• Published 29th Sep 2013
  • 1,145 Views, 54 Comments

Midnight Star: The Frozen Empire - Nebula Star



Midnight Star was given a second chance to be happy without the horrors of her memories; but those memories were never truly gone. They are only the beggining of her struggles however, Equestria is about to face a new threat; The Frozen Empire

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Preview: Midnight Star and the Father of Light

Midnight Star and the Father of Light
By Nebula Star

Part 1: Darkness Rising
***
Chapter 1: The Crimson Stars of Midnight
***

Eighteen years after the war of the Frozen Empire.

Midnight Star stood in the entrance of the large cavern. The chamber before her was immense. Stalactites of varying size hung down from the high ceiling, many with the subtle colors of the minerals the water seeping down through the stone above had carried over countless years. Throughout most of the chamber the ceiling bound formations were mirrored by stalagmites. Smooth stone spires reaching up to catch the slow drops of water that had, for millennia, helped them to grow.

It would have been a beautiful cave, if it weren't for what had been built at its center.

The floor of the cave had been leveled with magic and etched into the floor with trenches the width of her hoof was a five pointed star with a pit at its center. It was a simple, but effective array for dark magic... but the array wasn't the worst of it. Laid out at each point of the star were seven ponies, each with their throats slit and their life blood left to bleed out into the trenches that formed the star, filling them with crimson before draining into the pit.

It was blood magic, one of the darkest forms of magic the world had ever seen. Magic that drew its power from spilling the blood of the innocent.

Thirty-five victims. As for the culprits...

Midnight faced the twelve unicorns, her star-field mane waving gently as she evaluated their strengths. They all seemed unusually strong but nothing extraordinary. There was something odd about their magic though, it almost sensed... rancid, as if something had corrupted it.

They had all been standing around the pit when she'd entered, but now six of them were approaching her and it was clear their intentions weren't friendly. Midnight's horn glowed and a sword formed in the air next to her. Darkened blue steel, the blade was covered with threatening red patterns matching her eyes in color.

The unicorns didn't seem to care. They continued to approach her, three of them drawing swords of their own from scabbards at their sides.

“You're too late,” one of the unicorns across the pit from her, likely their leader, said while the others continued to close in around Midnight. His accent was strange to her, definitely not Equestrian though he spoke their language. “The spell cannot be stopped. Not unless you kill every last one of us. For as long as one of us lives, the spell will continue to draw energy from them until it is completed.”

Midnight focused on the magic she could sense being cast, feeling out the spell, trying to discover its workings. It was definitely a powerful spell, and while a great deal of the energy for the spell was coming from the blood of their victims, the control spell itself was drawing energy from the unicorns. She wasn't sure if he was telling the truth; if it truly couldn't be stopped without killing them, but she could tell it wouldn't take much longer to complete and she didn't have time to figure out another way.

Midnight glanced at the dead ponies again. They were all citizens of nearby villages north of Las Pegasus; citizens of Equestria. Thirty-five; killed by twelve unicorns. Almost three each. More than enough to earn a death sentence as far as Midnight was concerned. She wouldn't even need to use her.

“You Equestrian princesses are so pathetic. You have such great power, but you're so reluctant; so desperate not to kill, that even though its the only way to stop us, you still can't do it.” The leader was saying with smug confidence. “Your soft-heartedness is why you are unfit to rule! It is why you will fail! Because you are unwilling to kill, the Father of Light will serve our master!”

Midnight didn't know who or what this 'Father of Light' was, but she didn't have time to worry about it. One of the unicorns with a sword was drawing close. Without any warning at all, Midnight's sword flashed through the air and a moment later there was the clatter of a sword falling to the ground, a sickening thud, and the sound of a body collapsing while the last beat of the unicorn's heart pumped a spray of blood into the air.

The cave fell silent. The eleven remaining unicorns staring stunned at Midnight as if they couldn't believe what they'd seen. Midnight brought her sword, which now had more red on it than before, back to a ready position and looked at the unicorn leader calmly. “You were saying?” He just stared back at her speechless while the others shifted nervously. Those that had been approaching her took a step or two back.

