The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors

by Fanatic-Heretic-101

Chapter 6: Follow the Light


Snapping open his eyes to end the short rest that was soothing his wounds’ pains and rejuvenating energy, Dusk Spectre grasps his sword and stands with haste, his body rising to life once more with purpose, his mind clearing the shroud of tiredness from itself quickly. 

With his back against the tree (he was laying against) to prevent attacks from that side, Dusk holds a combat posture with the sword, watching the forest around him for the signature eye glow of the Timberwolves to appear again. Readying himself for another tough battle, the combatant flexes and relaxes his wing joints, arms and legs, in addition to making subtle body shifts in his full plated, black and dark purple, Lunar Empire armour. 

Come on you twisted creatures, where are you? Interrogates Dusk, gritting his fangs, his heart racing, his eyes darting between the shadows and bat ears standing up straight like receiver  dishes for the slightest odd sound coming from the deep unseen Everfree Forest depths…..

There you are. Almost a minutes passes by until his adversary makes its presence known; a pair of arcane green eyes manifesting in the dark directly ahead of the Legionnaire, the much denser nature of the undergrowth in this part of the Everfree Forest allowing the Timberwolf to approach closer without detection.

Charging towards Dusk, the Timberwolf soon changes to a zigzag movement that throws the Thestral off by forcing him to shift his pose constantly in hopes of anticipating which direction the creature will leap from and counter it. Stay still damnit!-

A diversion. From the corner of his field of view, Dusk spots a much closer Timberwolf rushing him from the right, its distance shockingly close so much so that the soldier can only manage to turn his head towards it in time to witness the beast leap at him. Dodge it!

Diving under the leaping Timberwolf, Dusk combat rolls out of its attack path, forcing the Timberwolf to smash its body into the tree trunk and tumble to the ground. However the weight of his armour slows Dusk’s efforts to stand again, precious time the first zigzagging Timberwolf takes advantage of.

Half standing up again, the Legionnaire tries to swing his sword around in time to strike the original Timberwolf but to no avail. “Gahhh!” Gasps Dusk, his body winded from the concussive impact of the Timberwolf’s heavy mass falling onto him, pinning him to the ground atop his back. 

During the fall, the Timberwolf’s action forces the Batpony’s sword hand to turn and hold the weapon horizontally, the blade acting as a protective bar that digs into the feral creature's neck to just hold its snapping jaws and swiping claws away.

Using his (padded) offhand, Dusk grabs the pointed end of the sword and harshly jerks the weapon left and right, performing a quick sawing motion to force the blade to dig into the Timberwolf’s throat. 

Pulling up in retreat, the Timberwolf stumbles away from Dusk gagging and wheezing, unable to retaliate for a critical stretch of time its opponent ceases.


Rushing to his feet, the legionnaire uses a strong single concussive wing flap to dash forwards, smashing his plated hoof into the Timberwolf’s damaged neck in a sideward kick.



Breaking said neck and killing the Timberwolf-


Not letting up, Dusk then blitzes towards the first Timberwolf that threw itself into the tree in an almost-successful attempt of catching him off guard - an act the Thestral repays, as the Timberwolf stands just in time to turn towards the rushing Legionnaire. The last sight it sees.


Skewering the arcane creature through the chest, Dusk’s sword pins the Timberwolf to the tree trunk who gags and whose body becomes limp. 

End it! Enraged with glaring eyes and snarling fangs, Dusk rips his short secondary sword from his waist to jam it into the Timberwolf’s chest and pry it open. Then shoving his fist into the Timberwolf’s chest, Dusk rips out from it a faintly glowing green compacted mass of moss and leaves - the Timberwolf’s heart.

Turning around while panting, the soldier spots several more Timberwolf eyes set on him from the dark forest all around, his exhausted agitation at having to still fight so many showing as he slams his palm closed on their packmate’s heart.


Destroying it and the monstrosity behind him it belonged to. Abominations.

Three Timberwolves advance this time, each at an equal distance from one another in a line. Tearing his swords from the tree, Dusk duel wields both weapons and runs forwards with them to meet his foes head-on, no longer on the defensive.

Side-stepping to the flank at the last moment to use one of the Timberwolves as a barrier to the others, Dusk horizontally swipes the primary blade at the nearest beast and cuts into one of its front legs.


