• Published 30th Jul 2016
  • 3,138 Views, 69 Comments

The Night Mare's Guard - Shadow Quill

The Changelings haven't been sitting idle the three years they haved been gone. Now they're back and better than ever, with their sights set squarely on the alicorns of Equestria. One dark mare, shrowded in mystery, sits right in the crosshairs.

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1 The Plan

My patchwork wings buzzed softly as I flew down the twisting tunnels of our nest, my silver carapace glinting in the infrequent shafts of light that filtered through the partially covered air ports. My cobweb mane and tail were neat and smooth, their pale white coloration a stark contrast to the sickly green tint that the drones sported. See, unlike them, I was unique, I was special. We might all be sons and daughters of the queen, but only I could be called her heir. Thus I, Prince Silver Jacket, slowly followed the familiar route to the deepest and darkest reaches of our nest, where our mother patiently awaited my arrival.

Here, where the only light was provided by bioluminescent moss, was where our mother resided, although it was far from her choice. As I paused next to the opening to her chambers, I could hear the soft clink of metal on stone as she moved around. The sound set my fangs on edge, because I knew what that sound was even without seeing those accursed chains. I cleared my throat softly to announce my presence, and I heard a great sigh echo through the next room before she spoke.

“You may enter my son.” Her voice hummed softly though the air as I rounded the corner, her emerald gaze locking in on me from under her dark green mane as she attempted to rise to her full height.

I bowed my head in respect as I walked up to her, though only enough as was required. After all, we were both royal within the changeling ranks, so my motion was not needed but was still appreciated. I gazed upon her slightly hunched form as I lifted my gaze once again, noting that while her horn had begun to heal and her wings didn’t look as threadbare as before, the great chains that drained her magic were still as strong as ever.

The twin lengths were attached to a magically enhanced shackle that bound her to the chamber walls around her barrel, forcing her to either sit upright or lay on her side in order to avoid getting pulled in one direction or another. The black iron links hummed with magic as they drained her power into the very structure that had become our home, the green bolts of energy making quick flashes as the air cracked with each burst. They did not look to be all that strong, and yet their very nature made them impossible to break. Because they would drain away any magic used upon them, and increased their strength with each burst of stolen power, no amount of force short of an alicorn could hope to shatter their detestable bond. It was all because of those damnable ponies that she was like this, and why after three years we had still not found a way to free her.

She nodded her head in turn as I sat down in front of her, the chains clinking softly at the motion, “We have much to discuss this day Silver Jacket. But first, I wish to know if you have chosen one of my daughters to be your mate. You are fast approaching your coronation, and yet you seem to have no interest in finding a suitable queen.”

“Forgive me mother, but there are no drones that have caught my eye within these halls.” I paused to blow a rebellious lock of my mane out of my face before continuing, “Perhaps I would be more successful if you let me look through the heirs of other queens, they might be more to my liking and would make our hive stronger by combining our strength with that of another.”

She ground her fangs together in annoyance, “I would prefer if you would choose among your brothers in sisters first. Combining royal lines among changelings has always been a risky business, even before our disastrous attempt at ruling the ponies.” She tossed the matter aside with a flip of her mane, “Regardless, that is not the matter that I wished to speak to you about. I have a mission for you, one that could very well free me from this forsaken prison and give us the power to finally take over Equestria.”

I leaned closer, my eyes glinting with interest, “Oh, what plans have you formed this time mother? Are we going to pony-nap one of the princesses again?”

She shook her head, a dark fire flashing in her eyes for the first time since her imprisonment, “Oh nothing as open or straightforward as that my son.” She chuckled evilly as her fangs glinted in the darkness, “Oh no, we will be doing something far more devious than that.”
I leaned closer, eager to hear what it was she had in mind.

“You will be going to Canterlot,” she spoke softly, like it was a secret only I should be hearing, “and when you get there I want you to pick one of the princesses as your target. I don’t really care which, so long as they do not suspect you or your motives. Once you have secured their trust, you will search for the item known as the Amulet of Autolycus and use its power to steal the magic from the royal family. The amulet allows the wearer to use the magic stolen from others, and we will use that power to free me from these chains once and for all. Then, with the alicorns powerless to stop us, we shall take our rightful place as the rulers of Equestria.”

