Deathwing in Equestria

by SoaringCoal

Tyrant of the skies

Sounds of marching and battle cries could be heard as Ironbeak walked entered the enormous courtyard.

Hundreds upon hundreds of griffins occupied it, some in the sky, others on the ground, but all having one thing in common. Preparing.

Clashing spears, swords, and shields. Higher ranked officers screaming their lungs out at the lower ranked troops who just stood there and took it without even moving a muscle.

On a normal day all of this would have been the sweetest of music in Ironbeak’s ears, but today it sounded more like an annoying buzzing that tried to distract him.

Griffins clad in silver and steel armor saluted him as he passed, but he paid them no mind. A lot was at stake here. Too much, yet no one seemed to realize just how much. Preparing for eventual or potential conflict was an almost daily thing for the griffins. Usually it wasn’t serious. Just a result of paranoid generals and new intel. Today, however, was different.

Spreading his wings, Ironbeak took to the skies and flew inside the grand stone citadel in front of him. Eleven towers stood tall in a half circle, overseeing the courtyard each stretching hundreds of feet into the air. In the middle stood the largest and widest, many patrols of armed guards circling it like vultures.

Ironbeak landed on a balcony, two black clad guards with silvery metal on their talons standing on each side of the open entrance inside. They didn’t even blink as he passed.

A shiver went up Ironbeak’s spine as he passed the guards. They stood like stone and gave no indication that they were actually alive. It was unnerving.

Inside sat four griffins in different armors, decorated with all sorts of medals, around a large rectangular silver table, two seats remaining untaken, one at each end of the table. They sat in silence even as Ironbeak entered, most of them staring at the table or into the air in front of them. The only sound that could be heard was Ironbeak’s talons as they clinked against the stone floor with every step. He sat down on the closest remaining chair and joined the rest of the griffins in their silence.

“You’re late,” the griffin on Ironbeak’s right said, still not taking his eyes off the air.

“I was busy,” Ironbeak replied.

“Too busy to attend this meeting?” The griffin on the left of Ironbeak asked.

“No. I was looking over the most recent intel. In these times, it is important to know every player on the board, Corvos.”

“You have no business looking over intel, Ironbeak. You are no longer a part of this country’s military.”

“Yet the job remains mine as long as the rest of you sit on your fat furry behinds doing nothing but telling our troops to fly in circles!” Ironbeak retaliated in the direction of Corvos.

The griffin grimaced as he shied away from Ironbeak, sniffing. “Have you been drinking?”

“Damnit, Ironbeak.” The griffin on the right said. “Of all the days you had to choose this one...”

“And so what if he drinks?” The griffin next to Corvos said. “Both of you drink from time to time as well. Today is not the time to discuss drinking habits.”

“Well said, general Derros,” a new voice said.

All five griffins around the table froze and instinctively got up from their seats, now all of them looking down at the floor. Talons tapping in a rhythm across the floor could be heard as the new figure entered and sat down on his, the rest of the griffins following suit shortly after.

Looking up, Ironbeak got a good look at the newly arrived. Relaxing in his chair sat the one griffin that all griffins eventually would have to answer to. Emperor Tyros. Clad in a golden chestplate, jeweled gold and silvery rings on his talons, a predatory grin and eerily red eyes, he gave the attendees a good look each.

“Forgive us, your excellence. We were merely--”

“Save it for someone who cares, Derros,” Tyros said, waving his talons at Derros dismissively. “We have bigger fish to gut.” He turned his attention to the whole of the table. “You all know why I’ve called this council,” he said in an almost bored tone. “What to do with the ponies and their newest ally.”

The table went quiet.

Again, Tyros cast his eyes across the attendees before rolling his eyes. “Well, do not hold back on your no doubt excellent ideas. You are my war council. You should have plenty.”

“We need more intel before resorting to action,” Corvos blurted out. “It will be crucial in the months to come. What we may or may not know now may very well have an effect on the next hundred battles. The ponies ally returned only days ago from the dragon capital.”

“What are you saying, Corvos?” Derros asked with crossed arms.

