Though Tirek is the most feared and well remembered villain to have ever blighted the land there were others who throughout history had caused their own chaos and torment. Though these beings had passed on, mages like Tirek recreated the havoc these being caused by transforming currently living creatures into imitations of them. They were known as the Five Fiends. Arabus the Foul, Catrina the Wicked, Grogar the Tyrant, Crunch the Indomitable, and Somnambula the Siren. Such creatures are the forerunners in Tirek's campaign to total conquest.
Chapter twenty: Paradise Lost
Ponyville had been changed from the wholesome quiet town to a prison camp for ponies to be contained and broken mentally and physically to later be used as slaves or turned into monsters to serve in Tirek's army. Grogar was responsible for keeping order in the prison and to quell any and all misbehavior at his discretion. Grogar the Tyrant was a Demon Ram who wore a necklace with an enchanted bell on it. He also contained the ability to inflict harm using magic. His assistant was an obnoxious donkey named Bray.
Bray escorts a group of ponies out of their cells to be processed and escorted to a train that will take them to Midnight Castle to be turned into Troggles, a goblin like creature and the most common solider in Tirek's army. The ponies are chained by the legs with rings and collars placed on horns and wings to prevent them from using their powers and abilities. They stop at the processing center to be authenticated for their transfer. Grogar walks into the room and inspects the Ponies. “What are these ponies for?” Grogar asks as he glared at the ponies. “Heartstrings, Golden Harvest, And Bon Bon have been elected for Troggle transformation.” Bray said leering at the ponies. Grogar looked at Bon Bon. “I hope you're grateful. You mares are hardly very useful for manual labor. If it wasn't for Lord Tirek you would be more useful dead!” Grogar said with a laugh. Bon Bon grimaced and spat in his eye.
“Grahh, Why you little!” Grogar said yelling angrily. Grogar charged the energy in his horns and blasted Bon Bon knocking her down. “You little wretch!” Grogar yelled shooting Bon Bon once again with Bray laughing at Bon Bon's pain.
A group of ponies slave over a distillery in an effort to produce a potent potion much preferred by Catrina. Catrina was a humanoid cat creature and was fluent in archaic and extremely powerful magic but required her to drink a magical elixir called Witchweed Potion in order to keep her powers at peak strength. Catrina the Wicked anxiously waits for her supply and gets very impatient and angry despite it being a very hard product to produce. When she gets annoyed or upset she calls out to her assistant Rep. Rep was a reptile like creature that had the ability to shape shift although his voice would remain the same. He was charged with being a taskmaster to the ponies working the distillery.
Three ponies gathered around a goblet making the final touches to the potion.
One pony with a pink coat, yellow chartreuse, and five glasses for a cutie mark pulls out a nightshade that was stashed inside her mane with her tail. She looks towards the pony with a white coat, a Dark Turquoise with pink streak mane, and five red leaves for cutie marks. “Will this really work Gusty?” The glasses cutie mark pony asked as she held the nightshade over the potion. “It's our only option.” Gusty said. “Are you sure? I mean what if it fails? I'm not sure the punishment we would get would be tolerable.” The pony with the white coat, pink mane, and large pink heart surrounded by three smaller orange hearts for a cutie mark said, “Yeah, Sweetheart has a point. Maybe we should call this whole thing off.” the glasses cutie mark pony said agreeing with Sweetheart. “Call it off? Are you telling me you would rather be here Shady?” Gusty asked angry with Shady's suggestion. “I just don't want to. Well. I don't want to die. And if we do what we're told we get to live. If we do this to Catrina it might be the last thing we ever do.” Shady said sounding scared. “She's right Gusty. I know you want to be free. What pony doesn't? But I’m not sure the risk is worth the reward.” Sweetheart said. “Not worth the reward? Have you two lost you're minds? If we don't do something this will be the rest of our lives. Slavering for Catrina until we're all used up, I'd rather be dead. If we can escape than maybe something can be done. Maybe there's some pony out there that has the solution and just needs us to assist in the ranks. Anything would be better than this! Now are you going to put that in or do I have to do it myself?” Gusty said with a very aggressive tone. Shady hesitantly put the nightshade into the goblet and Sweetheart stirred it in. Rep walked into the distillery. “All right girls, It's time to deliver on you're product!” Rep said as he walked towards them. “This is all we were able to make.” Sweetheart said. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, you’re slacking off. Catrina will have none of it. Come with me and you will see what I mean.” Rep said as he picked up the goblet and left the distillery with the ponies following.