I smiled as my mind exploded with possibilities, all focused on how I could seduce one of the princesses into doing my bidding.
Chrysalis laughed for the first time in years, the echoing sound making my chitin tingle with excitement as I began to join in. Our combined call to arms rang through the tunnels of our nest, causing the hive to buzz as drones worked faster and with more purpose. There was only one reason the Queen and her son would be laughing, and that was cause to work harder and with greater strength, because the hive was
about to go to war.

As we slowly brought our laughter back under control, Chrysalis turned to me with a wicked smile and slowly began to sing,
Demons of hate and fury, please break me from this cell.
For these stone walls and iron chains have been witness to the hell.
Of a changeling's broken dream, and spell.
Like a hunter without a bow, a queen without her gown.
The power that once surged through me,
Has burned to ashes with my crown.

She placed a hoof on my chest and matched my gaze with her own as she continued, her eyes flashing with pride and determination,

All that I once had I give it to you.
They will pay for making me fall, before we’re through.

She removed her hoof and pressed it into one of the chains holding her down, her smile warping into a frown of fury as she ground the iron into the stone beneath it,

Somepony break this spell.
Shackled to my heart.
Soon you’ll be leaving,
I'm begging for vengeance, for you to break this spell.
Please heaven help me now,
Break these shackles for my crown.
And you’re on your way,

Her gaze locked with mine as the last line hissed through her fangs,

To bring them down.

My wings buzzed with excitement as I stood up, my own fangs on display as I placed my own hoof on her shoulder,

Stoke the fire that fills your veins, surging like a wave.
I’ll lead you out of the darkness, it is the hive we work to save.
All you once had you give it to me.
They will pay for making you fall, just wait and see.

I moved my hoof until it rested on top of her own, adding more pressure to the chain link as our eyes burned with a twin fire of vengeance,

For I will break this spell.
Shackled to your heart.
Soon I’ll be leaving,
They'll beg me for mercy, when I break this spell.
Please heaven help me now,
Break these shackles for her crown.
And I'm on my way,
To bring them down.

She moved her hoof from under mine and pulled me to her side, our gazes locked on a distant castle that only we could see. Her voice joined in with mine, creating a chorus of hatred that echoed around the room as we swore to ourselves and our hive that our actions would be the downfall of anyone who stood in our way,

Hear us when we say
Curse their love and break their bones,
When we set they’re world on fire.
We’re gonna give them all-out war
Their fear will be rising higher and higher.
Shroud them in the cold and dark, before we give one last farewell.
When we finally break this spell

For a moment there was silence as she turned her gaze to mine, her voice soft as she pressed her flank against me,

All that I once had I give it to you.
They will pay for making me fall, before we’re through.

I joined in with her for the last time, our voices rising in volume until the whole hive could hear us,

Cause we will break this spell.
Shackled round this heart.
Soon we’ll be leaving,
They'll beg us for mercy, when we break this spell.
Please heaven help us now,
Break these shackles for our crown.
And we're on our way,
To bring them down.

Our voices echoed off the tunnel walls as I stepped away from her, my eyes blazing with the same determination as hers as I walked out of the chamber.

“Do me proud son.” Her voice followed me as I stepped around the corner, “Make them regret they ever believed they could hold us down.”

I paused for a moment as I replied, “They will know your hatred and will bow before us by the time I am done. Rest assured that you will be free once again, mother. This I swear to you.”

With that I walked through the various tunnels of the hive, taking my time to form a plan of action, now that my determination had cooled to a calm and calculating simmer. To achieve what mother planned was not going to be easy. It would take every skill and every type of manipulation I had learned to even stand a chance at success, and even then it would have to be done with the most delicate of touches, or risk falling apart at the seams.

The wind rippled through my mane and tail as I stepped outside and onto one of the many landing platforms near the top of the hive. This one was so close to the top it might as well have been perched on the peak of a mountain for how vast and far-reaching the view was. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as my wings buzzed in anticipation of flight. I denied them that wish for now, instead letting them create a pleasant counterpoint to the whistling of the wind as it moved through the many air ducts and tunnels within the monolithic structure.

