69w, 1dHuman in Equestria
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“Miss Heartstrings?” A voice from behind called.
“Yes?” Lyra asked as she turned to face the voice.
It belonged to a stallion, an earth pony with auburn colored fur and a brownish red mane. For the life of her Lyra could not remember his name, he was an intern from what she knew and she had seen little of him over the past month she had been in Corinth.
He reached around into a saddlebag and carefully pulled out a large bundle of cloth.
“I have something for you, a tablet from the Remembrance district.” He said, placing it on her desk. With that he turned and left with a curt nod.
She smiled at the news. It had been a hard month on her… everyone really. When the city had been sacked; the invaders, an empire that had risen in the early Bronze Age known as the ‘Skyborn’, had destroyed all of the tomes and tablets that they could find. That revelation was one of the many that they had uncovered in the past month. The Skyborn was a known warlike empire that made its mark by conquering a wide span Bronze Age Equestria. It was made up of mostly pegasi, and they had an extremely xenophobic outlook on the other two races. They were thought to have been halted thousands of miles away, but thanks to the discovery of a mass grave filled with pegasi skeletons and Skyborn stylized armor and weaponry, it was now apparent that their empire had stretched much farther than had once been thought.
Unfortunately the Skyborn had the abhorrent habit to destroy the lore and written record of the cities they conquered, with the thought that it would mean the complete eradication of the races they overtook. As such, artifacts in good condition were few and far between.
The city had been divided into seven different districts in relation to the seven churches within the city, with each district having its own team dedicated to it. The districts were named Knowledge, Vigilance, Decay, Life, Discovery, Retribution, and Remembrance; the churches within dedicated to Marxon, Vigil, Reaper, Devotion, Wonder, Peace, and Index respectively, their real Corinthian names save for Marxon’s had sadly been lost. These ‘Titans’ as they had taken to calling them, acted as exemplars of parts of society for the Corinthians. Marxon was the exemplar of knowledge and the head of the pantheon. Vigil was the exemplar of protection and civility, named for the path of Vigilance. Reaper was the exemplar of death and entropy; his was the path of decay. Devotion was the exemplar of procreation; hers was the path of life. Wonder was the exemplar of exploration and new things; his was the path of discovery. Peace was the exemplar of law and order; his was the path of retribution. Lastly, Index was the exemplar of remembrance; hers was the path of the past. According to the Corinthian faith one would walk these paths and contemplate their teachings in order to better themselves. It was not an alien concept to her, as she had seen a number of religions with similar concepts, but what perplexed her was why the Corinthians had chosen such strange avatars for the exemplars.
But, she was getting sidetracked. Items of particular importance, interest, or complexity found their way to her team at the center of the city. This was one such item.
She untied the knot keeping the bundle together and un-wrapped the artifact, only to find a small note on top of it. She picked it up and read it.
Good luck Lyra.
She placed the note aside and looked at the slab of stone.
It was a truly beautiful thing, about half a foot in height, half again in breadth, and about an inch thick. It was made out of onyx, with a gold border. Its face was covered completely in what looked to be cracks, though she quickly realized it was some type of script. It did, true to Dawn Star’s word, hold a vague resemblance to the Corinthian script; but where the Corinthian script was curved and flowed on the page like water; this was hard and angular in its form. After a while of examining it, and the extra notes that Star had written on the back of his note, she found that each rune had a base of a horizontal line and other lines branched off of the base either up or down at different angles. There was not an inch of unused space on the face of the onyx slab, the runes taking up every available inch. The more she looked at it the more her eyes seemed to skip around the slab on their own accord, like it did not want her to read it, not that it would have mattered if she could keep her eyes from drifting as the language was completely unknown to her save for the passing resemblance to Corinthian.
Lyra looked up from her desk across the room, gazing at the statue of Marxon that dominated the room. She decided to get up and stretch her legs for a bit, opting to get a closer look at the statue. Of all the Titans, Marxon was by far the strangest looking to her, most of the others looked like Vigil aside from small cosmetic differences.
She was about to return to her desk when something caught her eye, the obsidian tentacles sprouting from his midsection. What she had previously thought were scratches and imperfections actually looked shockingly similar to the runes on the tablet, though their meaning still eluded her. She spent nearly an hour looking for matching runes or a series of them between the dozen tentacles and the tablet and though she found a number of individual matches, there were no series of matches. This was however enough to tell her that the slab was somehow connected to the statues; maybe the one of Index would hold a clue. She looked around the room and found herself to be alone, no doubt due to the late hour.