They walked into Catrina's room where she was impatiently waiting for her Witchweed potion. Her foot tapping the ground as a way to show her displeasure at waiting, “It's about time you arrived, I've been waiting all day!” Catrina yelled. “I'm sorry my ladyship here is the potion as you desire.” Rep said handing her the goblet. She takes the goblet and inspects it. The ponies panic for a moment as they hope that Catrina doesn't see that they've altered the mixture. She looks at the ponies and looks at Rep. “This is less than last time.” Catrina said angrily. “I know and I told them that you will not appreciate their apathy in the slightest. I brought them here to see you're displeasure so they know not to disappoint you again.” Rep said as he knelt to her.
“See that does not happen again.” Catrina said. She then gulped the potion down without a second thought. At first nothing seemed to happen but suddenly Catrina dropped to the ground clutching her stomach. She made gargled sounds of confusion and pain. “Catrina, what’s going on?” Rep said as he leaps to her side. “This is our chance! It's now or never!” Gusty said. “What did you girls oof-” Rep said as he got bucked Sweetheart. Sweetheart bucked him hard enough to where he fell to the ground and fell unconscious. Sweetheart and Shady used their tails to pull the ring off Gusty's horn. They pulled it off and then stomped on it shattering it instantly.
The ponies ran out into the field where they ran into Bon Bon, Heartstrings, and Golden Harvest being escorted to the train station by Bray. “Can we free them?” Sweetheart said as they continued running for the gate. “That wasn't part of the plan!” Gusty said. “But we have too! They're going to turn them into monsters or something worse we have to help them!” Shady said. “Rgh, Fine lets do this then!” Gusty said as she changed her course now running straight towards Bray. Gusty cast a whirlwind sending him flying. Sweet heart and Shady free the ponies and removed Heartstring's horn ring. The alarm went off and Troggles started coming out of buildings abandoning their posts. The Troggles were armed with staffs that shot energy at anything they pointed.
“Sweetheart, Shady, Take the other earth ponies to the gate and head into the Everfree forest and doesn’t look back! You! We need to cover their escape can you do that?” Gusty said looking at the aforementioned ponies. They nodded and ran with Heartstrings assisting in defense shooting Troggles as they backed towards the exit. The Troggles took fire at them and the ponies escaping but aside from some brush shots nothing critical hit them. Grogar burst onto the field angered by the commotion. “What's the meaning of this?!” Grogar yelled. “That's our time to run!” Gusty said as she started running with Heartstrings following her. Catrina emerged from her building twice the size that she was before with a magical aura flowing through her. “Stop those ponies; they will pay for their insolence!” Catrina yelled. Grogar began lobbing shots at them almost hitting them. They get to the gate when suddenly gets erected in front of them. It was Grogar. “Rgh, no, not like this, Agh, Everypony, Use as much strength as you can and hit the barrier all at once!” Gusty yelled getting extremely frustrated. The earth ponies all buck the barrier getting it to crack under their attacks while Heartstrings blasted the barrier with a sonic wave causing it to shatter and blowing open the gate they all run except for Gusty.
“Gusty!” Sweetheart yelled stopping for a moment. “Remember the plan! Find some pony, Anypony who can help us and bring them here!” Gusty yelled as she blasted the Grogar and the Troggles with her strongest whirlwind blast sending the Troggles flying and knocking Grogar and Catrina down. “Gust-” Sweetheart said only to be cutoff by Gusty. “Shut up and run!” Gusty yelled trying to keep the creatures at bay with her magic.
Gusty was eventually captured and sent off to be turned into a monster but she bought them enough time to escape into the Everfree Forest and beyond without Grogar or Catrina having a chance to catch up.
The invasion left Cloudsdale in ruins. The once proud cloud city reduced to almost nothing in the wake of Tirek's conquest. The pegasi are weakened by the darkened skies and the muted weather but most of all they were drained by Arabus. Arabus the Foul was a cloud demon that fed on the essence of others to sustain his powers. The Pegasus in particular became a target to his leeching ways. He sapped the energy and spirit away from them leaving them without a will to fight back or even move on there accord. Their ponies lay prone and helpless on the remains of Cloudsdale as Arabus drains them constantly making them unable to fight back.
