
  1249. >"Pitiful stupid creature!" The voice echos in your mind, growing louder causing you to fall to the ground from the pain in your head, "You /will/ serve us, there is no choice for you in this matter!"
  1250. >You cover your head with your fore hooves, trying in vain to block out the pain.
  1251. >"Your friends have deemed you a monster, your kingdom has turned it's back on you, the only family you had left is GONE! You have /nothing/ left!"
  1252. "I...I have lost everything..."
  1253. >Your mind goes back to only what just happened. The sudden realization of the loss of your only family.
  1254. >It hit you like a cold wave crashing against your back, every memory of her returning all at once. Every day she took care of you. Raised you, on her own...after your father's death.
  1255. "I-I don't even..."
  1256. >"Fill your heart with rage...it was your friend who let this happen, your would-be nobles who didn't care enough to keep your home safe, the very same who would have you hunted, the very same who you had dedicated your life to protecting..."
  1257. "But..."
  1258. >"Your hate is just...hate them...HATE THEM!! All you've accomplished and sacrificed, and they would still look down on you for doing so. They are blind to the truth of things..."
  1259. "I...d-did what I had too..." You whisper to yourself.
  1260. >"You could be a king in our world, answering only to us. You /should/ be king. They are unwilling to make the necessary choices to preserve their own homes, they do not deserve to rule..."
  1261. "I know what it means to sacrifice whats necessary to protect, I-NO! I can't just betray my home, my friends!" You look to the sky, filled with stars and Luna's moon shining brightly, giving the grass a teal tint as it glows. "I...did it all for them."
  1262. >Seems like every choice you make only makes things go from bad, to worse...
  1263.  
  1264.  
  1265. >>
  1266. "Every decision I've made...its only led me here." You say staring deeply into the night sky, "I failed to prevent her death..."
  1267. >Your gaze turns to the of your home, nothing but a memory now. A burnt away memory turned to ash and ruin.
  1268. "My home...my only family, my friend..."
  1269. >"You have lost everything...they won't care, they only will see what you can do, they will see your power, they will see...your greatness, and fear it."
  1270. >Even in your darkest moments they torment you, whispering words of despair and madness at every turn.
  1271. "Maybe I should just sit here..." You think to yourself, "Maybe if I just sit here and do nothing for the rest of my life, nothing else bad will happen. Maybe everything will work itself out."
  1272. >You rambled on to yourself, trying to rest feelings of doubt and despair as the world around you seemed to crumble.
  1273. >"You belong to us, Nether. Now and forever more you will always be the harbinger of our wrath."
  1274. >The voices bellowed and rumbled in your mind, the only thing they seem to be good at other then enticing carnage, was darkening your mind with their whispers.
  1275. >"If you look to defy us as Korthax did, you will take your place among the destroyed, the used, and the damned..."
  1276. >Gritting your teeth and growling, you confront the shapeless entities.
  1277. "Just who are you anyway, all you voices ever speak of is deception and death! Always speaking in metaphors and nonsense!" You stand back to your hooves, raising your voice, "Who are you? Why do you want in this world so badly? You seem rather contempt in your 'Ny'alotha' prison! You never seem to shut-up about it!"
  1278. >"We are eternal, we are outside the cycle of life and death. All conflict and chaos feeds us and makes us stronger...we inhale courage, and begat fear..."
  1279. "If you are so mighty, then why are you so seemingly dead?" You ask in a condescending tone.
  1280. >"Even your fullest potential with that tome of magic we bestowed to you, is but a mere whisper of our great power..."
  1281. >Do they think you a fool? Yes, they took hold of your body and used it to kill the faceless leader. But possession isn't an impossible thing to do, even with arcane magic.
  1282. "It is as I said before," You stomp into the ground, emphasizing your will, "I will not be made your pawn!"
  1283. >"We can see into your heart, Nether. It is not your will, but cowardice, that keeps you from leaving this damned village."
  1284. "How so!" You say turning, as if to face the voices in your head.
  1285. >"You know what fate awaits you should you face your brethren again. That change in your body as well as that mark on your leg is a constant reminder isn't it?!"
  1286. >Your heart sinks at their words, for they carry the stench of truth...
  1287. >"Because you know what judgement awaits you at the hands of this world's rulers, and you tarry here; so as /not/ to meet it..."
  1288. >You could not deny it. As long as you lingered here, defying these entities, you could only postpone what you believe to be your inevitable fate.
  1289. >"It matters not, your soul is ours. We can make you feel agony and anguish in ways you can't even imagine. If you choose to defy us, you will languish with us for eternity..."
  1290. "Enough! I will face my people's judgement when the time comes!"
  1291. >"That time may be sooner than you think, Nether." The voice says as it fades out.
  1292.  
  1293. >>
  1294. >Through the open field to the west, a line of dim flickering lights came into view, they were lanterns. It must be Light, and the army he was with. They're approaching quickly...
  1295. "Seems that /that/ statement at least was true..." you mutter to yourself, seeing the guardsponies getting nearer.
  1296. >You can hear them talking among themselves when they arrive, seeing the devastation that happened due to their absence
  1297. >"There, is that...Nether Star?" Says one of the guards, pointing over to you.
  1298. >"Where? Show me!" Light says as he pushes his way to the front.
  1299. >There he is...the one who left your home to burn...who would judge you not knowing what you know...
  1300. >The one who would leave your home and family for the flame to devour.
  1301. >"Nether! I'm glad to see your alright, something incredible has happened!" He says with a smirk.
  1302. "Incredible? Yes, incredible is a word that can describe it..." You say just loud enough for him to hear.
  1303. >"Nether Star!?" A familiar voice calls out, "Where is that insubordinate traitor? Where is tha-" He stops himself. His jaw drops and he gawks at your changed body.
  1304. >It was Major Quartz, the arrogant fool who seemed to have still not gotten over how you got the better of him when Luna spoke with you.
  1305. >"Easy sir!" Light says, trying to calm Quartz down, "He came back here after we heard it was attacked, he only wanted to make sure that..."
  1306. "My village wasn't gone? That the last of my only blood relatives was dead? That the only place I ever called home other then the castle," You raise your voice, shouting the last part, "Didn't Lay In Ruin!?"
  1307. >"Nether, I had no choice! We were bound by royal law! We-"
  1308. "Bound by the laws place by our oh so benevolent rulers, the ones who would let so many die when they had the means to save this world!"
  1309. >"You will not speak of the Princesses in such manners!" Quartz interjected. "Light, are you sure he can even be reasoned with? Look at him," He gestures at your cuties mark, "he is corrupted by an evil no better then what we have been fighting!"
  1310. >Light turns to face Quartz, defending the last shred of honor you had left.
  1311. >"He only did what he thought was right, he would never become a monster by his own will." He turns to you, "R-right?"
  1312. "Like I said, I did what I-"
  1313. >"Look at the size of that faceless corpse!" One of the guards shout out, seeing what was left of Korthax's massive, husk of a corpse.
  1314. "That was their leader." You say turning your head to the corpse, "The faceless armies will dissipate in time, and the healing of this land will be able to start."
  1315. >You turn back, declaring your deed to the judgmental guards standing before you.
  1316. >"With my power I was able to slay the beast, I have saved this kingdom!"
  1317. >"Nether, you used chaos magic to do so! Your traveling down a dark path, please, let us bring you back to the castle." Light pleaded.
  1318. "For what? To be judged by the rulers who had hoof in leading me down this, 'dark path'?!" The red in your eyes glow brightly as your anger builds up.
  1319. >"Light," Quartz interjects again, "You would reason with this..thing? This...demon? Would you??" He steps forward, "No, he is too far gone, he has become a threat to the kingdom and must be dealt with accordingly..."
