• Published 11th Dec 2015
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The Nightmare Knights and the Crystal Wars - Pen Mightier

Heroes are not born. They are made. And the Crystal War was a forge of heroes, turning even Nightmares into hope. This is the story of six Nightmares; Twilight, Starlight, Sunset, Trixie, Luna and Sunshine, the first of the Nightmare Knights.

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Operation Jail-Break-From-The-Naughty-Pony-Corner!

Knight Captain N7, Household Accounts Book

There is something very enlightening about being inside a prison cell. It compels one to constantly think outside the box, so to speak. Well, it was a choice between that or read the graffiti on the walls, which, quite frankly, makes for poor conversation partners. This, compounded with the disappointing lack of alcohol in prison cells, forces one to see the rest of the world from a very, very sober perspective. Which, considering the state of the war outside, makes for very deep questions into why the world is wearing its underpants on its head.

Allow me to demonstrate. Take a moment to reflect upon the Equestrian national anthem, for example. The Equestrian national anthem is very patriotic. That is, it is very enthusiastic about stomping foreigners into the dust. It also sounds particularly good when you twang it out on a plastic knife. It wasn't always that way. It used to sound better in the shower. And I suppose it also had something about peace and harmony and paying your taxes at one point.

I was trying to prove this point to my visiting guest when she decided to just magically, and rather rudely, pull the table out from underneath my plastic knife.

I'd wager my winkleduds she didn't know the table was optional, that the tension in my prison cell was, in fact, thick enough to twang my knife against.

Twang, Twaaang twang twang, TWAAAaaaAAAaaaAAANG

Judging by the deeply pained furrow in her eyebrows, she regretted discovering that fact firsthand.

There was a loud bang and a sudden rush of air. The six solar guards standing watch in the little prison cell winced at the sound.

I frowned, looking down at my smoking white gloves. I carefully aimed my frown behind me at the knife-shaped hole in my cell's wall. That hole was quite a feat, considering the walls were designed to contain the more rambunctious variety of Nightmares, not unlike yours truly. "Pardon the interruption, my lady, I seem to have misplaced my knife." I peered out of the hole at the sunlight and freedom streaming through. I glimpsed my musical instrument, soaring off into the open sky, free as a knife that can fly. "I think I see it right over there, by the horizon. Would you mind if I nip out to fetch it?" I suggested, not letting too much hope into my request.

"I banished it to the sun," my guest said, in an irritable tone that suggested she might actually allow me to go recover it personally.

"Oh." That gave me pause. Last I checked, my insurance policy did not cover sunburns. "No matter." I shrugged. "I can still make my point with this piece of chalk." No sooner had the chalk emerged from my jacket pocket when it suddenly achieved escape velocity and narrowly avoided shaving my face off on its way to the sun. "The point is, your new anthem is rather violent, my lady." I drove my point home just as another violent bang shook the jail cell, marking the chalk's exit. I mean, just consider all the violence that playing the anthem with a plastic knife alone can achieve.

"Violent?" she muttered under her breath. "In case you haven't noticed, there is already quite a lot of violence about."

I raised an eyebrow at the two new ventilation holes rather judgmentally shedding dust and debris in my cell. "I noticed," I said, giving her a level look.

"We are at war," she reminded me, the deep dark pools of her magenta eyes threatening to drown me. You know, just in case I forgot that Equestria’s biggest stairs fetishist is out to conquer all of Equestria, probably to build more stairs. "We remain the same singers, simply singing a different tune to a different time."

She uttered words of such deep profundity that we all cannot help but stare in awe of her wisdom, the memory of the knife and chalk she martyred to her sun all but forgotten in the face of her artful wordcraft. Truly, we were gobsmacked, for surely a single phrase that must otherwise take a whole week of planning could not have been spontaneously thought up in the passion of the moment.

"You can stop narrating my wisdom now," she muttered, frowning at me. Though she seemed to have softened at my nostalgic jabbing, if only a little. "You...and your deadly tone-deafness has achieved what you sought. You wound me up into falling so easily into your trap," she admitted with a deep sigh. "You will no doubt use my words to justify allowing you and the hundreds of Nightmares in this….quarantine hospital...to join the war." She sighed, reading into my intentions with ridiculous ease.

