• Published 20th Oct 2013
  • 9,076 Views, 249 Comments

The Tale of One Shadow - RadBunny



Sombra was a much more complicated pony than history lent him credit. The Crystal Heart having freed him from the clutches of his own creation, Sombra now tries to find his place in the world. But can he escape the shadow of the past?

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Chapter One: Fleeing Shadows

His dreams were fragmented, barely holding together. They all bore the same line of terror; the glimpses of what the demon had allowed him to view during the past millennium. For the first time in ages, Sombra finally had the mental willpower and means to contemplate what he had witnessed.

What have I done?!

Soft voices then penetrated his dreams, soothing his consciousness like silk slowly draped over a cold individual.

“Hey, sonny. Wake up.”

A nudge shoved Sombra to consciousness. The first thing that he noticed was that a cold sweat had plastered his mane and fur to his frame. The second, was that two crystal ponies- both male unicorns, stood over him. A short distance away he could glimpse a female and two young foals.

“That must have been some dream you had son.” The older and lemon-colored one drawled. He regarded Sombra with a curious and cautious gaze, while the younger cobalt-colored pony stood a pace or two back, a pickaxe levitated in his magical grip nearby.

“I-what? Where am I?” Sombra said softly. His deep voice wasn't the best at sounding meek, but he made the effort nonetheless.

“Crystal farm number sixty-seven, that's what our last ruler called it. My name is Zircon, about as creative of a name as this area is colorful. We named it Snowstop Point, and home too.” The older stallion said, sitting down on a rickety wooden chair. Sombra could now see that he was in a large barn- walls made from simple grey crystal and stone, and the door as well. It was lit by simple glow-gems, the light brighter than a candle, but not overly saturating.

“Pyrite, you can put that pick down. This one isn't hurting us.”

The younger-looking pony simply glared at Sombra, shaking his head rebelliously. A flicker of the eyes from Zircon, and Pyrite grudgingly lowered the tool.

“I still don't trust him.” The colt muttered, walking back to his mother, who shepherded the fillies outside.

Once they were alone, the aged stallion sighed, looking over Sombra with a surprisingly bright gaze.

“Now then. I didn't want to upset my family." Zircon said, levering himself out of the chair.

“The guards have already been called; they should be here soon. What I want to know, is why you had the head of King Sombra wrapped in his own cape. It's nothing but sticky shadow now, but I got a good look at it.”

Sombra didn't miss the slight glow around the pickaxe. This stallion was obviously not as slow as he had first suspected.

Shame on him for making such an assumption in the first place.

Sombra tried to stand, but collapsed, the cold sweat from his dream making his fur uncomfortably sticky.

“My name is Sombra. The head is of the demon I brought into this world.”

He tried once again to rise, and this time managed to stand, but barely. Sweat plastered his mane to his face, but his red eyes were narrowed with determination.

“It is the King you referred to. Not me. Even so, my actions caused this land to suffer.” Sombra said, collapsing to his knees as he looked up at Zircon now with an almost melancholy glow.

“If you have any desire to use that tool against me, all I ask is that you make it quick, even though such a death is much more than I deserve.”

The pick that had begun to levitate as Sombra stood dropped with a loud CLANK.

Zircon's face was that of utter horror and disbelief, the stallion shaking his head.

“What? I'm not going to kill you son. That is not my place to judge, lie or truth your tale may be.”

Sombra simply stared. What strange customs had infiltrated his land? If his mistake had been discovered, and the demon not vanquished, death would be more than a suitable punishment. Meddling in dark arts was not taken lightly.

One of many mistakes I made. If only I had listened to her.

A strange sensation blossomed on his cheek, but not at all unpleasant. He brought a hoof to his face, and upon withdrawing it, saw dampness.

Tears?

“Royal Guard. Zircon, please open the door.”

The yellow pony nodded, walking over to the heavyset metal door. He cast a pitying glance to Sombra before shaking his head and stepping out, two crystal pony guards taking his place.

And then-

Sombra's limbs began to quake, his subconscious mind processing what his normal thoughts were failing to comprehend.

“Guards. Leave us for a moment.” The voice rang out, clear as day, and as sharp as winter's bite.

The imposing figure walked over to Sombra, and looked down, shaking its head sadly as the guards left.

“Oh Sombra, I can only hope it is you.” Celestia whispered, her eyes bearing grief and worry.

He managed to gesture to the red cape with a toss of his head. Sombra was already flat on the floor, so bowing was out of the question. He had heard of the immortal being, but never seen her. She ruled the distant lands, and while allied with the Crystal Empire, their goings-on were not of top concern.

Until now.

“Your Highness.” Sombra said, his deep voice rasped out, ears lain flat in submission.

“I destroyed the Shadow. The remnants of it are in the red cape. I am at your mercy.”

