• Published 8th Apr 2014
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Shadow's Enigma - Note Sketch

With his dark past heavy on his mind, Sombra is put to the test as he begins a reformation process. Though his mind is no longer crowded with the influence of dark magic, his heart is none the lighter. Let the test begin.

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45. Fall of a King, Rise of a Tyrant

With a joyful hymn, Agatha moved through the corridors of the the Crystal Castle. It was a daily routine that she had grown to love. As the adviser to the King, she had gone up from being just a librarian, and though she loved working in her precious library, she also loved seeing Sombra each day to see how he was doing.

On her head she carried a tray decorated with a homemade breakfast, no doubt the benevolent king had nothing to eat before getting to work. Reaching her destination, the old librarian couldn't help but smile as she took a deep breath. Turning around and opening the door with her back, she quickly made her way through to see exactly what she expected to see.

The room was in darkness, only a dim candle illuminated the place. On his desk Sombra sat as he read through some documents. The curtains were shut, leaving the whole area in an unnatural black cloak, though it was almost second nature for the King to bathe himself in such an atmosphere.

"No sleep again last night?" Agatha asked as she made her way to his desk. Without lifting his eyes from the papers in front of him, Sombra responded as he flinched at the sun when Agatha pulled the curtains to the side.

"I'll get some sleep when I'm done with these treaties." He said as he levitated the glass of juice his friend has brought in. Taking a sip, he finally put the papers down and organized them.

"You say that, but as soon as something else comes up you'll have your mind set on it and go another night without rest."

"I promised Diane-"

"That you would give the Crystal Empire a better life. I know, there isn't a day that goes by that you don't remind us all about that." Agatha said with a smile. Quickly taking the documents before he had a chance to stand up. "I'll take care of this, don't worry."

"Thank you." Sombra said, a little relieved about finally having a moment of peace. Looking at the tray on his desk, his mouth began to salivate from his lack of nourishment. Clearing this throat in order to keep his composure, he began to eat.

"I know you mean the Empire well, but we don't want to lose our King to starvation or exhaustion. Why don't you take a day off?" She asked as she began to make her way out.

"You'll lose a King alright. I am only doing this so I can resign from my position with a peace of mind that the Empire won't crumble without me."

"Yet another thing a day doesn't go by that you don't say." Agatha said with a wink before leaving the room.

Sombra couldn't help but show a little emotion in his smile. It has been a few months as his term as King began, a term without any real end. The council ponies had left a certain loophole to their proposal that he had missed. They had said he would stay king until the Crystal Empire did not need one anymore. In short, it means that he can't resign until there was no problems left in the Empire for him to resolve. But with the war and the construction, things were always in need of him, that's without mentioning the day to day problems that arise.

"What a headache." Sombra said as he slumped on his desk. His meal done, and his body tired, he allowed himself some much needed sleep. A soft sigh escaped him as he drifted off into slumber and though he himself was peaceful, the darkness around him was not. As if something was stalking him from the shadows, a low hiss was heard getting ever closer and closer though only staying in the dark, the light from the window keeping him 'safe' from them.

A loud knock at his door jolted King Sombra awake. Shaking his head to get himself fully awake, Sombra made his way to the door where the noise was coming from.

"King Sombra." A guard said as the door swung open. "You are needed by the barracks, we have word that some pony spotted a Changeling!"

With a quick glance to his window, Sombra realized that he hadn't had more than a few minutes a sleep. With a weary sigh, he looked at the guard. "Take me to them."


"I swear, I saw it right over there!" A guard shouted out, pointing his hoof to a corner on an alley. Wearily, Sombra made his way to the spot and began to look around. He sniffed the air and with a calm voice responded.

"There was no changeling here."

"H-How do you know? He could have just run off we need to-"

"There was no changeling here." Sombra said again, this time more bold and loud. "I spent most of my life in the Crystal Empire sniffing out changelings, I've done battle with thousands upon thousands of changelings, do you really think I don't know when there has been a changeling around?"

The guard shrank in front of the tall stallion now staring down at him. His eyes cold and leering over his very soul. All were quiet, not really wanting to dispute him on the matter, not that he was wrong. Sombra had in fact done as he said, and he had never been wrong when it came to these things.