But not all pegasi are lost for the few that survived the initial assault banded themselves together. Led by Spitfire and Soarin', they planned another attack in order to reclaim Cloudsdale from the demon. “Okay so the plan is settled right?” Soarin' asked. “Yes. It will be just like we've practiced.” Spitfire said nodding to Soarin'. “All right, I'm ready when you're ready and you sound like you're ready so I’m ready too! Let's go tell the gang that we're ready to fly!” Soarin' said enthusiastically. Soarin' and Spitfire walked up to the pegasi in their command. None of them were Wonderbolts but in times like this it didn't really matter. “All right girls it's just like we practiced! If we do this right we can free our friends from this blight. Medley, Heart Throb, You're with me! Surprise, Skydancer, Follow Soarin's lead! Let's go Pegasus ponies!” Spitfire said. The ponies signed off and took to the skies. They flew in V formation with the normal pegasi following their assigned leaders.
The ponies fly around the cloud structure that was more than likely Arabus “Well, well, well! I thought I smelled some fresh essence to procure!” Arabus bellowed. He then took a semi physical shape and form giving the ponies a face to the mass of clouds. “This ends now Arabus!” Spitfire yelled. Giving Surprise and Skydancer the signal they break formation and start around the lower half of Arabus's body being very careful to avoid lighting and tailwinds that emerge from his body. Soarin' gave the signal and Medley and Heart Throb break formation and fly around the top half of Arabus's body. “Heh, what’s this nonsense?” Arabus said as he looked at the pegasi flying harmlessly around him. He held out his hands and started casting lighting bolts from his fingertips. The pegasi sped faster trying to make it a harder target for him to hit. Their combined and constant speed starting dissipating the cloud creature's form, Spitfire and Soarin' roared through Arabus's head causing it to disappear for a moment before reforming.
“You ponies want to play hardball? I'll give you hardball!” Arabus said angrily. He then started shooting hailstones randomly and from every given direction at once.
“Serpentine!” Spitfire yelled. The pegasi broke formation and started taking evasive maneuvers attempting to dodge the onslaught as best as possible. They still got pelted by a few hails but they managed to not get hit in a serious area like their head or wings. Arabus continued to shoot hail until he started to get tired. It was the opening Spitfire was waiting for. Spitfire flew straight for Arabus's chest. She arched her body back and stretched her legs back to where they almost touched each other and then rolled forward like a wheel. It was Spitfire's signature move Wildfire Wheel. Her body was covered in flames as she spins into Arabus. The attack created a large hole in Arabus's chest and even caused a small fire on him for a few moments. Arabus was stunned by the blow but before he could respond with another attack Soarin's part in the attack came in. Soarin' darted around Arabus making 90 degree turns on a dime and building speed all the while. It was Soarin's signature move the Bolts of Belligerence. Soarin' at the peak of his speed blasted straight into Arabus's head destroying his head in one fell swoop. Arabus was crippled as the two attacked combined caused his form to fall apart. Arabus snapped his fingers and made a whistling noise with the air. Suddenly screeches could be heard from the distance. Flying reptile like creatures called Stratadons flew towards the Spitfire and the others. “All right girls I'm going to need you to fend those creatures off while I and Soarin' rescue a couple of pegasi. We'll give you the signal to withdraw when we're ready!” Spitfire yelled.
The pegasi intercepted the Stratadons and began attacking them. Skydancer began flying around them in circles smacking the creatures with her tail disorientating them. Surprise flew around them letting them give chase only to get them to crash into each other. Heart Throb let the Stratadons get within striking distance and began bucking and head butting the creatures. Medley flew around them getting a good speed and just rammed into a Stratadon of her choosing often hitting the ones that might have gotten a clear shot too hurt the other pegasi.
Spitfire gave out a whistling indicating that she and Soarin' procured a Pegasus or two from Cloudsdale. As instructed before hand the ponies all flew off in different directions confusing the Stratadons and giving them a clean escape. Spitfire was happy that the plan went off okay but she knew that such a tactic would wear out over time but at least today was a success.
