• Published 30th Sep 2015
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Equestria Divided - Nightmare Darkness



The times are dark when the land is ripped apart at the disappearance of the sisters. Everypony seems to be out for themselves even the mane six have split to form thier own houses. Equestria is Divided and needs hope again, only who will it be?

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Bandits

Pipsqueak, Summer 11,14 ASD



The group had been walking for a day and a half to Redhearts Refuge. Pipsqueak had planned to stay with the ship, but Speedsilver goaded him into accompanying the large group of slaves and nurses. He had gotten fifteen of his own crew to come along to defend the caravan from bandits and beasts. The journey often only took a day, but this time the going was slow. The former slaves were still weak from the conditions in which they were transported.


“Pipsqueak.” He heard his name said, which pulled him away from his thoughts.


“What?” he asked, slightly perturbed.


“You sure you want to go down south? Nopony knows what’s it’s like down there,” Speedsilver said, attempting yet again to sway their course.


“It’s important we take a look,” he said, assured, but the look on Speedsilver’s face didn’t seem convinced.


“You mean your gut says it's important,” she accused, but she wasn’t wrong.


“Say what you think, but that’s what we’re doing,” he said finally which caused her to sigh and look out at the woods. They were passing just on the inner edge of White Tail woods. A notorious group had been known to be active in these parts, run by a pair of pegasi named Hoops and Dumb Bell, and a group this big was all too hard to pass up.


“Boss!” he heard somepony raise an alarm. Pipsqueak looked up to see one of his earth pony crew pointing up at the sky, and he saw an outline of four pegasi. They circled the group at a safe altitude before flying deeper into the forest. Pipsqueak cursed to himself before he saw Junebug trotting up to him with a grim expression on her face that surely matched his own.


“We need to get off the road,” he said, but she shook her head.


“There are too many of us. We have to push forward. We’re at least 2-4 hours away from Redheart's Refuge,” Junebug said, showing frustration.


“We cannot fight off an entire band of bandits, Junebug. There are too many to protect.” He looked around and his eyes found one of his pegasus crewmembers, Cloudstriker.


“Cloudstriker! Come here,” Pipsqueak said, and the dark blue coated, maroon maned and tailed stallion jogged up to him.


“What’s up?” he said, but Pipsqueak could tell he was on edge from the flyby of the pegasus scouts.


“I need you to go to Redhearts Refuge and get reinforcements,” Pipsqueak ordered which caused Junbug to shift uncomfortably.

“I hope you can fly fast,” Junebug said, to which Cloudstriker smiled confidently.

“I’m on it,” he said as he took to the sky and flew ahead of the group losing sight of him in moments.

“We need to get the group moving to a better defendable position.” Pipsqueak said as Junebug and Speedsilver went about giving orders. He guessed that the bandits would be on them in at least an hour if not sooner. The mass of refugees was becoming panicked as the word spread that bandits would soon be on them. Moving them along some of the refugee mares and stallions began to take up more leadership roles to calm the crowd as they came close to a cliff with a cave. Pipsqueak looked at Speedsilver and gestured to the cave and she understood his intention. She grabbed the attention of three others; one unicorn and two earth ponies, and quickly approached the cave to investigate. The small group disappeared into the dark mouth. For a moment everything was fine till the sound of Speedsilver’s hoof cannon echoed from the cave with the sound of curses and shouts.

“You five stay here and defend the herd rest of you with me!” Pipsqueak barked as he pulled out his sword with his teeth and charged into the cave after Speedsilver. He was the first into the cave after them and discovered what the fuss was about they had stumbled into a timber wolf den. Five of the buckin things were eyeing the Speedsilvers group barking and growling. One of the earth ponies was dead while the other was severely injured. The crew behind him caught up and he sheathed his sword.

“Make torches! We’re going to burn em out!” he ordered. Three or four of his crew left and came back with bundles of torches that were in the wagons. They began to light them as several others with spears advanced and retrieved Speedsilver and the two others. The Timberwolves snapped at the spears but remained defensive. As the torches were passed around Pipsqueak grabbed one and threw it landing on one of the wolves that yelped and backed away.