I allowed myself a smug little smile. "We remain the same singers, simply singing a different tune to a different time," I echoed her, slowly leaning forwards across my table. It would have been slightly more impressive a gesture had she not pulled my table away from under me earlier, leaving me (quite literally) hanging. “My point is, Princess, you are quite willing to turn everything from your farmers to your anthem to the cause of this war. Why not us? We are still the friends you knew before all of this began. Well, perhaps with greener snake-like irises that, I admit, do have a nasty habit of glowing in the dark, and perhaps a little penchant for wearing black."

"That is exactly it," my lady said, as she did exactly what I wanted to do and leaned forwards on my table.

"You have something against the colour black?" I frowned, looking down at my choice of attire. I had foregone my casual inmate jumpsuit in favour of something a little more formal — a full dress uniform fashioned in deepest black.

"No. I have something against you being possessed by Nightmare Moon," she reminded me, just in case I forgot why I and a few hundred other unfortunate souls are stuck in this prison. Being a Nightmare makes for a very restrictive social circle. It is difficult to make friends when the rest of the world believes you practice a very literal notion of ‘having friends for dinner’.

Us Nightmares are very picky eaters, you know.

"I never would have guessed. I thought I just began habitually shutting my sun blinds and applying more sun cream than usual for the fun of it." I made an excellent show of looking surprised. I get a lot of practice, serving as my Lady's personal butler for years. At being surprised, I mean. Not at wearing sun cream, that was more a job requirement.

"Even your wit is more insufferable than usual," she muttered, darkly.

"I am certain it is just a harmless side effect of overexposure to absolute victory.” I waved a hand dismissively. “You know, over a certain evil dark super monster piggybacking on your sister."

"You and my faithful students should never have gone to face Nightmare Moon." She sighed, heavily.

"While Twilight, Sunset, Trixie, Sunshine and Starlight should not be allowed out unattended after dark....or ever for that matter....I must admit I was busier cleaning up the filthy corpses littering your palace. Do you know how difficult it is to scrub blood out of fur-friendly carpets?" I sighed, shaking my head at the memory of all that scrubbing. It was quite furious scrubbing, mind you. "All while said corpses insisted on climbing out of the dustbin and dribbling everywhere while demanding eternal night and brains? It didn't help that I had to do it all by myself, seeing as the rest of the palace staff were too busy being dead, undead or, worse, mind-controlled." I gave a brief pause. "Who ever knew butlers are immune to mind control? Or dying for that matter."

She trembled, no doubt at the thought of evil nightmare zombies lurching and moaning all over her throne on that fateful night, a night that will forever be remembered as the Summer Sun Massacre.

"So I shall admit that in my zeal to clean up the palace I may have accidentally helped your students rip an ancient-evil-super-demon out of your sister. And we may or may not have spilled all that angsty darkness all over Equestria in our hurry. And there might be one or two new nightmares cropping up every week or so. We notice, you know. It is getting a little cramped in this prison." I paced my confession to the intensity of her trembling, aiming for somewhere above 'absolute despair' and anywhere below 'completely ballistic'. "But..." Her eyebrow twitched at my courage at using the word. "...look on the bright side."

"Oh, aren't things bright enough already?" she demanded, her eyes sparking dangerously at me.

"Your sister was back in time for dinner for the first time in one thousand years. She may have lost some weight, maybe a pair of wings too, but at least she got some dessert." I was happy to note the fond look in her eyes at the thought of her sister's long awaited return. Emboldened by my success, I ploughed on with all the positives. "And the seven of us now save a veritable fortune on costumes every Nightmare Night. Except we don't get to go out for candy, as you've shut us in here for the past seven years. Honestly, my lady, we’d kill for a little fresh air. Literally. Shun Shrewd’s ‘Heart of War’ states that winning is waving the right-sized stick at the right time. I surmise that having several hundred more waving bigger sticks improves your chances significantly, especially when you have more than the other bugger.”

My lady’s eyebrow rose like a rather deadly guillotine. “Even if you’ve all ‘trained’, how do you know that waving your sticks at those evil vicious sandbags in the yard means you’re ready to fight a war?” she demanded pointedly.

“Other than the fact that our sandbags started out as evil vicious rockbags? Need I remind you that a fifth of the Equestrian High Command and a good portion of its best soldiers are behind these walls as a result of the Summer Sun Massacre? It was not difficult to convince them to train the rest of us. It was either that or the local sport — competitive graffiti-reading,” I pointed out. “Not to mention we are all the same dark super entities who showed Discord the way to the moon. And helped Chrysalis see the whole world from our point of view. Though between you and me, I don't think she has a choice in the matter."