Lyra realized that this was the first time she had been alone in the main room of the church. To tell the truth it was an odd feeling being there alone. The room still had that strange field permeating the room and it was more noticeable now that she did not have anypony to distract her. In her month of living here she had completely adjusted to it and it no longer bothered her, like how somepony could get used to a constant white noise. The unicorns had gotten together and tried to find the source perhaps old spells or magical runes that had decayed, but had been unable to, and wrote it off as a natural disturbance in the magical waveform. While that was possible, it was unlikely in her opinion. Magesters, a kind of combination of mage and scientist had found that the waveform acted in a similar fashion to a magnetic field. They found that it permeated everything and existed everywhere, but it was strongest around high mass objects and certain crystalline structured objects, like a unicorn horn or special crystals, could manipulate it, though the majority of the concepts went over her head. What she did understand was that this was not natural as it would be all around the city if it was something in the bedrock not just this one building.
On a hunch she prepared a simple spell designed to find magically sensitive crystals, her eyes closing as a dim light surrounded her horn. She let the spell drop and a thin film of magic dispersed from her in a dome shape and cascaded across the room. She watched it pass through everything in the room and finally through the walls. It was like feeling herself spread across the room, a faint tingling coming from the direction of the statue the only thing she felt.
“Hmm… so whatever is going on in centered on the statue, but we already knew that… what could we be missing?” She mused aloud.
Lyra reared up and placed an ear on the statue and knocked her hoof on the stone.
“Hollow?” She said, drawing her head back with a surprised blink.
Lyra fired off another spell and felt what she would describe as a… void. She could feel the boundary of the stone and the inside of it, but in the chest of the statue there was… nothing. It was a feeling that she did not like, it was just… unnatural. It was like looking up at a morning blue sky only to see the sun missing.
‘There has to be something in there.’ Lyra thought to herself.
She locked on to the strange feeling and prepared a teleportation spell to remove what ever was in there without breaking the statue. She closed her eyes and fired off the spell after a moment’s concentration. She heard a slight popping sound and she opened her eyes to something truly odd.
Hanging about three feet in the air spinning and bobbing up and down was a black, nearly spherical, object about two feet in diameter. She said nearly because it was hard to determine its exact dimensions and shape, however strange it may sound, it was easily the blackest thing she’d ever laid eyes on. It was like it was sucking the light that came off of it back into it, leaving only a black hole hanging in the air. She could make out that it was not a true sphere, it was made out of hundreds, maybe thousands, of hexagons giving it the appearance of a sphere.
She reached out to touch it, only stopping when a bright white line split the object laterally, and that was the last thing she saw before everything went black.
If somepony was watching the scene they would have seen Lyra’s eyes gloss over, her body spasm, and a thick bead of blood starting to come from her nose. They would have seen the sphere like object open up, showing the inside of the object to be a series of rotating rings progressively getting smaller and smaller, each spinning either like a top or end over end somehow switching between the two without the watcher noticing.
Lyra felt as though she was sleeping, her mind was a haze, she was surrounded by a gray fog and she stood shoulder-deep in a water-like substance made out of geometric shapes. The odd substance clung to her like a sludge. She lifted a hoof-full of the stuff; it was flat and see through save for the borders which had a blue white color. Every few seconds one of the unknown symbols would appear, and with each one came a spike of pain in her head.
‘What… what happened? Where am I?’ Lyra thought as she let the substance fall, her thoughts somehow being projected out into the fog as a blaring uncomforting noise made from dozens of voices all speaking at once.
Lyra could feel that something was watching her every move, scrutinizing her in every way. It felt as though the gray fog around her was pressing in on her like water as though she was at the bottom of the sea.
“Hello!” She called out, hoping for an answer to break the atmosphere of… wherever she was.
She heard an extremely loud noise, a rumbling bass roar that rang out from all around her. Suddenly the fog wisped away on an unfelt wind, the strange substance she was standing in disappeared as well, leaving her standing in an utter and complete darkness.
“Hello.” She heard a voice from behind call; it was hers, only distorted to the point to where she could barely understand it.
She whiped around only to rear up and stumble backwards with a yelp at what she saw.
About a body length behind her stood another pony, a brown coated pegasus mare with a reddish mane and deep blue eyes who was smiling at her and talking in a language that she had never heard before.
Lyra blinked at the sight and when she opened her eyes the darkness was replaced with a brilliant green rolling plain. A huge silver city stood off in the distance with massive thin skyscrapers with mirror like finishes, and a spindly, cable-like tower that disappeared into the clouds sat at the center of it all.
