Necromancy For Foals

by Queen Sanguine Dreams

Paying for Mistakes

The four ponies stood in the glowing darkness of the crypt when they were able, Scenic's mother voicing concerns about ponies that would have survived the attack on the town.

"We have to help them, don't we?" She asked Bright Idea more than anypony else. "There have to be survivors, right?"

Bone Marrow nodded, "I heard a few screams and shouts for help on my way here."

"Then we should do what we can to save those who can be saved." Bright Idea announced, "Sooner or later it will be too late for anypony to have survived the attack with those bandits murdering everypony in their way..."

Bone shook his head. "They shouldn't be a problem anymore."

"Did you melt their brains too?" Scenic's mother asked with some measure of disapproval. "So much death in one day and it's not even noon yet."

"Either I kill them, or they finish off everypony else in the town." Bone frowned, "I know I said I wouldn't kill anypony, but circumstances change. If they threaten the ponies I care about, they die."

Bright Idea and Scenic's mother flinched. "Please don't say that word..." The guard pleaded, pointing to the dead bandits. "It kind of leaves an impression."

"I'm just glad you came to save us," Scenic interjected. "I thought we were done for until I saw the crypt glowing."

"How did you get here so fast, by the way?" Bright inquired. The group was now moving out of the crypt and stepping over the bodies of looted nobles and dead bandits to make their way for the entrance. "The bandit camp couldn't have been that close to the town, could it?"

The young necromancer shook his head. "I made a few sacrifices along the way, but all the matters to me anymore is that you're all alive."

Scenic's mother nodded quickly. "We're very thankful for you coming back, dear. I just worry about you sometimes."

Finally seeing daylight the group rushed from the crypt with Bone Marrow in tow. The skies were blackened by clouds of ash and the smoke of fire from the burning remains of Galloping Glades. Fires reached high into the sky, flickering and spreading to other structures in a desperate attempt to remain alight.

The guard captain was the first to speak, "No sense in staring, is there?"

Walking along the cobblestone roads of ash and embers, the group steadily approached the town, their eyes searching for movement that might mean a survivor. Windows were burnt out with molten glass dripping from their frames onto the ground beneath. Doors had blown open or fallen off and entire sections of buildings had crumbled into charcoal. Bodies of the dead were strewn about the street, some burnt and others with deep bloody gashes across their chests. The group encountered a few bandit corpses as well, their heads caved in by what looked like a hoof.

"Well, I suppose they did find stragglers..." Bone hummed to himself. He wondered if any of his skeletons had survived the inferno and willed them to meet in the town square.

"Who did?" Scenic asked while stepping around the nearest corpse.

"My skeletons. I told them to hunt the bandits when I got to town." Bone pointed to another dead bandit with their skull cratered in a bloody mess. "Looks like they hunted."

"Bone, are you alright?" Scenic dipped her head to look underneath Bone's hood with concern, "You've been behaving differently since all of this... happened."

"You seem to be dealing with everything just fine." Bone snapped in an effort to re-direct the conversation. "Why aren't you freaking out about your town being burnt down and everypony you knew dying all around you?"

She shrugged, a look of vacancy on her face. "I don't know... I suppose I still have my mom. I still have a friend, so it's not as bad as it could've been. I have ponies I can talk to about things." She looked to Bone again, "You sure you don't want to talk about what happened?"

The necromancer shook his hooded head. "Not right now. Later, maybe."

What happened to me? Bone thought, One moment I was in the forest playing hero, taking on the bandits and resolving everything peacefully. The next moment I'm sprinting back to the town and slaughtering anypony who gets in my way... Bone shook his head as more thoughts surfaced, Am I turning into a monster? All it took was the threat of losing those I cared about and I lost myself.

"Unhoof me, skeletons!" A familiar voice called out, pulling Bone from his thoughts with a snarl.

"Obscenely Rich," The unicorn spat, "What's he doing here?"

"Who?" Bright Idea asked, unsheathing his sword with a magical pull. "Do you know them?"

Bone rounded a smoldering corner to find his skeletons, all ten of them, had surrounded the golden clad pony of wealth in the town square. The fire in his chest sparked upon seeing him and the necromancer rapidly advanced on him.

"You show your face here!" Bone shouted, his voice amplified by his anger. "The fires haven't even stopped and you come to this town in the very armor that caused this to happen!?"

