• Published 27th Jun 2014
  • 6,116 Views, 68 Comments

In His Presence - Ocean Heart



Trapped in prison is quite the life...not much to worry about after you've done and plotted your revenge...so how does one pass the time? Maybe if he had visitors that he could converse with, at the least.

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What is the Right Answer?

Sombra ate regularly, the pale, tasteless meals that kept him going, the gritty water it came with forced down his throat by the same forceful hoof of the handmaiden veiled by a white mask. Golden colored eyes, petite form and soft grey fur, her mane always was tied up in a bun, nothing about her ever seemed to change. The mask was pure, pearl colored, a velvet mask of fine fibers stitched by hoof; it had a stain wrought from time by the left cheek, the grim and dirt looking rather sullen on what he saw as a fallen angel in this hellish pit. A personal fallen angel to tend to the demon wrought in chains and iron. Days would go by where she would not even dare glance at his face, hiding her emotions by getting her job done as quickly and as forcefully as possible; then there were days she felt so brazen as to look death right in the blood red eyes he had and give a soft, airy laugh. Something about the laugh wasn't insulting, nor was it meant to be; it felt like she was making a connection that she found humorous or ironic...and such was their relationship. Food, company, the occasional cleaning to prevent painful infections...she kept him alive...and oddly...he did not hate her for it.

Silent, humiliating and sometimes bleak; she looked upon a dead king and never flinched nor faltered. Sometime, Sombra pinned her as a mare who has seen enough death to mock a solider, other days...innocent as a snowy colored animal, hiding from the powerful gusts of wrath and ice brought forth by its broken master. He held a theory that she was not even alive, just another poor unfortunate soul.

When she was finished with feeding him, the mare did as she always does; taking up the used dish and making for the exit as fast as possible. Leaving Sombra to the bitter aftertaste of his imprisonment. The food settled unpleasantly in his stomach, soon, during his thoughts of the old tales of the Red Soul Eater; Sombra felt his gut gurgle and twist.

"That ditz of a mare..." he spat.

The food was prepared poorly once again, not that poor food was uncommon, but when it made him sick... those were the worst days. Deciding sleep is the only recourse, Sombra shifted around to put the iron cuffs and binds on different parts of his arms and legs until he felt air cooling off those normally trapped portions of the body, thinking fondly of his plan for revenge. Soon the light in the window faded until darkness took the room. Chains jingly softly and the sound of a soft drip coming from the window, it was raining outside...and even a broken king, sleeping pinned against a wall; could take comfort in the slow drip…drip...drip...drip, that sent a fresh smelling breeze into the cold, dark room.

Sombra let out one final breath, head resting on the neck brace and eyes closing...hoping to see his plan in motion from the freedom of his dreams.

_ _

Fire...

Fire, blazing black and green columns towering in the ash filled sky. The dark magic ran like a river of lava through the streets of the city, ponies fled and cried in horror; dots flew to the sky, wings burning like a flare...others sought shelter away from the city, bodies covered in dark red, postulating burns and deep, gushing scars. Some of the less fortunate run rampant in the streets, their flesh melting off the bone and screams of pain echoing for the world to hear and weep. The world wept...for the sins of the mother and lies of the children, in their grace...in that...infallible nature, they cast aside the problems of lesser creatures...a purple light shone down on the burning city and its charred citizens...it fell water, bitter, salty tears that rained upon the city but could not extinguish the pain and agony from its creator. Guards cooked in their armor, blooded boiled on the stony ground...the fire was nearly done. Buildings toppled and empires reduced to soot and ash, the sun would never be seen again, moon hidden in darkness...nothing but ash to turn the planet into a barren, frozen wasteland...everyday, the few remaining would wake up to breath the very air contaminated with the dead that linger in the air, a foal would walk across his mother’s smoldering corpse and scream in terror...others would tell it to hush, that it would be okay, that it is in the past...but he would scream...fallen in the snow of ash and tears flowing like a dam broken loose...screaming...

Screaming....

Screaming......

Who the hell is screaming so loudly?!

Sombra awoke with a jolt, his body was sore from the sleeping but he felt his chest hurting, somepony was screaming like they were having their eyes torn out...funny..he thought one day he might be subject to such torture...

Stop yelling...

"Sombra!!"

Princess Twilight barged into the cell, rushing to him with speed he had not expected to see from the mare, she quickly began to try and get his attention. The screaming was blocking any words she was trying to say to him...until he put it together, the look in her eyes, pain in his chest and the dream...

Sombra silenced himself after a few long moments of insane screaming, he brought himself back and out of the dream, unsure what to think. How long was he asleep...? How long had he been in such a state that she would be the one to discover him? Questions racked his fragile mind...

"Sombra! Sombra, can you hear me?"

He looked up and couldn't focus.

"What...?" He asked quietly.

"Are you hurt?" She asked, rapidly examining his body.

He watched her scan, unsure how to answer; but he wasn't dead...

"No. I'm not hurt. I'm fine."

An obvious lie, even he had a hard time trying to believe that he was fine. This place is going to take him soon...the realization was a disturbing one. Sombra took a few moments to collect himself, the sweat on his brow dripping down slowly and making the cool air from the rain wasted. Twilight found herself at a loss for words; how often had this happened? Sombra looked like he had seen death, screamed like his body was dipped in fire...she was running out of time...