Far to the east I could see the mountains that separated the capital from this desolate plain, the sickly grass and spindly trees providing barely enough nutrients to sustain our prey. While changelings could survive without love, it was still necessary for us to grow and for our magic to function outside of our basic transformation abilities. Even a royal such as me, who could feed off of any emotion in place of love, would be hard pressed to lift a stone the size of a horseshoe without straining. Needless to say, we could survive out here, but we would never thrive or expand unless we could find a source of love.

I sat down and closed my eyes once more, bringing to mind the princesses of Equestria so that I could figure out who my target would be. The images of four mares, each as unique as the last, formed in my mind until I had a complete picture of each from shoe to horn.

The first was by far the tallest, easily standing a head taller than the others, her mane and tail rippling ribbons of prismatic colors that flowed in an ethereal wind. Her coat was the most pure white, while her eyes were a pale magenta. I immediately discarded Princess Celestia as a target, given her experience with changelings in the past as well as the simple fact that she never let common ponies into her personal life.

The third alicorn, a bright pink in color with a tri-tone mane and tail, was also discarded, given that she had been the target of our last attempt at taking over Equestria. On top of that, she was married to the captain of the royal guard, so any attempts at seducing her would have to be done in his image. This would pile on his pony-napping and one extra complication that I simply couldn’t afford.

The fourth, a purple youth with a dark blue mane and tail was also removed as a candidate, mostly because she was the one who discovered our ploy during the royal wedding as well as being too young to be a true target. Add on her five friends just to make things even more difficult, and it came up to a total of being simply out of the question.

That left only one princess as a possible target, although I was beginning to wonder if mother had the right idea going after the princesses for the second time in a row. Princess Luna, the younger of the Royal Sisters, was a near complete mystery to even her own subjects, choosing to stay out of the public eye for the most part and caring for the citizens during their sleep. Very little was known about the midnight blue alicorn, although given her tragic past I figured that she at least presented some options as to getting on her good side. The fact that she stayed out of the public eye would actually work in my favor, although that created the problem of how to get into her good graces to begin with. My wings buzzed in concentration as I tried to come up with any and all ways of getting close to her without drawing attention to myself, when I realized something.

Before she was banished to the moon, Princess Luna had a group of ponies known as the Shadow Sword, a small group that had been blessed with the powers of the night in order to act as her personal guard. From what our scouts had been able to discover, the Shadow Sword had not been reestablished upon her return to grace. Instead, a portion of the Day Guard had been reassigned to the night shift to act as sentries during the time that Celestia and her chosen were asleep. I opened my eyes as I gazed out upon the open grassland separating our hive from our rightful home, my lips curling as an idea began to form in my mind.

Who was to say that the Shadow Sword had to remain decommissioned? What if somepony volunteered to be the first member of the new Shadow Sword and took the position as the one and only personal guard to the Princess of the Night? I chuckled to myself as I lifted off of the platform and began flying across the open plains, heading straight for the glowing halo that shone from behind the distant mountains. That glow, while faint from such a distance, was the light of Canterlot and its thousands of residents as they went about their evening routines. Slowly, as the moon began its graceful accent into the sky, the glow faded until there was only the sparkling of the stars and the silver moonbeams to light my way.

With a flash of green fire, I changed into a dark grey pegasus stallion, my mane and tail pure silver a shade or two darker than my natural coloration. On my flanks a full moon with a black shield covering the right side appeared, and with it I created the name that I would be known by while on my mission.

“Just you wait Princess Luna,” I said in my new voice, the warm tenor mixed with a slight growl to be easy on the ears, “because Silver Shield is coming to rock your world.”

With that I flew off into the darkness, knowing full well that the fate of my hive rested squarely on my shoulders. My queen needed me, my mother needed me, and I was not going to let anything, not even the princesses, stand in my way.

Author's Note:

So what did you guys think of my first attempt at a Shadow Quill original song? Was it good or did it fall flat? Please let me know in the comment section if you have any opinions one way or another, and I'll see you on the flip side. I plan on doing my best to write a worthwhile story for all of you and to give one of my favorite fandoms a worthy fanfiction to call my own.
Happy reading, and I'll see you next chapter.
Shadow Quill, Messenger of the Moon.