"N-Necromancer!" Rich blurted back over the heads of the skeletons that held him, "I can explain!"

"What are you talking about, Bone?" Scenic asked, arriving along with Bright Idea and her mother. "He caused this?"

"No!" Rich protested, "I wasn't directly the cause!"

The necromancer placed a hoof on Rich's chest-plate. "It's because of you and your greed that the bandits attacked. You are the reason these ponies died."

The golden pony attempted to push Bone's accusatory hoof away, but the skeletons made sure he could make no threatening move and he remained pinned to the ashen ground. "I'm not responsible for the actions of criminals!" He shouted through his helmet's grille, "I want to help!"

Bright Idea chose to interject at this point, placing a hoof on Bone's side and leaning past the skeletons to get a better look at the pony he was dealing with. "How do you plan to do that? The town is in ruin, the citizens are dead or hiding and the ponies that assaulted Galloping Glades were slain."

"There were survivors!" Rich coughed, a bit of the ash getting into his mouth as the skeletons shoved his face deeper into the ground at Bone's will. "I escorted them to a safe place away from the fires!"

"How many," Bone demanded, his skeletons relenting in their pressure.

"Thirty! Some are fillies and colts, some are parents!"

Bone breathed a sigh of relief, willing his skeletons to help the golden pony to his hooves. "And you were the one to save them?"

Rich nodded. "Flames can't exactly pay me money to burn me, can they?"

Bone's good will nearly vanished in an instant at that comment, bringing to mind that it was that very function of his magical armor that caused the bandits to slaughter everypony.

The golden pony put up a hoof in defense and added, "P-Poor choice of words, my apologies!"

"What do you plan on doing with everypony?" Scenic's mother asked, "I don't know how you can help us."

Rich turned to the matronly pegasus, placing a hoof on his golden chest. "Well, madam, It just so happens that I am the wealthiest pony in all of Equestria. For the time being, I am offering all the surviving ponies of this town the opportunity to stay with me in my manor." He gave a sideways look to Bone Marrow, "Even if they are... Necromancers, for instance."

"How generous," Bone growled.

Scenic's mother was the first to reply sincerely. "I accept the offer. I'm sure you'll do more than that, seeing as how you're allegedly the cause of all this?"

Rich's hoof dropped along with his drooping head. "That much is true. The bandits only attacked your town in order to get their hooves on my armor. So, I will use my considerable funding to rebuild this town, albeit closer to my own manor and closer to Canterlot by association."

Bone remained silent, thinking upon all the dead ponies that he had consumed in the town's lake previously in order to get to Scenic faster. His death had caused a corruption of the land... would his magic do the same?

"That all sounds well and good, but I'll still have to file an official report to my superiors in Canterlot about what happened here," Bright Idea declared. "They aren't going to be happy about a town being burnt off the map, but then again I was the only Royal Guard in the town at the time as well. It shouldn't be too bad... probably just a demotion or two..."

Bone raised an eyebrow from beneath his hood at the guard, questioning his priorities. The ponies of a town had died, technically under his watch, and he was more concerned with rank and punishment than the lives of those lost?

"I'm sure I can soften a few things up for you, Captain." Rich replied with a smug grin behind his helmet.

Scenic raised her hoof to get the attention of the others. "What about the other ponies?"

"Well," Rich replied, "I plan on building an entire town. Any pony that survived this catastrophe will be getting a new house, courtesy of myself."

"What's it gonna be called?" Scenic inquired further, her hoof dropping.

Rich grumbled and muttered under his breath. "I don't know... Ponyville or something," He added with a sneer at the name, "I'll think of a better name later."

"Let's get moving then, unless there might be other ponies around?" The guard captain added with doubt, "I can't imagine anypony who isn't out of their home already is still alive..."

"I'll stay behind and make sure," Bone volunteered, "There might be somepony trapped in a cellar."

Obscenely Rich shook his head almost immediately. "Oh no, young necromancer, you must be the first out of this town."

"And why is that?" Bone challenged, barely tolerating the pony in front of him.

"Well, by simple fact that you're a Necromancer." Rich replied haughtily, "If anypony is to be blamed for the destruction of an entire town, what is more believable to the stuffy headed nobles of Canterlot; That it was razed to the ground by a simple party of bandits in search of treasure, or that a vile and evil necromancer lead an undead army through the town?" Rich continued, slightly amused with his own brainstorming. "The nobles are going to want a full investigation and spells are going to comb every inch of the place. When they find the ashen remains of the skeletons you left in your wake, they're going to assume it was you that burnt Galloping Glades to the ground."

