• Published 21st Jul 2013
  • 675 Views, 21 Comments

Star Swirl's Final Hour - Stygian359

A story detailing what occurred to the ancient master of all magic after his great sacrifice... may he be remembered always.

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You Shall Not Pass!

Chapter One: You Shall Not Pass!

The ancient fortress built deep within the mountains quaked in time with an almighty heartbeat, as if the core of the mountain itself threatened to explode with a fury and rage that could match a nova sun itself. Massive towers and pillars that had taken eons to carve into the surface of the tunnels and halls shook from their foundations and crashed around them breaking their resolve. Fear filled their very beings as it came into view, what the wise one had warned them of... something that should never be awakened.

But it had, due to their damned mistake or by Fate's cruel hoof the beast of the Crystal Mountain the dark in the depths itself, had awoken to vent its terrible wrath.

He stood between them and it, protecting them or so it seemed from the growing proximity of the great blaze that stormed towards them. Star Swirl, the old wizard who had led them on this quest to a new land, who had guided their every action without fail and with the most caring of attitudes.

Who had protected them from all the evil that had pursued and hunted them along the way. He faced this evil and he did so knowing it would be his end. She could see the fear in his eyes, stood stock still as she was with the others a little further down the walkway from the bridge where her mentor waited.

They could all see it, all were witness to the coming of the monster as it strode slowly towards Star Swirl, it movements stalking and menacing. It had no eyes but for rivulets of molten flame that matched the tundra that surrounded its charred rocky body. Massive down turned horns spiraled from its head and great wings of fire erupted from its back.

Dread was their companion as it reared upwards, lifting an arm and with it a whip of pure fire that it held in one massive clawed hand. It stood on its hind legs and stared down malevolently at the wizened stallion before it, contempt lining the sneer on its twisted features.

Clover the Clever watched her teacher's face, begging him internally to fight it, to raise his great power against it, even as she knew his fear of the monster had deadened his heart and destroyed his confidence. There was no being more threatening to those who wielded magic than the Balrog, for it was immune to almost all magics.

She saw though a faint glimmer in her master's eyes, as a decision had been made. In his face he displayed a will she had worried had been vanquished, a hope began to build within her! But also there she could not help but notice was a grim resignation as if Star Swirl had accepted a fate he knew he could not escape.

"You do not understand my apprentice..." He whispered to her three hours ago, his face hidden in the brim shadow of his long pointed hat as he admitted his great worry. "It is my destiny to fall down there... into the deep dark."

No more than now did she truly understand his words...

The beast loomed and cracked its whip, its length snapping towards her master with some velocity leaving a trail of intense light in its wake. Star Swirl lifted his staff in the instance, his horn exploding in a golden light that matched his eyes, his grey coat flashing as from it a bubble of pure magic flew out to surround him, his billowing snowy white beard glowing like fire.

Flames belching with a ferocity that seared the very cavern they stood in and marked the ceiling and floor eternally blackened with its spite. The Balrog was enraged, roaring with such hate it caused the companions to flinch and back away. It lifted its arm and let fly its whip once more.

The shatter of its might against Star Swirl's barrier charged throughout the mountain, the pressure causing them all to fall to their stomachs even those who hovered in the air.

Pegasus Earth and Unicorn watch transfixed and horrified at the spectacle that had consumed their minds in terror, none able to flee or fight as they had so bravely declared they would before. All their courage and determination washed away in the reality of the being imprisoned within the Deep Dark before them.

Star Swirl flinched from the last blow, was he weakening already? Clover felt fear gripping her heart, if her teacher could not stand against this creature then their quest would fail and their peoples be doomed to the harsh ice that had taken their nations.

The monster roared and reared once more but something flashed in the old one's eyes. Star Swirl raised onto his own hind legs, lifting his staff in both fore hooves, his teeth gritted and his expression lined with defiance. Holding his staff aloft above his head he focused his power, the roar of yellow light around his horn exploding with a terrible force.

Clover's eyes widened, as did all their eyes. They watched as their guide, the one voice of reason and hope, stared down the Goliath with a sneer of his own.

"You... Shall... Not...." The words came out in booms, rumbling from the walls like thunder. "Pass!!!" He smashed his staff upon the bridge that separated his wards from the monster, putting all of his strength and will into the blow. The wave of light that spread from the shattering explosion blinded them temporarily,

The cavern moaned in agony as great stalactites shattered from their roots within the massive ceiling and began their colossal drop down towards the large marble white bridge upon which the two predestined enemies faced each other. The Balrog looked upwards as the masses of rock descended.

It shrieked with unimaginable rage, its face shifting and contorting, its eyes blazing a deeper red as it spun on the ancient wizard and lifted a huge fist. It did not use its whip this time, deciding instead to smash its fist upon Star Swirl. The impact caused the field surrounding her teacher to collapse, the master of magic's collapsing to his stomach. The beast shrieked in triumph and lifted its fist once more.

But it was not meant to be.

The edge of a great pointed spire struck the bridge shattering it in two, the half upon which the monster stood collapsed into shards of rock, the monster's footing taken from it and dragging it down into the depths of the bottomless dark below.

It roared one last time, flame erupting in a stream from its mouth.

There was a second of absolute stillness as Star Swirl turned to face them, his cheeky smile and bright eyes glowing with the remains of his power. The companions smiled back and none more so than his apprentice, Clover the Clever.

In her heart elation soared, he had done it! He had overcome the dark and its terrible prisoner!

A crack filled the air and a line of flames reached up over the edge of the bridge, it snagged around Star Swirl's hind leg causing the old stallion to collapse once more, he was dragged over the edge and for the briefest of moments he held on by his forelegs alone.

There was a moment of panic in his eyes but as they locked with the horrified expression of his apprentice whose movements revealed her intention to run to his aid his expression turned to firm resolution. A thousand words seemed to pass between the two before finally the wisest stallion all of pony kind had ever known spoke his last words.

"Run you fools!" He demanded of them with exhaustion in his voice.

He threw himself free of the bridge, doing so to prevent his apprentice from following him into the depths, she watched him leave her world with shock written plainly on her face. He hoped she would understand the reason for this action, for even as the remainder of the bridge collapsed her life had been spared... She would be alone now, to lead the others and face the trials... he prayed she would remember his lessons and his wisdom and carry them with her to the new world she would create, where she would pass it to all who would seek it freely and with heart.

His only regret was that he had never told her... never told her how much he thought of her as a daughter... the daughter he had never had.

Clover the Clever wrote about this moment with some clarity, even though her fame never reached the heights of her mentor his wisdom only survived because she did, and even now in the Land of Equestria which had been founded by the result of this quest, his writings and magic live on...

But did his life truly end there?

For it is said that where magic is concerned... it isn't that simple.

Author's Note:

This is where it ends for the LOTR style of things, in fact from here it gets a little... magical!!!

Anyway, I never believed I would enjoy writing about this old fella but I did, I hope you enjoyed reading it.

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