Never Broken

by Torgaddon

Honor the Fallen

Twilight awoke slowly and calmly for what felt like the first time in ages. All around her she could hear the sounds of her sleeping friends. They had all decided to sleep together in the same room for what would most likely be the last time they would see Canterlot Castle for a long time. Come morning they would all begin the long march to the Crystal Empire.

The overly large circular room of the Castle's eastern spire was a gigantic work of architecture, and it had served them all perfectly as a temporary abode. Looking around the gloom of the room, Twilight saw her beloved friends, still slumbering away the horrors of the previous days. She was grateful for Luna's presence, her magnificent magics chasing away all nightmares and allowing her subjects a well-earned peaceful sleep.

As she lift herself off the bed slowly, Twilight began tip towing towards one of the large curtained windows of the room. She made every effort not to awaken anyone else, however a small yawn from left signaled her failure.

"Yaaawn...Whatcha' doin' sugarcube?... What's the time?" whispered Applejack, slowly rustling from her bed, making every effort not awaken Applebloom. Since the tiny foal had been returned to her, Applejack had all but refused to let her out of her sight or, at the very least, too far away from Big Mac or Granny Smith. The latter of whom were sleeping on a couch and a smaller bed, respectively.

"Sorry about that Applejack, I was just about to check the time, I think it's about to begin in an hour or so. I was going to ask one of the guard to get us some coffee before waking you all up."

A small, still somewhat drowsy smile plastered Applejack's face.

"Aww, thanks sugarcube, but ah think it's about time we all woke up anyway" she yawned and slowly got up from the bed. "Ah feel like we've been sleeping for half a day".

Twilight pulled the curtain from the large window and looked towards the night sky. After the daemonic attackers had been destroyed by Spike, the great sickly-green cloud that had covered Ponyvile and Canterlot had dissipated and now, for the first time in many days, the moon and stars smiled back at her.

By it's position, Twilight guessed that it was almost midnight. It was good. They had all slept for about eight hours. She didn't want to wake them, they needed all the sleep they could get, however it had been their own decision that they wanted to attend the great funeral tonight.

Twilight's mood plummeted slightly as she reminded herself of the funeral that was about to take place. Over fifty of Spike's Draka had died for them in the breaking of the siege. It was the very least the ponies could do to attend the funeral.

She turned to Applejack and nodded.

"Let's wake the others, it's almost midnight and Miss Shagga told us that the proceedings will begin at one in the morning".

Applejack nodded and turned to wake the rest of the Apple family. Twilight herself began gently shaking Rainbow Dash's shoulder. The blue pegasus slightly fluttered a wing, trying to swat Twilight away and snuggling her adoptive daughter Scotaloo closer to her chest.

"Dashie c'mon, it's time to get up".

"Five ... more minutes" mumbled the somnolent pegasus, still in the middle of what was most likely a pleasant dream.

Twilight shook her head slightly and, smiling, went on to wake Fluttershy and Rarity. Rainbow would have no choice but to get up when the others were awake too. A small squee from behind her signaled that Pinkie had woken up too.

Within one of the many tents that had been set upon the Castle's courtyard, the massive form of Spike sat cross legged as he proceeded with the ritual donning of his armor. It was a much more cumbersome ritual now that his entire body was covered in bandages and still healing wounds. It had been a long time since Spike had ever been this wounded, however he took the pain with the same silent and stoic endurance with which he did everything else.

With slow movements he put one hand over the large bandage that covered the ruin that once had been his left eye and slowly began unbinding it. The bandage finally away he looked at the polished surface of his chestplate that was the closest thing to a mirror. Draka were never prone to vanity, as such very few actually owned mirrors, Spike even less so. He knew full well how hideous his face was, however he wanted to inspect the damage to his eye.

A face of purple scales, lipless ever bared fangs, covered in scars both old and fresh stared back at him. His left eye was surrounded by multiple fresh, still healing scars that started from his forehead, criss-crossed around his temple and ended around the upper part of his chin. What had once been his left eye was now nothing more than a blinded milky-white orb, his once green pupil now almost as white as his sclera. His appearance of no concern, the only thing that was on Spike's mind was how many hours would his brain need in order to get accustomed to his now limited depth perception. At the very least he was grateful that Draka minds and bodies were so adaptable to change.

His massive chest expanded, fresh wounds threatening to open again under the bandages, as Spike stifled a yawn. He had not slept for many days now, and this night especially had offered him no rest. In his mind's eye he could see the faces of each and every Draka that had fallen in the breaking of the siege. He knew each of them by name. Knew their stories, their shames, their oaths. They had been family.

With a snort Spike threw his head back up, crushing the pitiable thoughts that had entered his mind. Regret battled with pride for his warriors in his mind, only for pride to emerge victorious, as it always would.