  1320. >Quartz nods at 2 unicorns behind him. They bring out a ring, a magic nullification ring. Specifically crafted to be applied to the horn of any rebellious unicorn. Having the ability to even render chaos magic useless.
  1321. "I am no such thing!" You scream lashing out, "How dare you affiliate me with those abominations! All I have lost to defeat them and save our world, all I have sacrificed! You know /nothing/ of what I've gone through to make this kingdom safe!"
  1322. >"Hmph, did your mother tell you that before she died? That you were /saving/ this world?" He says provoking you, "I'm sure that whatever hell that whore is rotting in she looks on what you really are and regrets ever having to endure the pain of your birth!"
  1323. >"Quartz!!" Light shouts out to stop his insult, but it was too late.
  1324. >That did it. The red glow in your eyes radiates brighter then ever before. Rage takes hold as your horn lights up, humming with power as a ball of green fire builds up around it. This bastard will regret his words.
  1325. >"NOW! Use the ring, lock onto his strain of magic and contain this traitor!"
  1326. >The fire bolt fires as the unicorns enchant the ring, causing it to vanish and reappear around your horn, completely nullifying your magic.
  1327. >"Quickly before- AHHHH!"
  1328. >The ball of chaotic energy hits Quartz, it hadn't fully dissipated before making contact with your target. Burning away his body ever so slowly. The guards and Light look on in horror as their leader dies, screaming and writhing as his body is turned to a smoldering heap of flesh.
  1329. >"Seize him! Before he can make another move!" Another guard shouts out.
  1330. >Within seconds, you are restrained and detained by 2 large earth ponies, taking you to the ground despite your struggle and applying rope to your hooves. rendering you immobile.
  1331. "Release me damnit! Let me go!!"
  1332. >You struggled on the ground against the force of the larger ponies.
  1333. "Let-Me-GO!!!"
  1334. >"Hold him still!"
  1335. They pin your head to the dirt, soil and gravel get pushed into your mouth from the vain fight you put up against the physically stronger ponies.
  1336. >The last thing you see is the larger of the two raising his hoof and bringing it down on your face, knocking you out cold.
  1337.  
  1338.  
  1339. >>
  1340. >Blurry visions of light and misty shapes fill your view. Your are dazed and confused, seeing only the seemingly transparent figures move about and hearing only muffled sounds.
  1341. >The sounds were voices. They are hard to distinguish amidst your throbbing headache and seemingly deafened hearing.
  1342. >Whether they belonged to somepony standing near you, or to the "gods" that you now apparently belonged to, you could not tell.
  1343. >Sometime passes by. Vision and hearing slowly ease back as you try and gather and regain yourself.
  1344. >"Looks like hes coming to." One of the voices say.
  1345. >"About time, just make sure those restraints are tight and that ring is secured to his horn." Another voice calls out.
  1346. "Where am I..." You mutter, trying to get up only to feel a force pull you back down to the rough wood you were laying on.
  1347. >Your hooves and chest were chained down, tightly. You could barely even move and felt so weak.
  1348. >A few more minutes go by, feeling and awareness started to return as well as the rest of your vision and hearing.
  1349. >The sun shined brightly overhead, causing you to wince as you feel yourself moving.
  1350. >You were being transported somewhere in a cage. The metal bars and enchanted charms on the lock made escape in this condition impossible.
  1351. >Lifting your head, you can see the chains that bind you in place. They large, heavy, and rusted strands of metal dug into your skin and fur. Ripping at the flesh beneath them.
  1352. "These chains..." You mutter again.
  1353. >Swaying back and forth, you notice the two guards pushing your mobile prison.
  1354. >"Looks like hes just about completely out of it!" Said one of the guards looking into the cage.
  1355. >"We were ordered to dump him in a cell until his trial!" The other voice says, "Lets get him to his new...'home'." He says looking down on you with a smirk.
  1356. >The chains clatter as the wooden, caged in cart keeps moving. Along with the headache and the chains digging into your skin, you can feel is an intense hungering feeling, as the cart rolls clamoring along.
  1357. >"Hmph, trial? We should just execute this traitor." Says one of the two guards pushing your cart along.
  1358. >"Yeah I agree, I heard this one murdered Major Quartz on site, didn't even give him a chance to fight back!" The other guard said.
  1359. >"Chaos magic will do that to ya, drive you insane and make you an enemy of the kingdom..."
  1360. >These fools have no idea of what the meaning of insanity truly is...
  1361. >Every bump and turn made the chains dig deeper into your flesh, giving quick and intense surges of pain as they dug deeper and deeper into your now bare skin.
  1362. >The 3 of you and your mobile prison make way into the castle, only being able to see the overhead you couldn't tell exactly where you were. And this damn hunger wasn't helping you focus either.
  1363. >Rolling past torches and dimly lit halls, you begin to take notice of just where you are. This was the dungeon. They had deemed you dangerous enough to take you here...
  1364. >You traveled deeply into the halls, getting darker as you went down and eventually came to a stop.
  1365. >You can hear a prison door open, as does the cage door on the cart open as well.
  1366. >The guards unlock the bindings, giving a short moment of relief.
  1367. >The moment was short lived, as you roll out of the cage from the guards lifting the cart from one end forcing you out onto the dirt flooring. Your wounds burned after making contact with the ground.
  1368. >You cold barley move even without the chains around you. Only being able to lift your head enough to look at the damages the trip had done to you.
  1369. >Chunks of your fur were missing and bits of flesh had been frayed and bloodied from the chains on the rough ride.
  1370. >"Get him against the wall!" Said one of the guards, "And make sure the ring is tight to his horn, don't want him being able to cast anything!"
  1371. >They grab your legs and drag you across the dirt floor, stinging the exposed wounds. You can only clench your teeth and grit from the pain, not having enough energy to even speak in protest of your treatment.
  1372. >You are brought upright and your left forehoof is secured to a large wooden pillar with a lock. letting the rest of your body hang with your hoof locked over your head.
  1373. >It was low enough to the ground for you to sit, at least...
  1374. >They secure the locks and walk out, talking about you as they do.
  1375. >"Look at him, hes more demon then pony now." He says looking at your mane and cutie mark, "He shouldn't have a trial, he shouldn't even have rights, much less his life..."
  1376. >The two continue whispering to each other as they slam the bared door shut and leave down the hall. Leaving you secluded and alone with your thoughts, and this...hunger.
  1377. "I-I am so...hungry...so...weak..." You think to yourself.
  1378. >"You must feed on life...your hunger must be sated and your magic must be fueled..."
  1379. "They bound my magic...I cannot use it, and I lack the energy and mobility to remove it..."
  1380. >You look up to your horn, the black nullification ring sat at the base of your horn, along with another directly above it. Apparently the first must not have felt like enough for them.
  1381. >"They will cast their judgement upon you. You will be damned by them, your own kind..." The voices rang, "After all you had given to protect them..."
  1382. "I...I can't take this right now...I am just so...hungry..."
  1383. >Trying to ignore the voices, you think about what is to be your trail. Why hadn't they just executed you by now?
  1384. >What is it they could profit from you still being alive?
  1385. >Or could Celestia really not bring herself to have you killed?
  1386. >Your thoughts are interrupted by a set of hoof steps echoing down the hall. The shadow of whoever it is comes into view as they stop in front of your prison.
  1387. >"Your lucky to be alive, Nether." Said the familiar voice.
  1388. >Bringing your head up, you immediately recognize your former friend.
  1389. "What do you want, Light? Come to tell me about how I was wrong all along and you were right." You say turning your head.
  1390. >"No. I came to bring you this." He reaches into his saddlebag and pulls out a letter, "I found it shortly after you were brought down...I'm sorry about your mother, Nether..."
