In The Presence Of A Deity
He came to accept that matters were now out of his hands, that what he once knew was gone and just as he came to the realization that, whilst he should care about this bending of the rules of life his mind wouldn't allow him to, he was interrupted in his thought train by the loud clopping of hooves that must have been discernible for seconds, blocked out by his own brain.
This set of hooves, for it could be nothing less with that hefty beat of four, were much more loud, much more metallic as if the creature that was heading towards him, the creature that cast a large shadow across the far wall, was made of iron and steel. The cacophonous, obnoxious noise grew closer and closer, the curtains till wide open from where the last visitor had thrown itself away, Jonathan's new golden eyes locked tightly on the area where this new pony would appear.
And appear she did.
Majestic. That was the only one word to describe her and it was blatantly a her, the figure, the posture and the general atmosphere around her suggested such motherly care, such devotion that she could be nothing but a mare.
Her body glowed a deep, dove white that seemed to bend and refract the sunlight around her like a full body halo of celestial light. She was taller then the other pony by a long way, perhaps his own height if not taller judging by the length of her legs and her long, swan-like neck.
Her pastel coloured mane, of lightest but most perfect green, pink and blue swum through the open air as if gravity did not exist, as if it spat in the face of gravity. The colours blended together to form such a beautiful, fantastic symphony of magnificence, the swirling, almost pulsing tail of the same cotton like hair wafting behind her.
On her rear sat the emblazoned, swirling picture of the sun with great lashings of orange, red and yellow flaring along her white body, directing attention and shining softly amidst the snow coat. A fantastic pair of fascinating white wings clung to her sides like bouncers outside of a club, folded neatly to her right and left.
Her body was tattooed with golden accessories, four, shining gold horseshoes gently nestled onto her hooves, explaining the mysterious clanking noise that simulated metal. Around her neck hung a heavy looking necklace of gold with a bright purple jewel stabbed into the centre, swirling patterns similar to those on his pillow extending from the jewel. On top of her head, snuggled into the floating hair was a tiara made of the same gold, a rather familiar looking purple jewel once more forced into the centre, hieroglyphics seeping outwards and three rounded spikes ascending.
Her eyes were of deep purple, memories of the purple creature bursting forth to Jonathan's mind as he realized who it was he was staring at, glimmering with knowledge, joy but mostly showing curiosity and small, hidden twinges of nervousness. Her mouth was set in a blank expression, not approving nor disapproving, just simply monotonous. From her hair sprouted a horn that was easily double the length of the previous creatures, white and twirling higher and higher.
Jonathan felt simply captivated by the sight of her, a being that radiated power that was off the scale, a true deity, not a false, corruptive, monstrous one. This was a being that glistened and burst with kindness and charity, of comfort and care, of generosity and loyalty, of honesty and integrity. This was what people believed a God would be like, a majestic being that hurt to look at, a majestic being that you would gladly allow yourself to be given to, a majestic being that would decide your fate. A being filled with such goodness and purity that it flowed from them in great, rolling waves.
It took all of his mental will power not to gawk and stare, not to bow or pray to this new arrival, his human mind barely able to comprehend the almighty strength and power that flowed from her. Anger, sadness and fear washed away from him like blood in the rain to be replaced by a fuzzy warmth that smothered his body.
And then she spoke up in a voice that was full of love and compassion but also one that drew attention and demanded answers. The voice of a ruler.
Jonathan stuttered, mind suddenly flaring back to life, a blush of embarrassment coating his cheeks as an uncomfortable feeling of drool dribbling down his chin plopped onto his chest. He choked out an answer, captivated and wiping the excess liquid from his chest and his mouth.
She moved forward, slowly and with loudly clopping hooves and yet Jonathan couldn't help flinching backwards, not scared for himself but merely reluctant to get anywhere near her in case he desecrated her purity. Such was the feeling of godly emotions and powers that the once disbelieving, disproving human found himself suddenly feeling unworthy of being anywhere near a figure this right.
She spoke again in a fluid, clear voice. If she had noticed his flinch then she did not attract attention to it, merely ignoring it.