"I'm sorry. I was out of line."

"I'm glad you came to your senses. Now back to your posts!" Sombra shouted as he began to make his way out, many guards began to surround the one cowering in fear, though every pony thought Sombra was justified in what he did, a wave of guilt went over him when a spark of flame was ignited by the soldier's fear of him.

"Why did I lash out like that?" He asked himself as he walked. "Maybe I'm just tired...Been working myself too much. Perhaps Agatha was right..."

So lost in thought he was, Sombra did not notice a child come to him. Only when he was toe to toe with him did he realize there was some pony around. Blinking repeatedly as he was brought back to reality, Sombra looked down at the small colt.

"King Sombra?" The colt asked out.

"Yes child. Is something the matter?"

"I just wanted to thank you. You managed to convince the council to help rebuild my house, the one that was destroyed during an attack."

Remembering what the kid was referring to, Sombra nodded. "Yes, the council didn't think we could spare the funds, but I made them see the light. They know that as King, what I say goes." Sombra said once again, beginning to walk off again.

"Yeah!" The colt said as he began to follow him. "I was there when you screamed out to them. It was funny, though a little scary."

"That's good."

"Why is that good?"

"Fear gives me power. You want a strong king do you not?"

"So we should be afraid of you?"

Sombra suddenly realized what it was that he had said, looking down at the confused colt, he took a moment to gather his thoughts. "No no, of course not. I am simply saying that...well...sometimes I need to exert my command to get things working. And sometimes that ends up feeding me some energy to use. No pony should fear me, I am here to help, I always will be."


Again Sombra was caught off guard. Why did he say 'always'? Since the very beginning he had had the mind set of resigning as soon as he could. He couldn't possibly be saying he wanted to rule for all of eternity now did he? Thoughts began to cloud his mind, he was contradicting himself left and right. It was truly frustrating for him.

"Yes, I will help whenever I can, King or not."

"But I like you as king."

"But I won't always be king!" Sombra shouted, though he did not realize he had raised his voice until he once again felt his eyes flicker in a small flame. Slowly backing away, the colt looked afraid as the shouted scared him.

"I...I have to go." The king said before walking off in a hasty manner. He quickly made his way back to his castle. The castle, it wasn't his, it was just a temporary place of living. Right?

Pushing all his thoughts, questions, and doubts into the back of his head, he rushed over to his office, being careful to avoid every pony on the way. He did not want to speak with any pony, he didn't want to shout and scare some pony again. Quickly going into his office and shutting the door behind him, Sombra found himself alone in the dark recess of his room.

"What is happening to me?" He asked himself, shocked by his actions, but perhaps what shocked him most, was hearing an answer.

"You're taking charge." A voice called out from behind him. Quickly jumping to face him, he was in awe to see another stallion that looked exactly like him. "I am taking charge."

"Who are you?" Sombra asked out, not really in the mood for games. There was no scent of a changeling, so unless they found a way around the smell they give off, what was in front of him was real, but that couldn't be.

"I am you, King Sombra."

"No, you're not. I am King Sombra."

"We look alike, sound alike, even call ourselves by the same name. Using simple logic any pony would say we are the same pony, no?"

"There can't be two versions of the same stallion. One of us is the fake, and it clearly isn't me."

"There isn't a 'fake', we are the same stallion." His double said. Sombra was even more baffled than before, but suddenly something clicked in his head. Something that added some clarity to the situation.

"I'm hallucinating..." Sombra said. "I haven't slept in days. This must just be hallucinations."

"Very astute. By logic alone, that makes sense too, doesn't it?"

"Why are you saying it like that?"

"Like how?"

"Like if it was debatable."

"Because you yourself aren't sure. By default, I am not either. After all, I am you."

"Stop saying that!" Sombra shouted out. "We are not the same!"

"And why do you keep saying that?" The other Sombra asked out. The answer was suddenly stuck at Sombra's throat. Truth be told, the Sombra standing in front of him looked....terrifying. They couldn't be the same, if they were, that meant that he too looked terrifying. "This is rather pretty." The doppelganger said as he walked over to his desk, reaching for a small red crystal.