“You should have done a little more research on Equestria before causing trouble in my land,” Midnight told them coldly. “I am no princess. I am Equestria's defender, and I will do whatever it takes to protect this land and its ponies!” She shifted into a combat ready stance, forming a second sword as she did. “And unlike the princesses, I have spent the majority of the past eighteen years training myself for combat!”

The unicorn leader looked almost panicked as he realized his plan had backfired; that instead of ensuring the spell would succeed, he had merely provided a reason to kill them all. “Kill her!”

The five unicorns around her attacked immediately. The remaining two with swords leaped at her, while the other three lit their horns, casting deadly spells.

Midnight's mane and tail burst to life, spiraling out around her and the two sword wielding unicorns creating a shield wall that absorbed the spell attacks and hid Midnight from view for a few moments. When they shrank back to normal again, two more headless corpses were lying at Midnight's hooves.

Then Midnight leaped toward the other three that had attacked, casting three deadly spells as she did. Two of the three dodged to the sides, but the one in the center foolishly tried to block the spell with a shield spell. Midnight's spell wasn't even slowed by the unicorn's defense and the blast hit her dead center in the chest, sending her careening across the chamber with a smoking hole where her heart should have been.

The other two unicorns fared no better. While they had dodged her spells, they didn't have time to recover and dodge her swords that came at them from a different angle. The blades caught them both in their sides, running them through.

One of the remaining unicorn's leaped at her, twin swords drawn. She didn't have time to pull her swords free of the last two corpses. She just ended the spells, letting the swords dissolve back into energy as her mane lashed out. Manipulating the energy in her mane to make it solid was a simple matter for her and she used it to block the unicorn's swords while she spun in place and caught him in the chest with a hard buck. Her strength combined with his forward momentum resulted in an impact of lethal force. Bones shattered under her hooves and the unicorn was sent flying back across the cave to smash into one of the stalagmites.

Flashes of light all around her revealed the true purpose of the unicorn's attack; it had been a distraction. The remaining five had used the opportunity to teleport into position around her. Their horns glowed brightly as they cast their spells.

Midnight could sense their strength and while she knew she may be able to block all their spells at once, she didn't want to risk it. There was only one other option. Her mane and tail engulfed her as she became a cloud pure energy and surged up toward the ceiling of the cave. The unicorn's attacks crossed through the air below her as she spread her cloud across the ceiling among the stalactites.

With only the dim mage lights that the unicorns had used providing light, her cloud form practically disappeared in the shadows. Only the sparkling stars gave her away. But she'd recognized that as a disadvantage long ago and learned how to deal with it. Manipulating the energy of her cloud form the stars winked out, becoming points of pure black in the dark indigo cloud.

The unicorns looked around nervously, clearly unable to locate her visually. And with her energy spread evenly throughout the cloud, they couldn't sense were she was either. She watched as they turned their backs to each other and slowly backed into a tight circle, trying to watch the entire ceiling of the cave at once.

Their eyes turned upwards, they didn't notice the shadowy tendrils of indigo magic that flowed between their hooves into the center of the circle. Only the leader sensed her as she materialized in their midst. He spun to face her.

“Behind!” He shouted, but it was already too late for his subordinates. Midnight's mane lashed out, forming solid spears that pierced the four unicorns as easily as any sword.

Her mane became ethereal again and returned to its normal flowing form as the leader of the unicorns backed away, terror in his eyes. Midnight formed a new sword and advanced on him, forcing him to retreat until he tripped over one of his fallen subordinates. Desperately he tried to attack with magic, but his spells splashed harmlessly against Midnight's mane.

“It's a pity really,” Midnight said softly. “If you hadn't made your spell so that killing you was the only way to stop it, I might have shown you mercy...” She raised her sword. “But I can sense that not even you could stop the spell now. It's too bad... For your crimes against Equestria, I sentence you to death.” She closed her eyes for a brief moment. “You're just a memory,” she said, her voice soft and full of pain. That instant her sword flashed through the air, and the leader joined his subordinates on the cave floor.

Midnight sensed the dark magic fade from the cave as the last source of energy powering it faded away and sighed; relieved that the unicorn had been telling the truth about that at least. She didn't know what the spell would have done, but she didn't think it would have been good for Equestria.

You handled that well. I'm surprised you were able to stomach killing them. It was a voice she knew and not one that was heard, but that came from within.