Forcing the Timberwolf to the ground where the legionnaire quickly stabs the secondary blade into its back twice-

“Ahhhhhh!” Fiery pain flares up at Dusk’s hand holding the secondary blade, forcing him to let go of the weapon before another strike with it could be done, one of the Timberwolf’s managing to lash out to shut its hard sharp jaws around the soldier's hand.

The animal’s wooden stake-like teeth pierces Dusk’s wrist armour to draw blood. Making the Batpony clench his teeth and retaliate with a thrust of his primary weapon straight into the Timberwolf’s neck, forcing the animal to let go and rear back just as the third Timberwolf jumps to the front to take its place.

Crouching and shoving his primary weapon up into the air, Dusk uses the Timberwolf’s weight against it to force the animal to lodge itself onto the weapon while falling. Heaving the Timberwolf aside with the help of gravity and the monster’s momentum, Dusk throws the Timberwolf away but his lodged sword goes with the creature, torn out of his grasp. Additionally the sudden excessive exertion of strength at the move’s apex forces Dusk to fall to the damp forest ground, growling from his sore muscles. Get up, you have to move!

Spotting the secondary blade he dropped earlier near the first Timberwolf, Dusk harnesses his dwindling energy reserves to quickly try crawling across the ground to the object, growling as he kicks up some dirt and mud to mess himself- 

“Ahhhhhhhh!” Stabbing pain resonates from an unexpected part of the Bat Pony’s body as the second Timberwolf of the three comes back after recovering from its blow, the arcane predator clenching its jaws around the Legionnaire’s ankle to inflict a new wound.

Dusk’s armour, like the rest of his injuries, takes most of the trauma but never all of it. The too-strong-to-oppose jerking back of the Timberwolf’s head soon follows, Dusk being pulled away from the secondary sword he just barely fails to reach in time. 

While still being dragged, Dusk turns onto his back and lands two solid kicks into the Timberwolf’s snout using his other (metal plated hoof) leg, resulting in the animal letting go and readying to leap at him in relapse from the momentary lowering and flexing of its back legs the Bat Pony spots moments before said leap occurs. Block it!

Extending his bat wings out, Dusk engulfs his front facing body in them like a protective leather blanket just in time, the nerveless and flexible skin absorbing most of the Timberwolf’s attack as small (painless) tears in the wings are made. 

Pulling the now damaged wings back and with the Timberwolf’s head being so close to his own, Dusk grabs the monster’s jaws to hold them still before opening his mouth and jamming his vampiric-like fangs into the Timberwolf’s eye.

A growling shrill of pain comes from the Timberwolf, its body weight shifting on reflex that allows Dusk to start wiggling out from under it while still awkwardly holding the animal’s jaws away-

It's getting up! Thought Dusk, spotting the first Timberwolf of the three that is close to the Legionnaire's secondary sword slowly began to stand, recovering from its injuries.


Having wiggled enough away from the Timberwolf on top of him, the pony beats his wings again (that despite them being damaged, are thankfully not critically so to prevent rapid movement and flight) to send himself hurtling into the standing Timberwolf, his shoulder guard out front in a brutal battering-ram manoeuvre to stop it the Timberwolf from coming to the aid of the others. 


“Gahhh!” Dusk cripples the Timberwolf, the sound of its stick-for-ribs breaking, the creature collapsing again in a hurt yelp, like Dusk collapsing with it in a winded pant from the impact. 

Breathing harshly, the very end of Dusk’s energy from continued fighting starts to show, his muscles hurting, his lungs sore, his fatigue becoming too much to fight back. And as a result, soon the Timberwolf’s will be too.

Taking the secondary sword he landed near, Dusk mounts the Timberwolf he rammed to pierce the blade into the monster’s neck before violently thrusting it sideward, slitting its throat.


Not resting for there was no time to, Dusk gets off the dead pile of foliage and runs for the second Timberwolf of the group that still stays twitching on the ground from the pony’s sword impaled through it. Rushing around the third Timberwolf at some distance, Dusk moves through its literal blind spot he caused to delay its attack, a move that pays off.

Reaching his target, Dusk rips his primary sword out from the limp beasts under him and delivers a swift stab and twist of the blade through the Timberwolf’s neck, breaking said neck.



By now the one-eyed Timberwolf spots him, along with two fresh additional Timberwolves rapidly reinforcing it from the forest. Growling, the Timberwolves rush Dusk who the later conveys an almost hopeless shift in posture, slumping somewhat and looking truly done.


