Necromancy For Foals

by Queen Sanguine Dreams


Bone Marrow had decided to conserve his own energy from the long marching, taking up residence on the back of a skeleton while he closed his eyes. It was simple enough to cycle through the eyes of his minions, and they could do the work for him when it came to admiring the scenery.

The entire walk had been calm and peaceful, something that was a now completely foreign concept to him. He had quickly moved from paranoia onto boredom in the span of four hours and now switched between his different minions, talking with himself to pass the time.

"Skeletal Minions, my strong detail; What are the chances that we should fail?"

One minion turned to another, possessed by Bone Marrow in order to answer the first.

"Necromancer, small and weak; Is the truth really what you seek?"

Bone rolled his eyes. "This is terrible. How far are we from Canterlot?"

His vision shifted to a skeleton in the front, scanning the dirt road ahead of the group for signs of interest. Trees, chirping birds and skittish squirrels were all that greeted him.

Bone gave a loud groan of annoyance to the sky. "I know Rich said it was only a day's travel, but walking has never been this horrible before! It's boring and frightening at the same time. Is this what non-necromancer ponies feel when they're in the woods? Afraid for their lives, hoping that nothing will happen and at the same time really hoping that something does happen?"

He turned his head to a skeleton that was walking alongside his moving chair. "What do you think, huh? I've probably asked you all a thousand times if we're going to get roasted by the sun as soon as we set hoof in Canterlot, but it won't be that bad, will it?"

The disguised skeleton instead pointed an armored hoof to the front of the group, drawing Bone's attention. The path was coming to a clearing into open ground! Bone rolled from his seat onto the dirt, his eyes wide and eager to be out of the Everfree Forest.

He could see it, closer than ever before in the distance yet still far away. Canterlot.

Bone never had the time to really stare and admire the city before since it was so far away from Rich's manor, but now he could make out golden rooftops and white structures. He could see waterfalls cascading to the land below, Towers of gold with emblems of the sun decorating their highest points.

He smiled wide, encouraged by the beautiful city and eager to see all he could before his possible incineration. There were lingering doubts about if the Princess would really kill him, but Bone figured it would be for the best if he decided to stop and have a look around.

His skeletons were able to keep pace with their master easily as he galloped toward the city's massive front gate, complete with a moat that flowed with water from the rest of the mountain that Canterlot was built on. As he drew closer, he was caught off guard by a large banner that was strewn along the drawbridge.

Welcome Necromancer, Please Don't Kill Us

Bone's enthusiasm immediately plummeted, voiced by a sigh of disappointment. "Really?"

Seeing as the city was still barred to him, Bone shouted towards the gate to announce himself. "Hello? Anypony in there?"

The shaking helmet of a royal guard peeked over the wall, a hoof pointing towards Bone Marrow below as mutterings of panic drifted through the wind.

Bone turned to one of his minions. "This is where we get pelted to death by crossbows, isn't it?"

The skeleton shrugged once again.

A loud clanging sound rang out, followed by the steady metallic progression that accompanied a lowering drawbridge. Bone waited patiently, ensuring his outfit was properly cleaned for a good first impression as Radiance had instructed.

The bridge was lowered, and a metal gate was the next to be raised. Bone carefully approached the entrance to the city with his minions in tow, doing his best to not spook the Royal Guard any more than they already were. A second large doorway was the next to open, one wide enough to walk carriages through. It was then that Bone Marrow was greeted by a familiar face.

"Necromancer," Captain Pure Intent grumbled. "How nice to see you again."

The captain was flanked by close to fifty guards, all unicorns and all very distressed at their assignment. Bone Marrow advanced along with his skeletons to greet Pure Intent, a forced smile on his face.

"Pure Intent! Long time, no see, right?"

Pure's eyes narrowed with annoyance at Bone, "Don't consume anypony while you're here."

Bone raised an eyebrow, "You're not here to lead me by the muzzle everywhere I go?"

Pure shook his head, "Princess Celestia wants to test you somehow, and has told the Royal Guard to allow you free passage throughout the city."

Bone was now highly suspicious of this, his gaze attempting to look past the guards to spot any non-armored ponies walking around.

"Celestia has also decreed that everypony stay indoors," Pure explained, "For fear that you might suddenly go insane and devour half the city."

Bone was about to laugh at the notion when the void inside of him was suddenly made aware of thousands of beating hearts and steady breathing, hidden behind walls throughout the city.

"That's... not the worst idea," Bone conceded.