“Put some pitch in a pot he ordered.” As his crew mates began to encircle the cornered wolves as one of his torch acquiring ponies put a small pot full of pitch near him. Pipsqueak looked at the unicorn whose name escaped him at the moment, but had gone in originally with Speedsilver.

“Throw the pitch at them.” He ordered. The unicorn mare looked at him confused but lifted the pot and threw it. The pot hit the roof of the cavern and poured pitch over all the wolves.

“Torches!” he exclaimed and soon the wolves were engulfed in flame. The sound was horrible wood cracked and the yelping made his skin crawl but he knew they were just magical beasts or leaves and tinder. The wolves were left to burn as the group came out of the cavern only to see a contingent of pegasus in the air fast approaching. Covered in soot and smoke escaping the cave it was like a beacon for anypony with ill intent to follow.

“Everypony in the cave now! Fighters draw your swords, hoofcannons in front of the fighters!” He ordered as his crew went about trying to accomplish what they could amid the hysteria of the herd corralling themselves into the smoky cavern.

“Stay low! Try not to breath in the smoke!” Speedsilver ordered barely audible by the cries and shouts of others. He goaded others into the cave before turning around to see some of the refugees had begun to push the two carriages to create a barrier to help defend the mouth of the cave. The pegasus bandits landed on the grass and began to butcher the stragglers. A deep seated anger flared up in Pipsqueaks chest as he stood his ground as the last of the survivors hide behind his crew who stood ready. His crew poked their hoof cannons out on the carriages however they could training their barrels on the bandits waiting for the signal to fire. Pipsqueak stood between the two carriages that formed a bottleneck.
Two pegasi walked to the front of the bandits, one had dark chocolate brown coat with cream colored mane and tail with a thick build the other was more lengthy with a light orange coat and brown mane and tail with three basketballs on his flank which he safely assumed was Hoops.

“Well they seem organized.” Hoops said looking at Dumbell who eyed the group warily.

“Just do yourselves a favor and give us your valuables and we’ll send you on your way.” Dumbbell said barely withholding his hostility. Pipsqueak thought it ironic really; he steals from merchants, now he’s being robbed by bandits, kind of a taste of his own medicine. All he really needed to do was hold out for reinforcements.

“I agree place down your valuables and we'll consider the ponies you just killed atoned for.” Pipsqueak said with a dismissive wave of his hoof. The two looked at one another as they began to laugh. Hoops wiped a tear from his eye as he seemed to come to an end of his laughing fit.

“Listen, Friend we get what we want, these are our woods and you’re passing without even telling us. We feel hurt and ask for compensation. You are in no position to negotiate.” He said ending on a crisp note. Pipsqueak sighed as his crew looked to him with side long glances, as he smiled shaking his head looking to the ground for a moment. Speedsilver grumbled under her breath.

“Crap, he shouldn’t have said that.” She said as one of the refugees overheard her.

“What?” a filly asked as Speed looked down at her.

“Never tell Captain Pipsqueak what he can and can’t do, especially when negotiations fail.” She said before smiling. Pipsqueak looked at the two, with a simple smile.

“I’m not your friend, buddy.” He said before he drew his sword.

“Kill the lot.” Dumbbell said which garnered a hearty cry from his bandit mob as they rushed the cave entrance. Pipsqueak backed further into the semicircle and the first earthpony bandit tried to rush through but was impaled through the throat by a spear and then a second found his eye socket.

“Fire,” Pipsqueak ordered over the sound of conflict as he plunged his sword into a pegasus spilling his innards in a gory mess. Several bodies fell limp as his crew dropped their used hoofcannons and took to defending the cave mouth. Pipsqueak felt a sharp pain in his flank as he tumbled to the ground. He wrestled for a moment with an earthpony who stopped moving after a moment's struggle. Pipsqueak saw that a member of the refugees had picked up a fallen spear and stabbed the earthpony. Pipsqueak pushed the body off of him and stood up giving the stallion a nod; he nodded back shakily and joined his crew to defend themselves. Blood had soaked into the ground making it muddy and hard to maneuver as pony slayed pony, the pace of the battle slowed as the two sides pulled away from one another. The bandits still far outnumbered them and it looked like they lost 40-50 of their company. Pipsqueak was riddled with small cuts and bruises from the skirmish as well as a goof gash from the one pegasus who got the drop on him. He took a count of his own force and several had been killed, even more were wounded, but all of them were exhausted. Speedsilver was wounded as well but stood beside him.