'They had enough blood on their hooves; they deserved to die,' Midnight told her other side as she took a few moments to slow her breathing and calm her heart.

In the past you still would have asked me to handle such a situation though. You've grown stronger, Midi.

'Perhaps.'

But you know, if you don't let me out to play in these situations, you're going to have to let me out more often at home!

Midnight sighed. Perhaps she should have let her other side handle the fight. Letting her have control when they were at home wasn't a problem. In fact, it was often entertaining watching her try to act normal in a peaceful setting. But she was better at handling situations where they were forced to do something they really didn't want to do. She always seemed to enjoy the challenge, even when she was forced to kill. It was her insanity that allowed her to enjoy a deadly struggle and not suffer the guilt of taking another's life.

That's not true. I do feel guilt for the lives I've taken. I just accept that it's a necessary sacrifice and don't let it bother me. Besides, it's nothing compared to everything else I've suffered.

A soft whimper, drew Midnight from her internal conversation as she spun toward the sound and froze. There, standing in the entrance of the cave, was a young Alicorn; barely old enough to be considered an adult. About the size of the average pony; her build was similar to Cadence's. Her coat was a pale purple, with a mane and tail that were a silvery blue-violet with stripes of silver and purple. And her eyes, that were currently looking upon her mother in horror, were bright silver.

Oh my... I'll just let you handle this. Her other side said, recognizing that this was going to be a truly awkward and delicate situation.

“Star Bright...” Midnight said softly.

“Mom... what are you doing!?” She gasped; clearly having seen at lest part of the fight. “You killed them! Why would you kill them!?”

Midnight took a deep breath, trying to think of what to say while casting a spell to clean her coat of the blood that had spattered across her body during the fight. “Star Bright, darling, come here.” She said gently, gesturing to her side.

Star Bright hesitated, looking around at the gruesome scene around Midnight. But finally she carefully, slowly, trotted to Midnight's side; using extra care to avoid stepping in any of the blood that was spreading across the floor.

When her daughter had reached her side; Midnight put her wing around her in a comforting embrace. “I didn't want you to find out like this...” She said softly, gently nuzzling her daughter.

“Find out what? Why would you do this?” She whimpered on the verge of tears. “Why would you kill them?”

“Because I had to, to protect Equestria.”

“Why!?”

“They were evil ponies, Star Bright.” She said softly and gestured toward the array and the unicorn's victims. “They had killed those ponies to fuel their dark magic. Magic that they had made so that it could only be stopped by killing them. They forced my hoof.”

“But... to kill them...”

Midnight squeezed her gently feeling her daughter trembling under her wing. “You have a gentle heart, my little Star. That's why I never told you what I sometimes have to do to protect Equestria. I wanted to be sure you were ready.”

“But why did you have to kill them!?” She exclaimed sounding almost frantic.

“There was no other way,” Midnight told her sadly. “And it was no less than they deserved.” She nuzzled her again gently. “I'm sorry you had to find out this way... I'm sorry you had to witness it for yourself.”

“You... you've killed before?”

Midnight nodded sadly. “This was not the first time I've had to take lives in order to protect the land I care for and the ponies I love. And it will not be the last. But I do not kill lightly or without reason, my little Star.” She lowered her eyes. “And I never forget the lives I have taken.”

Star Bright looked up at her with tears in her eyes.

“Walk with me...” Midnight said softly then turned and gently guided her daughter toward the nearest of the unicorns she had slain; one of those she'd pierced with her mane. “I don't know his name... but I know his face, and it will never be forgotten,” she said softly and then cast a spell. A red image of the unicorn floated up into the air above the body. It hovered there for a moment, then condensed down into one bright point of red. Similar ghostly images formed above each of the unicorns she'd slain, becoming points of red light that then gathered together in front of them.

“One crimson star for each life I've taken,” Midnight said softly. Then her mane stretched out in front of them forming a large star-field with thousands of stars visible throughout. And as it did, many of the stars shifted, becoming crimson as well.

Star Bright gasped. There were hundreds of crimson stars in Midnight's mane, and as the twelve new stars joined the rest, they were almost lost in the sea of crimson.

“Why are there so many!?” Star Bright exclaimed, horrified at the hundreds of stars she saw, knowing now what they meant.