  1391. >Light slides the  letter across the floor over within your reach. Picking it up you read the front saying "To my son".
  1392. "No...I was the one who couldn't help her." You say picking up the letter, "I wasn't strong enough. And now, I have nothing more to live for in this world. I have damned myself to the judgement of the royal court..."
  1393. >"I don't know what they will want to do with you. But..."
  1394. "I don't care what they decide." you say abruptly, "I have already lost everything. My home, my only family, my title, my standing...everything." Sighing heavily, you look back up to face Light again, "What more could be taken from me?"
  1395. >"You still have your honor, Nether." He said staring at the letter in your hoof, "You should do like your father said. Maybe there is still time for redemption..."
  1396. >With those words, Light departs. Leaving you once again in the dark, with this insatiable damned hunger.
  1397. >Why? Why are you plagued at every turn? First it was the nightmares, then the voices, now...this unrelenting appetite.
  1398. "Why do I feel like this...its not any sort of food I hunger for...its...something deeper..." You say propping your head against the wall.
  1399. >"You must have life...you must feed on essence. The pain will not stop until you have satisfied your hunger..."
  1400. "And just how would I do that? I'm not able to use my magic much less even free myself from this prison."
  1401. >"The hunger will grow, and the madness, will grow with it..."
  1402. "Damn you..."
  1403. >You close your eyes and try not to think about your situation, instead, of only how they will sentence you in the days to come.
  1404. >Your sight is turned to the letter. Opening it up with your mouth and one free hoof, you read it again and again. Constantly reminding yourself of your wrongdoings.
  1405. "Honor..." You whisper to yourself, "I still have a shred of it left...I won't forsake it..."
  1406.  
  1407.  
  1408. >>
  1409. >The gnawing hunger still persisted, making you too weak too even stand. Bringing you to exhaustion. Regardless of how tired you became, you could not sleep. The pain wouldn't allow it.
  1410. >It felt as if you had been drained completely, you could barely muster the strength to speak.
  1411. >"They see only the dark magic, your corrupted body, your prowess, not what you have done with it..."
  1412. "W-why...why do you seem to be there at every one of my darkest hours..."
  1413. >Your head sways form side to side against the stone wall with each word spoke, not having enough energy to keep yourself still and upright.
  1414. >"They would pass their judgement and sentence you to a lifetime of imprisonment, a lifetime of loneliness...of darkness..." The voices whispered.
  1415. "No more games...just what are you, you seem to know everything about what is to come?"
  1416. >Every word is a chore, sapping what little strength you have.
  1417. >"We are Gods of a time long forgotten. We are the reason for all strife in the world, /we/ are they who control your fate. We are the hub of the wheel of life, forever spinning, intertwining all creation. We are the devourers of death."
  1418. >Another vague answer. These self proclaimed "Gods" seem more like parasites then anything else...
  1419. >Regardless, focusing on more prudent things is whats important. What manner of trial will this be? What could they possibly bring forward as punishment that could even phase you at this point?
  1420. "I am not beyond redemption, I will win back my people's trust." You say with a sliver of hope in your voice.
  1421. "But this hunger, it will be the end of me...I must feed on something..."
  1422. >"Your hunger's persistence is a constant reminder of you being alive Nether. So long as your soul is mixed with the strand of our own we will keep you living, forever hungering..."
  1423. >These damned, self proclaimed "deities" won't take hold, not again!
  1424. "I won't be your puppet! I still posses my free will!" You say, struggling to yell.
  1425. >"You posses nothing! Your free will is only an illusion brought about by your unwillingness to accept the fate we have layed out for you."
  1426. "No! I will not be your prisoner..." You say defiantly.
  1427. >"You have no choice! Your soul belongs to us..."
  1428. >Painful as the truth is, they are right. So long as they have that in their possession, you have no choice but to bend what will you do have to their bidding.
  1429. >"Surrender Nether. Abandon your vain hopes. Accept your calling, you are our chosen harbinger. It was we who bestowed upon you the gift of chaos magic, and it is we who now author your destiny..." They echo in your head.
  1430. "Enough of your sermonizing!" You say taking a deep breathe, "Are you trying to bore me into submission?"
  1431. >"Harvester of life we made you Nether, and to this function you will remain. You will bring about our second coming. Its is your inevitable fate, a necessary duty, there is no 'higher calling'. Accept it..."
  1432. >You could not bare it any longer. This endless hunger was keeping you on sanity's too fragile edge. Better to face one's judgement head on, rather than cower from it.
  1433. "Enough! yes... I submit...I cannot take this hunger any longer..." You say defeatedly.
  1434. >"Very good. You will see, that just as defiance has it's price..."
  1435. >You are jolted upright by a surge of energy flowing into you like an electric shock. You cringe and grit your teeth in pain as feeling begins returning to you. Green light covers your body, and fades as the transfer of power is made.
  1436. >Collapsing back to the ground, you try and catch your breath from the shock, beads of sweat form on your muzzle and roll down your face as the voices echo again.
  1437. >"So obedience has it's rewards. The ring on your horn is beyond our power to remove...for now. We have granted you enough strength to face your people's judgement with a clear mind, so that their decision will forever linger in your thoughts as a constant reminder of their shortsightedness..."
  1438. >The voices fade out once again. Finally, leaving you alone in the dark.
  1439. >Surprisingly, they were true to their word. The hunger's pain had ended.
  1440. >The promise of power, they had indeed delivered. In exchange for your soul and an un ending appetite for life.
  1441. >Oh how far down you've descended...
  1442. >Your train of thought is derailed by the sound of a set of hoofsteps coming down the hall. You could only make out shadows against the wall in front of your cage brought about by the dancing torch fire hung on throughout the decrepit walls.
  1443. >A team of guards stop in front of your prison. One of which is holding a key.
  1444. >"Are you sure we should let him out of that thing?" Says the guard holding the key, hesitant to unlock the prison door.
  1445. >"Just do it, so long as hes got both of those nullification rings on his horn hes completely harmless, hehe." Says the larger of the two pegasi.
  1446. >"And besides, we have a team of unicorn magi with us just in case." He says looking behind him.
  1447. >Leaning over you try to get a view of how many he was referring too, only being able to see a hoof full crowded in the narrow stone hall.
  1448. >"Well, alright then..." The guard says unlocking the cage.
  1449. >He and the larger of the two grab a set of chains, hoof irons, before entering your prison and making their way to your shackled hoof.
  1450. >They unlock your binding, only to replace one shackle for another. They apply the hoof irons to your legs, so tightly as to give only enough space to take only small steps.
  1451. >They dug into your already raw skin, digging even deeper into your flesh.
  1452. >"Get a move on, traitor!" The larger of the two says, pushing your shoulder.
  1453. >Don't let them anger you, keep your composure...
  1454. >"I said move, demon!" He says pushing you again, this time out of the cage.
  1455. >Demon...is this how you are to be seen by everpony now?
  1456. >Looking ahead, you can see the team of magi standing before you. At least a dozen stood in the hall, looking straight at you. No doubt passing judgement in their minds as you begin to move forward.
  1457. "Don't suppose I'm allowed to know where were going?" You ask.
  1458. >"Princess Celestia and Princess Luna already had your court date set once they got word you were subdued. The royal court members were quick to gather when they heard they'd be judging someone who would stoop so low as to using chaos magic." He says giving you a smug grin.
  1459. >Certainly didn't take them very long. No doubt they already have their minds made up for your punishment.
  1460. >"Hah, after they're through with you, you'll lucky to ever see the light of Celestia's sun ever again!" The guard boasts.
  1461. "We shall see..." You say under your breath.
  1462. >Now exiting the dungeon, your captors led you in escort to the castle's courtroom. The look of the peaceful landscape and sunlight illuminating the castle walls was almost enough to put you at ease as you made your way to the courtroom.