“What now…” she said with the sound of defeat creeping into her voice. Pipsqueak nudged her making her look up at him.

“Don’t tell me your tired.” He said as he laughed which caused all of his crew and the refugees to look at him oddly as the fear and anxiety began to wash away.

“Well I have to say you put up a good fight. But this will be fruitless for you.” Dumbell said as he walked forward, he hadn’t even gotten a scar or looked fatigued for that matter. Pipsqueak kept his head high and glared at the pegasus. The bandits readied themselves for another assault. Pipsqueak glanced up and smiled lowering his head into a charging position as the ones who could stand found themselves beside him for the last stand.

“Boys it’s been a riot!” he yelled and charged the bandit line which caused a momentary confusion as his crew yelled at the top of their lungs following their captain into the mouth of the manticore.

“Kill them!” Dumbbell ordered and the bandit’s descended on the small attacking force before another source of noise caught the attention of Dumbbell and forty armored pegesi carrying the colors of a medical cross for Redhearts Refuge, led by Cloudstriker bombarded the bandits. The battle for Tmberwolf cave lasted only moments before the bandits broke and began to flee into the woods carrying wounded or outright abandoning their comrades. Dumbbell and Hoops were nowhere to be found amongst the bodies.

“Captain.” Cloudstriker said with a salute to which Pipsqueak smiled.

“You did good. Help the wounded. Bury our own.” He ordered as Cloudstriker looked grim and nodded to go carry out his orders. Pipsqueak looked around for Speedsilver and couldn’t see her. Adrenalin spiked as he looked around.

“Speedsilver…Speedsilver!” he began to call and frantically look for her. He caught a glimpse of her tail under a body of a large earthpony. He ran to the body and pushed the body off of her, rolling her over.

“Speedsilver…talk to me.” He said pleading.

“Quiet, you're too loud.” She moaned. He tapped her cheek and she swatted him away.

“Im fine!” she said annoyed. Junebug trotted up to him and looked at Speedsilver.

“You are far from fine we need to get you into a stretcher.” She said looking at two of the pegasus who had arrived with Cloudstriker.

“Take her to Redhearts Refuge. Only the top priorities get medical evac.” She said before turning back to Pipsqueak who fawned over her for a moment before standing.

“I’ll see you at the Refuge,” he said to Speedsilver who nodded and he walked towards the carriages and Junebug fell into step beside him quickly.

“I can’t thank you enough.” She said as he shook his head.

“Thank the ones who died for them, not me.” He said with a pained expression. Junbug looked at his flank and saw the almost river of blood that was flowing down his leg and her eyes widened.

“Medic!” she yelled out.

“You know w-was it always this dark?” he slurred his words before passing out.

Dr Whooves Summer 11,14 ASD

The two sat beside a road sign just outside a village that was located on the border of Moon and Star territory. Dr Whooves was irritated and looked at Sunset Shimmer.

“Why in the blazes did you inform Twilight Sparkle?” Dr Whooves said angrily.

“She and I have an understanding.” She said sifting through her bag that was now full of books and a few artifacts she planned to keep herself. Ever since they left the ruin he had been itching to get his quest underway and acquire the elements of harmony.

“I hoped you would keep it to yourself,” he said pointedly as he began to walk toward the village. Sunset Shimmer quickly packed her things again and followed after him, when she caught up she rolled her eyes.

