• Published 13th Oct 2013
  • 4,256 Views, 147 Comments

Integration - Lullaby for the Bat Ponies - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



Long ago, before the exile of Luna, Equestria was home to six races, not just three. Two became corrupt, and the other vanished into the night. Now, the latter have been offered a chance of true re-integration. The bat-ponies will return in full.

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Prologue

One Thousand Years Ago
The War For the Red Dawn
Ancient Equestria


The sound of a thunderous gallop rumbled through flesh and bone. Torches dotted the night of a formally silent town.

"Watch yourselves! To your right!"

Cries.

"Everypony! Everypony - on me! We'll cut them off at the North Gate!"

Screaming.

"B-But why?! Why don't we just let them go?!"

Pitchforks.

"Yeah - after all that has transpired- they're really just going to let bygones or be bygones!"

Crossbows.

"She's right! It's us or them!"

...Fear...

"Then let's make this quick!"

Murder and passion and sorrow.

With eyes of rage, a unicorn wearing a black cloak led a throng of maddened ponies through the town of Sleepy Hallow, her wooden, archaic buildings lighting up one and one by ancient candles. The only thing left in the group's wake was blood.

To them: stolen blood.

In the distance, flashes of war illuminated a far-away Canterlot, but it wasn't the only place from whence the thunderclaps came. War was upon the entire nation... yet nopony seemed to grasp who was the enemy... and who was not.

For a young, greyish filly: a target seemed to be painted on her chest as she galloped ahead of the mob, her mother by her side.

"Mother - mother!? Why are they chasing us?! This is madness!"

"They think we're with the Nightmare," she gasped. "Part of her forces." She gritted her teeth, and almost as if forcing the words, continued with: "D-Do not blame them, though, child... f-fear and uncertainty dull the mind. They're evidence of this!"

The filly opened her mouth to further comment, but was cut-off by a sinister, thunderous voice.

"COMMENCE BARRAGE!"

The sound of twenty bow-twangs entered her sensitive ears.

"LEFT!" her mother shouted.

Without even thinking, she followed her mother in a dive into a nearby alley.

"Stay close - keep treading lightly!"

She trailed her mother down it, came upon a turn, took it and-

"NO!"

Found a fence in front of them two-hundred hooves ahead. They were cut off.

The filly shivered. "H-How do we depart!?"

Her mother glanced about, the gears in her head almost transparent as they twirled and clanked. Finally, she glanced upward.

"We take to the night," her mother growled - not at her daughter, but simply at the whole mess of a situation.

The filly glanced at her worriedly. "B-But you said-"

She shook her head, before kneeling down by her daughter and stroking her mane. "I know... I know I said we couldn't - but your mother isn't that old, you know. She is still a swift flier and an agile one at that. I just need you to flap your own wings like never before..."

The filly squeaked, glancing at her own black, bat-like wings with incredulity, each much smaller than her mother's.

"B-But I can't even hover, yet!"

"I just need the extra lift," her mother smiled, before nuzzling her. "I know you can do this. Come - do a few practice strokes - we don't have time to -"

Voices.

"In there!"

"Reload crossbows! Swords at the ready!"

"B-But... but that's Moonsong! She was my neighbor... we can't... hell, how could you even consider-"

"You heard the Prime Minister! They're working with the Nightmare! I don't like it anymore than you do, but the facts are against them. So show no mercy, for you will be shown none in return!"

The filly's mother shivered, took a deep breath to compose herself, and closed her eyes. "... May that fool live forever." She snapped her head towards her daughter. "Let's fly!"

"R-Right!" she squeaked, finishing her practice strokes as her mother scooped her into her front arms. A few majestic flaps of her bat-wings were all it took to kick herself into the air - as well as a multitude of dust.

"Try to wound if possible! It may be that the Nightmare has some of mental influence!"

"Aye - we'll take them for purging!"

The shadows of the mob grew nearer.