The frontier town Appleloosa was one of the last places to be taken by Tirek in his campaign. The hardy people of the city simply refused to submit forcing Tirek to create Crunch the Rock dog. Crunch the Indomitable was a massive Golem creature in the shape of bulldog. His footsteps caused the immediate area around him to shake. He could produce animated pieces of stone to chase and terrorize distant targets. And those within his range can be turned to stone with his very touch. Crunch's might soon brought the city to submission and the apple city was turned into a factory where the weapons for Tirek's army will be forged. Residents of Appleloosa were turned into slaves and worked at the forgery till they were physically unable to do so. Reptile monsters called Lizardmen were the ponies’ taskmasters and made sure that they were doing their job or punished for not doing so.
But they were not the only creatures to be caught in this madness. Creatures known as buffalo were spotted before the invasion and an interaction of sorts started to happen. As such some of the buffalo were also captured and made into slaves. Two ponies looked on as they saw the female buffalo struggled to pull a cart of weapons and materials. One of them was a pony with a light gold coat and a brilliant orange mane with brilliant amber highlights and an apple for a cutie mark and the other had a brown coat with a white with pink streak in mane and a Baseball glove and bat for a cutie mark. “Aw that poor gal got it real rough she does.” The apple cutie mark pony said. “I reckon you're right Braeburn. She's just a softball player on a baseball field. But we ain't exactly doing well ourselves.” the baseball glove cutie mark pony said as he shook the chains that strapped him to the cart. “You're right Slugger but we're big tough ponies. We can't let some foreign gal run herself ragged trying to do the work that could only be expected from strappin' colts like ourselves. We gotta help her.” Braeburn said with a sigh. “If we free her we gotta at least free ourselves first and that would be a matter of getting these carts off our backs.” Slugger said. “If only I could reach them with my legs. I could crush yours easily and you could crush mine but first they'd have to be angled closer to the ground.” Slugger said as he postured at the chains that tied him to the cart.
Suddenly a loud crashing sound was heard. Braeburn and Slugger turned away from the buffalo girl and saw Slugger's friend Salty having knocked down another cart. “Looks like Salty knocked another cart down again, those Lizardmen won't be too happy about that.” Braeburn said. “Salty can't help it, once he hears the pitch he starts running through the outfield! It's an only a matter of time till the cart gets knocked down. I reckon it can't really handle the load and the movement Salty puts it through.” Slugger said.
Within a second an idea hits both their heads at once. “Are you reckoning what I’m reckoning?” Braeburn asked with a smile. “I'm ready for a home run when you are!” Slugger said enthusiastically. The two colts began thinking up a proper plan while they went about doing their chores. The next day when their put to work once again the plan starts up, they do their chores as normal until it gets to the part where they see where the buffalo girl begins to tire out. That's when they start picking up speed and charging towards her, the carts shake and rattle as it bumps over debris and the natural curves of the ground. They then jerked the carts by making a sharp turn causing it to fall over on their sides they then crushed each others chains freeing each other from the carts they quickly ran up to the female buffalo destroying her chains as well.
“It's you're lucky day little lady! Us strappin' colts are gonna escort you right on out of here!” Braeburn said. “We're gonna take ya all the way to the home plate!” Slugger said. The Lizardmen started to converge on their location but they simply started running ignoring them. Slugger tailed behind the buffalo while Braeburn ran in front. When the Lizardmen got in front of them Braeburn rammed into them knocking them down, when some of them began to close up on the rear Slugger swept their legs with his tail causing them to fall. The ground began to shake rapidly. It was Crunch the Rock dog who was stirred from his slumber to assist in their capture. He burst through the buildings and began chasing them. He was lumbering but one step was equal to several feet of normal sized creatures. The ponies and the buffalo ran. They tried to keep their movement steady as Crunch picked up speed causing everything in the area to shake. Crunch then spew pieces of rock that began to chase them. One of them got close enough to bite Slugger's tail. He let out a yelp as he tried to shake the rock creature off smashing it against a building. They city limits were within their sights when Crunch smashed the ground causing the earth to crack beneath them. The ground tripped them up causing them to fall and roll towards the exit with the exception of the buffalo girl who was nimble enough to dodge the cracks.