Taking off into the sky, Dusk retreats from danger knowing to stay any longer will guarantee being overwhelmed from the monsters. Flying into a large tree, Dusk finds a sturdy branch to collapse on, the entire pack of the remaining Timberwolves (eight remaining) soon circling the tree maliciously, glaring up at him and snarling their teeth.

Several long minutes pass by, Dusk using this god-send of a break to catch his breath. Removing his helmet to place it on his lap, the stinging soreness of his many wounds make their painful presence amplified now that the trauma-numbing ability of combat-induced adrenaline is subsiding.

Gritting his teeth whenever he moves too quickly in a certain way to constantly adjust to the uncomfortable tree branch he lays on-


Small shuttering shakes resonate around the tree without stopping, a CHOP!ing sound coming from the ground that Dusk looks down at with an almost dead-inside expression on his face at what he sees; the Timberwolf pack, seemingly under the jaw-snapping and snarling directions of the one-eyed Timberwolf, begins to take turns claw-swiping and biting away at the tree trunk - trying to cut it down, even now not stopping to reach their Pony enemy.

“You…” growls Dusk under his breath, narrowing setting a glare on the one-eyed Timberwolf’s activity, clenching his fist, realising, “You’re the alpha…..I almost had you dammit.”


Looking around at the nearby trees surrounding the one he sits in, a sinking sensation fills the Legionnaire at the observation that not one of them has a branch sturdy enough like this one, not one of them having another safe to rest spot once this one comes crashing down before long.


Stronger vibrations resonate across the tree now, Dusk instinctively leaning back into the trunk for extra support to avoid slipping. Looking down at the maddening pack of Timberwolves continuing to hack away at the thick, centuries old, dead wood, Dusk soon turns his gaze to the horizon, at the full Moon, and the same direction he originally was moving towards - towards the Lunar Castle and its safety.

How much further? By the Empress, how much more!? The Bat Pony hopelessly questions, a groan in his mouth and a desperate hint in his expression being present while doing so….-


Taking out from his satchel bag the glistening blue-fluid containing flask, Dusk gulps down the remaining amount of it with an instant relief from the aching torment across his body, the blood clotted or still slowly bleeding left shoulder, right wrist, right calf and left ankle - all places his body has been attacked by the Timberwolves - feeling less hurting.

Replacing the flask with the burning fire-like fluid holding one and an unused medical cloth (all from the same satchel bag), Dusk takes quick breaths to mentally prepare himself for their applications, something that still burns. “Grhhhhhhh!” A similar repeating sound of angst occurring for each wound he disinfects, the end of it not having any limits on how soon Dusk wishes it could come. “F-finally….”

Holding up the now empty object whose internal fire substance is extinguished, Dusk stares at the dark green-tinted empty flask that matches the fate of its pain-killer counterparts, their usefulness exhausted like the soldier's stamina….


Out of spite, Dusk pelts the useless flask down at the current logging Timberwolf, the glass of the object shattering with enough force and with sharp enough shards to make the monster yelp and back away for a while. “Soulless bastards,” curses Dusk down at them.

Buying himself a small extra moment’s break as a result, Dusk curiously examines his primary and secondary swords’ blades and curses again under his breath; the normal razor sharp edges now chipped in places, his finger running along them to find the swords dull from overuse. Putting the swords away, the Thestral groans again as he runs a hand through his mane, agitation and concern not letting up. Okay okay, stay calm. Stop and think... I can rest up here for now, but once this tree comes down I need to start flying again towards the Castle. Dusk looks once more in the direction of the Lunar Castle, trying to draw on fleeting optimism. Hopefully I can make a good distance towards it and away from these animals before landing again. 




The tree’s strength gives, its collapse imminent from the quick tilting of it complimenting its creaking.


Taking off, Dusk flies into the air and out of the way of the falling tree, its large size colliding into the ground in an almighty SMASH! that kicks up leaves and dirt, the Timberwolves having avoided the fall as well.

