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Disclaimer: All characters are property of Hasbro or Blizzard. At least, they are until my deadly army of fatal cyborgs is complete and my domination of the world begins! Mwuha-MWUAHAHAHA!
Story inspired by [http://chagial.deviantart.com/art/My-little-Tyrael-282592361] by Chagial. Image used with Chagial’s permission.
Chapter 1 An Angel Falls
The Worldstone shattered – and power unlike any seen since Sanctuary’s birth hit the Archangel of Justice. The wave of force was more than physical, a blast of spiritual power that tore humanity’s greatest protector apart. He screamed, not in pain but in defiance. He was Tyrael, he was Justice incarnate. He would not abandon Man due to his own weakness.
Despite resisting with a righteous fury unmatched in the High Heavens Tyrael felt his essence being launched away. His very being was sent hurtling through reality, further than even the Burning Hells. Every moment he fought to regain control and halt his flight, to slow the rapid distance being put between himself and Sanctuary. He tore through the very fabric of The Pandemonium, the ever-present realm that surrounded all others.
To put into cold words the sensations experienced when hurtling through layers of reality and existence defied even Tyrael’s immortal mind. He had never felt heat or cold, not the true feeling as mortals did. The heat of the Burning Hells was as much spiritual as physical to Angels, and his senses were those of an Archangel.
Before that moment, he would have claimed no Archangel could simply be rendered unconscious. As he faded away, Tyrael hoped that claim was wrong. The only other choice meant that the shadows around him were his death.
The words of fine courtiers faded into meaningless babble, ignored as the Princess of the Day felt the fine web of warning magics swaddling her world scream. She had no time to consider a response, because a second later the warnings suddenly died and a searing sensation hit the alicorn – the feedback of her broken spells.
The entire court ground to a halt the moment their ruler let out a cry of pain. Light beamed off Celestia in instinctive response, reined in by centuries of careful control before it could blind or burn any of her subjects.
“The court is dismissed.” Celestia barely heard herself speaking, calmly ending the day’s business many hours early as though she hadn’t just screamed. She turned, leaning down to a familiar nearby unicorn. “Captain, if you would be so good as to have your best soldiers on standby and send word to my personal mages? Tell them this is an Intrusion emergency. High alert.” She whispered to Shining Armour.
Her student’s brother – and her nephew in-law – nodded. Only a slight widening of his eyes indicated his surprise or alarm. He turned to leave, but paused and glanced back. Shining hesitated for a moment but forced himself to speak. “Princess? Should I have a letter sent to Twily- err, the Elements of Harmony via fire-mail?”
She paused herself, debating the decision. “Yes,” she answered at last. “But do not alarm them... too much. Simply say something may happen soon and to be ready if I call upon them.”
Shining Armour saluted and galloped off to do as his liege commanded, barking orders the moment he was out of the room.
Confident that her home was in safe hooves, Celestia leapt up and away.
The Sun Goddess flew from the castle in a burst of light. She was joined within seconds by a blur of shadows and blues. The feeling of her sister’s presence was a welcome relief, one Celestia still found heart-warming. A thousand years of loss made her appreciate what they had now and what they had lost so long ago.
Neither said anything, moving towards the place where the borders of their realm had been breached. For any of their subject pegasi it would have taken longer, much longer, but to the Princesses any place in their land was within easy reach.
The wound in the barrier was already sealing itself, ancient and modern magic working together to rapidly repair it. It hung unseen to the eyes of any save the Royal Sisters, as a massive gapping slash through the complex weave of power that covered the world. Beneath the invisible wound in the sky a range of mountains towered over plains on one side and forests on the other.
A trail of energy unlike any either had seen led from the breach like the tail of a fallen star and the sisters swooped down.
“Sister,” Luna spoke at least. “I have never felt such energy before. Doth-”
“Do.” Luna rolled her eyes at the correction.
“Do you know from whence it came?” she finished her question.
Celestia shook her head. “I fear not. It is nothing like I have seen before. But...” a lurking suspicion in the back of her mind. She banished it with a thought.
“It does not feel hostile,” Luna pointed out. “For all tis unknown I cannot bring myself to fear it.”