Everything rode on her to save the broken king...to undo the horror of the past and remove the guilt that very well could haunt the mare for the rest of her life. After a few tense moments, she let out a soft sigh and sat down once again. Glaring at her in raw hate, no direction for the anger, no reason for his emotions, something inside him from the dream still lingered.

"Sombra...?"

With sudden and terrifying ferocity, his body lurched against the restraints and his eyes looked near feral in their bloodlust.

"This is your fault!!! Why won’t you go away! Leave me to just die here like you intended!" He bellowed, breathing rapidly and fighting against the iron with all his might. "You don't care about me! Not once have I seen an ounce of compassion like you so preach...no care...no anger...no confusion, pride. Just meaningless existence..."

Something in his heart began to spread ice back into his veins, the hatred for the world returning just as strong as it began all those years ago...but he was hoping for a reaction, fear or even hate....Twilight just looked at him with those big, pity filled eyes.

"Then tell me...tell me everything. I want to give you an existence again..."

Sombra was fuming, his joints were raw and neck bright red, nearly bleeding, he knew the anger was irrational; but he wanted to let it flow anyway, anything to take away the years of built up emotions...with reluctance, he sighed quietly and went back to his plan...gain her trust. Chains jingle, the sound of his moments echoing in the heavy air, the warm wetness of blood on his leg starting to build up where a cuff gouged into his skin during the rant.

"No. Leave my presence, I demand you leave and never return. The damage is irreparable..."

Twilight only sat there.

"What is there to explain?!" He shouted.

Sombra's glare had a physical weight that bore into her resolve, but she stood firm, silence winning over the exhausted stallion after a few moments as the silence made his skin crawl. With a heavy sigh, he lowered his head and spoke calmly.

"Fine...you want to know..." He stated with venom still dripping from his voice. "Before you were even a thought...long before...there was a war. A battle of the sky between pony and gryphon." The cool edge in his voice slowly turning to bitter remorse. "When the war came to the north, we faced it alone; the Crystal Empire and my city stood in the line of fire, so I gathered my forces and defended my walls. The Empire could stand on its own...when I called for help from the noble city of the princess, nothing but the bitter cold of the mountain came to my aid."

"So, you took your revenge..."

"I brought JUSTICE to the world...I sought revenge against the child calling itself a goddess. Celestia deserved a much worse death than she had." Lifting his head once more, Twilight could see the regret in his eyes; buried deep under the hate, she saw loneliness.

Twilight made no obvious reaction to the short tale; she knew he was leaving gaps in between...it makes things difficult when your opponent is just as cunning as you are. Sombra reflected on the thought as he stared into her, trying to pick apart a weak point to exploit. Nothing...not one flaw or falter showed on her face...just like Celestia. Sombra had to hide his shock when he realized that this was not just another alicorn; but he was speaking with the very student, the protégé.

The spiritual successor to the princess of the sun.

"I hope you make a better ruler than your mentor did, princess... "

Twilight hid the surprise well, her face just slightly giving away her emotions. Twilight's time was up, Sombra was holding too many cards and her situation was now on a timer with the breakdown; it showed her the real effects that this time has. Standing up slowly, Sombra watched her leave in indecisive silence; a small smirk coming to his face when he realized how well it all worked out in his favor. Insanity breeds sympathy, if he could work that angle...

_ _

Twilight walks up the dimly lit staircase and finds herself at war....

The idea of letting the broken king free so soon made her shutter that the possible outcomes that might transpire; but to leave him was a certain way to lose her only chance to redeem her herself...to redeem the entirety of the old goddesses. Celestia made a mistake...but she made it on the hopes of protecting the world from an evil she could not defeat. Something about him makes a true and final victory seem impossible; vengeance has kept him alive for so long, a hunger for his idea of justice...was she a villain his corrupted sense of right and wrong...?

Opening the door to the outside world, she felt the gentle coolness of a night breeze against her fur and spread her wings to let the heat and negative emotions float away through the feathers that shifted as she walked, shimmering colors against the purple sending a small glow about the rooms as she walked. Pacing the empty halls, thinking and listening to the soft echo of her hooves against the worn marble; she took a glance at her reflection when she passed a long hallway of glass windows; the worn and heavy eyes, gold chest plate bearing the element of magic, the sign of her kingdom, her mane long but flat, unlike the sisters, whose mane flowed on a ceaseless wind. In the reflection, she saw a mare she hardly recognized.

Stopping in a massive room, she finally had her thoughts silenced by the understanding of her decision. Deep down, she only wished her friends were around to help her; perhaps Applejack could...be a judge of Sombra's character, Fluttershy, his genuine regret...even Pinkie Pie could...

I can't slip into the past. Not again.

With a shaky sigh, she held her head high; action was needed. Standing around, trying to solve a simple puzzle like this would only further endanger her last hope. Time now was to make a choice, wait, and put him at risk...or go with her gut, and put all Equestria at risk. Thoughts of what kind of damage could come to the ponies that put their faith, the trust that was earned over years of trial...all of it on one decision.