“How are you feeling?”
He shook slightly under the care in that voice, feeling for all the world like this was his own flesh and blood mother speaking to him for nobody could create such a bond of kindness and joy quite like that between a child and their parent.
“Weak. Dehydrated. Y-you are not surprised to hear me speak?”
At this, the winged, horned pony smiled, instantly making Jonathan feel enlightened and joyous, as if he had managed to fulfil his life goal. He felt good, excellent even. Dark memories vanishing to be replaced by fuzzy happiness that numbed his wounds.
“Nay, and your are not surprised to hear me speak. Now, can I ask what exactly you are?”
He replied immediately, enthralled by her beauty and her glow, his mind and body not accustomed to such tranquillity and perfection.
This caused the white mare to stop and frown in contemplation before she seemed to wave off the rather obscure answer, instead delving into her next question with fearless disregard.
“What is your name, human?”
He couldn't refuse, not even if he wanted to. He needed to impress this deity, he needed to make her trust him, he needed to be near her for she was the light in the dark, she was hope incarnate.
She smiled once more, flashing perfect teeth and creating such a glow of warmth that it filled the whole room with a relaxed atmosphere. She spoke up once more, getting straight to the heart of her visit with one single, swift sentence.
“Hello Jonathan, my name is Celestia. May I ask how you found your way into my bed last night?”
Even her named sounded perfect and godly, Celestia, the one who watches from above. His heartfelt, loving daydream was soon torn apart as the second part of her question hit him head on, blanking his mind. Jonathan spoke up in a hesitant whisper, afraid of the wrath that a God could bring down upon him, feelings hanging open like a doorway.
“I-I'm sorry, I didn't...I me-ean I...I jus-”
His feeble, scratchy, failing voice was interrupted by the soft, tinkling chuckle of Celestia, who merely waved her hoof in the air in a sign of relaxation and nonchalance. Her expression spewed serenity and a deep calm but something, a nagging voice in the back of his mind told him that she was scared, worried even.
“I hold no grudge Jonathan, I merely want to know how you ended up here. I have never seen a creature quite like you and I have lived for a very long time.”
He made way to tell her, who was he to refuse the questions of a God before his mouth was halted, the answer dying on the edges of his lips swiftly as a strange, spine-chillingly feeling fell over him.
He felt something stir, in the back of his mind, in the recesses of his conscious and he felt it grip his brain, twist his words until what came out was a corrupted, lie spewing disaster of what once was a true sentence.
“I don't know Celestia.”
Jonathan felt fear and nihilism chill his core as he heard his own voice speak, as if detached and torn away from decisions of his own body. He felt like a passenger to his own body, a back-seat driver and that terrible, whispering, seductive voice was the one in charge, the one who had made him lie, the one who had touched his thoughts and changed them to its own regime, its own needs and answers.
He had lied, to a deity of good and kindness and he had never felt more disgusted by himself. Yet, somewhere, deep, deep in the back of his mind he felt the slivers of dark pride that were not his own trickle through his thoughts and twist his mind.
She spoked up again, drawing him out of his thoughts like a splinter from a wound. Her voice this time though, it held more force, more probing, poking curiosity that made Jonathan feel like an experiment of a greater creator.
“Nothing, nothing at all?”
Jonathan wanted, needed, desperately lusted to tell her the truth, to open his mouth and spew forth the facts, his story, his pain and, most importantly, the truth behind the monster known as Discord and yet he couldn't. That same clawing, forcing, choking iron hard hand had wrapped around his mind, gagging his words and creating its own in its place, abominable lies belching forth.
“No. I do not remember...”
That almighty, holy voice rose up from the throat of Celestia once more but this time the fear, the panic and the need for facts, for figures, for memories was palpable, causing the confused human to experience such inner turmoil, over her rolling emotions and over his apparent lack of telling the truth, the feelings rising up in him like bile, threatening to overwhelm him.
“There is nothing you remember, no one you remember?”
And once more, without his own consent his voice rose up and replied in that same, dead tone it had adopted.