The charcoal unicorn managed to kneel, then stand on shaking limbs- not as an act of defiance, but that of strength.

“Please, execute your punishment quickly. I wish to face my sentence standing.” Sombra said, a burst of zeal invigorating his voice, causing it to ring out across the crystal barn.

Celestia dropped the cape, having picked it up with her magic to examine in. Her eyes grew wide with realization- the only indicator of surprise. Her mouth was still set in the almost patronizing thin line-did she just smirk? Impossible.

Her power was renowned, as was her justice. Justice demanded payment, and Sombra wasn't going to hide from it. He brought in the creature that enslaved countless lives, until the vanishing and stasis spell hid the empire, only after Celestia and Luna banished him- it.

Celestia's wings unfurled, and the barn became alight with power, golden beams reflecting off the polished stones.

“Sombra!"

Her voice was like an earthquake, building in intensity and power, roaring out like thunder.

"For pursuing forbidden dark magic, and letting the Shadow into this world, I sentence you to death. This sentence is to be effective immediately."

Sombra closed his eyes, a set of tears trickling down his cheeks. They were not of fear, but of regret.

I am so sorry.

There was a cold burst of wind- and another voice pierced through the cloud of impending destruction.

“For risking your life to save those whom you love, and attempting to correct your mistake, we pardon your crimes.” Luna said softly, a caring smile on the alicorn's features.

The light from Celestia's horn dimmed as the two sisters stood side by side, simply observing the stunned unicorn's reaction, who only now opened his eyes.

“I don't understand.” Sombra said, collapsing to a kneeling position. He had heard even less of Princess Luna, but what little he did know, she had always been impulsive and harsh with punishments. Yet she intervened?

No, Celestia would have protested. She knew.

“You know what history has written, Sombra, that of terror and suffering. Now let me tell you what we know to be true, the story of Sombra, not King Sombra.

We saw a caring guardspony make a grave mistake. Upon realizing that mistake, he lay down his life in trying to destroy his creation. Thou made- You tried to make amends. In any code that has ever existed, to do so with one's life at stake is worthy of pardon.”

Luna's voice finished echoing off the walls, and all Sombra could do was look up with pleading eyes.

“I-What do I do now?” The question left a shameful impression on his mind as it left the guardspony's lips. It was pathetic, posing such a question to rulers, but what could he do?

What can I build up, when so much has been destroyed?

“Ponies will recognize you, hate you, revile you, perhaps even try to take your life- but the latter we shall try to prevent. Your punishment will come in form of the coming years. A royal decree will be issued, but that will not ease every heart. You will have to rebuild your image in the empire. That alone is more than enough punishment for your mistakes, all of them. The only stipulation we place upon you is to never again use dark magic. You know what small experiments lead to far too well.”

Celestia's decree resounded through Sombra's mind and heart. He almost couldn't believe it.

Almost.

“You will report to the Prince and Princess who now rule the Crystal Empire- Shining Armor and Cadence respectively.”

Princess Luna now took over, a strange look of understanding in her eyes.

“They have been instructed to jail you for a time. We know of the guilt that inhabits the heart of those who have wronged." Luna appeared to drift for a moment, then snapping back to attention.

“They will conduct your habitations and job. We have told them everything we know, but it is their kingdom, and you will be under their rule. Are we clear?”

Sombra nodded slowly, eyes shimmering with tears composed of a plethora of emotions as he looked to his hooves, unable to meet the alicorn's gaze.

“Yes, your highness. I-Thank you. I feel unworthy of being spared.” He said softly.

His head was lifted by a regalia-clad hoof, and Sombra found himself looking into Luna's eyes.

“Never think that a pony is beyond being spared. Never think that-no matter how hard it is.” Luna's own eyes appeared to be watering before she turned away.

“We will speak again Sombra. We apologize in advance if any of Shining Armor or Cadence's precautions are strict.”

Luna's voice drifted off, and the two sisters were encased in a multi-colored bubble.

“Good luck Sombra, and welcome back.”

They then flashed from existence, leaving Sombra alone- at least until two crystal guards strode in. Sombra didn't even feel the magical restraint they placed on his horn, or the strange gem they stuck to his fur. All he could do was try and comprehend his situation. So many questions.

The world then vanished as he was yanked from the barn, the teleportation spell activating.

Author's Note:

I don't know what to say, other than thank you all for the kind words and favorites!
I've had LOADS of people favorite! I apologize for not replying to each one, but please know that I appreciate each and every one of you!
Thumbs up are loved, especially if you fav'd but not necessary =)

Please let me know any and all feedback, especially if you feel it is downvote-worthy. I am always seeking to improve!
On that note- I still need a proofreader....

I will try to make the chapters longer in the future =)