“That their ally might make an alliance between the dragons and ponies possible. Taking on the dragons themselves is an enormous task, but against the ponies and their magic…”

“Are you saying we would lose?” Tyros asked, looking at his general with a raised eyebrow.

Corvos looked back down at the table. “N-no, emperor, but winning would be significantly more difficult.”

“So what do you want to do, Corvos?” Ironbeak asked.

“I want an outpost established near the border between Equestria and Draconia. I want to recruit spies, both pony and dragons so we can get this intel.”

“There’s no way in Tartarus that we such a feat can be accomplished,” Derros commented, looking at Corvos with a stoic expression.

“Are you saying that we are not strong enough to--”

“No, I am saying that we cannot bribe dragons, or recruit them for that matter. Some ponies we might be able to, but not the dragons. All dragons are loyal to their queen without question. Establishing an outpost between the most well guarded country in the world and fearful equines? You’re out of your mind if you think that it is going to work. The mere resources it would take to get a force there are more than we can spare, especially when the risk of our troops getting caught is so high. You might as well be asking to assault the dragon capital with an army of pigeons.”

“So what do you expect us to do then, Derros? Roll over and wait for the dragon queen to come to us?”

“I expect us to think before we act recklessly,” Derros replied. “Intel is important yes, but what is stopping the dragon queen and her kin to come by the sea route and simply burn us to ash in the dark of night? We need a contingency in case everything goes wrong. When it comes down to it, the most important thing is our capital. It falls and chaos will run rampant in our ranks, and what can we do to stop it?”

“We have outposts surrounding the border both from sea and land, patrols during both night and day. We would see them coming.”

“To a very little extent. The dragons fly many times faster than we do, the dragon queen herself being the fastest of them all. Let’s say that our patrols do spot the dragon army as it approaches. How will our patrols get back to the capital and warn us before the dragons have already arrived? It would be a massacre. We need better defences, and should spend our resources on improving the ones we already have.”

“And become sitting ducks, completely isolated from the rest of the world?”

“If that is what is takes to survive an oncoming assault, yes.”

Once again, the room became silent. Derros and Corvos were staring each other down while Ironbeak was contemplating the situation, his emperor looking on the conversation with lazy eyes.

“If I may, your majesty,” the griffin on Ironbeak’s right suddenly said, standing up from his seat.

Tyros nodded, “You may, general Karek.”

Nodding, Karek continued. “Perhaps we should halt our conflict against the dragons and ponies entirely. As it stands our losses would become perhaps too great in an all out assault, and tension also already stands between the ponies and dragons. Perhaps we should simply observe the ponies and act accordingly to how the situation changes.”

“So you’re saying we do nothing?” Corvos asked.

“No, I’m saying we save our resources to when we actually need them. Use whatever spies and scouts we already have out and focus on what we should do with the information we have and receive. We could even send Ironbeak back to Equestria and give us intel from Canterlot itself.”

“What a glorious waste of time that would be,” Derros commented, rolling his eyes at Karek.

“General Vass, do you have anything to add?” Tyros suddenly said, gesturing to the remaining general, and disrupting the conversation.

“No,” the last griffin said, keeping his eyes closed as if he was sleeping but somehow still looking very aware of everything going on around him.

“Then it seems you three are at a crossroads. I am willing to give my blessing to any plan conceived at this table, but as usual, you have to agree with each other,” emperor Tyros said, inspecting his talons.

Ironbeak knew what the emperor really meant and he was pretty sure everybody else at the table knew too. Only a plan the emperor would agree with would leave the room alive.while the rest would remain shot into the ground.

“Then I suggest we focus on intel,” Corvos said.

“That is a pointless endeavor. We need to prepare for the worst,” Deross

“Doing either will accomplish nothing,” Karek said.

“Neither will your idea!”

“You are all missing a crucial point,” Ironbeak said, disrupting the argument. “None of these options will matter if you keep remarking the new glaring issue like it is nothing more than another eventual thorn in your side.”

“Ironbeak, you are just here as a courtesy as you are officially no longer a part of this council. Your opinion means very little here.” Karek said.

“Let him speak,” emperor Tyros said, eyeing Karek.