Family or no, the fallen Draka had been warriors of the Legion of the Damned first and foremost. He would not shame them by feeling sorry for their deaths. They had died as true Draka of the Legion must, giving their lives for honor and glory, in worthy dooms, absolved of their shame. He would meet them again in the halls of the Ancestors when he himself found his own doom.

Yes, tonight they would sing for their fallen, honor their sacrifice, praise them for their absolution. Their voices shall accompany them upon the Road of Skulls, paved with the bones of their vanquished enemies, as they ride towards the Hall of the Ancestors and the waiting arms of their Ancestors. They have earned their places of honor.

A familiar scent touched upon Spike's heightened senses and he called before the newcomer even had time to say anything.

"You are early, Shagga Vesha'alad".

The folds of the tent's entrance opened as Shagga walked in and offered a respectful bow. Spike turned towards her and reciprocated the bow. Proper respect and conduct was expected among Draka, even close friends.

"Apologies for the intrusion Veshanesh".

"You cannot intrude upon one that is grateful for your presence, Shagga" said Spike as he began to don the rest of his armor once again, oblivious to the sudden shade of red that had appeared on Shagga's normally gray scaled face. Immediately she walked behind him, doing her best to cover her face, and continued.

"I have come to announce that everything is ready. The moon shall approach it's zenith in an hour's time".

"Gratitude Battle-Sister".

Shagga continued to look at Spike as he continued the donning of his armor. He seemed unencumbered by the many fresh wounds plastering his frame, moving with the same surety he had always had, however for Shagga, who had known him for the past two thousand years, the pain he was in was obvious. The fact that his arms hesitated slightly and his breath shuddered for a moment whenever he had to put a piece of armor on his back, meant that he was feeling enough pain that any other Draka would have passed out. Spike, on the other hand, was much too stubborn to ever admit to it.

Shaking her head slightly, she kneeled behind him and grabbed the back piece of his chest plate out of his hands. It took all her strength not to fall forwards at the monstrous weight of the armor piece.

"Shagga, there is no need...".

"Apologies Darraor, but allow me to assist nonetheless".

They remained as such, Spike accepting Shagga's help and Shagga offering it willingly. With every minute that passed, another piece of armor was festooned upon his massive frame.

Even though she was concentrated upon her actions, Shagga could not help but notice the way Spike's muscles moved, setting each piece into place, leaving no weak points in the armor. She also could not help but notice the many new scars that covered his body. Yet, for all that, she did not quiver. For a Draka, scars were nothing more than epitaphs of their deeds and determination, and Spike's body could fill an entire library with stories.

"Shagga" came Spike's deep voice as the last piece of armor was set.

"Yes Darraor?" she asked, her hands still busy with the many straps of his neck guard.

"I have yet to apologize for my actions in the Everfree Forest".

"There is nothing to apologize for Darraor".

Spike slowly shook his head.

"There is everything to apologize for, Shagga. For a moment I had allowed myself to fall to Madness and, in the process, frighten both you and my warriors".

Shagga's hands stopped moving and she moved from behind Spike and to his side.

"I will not deny that you have frightened me, my lord Spike, however do not think that you need apologize for it. I and every warrior within the Legion know full well that you would never fall upon us".

"There is no way you can have surety of that. The Madness has claimed greater Draka than myself".

Shagga's strong, yet surprisingly gentle hand set itself slowly on Spike's mangled face and turned his head to meet with her eyes.

"In the past two thousand years I have seen you grow from a weak, Madness plagued youngling into the stone made manifest that you are today. I have seen you fight and overcome the impossible time and time again. I have seen you overcome your own Blood Madness as it tore at your very mind and soul. No, my Darraor, you are wrong this time. We KNOW that you will never allow the Madness to set you against us. You have proven it too many times for us to think otherwise".

Suddenly, as if realizing what she was doing, Shagga pulled her hand away.

"A...Apologies Darraor. I forget myself. I shall leave you to your preparations".

She rose from the ground and made for the tent entrance.


She stopped, dead in her tracks as she felt Spike raise from the floor and turn to her. Two massive hands set on her shoulders, their surprising gentleness, an odd counterweight to their monstrous strength.

"You have my thanks...for everything...".

With that he turned from her and returned to his weapon stand, beginning to set his weapons to his belt.

Shagga stood, dumbstruck, for a few more seconds, then continued her stride towards her own tent. Draka of the Legion of the Damned had never been ones for overt show of affection and Spike, even less prone to such things . Yet, with those few words, he had told her more than she had ever thought she would ever hear. Her heart filling with heat, she couldn't help but stroke the palm of her hand, where she had touched his face.

High upon the tallest Spire of Canterlot Castle, within the great room of the Royal Quarters, Celestia stood in front of the mirror, brushing her mane. Her crown lay forgotten on the bed, as she made ready for the funeral. She had been brushing for the past twenty minutes, absent-mindedly repeating the same movement again and again.