Pure pointed to the city with his head and stepped to the side. "The city is yours to explore, Necromancer. We'll be keeping an eye on you."

Bone moved through the wall of guards and past Pure Intent, feeling the pressure of a hundred eyes on him and wanting to get away from the threat that the mages presented. At least, Bone assumed that all the unicorns assembled were mages; It wouldn't make sense otherwise.

When he was free from the watchful eye of the Royal Guard, Bone couldn't help himself. The streets were cobblestone and the sidewalks lined with marble. The buildings that ponies hid in were decorated with flowers and welcome mats that had been turned upside down, and there were massive fountains depicting important ponies from ages past in large squares that Bone could only imagine were wonderful when everypony wasn't frightened.

His enthusiasm for Canterlot was dimming quickly as he explored empty street after street, the howling wind making him painfully aware that nopony actually wanted him to be in the city no matter how well dressed he was. Looking to his skeletal guards he wondered what the point of even disguising them had been if everpony was going to hide in the first place.

Looking around for the most fanciful building he could spot, he guessed that the one swarming with pegasus guards would be Celestia's palace and made his way directly there. The city may have been a wonderful place, but not when Bone Marrow was around. Not when homes were boarded shut and heartbeats quickened at his passing.

The steps leading up to the palace were made of gold and trimmed with even more marble, continuing the sunny motif that drenched the city's architecture. Bone recognised that it was all in honor of Princess Celestia, but wondered if any part of it had once been decorated in colors of the night before Princess Luna's betrayal.

At the door to the palace Bone Marrow was confronted by two very muscular guards, accompanied by more than a dozen flying pegasus that seemed eager to drive a sword into him.

"I'm here to see Princess Celestia?" Bone offered to the quiet guards. "I'm Bone Marrow... the Necromancer?"

A guard grunted, "Proof of Necromancy?"

Bone blinked, "Are you joking?"

The two stared at each other for a moment before Bone pulled his cloak's hood down, revealing glowing eyes with blue skulls in the center.

The guard nodded, pushing open the front door. "You are permitted."

Bone's hood quickly moved back onto his head with a bit of magical assistance as he gave a sarcastic 'Thanks' to the guard.

The necromancer had been expecting some kind of long hallway or endless maze of rooms when he entered along with his minions, but what he found was a door leading directly to the throne room. He knew this from the banner that was embroidered with cursive gold announcing 'The Court of the Sun' above the doorframe.

"Well, that was easy."

Bone pushed the door open cautiously, not wanting to catch a solar flare in the face before he had a chance to greet the Princess.

"Come in, Necromancer." A matronly and kind voice called out. "I'm glad you decided to keep your word."

Peeking his head through the door, he was greeted by none other than Princess Celestia herself, adorned in a full set of golden plate armor and accompanied by a menacing battle-axe at the side of her throne.

"Are you going to kill me?" Bone shouted out to the mostly empty throne room, "I'd really like to keep on living!"

The Princess actually chuckled at that. "Please, Bone Marrow. Come in and join me."

Bone looked to his ever shrugging skeleton minion and advanced into the throne room. His guards took positions next to Celestia's own Royal Guard, sharing opposite sides of the door and making the living ponies even more nervous than they had already been.

There was a small glass table set out at the base of the throne, complete with sitting cushions and a waiting tea kettle. Somehow, Bone had been expecting something more sinister when he entered the room, though the display only made his own anxiety leap to new heights as he approached.

Celestia pointed an armored hoof to the seats below, "Please, sit."

Bone questioned the gesture for only a moment before taking a seat, feeling even smaller than he was as his muzzle only barely reached the glass top. Looking at Celestia from the corner of his eye, he noticed that she was already making her way down the steps of her throne. She made no noise, her movements graceful and precise.

"Why does a Princess need to wear armor?" Bone questioned aloud, wanting something to fill the silence. "Aren't you invincible?"

Celestia smiled politely at the question, but did not answer. She floated her battle axe down to the table with her bright magic, resting it on the final cushion as she made herself comfortable.

"I find you interesting, Bone Marrow." The princess eventually stated, completely unfazed by her proximity to the necromancer. "From what I've been told, you've done your very best to save or spare the lives of other ponies. In all of my previous encounters with Necromancers, none have even bothered with something like that. I want to know what sets you apart from the others."

Bone's ears folded downward, "Um... I like other ponies?"

"Why is that, Bone Marrow?" Celestia lifted the nearby kettle with her magic, pouring the both of them a cup of warm tea. "Were you raised that way, or did you conclude that life has value on your own?"