Ironbeak nodded towards his emperor. “Thank you, your excellence.” He turned his attention to the whole of the table, each general, including Vass looking at him in anticipation and confusion. “I don’t think the lot of you really understands the threat that the black dragon poses. I saw its onslaught firsthand and it was something to behold indeed. In one fell swoop it took out almost every changeling. Hundreds burned to ashes in moments.”

“Your point being?” Karek asked. “The dragon queen could accomplish the same feat easily.”

“Yet this black dragon should still be considered a threat. A united Draconia with another dragon the size of Valissa could prove a great obstacle to us,” Derros commented.

“Which is all the more reason why we need all the intel we can get!” Corvos yelled.

“You’re still not getting it!” Ironbeak slammed his talons into the table, silencing the rest of them. “Do any of you know why Celestia wanted all three nations to search for the black dragon?”

The generals remained quiet while the emperor stared with a focused gaze at Ironbeak.

“The sun princess had a vision of the black dragon destroying the entirety of Equestria, burning it all to ash.”

Everything went quiet in the room. Shocked expressions sat on every now informed person in the room except Vass, and of course the emperor who had cocked his head in interest at this new information.

“How have you obtained this information?” Vass suddenly asked.

“I have contacts within the royal guard and bribes get a long way,” Ironbeak smiled.

“What great news,” Tyros smiled. “An enemy that can lay waste to our enemies.”

“If he doesn’t destroy us too,” Derros said.

“What proof do we have of such power?” Corvos asked. “An old scared fool and the ashes of changelings. No being is powerful enough to annihilate the entire world alone. Your information must be--”

“Quiet Corvos!” Tyros yelled, slamming his jeweled talons into the table. “Ironbeak, what do you suggest we do about this creature?”

“In all due respect, emperor, I don’t think there’s anything we can do…”

“Does it not have any weaknesses?” Vass asked.

“I don’t have any verifiable information on that, but my best guess would be its current form.”

“It parades as a pony yes?”

Ironbeak nodded. “Yes. Although it can change to its much more fearsome form I suspect it has the normal weakpoints of a normal pony in that state, but like I said, I can’t be sure.”

At that it seemed as if Vass focused on the table in thought.

Fixing his eyes on his emperor, Ironbeak felt a chill go up his spine. Tyros was smiling weirdly enough.

“Then it seems we have concluded our meeting,” Tyros suddenly said, everyone looking at him in slight confusion. “We will follow Karek’s suggestion.”

“But, your excellence, in the event of an attack we will be--”

“Annihilated, Derros?” Widening his smile, Tyros tabbed his talons against the table, staring intently at Derros. “Didn’t you listen? There’s nothing we can do. It seems that Death will reign.”

Ironbeak’s eyes widened at that last phrase and it seemed every other general followed suit in his stare. Could he mean? No, it’s not possible.

“Your excellence, you can’t surely be referring to--”

“This meeting is adjourned. Leave.” Tyros’ voice was stern and adamant. The meeting was over.

Slowly everyone got up from their seats and began to walk towards the balcony.

“Not you, Ironbeak.”

He froze on the spot as the rest passed him. Instinctively, he gulped.

As soon as the councilmembers had left, Ironbeak turned, bowing his head, sweat forming on his forehead.

“Yes, my emperor?”

“Is this beast really as fearsome as you say?”

Raising an eyebrow in confusion, Ironbeak kept his gaze at the stone floor. “Y-yes…”

“Excellent,” Tyros said.

The word alone made another chill go up Ironbeak’s spine. He remained a little confused but suppressed it. Taking a moment of courage, Ironbeak stood up. “Your highness, forgive me for what I’m about to say, but do you really believe that the hour is coming?” Ironbeak asked, looking at his emperor with troubled eyes.

“Your doubt is warranted Ironbeak, yet misplaced,” Tyros replied, looking to the skies as the sun moved down its way beneath the horizon and as the stars began to materialize as if from out of nowhere and began to form discrete images. “I’m not the one you should doubt. Take the generals, my advisors, even my own father looked down on me for sharing these beliefs, but I believe in them nonetheless.” Tyros turned back and looked at Ironbeak with a wide grin. “I can feel it in my bones, in the depths of my very soul. Our time is coming, and no one will be able to halt our ascension. No one.”