  1463. >Stopping in front of the court doors only for a moment, you can already hear the crowd inside. The unicorns open the large decorative doors with their magic, swinging them open ever so slowly as you make entry.
  1464. >The large, domed room was filled with so many of high standing. Guards and magi lined the entrance hall and the walkway to the podium standing before 2 large pedestals, on which were two large thrones depicted with both princess's respective cutie marks.
  1465. >Stained glass windows on the left side of the room were decorated with depictions of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna raising the sun and moon, as well as another of the two of them using the elements of harmony to imprison Discord.
  1466. >The multitude of colors illuminated the room in a beautiful Hue. At least you would get a good view during your last moments before your seemingly inevitable imprisonment.
  1467. >They bring you to the podium, attaching your chains to the metal hooks on the ground, and lock them in place.
  1468. >Looking around the room, you could see the jury glaring at you and whispering among themselves from the jury section on the right side of the room. Their booth lay partially in the wall and a few feet above the ground, giving them full view of the courtroom.
  1469. >Some of which would point to your cutie mark and mangy fur. Their gossip was enough to clue you in on how they would find you at the end of this. They only see an abomination before them...
  1470. >You knew you were guilty. But you had justification! If they were as dedicated to Equestria as you, they would understand...hopefully they understand.
  1471. >Behind you in the benches were many ponies of high positions within the kingdom, wearing fancy clothing and had their manes and fur well maintained. Their demeanor was that of high class.
  1472. >Smug.
  1473. >Diplomats from other parts of Equestria were seated among them. Griffons, Zebras, and even Minotaur. Each of which had their respective representative with a 2 guard escort from their kingdoms.
  1474. >Seems like the whole world heard of your debauchery during your short time in prison...
  1475. >The chatter and gossip in the room continues, felt as if it was all directed towards you.
  1476. >Every other word you heard..."demon", "traitor", "disgrace"...
  1477. >It was enough to make your blood boil. A profound sense of injury, of loss, and betrayal welled up in you. So overwhelming you could barely contain it. All you wanted at this moment, was to silence them once and for all...
  1478. >But, if you are to show them you are not too far gone, you must maintain your cool. Stay focused on your reasoning and keep calm.
  1479. >Taking a deep breath, you try to tune out their nagging voices. You keep your eyes close and view to the floor. Making eye contact only infuriates you more from their eyes judging you, looking down on you.
  1480. >Moments pass. A Pegasus wearing a finely stitched silk robe takes center stage in the courtroom from the doors leading out of the rear next to the pedestals, grabbing everypony's attention.
  1481. >"May I have your attention please! Nobles, rulers, ponies of high standing, and citizens alike," His voice echos off the rounded ceiling, "On behalf of Princess Celestia and Luna; twin sister rulers of Equestria," He takes a bow, "welcome!"
  1482. >The crowd gives applause, clopping their hooves to the ground, or clapping if they are able. The sound fills the room, echoing throughout.
  1483. >Did they think this to be some kind of entertainment? The sentencing of your life?
  1484. >Nobles, they never truly could feel any sort of pity it seemed...
  1485. >"Now without further delay, the Princesses Celestia and Luna!" He says backing away to the space next to the jury.
  1486. >Celestia and Luna both make entry into the courtroom from the double doors, escorted by a group of highly decorated guard officers and make for their thrones in front of your meager little stand.
  1487. >The courtroom thunders in applause yet again as they take their seats.
  1488. >They are quieted down by the sound of a metal covered hoof banging against the wooden stand attached to the thrones's hoof rest.
  1489. >Silence sets in and your heart starts to race, not knowing of what she may have to say to you. Princess Celestia, the closest thing to family you had ever had next to Light during your days at the academy...
  1490. >"We call this court to order!" Luna says addressing the entire room, "In the case of misuse of magic and forbidden arts by former royal guard member, Nether Star."
  1491. >She goes on, looking to a scroll brought to her by one of the guards that escorted them both in, she reads the charges.
  1492. >"Use of forbidden magic, unauthorized absence in a time of war, direct disobedience to orders, insubordination, and murder of another member of the guard." She looks back up to look directly into your eyes, "How do you plead?"
  1493.  
  1494.  
  1495.  
  1496. >>
  1497. >Plead? This must be a joke.
  1498. >Deep down, despite your hopeful wishes of redemption, you knew how this would end. This is just a show for them all...
  1499. >Nopony to represent you, nor anypony to testify against you. No, this is not a real trial.
  1500. >There is no hope for redemption, reasoning, or justice here.
  1501. >Only a stage set for your punishment for all too see...
  1502. >If they want a show. You will give them one. You are damned either way...
  1503. >You smile, beginning to slowly applaud, although the chains about your hooves hampered the gesture.
  1504. "The show has only barely commenced," You respond sneering, "and already I give it a standing ovation. This promises to be more entertaining then any normal acted out play! I will not say I am guilty, for that denotes shame. Nor will I protest innocence, for I claim no such. Let the comedy begin!"
  1505. >The courtroom bursts into an outrage at that statement.
  1506. >"Silence the traitor!"
  1507. >"Banish him!"
  1508. >"Blasphemy!"
  1509. >"Hang him!"
  1510. >The ranting continues, several members of the audience had to be escorted out of the courtroom to restore order.
  1511. >They protest still, as they are dragged out by the guards.
  1512. >The banging of metal hooves against the podiums of the thrones is almost drowned out by the outburst.
  1513. >This is only a joke of a trial for you know the outcome is almost certain. From the minute you walked in this room to the moment they read the charges, their verdict was already written clearly.
  1514. >Moments pass, and the courtroom eventually settles as the last of the few out of line ponies are escorted out.
  1515. >Celestia took a deep breathe and looked you straight in the eye with more concern then any form of contempt.
  1516. >"My once prized student..." She says with her soothing voice, having been so long since you've heard her voice almost made your heart wrench despite the ill feelings you harbored.
  1517. >"Why is it that you chose to go down this path, why is it that you allowed rage to take your heart? What could have caused this reasoning behind your actions?"
  1518. >You stare at the ground, then look up to meet her eyes.
  1519. "Everything I did, I did for Equestria. Once I saw that this was no ordinary enemy we would be facing, not to mention the ineffectiveness of our own magics..."
  1520. >You sit to your haunches and gaze down on your coat, focusing in the dark lines flowing down your shoulders to your hooves.
  1521. "I did let darkness take hold..." You pause, taking a breath, "And I would do so again...if it meant the safety and protection of our fragile little kingdom!"
  1522. >"Nether, you allowed yourself to be consumed by power," Luna chimes in, "the hate, clouding your judgement and taking hold of your thoughts."
  1523. >Taking hold of your thoughts...if only they knew.
  1524. >"AY!" One of the court members yells in the back, "It was heresy!"
  1525. >The courtroom picks up again with everypony agreeing with the bystander's statement.
  1526. "If given the same choices, I would make them all again. Sacrifice is something that none of you seem to understand!" You say addressing the entire courtroom.
  1527. >The courtroom once again picks up to a roar.
  1528. >They are quieted down by the sound of the sister's hooves slamming into the wooden stands on their thrones.
  1529. >"Nether Star," Luna says with firmness in her voice, "Our laws are in place for a reason. We have made all forms of chaos magic, or dark magic of any nature for that matter, forbidden to not stir any dark forces into our world!"
  1530. >Her voice grows louder as she continues.
  1531. >"Yet you have done so, /Brazenly/!" She says waving her hoof.
  1532. "All I am guilty of, your highness, is /saving/ our world. While you both hide, cowering behind your throne!" You say emphasizing the "cowering" part.