Quickly Sombra conjured a crystal spear our of the ground, keeping him from touching the crystal on his desk. Though the other was shocked at first, his calm demeanor returned when he looked back at the panting dark stallion.

"Why the aggression?" He asked almost sarcastically. "Your answer of whether I am real or not could have been answered in an instant based on whether I had been able to touch an object or not." He said with a grin. "Or are you perhaps so afraid that I might be real that you'd rather not know?"

"Silence." Sombra said he tried to stand up tall, but he was dizzy and tired. His sleep deprivation was starting to take effect on him. "You will not touch my anchor."

"Your anchor? And what, pray tell, is that?" He asked, a grin still on his face, a grin that only annoyed Sombra more and more.

"I look at it every morning to remind myself of the promise I made to Diane. If you were me, you would have known that."

"Are you trying to prove I don't exist?" The Sombra said as he banished from side, as if becoming smoke his image slowly faded away. "But I am very much real. I live in you, I am you."

"Enough!" Again Sombra shouted, his temper past its end. Completely throwing away his stoic persona, Sombra looked around the room in an angry fashion, searching for the impostor. A cold chuckle was heard from behind the door, and at once Sombra bashed through, breaking it apart as if it was nothing more than glass. Once outside he again looked around only to run towards another laugh's origin.

As he ran through his the castle, he found himself running along side some windows. Though he did not take notice at the time, it was night time. Something was was strange considering that it really hadn't been that long since he had returned to his office. It wasn't like he cared at the moment. In a nightmarish rage, he ran and ran, continuing to look for the other Sombra. Passing a corridor, he glanced and saw something that looked like him. Not thinking twice, he shot a bolt of energy towards the figure.

In a loud crack, the figure was down, though Sombra was not yet satisfied. Walking over to it to 'finish the job', he was disappointed to see it had only been a painting of himself. A portrait that had been done not too long ago.

"Are you alright? You don't seem like yourself." The voice called out from the dark. Forgetting about the painting Sombra once again began to gallop further into the castle, only to come face to face with a room decorated with more portraits of him.

Panting, Sombra took a few cautious steps in as he searched around the room.

"Still think I'm a fake?" A figure in a painting asked. At once Sombra shot it down.

"I should really watch my temper, I don't want to frighten my subjects." Again it was shot down.

"Or do I? I mean, fear does give me power, and I need power to do a good job as king. Surely I can take a few steps to insure I do a good job in the role I play here." Again, shot.

Sombra, the real Sombra, was panicked and paranoid. His eyes were wide open and filled with hate towards...himself. The mocking laugh of his portraits did not help in the matter. Using all of his power, Sombra summoned spear after spear of crystal to destroy the laughing images of himself.

The room held no more portraits, but the laughing persisted. After all, there were other paintings elsewhere in the castle. The laughing only echoed louder and louder within his head, making it hard to even hear his own thoughts. In an aching scream, Sombra ran. He ran and ran. To each and every room in the castle, looking and destroying any and all portraits he had of himself. Each one he found was laughing, was mocking him. Was...scaring him.

Was that really him? Was he really mad? He didn't know. He didn't want to know. All he wanted was for the nightmare to end. For the laughing to stop, and for everything to go back to how they used to be.

Finally the evil laughs had come to an end after Sombra skewered the last painting. Tired- no, exhausted, he slowly made his way back to his office. Back to that red crystal that he had come to cherish so. But as he passed over the broken door to the room, he was frozen in place. The red crystal was gone.

No pony had been here, no pony except himself and...the doppelganger. That meant...that meant that he had indeed touched it. And that he was indeed real. So...was everything he said true? Was he really him? Was he really that terrifying stallion?

Brought to his knees, Sombra was lost in words. He didn't know what to do, what to say. He tried to speak but nothing came out. Nothing but tears. What was going on? A question that plagued his mind over and over again. A question he didn't have an answer to.

His heart ached. He couldn't explain it, but as he once again opened his mouth, a scream of horror and pain escaped him. It was as if that scream has been trying to get out for a long time, and now that it did, it was so loud, so powerful, so heart felt, that every pony in the Crystal Kingdom heard.