Bone lifted his pocket watch, opening it to produce a picture of his parents. "My mom and dad told me all kinds of stories, all about ponies wanting to do the right thing and help other ponies. They really liked you and Princess Luna, but..."

He noticed that something he had said upset Princess Celestia, as she had turned away at the mentioning of Luna. "Are you alright?"

Celestia turned with wide eyes and high ears, "What did you say?"

Bone's mouth went dry, expecting to be incinerated at any moment now. "I-I asked if you were alright?"

Princess Celestia stared at Bone Marrow for a long time, her eyes narrowing and opening as if she wasn't fully certain that what she had heard was correct.

After what seemed to be a short eternity, Celestia offered a cup of tea to Bone. "What would you say of Princess Luna?"

He accepted the cup, sipping it before realizing that it was far too hot to drink and placed it down on the table, hissing with pain at his burnt mouth. "My parent's always said that they liked you and Luna equally, but... I personally liked Luna more."

Celestia's eyes narrowed, "How so?"

Bone swallowed his anxiety and did his best to explain. "I liked seeing the night sky. How all the stars were just a bit different every night and how they slowly drifted through the sky along with the moon. I liked laying in the street of Scoria, the town I came from before bandits burned it to the ground, and I just watched time go by. I couldn't do that with the daytime sky. The sun's too bright to look at..."

Celestia's expression softened as she took a sip of her own tea, unaffected by the temperature. "Go on."

"Luna always seemed to be more relateable, I guess. In the stories she had her ups and downs, her own moments of doubt and triumphs that made me smile. In your own stories you always seemed... perfect. Nothing would get to you, and you were like a statue that never changed."

Bone stopped, worried that he had said too much and that it would get him in trouble.

"What do you think of Nightmare Moon?" Celestia calmly asked, her eyes staring straight through Bone. "I hear you've invented some kind of party for her?"

He shook his head immediately, "It isn't like that! I don't know anything about Nightmare Moon; I didn't even know she existed until a few weeks ago. My friend and I were asked to deal with some bandits that had been plaguing the town of Galloping Glades, and-"

"Your friend? Somepony asked you for help?" Celestia interrupted.

"Y-yes, Scenic Sight is my friend, and the only guard of Galloping Glades needed help to get rid of the bandits. I had been in the town for a few hours before he came for me, offering a can of meat from the pet store."

Celestia quietly chuckled, "A necromancer surviving off of dog's food. I haven't heard that before."

Bone shrugged, "It wasn't that bad, really."

"So what of this Nightmare Night that I hear so much about, whispered quietly behind my back when nobles think I don't hear them?" Celestia pressed,.

"Well... I raised an army from the town's crypt in order to chase away the bandits but we didn't know how to get them past the town without everypony freaking out. So... Scenic sort of invented a holiday for the occasion, saying that everypony should dress up as something that should scare them because of Nightmare Moon being scary. So... other foals used it as an excuse to get candies, and she made it up that a bit of the candy went to Nightmare Moon so she wouldn't eat anypony else and take the candy instead. It worked, but when I came back to the town it was already under attack by bandits..."

Celestia nodded, "And that is when you saved what ponies you could from Galloping Glades, correct?"

Bone turned his forehoof from side to side, "With a few messy details missing, yeah."

The Princess set her cup of tea down on the table, taking in a relaxed breath. "I still have questions for you Bone Marrow, but from what I've seen so far you might just be the most tolerable necromancer I've encountered."

"Um..." Bone hesitated, "Thank you?"

"While you are here in Canterlot, at my insistence, you will stay in one of the palace's guest rooms. I don't want to see you sneaking off into the night. If you attempt to leave, I will destroy you. Are we understood?"

Bone nodded, attempting to place the glass table between himself and Celestia. "Y-yes! Understood, Princess Celestia!"

Celestia rose from the table with a smirk, "I've also never seen a Necromancer that was afraid of me. You're full of surprises, aren't you?"

Bone chose to remain silent as the Princess gracefully left the room, a final wink in his direction sending shivers down his spine.

"I'm so very, very dead..."

A nervous guard had drawn the short stick and been forced to lead Bone Marrow to his room, shaking with fear the entire way. Bone and his minions followed close behind, afraid that Celestia might leap out from a corner and blast them with the sun if he set a single hoof out of line.

"H-heres your R-room, N-necromancer!"

The guard threw the key at Bone Marrow, extending his wings to fly as far away from the colt as he could. Bone looked from the pony to the key on the ground, picking it up with his magic and sighing.