  1533. >"Nether!" Celestia cries out.
  1534. >The entire courtroom silences, all idle chatter in the background being dispersed
  1535. >"You have trampled over the laws that you once sought to uphold." She said softly, "You were a promising officer in the guard force, destined for great things! What could have influenced you do go to such means to, in your words, 'save' our world?"
  1536. "Ny'alotha..." You say bluntly, "Ny'alotha exists, and within it are horrors and dark forces far worse then anything we may see as evil in our daily lives..."
  1537. >She and Luna both give inquisitive looks. The place which they had heard only tales, myths, and legends about, you had actually been there and seen what it contains.
  1538. >The horrendous creatures that lay within it's borders.
  1539. >The dark foreboding atmosphere. The wailing terrors and ravenous spirits that roam freely...
  1540. "I've traveled there. It is where I obtained this power."
  1541. >"How, where could it possibly exist?" Celestia asks. "What could have possibly persuaded you to go to such a place?"
  1542. "They did..."
  1543. >"And just who is 'they'?" Luna asks. "And while were on the subject of your dark power, why is it that I haven't been able to see your dreams in the dreamworld? Why is it that ever since you sought my council, I haven't been able to make any connection to you in your dreams?"
  1544. >Luna leans forward to ask one more question.
  1545. >"Why is it that the alchemist, Chemtrail, told us that you communicated with that black stone?" She asks glaring.
  1546. "/They/ wanted me, they...chose me. I no longer sleep due to their influence."
  1547. >"You still haven't answered the question, Star. Who is this 'they' you keep referring too?" Celestia asks.
  1548. "I'm not sure exactly what they are. They claim themselves to be gods of a long forgotten time." You look up to meet her eyes, "They want back in. They want to reclaim this world for themselves."
  1549. >"And you would ally yourself with these...'beings', why?"
  1550. "The power I used to kill the faceless army's leader, is the power they bestowed upon me. They want me to bring them back into this world."
  1551. >"You would damn us all to these 'Gods' of yours for power!?" Luna asks in frustration.
  1552. "If I had done nothing, and fought as the rest of those who are now dead did, then we would be damned either way!" You say trying to raise your hoof, only to be stopped by the chain bindings.
  1553. >"You forget yourself, Nether." Luna says, "We have the elements of harmony, my sister and I."
  1554. "The very same elements that you would /not/ use to end the conflict before it could escalate to this!? Would you only use the most powerful force our world has ever seen only at the last minute /after/ so much had been lost!?"
  1555. >Gossip stirs within the courtroom, regardless of whether or not you were telling the truth, they were not likely to believe such a thing.
  1556. >You address the entire courtroom again, raising your voice for all to hear.
  1557. "If your precious laws bind you all to in-action, then I choose to no longer have anything to do with such unnecessary limits to what powers we can choose to make use of!"
  1558. >Celestia stops you before you can continue any further.
  1559. >"Nether, you made an oath of service, of duty and loyalty!" She says looking you in the eyes, "You have failed those oaths, you have failed the legacy your father set for you to follow."
  1560. >It was the worst possible choice of words, only setting you off even more as the rage that had been building up since getting here finally let itself out.
  1561. "YOU, knew what we were up against!"
  1562. >You pound you hoof into the ground.
  1563. "You let so many die! I lost EVERYTHING in my efforts to save all that we held dear!"
  1564. >You close your eyes and close them tight, fighting back the tears welling up in the corners of them.
  1565. "My only family, my title and honor, my very soul..."
  1566. >You open your eyes back up, letting the steams run down your face as you look up to face them both again.
  1567. "You, Failed, MEEE!"
  1568. >Silence once again enveloped the courtroom. The sisters were left speechless by your words.
  1569. "You don't have the resolve," You say breathing heavy, "to lead this kingdom!"
  1570. >A moment passes, all heads in the courtroom turn to Celestia and Luna, awaiting their response.
  1571. >"What would you have had us do, Star?" Luna says calmly, "Go about, and use the elements on every shadow, or any danger that comes forth?"
  1572. >Luna composes herself and takes a deep breath.
  1573. >"We can't just use them on every problem that arises. We must give our citizens the chance to resolve it first, if we flew around Equestria just abusing the elements then we would eventually be revered as gods, which we are not."
  1574. >Celestia enters the conversation, carrying on from Luna's statement.
  1575. >"Nether, please understand; when we used the elements on Discord, peace rang through all of Equestria. There were problems that came after, yes. But we allowed it's citizens to solve them themselves."
  1576. >Celestia faces the entire courtroom, as to speak to everyone there. Her calm, soothing voice rang through out.
  1577. >"Conflict and strife are inherent in life, it is something that will always be present. It is true that there are sometimes quick and easy ways out of such things..."
  1578. >She turns again, facing you as if to direct her next sentence at you.
  1579. >"But doing so can lead to more harm then good. Sometimes the longer, more difficult journey to a solution is the better option."
  1580. >The courtroom uproars into a thunderous applause, praising the twins and there, "wisdom".
  1581. >The, "more difficult" journey? They had no idea...
  1582. >Cheering continues as they receive a standing ovation, the floor rumbles with every hoof being pounded against it.
  1583. >They truly are blinded, so caught up in their self-righteous views that they won't understand, no matter what you tell them.
  1584. >The sound of hooves banging against the wood pedestals calms the room down.
  1585. >Everypony takes their seats and and composes themselves, idle chatter and everpony sitting back down takes over until eventually the room falls silent once again.
  1586. >"Anypony who wishes to take the stand to make a case proclaiming Nether's innocence may at this time, speak." Celestia says.
  1587. >There is no sound.
  1588. >Not that you would expect there to be...
  1589. >Who could possibly stand for you at this time anyway?
  1590. >"I wish to take the stand, your highness." A familiar voice says.
  1591. >Being caught completely off-guard by this, you quickly turn your head back to see Lightbreak making his way to the front of the stands where the audience sat.
  1592.  
  1593.  
  1594. >>
  1595. >Light approaches the stand where your chained. What could he possibly bring to them that could change their opinion?
  1596. >What reason could he have to put his own reputation on the line by affiliating himself with you?
  1597. >You had already seen the way the guards reacted when he confronted Quartz before your capture...
  1598. >"Very well, LightBreak, you may make your statement at this time..." Celestia said.
  1599. >"Know that I am not here to claim his innocence, but rather to bring reasoning behind his actions." Light looks to you and continues, "Hes never done anything but serve with utmost respect and duty towards Equestria and it's citizens."
  1600. >"Respect towards Equestria?" Luna responds, "He has given himself up to darkness, and has trampled over our laws. Where is the respect for a nation in that?"
  1601. >"Yes, I understand what he has done. But know that he did it all with the best intentions, this I know for sure!" Light says confidently.
  1602. >Luna and Celestia glance at one another and begin to question Light's reasoning.
  1603. >"Hes told us that it was malevolent beings who gave him his power. He made a dark pact with them, whomever they may be." Celestia says.
  1604. >"Your highness I have never seen him do anything without reason. If he made a pact for power he did it to protect this kingdom, if he sold his soul then he did so others wouldn't suffer a terrible fate."
  1605. >Light continues on, every word he spoke held truth.
  1606. >Everything you had done up till now was to only protect those you cared about, and to prevent any more destruction in your world.
  1607. >"Its true that even I when first seeing his dark power, could not believe he would do such a thing. But He only ever used it to fight our enemy, he would never use it for any dark purpose!"
  1608. >Luna lets out a long, drawn-out sigh.
  1609. >"And what of Quartz, Light?"
  1610. >Light says nothing, only grimacing at the question.
  1611. >"And what of anypony else that may anger him?" Luna asks, "Should we simply ignore that he killed one of his fellow guards ponies out of anger?"