Sombra didn't care. He didn't care about anything right now. What he wanted as that red crystal, so without hesitation he forced out his dark magic. His eyes in a purple blaze he began to conjure out his infamous red crystal. He didn't shape it in any particular way, but rather let it roam and grow freely in the room. Soon the entire place was covered in red crystal, every inch of the floor, and every wall, and every corner. All in red, all in a natural spiky formation.

Now that he laid in this room, his reflections stared back at him. He expected them to laugh, or perhaps have a few words to say. But rather than that, they did nothing. They just stared back at him. Quiet. So very quiet.


"Sombra?" A voice called out. "Sombra!?"

Slowly the King began to open his eyes, gently lifting his head from the cold crystal ground he had used as a bed.

"Sombra, what happened?!" Agatha asked out as she came to his side.

Sombra had heard her, but the words had not really registered in his mind. Instead, he was more focused on the beautiful red crystals that rested all around him. They shined and sparkled so graciously. It was a spectacle to behold, it was hypnotizing almost.

"Sombra? Are you alright?" Again she asked out, trying to shake him of his daze.


"Oh thank goodness, what happened, we all heard a scream, I thought-" Agatha's sentence was interrupted when Sombra placed a hoof to her mouth, telling her to be silent.

Without breaking his focus on the red crystal, a twisted smile spread across his face. A smile that terrified her. His voice was slow and cold. It was as if his tone had drastically changed as the crystal surrounding added a disturbing echo to it.

"I like these crystals. Open mines. I want more."


Years went on. At first Sombra's requests were strange, but doable. Ponies would excuse his actions, stating that he deserved a little freedom and some selfish requests since he had done so much for the Crystal Empire. But over time, it became very apparent that Sombra was no longer thinking about the Empire. All he wanted was power to take on any fight on his own, and crystal to relish in when he returned from said battle.

Though he still held a conscious for a while. For a while Sombra pondered on destroying the Crystal Heart, doing so would cause the Crystal Ponies to writhe in fear, a fear that would surely feed him power. He refused, however, to do so. It was far too much of a sacrifice, but somewhere deep within him he knew that the day would come where he might act upon this desire. Taking the right steps to prevent this, he made a secret passage where he hid away the Crystal Heart. Locking it behind a door bind by light magic, a magic that he did not posses. It was safe from his hooves...for now.

To take his mind off the heart he demanded more and more crystals, the precious crystals that he though so beautiful and grand. He didn't care who opposed him in his quest, they were all shackled and thrown into the mines. A fate that soon every pony faced. His terror soon spread as he began to expand his empire farther out to mine even more.

The word of Sombra's reign soon reached the ears of those in Canterlot, and with it, the ears of the Royal Sisters. They who had brought harmony to the land by defeating Discord, took it upon themselves to bring Sombra's Tyrannical rule to an end. Armed and prepared for war, Celestia and Luna marched their army to the Crystal Empire where they faced off against Sombra.

They had expected to face an army, but instead they found just one pony. One very powerful Unicorn. His power had grown exponentially since his rule had begun, and now had no problem at all tearing apart the Royal Army single hoofenly. The sisters soon realized that they needed to fight him head on. And so they did, armed with the Elements of Harmony, they charged forth to defeat him.

"Kneel!" Celestia shouted as she flew straight for Sombra who chuckled at her. Throwing himself with a crystal pillar, he dodged her with plenty of time to spare. Luna also tried to attack, but her attack too was futile on him.

"You call yourselves Goddesses? Ha! I could take you on with my eyes closed. Perhaps I should change my name to Sombra, God of All." He joked. Though they knew he was just taunting them, they felt like he wasn't lying. For a whole day cycle Both Luna and Celestia had tried to defeat him, and all day he managed to fight back, both of them. No doubt had it been a one on one, Sombra would have won.

"Hold thy tongue!" Luna shouted as she sent out a beam of her night magic. An attack that was reflected when Sombra shielded himself with his red crystal.

Celestia tackled her own sister to get her out of harms way, a pattern that had repeated many times already, and also a role she herself was caught in as well. Sombra had an impenetrable defense. What he could not dodge, he would block with crystal, what could not be blocked was reflected. It was impossible to even land an attack on him.

"Enough Luna, let us use the Elements." Celestia said as she helped her sister to her hooves.

