• Published 14th Jan 2015
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A State of Darkness - Wing

An ongoing tale of original characters set in an Equestria with secret branches of the well-known guard corps, A State of Darkness revolves around the Wonderbolt DarkOps unit as it protects Equestria from threats both foreign and domestic.

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A State of Darkness - Installment 7 - Ashen Snows, Blizzard Haze

Trigger stepped onward without pause. His brows descended into a sculpted scowl as he drew a path through the onslaught of multicolored beams that flew from the unicorn triumvirate, but the stallion would not be denied. He reached the reinforced barrier and calmly brushed it aside with a single wave of his foreleg. The shimmering rainbow spectacle drifted into nothingness, leaving behind nothing but the lucky residue of a satisfied smirk upon the charger’s countenance.

He spun – as if suddenly possessed with the elegance of a dancer – and dodged the incoming crimson bands that sought the bounty of his blood. From my ever-changing vantage point, it appeared as if Erzsevine had succeeded in skewering the pony with her counterassault, yet Trigger remained unwavering. He pressed his hooves into the softened soil and moved through another blur of chaotic castfire without a scratch, nick, or sign of damage.

For a second, I pondered his less-than-subtle warning. We did know each other better than most, and the manner in which he meandered about the field of battle seemed utterly out of place for our resident dark horse. It was not until I caught sight of that quintessential grin that the pieces fell into place.

The sounds of the magical strikes had not meshed with the stallion’s perceptions of battle. The air did not howl with the frequency it deserved. That sense of adrenaline-induced anxiety was not emphatically marching down his spine. His fur did not pulse to the ever-jolting drive of pressure’s beat. Vormacht was toying with him, or at the very least, they believed he was duped by the charade.

His expression, however, ignored the tale that they had hoped to tell and replaced the script with a piece that could not be farther from the delusion of grandeur. Trigger was thinking – seeking out the one in the pack whose abilities highlighted a potential contender to the crown he unveiled only in the darkest of hours. Etching plans upon my mind, his look stopped me in my tracks with the tomes it hectically scribbled.

Wicked transpositions accompanied pivots about crimson bolts until amber cores glazed over for the thrill of the resolving chord. Something real had been found in the sea of the imaginary, and it was hard to miss the ripple of excitement that rolled along the tufts of argent and black.

Revelation perturbed his frame as he lunged for the navy blue stallion with surreal speed. With a snapping kick, Trigger whirled to buck the dreadmonger in the throat with his hind legs. He cocked the necessary well-built muscles and fired, pummeling Kinetic’s neck with a jarring blow that produced immediate effect. The presence of a caving spine was tangible, and a sharp crack teased and taunted the aural linings of his perked ears.

The crumpled body dissolved and quickly reformed as an animate colt that plunged his horn into the depths of Trigger’s exposed side. Arrogance ascended as the Vormacht lieutenant felt the blast of heated gore drape over his sorcerer’s appendage. “All that allegiance being pissed down the…”

“Brat, don’t kid yourself,” Trigger interjected to Haze’s surprise. “The stench of your shit magic is impossible to miss. I’ll give ya street cred where it’s due though. Ya can prod all the senses, but ya fucked up your own bone density… It kind of ruins the surprise.” The midnight steed performed his own vanishing act and reappeared unscathed before Telekinetic’s awestruck stare. Much like the sweeping arc of his clef, Trigger moved his horn into position and established the bassline he desired.

The rumblings of repressed powers surged forth in haunting strips of ghastly black that cast the glowing runic language of the unfinished upon the frame of the blue illusionist. Without delay, Ashen Mystic sprinted towards her second-in-command as stains of horror plucked the corners of her lips. She leapt upon Kinetic’s back, wishing without bound that she could yank him from the assembling cocoon before it was too late.

I watched as Trigger, Kinetic, and Ashen Mystic were engulfed by the hemisphere of abandoned wizardry. While the mare’s act of desperation had been driven primarily by intuition, I understood the full scope of what Trigger had done. He had reached into our youth for something to combat the dread. He had torn the manipulators away from their developing works of fiction. He had opted to give them a lesson in combat that they would not live to forget – if they lived at all.

Telekinetic Haze stripped the fog from his thoughts and glanced about the nighttime abyss. His gruff-talking opposition had faded into this artificial shade, a deed which left threads of confusion that he and Ashen both struggled to conquer. Furthermore, the relatively pleasant grass of the stadium had been usurped by a cold liquid that crawled several inches up his legs. The clammy brew carried with it the scent of ink, and the appalling sequence of connected sensations was only partially offset by the warmth of Ashen’s body that permeated his coat.