The trail led at least to a crater. Bizarre luminescent whips spout from the crater, hanging limply in air. Beneath them something stirred.
“Reveal thyself, intruder!” The Royal Canterlot voice demanded, the sisters circling the crater.
The tentacles surged up, their source revealed. Clad in ornate armour of silver steel, the intruder slowly pulled itself from its landing place with a groan of agony.
The princesses stared at the strange creature, shocked into silence by its appearance.
“I...” Its voice was ragged and rough, making obvious the creature was in great pain. “....must...return....” It stood and its tentacles tried, weakly, to lift into the air.
It was then that they saw its wounds. The front of its armour, turning away from them, was scarred and pitted, shattered as if struck by some great force. Some ethereal whiteness that seemed liquid one moment and made of light the next, dripped from the horrendous injury.
“Identify yourself. If you mean no harm, my sister and I shall be glad to aid you in returning whence you came,” Celestia said, not unkindly.
Finally the hood turned to them. “I am...Tyrael.” It tried to stand but only made it halfway before its legs gave way and it fell to its hands and knees.
“Very well, Tyrael. Why are you here, and where are you from?”
It shook its head. “There is no time for...for questions! I must return! Sanctuary’s...Worldstone is shattered. Hell will already be preparing to march.”
The sisters exchanged concerned expressions. By its words and the nature of its power, this ‘Tyrael’ certainly didn’t feel hostile. Its first concern, despite being so grievously wounded, was to protect this 'Sanctuary'.
“How did you come to our land, Tyrael?” Luna asked, her voice now far softer.
“The Worldstone...Baal corrupted it, and for the sake of humanity my only choice was its destruction....the energy unleashed blasted me away from Sanctuary, away from the High Heavens.” It seemed to recover somewhat, wrapping its tentacles around its wounded torso.
At last, Celestia made a decision. She glanced at her sister, who nodded, and stepped forward.
“I feel no deceit from you. How might we help you heal? I have no wish for your death to be on our hooves.”
“I am near death.” Tyrael turned its hooded head to them, and the sisters recoiled for a moment. Within the hood was...darkness. Absolute, pure darkness, a solid shadow. “No mortal healing magic can help me now. I fear I will not be reborn from the Crystal Arch, so far from the Heavenly Choir. This...is...inevitable...”
It lowered its hood, staring at the ground. Luna took a step forward, her mouth opening to speak when suddenly it burst into action.
“No!” It punched the ground hard enough to make a small crater even in its weakened state. “I must not give in to despair! I...must...”
Tyrael began to stand again, the effort obviously great.
“Live!” It roared, screaming to the sky as it came to its feet.
The sisters nearly let out sighs of relief only for the strange creature to stumble, its tentacles flickering weakly. It began to sway to the side and gravity began its dirty work.
Inside, Tyrael raged at his weakness. He was an immortal Archangel of the Angiris Council, yet he was going to fade into nothingness on a bleak mountain in a strange world. He had waged war on the shores of the Burning Hells yet he was to be unmade here.
Something caught him, resting under his arm and keeping him steady. He turned his hidden head to stare in shock. Luna smiled into the seemingly empty hood, somehow sensing his shock.
“There’s always hope,” she murmured as she wrapped a leg around his shoulders to hold him up. “Celly and I will find it for you.”
All strength left Tyrael and his armoured bulk became limp. Celestia trotted over, a smile of her own spread across her muzzle.
“Yes, sister, I just think we might.”
He was lying flat on something, and he felt odd.
Tyrael groaned. His eyes shot open at the sound. ‘I just graoned,’ he thought. ‘...I just opened my eyes!’
The Angel felt...impossible. It was the only way to describe it. The sensations of an Angel, a being of sound and light, could not be translated into words a mortal might understand. To Tyrael, what he felt now was alien.
“What...what has been done to me?” he asked himself. His immediate sight was of something a very dark blue, covered in fur. A glint of light caught his eye and Tyrael directed his gaze towards it. A mirror reflecting the light of day streaming from a wide window.
A horse stared back at him. A dark blue horse. With wings. Great white wings and a tail to match.