Upon her lap lay the hastily scribbled notes of a letter she had been magically delivered no more than an hour ago. The jagged runic lines of Draken Script covered the letter and the edges were still signed by the mystical green flame which had been used to deliver them.

Spike had written to her.

Princess Celestia,

Upon this piece of paper I write my deepest sympathies and condolences for the loss of so many of your subjects. I also extend my gratitude for your decision to attend the Final Song of my fallen warriors.

I apologize for my inability and unwillingness to speak with you at length in person. I am sorry to say that millenia of battle has made my tongue laconic and my tone lacking in sympathy. It is better that I share my thoughts in writing.

Upon your rescue from the clutches of the daemons I had sensed your desire for answers. Answers I cannot provide. I fear that the omens do not bode well and we shall have few chances to speak at length. Thus, I write all there is to say, in this letter.


I have a request to ask of you.

Upon my return to this world, I have met with Mother Renrin, Honored Mother of the Kirin Clan. I am aware that you know her personally. You also know of her knowledge of fate and things that are yet to be. Upon my meeting with her, she has prophesied my doom if I was to return to Equestria.

Mother Renrin has never been wrong in her prophecies.

I shall die. That is assured. Whether I die during the exodus to the Crystal Empire, or in the battles that will follow it, I am sure to die.

The Elements of Harmony.

I ask of you to protect those most important to my heart.

Know that the only reason I try to distance myself from them is because I am trying to protect them. But it is not working. They refuse to forsake me. They refuse to forget about me.

Celestia, my request is as follows. No matter when or where I die, I ask that once you have reached the Crystal Empire and regained your strength, you erase the memories of my existence from the minds of the Elements of Harmony.

I know of the taboo set upon the Mandala of Forsaken Memories, I know of the strength required to perform such a spell. Nonetheless I know that once you have regained your strength, it will be in your power to do so, and I ask that you do it.

If they are ever to regain a chance at happiness, they must completely forget of my existence. My heart cannot bear the knowledge that they would ever cry again. Not for my sake. I am not worthy of their tears.

I ask that you not speak with the Elements of this. They are sure to protest against it. Yet it is all for their own good.

Tears rolled down Celestia's face, staining the letter, even as she smiled.

A small knock at the door to her quarters announced a visitor.

"Sniff... enter...Sniff".

Luna entered the room, her form dressed in a pitch black royal gown, as was custom for the attendance of any funeral. As she closed the large doors behind her, she noticed Celestia's tear stained face, a perplexing contrast with her smile.


Celestia ran a forearm across her eyes, the tears staining her otherwise pristine white pelt. Without an answer, she simply extended the letter to Luna.

Luna took the letter and began reading it. Celestia couldn't help but smile wider as her usually composed sister's lower lip started quivering.

"And we actually had the gall to believe he did not care anymore" Celestia began as she put the brush down and began clothing herself in her own gown.

"Unbelievable. After so many years. He never stopped loving the six girls. He came here knowing it will be his death. He is willing to even have them forget him rather than see them cry." Luna couldn't help but turn her head. It was not befitting of the Princess of the Moon to be seen crying.

"We cannot show the Elements of Harmony this letter. We must not".

"Agreed" started Celestia, regaining her composure. "Once we have reached the Crystal Empire and regained our strength, we shall do as he asked. We owe him that much".

" you believe it will be okay? The Mandala of Forsaken Memories is taboo for a reason, nopony would ever want to forget something precious to them".

Celestia sighed.

"I know sister, however what would you have us do. We owe Spike not only our lives and freedom, but the lives of many of our subjects. It is our duty to do this, at the very least".

Celestia was right. No matter how wrong it felt, Luna knew her sister was right. She could only hope that the girls would forgive them.

Upon fifty seven pyre-beds of interlocking oak lay the bodies of fifty-seven Draka. Many of the bodies were either carbonized or savaged beyond recognition, yet each of them, no matter how mangled, had been set in a mortuary armor of blackened iron. In their gauntleted hands they clutched their weapons, refusing to release them even in death.

The armors and weapons had been repaired and oiled, their mortuary masques, carved into the liking of their faces, obscuring their heads and completing the ensemble.

It had been ever the way of the Draka of the Legion to be cremated along with their weapons and armor. They would carry them unto the Halls of the Ancestors, with pride and honor as their staunchest allies even in death.

Lined before the pyres stood one hundred and forty-three Draka, each dressed in full battle regalia, their faces alight with anticipation, their eyes filled with a mixture of sadness and pride.

Even before Spike had become Darraor, it had been the custom of the Legion to sing for the fallen. But where before it had been something each Draka did by themselves, Spike had made of this a ceremony of honor. It had made the burden of their shame lighter on the shoulders of the Legion of Damned, for now they all knew that they had a family to help them carry that burden. They knew that when they died, they would be mourned this way, and their journey upon the Road of Skulls would boom with sound of their unfallen brethren's song, honoring them and their absolution, calling for them to await their brethren in the Halls of Eternal Glory.