Braeburn and Slugger crashed into the city gates and looked on as the buffalo girl made a clean escape. “I reckon that was a home run.” Slugger said exhausted from the escape. “Yep, I feel a little better knowing that the little lady is going to go back to her pa now.” Braeburn said as he looked at Crunch and the Lizardmen who had finally closed in on them.
The ponies of Canterlot were concerned when Princess Celestia had gone missing prior to the days before the invasion. The Pegasus guards tried to fend the city off from the invading force only to fall to their numbers. A city filled with unicorns would usually be a difficult place to takeover due to the magic they possess but it was made easier with the help of Somnambula. Somnambula the Siren was an elven witch and was well versed in magic that enchants and ensnares minds. She would create illusions and siphon the energy of anypony. The unicorns were powerless to resist her infamous siren song which drew them like a moth to a flame. The halls of the castle were left in ruins as it became a draining facility for unicorns to have their magic sapped from them and stored inside a mechanism that enchants the weapons that the Troggles use. When the unicorns ran out of magic to siphon they were thrown in a cell that was under heavy guard. The ponies that were not unicorns however were under a far less guard and kept in a different room altogether. One such pony was a Pegasus with a light blue coat with a light pink mane and a cutie mark with 3 Pink and 2 blue whistles. She went by the name of Wind Whistler.
She sat quietly in her cell looking at the random objects in the room. She eyed the keys on the wall especially. All day she calculated the actions that were necessary for freedom and what needed to be done once freed. One day the other ponies in her cell tried to hatch a plan to escape. She didn't take part in it however. The ponies hatched the rather classic plan on one pony pretending to be sick while another called for the guards to inspect the pony.
Wind Whistler found the plan to be improbable but sure enough it worked and the ponies escaped. Wind Whistler stayed in her cell however. Listening to the guards it became evident that their escape created far too much of a ruckus and their group was too large to make a fast and clean escape. Somnambula stopped them in their tracks and they were relocated to a cell with a heavier guard. With only Wind Whistler to guard and with her being quiet and demure the guard willingly slacked off to the point to where he would spend the whole day asleep. Wind Whistler had finally decided to make her move. Wind Whistler took deep breath and exhaled a stiff breeze to send the keys flying off the wall. Before it hit the ground Wind Whistler inhaled sharply causing the keys to fly towards her landing in the cell block. The jingling of the keys stirred the guard awake by when he opened his eyes to check on Wind Whistler he didn't see anything out of place. Wind Whistler hid the keys under her body and acted nonchalant for him. Satisfied he fell asleep again. Wind Whistler quickly wedged the keys between herself and the ring that bound her wings. She then bumped herself roughly against the wall causing the ring to crack. She sets the keys down and breaks the ring apart with her wings. She then grabs the keys with her tail and floats up to the door. She carefully unlocks the door and opens the cell door just enough to where she can squeeze through and not make too much of a sound in the process.
She places the key back on the wall. She looks at the guard who was still well asleep. She looks at his weapon. It was propped against the wall. She grabbed the weapon with her tail and pointed it the guard. She tried to see if she could shoot the weapon like the Troggles do. Sure enough a blast of energy shot the guard knocking him out of his sleep and out of consciousness.
She opens the door slightly to let her self out. She peeks around the area. She seemed to be near the main hall. It was more than obvious that guards would be about, though she doesn't know how many and what their rotations were. She looked at the other end of the room. A glass painting of the princess was still intact although more than ready to fall apart. She shot a blast at the window painting and it shattered creating a rather loud noise in the process. She darted back into the cell room and watched as she saw a large group of guards gather around the area. She then threw her voice in the form of a whistle at a hallway in the direction opposite of where she intended to go. The guards immediately run in that direction giving her a chance to fly through without being noticed.
She makes it all the way to the courtyard. All she would need is a chance to fly into the air without anyone noticing her and she would be able to get away. She threw her voice into a large bush drawing the guards to gather around it. She then threw the staff into the air and darted to behind a tree. When the staff hit the ground it alerted the guards to the location she was no longer in. She then flew into the air without a single person knowing that she was there at all. She sat upon a cloud high above the ground and let herself breathe freely. Even though the plan went without a hitch she was but one pony free when so many others were still in captivity. And so she began making another plan.