Giving a final contemplative glance down at the circling monsters, a sudden weight begins to manifest in the Dusk’s heart, the hovering in place flying harder to maintain; his mind starts to wander to memories of his friends - Midnight Wraith, Sky Shroud, Silver Night and Shadow Star. He pictures their faces, their past conversations, their time together, until those images drift into ones that show the civilians that left with them, Aqua Harvest, Lemon Gold and Terra Hoof….the stallion who went through all of this is trying to save his sick foal. “....Please, please let them be safe,” whispers Dusk in a quiet prayer up at the full Moon, a tear falling from his eye, “No matter what happens to me….please just let them be safe...…” 


And with that Dusk flies ever further towards the safety of the Lunar Castle, towards the place he longs to see his fellow Ponies again unharmed, the same place the Timberwolves never cease to chase him towards…... 

His eyes fall heavy like his body falls from the heavens, Dusk’s wings unable to support him any further as their final flaps give way to no further ones. Descending to the ground, Dusk crashes through the Everfree Forest’s canopy and barely manages to hold out his wings in time as a short-lived parachute to soften the fall, his body tumbling far more with incoordination and painfully compared to the last time, the wind being knocked out of the Bat Pony upon impact. “Gahhhh!”

Panting, Dusk’s head spins as he lays limp on the dark, damp, forest floor, exhaustion refusing to allow him to go any further as he stays there in a messy pile of leaves, twigs and mud. His once clean mane and tail ruined, his formal armour filthy, pierced and battered, his wounds still hurting and bleeding, the slow continuation of blood loss now coming ahead.

Dusk stays there, still as a stone, his breathing the only sound in an otherwise cold, desolate, place. Fighting to keep his eyes open, the temptation of permanently closing them becomes harder and harder to fight back, his body having taken too much strain for far too long. D-Don’t give in...You cannot give up yet...Don’t c-close your eyes….Don’t!...

Reaching out, Dusk clutches the ground ahead of him and drags his body forwards in a slow crawl, still fighting the urge to close his eyes fully the entire time he continues to move again this way. The sense of time and distance abandons the Bat Pony, his entire effort directed only on still moving forwards no matter how little the distance covered is or how long it will take, anything but stopping. Not now, not after what has been done so far. Get up…...You have to get up….The Timberwolves are coming and you cannot afford to risk resting like last time…..You should be almost there anyway…..Get up!  

Painstakingly rising, Dusk gets to his knees and moves a little faster that way before finally shifting into a weak stand to move ever so slightly faster again, the need to lay down and give up always there, but the dream of pushing on just enough to rival it. Dizziness hits the soldier at times, his hooves stumbling a little that forces Dusk to reach out and lean on some of the trees he passes by for support, his sight clouded and unable to tell what shadows are the Everfree Forest’s lack of light ones and what are the ones are the passing out ones swimming in his vision.

And so this breaking endeavour drags on for many minutes that to Dusk feels like many hours, his skewered senses unable to focus on anything else other than to see where each hoof step forward was going and if said hoof step is in the right direction, sometimes realizing it was not and thus forcing him to correct his path finding - but no matter what, one thing that stayed just good enough above the rest is his spirit telling him to keep going, promising him everything is going to be okay.  D-don’t close your eyes, Dusk…..Don’t fall down…..Y-You need to keep moving….Don’t close your eyes…..It will all be over soon….


……...It will all be over soon…

The undergrowth becomes sparse suddenly, more light from the sky able to reach its interior and more wind passing through it to make breathing easier. Quickly, so quickly, the Everfree Forest begins to almost disappear around him as Dusk stumbles onwards until it goes away all together, leaving an open flat patch of land ahead and all around, its most striking feature of all being at its centre. “There it is!” gasps Dusk, spotting the Lunar Castle, its all encompassing battlements towering into the sky to compliment the starry sky and full Moon - sanctuary. Its mighty spires ascending upwards from the place Dusk toils through - salvation. And the place his friends should be in, safe and protected - home.

Falling to his knees then to his stomach, his body no longer able to hold itself up, Dusk’s eyes well up to become watery, his relief beyond measure to match his fatigue. I made it! By the Empress, I actually made it!

“Who goes there!?”

“Wait that’s one of ours!”

“He’s hurt!”

“Everypony on me, we have to help him!”

Distant yelling of his fellow unseen Legionnaires manning the walls echo in Dusk’s ears, help coming at long last - but something else as well-

The rustling of foliage behind him catches Dusk’s attention. Rolling onto his back, he stares at the abyssal black undergrowth he came from to see the signature green eye glow of the last eight remaining Timberwolves charging him. Panicking, Dusk crawls away as quick as he can, kicking up dirt while doing so but his hurting injuries and blood loss is not fast enough.

