March 16th, 984nd year,
I arrived at the Baron's estate earlier this oddly dry, autumn day. The old stallion greeted me at the rusted gates to the grounds. I felt relieved when I saw him, the pony that offered me a chance to be saved.
I questioned him whilst he gave me a brief tour of the grounds, such as why he chose to live in a crumbling manor that seemed to date so far back as to when Equestria was ruled by two princesses, judging from all the engravings on the stone! He told me that he was something of an archeologist like myself, having chosen the crumbling manor to simply explore the vast catacombs that tunneled far below the surface of the land.
In fact, that's why he hired me in the first place, to date and value these artifacts for history. He only considered me more when I told him of my unfortunate find that I made not too long ago.
What's best, is that he said that we would be going down into them to rid me of my curse! Truly two birds with a single stone. I can indulge myself in learning from our ancestors, AND I can sleep easy once again!
He introduced me to his daughter too. I'll admit, she did have an air of cuteness about her, for an insufferable little foal. She portrayed her nasty little habits in several ways, from sifting through my bags, reading this journal, and going on and on about how great and powerful of a unicorn she was. Sure, great and wonderful at being such a pest, perhaps. I swear she's waiting outside my door right now, waiting for me to sleep so she can get her grubby hooves on some relics I brought to show to the Baron. She really needs to get that deep breathing checked up on, it's all raspy and parched. Definitely not healthy for a little filly.
Tomorrow, the Baron and I will be going though the library, looking through books and testing what sort of curse I was afflicted with back over in the land of Zebras.
by Pencil Sketch
This work of fiction was based off the television/internet phenomenon, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Amnesia: the Dark Descent, and is in no way associated with either professionally. NO MONEY is to be made off this work of fiction. Also, don’t pirate the game, please support your indie developers.
Thum-Thump… Thum-thump… Thum-thump… thum… thump… thum…
A deafening screech filled the ears of the young stallion. The first thing that was even recognizable as a sound was the beating of his heart. He brought his hoof scraping along the floor to his face, wiping his crusted eyes. He must have been out for some time if his lids were hard to open.
“What am I… doing on the floor?” He asked himself, feeling along the ground, feeling rough stone flooring. His legs were weak, straining each sore muscle under his weight as he slowly lifted himself on all fours.
The pony took a few deep breaths then pried his eyes open. His vision was hazy, filled with blotchy grays, blacks, and spots of red. His sight cleared, making out his surroundings.
The room had a high ceiling, and could easily accommodate fair company on it’s own. Windows lined one wall, and a single door could be found down the far end of the room. The windows were lined with tattered, red drapes, shredded by time and neglect.
He took a single step, feeling something wet under his hoof. A quick glance downwards told the stallion that he was standing in a puddle of watery, rusty red liquid. He brought his hoof up to examine the fluid. He could tell, even before a sniff, that there was alcohol in it, judging from the hairs in his nostrils burning. He dared himself to smell, greeted by a harsh, acrid stench that stung all the way down to his lungs and lightened his head. It was a strange sensation… familiar… and unwanted. He lowered his hoof, wiping the liquid against the floor.
He took a few steps to the windows, noticing that night had fallen shortly before he had awoken.
And a thunderstorm was raging in the heavens, just in time for the ringing in the stallion’s ears to fade to clarity.
One last final glance about the room proved that the door was the only way in or out, and the rusty red lacquer seemed to trail underneath the door.
The few steps were hard, wobbling back and forth as if he was spun about before. By the time he came to the door, laying a hoof upon the knob, thoughts rushed the pony.
“Where am I?”
“Why am I here?”
“Who am I?”
The pony must have held that doorknob for several minutes, scouring his mind before the door was opened to a darkened hallway. His footing improved and degraded sporadically, walking tall for a moment, only to stumble about with muscle spasms.
He stopped, just for a moment, panting and gasping for every inch of air as his vision wavered and blurred as he traversed deeper into the unknown dark before his vision adjusted to what little lighting there was.
Another breath before another step. A door was coming to his right, a passage out of the dark. He took two steps closer, reaching with a hoof to open at the door before it suddenly and violently swung open, shooting a gust of dusty wind into the stallion’s eyes.
The door made the pony jump back and rub at his eyes to see well. Though the means was unnecessary, the result seemed very welcome. And amber glow illuminated a portion of the door, and a crackle of flames from within.
He was slow and cautious to duck his head into the room. It was a small, almost circular space with two bookshelves lined with various tomes. It appeared to be somepony’s private little study, with a mound of inviting pillows and a beckoning hearth to warm the otherwise chilling draft that bit in the dark.
The fire was freshly started, as the pony entered to inspect to find the logs have barely even started breaking down to blackened ash. The stallion took a few steps in reverse, accidently bumping and overturning a small side table with a crash of glass. It spooked him, making his heart race for the moment before he recognized it as his own doing.
He put the table upright once more and checked the mess. Broken green shards had scattered everywhere, but there was no hint of moisture, meaning what the glass had held was empty to start. A piece of paper lay just nearby, with words hastily scrawled into it with jet-black ink.
July 13th, 984th year,
To whom this may concern; I bid you a good day, if you’re only waking up to headaches. I sincerely hope that’s all you’ve encountered in this nightmare. Please, think hard for a moment of what you can remember of this place. Please remember your goal here.