The creak of an opening door alerted him and Tyrael spun with surprising grace considering he had spent millennia in a bipedal form and only just woken up as an equine.
The dark coloured horse from his last waking moments stood in the door way, watching him.
“You have awakened! We are most pleased, Sir Tyra-”
With a roar Tyrael leapt at the trickster, hooves stretched out to strike. New instincts unfurled his wings and controlled his soaring jump.
Luna’s expression went blank with shock just before he hit her.
Everypony looked at Pinkie Pie, waiting for a few seconds to see if that was all. It was.
The conversation took off again, mostly speculating about what was going on. The six friends were gathered in Twilight’s home/town library, the unicorn reasoning that they should be together and ready to act if it was needed.
“I’m sure the Princesses have it under control,” Twilight asserted confidently.
Rainbow Dash snorted. “Yeah, like how they had Discord under control?”
They all twitched at the memory of the chaotic god. “Princess Luna has her full powers back now,” the unicorn reminded Rainbow. “This time, both of them are capable of dealing with it.”
“Now, Ah don’t wanna call ya’ a liar, sugarcube,” Applejack cut in. “But remember yer brotha’s weddin’? That big ole’ changling beat down the Princess pretty hard.”
“Darling, you must admit they have point, however brutishly put,” added Rarity reluctantly, turning her attention away from the game of go-fish. It was between Pinkie and Fluttershy, who was apologising every time she had to tell Pinkie ‘go fish’.
Considering Pinkie Pie was asking for 'eleventeens', this meant most of the game was the timid pegasus saying sorry.
Twilight ground her teeth, eyes narrow. “There were extenuating circumstances!”
Rainbow leaned over to Applejack. “Exten-u-wha?” she whispered.
The farmpony shrugged, clueless.
Trying her best not to snap at her friends for doubting the Princess – the immortal sun raising Princess! – Twilight took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak when a loud knock at the door interrupted her. Frowning at the interruption, she hurried over.
“Girls, you just need to trust the princesses!” She pulled the door open with her magic, head still turned towards her friends. “I’m sorry, but the library is closed at the- Princess!” Twilight leapt nearly a foot off the ground when she finally looked around into Celestia’s amused face.
“My faithful student,” the royal alicorn warmly greeted her. Her mouth twitched as she obviously fought to keep from smiling too much. “Extremely faithful, it seems,” She added, and further in the room Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity blushed.
“Twilight Sparkle!” the Royal Canterlot Voice spaketh. It was definitely a spaketh, because a spoke doesn’t nearly burst eardrums, or wake up the neighbours.
“Luna?” Celestia lightly chided her sister. “Inside voice please.”
“Oh, yes, my mistake.” The younger of the two went a little red in the face, neatly concealed by her dark fur.
“Is something wrong?”Twilight asked quickly. “We have the Elements with us, just in case!”
“Neigh.” Celestia shook her head, brilliant mane flowing through the air like a multicoloured mist. “I am sorry that I alarmed you. There turned out to be no need.”
“We did not know that at the onset, of course,” Luna threw in.
Celestia nodded to her sister before turning her head back to Twilight again. “There is, however, one minor issue I would welcome your assistance with.”
“Of course!” Twilight’s head bobbed up and down, nodding rapidly. Gathering around her, her friends added their own offers. “Anything to help you, Princess.”
A smile came to Celestia and Luna’s faces both. “Ah, my faithful student,” the Solar Princess said, warmth in her voice. “It is not a task like others I have given you. I merely ask that you welcome a pony into your home while he recovers.”
“A pony? Recovers?” Twilight asked with a frown.
“Is somepony hurt?” A surprisingly strong voice asked, Fluttershy bringing herself to the front at the thought that somepony needed help.
“I could go ask Zecora, she might have some herbs or a potion-” Twilight began to muse, only to be cut off when Celestia raised a hoof for silence.
“There is little that can be done, save for giving him time and peace in which to recover his strength,” Luna assured them. With that, the princesses moved aside to reveal another pony.
