Never Broken

by Torgaddon

To Conquer

I run and I keep running, I've lost them, I know I have, but still I keep running. Branches break against my scales and the pouring rain has all but washed my body of the blood, but I still run. I have to. If I stop they may find me. I can't face them. I won't.

What did I do? WHAT IN TARTARUS DID I DO? I collapse grasping at my chest. My heart feels like it's going to burst and I can barely breathe. I know I've been running for a whole two days without stopping. The moment I stop it happens again. Like a knife through my skull I feel it. It's the taste. No matter what i can't get the taste out of my mouth. I scream and ram my jaws into the muddy ground trying to somehow stop the taste. It doesn't work. WHY CAN I STILL FEEL IT.



So why am i running if I can't remember, why am I so afraid to face Twilight and the others? No. No. No. No.
I have to remember, I need to. I know why I'm running, I'm just not allowing my mind to remind me of it. I roll myself on my back. The fat drops of rain help me focus, but my heart still won't stop drumming. It should have calmed down by now.
I close my eyes.
I remember the forest, the field trip. It is crystal clear up to that point but then it starts becoming foggy. I know what happened after, I just won't let myself think of it. Why? What did I do? Why is this taste still in my mouth?

That's it. The taste. I have to focus on the taste. Focus, focus Spike DAMN YOU, FOCUS.

The taste. The taste. It tastes like blood. It tastes like...pony...blood.

With a drum of insect wings it all comes back. The attack. The stabs, the hits. The oddly shaped things with wings like insects. Then the anger. The desire to hurt, to kill, to butcher.
Then...her. Sweetie Belle in front of me. She is...crying. Yelling something at me. Then she is...beneath my claws, with her throat torn open.

Her throat...torn open. The taste of blood in my mouth. I remember...when I bit Sweetie...Belle's...throat off.

I scream. I scream but this time i don't stop.
Get the taste out.
I scream until the flesh between my jaws rips open.
Get the taste out.
I begin clawing and punching at my jaws.
Get the taste out.
I rip through the meat of my mouth and shatter the bone of my lower jaw.

Spike startles awake in his tent.
He looks around. No forest. No rain. Just the tent and the eternal mocking wind of Ginungagap.
He catches his reflection in the polished blade of the sword on his lap. A purple scaled face with no flesh along it's mouth and a slab of fanged steel for a lower jaw glares a death's head grin at him.
Within the reflection, his shame glares back at him.
Spike shakes his head and closes his eyes. Now is not the time to dream.
He begins breathing deeply and with regularity. Self-discipline, the main tenant of Draka war-code. A warrior could be strong or fast but without the discipline to stand tall with unwavering determination, against all obstacles, a warrior was nothing.
Spike had permitted himself to fall out of discipline once, and he had been paying the price for that failure for the last two thousand years.
Never again. Never lack discipline. Never fall out of control.

Celestia stood strong and proud within the protective bubble. Her eyes still shone with the elegance and power that a Goddess of the Sun and Princess of Equestria should always have. Dressed in the regal white of of her silken gown, her arms crossed before her chest, Celestia stood proud. But she was tired.
Her sight wandered again to her surroundings. A grand expanse of stone is all that greets her. The endless Underways of the Diamond Dogs had been the best way to hide the monstrous armies of Ginun and now whatever Diamond Dogs had been here, had become nothing more than meat for the daemons and undead that awaited within the massive interconnecting caves beneath the mountains.

Her eyes fell on the morbidly obese abomination sitting upon an improvised throne of slaves and Diamond Dog carcasses before her. Folds of rotting, putrid flesh collapsed in on each other, fat green flies hovering over him like a halo. Nerg'Cathal the Decayed stood atop his gruesome throne, slaves and carcasses groaning under his almost two ton mass.

Noticing Celestia regarding him, Nerg'Cathal opens his mouth to a smile of yellow rotting teeth. Even as he speaks to her, his cataract filled eyes keep leering at the shapely curves of Celestia's hips and breast.

"Oh, if only looks could kill, my dear" he says with a rumbling, phlegm filled voice. "But sooner or later, this protective enchantment that you have erected around you and your precious sister will fall, and both of you will have the great fortune of becoming part of my harem of wives"

Celestia winced and felt Luna shiver to her right. As much as she wanted to prove the monster wrong, there was truth in his words.
They had come overconfident and now both herself and Luna were paying the price for her foolishness. They had both fallen into this elaborate trap and the only thing that separated them from this creature was the protective enchantments she had woven around herself and Luna. Now they were both trapped within their own protective circle, unable to leave, for if they were to release the protective charms even for a moment, their entire magical power would be sucked out but the daemonic cultists circling the encampment.
It had been only half a day but the protective shell was slowly but surely weakening. In a few days it would crack open and they would have to face whatever came next.