  1612. >"I..."
  1613. >"He has proven that he is willing to do anything for Equestria, this is true. However, if he is even willing to offer himself to darkness and give in to hatred...that makes him dangerous."
  1614. >Dangerous? You? If only they knew the true danger that could have been...
  1615. >What true horrors would take hold if you had not done what you did...
  1616. >Light stepped up, and stomps his hoof into the ground, breaking the tile where his hoof rested. He takes a piece of tile that broke off from the floor and stamps it into dust.
  1617. >"This trial," He responded, "does not matter, in the end we all turn to dust just like this piece of earth."
  1618. >He looks over to the jury, directing his words to them.
  1619. >"But what does matter, is what we choose to do with our time. Ponies change, history will tell us this time and time again."
  1620. >He looks back to the princesses, watching as he makes his final statement from their thrones.
  1621. >"And the only justice would not be to end the possibility of change, it would be to give life a chance. Especially one like Nether Star..."
  1622. >With that, Light bows and take his leave from the floor, thanking the princesses for their time and attention.
  1623. >His words lingered in your mind. A deepening depression begins to overwhelm you as he takes his seat.
  1624. >He was right, but it did not matter. For you know regardless of the outcome you belong to them...
  1625. >Indeed he was right.
  1626. >This trial didn't matter.
  1627. >None of this mattered.
  1628. >You've already damned yourself to a fate worse then death even...your immortal soul taken and held hostage.
  1629. >Doomed to whatever fate the old ones saw fit.
  1630. >"Nether..."
  1631. >Hope, is an illusion. Only darkness waits...
  1632. >"Nether Star!" Luna's voice rings loudly.
  1633. >Your snapped back to reality by her yelling your name.
  1634. >"We will give you the opportunity to speak one final time before we allow the jury to make their verdict." She said.
  1635. >Quickly composing yourself, you thank the princess.
  1636. "I thank you, for this chance your highness..."
  1637. >You speak about how the evidence is brought forth and how they have made a strong case against you.
  1638. >How your trusted friend, LightBreak, would still defend you and despite his own feelings, would not try to plead your innocence but make ponies listen and understand.
  1639. >As well, how he above all should feel betrayed by your actions, but instead talked about how he believes ponies can change and give life a chance.
  1640. >Taking a deep breath, you gather your thoughts.
  1641. >Celestia leaned forward, not wanting to hope, but hoping wildly, beautifully anyway, that her former student has realized and will admit to what hes done and seek amends.
  1642. "And now, here at this moment, when I am free to speak my mind and heart, I tell you true: I regret..."
  1643. >Silence fell, screaming so loud in the courtroom as you take a moment to speak your mind.
  1644. "Nothing! I would sacrifice my soul a thousand times if it would mean I could have the power to protect home! I would hunt down any who would bar my path to power and silence their voice forever! I would drain the life of every greedy griffon, smug Minotaur, and whimpering silver spooned pony of the so called 'high class' in this room if it meant everypony else in this kingdom would live!"
  1645. >You have no regrets. You did what you must and that is the honest truth.
  1646. >If they are too blinded by their own pride and petty laws, then they deserve to be taken by the old god's wrath...
  1647. >The silent audience quickly changed into an angry mob. All around you ponies were trying to get out of their seats to rush you. Only being held back by the guards. Holding the line as if on a battlefield.
  1648. >Unicorns had to resort to using their magic to erect a barrier around the stands to contain the unruly spectators.
  1649. >"SMUG!? I'll teach you some manners you little-" The Minotaur diplomat could be heard yelling.
  1650. >It took both of his own guards and some additional help from some of the other audience members to hold him back.
  1651. >"Order!" Luna bang her hoof, "Order, Order, ORDER!" She bangs louder and harder with each order she yells.
  1652. >This was almost fun to watch. The whole world undoubtedly wants to see your head on a pike now.
  1653. >The courtroom finally settles down. Certain, not so kind remarks, can still be heard as the loud roaring turns into mumbling and eventually silence.
  1654. >"The court is now ended!" Luna says firmly, banging her hoof one last time, "The jury may now take the time to make their verdict!"
  1655. >The jury members all get up and walk out of their stands to the left to a door that you could barely see the inside of from your angle.
  1656. "Hmph, come what may. Nothing they do can ruin my life anymore than it already is..." You mutter.
  1657.  
  1658.  
  1659. >>
  1660. >Only a short time passes, and the jury re-enters the room, filing back to their seats.
  1661. >They each sit down, looking confident in their decision.
  1662. >One of them, sitting at the bottom row, closest to the twin's thrones held an envelope.
  1663. >The very envelope that would read your fate.
  1664. >The Earth pony dressed in fancy attire and with his mane done so well, styled to perfection, opened the envelope with a quick rip and unfurled the parchment held within.
  1665. >"Your royal majesties, Celestia and Luna, when it comes to the finding of the defendant, Nether Star." He spoke monotonously, "We find him, guilty, of all charges brought forth against his name."
  1666. >No surprise.
  1667. >Still, though, you could not help but feel a little remorse now having actually heard to verdict read out loud.
  1668. >The courtroom was silent, surprisingly. No applause or cheering.
  1669. >Perhaps they were merely satisfied in knowing you would get whats coming to you.
  1670. >Regardless of whatever they may sentence you too, you would have to face the Old one's judgement soon.
  1671. >"Nether Star..." Celestia said.
  1672. >These smug fools...they don't know what a true terror could bring...
  1673. >"With the verdict being read, and all things considered..."
  1674. >Hope they live to see the day they return...too see the Old ones coming, if only too see the looks on their faces while they stand on their self righteous pedestals they try to put themselves on...
  1675. >"We hereby sentence you to..."
  1676. >"All you have accomplished and still you lick the hooves of royals. Hmph. You should be king..." The whispers said, fading back into your head.
  1677. >You /should/ rule them all...
  1678. >"Imprisonment, for life."
  1679. >Luna and Celestia both slam their hoofs simultaneously, making their sentencing official.
  1680. >Ironic, seeing as how you sort of...can't die.
  1681. >Not while /they/ see fit to keep your mortal vessel living anyway.
  1682. >"Deep beneath the lowest dungeons of the castle, you will languish. Any use of magic will become foreign to you as those rings on your horn remain forever! You are cast out." She says waving her hoof, "You will learn what is like to have no people..."
  1683. >Luna said as the guards who escorted you in approach your stand, undoing the shackles from the ground.
  1684. >"We will send them a message, let their fear and anger give us strength for the years to come..." They bellowed in your head.
  1685. >A sense of displacement and weightlessness overcame you, it felt the same as before.
  1686. >Possession. Only this time, you didn't fight it.
  1687. "You listen to me, your /highness/..." Your voice echoed loudly. Rumbling deep in a meld of your own and theirs speaking in unison.
  1688. "I hope you live to see their return! Because whether or not I am here too see it, the day they arise from the black depths of Ny'alotha, all creation will tremble!"
  1689. >"What dark sorcery is this Nether!?" Celestia cries out.
  1690. >You aren't the one in control right now, but they are making it seem clear that its you...
  1691. "They will come for you, do you hear me!?" Your voice echos again, gaining volume, "The faceless horrors will race through your streets, and kill your people!"
  1692. >Numerous guards swarm you and restrain you, holding you down to the ground.
  1693. "They will place your soft, little, peace-craving bodies on a pike and burn your kingdom down around your still-wet ears!"
  1694. >"Be silent!" One of the guards screams out as your body struggles against them.
  1695. "And in whatever afterlife your precious elements grant you, your people will wish your mother had /miscarried/!"
  1696. >"Enough!!"
  1697. >The last thing thing you could hear was a clunk in the back of your head with the blunt end of a spear, knocking you unconscious.