His fur was dark navy that was nearly black with overgrown fetlocks much like Applejack’s brother. Disconcertingly enough, he seemed at least Big Macintosh’s size yet he bore a pair of powerful wings. Those very wings were white, starting a sudden blue-white shade where they met his back and becoming pure whiter until they reached the tips of his feathers, where it was a blindingly pure white that seemed to almost glow in the light. His tail matched his wings, in fact almost seeming made of some feather-like hair itself. His tail was longer than most stallion’s and each strand was distinct from those around it. Oddly enough he lacked a mane, although in fairness it was not uncommon among the Royal Guard.
On his flank was a magnificent blade pointing downwards, bearing flaring white wings. From the tip of each wing a balance scale tray hung. It was one of the most detailed cutie marks Twilight had ever seen, like a work of art created by a master.
His eyes, an electric shade of white-blue, gazed back at the girls emotionlessly.
“Girls, this is Paladin.”
Several hours earlier, the Archangel shifted uneasily, still not used to feeling so...mortal. “I have your assurances this is only temporary?” he asked, straight to the point.
Celestial nodded regally. “You can leave that form whenever you wish, good Tyrael. It is merely a container for your essence. While in that form you can dwell within Equestria without fear of it attempting to remove your alien presence.”
The ponyfied aspect of Justice paused to consider his new form. Physical wings sat on his back, a strange feeling for the immortal. It was all strange, in truth. To truly take flesh was something even Tyrael had not done. Now he was experiencing the feeling of being cramped, as though he had been stuffed into a space that was slightly smaller than any he should fit in.
But the deity before him was being honest. He could feel his true form, lurking just below the surface. While he suspected he was too weak at the moment, he had little doubt he could break free in a short time. After all, what power could contain the might of an Archangel?
“Sir Tyrael, do you feel well?” The smaller of the pony goddesses inquired gently. “Your true power should be recovering, now that it has somewhere safe to protect it from a foreign world.”
“I feel fine. I am afraid I must apologise, Lady Luna. My attack was unwarranted, and born of fear that i had been taken prisoner.” He bowed his head sorrowfully. “I lost a loyal ally to such a form of binding, when he was taken by demons, his fate to be imprisoned in the body of one of their foul kind. I was afraid such a thing had occurred once more.”
Luna reached down and gently lifted Tyrael’s face up. “Think nothing of it. We- er, I should have been more careful. It is most understandable that you would be in a state of some shock.” A look of annoyance now came to her face and she shot a narrow look at her sister. “It is simply fortunate for us both at my sister was so quick to grasp you with her magic.” She smiled brightly. “Why, its almost as if you were expecting something like that to happen Celly!”
With an innocent smile that Luna immediately knew concealed laughter Celestia shook her head in an elegant manner.
“Of course not, sister dear. Would I do that?”
With an ill-concealed grumble Luna thought to herself ‘Yes.’ She made sure to think it as loudly as possible. By the look in her eyes Celestia was probably aware of exactly what she was thinking.
He nodded slowly, but still seemed ill-at ease. “Nonetheless, I owe you both much. Were it not for you I would have been undone, my being stranded in the darkness far from the Crystal Arch. If there is any way I can repay you while I recover, allow me to do so.”
Celestia leaned down, a thoughtful look in her eyes.
“Actually, it was your recovery I wanted to talk about. The body you are inhabiting was difficult to make, I believe the only reason we were able to give you a physical form was because you were so far gone. You were less and less physical, so we had less resistance to a new shape.”
“Yes, I can feel it.” Muscles tightened across Tyrael’s body as he concentrated. This body was a shell for his very being, his Angelic essence. Like a pulse the harmonic song of the High Heavens beat within him. His eyes closed as he reached towards his true self. A grimace of pain was written over his features for a moment at how weak it was. How weak he was. “I can gather my strength and seek to return under my own power.”
But it was there, and he was no longer on the edge of falling into nothingness. An Angel could be reborn from the Crystal Arch in their pure form without blemish. But something in him was crying out in warning. The Crystal Arch was distant, or blocked. If he died here his being would be lost forever and the Angiris Council weakened for the inevitable clash with the remaining forces of Hell.
He let go of his focus and opened his eyes. The sisters were watching him curiously and both effected expressions of surprise. For a moment after his eyes had opened they had flared with blue-white power before fading away.
