• Published 6th Jun 2013
  • 1,639 Views, 75 Comments

Through a Glass Mirror - suijin



A thousand years ago, the ponies of Equestria are in a state of fear and despair. Ruled by a pair of tyrants, they turn to the only being in the known world that can help them. A Spirit of Chaos named Discord. Really Alternate Universe. First story.

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Return to the Empire

A flash of light signaled the arrival of Discord and his followers to the Crystal Empire. Looking around, many of the ponies were in awe of the beautiful structures and the shining crystal ponies. Some, particularly Storm Feather, were busy looking at the soldiers milling around, and the massive tower that sat at the city's center, now blackened with dark crystals.

Discord didn't waste any time with the sights, however, immediately looking to teleport himself into the tower, and find the dark king that ruled there. He was stopped before he got the chance by a group of soldiers, led by an officer in black.

He was an incredible specimen, truly massive for a crystal pony. Easily standing a head taller than anypony else, he carried his heavy armor without any apparent effort. Unlike most of the others, his coat was grey and dull, matching his armor quite well. On his back could be seen an odd looking weapon: a handle with jagged blades on both ends, made of what appeared to be black glass, or a brittle rock.

"What are you doing here, intruders." His voice matched his body, powerful and steady.

"I'm here to see your king," Discord said in response, already becoming impatient with the large pony.

"That is not possible," was the simple reply.

When it became obvious that the soldier was not going to say any more, Discord asked, "Well, why not?"

"Because he cannot be disturbed right now."

"But I've only been gone for a little while. What could he have possibly started doing since I left?" The answer came to Discord as soon as the question left his mouth.

"He has gone into his forge. He only goes there for privacy, to play his music, or to do something extremely important and sensitive." That was easily the longest reply the officer had yet given, but it was still only two sentences long, and gave no more information than was required.

"Wait, music?" Discord knew that the other parts were important, but still had to ask.

"He has an organ." Yet another short and simple reply.

The Spirit of Chaos had to think for a few seconds to recall what instrument he was referring to (assuming that he didn't mean somepony's actual organ. Playing a heart would be creepy.), and eventually recalled the massive system of pipes that he was speaking of. He decided that it was a very fitting instrument for the King of Shadows, with the powerful and haunting sound that it possessed.

"Well, if he's busy, then who's in charge around here?"

"I am." While the large pony didn't seem like one to lead, Discord supposed that he was likely good enough in a fight to justify his position.

"Well then, why don't you just call me Disco-"

"No."

Discord found himself getting surprised quite often lately, and he was not growing any fonder of the feeling. "What else are you going to call me?"

"Sir."

Why did this stallion give so many one word answers?

"What, that's it? Just 'sir?' You can't think of anything else? Why can't you just call me Discord?" Discord found it hard to believe that he had actually met someone more uptight than Sombra. And yet he was still having this conversation.

"Too long," was the predictably short answer.

"Well, what should I call you, since I'm apparently going to have to deal with you for a while?"

"Obsidian." The grey pony then turned around, and began walking away, apparently not wanting to deal with the spirit any more than Discord wanted to deal with him. Or maybe he just had something to do.

Before he could get far, Discord's frustration got the better of him, and he made the officer's armor disappear with a snap of his fingers.

Obsidian turned around, a look of anger flashing in his eyes. But when he saw the way that Discord was staring back, it immediately changed to one of challenge.

The stallion's entire body was covered in scars, previously hidden by his armor. Many were uneven and crooked, as if made from a a desperate or angry blow. Most were clear and precise, as if they were meant to be seen. The worst were on his flank, making his cutie mark unrecognizable, as if somepony had tried to rob him of the symbol of his very identity.

Discord realized that the pony before him used to be a slave. And not just any, but one that had gone through the worst kind of slavery: being thrown into an arena, where only one would survive, forced to kill or die for somepony else's sadistic amusement.

The stallion's build suddenly made sense; the weak would have died quickly in such an arena, as would the stupid. The result of such an ordeal was a creature as strong as his armor and the stone under his feet; both physically, and mentally.

Yet he did not stand or act as a slave would, not even a gladiator. He stood tall and proud, and did not show any signs of backing down from the horrified looks he was receiving from those that saw him.

Not all of his scars were gained in battle. He was being defiant, and defiance would have been met with a whip. But he had not been broken by such torment, and he had survived all of the punishment and horrors of his life, now to serve under a new king.