"We should not. Lest we have a clear shot, our opponent will evade." Luna responded over the laugh of Sombra who was staring down at them from a pillar way up high.

"Sombra seems sure of himself, I am willing to bet that he will take the attack head on hoping that his red crystal will be able to reflect it."

"And if it does?"

"The power of Harmony is the strongest in all of Equestria. If his red crystal is stronger, than we did not have a chance to begin with."

Looking up at Sombra, the beaten and bruised sister held a face of determinations as they took flight. Taking out their Elements, they prepared to attack.

"Again? When will you learn that I am more powerful?" Sombra asked, sure of himself.

The sister took no mind to his taunting. Instead they came close as the Elements of Harmony began to spin around them. Their eyes glowing white, a rainbow slowly formed around them before beaming up and slowly arcing down towards Sombra.

Sombra still smiled as his eyes bursted into flames. His red eyes irises faded into the green of his eyes as darkness surged out of him. In a shout he sent out an attack of his own that clashed against the rainbow beam. The two blasts struggled to push the other back.

The struggled persisted for a while, and soon Luna and Celestia began to doubt in their strength. A seed of doubt that sparked fear in their hearts, fear that fed Sombra's power. In a chilling laugh, Sombra pushed all of his strength into the blast, soon beginning to overpower the strength of Harmony.

Though something strange happened. From the light the rainbow beam was creating came a whisper. It was hard to hear, but it managed to catch Sombra's ear.

Sombra...you mustn't...

The soft voice said, and soon Sombra lost his momentum.

"Diane?" He asked out, completly shutting off his magic, and began to be covered in the burning light of the sister's attack. He was still conscious, he was still able to fight back, but as he struggled to bring out his magic once more, again the whisper entered his head.

You can't win this fight, if you do you will doom all of Equestria, you know that don't you?

Diane's voice said.

"Diane!?" Sombra asked out, his memories of her beginning to flood his mind. "Diane, I- you." He said, but not able to put a sentence together. Then suddenly he remembered his promise. His promise to bring a better life to the Crystal Empire. Slowly looking over at his empire, he saw it dark and broken. He saw it battered and in desolation. That promise had had made, had been broken long ago. With an expression of disgust of himself on his face, Sombra allowed himself to be pushed down into the ground, into the icy ground where the intensity of the Harmonic blast began to bury him.

"I am so sorry Diane..." He said as he reached out to the empire. "I....I need to fix this..."

In one last attempt to pull himself out, to try to reach for the empire, his dark magic began to consume it. Slowly banishing it along with himself. Buried deep into the frozen ground. And there they would rest for a thousand years. There they would lay in waiting until one day, the empire was called back out by a force of nature, and with it, the Tyrant Unicorn King of the Frozen North.


Sombra began to open his eyes a a light ray shined over them. Coming to his hooves, he looked around to find himself on top of the Crystal Castle. It was sunrise, and with it came the last few hours before Twilight's attack on Equestia. An attack that he was now able to defend against. Lifting his hoof, he saw darkness spark out from him, the darkness that at one point was able to fight off the Elements of Harmony now flowed inside him.

Behind him laid the broken glass of the vase in which this power was hidden away. It was small, but it created a reflection of Sombra. He didn't notice, but that small reflection held a sickening smile. The same smile that the Tyrant of the Crystal Empire once held.

Somewhere in the back of his head Sombra knew that the other 'him' was there, stalking him, leering at him and waiting for the chance to attack.

"Things are different this time." Sombra said out loud. "I will not waver. Real or not, I will not lose to you. This time, I fight to protect Equestria, to protect those I care about. This time, I am Sombra, The Reformed."

The smiling reflection began to fade away, leaving Sombra behind. Placing a hoof at the edge of the window frame, he jumped. There was much to do, and he did not have time to take the stairs. It was time to make his entrance. It was time to prepare for war.

Author's Note:

With this, now all of Sombra's Past is now revealed. I will open up a Q&A Blog here. If you still have any questions about him, feel free to ask. This is also open for as long as I still use a fimfiction account, so if some one reads this ten years from now and decides they wanted to ask something, go ahead and ask. It will be my pleasure to answer you :twilightsmile:

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