• Published 7th Jan 2016
  • 893 Views, 66 Comments

Witchers Weed - Orcus

Just a few days before Hearth's Warming, an unnatural blizzard lays siege on Ponyville, bringing a strange character into town with it. Serendipity, Thoraxis and Petra's blind daughter, and her visiting friend, Charybdis, decide to investigate.

  • ...

A Trip to Ponyville

Princess Luna was not happy. She levitated, eyes closed, in deep concentration above the floor of her room.

Being the Princess of the Night, she was also the protector of dreams in the world of the unconscious that every pony in the land visited every night. And her most despised adversary from that realm was up to something...

The Black Witch, a being that wove dreams and created nightmares, was no longer literally sewing discontent in the dream world, as she had sensed the night before. Before her descent into madness as Nightmare Moon, she often fought this aberration of wood and raw magic while defending the immaterial realm of the mind, but could never fully destroy, or completely imprison him, for his control in the plane of thought was leagues above, but not at all beyond her own power. When she returned and was cleansed of the dark magic that held her, the wretched, wicker creature was gone, to both her relief and surprise.

But four years ago... four, short years ago, he returned. Ever since then she spent most moments trying to stop him from resuming his work, but now, he was in the real world. The physical world. His reasons for coming here was a mystery to Luna, but one thing was sure: He was vulnerable. If she caught him here, he wouldn't be able to do a thing about it, and she could keep him locked away for the rest of his days.

She was going to make sure he didn't escape this time. Her will to finally defeat him was unparalleled. Her desire to impede his progress was full. Her concentration was ma-

"Luna, are you in here?"

As the voice of Celestia went out, Luna, with a startled shout, fell to the stone ground below, her concentration lost. When she recovered, she looked to her sister with a grumpy expression.

"Dearest sister! Do you mind?" she inquired, picking herself up.

"Sorry, Luna," she apologized from behind a muffled giggle, before allowing her face to become stoic again. "I just came in to tell you that Twilight, her friends, and her family just arrived. I also wanted to know if you wished to greet them with me."

"In a little while... possibly," her younger sister replied. "I'm still very much in my work, at the moment."

"It's the Black Witch, isn't it?" Celestia inquired. Luna nodded.

"Yes, it is him," she said. "He's in the physical world, where he is most at my mercy. I intend to catch him while his claws are in the cookie jar, and I cannot afford to be distracted, even if it is nearing this most joyous holiday."

"How will you find him?"

"I'm tracking him," she responded. "I know the foul stench his black magic leaves behind better than any pony alive. If I can just find an area of Equestria that has even a single trace of his presence..."

"I had better leave you to it, then," Celestia sighed. "I'll tell the others the gravity of your effort."

"Thank you, sister," she said. "Just remember, I will try to greet them, if I get the time. It's just right now that I have a problem with."

As the Princess of the Day slowly left the room and closed the door behind her, the Princess of the Night simply went back to her work, closing her eyes as she reentered her concentrated state of mind.

With Zak leading the way, both Serendipity and himself finally entered Ponyville, and the sound of voices all around them soon started afterward. It was only on rare occasions that Serendipity came to the town, and just hearing the bustling street around them brought back memories, some fond, some not.

Despite her blindness and sickly nature, life growing up in Ponyville wasn't too difficult, but it certainly was odd. She went to the Ponyville schoolhouse with the other children her age, and was taught to read, do math, and perform other skills needed in life by deciphering symbols with her hooves. When it came to making friends however, she sorely lacked both the urge to want to do so, and the skills.

It was a short time later that a select few of the other students, which she presumed were either jealous of the constant treatment and attention given to her, or just plain disturbed by her admittedly unnatural appearance, started to pick on her, but not in an up-front way. From a distance, Serendipity could hear them call her words she despised, the usual being "freak," "purblind," "ghost," and worst of all, "that hybrid thing." But throughout all of this harassment, she remained quiet and composed, choosing to ignore their words rather than give in to them.

When she turned thirteen though, the way others saw her reached its utter breaking point. As if something inside of her "clicked," she soon found out that whenever she was within a few feet of a unicorn, alicorn, or any other magic user that wasn't her father, sister, or somepony she was close to, they would suddenly get a terrible headache, and feel as though their power was being slowly seeped away. This instantly provoked a backlash of fear and anxiety aimed at her, mostly from the worried parents of the foals at school who were afraid for their children's health.