His mind was blank, his thoughts were drifted, his body felt detached and dead, as if he were on medicine that dulled the mind and numbed the body. He didn't feel alive, he didn't feel right, he didn't feel pure. He felt, for all purposes, like a meat puppet on the strings of some unholy abomination that was messing with him and yet he could not express those feelings, he couldn't move, couldn't talk. He could only watch his body fall silent and still whilst his mind yearned desperately to be free, attempting to break the smothering barrier that surrounded it. To no avail.
Celestia seemed to notice the sudden blankness of the human named Jonathan, instantly convincing herself that he was tired and in need of sleep, not struggling with himself and his inner, darkest fears. Believing it was better that she leave him alone, the exact opposite of what he really needed, she spoke up again in a caring voice, filled with sympathy.
“Thank you Jonathan. I will leave you to rest now. Do not worry, when you wake I will make sure to have somepony drop off some food and drink.”
She turned and trotted back through the curtains, quashing her curiosity and questions, deciding that his own well being was more important then her much needed relief and foolish questions. She had briefly allowed her panic and her night time fright to become her, to become what she stood for, to take her over and that disregard for her once strong will, that show of weakness was enough to both convince her that she should leave this human before her façade snapped altogether and that foul, mysterious things were at play, things that revolved around this new arrival, feelings she had not felt for a long, long time dredged up by the human.
Behind her, the curtains rustled softly as a breeze rolled through them to meet the human straight in the chest, making him shiver and regain his mind, glazed eyes disappearing and gaze glancing around to try and decipher where the deity had gone. He heard the exiting clip-clop of her heavy, golden hooves and desperately wished to call to her, to draw her back and to tell her the truth but he simply couldn't. He wouldn't ask that of a deity, he wanted make her return just for his own well-being, his own foolish needs and, even if he did call her back, even if she did return he no longer trusted himself to tell the truth, he no longer trusted himself to be in charge of his own body or mind.
Jonathan turned his head sharply as the voice of Celestia spoke up once more, hooves falling silent and voice quietened down to a mere whisper that showed a definitive amount of worry and crazed anxiety.
“Jonathan, have you ever heard of...Discord?”
He couldn't see her form, her figure but he could imagine what she must look like merely judging by that laden voice. She sounded worried, she sounded like her shoulders would be slouched, her form would be off, her eyes would be dark, her mane would be flat. She almost sounded like a nervous school child questioning the idea behind the monster under the bed, the bumps in the night.
Jonathan wanted to scream, to say yes, to admit to all, to explain what he had been through, what he was still going through but once more, that icy, dead, decaying hand clamped down on his mind, spitting words from his mouth that were not his own, disgracing his lips with foul tasting lies and dank, dirty deceit.
“No Celestia, I haven't.”
The air was once again spoilt by the sounds of heavy horseshoes on orange tiles, fading into the background subtly and with subliminal silence but he no longer cared.
He was free wasn't he? He had beaten the fever, the delirium? He had felt that malevolent presence when he had arrived but it had vanished. It was the delirium after all that had sent him into spiralling madness. He should be free, caring and purified so why, why wasn't he?
And then the voice of his nightmares, of his transformations, of his delirium and of every dark corner, every creeping shadow, every creaking noise in the night, every story ever told to ignite fear rose up around him, unbelievably loud and yet confined to his own mind so it rang around like ripples in a pond.
Oh you poor, foolish human, you honestly thought your were free from me?
Frozen in terror, eyes wide, sweat returning to his body, questions answered in the most cruel monstrous way, Jonathan came to the fact, the knowledge of what was happening to him just as that evil laughter kicked in, swooping and soaring around his mind like a bird of prey, allowing him to feel fear but not allowing him to act upon it, keeping his mouth sealed so that no sounds could escape, keeping his body locked down so that he could not find help.
He was alone but not alone, awake but not awake, alive but not alive.
He had come to the realization, the horrible, gut-wrenching, stomach-churning, spine-tingling, mind-melting realization that nothing had changed since his fevered dreams, since his delirium and his boiling, swelling pains.