  1698.  
  1699.  
  1700. >>
  1701. >Awakening several hours later in a groggy daze, you take notice of whats around you.
  1702. >Both your hooves were chained high above your head, stretched to the limit. The strain in your tendons could be felt with every little movement you made.
  1703. >Knowing, but hoping anyway, you look to your horn. The rings were still there. Mocking you.
  1704. >Your magic was still sealed away, so close, yet so far.
  1705. >You try to stand up, only sliding against the wall as the dirt beneath your hooves made it hard to gain balance in your weary state.
  1706. >Cringing in pain as you slip, you are caught by the shackles on your forehooves, their vice-grip dug into your still raw flesh.
  1707. *Gah* "I suppose this is home for awhile..." You think to yourself.
  1708. >Looking forward, you see the metal bars of your tiny stone cell. The walls were hardly wide enough to even hold your forehooves to your sides to stretch.
  1709. >If you could stretch anyway...
  1710. >The bars, glowed a dim golden glow. No doubt enchanted to ward off any and all magic and going off the aura that enveloped them, it was done by Celestia herself.
  1711. >There were wards and totems in front of the bars as well, lay out in front of it. More then likely from the Zebras.
  1712. >The wards, glowed a golden glow, further signifying that Celstia was behind their creation. They were complex in design.
  1713. >Obviously they were there to assist the enchanted bars to keep you held in here.
  1714. >Maybe the message the Old Gods sent was taken too harshly.
  1715. >Good.
  1716. >At least they are perceptive enough to take /them/ seriously...
  1717. >"Well well, looks like someones awake." Said the earth pony guard standing just off to the side of the cell.
  1718. >"Hes awake? Good, then we can test Princess Luna's theory and get out of here, gives me the creeps being this low in the dungeon..." The unicorn said, looking up and down the walls.
  1719. >What test could they mean? Wha-
  1720. >"You are weak. Say it!" The earth pony said snidely.
  1721. "Release me, and I will show you what weak is!" You cry out, struggling against the chains that held you.
  1722. >"Hmph, is that all? I expected more from him." Said the unicorn.
  1723. >They were trying to anger you, to get you riled up to see if your "evil" magic could break any of the barriers put in place. Making sure that they were enough to keep you down.
  1724. >"Looks like the Princess's protection wards works well enough, that along with those rings on his horn and these totems from them zebras, I don't think this treacherous dog will be going anywhere anytime soon."
  1725. >"You'll stay here for the rest of however long your life will hold out! And going by your current status..." He says looking to your worn out figure, "won't be much longer, hah!"
  1726. >"You'll never have the privilege of seeing Celestia's sun ever again, serves you right traitor!" The unicorn says, laughing.
  1727. >They both grab their spears from the ground, and begin leaving.
  1728. >"Well, lets inform Luna that the spells are in full effect then!" The unicorn said.
  1729. >"May your bones rot, Demon!!" Their voices echoed down the halls.
  1730. >And here you sit.
  1731. >Bound.
  1732. >Looking again to the barriers and wards, you see the intricacies of them. They were weaved with great care and were powerful spell wards.
  1733. >Celestia really knew her stuff...
  1734. >Even /with/ no restraints on you, breaking out of here would prove difficult...
  1735. >Looks like you aren't going to be leaving here for a long, long time.
  1736. >Hours go by, and for the first time in you can't remember how long, you felt...tired?
  1737. >Sleepy tired...
  1738. "Sleep? But...I thought...ugh..."
  1739. >Your vision blurs and starts to go dark as you go limp in your restraints against the wall.
  1740. >Awakening, you could only see darkness surrounding you.
  1741. >A cold blackness that seemed to drain the very heat form your body.
  1742. >"Nether..."
  1743. >That voice...
  1744. >"You have /failed/ us, Nether Star..."
  1745.  
  1746.  
  1747. >>
  1748. >The darkness pierced your very heart, consuming your every thought and emotion as your body grew colder and colder.
  1749. >"You will know the price...of failure..." They whispered.
  1750. >Only it wasn't a whisper, it was a loud, brooding voice. It felt the same as when you had been guided to Ny'alotha by them...
  1751. "Wh-what is this?" You said shaking.
  1752. >"This is dept you will repay us..."
  1753. >A dim, red glow, appeared over the horizon directly in front of you. Revealing a massive figure of flesh and teeth off in the distance.
  1754. >"See what we see, be granted sight into the dark veil of our glorious empire..."
  1755. >Cavernous maws of sharp teeth, hundreds of evil staring eyes, black tendrils that crawled and seep into the earth.
  1756. >Could this be one of the "Gods" which you have unwittingly thrown yourself in service too?
  1757. >The red light grew, illuminating the area surrounding you and the titanic creature.
  1758. >Before you, was a city of darkness. The cliff you stood on, gave you a clear vantage point of the entire city.
  1759. >Faceless abominations roamed the streets and ramparts of the city walls and structures.
  1760. >And surrounding the body of the enormous monster were massive temple complexes, towering obelisks, and enormous walls that would surround the hulking form.
  1761. "Y-you spoke of a debt, what debt? What more could I owe?!" You say taking a few steps back as if to avoid the sight.
  1762. >"You were to be the instrument of our coming, but you instead, allowed yourself to be taken by such weak, lesser beings..."
  1763. "No! Th-that isn't...I mean..."
  1764. >"We will take our payment in agony and flesh, you will know what it means to pay the price of failure..."
  1765. >From beneath you you can hear the soil begin to stir. Looking down to your hooves, you notice little tree-like roots rustling through the dirt.
  1766. >The black tendrils slowly creep up from the ground beneath you, surrounding and latching onto your body.
  1767. "What-is, N-NO!"
  1768. >The black tendrils begin to slowly dig into and enter your flesh, coursing through your body like veins that carry blood.
  1769. "N-No!! Why can't I u-use...my magic! AHH!"
  1770. >"Carve slowly, that we may feast..."
  1771. >They emerge through your mouth and nose, cutting of your airways and causing you to suffocate as the pain gorws more and more.
  1772. >The tendrils within your body twist and turn, ripping your body slowly apart, flaying flesh and spilling your blood on the cold ground.
  1773. "No...no......" You manage to muffle out, slowly losing consciousness.
  1774. >The pain recedes, and your mind drifts. Only seeing blackness take hold of your vision.
  1775. *GASP* "AH! What? How? Where...?" You say breathing hard in a panicked state, "Gah, I-I can't move!!"
  1776. >You lay on your back in a wooden tub, just large enough to hold your whole body save for your head. Your body however, could not move. For some reason you had all feeling but no control?
  1777. "What the Tarturas is going on!? What the hell is this?!" You scream into the dark.
  1778. >"You will know agony...death...and rebirth..." The voices bellowed, sounding as if they came from all directions.
  1779. "How am I here!? I was in the cell back at the castle!" You say jerking your head about, trying to regain any movement you can.
  1780. >"We brought your soul to our domain...your mortal shell will reside there forever intact until we see fit to no longer preserve it..."
  1781. >Preserve it? Just how in...
  1782. "How is that even possible!? How can I be here and there at the same time!?"
  1783. >"It matters not whether you understand. You won't think through the un-ending suffering..."
  1784. >Their voices faded, and the tub filled with blood, rising from the bottom from the cracks between the planks at the bottom of the tub, the goopy, warm, liquid rose slowly encompassing your body.
  1785. "N-no! G-get me out!"
  1786. >Struggling in vain, the blood fills to the top, leaving only your head exposed.
  1787. >Sitting there, you look around, trying to get any sort of bearing you could as to just where you could be. but there was only darkness all around. Save for a dim red light that surrounded you.