Nerg'Cathal's laughter shook his obese frame and sent swarms of flies buzzing nervously around him.

"Immortality has it's perks Celestia, and I can wait as long as it takes"

Celestia smirked "Are you sure your leader would appreciate you wasting time like this?"

Nerg'Cathal's smile fell.
"And what makes you think I am being led by someone little pony?"

It was Luna's turn to retort
"Oh please, as if someone as incompetent as you could create such an exceptional trap for us"

In a blink of an eye, with a speed out of place with his massive body, Nerg'Cathal charged the enchanted shell. The magic of the two Goddesses held, however they were both forced to their knees by the strain of holding the enchantment under the storm of blows from all six arms of the greater daemon.


After a few seconds of venting, regaining a modicum of composure, the greater daemon stopped himself and returned to is jovial, smiling self.

"Oh, there you go my dear, trying to goad me into attacking you. But do not worry, in time you will learn to love me, as all my wives have"
"Unfortunately though, i must cut our small argument short. I have business to attend to"

Still chuckling, Nerg'Cathal left, the two alicorn princesses still reeling from the mental strain of holding the enchantments, but otherwise unharmed.

Luna sighed.
"Are you sure it was wise to goad him so, dear sister?"

"I'm sorry Luna, but i had to test my theory. Something has changed"

"What do you mean?" Luna asked lifting herself back up and offering her hand to Celestia.

Celestia smiled sadly, taking her sister's hand
"Since Spike had left on his self imposed exile over one year ago, I have kept in touch with my contacts at DrakenHall, the dragon capital. Specifically I have called upon favors from an ancient friend, Elder dragon Bal'Valar the Stormfang, Archdrake of DrakenHall and one of the strongest magic users in existence, second only to the Dragon Empress herself."

Luna lifted an eyebrow.

"What?" Celestia asked.

"You sound old when you talk like that."

Celestia snickered. Even in a situation like this, Luna would still try to make her feel at ease.
"Ignoring my age, and I would thank you very much if you would do so, I have gained a lot of information from him regarding Ginungagap and it's daemonic denizens."

"Why the sudden interest in Ginun?"

"I know that it is where Spike has gone after...the incident one year ago. Even though it breaks my heart to know that he is most likely dead, I wanted to know more about where he had gone." Celestia stopped for a few second her smile fading and her eyes saddening.

"I was a fool to believe that we could simply nurture his Draka nature out of him Luna. I hoped that living with Twilight would give him a life free of the violence intrinsic to the life of a Draka. But instead all we did was repress his nature until instincts took over. Now he..."
Her lips started quivering
"Poor little child"

Luna put her hand on Celestia's shoulder, allowing her a few moments to regain composure.
"I know sister, but remember what he did. As rulers of Equestria we have to take the hard decisions, you told me so yourself. He was a threat to our subjects. It was hard to resist finding him I know, however, as bad as this may sound, it is better this way. At least in his own warped sense of Draka pride he redeemed himself."

For a second Celestia's eyes flashed with anger, but it quickly subsided. Luna had the fault of saying the hard truth too directly but she knew it came from a place of kindness. Luna may not have known Spike as well as herself or Twilight and her friends, but she still felt the loss of a valued companion.

"You are right Luna" Celestia said straightening herself out and wiping away at her eyes.
"As I was saying, my studies regarding that accursed place have shown me that Ginun is ruled primarily by ten warlords calling themselves the Ten Masters. They are all incredibly strong, chosen champions of the Abyssal Gods. The one who is holding us prisoners is the fifth strongest Master, or at least, he was the fifth strongest"

"What do you mean?"

"Archdrake Bal'Valar has told me numerous times that the easiest and most effective way to fight against the Masters of Ginun is to use spells tapping into the wind of Creation, Kashala. The holy nature of this magic is anathema to these entities made by the Abyss.
This is why i was so foolishly confident Luna. I am one of the only seven creatures that can tap into Kashala and use holy magic.
However, you saw for yourself. He attacked the circle with almost no injuries to himself. Normally, even touching this sort of holy magic should have incinerated him but it barely singed his flesh. Somehow they have gotten stronger."