Midnight closed her eyes in pain as she knew her daughter was questioning everything she'd ever believed about her mother. “Do you know what I did during the war of the Frozen Empire?” She asked softly.

Star Bright looked up at her. “I heard that you... that you defeated their leader; that you won the battle for Equestria. That you were a hero.”

Midnight shook her head solemnly. “I killed their leader, Star Bright. But in order to do so, I had to get to him first,” she said softly then a large portion of the stars brightened. “These are those that stood in my way...” One-hundred-seventeen stars were lit. Midnight knew the number all too well. “But after I killed their leader, I was horrified at what I'd done. I... I lost control of my magic; and in the chaos that I caused, all of these lost their lives.” She said and the majority of the rest of the stars lit up brighter than the rest. Three-hundred-sixty-two; another number Midnight knew well.

“You lost control?” Star Bright whispered, terrified that her mother could have killed so many without even trying.

“Yes, I was in so much pain. I was afraid that what I'd done had cost me all I'd had; that I'd lost everything for a second time. The world seemed so cruel, I just wanted it all to stop. I wanted everything to end. I wanted to world to end.” She shook her head sadly remembering the turmoil of that moment so many years ago. “It was your father that finally brought me back to my senses; who stopped me.”

She looked up at Midnight then. “Dad stopped you?”

Midnight nodded. “It was his love. He still loved me despite all I'd done. He understood why I'd done it, that I was trying to protect those I cared for. And he understood the pain; the guilt I felt for taking so many lives.” She looked into her daughter's eyes. “There are no heroes in battle, Star Bright; only victims. There's those that lose their lives, and those that are forced to take lives.”

She gestured to the crimson stars. “I keep these to remind me of the lives I've taken so that I'll never forget; never lose that guilt. But I also know the pain of that guilt.

“That's why I dedicated myself to doing whatever is necessary to protect Equestria, even if it means I have to kill from time to time. I know that as long a I have the support of those I love, I can endure the pain so that nopony else has to.”

Star Bright lowered her eyes for a moment considering her mother's words, then reluctantly nodded. “I understand...” She said softly.

Midnight embraced her tightly and nuzzled her cheek. “I hope that you're never put in a situation where you're forced to kill to protect something you care about. But that time may come; and when it does, I hope you'll be ready to make that choice.”

She felt Star Bright tremble under her wing. It made her glad that her daughter found the thought of taking another pony's life so terrifying, but she knew that the day would come when she would have to make that choice. Star Bright was an alicorn, and so immortal like she was. So Midnight knew it was inevitable; eventually, it would happen.

“I've got to clean up this mess,” Midnight said finally, letting her mane return to its normal flowing form, the crimson stars becoming white like all the rest. “And I'll have to move the bodies of their victims to the entrance of the cave so that their loved ones can come claim them...”

“I'll help,” Star Bright said softly.

Midnight looked at her a moment then nodded. “Alright, can you levitate the victims' bodies out to the entrance of the cave? I'll take care of the unicorns responsible,” she said and levitated the twelve corpses at once.

Star Bright nodded, and immediately lifted two of the bodies in her own magic. Tears fell from her eyes as she carried them toward the entrance of the cave.

Midnight watched a moment, tears in her own eyes as well. Star Bright would still take some time to recover from the shock, but perhaps once they returned home and she had a chance to talk with her father and perhaps her friends about what she'd seen... maybe then she'd be alright.

Finally she turned and took the bodies of the unicorns into a back corner of the cave. There, after quickly searching them for any clue as to who they were, she incinerated the bodies until there was nothing but ash. They may have been murderers deserving of death; but she wasn't about to leave their bodies to rot.

When she was done, she returned to the main chamber of the cave and helped move the rest of the victims out to the entrance.

“I've got them,” Midnight told Star Bright as she levitated the last few of the victims. Star Bright nodded and let her take them.

“What was the spell suppose to do?” She asked instead, walking over to the edge of the pit that the victim's blood had been draining into.

“I don't know exactly,” Midnight admitted, “but it can't have been good.” She turned to take the last few bodies out of the cave. Then Star Bright gasped behind her.