At the base of the country stood the ominous Midnight Castle, The area around it decimated and blighted by its very presence a plethora of different creatures surround the castle from Troggles to Stratadons. Sitting idly on his throne Archmage of Darkness Tirek waits to hear news of his warriors quelling the rebellions and the status of the materials that will power his campaign to take over the rest of Dream Valley.
For his entertainment he has turned three ponies he considered useless for just about anything else and turned them into fools. Snips a rather stocky unicorn with a moderate orange mane and a grayish opal coat with a pair of scissors for a cutie mark, Snails a lanky freckled unicorn with a moderate turquoise mane and a brilliant amber coat with a snail as a cutie mark. And an earth pony named Patch who has a yellow coat with a pink mane and a pink patch for a cutie mark. While Snips and Snails were most certainly dim witted, Patch was of at least average intelligence for her age. She convinced Tirek's second in command Scorpan to be the two ponies comedic guidance as they don't know how to be intentionally funny.
Tirek demanded that they give him a humorous story with a narrative so Patch tried her best to teach Snips and Snails lines from cartoons she used to watch frequently. They did an okay job all things considered but being them they slipped up even in the middle of a production. “Archibald! We've got to find the piece of rainbow!” Snip recites shoddily. “I'll search down by the docks!” Snails recites his words stilted and hard to understand. “What?” Snips said breaking character. “I said docks! I'll search down by the docks!” Snails said noticeably enunciating his words. “Oh. I thought you said ducks.” Snips mumbled. Patch hangs her head in annoyance and shame.
Tirek smashed his fist against the arm rest of this throne causing the ponies to jump. Patch walks up to Tirek being careful not to do anything that could possibly anger him. “W-was that performance not to you're tastes?” Patch asked scared. “It was pathetic. I've found torture sessions more amusing.” Tirek said drumming his fingers against the arm rest. “W-well I-it’s a work in progress...” Patch said as she started to panic. “Scorpan told me that you could make use of these fools. Perhaps he had chosen the wrong mare for the job.” Tirek said as he hand began to glow. Patch coward in fear as to what she expected to happen next.
Patch's luck came in the form of Scorpan who walked into the room. Tirek's attention was immediately drawn away from her and directed to him. “Ahh, Scorpan. You're here to bring me good news I hope?” Tirek asked. “My Lord, quelling the rebellions in Manehattan has proven more difficult than we have anticipated.” Scorpan said kneeling before Tirek. “This is not the news I wanted to hear Scorpan. I crippled that pathetic city myself, are you telling me you and you're men can't fulfill the simple job of getting rid of the leftovers?” Tirek said angrily. “The city is destroyed but there are many ponies of many classes and they've put their expansive knowledge of the city to commit effective attempts at guerillas warfare. The rougher the environment the harder the ponies seem to fight. I can maintain a stronghold or base but the second I leave such encampments it gets taken over. There are other problems as well. We are suffering wilderness woes from Bushwoolies and Parasprites eating supply and distracting the guard.” Scorpan said. Tirek sits in his chair seething. He slams his fist against the arm chair actually causing it to have a hairline fracture.
“Unacceptable, you expect me to believe that my soldiers. That you, Are incapable of quelling a bunch of Technicolor horses! They don't even have any hands!” Tirek said standing up and towering over Scorpan. “I'm sorry my lord! I'll try to work twice as hard to fix my mistakes!” Scorpan pleaded. “Pah, I shall handle this myself. Guard this castle while I’m away. Surely you can still do something that simple can you?” Tirek said as he started walking out. Scorpan “Yes my lord, no one shall topple this castle!” Scorpan said continuing kneeling in Tirek's general direction. Scorpan waited till Tirek was out of sight to stand up. He took a deep breath and made a sigh of relief. He then turned toward Patch and the others. “Back to your cell Patch, You too Snips and Snails.” Scorpan said. Patch nodded and rushed to her cell thankful that Scorpan managed to save her hide again.
Princess Celestia created Equestria as a safe haven from the world. First Nightmare Moon unearths the dark aspects of themselves and now Tirek subjects them to cruel and soul crushing punishment. And yet the ponies retain some strength. Though they grow weak they haven't given up on life and fight hard to break free. But what pony truly has a chance at defeating Tirek. If only there was a miracle....