He came to the realization that whilst there were forces of good out there, whilst there were deities of light there were also those of darkness and they were more real to him then any other for they were him, his present and his future.
He came to the realization that he was no longer in control, that he was not free as he had thought. He had come to the realization that he was a mere pawn in the chess game that had been initiated by the destroyer of harmony and torturer of minds that had spat out its name like it was a shard of glass.
He was a pawn in Discord's game of revenge and chaos.
He was a pawn in Discord's tyrannical goals.
He was a pawn in Discord's sparking, darkened schemes.
And he could do nothing about it.
Sleep came to him slowly, forced upon him, and it was a sleep that was disturbed by laughing gods and a forceful, cruel, guiding hand that seemed to be pushing him closer and closer to destruction.
Celestia watched her scroll vanish in a puff of bright green flames, sent speeding off to her faithful student in Ponyville at speeds which defied belief, infused with powerful magic. She sighed heavily, eyelids drooping and mane suddenly feeling dishevelled and twisted, matted and knotted as the weight of exhaustion and unanswered, unbelievable feelings poured through her.
She had barely slept a wink in the five long days that the raving, ranting, feverish guest of hers had been under the effects of intense delirium, a condition that Doctor Band Aid had said was induced by heavy stress or memories that were so terrible, so disastrous that they followed him into the waking world, tormenting him and forcing him into the realms of madness and insanity.
She trotted over to her bed, about to push herself upwards to finally, finally get some sleep, Luna offering to take over for the day and the night in her place to allow her to catch up on lost rest and re-cooperation. Just before she slipped into the covers though, just before she gave into the power of her expenditure, she turned back around and glanced at her writing desk, at the inks splotches and used quills, at the crisp paper and dead candle that had once flamed brightly.
With a gentle flick of faint yellow magic she pulled a loose piece of paper from her pile, dragging it over to her with little effort in order to read its contents. The first copy of her message, the scroll that was scrapped because of her hasty, shaky, nervous writing making the whole thing barely eligible to even herself let alone her student, heavy, settled ink blots dancing across the crusted, cracked page as she scanned the botched writing of her message for any signs that may give her little, curious apprentice any reason to believe that her mentor, the Solar Princess, was suffering badly from a deep, unsettling apprehension and fright that chilled her soul.
To My Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle
I request the presence of you and your five friends at Canterlot in two days time, just enough time to allow your friend Rarity to pack, eh? A chariot will be arriving at your library and humble abode at six o'clock in exactly one day and I would request that your bring the Elements of Harmony with you. I trust you still have them after our last defence method worked so well on Discord?
I will be awaiting your answer by mail and, as to partially satisfy the curiosity that I know you will feel, the basic reason for my requesting you and your friends is because I have found a rather peculiar, sentient being that I have never seen before and I feel that you would enjoy meeting him.
I hope to see you and the other Elements soon.
Celestia allowed herself a small smile, reading through the scroll had easily satisfied and quenched her fear that she had inexplicably keyed Twilight Sparkle, the little purple unicorn, into her own frigid, foolish, timid fears. All was well though, all was good and right now, with thoughts of mysterious humans and cackling laughs being pushed to the back of her mind, Celestia did what she had been dying to do for days.
She crawled into her bed and slept a deep, thick slumber that would have not allowed her to leave even if the castle around her were collapsing.
So captivated by sleep as she was, so heavy a sleep, so deep a slumber that she had participated in, Celestia could not even hear the same cold, dark, memorable laugh billow out from the sunlit sky and drench the surroundings in malice.
“Come on Spike, I need that book on animal transfigurations so that I can write my report to the institute of Unicornial Magic.”
Twilight Sparkle, purple mare, powerful unicorn, Celestia's personal student and bearer of the Element of Magic stood below a rickety, rocking ladder, gazing upwards at the dangling purple and green dragon with a look of annoyance and frustration.
The hopelessly perched dragon looked down at the mare with irritation in his eyes, sighing to himself as he turned back around to allow his sight to parade around the shelves of multicoloured books, flicking through them with the precision of one who has done the job of searching time and time again.