At this time, Zecora kindly offered Thoraxis and Petra to teach Serendipity herself, which they readily agreed on. From then on, she was taught how to grow and use plants, which was a passion she found out she very much enjoyed. When she was old enough and smart enough to take care of herself, she left her parents home and built her own house in the middle of the Everfree Forest, with some help.

"Look. It's her," Serendipty heard an older, female voice whisper, coming from behind her. Her ears splayed back in annoyance as the bombardment of comments began.

"What's that half-bred wiccan doing here? I thought she left forever," another voice continued, coming from a young foal of some sort.

"I thought she died," another spoke. "She still looks weak enough, too. Just look at how thin she is."

"And that undeathly pallor of hers is still there as well," yet another said.

"Don't get near her Cloudswirl, or she'll suck out your soul," a filly apparently warned his friend. The voices seemed to stop after Serendipity felt a hoof touch her shoulder, and came to the realization that it was Zak.

"Listen to their poisonous words, you should not," he spoke to her, having taken notice of her disheartened expression. "They do not know you as I do, so let them and their ignorance be forgot."

After smiling to her friend, practically radiating the words "thank you," a young, and very spirited voice suddenly went out, calling for her.

"Serendipity!" it yelled. Moments after smiling at the sound, Serendipity tensed herself up, and soon after, the playful tackle she was expecting hit her in the chest. Both she, and the smaller, cornflower-blue, silver-maned pony that impacted against her were cushioned by a snow pile that lied behind the two. Zak could only widen his eyes in surprise at the blur that went past him.

"It's nice to see you again, Chary," the half-changeling chuckled, referring to her cousin by her ironic nickname, as she recovered and pushed back the snow that was covering her. "Where's your parents?"

"Talking with yours, in the square," Charybdis replied, popping her crooked-horned head out of the snow like a jack-in-the-box, before taking notice of the zebra that was watching them both, staring at him intensely with her golden eyes. "Ooh... how are you Zak? Long time no see! You've been treating my cousin good, right?"

"With the utmost respect of course, Charybdis," he replied. "I must admit, that static personality of yours I sorely missed."

"Everypony loves my personality!" the filly shouted, raising both of her hooves to the sky for emphasis, before jumping out of the snow pile altogether. "Well, except for old folks. I never understand why..."

"Probably because they're old, and like peace and quiet," Serendipity smiled with a roll of her eyes.

"Let's go see our parents!" Charybdis suddenly said again, taking hold of the half-changeling's hoof. Before she could so much as say something against it, Serendipity felt herself get yanked forward, and the two practically flew through the street. Wearing an amused expression at how close those two were, Zak started to follow.

Charybdis, while not being related to Serendipity or her family, was still like a cousin to her. While her father, Longinus, was an alicorn, and her mother, Carol, was a kelpie, Charybdis herself was a full-on unicorn, with no differing features whatsoever. Well... save for her crooked horn, which she permanently bent the tip of out of place when she accidentally "ran into a wall" as a foal, just a short time after learning to walk. The only traits she seemed to carry over from her mother was her manic personality, and similar color scheme. She also loved to swim.

"Mama! Papa! Guess who I found!" Serendipity heard her friend shout soon after the two ran off. Deciding to use her magic to see who they were approaching, she saw five shapes just ahead, each bearing a familiar silhouette. The first two, both tall, she instantly knew as being Charybdis's parents, while just nearby, the rest of her family stood.

Unnoticed by Serendipity, Thoraxis was in a thick coat, while beside him her sister, Skia, stood clad in at least three separate coats and jackets, showing her heavy dislike of the cold. It was brought upon by what Serendipity had been told was a traumatic moment she experienced in her nymphhood, which also left her older sister with a scarred and lame back leg. Just next to her was the taller form of Petra.

"Serendipity! Is that you?" Longinus, dressed in a dark cloak, inquired in the half-changeling's direction.

"It's certainly good to lay eyes on ye again, you pretty lil' young'n," Carol continued, bowing her blue, finned head to Serendipity. Ever since she and Longinus had gotten married, the kelpie's once thick accent had become a fair bit more mild over the years, to the point that everyone could understand her.

"I'm doing very well, I'll have you two know. I can't wait to spend the holiday with Chary," she replied. "I trust you all were having a pleasant conversation before I arrived?"

"Very well!" Skia popped in, having to speak loudly because of how her voice was muffled from behind her thick attire. "We were talking about how well-received the last book mom and I published together was."

"Oh that reminds me, I forgot to ask something," Charybdis spoke up, looking toward Skia and Petra. "Did you two finish that next book in the series yet? I've been waiting since my last birthday for it!"