Discord snapped his fingers again, putting the armor back without saying a word. The spirit and the officer shared one more look, before both nodded, and allowed each other to go their separate ways, each with a feeling of new found respect for the other.

-----

The newcomers began to settle into their new routines. A few, Storm Feather included, began to help with the battle preparations of the crystal ponies, aiding in construction, and training for the coming battle. Others didn't know what to do, worried for loved ones left in the south.

Discord, himself, began to more thoroughly examine the Empire, and its inhabitants. He asked around, finding out about the northern equines, and their new king.

They spoke of their ruler with a reverence that bordered on zealotry. Discord was surprised to learn that Sombra had only been in the Empire for three days, yet had already gained such trust and devotion from his followers. And it wasn't false devotion; even farmers and travelers from other cities spoke of what they had heard, and their hopes for the new king. In the few days since his arrival, Sombra had become a symbol to the ponies of the north. They all believed that he could free them from the clutches of the tyrant sisters, or at least stand by them as they made one last, defiant stand.

As the spirit heard more and more, he began to realize something about the king: he truly led his people. Discord had never done more than give his 'followers' a safe place to hide. Sombra was fighting back, and giving his subjects hope for a brighter future. Discord felt pathetic in comparison; why was he, the Spirit of Chaos, hiding, and trying to keep the status quo? Why not meet his opponents, and try to defeat them, to make things better, even if he might fail?

So, as Discord went, he was sure not to disrupt the planning and preparations the king had put so much effort into. He simply cheered up those that he could, and even volunteered to help every once in a while (although he was always hastily turned down, for some reason).

He watched as the crystal ponies prepared their defenses, usually overseen by more officers in black. Obsidian himself was often central in the work, commanding and directing everything in sight. He often spoke as if from personal experience, presumably gained from his time as an arena fighter. Despite his reserved nature, he never failed to give proper advice, and correct any mistakes in the work.

Such things continued for the next several days, with no sign of change. King Sombra never emerged; the crystal ponies never stopped preparing, even after their defense was thick and heavy; and no attacks came from the south to challenge those defenses. Discord spent much of his free time looking after his unruly daughter, and spreading chaotic fun to those that weren't busy working. Things remained peaceful for a long while.

But everyone knew that it could not last. The response would come eventually, and the longer it took, the harder the Princesses' hammer would fall.

-----

Rivers of molten metal ran above him. Furnaces belched fire and crashed together with enough force to shatter rocks around him. And more magical power than he had ever held or experienced in his life flowed through him.

The smallest error, the slightest of mistakes, would mean his doom. Even Starswirl the Bearded, considered by many to be the greatest sorcerer that ever lived, would have had trouble just holding the forces around him at bay.

Sombra was not Starswirl. He could not simply hold the forces at bay; he had to use them, and shape them to his will. He used skill and precision to shift everything around him as he needed, to fit his design. And where finesse would not work, he used brute strength to force the pieces into place.

As he worked, he glanced at a set of dark crystals off to the side, showing images of Discord, and his own lieutenant, Obsidian. It was obvious that Discord had been forced to return, as he had not even been gone a few hours before coming back, and had took others with him, all haggard and weary. The most likely cause was an attack, but for it to have been timed so perfectly, while the spirit was away, would have likely required the attackers to wait for him to leave, first. Discord also had to have been defeated if he retreated here, so the enemies had to have had the Elements of Harmony, meaning that the sisters themselves had taken part in the attack.

All of these thoughts passed through the back of Sombra's mind, yet none distracted him from his work. He couldn't afford distractions. He was focused solely on his work, and the set of magic crystals that were acting to feed it, increasing the magical strain on him even further. But the king did not yield.

He had been working for days, yet was nowhere near completing his masterpiece. He did not waste time for things like eating and sleeping. Even if food or water could have survived in the fiery pit, they would have wasted time to consume, and the magical energy lost in that time would not be gained back from simple food or sleep.

He was not anywhere near completing the project, but his work was starting to take shape. In his trance-like state, he didn't even have the mind to notice as his lips subconsciously curled up into a smile, moved by pride and anticipation.

His work would be finished. Soon.

Author's Note:

Two and a half hours of typing later, I'm trying to fight off carpal tunnel syndrome. Yay me.

This is my favorite chapter, thus far. I think it's pretty good, all in all.

Starting to get towards the end now, so look forward to that (all of you that are actually reading this).