"Well, at the very least we have warned Twilight and she will be able to evacuate Ponyville and Canterlot. Our people will be safe, sister."

"I hope you are right Luna. When I sent the message I felt the daemons' magic grow stronger, trying to stop me. I hope it reached my student. If not, then i have truly failed".

Luna opened her mouth to say something but immediately closed it.
There was nothing more to say. The entire world was in great danger. Now, with the draconic forces at the Mouth of Madness completely decimated, an enormous host of daemons and undead had invaded from Ginun and they would cover the world in death, country by country.
Even should the other countries ally against the daemonic army, Luna doubted it would make a difference.
The draconic forces at the Mouth of Madness had always been the greatest and strongest warriors and even they had fallen. What chance did anyone else stand? Luna knew what would happen. Griffons, Dragons, Minotaurs, every country would strengthen their own defenses only to fall one after another. And Equestria would be first.

Frustration and anger gave way to a cold rage and Luna directed it at the charcoal black figure chained to a block of solid granite to the far left of the protective circle.

"Are you happy, Chrysalis? Was it all you hoped for when you chose to help the daemons of Ginun? Now where do you stand? Broken and shattered, your changeling children, nothing more than brain-dead automata to serve the daemons as cannon fodder.
You have caused the fall of all, including your own, "Queen" of the Changelings".

There came no answer. As always, Chrysalis sat next to the stone, hands crossed around her knees, insect-like wings broken and eyes empty.
As always, all she did now was lament the loss of her own children.

Nerg'Cathal approached the great tent that was used as a command center for this invasion. His sixteen foot tall, almost two ton mass sat upon a black iron palenquin held by twenty quivering, lash marked Diamond Dog slaves. He could have walked, he knew that. For all his weight he was incredibly fast and dexterous but he enjoyed feeling the slaves suffer.
He looked around, brimming with barely restrained joy. An enormous cave, almost three miles in diameter was filled with nothing but legion upon legion of lesser daemons, and this was just the start. Half a million undead shuffled through the other caves and over a million changelings buzzed in other more caves, magically lobotomized to do the bidding of the Abyss.

Nerg'Cathal licked his putrescent lips and laughed at the sheer brilliance of the betrayal they had done to poor little Chrysalis. Oh, how she had cried when they had stolen the minds of all her children, how sweet her despair had tasted. A shame about the wings though. Nerg'Cathal would have loved to add her as one of his wives but he never did like changeling wings.

He reached the great tent and stepped off the palenquin. The time to attack was fast approaching and the slaughter would be glorious. Before reaching for the tent flap, he stopped, his smile fading.
"SLAVE" he yelled to one of the Diamond Dog slaves, a pitiful creature covered head to toe in lash marks, burns and bruises.

The poor creature yelped, stammering on his own words.

Nerg'Cathal laughed at the terror of the slave and reached with all six massive hands and lifting the terrified Diamond Dog off his feet.
"Oh, do not fear little one, we all make mistakes"

The slave raised gratitude filled eyes to the greater daemon, only to scream as Nerg'Cathal threw up a sickly green torrent of bile and acid on the Diamond Dog. His screams cut short as the fluids reduced him to a puddle of red and green gristle sliding through Nerg'Cathals many arms.
"A mistake that you will never repeat" he said savoring the horror etched on the faces of the other slaves.

As if nothing had happened, the daemon turned and stepped into the stygian darkness of the tent.

"You are late" a deep, guttural voice spoke

"As always, if i may add" another, musical and feminine continued

"Ah, but my dear companions, is it not customary for the best to arrive late?" bellowed Nerg'Cathal jovially opening all six arms as if greeting old friends.

"Bah, weaklings always claim they are the best" the guttural voice said again.

"Weakling you say?" Nerg'Cathal's eyes narrowed dangerously to regard the owner of the voice. A monstruously large, almost twenty five foot tall corrupted and mutated troll, Jalaman Hun hunched, his tusked and horned head reaching the roof of the tent.
Jalaman Hun turned his body towards Nerg'Cathal, his impossibly muscled torso covered in twitching eyes and continuously whispering mouths.
"Yes, weakling, you forget I was third strongest of the Ten Masters, while you were only fifth. Even after the power we have all been gifted, you are still beneath me."