“I will recover,” Tyrael finally spoke. “I do not know how long it will take, but I fear some time. This has never occurred, and I cannot rightly say.” Despite that, Tyrael felt some joy. He would have otherwise ceased to be and he was adapting to equine form rather quickly. Whether this was to his own credit, something related to having a mortal body for the first time or the doing of the royal sisters he was unsure.
“Tis good news, Sir Tyrael.” Luna turned to her sister. “Sister, what of the other matter?”
Celestia’s horn glowed and a map appeared before them.
“I believe I know the perfect place for you to recover in peace and...harmony.” she began, pointing at a little dot with the title “Ponyville”.
“And I had Spike make up the cot over here.” Twilight finished her tour of her home and persona- err, that is, public library. She shuffled for a moment, trying to not look like she was staring at Paladin’s impassive face. “Um, it’s not too small is it?” she asked worriedly when he failed to react.
He shook his head, strange mane moving oddly in the air.
“It will be no problem, Twilight Sparkle,” he said, far too serious.
“Oh, okay...” she trailed off, unsure how to proceed. Twilight wished at least one of her friends had stayed, but with the news that nothing was wrong they had all had to rush back to what they had been doing...even though Twilight was fairly certain Rainbow Dash had just been napping in a tree over at Sweet Apple Acres. Or bothering Applejack. Possibly both.
“You seem nervous, Twilight Sparkle,” the strange stallion noted aloud.
She blushed and looked down.
“Well, it’s just...”
To her surprise, he lifted a hoof to silence her. “I am not used to interaction with...” Paladin seemed to struggle to find the right word for a moment, “...ponies of your kind.”
Now she frowned. “‘My kind’?” she asked, eyes narrow. Could anyone serving Celestia really be prejudiced against other types of pony?
He nodded stiffly. “Yes. Please excuse any inadvertent offence I might give. I merely wish to recover as quickly as possible. I am not used to mort- civilian life.”
“Oh. Oh!” Realisation finally dawned. He was a soldier! Presumably important, since the Princess herself had brought him here to recuperate. Clearly he had spent a long time dealing with dangerous creatures and no longer knew how to act around other ponies! It all made sense to Twilight now.
Tyrael didn’t sigh when the unicorn left, if only because he had never sighed in his countless years of existence. Despite his current form he was a member of the Angiris Council, matched only in power by his fellows and the Prime Evils.
Taking mortal form was far more troubling then he had ever imagined. Suddenly he was besieged by impulses and sensations that had never concerned him before. His usual form, while vaguely humanoid, was nothing like that of a mortal. For one thing, the ‘wings’ his kind bore were far more part of their true selves, shielded by the typical armour seen among them.
The feeling of hunger, true physical hunger, was...strange. It had taken him a while to work out what it was. Angels regained energy without needing to do something as primitive as consume raw materials. That was left to demons and humans. On reflection, that very fact might be another reason to suspect humanity.
He had not missed the look of understanding that came to the purple pony’s eyes after his near-mistake. While he doubted she had worked out he was really a divine being of alien origin, whatever conclusions she had drawn were likely to be troubling. All Tyrael really wanted was to recover.
It occurred to him that was all he had thought of doing. Recovering. In truth, while this form would allow that process to occur safely there was little he could do to hasten it. Tyrael doubted this body’s status would change anything, but on the other hand he could not be sure. He would have to keep it looked after and undamaged to ensure he recovered speedily. What he would actually do during this time was a mystery.
‘Other hoof,’ he corrected himself after a moment. The princesses had made sure to explain much to him before they arrived. Deception did not sit well with the Archangel of Justice. He sighed now, not even noticing the act, and moved over to the too small cot. Sleep. Let this newly fashioned body sleep. That was another new sensation, feeling tired. He had slain thousands of demons in the course of the Eternal Conflict, and while he had depleted his power it had not been such a physical ache.
As he fell into sleep, Tyrael decided he would never take mortal form again. Truly, sound and light were a far better choice of form then treacherous flesh.
Twilight peeked in the room her guest was resting in, watching the stallion’s chest rise and fall steadily. He seemed physically fine save for being tired enough to sleep during the early afternoon through the late evening.