Nothing? I assumed as much. You’re name is Starbuck. You’re a unicorn from Manehatten. You came to this castle on the promise of a cure and employment by a stallion that only referred to himself as The Baron. This foal is a liar, and not to be trusted. He has done many dreadful things, and now you’re but a pawn in an insane game of chess.
He’s also cast a spell like none I’ve ever seen. It hunts you with the ferocity of a mad Ursa Major. I’ve seen it, and I can’t describe it in any letters in the Equestrian language.
The Baron must fall. I don’t care how, but he must. You’ve drunk a tonic to forget his horrors, to confront him without distraction. Please, end him for me, for the innocent he’s tortured, and for yourself. Stay safe, Starbuck, and we can leave here a new unicorn.
Your past life,
The pony took a few deep breaths, trying hard to remember the things the note suggested. It was true, nothing but a black hole where he expected memories.
Though the name and place in the note seemed oddly familiar. Whether or not it told the truth, it was the only thing the stallion had to go on, which made his stomach wrench into a painful knot.
Another boom of raging thunder rattled the ceiling, stirring up a choking cloud of dust from the rafters. He didn’t want to be in this room anymore, no matter how comforting it felt for the moment. He knew that the fire would eventually die; leaving him to the mercy of the lingering shadows that seemed to contest with the light.
Starbuck took a few steps to leave, turning back for a moment to gaze at the inviting fire. It seemed weaker now, as the last of its fuel broke down into ashes. It seemed to fit as a metaphor for his situation. How the last rays of hope succumbed to darkness and dread.
With a sigh, he shut the door behind him with a kick of his back hooves, having the slam of the door resonate down the halls.
“Where to now?” Starbuck asked himself, looking down the dank and dreary hallway. Two options, either return to the first room, or move onward into the castle. The answer was clear.
The next few rooms seemed rather devoid of anything useful, nothing but cupboards filled with parchment and rags, and the trail of lacquer.
A violent gust slammed against the unicorn’s back, sending a harsh chill creeping up his spine. Candle flames blew out suddenly, leaving the pony to the mercy of the dark hallway.
The earth began to rumble without warning, as if the land itself roared ferociously. The unlit chandeliers swayed with their chains, one even coming loose and crashing mere feet before Starbuck.
And as quickly as it all began, it stopped, the beast returning to its slumber until next it wakes.
Starbuck stood in place, weak on his hooves, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down and move onward, trying to follow his path as best as his could.
The flapping of paper sounded ahead, what could be books falling from their shelves, and the rattling of windows in their hinges. The stallion picked up his pace, turning a corner into another room. It was a relatively small chamber compared to the study some ways back. There was a lone table against a wall, and a candle on its last lengths lighting it up to display its splendor.
A journal that flipped through its own pages, a saddlebag, and a lantern. Starbuck couldn’t help but sigh in relief at his good fortune. This was, without a doubt, left behind by his alter ego.
He hopped his hooves up onto the table, studying the pages of the journal. Most of the pages seemed to have been torn from the binding, empty, or detailing happier times back in Manehatten, writing about some trip he was going to go on without too much detail. He shoved the journal into the bag, regardless of its usefulness. At best, it would serve as something to keep memos on the many blank pages that remained.
The stallion checked the other contents of the bag that was to accompany the journal. A few tinderboxes to light fires with, a jar of oil for the lantern, a half-empty bottle of water, and food rations that would last only a little more than a day.
With concentration, focusing his will upon the lantern to have a magical glow envelope it, lifting it from the table. He had it hover just off to his side, adding an extra spark of magic to light it, having warmth and light fill the room and lighten the pony’s mind.
The elation was short lived, before he realized he could be wasting oil in an otherwise already lit room. He turned it off, leaving himself to the mercy of the dying candle.
A quick glance about the room proved the trail of lacquer continued beyond a door on the far wall. It was ajar, free to swing inside the room at anypony’s whim.
He approached it with a little caution, opening it with the divided magic from his horn. It was long and dark, as if it oblivion existed and fed on the hopelessness the lone chamber emanated.
He gulped, taking a few steps in before he lost track of where the floor and ceiling were. He used his magic to reignite the flame of his lantern. It helped brighten the broad hallway to a degree, but failed to give too much detail to the silhouettes on the far side of the room.
The vague shapes remained still in the choking dark, oblivious to the light set off by Starbuck’s lanterns.
“H-hello?” The unicorn called, trying to get their attention, “are you alright?”
The stallion decided to move a little closer, assuming they were just a little hard of hearing. The light of the lantern shone brighter upon the figures.
They stared back at him, with cold, empty, marble eye sockets, remaining motionless and standing watch over the dark hall. Starbuck almost dropped his lantern, momentarily startled by the blank, stone guardians, only to plant his face in his hoof for being fooled and frightened by a pair of statues.
The whole place didn’t seem so bad. It was just dark. And cold. And eerily silent, aside from the occasional gusts of vicious wind.
Though, Starbuck couldn’t shake the feeling he was being watched, chased even. Something in the back of his head demanded that he ran as fast as his hooves could take him. He would look around every so often, finding the odd urge somewhat misplaced, though certainly appropriate, if any sort of horror novel the stallion read was any judge.
A few more doors, greeted each time with the odd candle, the baying of canines, and some sort of… moaning. He chalked the latter to the manor, creaking on its foundations. A loud rumble would erupt from somewhere on the other side of the estate, a telltale sign that the building was on its final breaths.
One more door at a time, until the encounter foretold in the note. He just needed to keep moving, manage his way through the dark halls with his trusted lantern.
“Just keep moving.”