  1788. >The minutes turn to hours, marinating in the rancid blood. The stench it gave off was almost too much, making you nearly gag with every breath deeper then a short inhale.
  1789. "Blah, dammit! Just what could this prove? Am I to suffocate from stench alone?" You think to yourself.
  1790. >An insect lands on your mussel, tickling ever so slightly as it moves around towards your mouth and cheek.
  1791. >Landing so close to your eyes, you were able to get a good look at it.
  1792. >It was no bigger then any typical fly, only it had sharp prickly legs and large jaws compared to the rest of it's body.
  1793. >You spit and huff, trying to get it off, but it still persists.
  1794. >Another comes, landing above your eye.
  1795. "Hey! Get off!" You say trying to move your muzzle around and around.
  1796. >Another lands on your ear.
  1797. >Then another.
  1798. >And another...
  1799. "Get off me you pests!!"
  1800. >Only a minute goes by and your face is nearly covered by the little carnivorous insects, biting at your flesh.
  1801. "NO! I am /NOT/ food for bugs!" You shaking your head as hard as you can.
  1802. >It proves futile, every shake that gets them off only draws them back on. The smell of your raw flesh and the blood from the tub only drew more in like moths to a flame.
  1803. >They crawl and bite all over, gnawing and digging into you face with their prickly little legs and bites.
  1804. >The pain extends further, into your ears and around your eyes as they devour the flesh all around your face and neck.
  1805. "No!! I am not food for insects dammit!!"
  1806. >They swarm all around you, clouding your vision and your breathing as they enter your nostrils and mouth. The biting and digging go even deeper as they make their way into your body.
  1807. >The sting of their hunger felt as if there were needles and pins being injected into every part of your body they covered.
  1808. "Make them-" *hack* "Stop!"
  1809. >You let out a hacking cough, the bugs come flying out of your mouth and your chest feels clearer from them exiting your airways.
  1810. >Your ears flicker and twitch, the insufferable little bastards wouldn't let up. They continued their feast, moving into your ears.
  1811. >You could feel them, digging deeper into your head. The scratching of their claws and legs against your skull is the only thing drowning out the noise from the buzzing of them hovering all around you and the pool of blood you lie in.
  1812. "AHH! Nooo!!"
  1813. >They begin eating into your eyes, gnawing and slowly seeping into your head as the carrion swarm begins to fully envelope you.
  1814. >Only a short time goes by, and your mind fades into blackness for a second time.
  1815. >You awaken again. Jolting this time, covering and patting yourself down frantically, rubbing all over.
  1816. "Guh! AHH! G-Get them out! GET THEM OUT!!" You cry out.
  1817. >You brush all over your mane and tail, thrashing about and jerking yourself around, the thought of being eaten alive again by those insects was driving you to the brink.
  1818. "I...I should be dead...but...how?" You think to yourself, hyperventilating.
  1819. >"The pain of flesh is fleeting...true torment lasts forever..." The voice calls out.
  1820. "Wh-whose there! Show yourself!!" You stuttered in fear.
  1821. >"Look upon our true form...and know our presence, divine and holy..."
  1822. >Turning, you can see what lie before you, the manifestation of the horrors which you had born witness too, at the heart of it all.
  1823. >It is a mass of corruption, a thing that should not be. It's tendrils seep through the ground emerging in countless horrifying eye stalks and limbs.
  1824. >From what you could assume as it's main body, protruded 7 heads. Each with sharp, gnarled teeth and several eyes like that of a spider.
  1825. >Each of them breathed in and out toxic looking air, black and red in a misty color.
  1826. >At the top of it's body there was one head, larger then the rest. Within it'd forehead was a single large eye, along with the rest it had similar to the rest.
  1827. >It's long, sharp teeth protruded out of it's mouth as if they had grown to large to be contained within it.
  1828. >From it's cheeks, were two large pincers. Sharp and only adding to the menacing look of the monster.
  1829. "What in hell...." You grimace, taking a step back, "How...how can such a thing exist?"
  1830. >This, was no god. What it truly was you could only imagine.
  1831. >"You will suffer, your dept will be payed in full. And when the time comes, you will serve us again..."
  1832. >As it spoke, each head moved it's mouth in unison along with the main head, giving the sound of 7 different voices all speaking at once.
  1833. "And for how long!? How much more do you inte-"
  1834. >The sound of metal piercing your chest stops you mid sentence. A jagged pike ran through you.
  1835. "Gahhh!" *hack* "Guhh...."
  1836. >Blood spilled all over the stone flooring beneath you. You hack and cough, struggling to get any oxygen into your body, only managing to cough up and in choke on your own blood.
  1837. >"You will know the truest pain that can be inflicted on one's soul."
  1838. >Your body is brought up from the ground. Putting you facing upward towards the ceiling, causing you to gag, and cough up more blood.
  1839. >"To the abyss of fire...take him..."
  1840. >Turning your head, you see a one of the faceless. Twisting it's tentacle arm around the pike for grip.
  1841. >The room surrounding you and your tormentor was large and hollow. Massive pillars stood erect to the sides, holding up and supporting the weight of the structure.
  1842. >The faceless abomination begins making for the exit, revealing more of the temple's walls and features.
  1843. >Carvings of past times were etched into the walls, unveiling history long forgotten.
  1844. >Murals and and paintings showed wars and conflict, enslavement and death.
  1845. >It begins moving out of the massive cathedral's doors, revealing the area surrounding the temple you just exited.
  1846. >The air in this area was toxic, every short, muffled breath you managed smelt of decay and death.
  1847. >There were numerous faceless, among other things, watching as your limp body was brought to a massive cliff, surrounded by mountains and of clouds of ash and smoke.
  1848. >Looking downward through the corner of your eye, you could see a swirling pool. Twisting and churning violently with volatile energies and flames.
  1849. >They can't mean to...
  1850. "N-NO! Please I-AHH!"
  1851. >You feel yourself being plucked from the pike and wrapped in the faceless one's grip, being held over the edge.
  1852. >"You are damned to burn forever, in the bowels in the lake of the dead, Cast him in!"
  1853. >And with that order given, you feel the grip around your body release.
  1854. >Tumbling, burning with quite hot fire, you plunged into the depths of the maw.
  1855. >Unspeakable pain, relentless agony, time ceased to exist. Only this torture, and a deepening hatred for the hypocrisy that led to your damnation to this hell.
  1856. >Eternity had past, and your torment receded. Bringing you back from the precipice of madness.
  1857. >The decent had destroyed you. No moral fabric or faith remained of your broken spirit. Only deep rooted hatred and a lust for vengeance...
  1858. >"Nether Star!" The oh so familiar voice calls out, echoing in malice.
  1859. >"The time has come...your power will be made of use again..."
  1860.  
  1861.  
  1862.  
  1863. >>
  1864. >"Ahh! What, where? How...?" You say awakening from a nightmare, jolting to sit up-right in bed, rubbing your head.
  1865. >"Whats the matter Twilight?" Spike asks groggily, rubbing his eyes, "Did you have that dream again? The one about that thing with the seven heads?"
  1866. >It was just another dream? Thank Celestia!
  1867. >"Its okay, Spike." You say reassuringly, "It was just a dream after all. Now lets get some rest, we have a busy day tomorrow!"
  1868. >Spike lays back down in his bed.
  1869. >"Yeah, okay." He says falling back asleep.
  1870. >You stay sitting upright for another minute, contemplating to yourself.
  1871. >"Heh, it /was/ only a dream...right?"
OC

Anon joins the guard (WIP)

by Mshakezilla

Dash's orders

by Mshakezilla

Pinkie's time

by Mshakezilla

Doctor's orders

by Mshakezilla

Lessons in the way of Horsiery

by Mshakezilla