“So perhaps you are all as strong and capable as you think you are.” My lady’s eyes bore down on me. “How do I know I am not simply throwing Sombra, master mind-enslaver, the final weapon he needs to finish the war?”

“Simple.” I smiled. “The same reason we must fight him. We are Nightmares, Princess. We are Kings and Queens of the night. We do not bow down to anyone, let alone his cheap mind tricks. We are Kings and Queens of the night. We sense each other’s nobility, we sense its lack in those who are not of our kin. We are Kings and Queens of the night. We do not suffer lessers amongst us, especially not Sombra’s mind-enslaved infiltrators. We are the one force in Equestria he cannot hope to infiltrate or control. And we all know that what he cannot own he destroys.” I gestured around my prison cell. “Mark my words, as sure as Discord’s biting moon dust right now, Sombra will come for us. And when he does, I do not want us to be here fighting to defend our cell doors. I want us to be fighting under the open sky, under your sun, under our night.” I slowly leaned back, allowing her to finally let out the breath she had been holding. “...is what I’d tell him if he ever asked,” I chuckled, dryly. “But the honest answer is, there is no room for crystals in our heads. We are far too obsessed with the colour black.

“But you knew all that,” I added with a smug little smile. Her eyes widened perceptibly as I caught her out. “You know it well. Because both you and Luna are masters of the same school of dark magic that Sombra practices, as you have previously demonstrated. And you discovered it firsthand when you tried using dark magic against her. Nightmare Moon had taken Luna’s mastery of dark magic and made it her own. And now that magic is ours, along with the immunity it grants against that very same brand of magic,” I pressed. Her ears flattened, her lips creased. I could see she was cracking. “So what is stopping you, I wonder? Is it the flagging public opinion that has long been worn down by war weariness? The war cabinet? Or is it….?”

To my surprise, she suddenly scoffed. "To think you used to be my trusted aide once." She sighed, shaking her head at the sheer thought of me in a butler suit serving her tea and cake on a calm, sunny day. The horror. "So that is your reasoning? You fear Sombra knocking down your door? Do you have so little faith in me now? That I would not place my best soldiers here to protect you and my students from Sombra?" she demanded.

"We all know your soldiers are scared puddingless of us Nightmares." I shrugged. "The best of your troops get to request to be transferred to the front lines. All that remain are those without enough testicular fortitude to make demands. I have honestly seen more nuts in a raisin." I said simply. “The proof of the pudding is they have long since failed their mission.”

“What?” she quavered, losing the firm confidence in her voice. “Wh-what do you mean they’ve failed? Explain!” she demanded.

"I think I have explained enough, my lady,” I said, standing up. “Allow me to show you." I gave a casual wave of my hand.

The six royal guardsponies in the room with us suddenly leaped forward, casting their clothes into the air. Six unicorns dressed in matte black combat barding stood in their place, all glaring at my guest with glowing serpentine eyes that mirrored my own.

Princess Celestia leaped out of her seat, her horn glowing, her war hammer floating threateningly at my throat. But the hammer slowly lowered as her eyes widened with pained recognition. She knew the six mares surrounding her. How could she not? They were her former personal students and very own sister.

"I present to you Shadowbolt 1, our Order's first squadron." I gestured at the Nightmares. "With regards to our progress at learning humble soldiering, we graduated from marching three years ago and moved swiftly on to taking fortresses." I gestured grandly all around me. "My lady, you now stand, perhaps a little irritably, in the product of our practice run, Fort Nightmare, home of the Nightmare Knights."

"You...." She pointed an accusing forehoof at me. "This...this is mutiny!"

"Mutiny implies we were soldiers to begin with," I chuckled. "This, my lady, is a jailbreak three years in the making. I invite you to make the best of it."

Her eyes flashed menacingly at me. "What have you done with the guards posted here? My guards?!" Her look threatened a fate worse than a one-way trip to the sun.

I bit my lip at her question. "They joined us. Not too long after they became Nightmares themselves," I explained the hard way, frank and blunt. "They had no choice. It was either join us as comrades or report it to the brass and join us as fellow jailbirds. They turned not too long after they were stationed here. We are still trying to determine whether it's prolonged exposure to Nightmares or the pea soup, but my money is set on the pea soup."

My Nightmares winced and gagged at the very thought of the prison's pea soup.

"By the heavens..." Celestia's forehoof flew up to her mouth, muffling a loud gasp. "Wh-what...what have I done?!" She staggered backwards, falling onto her rump in horror.