“Timberwolves! Unicorns, open fire!”


A torrent of multicoloured arcane lights shoot past Dusk like a horizontal rain downpour that lights up the night, the Unicorn sentries’ spells racing into the Everfree Forest at frightening speeds, their flashing almost disorienting Dusk. 

The Timberwolves are met with this firing line of arcane wrath without a chance, many being hit in the first volley - the Timberwolves’ lack of true sentience allowing for the use of terrifying magical spells that otherwise the Lunar Empire has outlawed in combat. 

The result is a massacre; one Timberwolf is shattered into wooden pieces via a concussive blast so strong it breaks the air around it. Another is dragged through a small rift in reality straight into the heart of Tartarus, kicking and wailing while going before said rift shuts close behind the demonic creature. One Timberwolf is set ablaze with searing flames, its short-lived last moments spent rolling on the ground in agony before burning to ash. One becomes entombed in a magical goo latching onto its body that spreads like a parasite before the goo morphs to liquid to melt the Timberwolf to a puddle, revealing it to be acid.

“Fire again!”


Of the few Timberwolves that dodged and rushed through the first volley, next to none survive the second, their fates similar or entirely different to their fellow packmates after being hit with the spells but the results are the same - their brutal but quick deaths. The only Timberwolf to make it through the spells (though hurt and limping) is one Dusk recognises; the single-eyed alpha Timberwolf, the very last of its brethren.

“You,” growls Dusk, gritting his teeth and feeling a rekindling flame in his fighting spirit. 

Pressing his damaged sword into the ground, Dusk leans on it as a makeshift walking cane to stand up. Stumbling towards his foe who does the same to Dusk, both Bat Pony and Timberwolf collapse several times along the way, both setting on ending the other after everything that has happened.

“Legionnaire, get out of the way!” Shouts one of the Unicorn sentries, the mages struggling to get a good line of sight on the Timberwolf due to Dusk blocking them. “We can’t assist without harming you!”

“Stay back, we can help!” Offers one of the melee combatants whose group continues to run towards Dusk’s aid but still too far to arrive in time at this rate. “Sir, don’t go any closer! Pull back!”

Ignoring their warnings, Dusk limps onwards, unable to stop, unwilling to. Now very close to the hurting Timberwolf who he locks eyes with, Dusk grips his sword tightly and flexes his wrist holding it. “This ends now.” The two stare at each other while still moving nearer, Dusk fighting to keep himself standing knowing that at this distance the next one to fall would completely expose themselves to a fatal strike from the other.-


Dusk freezes, his whole body not moving any further except for his eyes that widen upon hearing the sound of a familiar voice, a voice he had hoped to hear, a voice he has missed so much. 

Weakly turning around, Dusk sees his friends, Shadow Star, Sky Shroud, Silver Night and Midnight Wraith, running towards his aid alongside the other soldiers - all of them safe, all of them having made it like he has.

Dusk’s watery eyes break, a tear falling from them and down his face at the revelation that everything he has endured has not been in vain. Everything has been worth it. 

Facing the Timberwolf again, Dusk’s new found strength holds him up longer than the Timberwolf who falls down in submission, defeated. Taking a few final steps towards the defeated beast, Dusk holds up his sword whose silver finish briefly flashes in the moonlight before the Bat Pony delivers a final use of strength to cleanly decapitate the Timberwolf leader.



Dusk winning at long last. ..It’s over….It’s finally over….

Dropping the sword, Dusk weakly turns towards his friends, their faces bringing him to quietly weep that becomes more potent when he looks to the full Moon above them whose divine protective light shines over his friends and himself - a sight Dusk will never forget, a sight he utters his last words to, "Thank you…..Thank you so much…”-

The world falls away beneath Dusk, his legs giving out as his body collapses to the ground, his vision flooding with black nothingness as sound, touch, hearing and taste become numb….. The last thing the Bat Pony trooper hears is the muffled, fearful concerned words of his friends shouting to the others to “Help him!”, “Bring him into the Castle!”, “He needs a Healer!” - all voices belonging to Ponies he saved, Ponies he cared so much for, Ponies that he knew for certainty are now safe…..

A fact that brings deep relief to him, so much so that he gives in to the void consuming his being without regret, letting it take him without any further fighting of it....

At long last…...Dusk closes his eyes…..