Her head turned of its own volition, like she was simply an observer in somepony else’s body, and looked at another pony. This one was a stallion, also a pegasus, with a similar coat to the mare though he had a gray mane. The stallion got up and ‘her’ head careened up to keep ‘her’ eyes in his face, he said some words, but their meaning was lost to her.
‘She’ said something in a little, young sounding, male voice.
‘Am I being shown something by that thing?’ Lyra wondered.
The mare said something in response from the left with a light laugh, inciting a pout from whomever she was watching this unfold from.
‘I wonder what this all means?’ Lyra thought.
This continued for a time, before a loud bang rang out, making the three cover their ears in discomfort. ‘She’ looked up just in time to see a fireball streak across the sky, breaking up as it went. Their heads tracked it as it made its way across the sky. It was a brilliant orange color that degraded into a black smoke trail with smaller fireballs breaking off and falling away. Two twinkling blue dots chased it down from the upper cloud layer, but they were too far away to see any detail. One of the dots lined itself up behind and a blue beam of light connected the dot and fireball, then the fireball exploded into thousands of little pieces. The two dots then split away from each other and disappeared back up into the cloud layer.
Whomever she was watching all this through blinked, her head fogged and everything went blank.
“I think she’s waking up, somepony get the doctor!”
“Ok, I’ll be right back with her.”
Lyra took in a sharp gasp as her senses returned to her in a rush. Her head was pounding, her eyes throbbed in their sockets, and her limbs were numb. Her hearing was fuzzy and it was hard to understand what the ponies were saying.
“Ugh… What… happened?” Lyra said, choking out the words through her desert dry mouth.
She felt somepony shake her shoulder, “Lyra, you need to stay quiet and keep calm.”
Her vision was still blurry and unfocused but she could tell who was talking to her.
“Dr. Scalpel?” She asked.
“Yes, it’s me. Now close your eyes and rest for a bit, you’ve been through some major trauma.” He said.
She did as the doctor asked, only for the door to swing open a short time later; a familiar mare coming in.
“Director please-” He began only to be cut off by the mare with a raised hoof.
“You told me she could talk as soon as she was awake, Dr. Scalpel.” She said.
“I know what I said Ms. Director, but I would like her to have more time to recover. Her brain has been severely damaged, and I do not want to compound her current state.” He retorted.
“I’m afraid this cannot wait. You do trust your work, don’t you, Doctor?” Ash said.
“Yes.” He said with a sigh after a pause. “Five minutes, that’s all you’ve got.”
“Thank you Doctor. Now, please, I’d like the room.” Ash said with a curt nod.
“Ma’am.” Scalpel turned and left, giving Lyra a look as he closed the door.
“Lyra, it’s good to see you alive.” Ash said.
“Can you tell me just what happened to me?” Lyra asked.
“That… object you found. It nearly killed you, you had massive brain hemorrhaging and you’ve been out cold for two weeks. You’re lucky to be alive, you know, even more so that there’s no permanent damage… at least no major damage. Dr. Scalpel said the most you’ll have from now on is tingling in your extremities.” Ash said.
Lyra sighed and rubbed her head.
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.” Ash said.
“It’s not your fault.” Lyra said.
“Can you tell me what happened, where that thing came from, maybe what it did to you?” Ash asked.
“That thing was in the statue of Marxon, it’s hollow. I used a teleportation spell to get it out.” Lyra said.
“How did you know it was in there?”
“I was given another artifact, a tablet with an unknown language on it, the likes of which I’ve never seen. I must have spent hours trying to translate it but I was unable to. I got frustrated and took a break and walked over to the statue. By chance I saw that the tentacle like protrusions had the same script on them, we had thought they were originally cracks or imperfections in the stonework. I’ll spare you the details but I used a teleportation to get that thing out. Then it… activated, I guess.” Lyra said.
“That device… it’s unlike any piece of technology I’ve ever seen. It’s breathtaking, really.” Ash began, but Lyra cut her off.
“Ash… He was right.” Lyra said in a low voice, as if she could not believe what she was saying.
“What?” Ash said incredulously.
“He was right about everything. I’ve got-” Lyra begun, only to be cut of by a hoof pushing her back down.
“Lyra, you need to rest, we'll talk about this when you’ve recovered.” Ash said.
Lyra sighed and nodded and Ash turned and left the room. Just as the door shut Lyra’s mind fogged over and she passed out. Scalpel came in just in time to see a line of blood start to come out of her nose.