"That pea soup was definitely a pony rights violation," I agreed with her.

"W-what about the humans we freed from Sombra? T-the ones I sent here for safety?" she demanded.

I frowned. There would be no easy way to explain this. In the second year of the war, around the same time he subdued and mind-enslaved an invading group of Sirens, Sombra suddenly began fielding mind-enslaved human soldiers. The few that the Equestrians managed to free alive revealed that they had somehow been kidnapped from our homeworld, Earth. How and why remained a mystery. Most of said humans had been brought to Fort San Palomino for safety in the hope that Sombra's eventual defeat would reveal a way to return them all home. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before they became Nightmare humans like me.

"If it is any consolation, in our time here we have discovered that Nightmare humans like me..." I gestured at myself, "...are all that keep the Nightmares anchored.”

“Anchored?” She frowned. “Explain.”

“We do not quite understand it ourselves,” I admitted. “Luna has tried to explain it as an extension of her own ‘dream sharing’ spell. The current popular theory purports that anchoring is a way for ponies to share the strain of their Nightmares. Humans appear to be more resistant to the Nightmare’s corrosive effects upon the psyche. When anchoring ponies, they can take the brunt of the Nightmare’s damage upon the mind with little to no harm,” I explained what little I myself understood.

“So...the only reason my students and sister are still sane….” She stared at the mares gathered around us, her eyes widening with grim realization.

“Indeed,” I nodded. “I am their Anchor. They are my Nightmares.” I gestured at the rest of the prison. “The stronger the bond between the Anchor and his Nightmares, the stronger the anchoring. In fact, many of our Anchors are now strong enough to allow their Nightmares to unleash the full strength of Nightmare Moon herself without losing themselves to her madness. It is our rite of passage, the mark that distinguishes a humble squire from a full-fledged Knight.”

“So...all the humans in this place…?” she whispered, almost in awe of the amazing force of coincidence that had forged this place. It almost makes one wonder if fate truly played dice with the destinies of man and pony.

“Yes, we are all Anchors to our Nightmares,” I nodded. “We have Anchors aplenty, enough for our Order's many squadrons. And all their hug and snuggle needs."

I decided not to tell her that we still had some problems with belly-rub and raspberry rationing, even with the field guide I had written for all my human comrades. What she doesn't know can't hurt her, I suppose.

"I...I...” She stared down at her own forehooves, eyes slowly welling up.

"Sister..." One of the mares, a midnight blue unicorn, rushed up to Celestia. She reached out, as if to pull her into a tight loving hug. But she stopped herself short, her forehoof hanging limply in the air. "Sister. I know I have the least right to speak on this matter, but I assure you that not one of us blame you. If anything, it is my fault." She hung her head, biting her lip. "I am sorry. I am sorry I have brought this wretched curse down upon your beloved ponies. And human." She shut her eyes tight, as if hoping it might stem the tears.

"We've been through this. It wasn't your fault, Luna," I said solemnly, kneeling down by her side. "The six of us understood the risks when we decided to face Nightmare Moon together."

"Trixie didn't! Trixie thought we were just gonna kick the moon outta her plot and...ooof!" The azure blue unicorn in the corner stopped short on receiving a hoof-kick from the golden yellow mare next to her.

"We would have all perished in a most gruesome and bloody fashion before graduating to craving brains if you hadn't saved us and joined us in defeating Nightmare Moon." I went on, giving Luna’s silky azure mane a comforting ruffle. "I'd say escaping with a mere obsession for keeping the lights off is more than a mercy."

"Yeah, Luna, it was definitely not your fault!" Another unicorn, my best long-range scout and bastion of all purpleness, Twilight Sparkle, pulled her comrade into a reassuring hug. "We all know what it is to be Nightmares. We know it better than anypony!"

"T-Thank you. Thank you, dear friends." Luna was quick to return the hug while giving me a nod of gratitude. "Sister, if there is one thing I have learned from my folly, it is to try and make the best of what I have left," she said, looking up at her sister, her eyes aglow with rekindled determination. "And my friends, my sisters-in-arms, have shown me just how much I have left. My only wish is to use what I have to finally carry out my duty to Equestria," she said firmly.

"The nightmare within us all makes us strong, stronger than any regular pony. You always taught us that to be strong is to serve." My bravest engineer pony, Sunset Shimmer, stepped up to her former teacher. "Let us become even stronger. Let us serve, Your Highness."