Bone lowered his head with a growl, realizing that Rich was most likely correct with his assessment. That's what I get for trying to help; Vilified.

A gentle hoof tapped the young necromancer on his shoulder, causing him to turn. "Hey," Scenic stated, "We know the truth, alright? It doesn't matter what other ponies think of you. They aren't your friends. We know the real Bone Marrow is a nice pony that just wants to help others, not an evil necromancer."

Scenic's mother joined in the tender moment, her own hoof resting opposite her daughter's. "We also know that you have an insatiable hunger for cookies, and no villain you've ever heard of likes cookies, do they?"

The young unicorn raised his head with a smile, letting his worries melt in favor of accepting the compliments of those he cared about. "Well, I guess we'd better get going then, huh?"

"Necromancer!" An ash covered pony shouted, shielding her shaking colt. "Get him away!"

The group had followed Obscenely Rich and his radiant armor plates to the surviving ponies. With Bone Marrow leading the rear and being flanked by his small group of skeletons it was only a matter of time before the group would have to confront the town ponies about the metaphorical elephant in the room.

"Now now, everypony, calm down." Bright Idea announced firmly, "Bone Marrow here is not your enemy."

"But I saw his skeletons stomping ponies heads into the cobblestone!" A voice protested from the center of the group of surviving ponies. "They were like demons!"

"I told them to go after bandits!" Bone protested, moving his way to the front of the group. "They were there to protect you!"

The ponies were frightened and skeptical of that, some shouting out that he was a liar and others demanding that he be hung.

Bone sighed and rolled his eyes. "That's not going to solve anything," he muttered.

Scenic was next to speak in defense of her friend. "He saved us from certain death in the graveyard from three bandits that were going to murder us, just so they could raid the crypt for bits!"

"Ah," A voice shouted out, "What's he doin' in the crypt then? Raisin' another army to finish the job?"

"Ponies, please!" Rich shouted over the rabble of survivors, "This discussion is going nowhere helpful! You've all been through an unspeakably terrible ordeal and you're suffering from shock!"

The ponies behind Rich gave each other a look of surprise as the golden pony continued.

"You need time to think everything over. You were all running for your lives, helping other ponies to survive and gathering what belongings you could. It's very possible that what you saw was your own fears brought to life instead of the truth. If Bone Marrow here were truly the evil you say he is, why are we all still alive in his presence?"

This gave the crowd pause as some mulled over what Rich was saying.

"Give yourselves time to rest, to wind down from this horrible day and to re-visit what happened with a clear head. I know first-hoof the kind of pony that Bone Marrow is, and he would never hurt another pony if he could help it." Rich continued, turning his head aside for a moment to give the young necromancer a conspiratorial wink. "He saved me from the clutches of bandits just moments before the raid of your town. He was nowhere to be seen when your town was attacked, was he? There was no synchronous marching of the undead?"

A murmur of 'no' and 'I guess' flowed through the group of survivors.

"For now, focus on the present. I, Obscenely Rich, The most wealthy pony in all of Equestria, will help you."

Bone scoffed, realizing that his rousing speech was little more than a sales pitch.

"I will escort you and your loved ones to my manor, where you will be able to stay, free of charge, until a new town is constructed for you." Rich finished with a bow, earning a few weary clacks of applause. "Gather your things, and our friend Bone Marrow will provide escort to your new place of residence with his minions."

"He what!?" A pony shouted.

"It's fine!" Bright Idea boomed, "He's under my watch!"

A few ponies muttered about the effectiveness of that watch, seeing as the town was in ruins now.

It took nearly a full hour of combined sweet talking, mostly performed by Obscenely Rich, in order to get the surviving ponies to accept the idea of Bone Marrow traveling with them. Bone decided to remain in the rear of the caravan, his ash covered skeletal guards taking up positions along the length of the group on either side. They were spread thin, but it was better than no protection at all. The fact that his skeletons marched with a tireless unison and never spoke a word only caused the ponies near them to remain even more fearful of Bone Marrow, imagining how quickly they could become just like the 'guards' that they walked next to.

