Tartarus Forged

by SvenFoxx

9. Eternal Night, Part Three: SITREP

Twilight spun and danced through the horde of Shadows with an almost wild grin, the light sword swirling and swinging smoothly through the air and darkness as it dispersed each individual Shadow with the ease of a hot knife through butter. She wasted little energy, and if one were to pay attention to the sword itself they would realize that at no point did it stop moving. Even in the rare case where Twilight had to come to a stop, she never let the blade itself stop.

It was a part of her own sword-style that she developed, one that utilized momentum to her advantage. After all, if the sword was already moving then it would require less energy to swing it. The tricky part was to move in such a way so as to prevent needing to stop the sword. She had spent years training her body to move like water when fighting, every movement leading into the next and never truly standing still.

As a consequence she couldn’t put a lot of power behind her strikes, or risk overextending herself and completely messing up her rhythm. That left her open for a few seconds before she could get balanced and moving again.

There was also a glaring weakness to the style. Everything in it used the weight of the sword as a sort of counterbalance for all of the moving she herself did. If the sword was somehow brought to a sudden stop in the middle of combat, it would completely unbalance her and leave her open to attack for a few seconds.

Of course, being the paranoid sapient that she was, Twilight’s sword-style was far from her only means of battling. Her bag contained a variety of weapons she had gathered and reverse-engineered and sometimes even improved.

Deciding to have a bit of fun, Twilight reached into said bag and pulled an L-shaped device from it, gripping the smaller end in her hand and pointing the longer end at a shadow. With her thumb she pulled back a small lever on the back of the device. With that action the chamber in the center of the device turned. Then she fingered the curved small lever under the device with her index finger. With a grin, she said a phrase that the one who taught her gunplay was rather fond of.



The end of the device, which had a circular hole, flashed as a tiny piece of solidified purple magic shot from the hole at insane speed, hitting the Shadow she was aiming at before it could even register the attack.

The Shadow burst apart violently, as did the Shadows behind it when the projectile hit them as well. Twilight grinned and pulled back the hammer of her revolver again, swinging around and slashing a few Shadows with her sword in the process. She pointed at another Shadow and fired.

There was just something right about firing guns. Twilight never did find out what it was exactly, but she would never get tired of using them.

After the bang died down, a voice caught Twilight’s attention.

“Hey! Over here!”

She spun around, pointing her gun at the source of the voice on the off chance it was hostile, and found an orange Earth Pony wearing a Stetson near an opening in the barrier waving a hoof, three other ponies working to keep the few Shadows not focused on Twilight away.

“C’mon! It’s safe inside!” the orange pony called, waving her towards the entrance.

Twilight froze for a split second. Instincts warred before logic won out.

She put her gun away and used her sword to carve a path as she ran. When she reached the group, she didn’t stop at all and ran through the opening.

The Earth Pony and her three companions ran in on her heels, the barrier closing behind them. Twilight easily dispatched the few Shadows that made it through the opening before holstering her sword on her back and relaxing.

“Well, that was close!” the orange Earth Pony said with a sigh. Then she smiled at Twilight and extended a hoof. “Howdy! Name’s Applejack! I run this farm, or did before the invasion. Now I manage the crops used to feed the survivors.”

Twilight stared down at the extended hoof, and then at Applejack’s easygoing smile. “Twilight,” she answered briefly.

Applejack frowned after realizing Twilight wasn’t going to shake her hoof, but let it go for now. “Well Miss Twilight, I was hoping you could tell us what in tarnation is going on. None of know why this all happened, and you seem to be the only one who knows what they’re doing.”

Twilight considered that.

Information was valuable, no matter what world you were in. Sometimes it was more valuable than gold. This situation was no different. She needed information, and had information to give in return.

She nodded. “Give me some information in return, and I’ll tell you what’s going on. Though… you may not believe it when I do.”

Applejack deadpanned. “Shadows are coming to life and invading the world, and the Sun hasn’t risen at all, making a permanent Night. At this point the only thing I won’t believe is the long lost sister of Princess Celestia returning and staging a coup.”

Twilight blinked and then smirked at the irony. She didn’t say anything about that though. “Gather whatever you have for leaders and I’ll tell you together, that way I don’t have to repeat myself.”

Applejack nodded and trotted away, Twilight following her.


Some time later, Twilight was standing in a barn that looked to have been changed to act as an infirmary. She was leaning against the wall near the barn door, staring at the six ponies gathered inside.

There was Applejack, and next to her was a rainbow maned blue Pegasus that gave off an air of seriousness. The mare was odd to Twilight’s senses. She could feel a rather large well of weather magic sitting in this mare, but she had yet to feel it actually be used, even when the mare was flying.

Then there was a pink Earth Pony who was far too chipper despite the fact the world was virtually ending outside. Twilight was uneasy around her, and couldn’t figure out why. The only thing she knew was that the mare seemed almost more vibrant than anything else, like she didn’t quite fit the world.

A white unicorn with a purple mane that had painstakingly went out her way to bring a pillow to sit on in the dirty barn. Twilight would have dismissed her as a spoiled rich girl if she hadn’t watched the mare throw sewing needles with pinpoint accuracy at a wooden beam to pass the time while they waited. The highly accurate image of a bowtie was still stuck on the beam, and Twilight and the unicorn were so far the only ones who knew it was there.