Spike stood in front of the assembled troops and awaited the moon's zenith. His armor shined in the moonlight and his form was one of unbreakable discipline and poise. It was his duty as Darraor, as War-Mourner of the Legion of the Damned to set the fallen alight with flame and praise their sacrifice.

The night was cloudless, even the wind unwilling to break the reverential silence with it's howl.

All stood still.

With the sound of groaning wood, the grand doors of the Castle opened and Princess Celestia and Luna emerged dressed in beautiful pitch-black gowns. Following them were the Mane Six and their immediate friends and family, all dressed in the same black clothes of mourning. Beyond that marched the Royal Guard, their freshly cleaned and oiled armors gleaming in light of the moon and stars. Finally, followed the rest of the pony refugees, dressed in funeral attire.

Everypony, from the smallest filly to the largest Royal Guard, to the Mane Six and Princesses themselves, held a single midnight blue rose in their hands.

Celestia's eyes locked with Spike single green eye and mutual understanding passed through them. She bowed deeply to him and called.

"Spike, Veshanesh of the Draka, Darraor of the Legion of the Damned, we come uninvited, however allow myself and my subjects to offer our gratitude to the ones who have sacrificed themselves for our sake. Allow us to honor them".

Gratitude and pride bloomed in Spike's chest. He wanted to thank them but it was not the way of the Draka to show overt emotion. He did them the greatest respect he could. Spike turned and set his fist before his heart and nodded slowly and deeply.

Spike turned to his warriors and roared.

"Brothers and sisters, the moon reaches it's zenith, let us bellow to the heavens".

"WE ARE THE LEGION" roared the assembled Draka.

"Let us cry out for our fallen siblings, let us bellow their names in honor, let us roar their journey upon the Road of Skulls".


"Sing aloud brothers and sisters, sing until Ullail sheds tears of death. Sing until the Ancestors open the gates to the Halls of Eternal Glory. Sing until the heavens shatter and the world trembles".


As one the voice of Spike and his Draka bellowed out in unison as they began the Final Song.

(the Final Song, as I believe it would sound).

They sang in the ancient tongue of the Draka, warriors all, bound by more than blood. Bound by deeds, pain and oaths. Bound by their shame and bound by their love for each other. Bound by the trust and respect that only those who have faced true hardship side by side could feel.

Spike's voice boomed as thunder, louder than all.

For Draka, paragons of endurance and discipline, this was the one time they were allowed to shed tears. Not of loss and sorrow, but of pride and joy. Every Draka that sang had faces stained with tears even as they grinned. They're eyes alight with fervor and they're fists pounding rhythmically at their chest plates.

Spike himself cried, even as his face remained impassive. His chest rising and falling, tears streaming from his single eye, his voice filled with pride.

Even as the Draka sang, the procession of silent ponies passed the pyres, leaving roses on the pyres. Overcome by the song, even they cried. They cried for warriors whose names they had not known but who had given their lives for them. One and all, they could not help it but cry tears of joy, not of regret.

Twilight's chest heaved, her face split by a smile she could not contain even as tears fell down her face. Even though she did not understand the words, she could feel the meaning of the song. It was not the Draka saying "Farewell" to their fallen. It was them saying "See you soon".

She looked around and saw the same crying smiles plastered on everybody's faces. Her friends, the Royal Guard, the ponies, even the Princesses.

The procession ended and Spike began moving. Still singing, a torch in his right hand, he moved from pyre to pyre, setting them alight, the flames licking at the oak and the armored bodies of the Draka that lay upon them.

Smashing the torch on the ground in front of the pyres, Spike threw his head to the skies and howled, releasing the energies bound within his own body, feeding the flames of the pyres. The flames roared and grew, fed by Spike's strength, until they became white-hot pillars of incandescent fire. Oaken pyres and iron-armored bodies were obliterated by monstrous heat, reduced to ashes dancing upon the flaming pillars, rising towards the night skies.

As the flames died out, so did the song. Draka hands clasped each other's shoulders and as one they all released a long ululating howl towards the moon.

It had ended.

The assembled Draka regained their composure, drying their eyes and forming once more into the bulwark of discipline they had always been.

Celestia approached Spike.

"Thank you for allowing us to attend".

Spike merely nodded his understanding.

"You honor my fallen brethren, for that, you have my gratitude".

With that, Spike turned towards his warriors once more.

"We ready for the march to the Crystal Empire. Upon our blood and steel we make an oath before our fallen. No ponies shall fall on the road. OUR WORD IS OUR LIFE".

"OUR WORD IS OUR LIFE" came the voices of a hundred and forty-three Draka.