Bone, meanwhile, was contemplating where his life was going to take him if this was the reception he was going to earn, even if he had done what he could to save ponies and be as heroic as he was able to manage. I can't go around all of Equestria pronouncing my name and intentions like Rich can. He's a regular pony, not a Necromancer. My name is covering every inch of civilization in wanted posters, and it's likely that I'll be spending most of... well, not most of my life. I can't die. I'll be spending a bit of my time hiding out in this 'Ponyville' place that Rich is planning to build.

A flash of inspiration came to Bone with that discovery, and he moved alongside the other survivors of Galloping Glades to the front where Rich was leading the group.

"Hey," Bone announced with his arrival, startling Rich, "I have an idea."

"Please tell me when you're nearby," Rich sighed, "You scared the life out of me." His eyes then went wide when he realized just who was in his company, and he gave a nervous chuckle. "Metaphorically, of course."

"What if I helped build Ponyville?" Bone suggested with a smile. "All I need are dead ponies, right? They could do all the labor and It would help the ponies see me in a different light."

Rich shook his head. "And suppose an architect was needed- which they surely will be- how would I explain the scores of undead minions with helmets and hammers then, hmm?"

The young necromancer deflated a bit at that remark, understanding the difficulties. "Oh..." he murmured.

"I know you mean well," Rich continued, "But ponies just aren't that accepting of seeing their long dead relatives and what is arguably their future selves staring back at them, constructing houses for a Necromancer in broad daylight."

Bone nodded and moved back to the rear of the group, walking alongside the two skeletons that took up the end of the formation. Well, that idea didn't work. I don't know why I didn't think of that before I asked. Now I look stupid.

A head peeked over the cart in front of Bone, causing him to raise his head. A small foal stared back at him curiously, waving a hoof at his face.

"What do you want?" Bone grumbled.

The foal was desperately trying to touch Bone's muzzle, giggling and making the noises foals make when they can't speak properly. "Pretty!" It finally gurgled, achieving its monumental task of holding onto Bone's face.

Bone was unimpressed by the small foal, half-heartedly attempting to wrest his head free of the pony's grasp.

Another head peeked over the edge of the cart. Older. "Oh, by Celestia!"

The father of the curious foal pulled their young away from Bone quickly, causing it to cry. "I'm very sorry, necromancer!"

"My name is Bone Marrow." Bone replied tiredly. "I'm not some evil foal's tale come to life."

The father looked to his upset foal and back to the young Necromancer's glowing eyes, the skulls inside causing a shiver to run down his spine. "W-would you want to..." he stammered, second guessing himself, "Would you want to ride with us?"

"Isn't somepony else pulling that cart?" Bone inquired, his head tilting to one side with suspicion. "Why aren't you walking with everypony?"

The foal continued its wailing cry, very upset with its foiled plans of touching the pretty eye'd pony with its hoof.

"I think they'd be more bothered with Frosty here crying than a bit more weight in the cart." The father nervously replied, avoiding Bone's question.

Bone's hooves ached from the walking he was doing, as well as his body's backlash from the adrenaline of before. "Sure. Why not." He replied, a nearby skeleton of his lifting him into the cart before resuming its march.

The foal, apparently named 'Frosty', reached out towards Bone with happy giggling and a bubbling of its lips.

"So," Bone stated in an effort to calm down the father, "Frosty, huh?"

He nodded, "Frosty Pie. Cute, isn't she?"

The filly crawled over to Bone, staring up into his eyes with a curious fascination.

"At least she's not crying anymore," Bone replied, slightly grossed out by the line of drool running down the filly's face.

A few more days passed, each one granting the group a better understanding of Bone Marrow and his intentions as they spotted bandits being scared away by the protection that the young necromancer provided them. Bone met with several other ponies in the surviving group, each anxious and fearful at first, but soon coming to a mutual understanding that Bone Marrow meant them no harm.

Bone breathed a sigh of relief as he met up with Scenic. She was speaking with a survivor and joined by her mother at the head of the group. Finally, I don't have to worry about ponies screaming 'oh no, a necromancer!'

"Hey Bone!" Scenic announced happily when she spotted her unicorn friend. "How's everypony treating you?"

"Better than days previous," Bone replied. He still wore his hood over his head, the action becoming more of a habit than necessity at this point. He also liked the air of mystery it gave him, yet more-so the fact that he was able to make mocking faces at ponies without them noticing while he wore it. "How are you holding up?"