Gulping again, Ironbeak did a bow before his emperor, avoiding his gaze. “And we shall follow you to the end of the world itself if we have to.”

“I know you will, Ironbeak. All of you will.” At that the emperor walked away, his sharp talons scratching against the stone floor, almost gently dancing across, let everyone nearby know of his presence.

Standing up straight, Ironbeak took one last look at the now empty room. Hopefully it won’t come to that. With that thought, he spread his wings and soared off into the sky, trying hopelessly to forget the maniacal expression his emperor had wielded, and the doubt that began to fester.

Now it all seemed so simple. So...pointless and tiring.

A cold breeze eased its way into Neltharion’s room only to be crushed by the much hotter air already inside.

Wings sprawled out and without expression, Neltharion laid there on the floor, staring into the crystal ceiling, his mind filled with no thoughts.

Two days had passed since the unfortunate news. Somehow it all still seemed surreal. How was it not possible? The burning legion had knowledge of interdimensional travel, so had the humans back on his world to a certain degree, so why not here?

An answer sprung forth in Neltharion’s mind like thunder from a clear sky.

Why? Because the ponies were primitive, at least compared to the mages on Azeroth. Perhaps he could find a way himself? It would take many, many years, but he had the time, so why not?

The thought simply seized as it was concluded. He felt so empty and without energy to do anything.

His eyes were slowly went out of focus as he slowly blinked with a sudden tiredness, still staring at the purple crystal ceiling.

Light, thought and emotion seemed to ebb away as Neltharion kept staring into the ceiling, his eyes looking deeper and deeper.

So tired.

An endless void seemed to fill his mind.

Darkness encroached on his vision until he could see nothing but the purple ceiling, and then he saw it.

Two hooded figures sitting across one another, a table between them.

Neltharion could see small figures on some sort of wooden board. He recognised it. Mages in the floating city of Dalaran had been playing it when he was there. What was it they called it? Chess?

The two hooded figures simply sat there slumping in their wooden seats, all being visible of them being their hands. One figure had a black metal gauntlet on his hand, while the other figure’s hand was bony and impossibly old.

Yet, the scene seemed odd to Neltharion. Both of the figures were unmoving. He looked closer onto the board.

The gauntlet wearing figure was playing as black, while the old man was playing as white, but the scene was odd. A lot of white pieces had been removed, only the king remaining, while the black was sitting with almost a full board of pieces. Strangest of all, both kings had been knocked over.

*Knock* *Knock*


He recognised the voice and it was enough to pull him away from the scene and back into reality, now simply staring at the ceiling once more.

Rolling over onto his stomach, his armor scratched across the crystal surface, creating a very unpleasant screeching sound that made his ears sprawl back with uncomfort.

His bedroom door opened and in looked a familiar face.

“Goodmorning, Twilight,” he greeted.

The princess rose an eyebrow. “Morning? It’s sundown,” she pointed to the open window, and sure enough, the sun was on its way down.


“So...what have you been up to?”

Neltharion deadpanned. “Very little.”

“Are you busy?”

He felt tempted to say yes. “No.”

“Good, then I have brought someone who would like to talk with you,” she said, smiling.

Talk with me? He internally groaned. “Fine.” Getting up, Neltharion followed Twilight out of the door.

It didn’t take long for them to reach the throne room, and to Neltharion’s surprise he recognised the pony sitting on what usually was Spike’s throne. Pink pony princess with an unsettlingly large smile.

“Hello Neltharion, how are you today?” She greeted, getting up from her seat and walking to meet him.

Neltharion found her demeanor strange. Her smile was so wide it reminded him hauntingly much of Pinkie Pie’s, and she was practically bursting with excitement. He had no idea why though, which was unsettling in itself.

“I’m alright, princess Cadance.”

“Good, good,” she said, never breaking eye contact. “I’m sure you have some questions.”

“Indeed, I do.”

“So let us start with the big one. I’m here to talk with you about something Twilight suggested to me. At first I must admit I was a little skeptical, but now I see what a great opportunity it is.”

“I'll be the judge of that.”

Twilight looked at Neltharion with a sheepish smile. “There’s something we want you to do.”