Her rapidly repositioning muzzle continually tugged strands of his fawn mane; it was a sign that she was also searching for those direly needed answers. The light of her archaeological augury raced over the infinite expanse before them. It could illuminate the history of this place. It could reconstruct the details of the enemy they faced. It could…

“That’s impossible…” her voice emerged as a weak whimper that barely managed to cross even Kinetic’s threshold of awareness. A few steps in front of the duo, a young filly peered with a pair of sorrow-laced vermillion cores. Ashen remembered that expression well. It was the one she wore when her family received the notice that she would not be admitted to the school for gifted unicorns. It was the beginning of her long path … the long path that inevitably led to this place – to this moment.

“How interesting.” Manifesting from swirling bands of amber fire, Trigger surfaced behind the Vormacht unicorns. “Out of all the things ya could have pulled from the Ocean, it’d be that,” he commented as an enraged Kinetic whisked around to confront him. His frosted eyes were consumed with a hatred that betrayed the coming castfire, and as such, Trigger evaded the attack with little expended effort.

“Don’t listen to his bullshit, Ashen! He’s just using second-rate magic to put thoughts in your head.” He knew that she was still eyeing the apparition even after he had turned. “He’s not worthy of his horn! There is no way a bucking appeaser could best me with a spell of deception! Do not let trash cloud your mind!”

Kinetic reared up and dropped the mare from his back before launching into an all-out advance. Globs of the murky sea flew from his galloping hooves as he closed the distance between himself and Trigger. His horn shined with the hell-bent glow of fermenting rage, from which he forged and flung serrated blades to quarter his prey.

Haze listened to the satisfying notes that followed. Deep, agonizing wails erupted from the obsidian stallion as the navy blue edges gouged whatever chunks of flesh they could. Red creeks trickled from the injuries to join the mighty ocean that coated this particular shithole. It was a savory juxtaposition that united such an unsightly dominion with a great victory. “You will release us, now.”

The torn stallion staggered forward and panted after dropping into the ink sea. He gritted his teeth for a few moments and clenched an eye shut as the scenery played like a triumphant melody to the boasting Telekinetic. Yet this opus was not meant to last. It ended abruptly when the annoying sounds of echoing laughter filled the space – and when Haze’s biting demand was retorted with the image of a slain Trigger gradually sinking into the depths from which it came.

Wielding a cerise scythe set upon a wrought iron staff, Trigger descended from above and drove the blunt end of the shaft directly onto the top of Kinetic’s crown. His amber irides sought nothing more than Ashen’s vermillion leer while he forced her officer’s head beneath the wavy tides of his unbridled strength. “Call them off.”

Straps of Trigger’s essence bound the navy blue stallion by wrapping tightly around his thrashing limbs. He struggled violently in the ever-constricting rheostats and tried to lift his head against the firmly held weapon. Frantically seeking air, he writhed beneath the imposing stallion for what felt like an eternity. The tempo of his pulse tumbled into a faster beat as his morale collapsed from its invulnerable pedestal to the grave of certain death.

“I told ya to call them off! Now!” Trigger’s words ripped Ashen’s psyche apart. He had allowed Kinetic to gasp for air for a moment before sending him back into the wretched void, but the fury with which he spoke made it clear that he would not allow Kinetic to live for much longer. The gravity of her situation was sinking in and tugging her in a plethora of directions.

They could not fail – not even in the presence of this endeavor-shattering obstacle. They had to put the fear of the superior race back into the hearts of those who believed in superficial equality. The ghost of yore behind her was evidence of that, and from that point on, things simply got worse. The mere fact that this traitor would stand in her midst and demand that she surrender sent a rousing chill through her veins. “Get up, Kinetic! Get up!”

Trigger gave the stallion another breath of air as he tossed his weapon upwards. He pushed his foreleg against the staff, torqueing the scythe in such a manner that the blade began a rapid decent towards Kinetic’s spine. He maintained his gaze upon the rosy mare and wondered what decision she would make. When the slightest bit of grief appeared on her countenance, he allowed the razor to slip safely beneath the stallion’s neck and used it as a prop to lift Haze unharmed from the Ocean of Reverie.