She shrugged, her voice light and cheerful. "I've had worse days," She coyly smiled.

"Over it so soon?" Bone questioned.

"How long did it take you to get over your own town's destruction?" She countered quickly, raising a few alarms from Bone Marrow.

"How did you know about that?" He questioned, now on guard and suspicious.

"Bright Idea was telling me the story of why you've got a big bounty on your head, but I figured it was just stories." She replied, "Mind telling me what really happened?"

Now that I think about it, it didn't take me very long at all to put the past behind me, did it?

"Well... do you want the whole story, or the short version?" Bone relented after a thoughtful sigh. "We have the time for either."

"Let's go with long version, then." Scenic replied with a smile. "I'd rather hear it from the Necromancer's mouth than anypony else, ya know."

"Well, it only happened a few weeks ago I suppose. My family and I, along with the rest of the town were-" Bone began before being interrupted.

"A few weeks ago?" Scenic inquired, "Bright Idea said that he's had your posters for a few months now."

This caught Bone Marrow off guard. "Months?"

"Yeah; from what he told me, the Royal Guard sent a whole group up to the town to find out why the town had been destroyed. They went down to check out the mines when they found you, and then they retreated soon after. A Knight of the Sun stood watch with a few of his friends while they waited for you to come back, and you ran from them into the mines and got lost." Scenic explained before quickly adding the disclaimer of, "Well, at least that's how Bright Idea explained it."

"How would he know that?" Bone asked with suspicion in his voice, looking to the rear of the formation at Bright Idea.

"Said he was there." Scenic replied nonchalantly.

Bone Marrow stopped in his tracks, sudden realization dawning on him. Without a word he turned and marched down to where the guard captain was conversing with another pony.

"Bone?" Scenic called out to her friend, worried at the sudden change.

Why was he so calm when he met me? He knew my name and I thought it might just be because he was in charge of the wanted posters, but what if... what if he was the pony I met in the mines of Scoria? What if he was the pony that wouldn't give me his name?

Bone shook his head, "No, the magic is a different color. That pony had green eyes, not gold."

So who was he then, a Knight of the Sun?

"Bright Idea!" Bone Marrow called out ahead of him, grabbing the guard's attention. "Can I speak with you?"

"Sure, Bone. What do you want to talk about?" Bright Idea replied calmly, dismissing himself from his previous conversation. "Something on your mind?"

Bone turned around in order to follow the rest of the group as he met up with the guard captain, walking along his side. "Do you know about a town called Scoria?"

He nodded, "Of course I do. It was in all the official reports when I received the wanted posters of you. They said that you burned down the entire town, though I thought that was a bit much for a foal."

Bone was now even more suspicious. "Did you know anypony by the name of Deus Vult?"

The guard chuckled, "What kind of a name is that?"

Bone shook his head, "I mean, do you know a pony with green eyes, a blonde mane and copper colored coat?"

Bright froze for a moment before turning his head. "You spoke with Scenic, then?"

"Who are you, really?" Bone inquired, his eyes focusing intensely on Bright Idea's face. "Were you there when I died the first time?"

Bright bit his lips with thought before replying almost timidly. "If I remember correctly... I dropped a pole-axe onto your spine."

"That was you!?" Bone blurted with surprise.

"I'm sorry!" Bright instantly replied, "I was caught up in the moment and the commander hadn't told us a single thing about necromancers!"

Bone took a breath, considering his situation for the moment as Bright nervously awaited his reply.

I've died three times already. Sure, the first death had been partially by Bright Idea's hooves, but in the end... did it matter? I'm still alive after all; I'm a necromancer. Was it a mistake on his part? Maybe. I don't know what I would've done if I was the royal guard I always wanted to be.

Bone gave the fearful captain an appraising look. He searched Bright's eyes, seeing his own blue skulls reflected back at him.

What would I have done?

Scenic now chose that moment to gain enough courage to confront the two. "What's going on?"

Bone looked up to Scenic, a smile across his face. Motioning to Bright Idea with his head he chuckled, "Bright Idea killed me once."

The guard let loose a breath of relief, "I was so worried you were going to be upset."

Bone nodded. "I am upset. Being killed really hurts, you know."

"He did what!?" Scenic shouted.