Nerg'Cathal's hand inched towards one of the three rusted great axes hidden behind the blubber of his massive back, but before things could go any further, the musical feminine voice interjected.

"Have we nothing more productive to do than attempt to measure the length and girth of our metaphorical privates?"

Instantly a wide smile split the mouth of Nerg'Cathal again.
"But of course you are right Wilhelmina, there are plans to be made"

Wilhelmina Aszh'Vala huffed, her long slender lower snake body quivering in disgust as she regarded the obese form of Nerg'Cathal. Formerly sixth strongest of the Ten Masters, the daemonic siren was barely six feet tall, slender with delicate, superb features and cut a shapely figure. Her humanoid body stood elegantly atop a small throne fashioned by the coils of her enormously long snake lower body.
She looked as delicate as porcelain, however Nerg'Cathal knew better than to attempt anything more than leer at her. The White Widow of the Dead Sea, she had been named, her song had harnessed the undying loyalty of thousands of lust maddened male daemons.
Wilhelmina was one of the most dangerously inteligent and capricious greater daemons of Ginun.

"Bah, the Hun of the Abyssal Trolls doesn't need to prove anything to a decayed weakling" Jalaman Hun said crossing his arms, the many moutha on his torso echoing his statement in whispered tones.

Before Nerg'Cathal could say anything, a thin, raspy voice interjected.

"Are you all quite finished?"

Kilmaaiil the Half Born limped out of the shadows, his tiny emaciated form drawing the attention of the other Masters.
A creature barely four feet tall, hump backed and deformed, covered by mud and dirt crusted rags, Kilmaiil had been nothing, a half born, weaker than an undead foot soldier, and embarrassment to any self respecting daemon, but now, here he stood, as Prophet of the Abyss.

By all rights this creature should have died eons ago but, by cruel irony, he had been chosen by the Abyssal Gods to be the bearer of their commands and their living conduit to the world of creation.

"Through the power of the Abyssal Gods i have granted you all strength so that each of you would rival and even surpass the great Ganbataar Ghiula Khan, Favoured of the Gods. As long as i speak for the Abyss, you will not waste these gifts bickering like rot-wolves over a slab of meat." Kilmaaiil said with finality.

Nerg'Cathal's hand strangled the haft of the rusted ax at his back, shards of corroded metal snapping between his fingers. He noticed Jalaman Hun and Wilhelmina visibly tense and knew he was not the only one. They all despised the little insect almost as much as they despised each other, but the thing had given them power, the thing had helped them reach the world beyond Ginungagap.

As much as he despised Kilmaaiil for daring to order him, Nerg'Cathal could not deny the half born's brilliance. It was he who had created the trap to capture the two alicorn princesses just as it was he who had gained the trust and alliance of Chrysalis only to subsequently betray her and take her forces as their own.

For a moment Nerg'Cathal allowed himself to remember that beautiful battle. The forces of Ginun attacking from the Mouth of Madness, even as almost two million changelings had flanked the great Bastion fortress from behind. It had been a slaughter on both sides, untold thousands of daemons and millions of undead and changelings having died at the hands of over twenty two thousand of the strongest Dragons, Draka, Wyverns and Drakes, but in the end, the draconic forces had been killed to the very last one.
Now this world was theirs to kill, it's strongest warriors and greatest heroes already dead, it's creatures shivering in their castles and in the false safety of their countries.
It would be a bloodbath and it would be glorious.
The Abyssal Gods would feast.

The door to Twilight's crystal castle opened to make way for a tall orange furred earth pony dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and a pink one with fluffy hair dressed in an ostentatious mish-mash of brightly colored clothes. In their hands they had the hooves of Princess Twilight Sparkle, dragging her through the short grass.

"Girls, I told you, I'm okay" Twilight tried protesting again "I just have a lot of uhh... Princess stuff to do and that's why I can't come to the picnic."

"Oh, no ya don't sugarcube. There's no way we're leavin' ya to bury your head in them books again. You haven't been out of that darned castle in almost two weeks now and we'll make ya get some fresh air whether ya like it or not." Applejack said.

"Yeah silly" Pinkie Pie added "You know what they say, all work and no play makes Twilight a dull alicorn Princess"

"Nobody ever says that. Ok. Ok. Put me down I'll walk"

"I promise I won't teleport" Twilight added seeing Applejack's raised eyebrow.

"Since when is it the job of friends to pull me through grass" Twilight says as she lifted herself up and began cleaning her pants and shirt.