Quietly closing the door, Twilight turned away and fell into contemplative thought.
Light, blessed light, awaited Tyrael as he awoke to a new day. Moving awkwardly out of the cot, he came unsteadily to all fours and blinked blearily. Blinking. That was new. He hadn’t thought about it before now.
Tyrael paused, considering what to do when he felt...something. Frowning, the ponified angel pressed a hoof against his stomach. It appeared to be making sounds, a low grumbling that reminded him of various demons.
He was distracted from the strange feeling by a knock on the door and what he recognised as the voice of the little ‘dragon’, Spike. “Hey, Pal, you awake? Twi’s made breakfast!”
“I have awakened,” Tyrael announced, reaching out. His hoof pressed against the door knob and he...paused. He considered the problem of turning the door knob with a hoof, staring impassively down at it.
“Uh, you coming?” Spike asked through the door a few seconds later.
It turns out a mind born of sound and light, forged in the heat of the Eternal Conflict, was not suited to the task of working out how to turn a doob knob with a hoof. “I appear to have encountered an obstacle, young one.”
“Huh?” The door swung open and Spike stepped in, looking every which way. “What’s wrong?”
Tyrael looked down at the little pointed fingers and, in a rare moment of jealously, really wished he still had hands.
“Nothing.” He walked past the young dragon, who watched him with a confused look before shrugging it off.
Perhaps it was the strange feeling in his insides that was making him uneasy. And his mind was sluggish. Tyrael realised with a start that he was...the word escaped him. It was like the previous day’s feeling of tiredness, but different. Not as bad. In fact, with every passing moment the feeling was leaving him, his thoughts sharpening and moving with greater speed.
So absorbed in thought was he that Tyrael failed to realise he was standing in the middle of the main room, staring into space. Spike wandered past on his way back to the kitchen and gave him another odd look.
“Weirdo.” The little dragon grumbled, hungry for the breakfast he had to put off a whole minute to go and get their guest. He was nearly to the kitchen a few seconds later.
“Pardon?” Spike stuttered and turned to find Paladin watching him.
“Uh...” Years of living with Twilight were put to a not unfamiliar use as he struggled to find the right words. “Windows!” he blurted.
Paladin’s brow creased in confusion and he continued to stare at Spike.
“Yeah, windows!” Spike grinned in a horribly suspicious manner. “I just remembered that I promised to...to...to clean the windows today!” he puffed his chest in pride at his masterfully woven lie.
Twilight, wondering what was keeping them, appeared behind him. “Oh, how nice of you Spike!” she smile and gave her dragon a hug from behind. “I was going to do them myself, since you already had all those other things to get done today. Thank you so much! Now I’ll have time to show Paladin more of Ponyville.”
Spike’s expression froze before pouting slightly. He shrugged out of the hug and stomped to the kitchen, grumbling as he went.
“Yeah, great," he grumbled.
Tyrael watched them, considering what he was seeing. Clearly they were close, but was it a mother-son or older-sibling-younger-sibling relationship? He frowned inwardly, regretting that most of his interaction with mortals had been during times of danger and trials. Watching subtly from the High Heavens after the Sin War’s conclusion had been more about watching for the inevitable violation of the treaty then observing how humans actually lived.
There weren’t even human, but sentient ponies. Tyrael realised now was not the time to compare this new race to humanity, since Twilight Sparkle was asking him something.
“Good morning, Paladin. Did you sleep well?” she inquired perkily. She led him to the kitchen, where Spike had already began to devour his breakfast jewels.
He nodded as a bowl of something no doubt edible was levitated to the table side nearest him. “I did.”
Twilight was not put off by his direct and simple answer. “That’s good.” A pencil quickly ticked off something on a checklist on the table. “I really hope the cot wasn’t too small. We can get something more suitable today.”
“I can say in complete truth that it was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on,” he told her with a serious look on his face. Justice was nothing if not honest.
“Oh.” Twilight stared at him for a moment. “...really?” she asked hesitantly a moment later with an expression of disbelief.
“Indeed.” Certain the conversation was over, Tyrael turned his ancient mind to the task of working out how to eat breakfast without spilling it everywhere.
* Chapter Fin. *