“Ya show compassion for your colt,” he spoke as the navy blue stallion coughed and wheezed, “but ya won’t order him to end the bullshit when you’ve already lost. You’re a smart bitch, aren’t ya? Ya leapt for him as soon as ya saw the runes, so ya picked up the truth somewhere in those deranged studies of yours. I’ll just save ya the damn hassle and get straight to it. Order him to stand down, or I will lop off his fucking head.”

Ashen winced as anamneses poured into her awareness. She had recognized the runes as an ancient practice that arose long before the time of Platinum. They were passed down through sects of the most skilled unicorns as marks of merit, and in some regard, she had used their existences to justify the superiority of her race. This stallion’s abilities, however, transcended what she had considered possible. They were supernatural – even in a world where magic was as common as air or water – and they terrified her. “What are you?”

The strained phrase was not what Trigger had in mind. He planted his hoof against Kinetic’s horn and inscribed a rune upon the hard appendage without a second’s thought. Shortly thereafter, the fallen unicorn was squealing as the fibers of his magical essence were severed from fate’s diction. “Perhaps, I didn’t make myself clear. I have no reason to show either of ya sympathy. In fact, I legitimately hate each and every one of your fucking group, and there is nothing that I would rather do than hack all of ya to pieces. But it just doesn't suit the occasion, so I'll have to improvise.

“Ya want to know what I am?” He lifted his hoof from Haze’s horn and gestured towards Ashen. “Then I’m going to have to collect a trade.” Trigger’s tone shifted into a low, serious burr for this overture. His torrents of ink desecrated the cathedral that was Mystic’s story and dragged tale after tale from the cesspool of her subconscious. Ghostly forms of the defeated unicorn roamed the darkened sea. “I am a creature of dream, one bestowed with the gift to wander through your reveries and nightmares.”

Tears flowered in the mare’s eyes as her focus drifted across the stages of her life. Those rough javelins of ice skewered her spirit more and more with every event she relived. Denied admittances, rejected applications, windrat favoritisms, dirttrodder affirmations – all such slights produced a broken, empty shell.

“Even now, my bucking demand is being usurped by the misplaced emotions these instances created. Yet, even given the vitriol they fueled, I guarantee that I hate ya far more for the shit you’ve done. Every dipshit battles hardship! Not every dipshit becomes a psychotic bitch because of it. Ya attacked my family. Ya stole the lives of innocents! And ya certainly devalued the only currency that matters.

“I wonder what it’ll take for ya to say what I want to hear. I mean, I’ve already pitched his defining trait to the curb because ya took too long. And that’s really just about the only worthwhile thing you’ve got going for ya; compassion’s got to be there because ya followed him to his death. But ya can’t just give it up – even with your best friend drowning in front of your very eyes. Ya despise us for doing our best to find a fit in this world – for finding love and friendship where ya chose to ignore it.”

A spark suddenly jumped from Trigger’s horn. Its blackfire blaze ignited one of the scenes – turning the ponies in the portrait into a batch of cinders that dissipated into the abyss. The memory evaporated from Ashen Mystic’s repertoire, taking with it the odious burden it had carried. One-by-one, the onyx sure-shot purged the archaeologist’s recollections until those budding tears fell like rain. She openly wept as the diminishing venom met the unaffected bastions of regret and guilt that had been buried by Vormacht’s zealotry.

“Stop it! Stop it!” she cried while slowly making her way to the pair. “Kinetic… it’s time to stand down.” The lieutenant dared not speak with his neck still resting upon Trigger’s scythe, but his gaze contained all that was needed. Part of him wished that she had let him die in that filth if it meant that she would remain the vision of purity she had always been; yet at the same time, he found her cradling embrace to be a welcomed reprieve from the reaper’s clef.

Trigger withdrew his weapon and began deconstructing the enclave. He had won what strategy deemed a necessity, and he knew that many would not grasp the rationale of his decision. “If ya try to run, I will not be nearly as merciful,” the stallion declared as the presence of Canterlot Stadium became more tangible.

He inhaled sharply as new information flooded his perceptions. The temperature had bottomed out as blizzard-like winds threw atypical drifts of snow atop the powdered turf. That horribly erected anti-teleportation field had disintegrated, and the sky had gone from its stunning blue to a dull grey. A familiar riff of neighs echoed across the heavens while my lyrics soared above the frigid choir to supply instructions. “I need Kix – ammo box three – shell one!”

Author's Note:

It turns out that in the middle of a two week vacation, plane flights are great opportunities to pour out some words. :) Enjoy!

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