"Duh, article five point seven of the Friendship Contract" Pinkie said in her usual bubbly self causing Twilight to stop for a second.

"What in the hay are ya talkin' about Pink..." Applejack begins only to stop dumbfounded as she stares at a large, official looking document in Pinkie's hands.

"Ummm... Twi?"

"I...I've honestly stopped trying to figure Pinkie out a long time ago" said Twilight, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.

Applejack smiled too and put both hands on Twilight's shoulders.
"Listen sugarcube, now ah know ya miss Spike an awful lot, and believe me, we all do. But you've barely left the castle for the past year and it's not healthy. You've always been the most level headed one of us, we don't wanna worry about ya"

Twilight pulled both Apllejack and Pinkie in a hug.
"Thank you, girls. You're the best"

"We're your friends, it's our job to be the best" Pinkie said rifling through the odd document "See, it says so here".

Fluttershy, Rarity, Appleboom and Sweetie Belle stood on the large cloth that lay on the grass and looked to the sky. Another rainbow line appeared where Rainbow Dash flew, holding a spread armed laughing Scootaloo by the midsection.

"Umm...souldn't Rainbow be a bit more careful, I mean umm... she has a passenger in her hands" Fluttershy said meekly.

"Relax darling, Rainbow Dash is not going to endanger Scotaloo, you know how much she cares about her." Rarity said, handing Sweetie Belle a dandelion sandwich.

"Yeah, I'm just being a worry wart, I mean she did adopt Scotaloo. She is a surprisingly good parent, umm... maybe a bit too impulsive, but good nonetheless"

"Exactly, more tea?" Rarity said handing Fluttershy a cup of Earl Grey.

"Oh, thank..." Fluttershy started, but was interrupted by a strong gust of dust filled wind created by the two flying pegasi.

"Oh honestly, I've just made this suit, and there she goes covering it in dust, right in the middle of us complimenting her"

"Ah don't understand why ya had to dress all snazzy like that for a picnic" Applebloom asked quizzically.

"Oh, little filly, you'll learn that it never hurts to look both fabulous and professional no matter where you are. Plus this was made to be an informal attire"

"R...Really?" Applebloom raised an eyebrow at Rarity's two piece white suit complete white a small teal necktie. If this was informal, she didn't want to see Rarity's version of formal. She preferred her own, a pair of three quarter jeans and a tank top. Much more practical and comfy.

"Honestly, what do they teach you at school? Presentation is everything. Maybe i should have a word with Twilight. Seeing a well dressed princess would give more children the right idea"

"Yeah Rarity, except Twilight likes to wear casual too" Sweetie Belle added, still looking at Rainbow Dash carrying Scotaloo and waiting for her turn to be flown.

"Umm... is Twilight going to come this time?" asked Fluttershy.

"If there's anypony who can get her out of that cold old castle it's mah sister"

"Indeed darling, Applejack will convince her to join us, you know how persuasive she is"

"Rarity?" Sweetie Belle called still looking at the sky.

"Yes Sweetie?"

"Did the weather ponies schedule rain for today?"

"Of course not dear, Rainbow Dash is captain of the weather ponies and she promised us it would be a bright and sunny day"

"Oddly bright, it's like the sun has barely moved from this morning" added Fluttershy, starting to take off the fluffy turtleneck she wore.
It had gotten too hot for a sweater.

"Hmm... maybe Princess Celestia is giving us longer day?"

"Rarity?" Sweetie Belle called again
"If there won't be rain than what's with those clouds"

"Clouds?" Rarity asked and looked to the horizon. It was edged with a panorama of ebon dark foreboding clouds that looked as though they were spreading towards Ponyville.
"Oh gracious, that looks like a storm, maybe we should talk to Rainbow"

" you girls hear that?" Fluttershy asked cupping a hand to one of her ears.

"What? Ah don't hear anythin'"

"It sounds like...buzzing" the yellow furred mare insisted.

"You're right" Rarity said, still staring at the clouds. It almost looked like a massive portion of the clouds had broken apart from the black horizon and was speeding towards them.

"It almost wings."

Author's note extra:
Got some more pictures for you, these are not mine they are from a great DeviantArt artist named ss2sonic. Show this great guy some love
These pictures are the reason i used the Anthro tag for the story as i wanted the ponies to be anthropomorphized but still be recognizable as the ponies we love.
These pics show exactly what i had in mind.