“Twilight and I have this kind of code, since we both were once Celestia’s students.” She said as they entered the village. The lack of ponies was unnerving but then again it was normal given being on the border where disputes would often arise between Stormwing Troops and Moon and Star forces. Sunset took the lead and walked into a store that was labeled ‘Tibber Brook Library.’ Dr Whooves followed her in and began to peruse the books. The library was small but again what else could you expect from a small village. He perused the shelves as Sunset Shimmer began to talk with the librarian who incidentally was her contact to Twilight and sharing her wares. The discussion was becoming heated when Dr Whooves approached her from behind.

“What is it Parchment? Why are you holding out on me?” she said angrily. Parchment was an elderly unicorn pony with years etched into his features. His glasses made his eyes appear big and dopy.

“I-I’m sorry Sunset I just need to run into the back Twilight gave me specific orders for you.” He said as Dr Whooves looked at the old stallion, his features were sweaty and his voice shaky. Parchment turned and pushed aside a drape going into the back.

“Let’s go…I don’t feel like we should be here. He’s acting peculiar.” He said as Sunset waved him off.

“You're just paranoid, he’s just an old coot he can’t do anything.” She said teasingly.

“Please Sunset, we need to get out of here.” Dr Whooves urged as the door behind them opened but he couldn’t see who had entered. Sunset looked at him and finally rolled her eyes.

“Fine well go. I don’t understand what the fuss is about.” She said turning to leave.

“Oh please don’t leave Sunset Shimmer, we have a few questions for you.” A male voice said causing her to freeze. Sunset Shimmer looked over her shoulder and a tall thin tan coated stallion with a cyan blue mane that poked out from under his red cowl. Walking out from the back of the library, wearing a cloth outfit that was dyed red with the symbol on his chest of half a moon and sun combined into one, the symbol of the inquisition.

“Inquisitor Snips….” She said breathlessly. Dr Whooves began to move towards the door, when a second stallion with a shorter but thicker build blocked him from exiting.

“Don’t forget about me Sunset, it’s good to see you both here Dr Whooves.” Snails said with a bucktooth grin. Dr Whooves backed up into Sunset Shimmer as they looked at one another.

“There is a disturbing rumor that we would like to ask you two about.” Snips said with a gentle smile.

“If you here you don’t want what I have to say only what you want to hear.” Dr Whooves said hotly.

“You wound me good sir.” Snails said not losing his smile.

“On the contrary we would like to hear what you have to say. Arch Magister Twilight asked us personally to deliver a message after we ask you a question.” Snips said tilting his head.

“Oh and what would that be?” Sunset Shimmer she said placing herself against Dr Whooves side.

“Can you truly find the sister and save equestria from destruction?” Snips asked and the air in the room became quiet.

“We have information that may lead to a better equestria and saving the sisters.” Dr Whooves said with all the hope he could muster. Snips looked at Snails and nodded to one another.

“Sunset Shimmer, Dr Whooves you two are under arrest for suspicion of heresy, believing our holy goddesses could be captured is nothing short of blasphemy.” He said as his horn glowed. Dr Whooves heart stopped a moment before the world around him warped and hig gut lurched causing him to vomit.

“Come on!” Sunset Shimmer exclaimed, Dr Whooves looked up at her groggily as the area around them was now outside the village in the forest. He nodded and followed after her.

“What the dickens was that?” he forced out running after her.

“You were right. Twilight is….is insane!” she said angrily.

“You only have to look at what she allows to understand that Sunset!” he exclaimed.

“I don't want to hear it!” she snapped. Running through the foliage causing her mane to get tangled in brush and leaves she stopped at a clearing and looked up to see pegasi flying overhead. She looked to him and looked lost.

“We need to get to Stormwing territory or the neutral zone.” he said determined. Sunset smiled weakly.

“The inquisition will chase us till the ends of Equestria.” she said hopelessly. He pulled a twig out of her mane with his teeth and spat it onto the ground.

“You forget my dear i've been on the run for decades. I have friends that can help us.” he said with a crooked smile.

“What kind of friends.” She said frowning.

“Ever heard of the Caravan?” he said with a smile.

“A rag tag of traveling gypsies and cast aways.” she said with a frown.

“If you want to evade and get around borders my dear it's the ponies of the caravan.” he said with a smile.

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