"We have trained for over three years," even my normally quiet heavy lancer, Starlight Glimmer, spoke her part. "We are ready, Princess."

"Besides, saving Equestria for realsies must be more fun than dreaming about it!" My swiftest shock-trooper and sergeant, the very definition of pink, Sunshine Smiles, hopped excitedly at the very thought. "Please let us help you, Your Majesty. Oh please, ohpleasepleasepleaspleasplease!" She unleashed our squad’s ultimate trump card: Her puppy dog eyes.

"The great and powerful Trixie shall show you all just how much greatness and powerfulness Trixie can produce in one minute. Six thousand rounds! Twelve with both runic blades! That's how much!" My great and powerful shock-flanker (no pun intended), Trixie, declared, waving around her runic swords trailing chains of crystal-piercing magic catalyst rounds wrapped all around her barding's bandoliers. She trailed off into silence under the weight of everypony's heavy glares. "Fine. Trixie will just be great and powerful somewhere else then." She sheathed her runic swords with a huff.

Princess Celestia trembled. She hesitantly reached out towards her students and sister with a quivering forehoof. She bit her lip, her eyes overflowing with longing. "M-my students...sister..." She sighed, softly. "You've all grown so much. I...I've always wanted...I only wish..." She closed her eyes, lowering her forehoof with reluctant resignation. Perhaps, deep down inside, she wished for some spell, some miracle, to turn back time, to bring us all back to happier times.

But we all knew that was impossible.

"Just… promise me one thing," she finally whispered, pleadingly. "I cannot make this request of you as a princess. For I have long since failed as a princess. I make this request as a weak, powerless mare. Do what you can for Equestria, do what I cannot. But no matter what, promise me, promise me you will all come back to me. Alive."

"We promise!" her students replied as one.

"No matter how far we go," Sunset said determinedly.

"Or how high." Sunshine giggled.

"We'll come home to you." Trixie nodded.

"For real this time." Twilight agreed.

"When this is all over." Starlight nodded, grimly.

"Thank you, my dearest little ponies," she whispered, bowing her head to them solemnly. "And you." She suddenly glared up at me, blinking her tears away furiously. "Bring my little ponies home. All of them," she growled, a fierce desperation in her voice.

"Yes, my lady." I placed a palm over my jacket lapel, a gesture from simpler times long past, back when we were simply mistress and aide.

"And bring yourself home," she hissed, leaning in close. "Because after all this, I will need a good cup of tea."

"I promise you it will be the best damn cup of tea you ever had," I promised, solemnly.

"I will hold you to it, even if I must drag you back up from Tartarus myself." She sniffled, shaking her tears out of her eyes. "Very well." She straightened up to her full majestic height. "Children of Equestria!" she barked.

We all straightened up to attention before her.

"Equestria calls upon you. I call upon you. And you shall answer as the Knights of the Nightmare Order!" she declared, waving a commanding forehoof. "Curtsy, ponies. Rise, Knights of Equestria!"

As one, her six former students lowered their horns to the floor; six knights rose up in their place. With fierce will and grim determination they stood firm as the first Nightmare Knights of Equestria.

"And you." She turned to me, fixing me in her gaze. "You will lead my Nightmare Knights. You will bring every single one of them home to me. Kneel, human." She gave me a brief, fond smile, a smile I have missed ever so much. "Rise, Knight Captain!" she commanded, stomping a hoof imperiously.

A man knelt; a Knight Captain rose.

I have never stood taller, yet felt more humbled, than that very moment. For her, for my Knights, I would move mountains and raise Tartarus.

"Sister." My Lady stepped up to her sister. She bowed her head. Luna did a half-step back in surprise, her ears flattening out of concern for her sister. "I am sorry. For everything. For before, and for leaving you in a new prison so soon after your return from another. If...No. When you come back, when we find peace again, we shall be together, as sisters, nightmare or no."

"I will miss you until that day, sister mine." Luna gave her sister a determined nod. "Until then, your knight serves you, Princess!"

"I love you, Lulu," Celestia whispered, softly.

"And I love you, Tia." Luna replied, longingly.

"Knights, I salute you!" Celestia roared, throwing a forehoof up into the air, her eyes trailing sparkling tears. "Protect Equestria! Protect Harmony! And, most importantly, protect your friends!"

We saluted in reply, snapping our hands and hooves over our overflowing hearts. We would never be readier than that very moment.

"And please, please, all of you, come back home to me," Celestia pleaded in a faint whisper. "I'll be waiting for you all."