The young changeling and the wyvern looked at each other briefly, before looking back, then back to each other.

"Should we tell her?" Petra whispered, leaning over slightly.

"I'm up for it," Skia responded, placing a hoof into one of her coat's pockets, as the two swung their heads over to Charybdis.

"As a matter of fact, Chary... we have the first copy right here!" the wyvern spoke again, just as Skia pulled out a brown-colored book with a picture of a thorn-covered rose on its front.

"You do?" she said with glee, bouncing up to them. "Hoo boy, gimme, gimme, gimme!"

As the group happily let out a small bout of laughter at the filly's excited antics and talked among themselves some more, in the background, a peculiar shape was moving through town.

The figure was dressed in an all-concealing, vivid blue cowl with a white trim, and wore a wide-brimmed hat with a pointed top that sagged slightly behind, too tall to hold shape. The only part that wasn't covered by cloth seemed to be the horn that stuck out of his forehead, and the collar from the cloak that covered his front revealed a pair of blank, round, white eyes from behind.

Sitting on the top of his covered head, clutching the base of the wide-brimmed hat, was a giant, dark brown moth. Its feathery antenna swayed back-and-forth in the wind, and its wide, equally-white eyes scanned around like the light in a lighthouse. As he trotted on, his hooves clopping hollowly on the icy ground, he began to pass by a small booth with a gray-colored, female pegasus with golden, crossed eyes sitting behind it, a jug full of yellow liquid nearby, as well as a few glass cups.

"Oh! Pardon me, sir!" the mare spoke, flagging him down with a hoof. The shape turned and looked at her with his blank eyes.

"Can I help you, my friend?" he inquired, his voice young-sounding, but with a dash of eccentricity in his dialogue.

"Oh, yes! I was wondering if you'd like some lemonade. I made it with an experimental, secret ingredient I got from apples and cranberries," the cross-eyed pony asked in a neighborly manner.

"Sure!" he said, heartily, turning his full attention to the pegasus. The pony with the complex eyes, Derpy, poured the from the jug into a small glass before passing it to him. The glass was enveloped in a white aura of magic, and lifted to where the stranger's mouth was, behind the collar of his cape. As he emptied the glass of its contents, he let out a cough and burst into a series of jittery spasms, before returning to normal a few moments later.

"I'm getting a feeling... mmm... ooh, yep it's there alright, uh... oh, what do I describe this as? What's my feeling? It's on the tip of my tongue!" he spoke to Derpy lightheartedly.

"You hate it?" she asked, seeing the sour reaction in his eyes.

"That's it!" he spoke, clapping his hooves together underneath his cloak. "I hate this! It's disgusting! Revolting! It makes me want to regurgitate my previous meal, it's so bad!"

"Do you... want more?" Derpy asked, noting his cheery disposition.

"Please," he said, putting his cup forward again so the pegasus could pour another round in it.

"Who are you, mister?" she asked, as she did so. The character let out a vaporous laugh.

"Kekekeke... I'm Striga Phobetor, registered oneirologist, graduated highest honors in Canterlot University, formerly attended Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns," he replied, before guzzling down another sip of the drink, and going into another twitching fit before continuing. "Oneirology is the study of dreams, you see. Most call that sort of field unimportant, or impractical, or "Luna's field of work," but not I!"

"I... see something on your head," Derpy said next, finally taking notice of the creature as it looked down upon her with its large, innocent eyes.

"That? Oh, that's just Augur," Striga replied. "He's part of a giant subspecies of black witch moth I discovered a short time back in the woods. Funny thing about black witch moths is that most see them as an omen of death or misfortune, but this little- er... big guy here is as nice as they come."

"I thought bugs and stuff hibernate during winter," she spoke again. The moth replied to her comment by fluffing its brownish, fur-like coat that covered the middle part of its body.

"He's warm enough," Striga responded, as his pet's fur settled. "Say... do you know if there's any place in this town that's opened for rent?" he then inquired. "I'm looking to stay here for a few days."

"No... I was told that everything's closed up right now due to the holiday," Derpy responded with a shrug. "Sorry."

"Oh, that's okay," he said, as he nonchalantly put the empty glass down with his magic. "I'll find a place."

"What are you doing in Ponyville anyway?" she decided to ask, just before the strange unicorn could turn around and leave.

"Mmm... just looking for somepony," he replied, before drifting away, back into the street.

Author's Note:

If anyone sees a problem with the story that they do not like, then please, voice your comment so I may improve.

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