"I can't wait for a day when ponies aren't scared to death of me," Bone grumbled. He then looked to a nearby skeleton, re-evaluating what he had just said. "I guess, In a way, I am death, aren't I?"

The skeleton had no reply.

Opening the gilded double-doors with a shove, Bone was greeted by an obnoxiously bright room. Apparently, Celestia had chosen the one room in all of the palace that was directly faced towards the sun. Shielding his eyes with a well dressed limb, Bone advanced towards the curtains and drew them shut, bathing the room in darkness.

"Much better," Bone sighed with relief. "Would you mind closing the doors?"

His minions obliged with two of them exiting to guard the hallway while the other four stayed with their master in the room.

"Let's see if there's anything cool in here."

Glowing blue eyes searched the room for anything that didn't immediately scream wealth and power, finding little. The tea cups were gold, the plates were silver, the dresser drawer was made from some kind of florescent wood that Bone had never even heard of before and the sheets of his bed felt like he could only imagine clouds would.

That thought gave him a pang of sorrow, realizing that he should've asked Scenic what clouds where like before he left. Leaping onto the bed and noticing that he slowly sank into the mattress, Bone opened his pocket watch and thought of his friend. She was soaring through the clouds, chasing after birds with a wide smile on her face, happy to be up in the skies after so many days of walking. She always seemed happier when she flew, Bone noticed. He hoped that she would find someplace that made her happy, along with somepony she felt safe with.

A quick tapping came to Bone's ears as he looked up. He checked the sight of his skeletal guards outside and found nopony.

"What the hay?" Bone whispered.

A second grouping of taps sounded, coming from the balcony.

"Oh please, don't tell me that's who I think it is..."

Bone pulled the curtains open, once again blinding himself with Celestia's sun. He saw something moving outside of the window and smiled when he recognized who it was. That didn't make him any less alarmed however.

"Scenic!? What are you doing here?"

"Let me in! Hurry!" She shouted, pointing with her hoof at the balcony door's handle. "They might see me!"

Bone shook his head and opened the door from across the room with his magic. "Get in!"

Scenic rushed forward, slamming the entrance behind her before sliding the curtains closed. Turning around, she noticed that the room was entirely dark aside from Bone's glowing eyes and she couldn't make out his expression.

"Are you mad?" She asked with a nervous grin.

The eyes moved from the bed towards her, the reflected glow revealing an equally smiling Bone.

"Yes, and no at the same time. How did you find me?"

Scenic gestured to the skeletons. "It's kind of hard to miss them, isn't it? There's nopony else in this entire city walking around and the guards patrolling the skies assumed I was a panicked filly looking for their house. Good thing none of them spotted me coming here, right?"

Bone was a bit suspicious of that. "But when I came here, the guards were swarming all over the palace. How would they have not noticed you?"

A knock came to the room's front door causing both of them to yelp in surprise. Bone checked the door and saw a very tall and none too pleased looking Princess waiting on the other side.

"Oh no, hide, quick!"

Scenic scurried underneath the bed, doing her best to remain out of sight as she covered her mouth with her hooves.

Bone readied himself, opening the door with a forced smile. "Princess Celestia! What a--"

"Where is she?" Celestia demanded, barging her way into the room and lighting it brightly with her horn. "A filly tried to sneak into my palace and went straight to your room."

Bone did his best to maintain an innocent expression. "What do you mean? I haven't heard anypony else since I got here. Aren't they all hiding away from me?"

Celestia turned, her eyes bright as the sun itself. "Do not play games with me, Necromancer. Where is she?"

Bone shrinked to the floor in fear, "Sh-she's my friend!"

Her expression softened, the room growing dimmer. "You weren't lying, then?"

Bone was confused, removing his hooves from his face. "You thought I was making it up?"

She scoffed. "Come now, a Necromancer with a friend? Where is she, I have to see this for myself."

Scenic's bright blue hoof poked out from underneath the bed. "I-I'm here, Princess Celestia."

Celestia's eyes closed as she sighed, "I scared you, didn't I?"

Scenic's slowly pulled herself from the ground, brushing dust from her belly. "Yeah... you're really scary up close." She covered her mouth quickly, eyes wide. "I shouldn't have said that out loud!"

"Come with me," Celestia suggested with an armored hoof, "I want to hear the full story between you two, and how you chose to befriend a necromancer, young filly."

Scenic glanced nervously at Bone, "Are we in trouble?"

Celestia provided no response, walking from the room with the expectation that the two would follow.

"I think that's a yes..."