Knight Captain N7, Household Accounts Book, 22nd of Sunwane, C.E. 1007

The seven of us strode down the main cell block, our steps drowned out by the loud cheers. "NIGHTMARE KNIGHTS! NIGHTMARE KNIGHTS!" They chanted in our wake. News had spread faster than a speeding ticket. Everyone, mare and stallion, filly and colt, man and woman, boy and girl, thronged the railings of the walkways and catwalks above us. Playing cards, lunch tickets, even discarded inmate jumpsuits we all once wore fluttered down like slightly more flagrant banners and confetti all around us. The seven of us stepped over the jumpsuits as we made our way. We would not need them anymore.

We were free.

I stepped up to what was once the warden's balcony. From here our warden once stood watch over us. There and then I stood watch over my Nightmare Knights. My Nightmares joined me. This was it. This was the moment we had long awaited, the pinnacle we had all trained towards. Every single mare, stallion, foal, man, woman and child were trained and ready to finally take our fight to the enemy.

The chants and cheers faded away into silence. Every eye in the vast cell block were on me. I felt their expectations, their hopes, their wishes. They wished to leave, to fight, to take back their homes and lives. The ponies desired nothing more than to return to a peaceful Equestria. The humans wished for that one chance at returning home where they belong. It was a hope they were prepared to gamble their lives on. And they were gambling it all on me and my plan. They would follow me to their deaths if it meant they might catch a glimpse of their most fervent wishes.

Perhaps....perhaps this was not a good idea after all?

I felt a soft but reassuring pressure in the small of my back.

"Hay, we're all in this together," I heard Twilight say soothingly.

"You do not stand alone, Commander," Luna declared, similarly headbutting me.

"Hurry up, Seven! Trixie can't be awesome alone!" Thank you, Trixie.

"We can't start the party without the star, Sev." I heard Sunshine giggle as I felt another bump.

"We trust you, big guy." I felt Sunset nod against my back. “Knock’em out!”

I felt one last bump from the ever silent Starlight. I suppose that was a whole speech from her.

"Thank you, girls." I gave them a sideways glance and a smile of gratitude. With my Nightmares standing with me, I could go anywhere, do anything. I was certain of that much. I took a deep breath as I saluted my comrades. "NIGHTMARE KNIGHTS!" I bellowed. “You have all heard the rumours. Yes, I come to you with good news and bad news. The bad news is, no more pea soup!”

Cheers, claps and clops rose across the entire hall.

“But I liked the pea soup,” I heard Starlight mutter behind me, earning her a smack from her Nightmare sisters.

“The good news is….” I took a deep breath. “...there is still something worthy of our determination.” The hall faded into reverent silence. “There will continue to be something worthy of our determination, even after we have left the pea soup and these walls behind. There will continue to be something worthy of our determination, even now at this hour of evil, when Equestria has fled beneath the dust to escape the march of tyranny, when all of us are so far adrift from home that we can only visit in the stories and songs we share, when we are cursed, imprisoned and forgotten by our own. The enemy will seek to destroy that which is worthy of our determination. They can destroy armies, cities, fortresses, flesh, bone, even minds. But they cannot destroy the one thing worthy of our determination. Look beside you. Look around you. Look at the one thing worthy of our determination.” As one the ponies and people in the hall looked to one another. Small smiles, even a few chuckles and giggles spread. Hooves held hooves, hands held hands, and hooves joined hands.

“They cannot ever hope to destroy this,” I barked, reaching out for my Nightmares. They placed their forehooves in my hands. I squeezed them in mine. “They cannot ever hope to destroy our wills, hearts and friendships. That is what we are, a force of nature, a light of hope, a bond endurant! This is our determination! It is Invincible! Indestructible! Immortal! And we shall make them feel it! We bring the nightmares! We are Nightmare Knights!” I roared, raising my hands up, the forehooves of my six Nightmares with them.

The hall erupted in cheers and cries. It shook with the ferocity of our determination. Hooves and hands flew into the air. Hats, gloves and more prison jumpsuits flew into the air. Pegasi and thestrals flew up, hoof-punching the air. Magic sparks and fireworks flooded the hall. As one the Nightmare Knights chanted our rallying cry, “RAISE THE HEAVENS! RAISE THE HEAVENS! RAISE THE HEAVENS!!”

Author's Note:

To those of you new to my stories, welcome. To those of you returning, welcome back. Many thanks for giving this story a try. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.