Still staring at the multiple, chronologically arranged books, Spike the dragon spoke down to the Bearer of Magic in an aggravated voice, grouchy from being bossed around and having only ten hours sleep last night.
“I'm going as fast as I can Twilight.”
He heard her sigh deeply in displeasure before the sounds of her hooves pacing the orange brown floor of the library rung into his ears, followed by the sound of her voice, further off this time but still noticeable.
“Maybe your fastest isn't fast enough.”
This caused Spike to whirl around on his little ladder with a severe look of anger on his cherubic, scaled face, mouth opening to mouth a barbed retort, finally snapping under the weight of sleep deprivation and the constant nagging before his voice was choked by a loud burp and a blast of green fire that sent him careening off of the ladder in shock.
He fell for a split second before his thankfully armoured rump hit the library floor with a small thud, sending shocks through the young dragons body as both the newly formed scroll and the book he had been vainly searching for for the past five minutes both landed on his head, the scroll daintily touching him but the book thwacking him hard, making him see bright stars.
Dimly he was aware of Twilight rushing over to him, drawing closer and closer, blue mane flapping, eyes wide with a curious feeling as she became closer before she moved towards him and...
...scooped up the scroll with a tuft of purple magic, wheeling around to leave the dazed, confused dragon on the floor by himself to simply sit stunned and somewhat saddened by her lack of concern towards him.
He sat on the floor for ten hazy seconds, blinking slowly before he staggered to his little clawed feet, groaning and clutching his aching rear end as he walked slowly to the still form of Twilight who seemed to be reading the scroll with intense concentration judging by the tense look of her body.
Just as he drew closer to her turned body, just as the mare seemed to finish reading the story and just when he began to speak up to question her, his mouth was suddenly filled by the blue tail of his overlooker as she swirled around, strength in her limbs causing her tail to whip into Spike and, once more, send him spinning onto his rump.
He was about to yell out to her, angry and eyes sparkling with frustrated tears before he took one look at her and fell silent.
Twilight was worried, not just normal worried, not even crazy “I need to make a friendship report” worried but a deep worry that could only stem from a serious, sombre issue. Her eyes were dark with contemplation and anxiety as she opened her mouth to speak lightning fast to her assistant, voice high and nervous, limbs twitching with excess agitated energy.
“Spike, we need to start packing now!”
Spike looked at her with confusion, one eyebrow raised in question as he spoke up in a clam voice, trying not to trigger her into a nervous breakdown. He had seen the signs before and right now she looked positively edgy.
Twilight was pacing now, right eye twitching ever so slightly and gaze bursting around the room frantically as she spoke up in the same high pitched, rapid voice.
“Celestia wants to see me and the girls in Canterlot in two days.”
Spike shrugged his little shoulders, forcing himself back up to his feet as he spoke up once again in an impassive voice, trying to calm her down with his lack of strong emotions.
“So, so? I...there's...Spike, I think that...that...”
Twilight turned back to him to finish her sentence and it was then that he saw how worried she really was, how manic she may turn out to be. Her eyes glowed with frantic thoughts and deep, unsettling anxiety, her hair was already beginning to curl, her limbs were shivering with nerves, her mouth and brow were set in a deep frown as she spoke up once again in a quieter voice meant only for his ears.
“I think that there's something wrong with Celestia...I think she needs us Spike. I think that something bad is happening or that something bad is going to happen...
...and I want to get to Canterlot as quickly as possible because the last time she seemed like this, the last time her writing was as disjointed as this was when he came back...
...the last time I felt like this, the last time she seemed like this was when Discord returned.”
A/N: The reasoning behind Celestia's short visit was because though she may be curious, she has more compassion then to nag and pester a person in the hospital. Sadly, my plans for the next chapter will have to be pushed back to the chapter after that considering I have made a rule to try and not go over the 5000 word boundary per chapter or to go under the 3000 word boundary, therefore the next chapter is split in two.
Anyway, enjoy and, once more, constructive criticism is welcome.