Midnight spun around again, terrified something had happened to her daughter only to find Star Bright had lit her horn and was looking down into the pit, her eyes wide. “Mom! There's somepony down there!”

“What!?” Midnight exclaimed relieved that she was alright but surprise all the same. She hadn't sensed anypony else, was it another of their victims?

“I think he's still alive!” Star Bright shouted.

Setting down the victims' bodies, Midnight galloped over to Star Bright's side and looked down into the pit as well. There was a pony down there, a stallion with a white coat and golden mane and tail; at least what wasn't stained red by the pool of blood he was lying in. What really made Midnight's eyes widen however was that this was no normal stallion; he appeared taller and more elegant than any stallion she could recall. What was more, he possessed both wings and a horn. An alicorn. The first alicorn stallion Midnight had ever seen.

She reached out with her magic and carefully levitated the stallion out of the pit, then used the same spell she'd used to clean the blood from her own coat to clean his and gently set him down on a clean section of the cave floor.

He was breathing.

“What did they do to him?” Star Bright asked.

Midnight could only shake her head. “I don't know. It feels like they drained his magic almost completely. That must be why I couldn't sense him before.”

“Who is he?”

Midnight just shook her head again. He seemed to be in poor condition for an alicorn. Thin and underfed, his body bore several half healed wounds. Most notably where the abrasions around his neck and ankles. He had been shackled for some time; and the mark around his neck was likely from an anti-magic brace. He seemed to have been recovering though; before the unicorns must have caught him anyway.

“Mom, his cutie mark!” Star Bright said pointing to it.

Midnight looked as well and saw immediately what had excited Star Bright. His cutie mark was a sun, with a crescent moon in front of it and surrounded by seven small stars.

Midnight looked at the stallion again, more curious than ever just who he was. He wasn't waking however. The unicorns wouldn't have wanted him to wake during their spell, she realized; they'd likely sedated him, probably with magic. Reaching out with her senses, she searched the stallion for a spell that may have lingered that was keeping him from waking.

It wasn't hard to find, and even easier to remove.

At first nothing happened. Then his breathing changed slightly and his eyes slowly opened. He blinked twice, not quite awake, then his eyes opened wide and he gasped as he seemed to remember what had happened to him.

“Easy, easy,” Midnight said gently restraining him as he tried to twist out of her grip and get to his hooves with all the strength he had left. It wasn't much. “It's alright, you're safe now.”

He stopped struggling for a moment and looked up at her. A flash of recognition crossed his face, but was soon followed by disappointment as if he'd mistaken her for somepony else at first. “Where am I?” He gasped. “Did I make it to Equestria?”

Midnight nodded. “Yes, this is Equestria.”

A look of relief washed over him. “What about my daughters? Are they alright?”

“Your daughters? Were they with you?” Midnight asked dreading having to tell him that there was no sign of them.

“No, my daughters here in Equestria! Are they alright?” He said again sounding annoyed and seeming to think that she should know exactly who he was talking about.

“I don't know who...” Midnight started only to have him interrupt angrily.

“My daughters! Celestia and Luna! Are they alright!?”

Midnight's eyes widened in shock. Could he really be Celestia and Luna's father? “They're fine, they're fine,” she assured him quickly to calm him.

He sighed in relief and laid back down. “Thank the powers that be...” He whispered, his voice weak.

Midnight stared at him a moment more then asked gently, “you're Celestia and Luna's father?”

“Yes,” he answered softly. “My name is Hyperion, but most use to call me the Father of Light.” Then, his mind set at ease, he drifted off to sleep.

Author's Note:

So there you have it, the introductory chapter to Midnight Star and the Father of Light. Hyperion of course is a name from Greek mythology, specifically the titan that created the sun and the moon. I thought it an appropriate name.

This will be the final story to feature Midnight Star as a primary character. She may appear again in a couple shorts or as a cameo in other stories afterwards but after this I'll be focusing on other stories and characters.

Comments ( 9 )

Welp, SOMEPONIES are behind the times. I wonder how Hyperion's return will be taken.

Also, I noticed that you have multiple times of using a semicolon where a comma should be, such as the closing punctuation for a quote, like here

“I don't know exactly;” Midnight admitted

I can go through it again and look for them, but I hope you keep an eye out for that.