A yellow Pegasus with a pink mane sat away from the group, shivering every time she looked at Twilight. Twilight wondered if she had been adversely affected by the invasion of Shadows. It would explain the aura of fear she gave off.

And finally, there was the yellow unicorn with a fiery mane and tail. She was powerful. Twilight could feel her magic the moment she entered the barrier, and now, right next to her, it was like standing too close to a bonfire.

Privately, she wondered how they got anything done. They all looked to be about as different as Night and Day to each other and likely bickered a lot.

“We’re all here, Miss Twilight. What can you tell us?” Applejack said.

Twilight noticed that the aquamarine eyes of a yellow unicorn with a red and yellow mane sharpen at her name. Her own eye narrowed briefly at that. That unicorn knew her. How?

You all want to know what the heck is going on, why shadows are coming to life, and why the Sun hasn’t come up since the Summer Sun Festival, right?”

Everyone nodded, though that yellow unicorn was now staring at her suspiciously.

“Well, I suppose I should start by saying Applejack here already guessed most of the answer.” She motioned to the surprised Earth Pony.

Applejack blinked. “I what?”

“You said that the only thing you wouldn’t believe was the long lost sister of Princess Celestia returning and staging a coup. Well, you were right. That’s the core of this situation.” Twilight explained. She waved a hand that was glowing with magic, making a cartoon-like depiction of Princess Celestia and a blue Alicorn appear, circling each other. “Princess Luna once ruled alongside her sister. Where Princess Celestia ruled and cared for the Day and Sun, Princess Luna ruled and cared for the Night and the Moon. They were a classic case of opposing forces working together to achieve greatness. Sun and Moon, Day and Night… Light and Darkness. Unfortunately, that all came to an end when Princess Luna rose up in rebellion against her sister, and was subsequently banished to the Moon for the last one thousand years.”

The image shifted, this time showing a black circle surrounded by a hazy blue shadow. “Pop quiz time!” Twilight grinned, enjoying the startled looks this garnered. “What was the publicly accepted view on the Night one thousand years ago?”

“Er, that it was Night? I mean, what’s so special about it compared to the Day?” the Rainbow maned Pegasus ventured.

Twilight pointed at her. “Close, but wrong. Anyone else?”

“Ooooh! Did they party all Night back then?” the pink one asked

Twilight sighed. “No, they did not party all Night. Next?”

The white unicorn frowned. “Correct me if I’m wrong, darling, but one thousand years ago was relatively close to the Dark Ages, wasn’t it?”

Twilight snapped her fingers, pointing at her. She also noticed the yellow Pegasus flinching at the sound. “Bingo! Back then, thanks to the Dark Ages, Darkness was synonymous for evil and anything associated with it was also considered evil. And Princess Luna was and is the Alicorn of Darkness and the Night, just as Princess Celestia is the Alicorn of Light and the Day.”

The image changed, showing Princess Celestia standing on a raised platform with the Sun shining down on her. Ponies of all races were bowing to her. However, if one looked closely, they would notice that the Princess gave off a shadow from the light of the Sun, which fell directly on a sad looking Princess Luna.

“One thing Ponies don’t remember about this tale is that the Princesses were new to ruling at this point, and still learning how to do it efficiently. Princess Celestia got lucky in that she managed not to make too many mistakes before figuring it out, but Luna wasn’t as lucky as her. She made a lot of mistakes, usually because she allowed her emotions to cloud her judgment. She got better, but by then it was too late. Ponies had begun whispering about her incompetence behind her back, insulting her Night, and claiming she was evil because she was the Alicorn of Darkness.” Twilight shook her head at the stupidity of sapient life. And yeah, she lumped herself in that category as well.

“So, naturally, Luna sought to fix this view of her, but no matter what she tried the Ponies refused to believe her. She then tried to get help from her sister, the one person… sorry… the one pony in the world that was closest to her. Only for Celestia, who was at the time slightly drunk on her own power and the adoration of the ponies, to brush her concerns aside. Princess Luna was shattered… and that in turn left her heart wide open for the Darkness she was born in to corrupt her, turning her into Nightmare Moon. By the time Princess Celestia realized what was going on it was too late. She has, to this day, blamed herself for her sister’s fall from grace.”

The image changed to show a very real, very jarring picture of Nightmare Moon. After a moment it changed again, this time showing the Shadows.

“Those creatures out there that appeared when the Sun last went down are called Shadows. I’ve heard a few ponies here call them demons. Well, they’re not demons. They are in fact Darkness Golems, creatures created and forged by the power of Darkness. They don’t have bodies and are composed of Darkness itself. If you attack them with anything other than strong light or Light Magic they’ll just burst apart and reform after a moment. When fighting one or two Shadows they aren’t that hard to deal with. It’s when they start swarming that you have a serious issue, as you all have realized by now.” she emphasized.

“Shadows were first seen when Nightmare Moon tried to usurp the Day and create an Eternal Night one thousand years ago. She created them to distract the Solar Guards, Princess Celestia’s personal Guard force, while she fought the Princess.”

“Yes, and if not for the Elements of Harmony, I would have won.”

Twilight’s eye, along with the eyes of every pony in the barn, snapped upwards. There, floating on a cloud of dark blue shadows, was a transparent image of Nightmare Moon.

“Greetings again, Twilight Sparkle. I wonder… do you have time for a little chat?”