"I will not be purged of anything but this stupidity!" the mother roared, now at roof-level. "And I need no religion for that! Fly, Nectar, fly!"

"TRYING!" she cried, panting as her tiny wings multiplied to the regular eye. "WINGS! HURT! STUPID LACK-OF-CARDIO!"

The commotion of the mob grew louder...

The mother gasped as she glanced downward. The mob was right below them now.

"You! Stop right there, demons!" the black-cloaked pony snarled. "Do not make us ask this again!"

"Must be lovely having more sport, hm - Hellsing?!" she shouted. "You make us look like saints! I tried to think you were better than this, but I knew deep down who you truly were! You couldn't hide you lust for the hunt..."

The pony's eyes nearly caught fire as she hissed this. He raised his crossbow.

"That is not true! I trusted your kind, you know - gave you leeway!" he snapped. "I hunted only those who used their gifts as a curse - yet all this time we were deceived. Here we thought you were the guardians of the night - yet as it seems, you, like the traitor Luna, are merely the guardians of its nightmares!"

"We fought back because you struck first!" she cried.

"Lies!" Hellsing growled, the tears flowing from his eyes illuminated in the moonlight. "I will give you one last chance! Surrender and pray that the light holds sympathy for you."

He choked down saliva.

"P-Please..."

The mother merely glared at him. "And I will tell you where to shove it!"

The crowd murmured in disgust, training their crossbows at the slowly rising target.

"Come, Red Nectar... fly! Fly! Flap lightly!" her mother chanted desperately.

"C-Can't!"

She glanced down, eyeing twenty arrows pointed at the two of them - and he who stood the tallest, Hellsing...

His eyes could not look more haunted - more conflicted.

More regretful.

"I'm sorry... my darling," he whispered, closing them...

And then...

"FIRE!"

Their ammo ripped through the angry night.

The filly's eyes soon closed, as well as the rest of her senses. She was blocking out the world. It would all be over soon, anyway... it would be - she would wake up in her bed to a peaceful dawn, and this whole, terrible war of envy and fear and stupidity would never have happened.

...

Yet when the world finally came back in tune...

...


More flapping. The wind kicking at her sides.

This was not her bed.

...

Her eyes remained shut.

Voices.

"Rendezvous? I don't know of this..."

"Yes - in the Badlands. A group of Changeling rogues have taken pity on us."

Peaceful, familiar voices...

"D-Do they have food?"

"I do not know, young one..."

The third voice was new, but familiar. It was of another filly she knew, though not by name.

"The plan is to hibernate until this... situation's ferocity begins to dwindle."

A beat of silence. Only the wind let itself be known.

"... How long?"

"...Decades... maybe centuries... the Badlands do not have enough food for sustained activities..."

"Indeed."

At that, Nectar let loose a squeak, flinging her eyes open. "C-Centuries?!"

As she spoke, she managed to take a look at her surroundings. They were flying swiftly over darkened ground high above the tallest trees. Her mother was carrying her on her back, and beside her flew a male bat-pony with piercing red eyes, carrying the mentioned filly on his own back.

"I'm afraid so, young one," the male said solemnly. "Princess Luna has betrayed us all for the Nightmare, and we have betrayed by our own kin because of it! Wretched witch..."

"How could they have turned against us so quickly, though?" Moonsong said, exasperated. "Just twenty-four hours ago..."

"Twenty-four hours ago we didn't have the Prime Minister spouting anti-Noctus nonsense. He has always had it in for us."

"But w-why?" Nectar asked.

"I wish I could tell you, sweetheart," her mother whispered softly. "Those who dwell in the light are... confusing." She shivered slightly, shutting her eyes. "Your... father for instance..."

"He's not my father," Nectar huffed. She then turned and glared back at her home town - a town which she would never see again. "And these... these monsters! They are not my kin!"

She would not feel sorry about it, either.

Moonsong nodded slowly... wearily.

"Nevermore, dear... nevermore..."