4521848
Midnight and Wind you mean? :rainbowlaugh:

She's not always just giving commentary... Let's just say that the other Midnight considers the youngest of Wind and Midnight's children to be hers...

But yea, that could make an interesting slice of life story, the two of them getting use to each other. Obviously, the next story being 18 years later, they've had plenty of time.

4521930
Thanks for pointing that out, that first chapter was actually written months ago, I haven't looked over it in a while.

4521939 I think you ought to do a story in those intervening 18 years of Midnight, Wind, Midi, and any of their children getting used to Midi's presence. It'd help you keep the creative juice going when you're drawing a blank on After Midnight or Father of Light, and I think your readers would appreciate it as well.

And yeah, I meant Wind. :twilightblush:

4521958
Actually that comes up in The Father of Light. Midnight keeps her split personality a secret. When the other Midnight is in control around others, she tries to act normal. Wind does figure it out, but doesn't say anything and waits for Midnight to tell him herself.

Finally, I've finished reading this. Now I can review it!

An amazing story, thrilling to the end. It really needs more exposure. Maybe I'll think about advertising it on my Tumblr blog. The problem with that, though, is that my most popular blog is a character blog, so I'd have to have an in-character excuse to do so. The characers aren't very nice, though, so considering the violence and Midnight's original nature, it shouldn't be too hard to come up with something.

That being said, this story does have some very serious issues, and it is imperative that they be dealt with. Here comes the brutal honesty...

Every author has their strengths and weakness. For example, my strength is spelling and grammar, while my weakness is coming up with details. You are the opposite: you come up with amazing, vivid stories, but your spelling/vocabulary is terrible, and some of your grammar could use some work, too. Worse, the misspellings I see happen to form other words that do not belong in those contexts. Because they form words, most spell check programs won't be able to detect them. I've noticed that most people who make one of the errors I discuss in the next paragraph tend to make most (if not all) of the rest of them as well, so don't feel alone.

Let's start with the most widespread issues and work our way down. First off, there's the word "yea". This is an archaic word that is pronounced "yay" or "yee". The word you're looking for is "yeah", which likely evolved from the former. The second one that popped up often was "of coarse". The word "coarse" involves a rough surface, such as sandpaper. The correct phrase is "of course". Two other phrases you frequently erred with is "use to" and "suppose to", which should be "used to" and "supposed to", respectively. Then there's phrases such as "should of", "could of", "would of", and "must of". These phrases do not exist. They should be the words "should've", "could've", "would've", and "must've", respectively. This issue didn't pop up often in this particular story, but I did notice it when it did. I also spotted "aloud" being used where you should've used "allowed". There are also other, similar errors that I remember seeing throughout the story, but didn't pop up often enough for me to remember specifically.

Now for the punctuation side of the problem. I've seen many questions asked by the characters, but nowhere in your story did I see even a single question mark. Your apostrophe use was hit-or-miss: sometimes you got it right, sometimes you didn't. There's also issues with comma and semicolon use, but those can be confusing, so I don't often make too big a deal about them. I can let that go. I also spotted a few capitalization errors, where you didn't capitalize someone's title where it was displayed with their name. For example, "captain Valor" should be "Captain Valor". You got it right sometimes, so I'll be optimistic and assume them to be typos, in which case fixing it is simply a matter of being a little more observant.

Before you release the next one, you need to get a proofreader so that he/she can go through and correct the mistakes in each new chapter. Most readers feel a perfected chapter is worth the wait. I know I certainly do. If they're willing, maybe they can even clear up the mistakes in the first two stories. I really wish I could make an offer to do it myself, but I already have my hands full with proofreading for two other authors.

I look forward to your future (and hopefully gramatically-improved) installments in this ongoing saga.

4568146
Thanks for the review. I thought I got all the coarse/course mistakes last time I went through it, but I guess not. I've had that one pointed out to me before. :facehoof:

I'll probably go through my stories again now that I've finished the second of the series. Likely check over what I've done so far on my two WIP as well. I do usually try to make my own corrections, mainly because I find it helps me learn.

Part of the reason I started writing on this site was to improve in the areas you pointed out, so thanks. It's always good to know what I'm still doing wrong.

4719154 Hmmm.... I await the sequel.

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