• Published 1st Sep 2016
  • 1,578 Views, 74 Comments

Temor - Askre

Twilight and friends must prevent Sombra's heir from resurrecting his father.

  • ...

Chapter 10. Our Town.

Chapter 10

“Well it didn’t take us long to find some semblance of a civilization,” Temor grunted as he observed a village down below in a rocky valley. The prince glanced back the way they had come. After about half a day’s journey he and Emerald had left the greener landscape and entered a more barren and rocky area.

Hearing no protest from his father, Temor had continued onward. He was trying to avoid going closer to Cloudsdale, which still could be seen in the far-off distance. Eventually they had come across the valley surrounded by rocky hills.

“Not many houses and they are lined up on either side of the only street, except for that one house at the far end,” the unicorn muttered. He glanced to his side when becoming aware that the spirit of Sombra had appeared, having been absent since last night.

Sombra didn’t say anything, he just stared down at the small town. His expression was critical and there was a hint of suspicion in his eyes.

“Proceed with caution, some of my powers are coming back to me and I’m already feeling something off in the air here,” the king spoke quietly after a while even if only his son could hear him.

Temor inclined his head a little in a nod. He glanced back at Emerald, who was looking back towards the greener pastures far behind them longingly. She already kind of missed having green grass under her hooves.

“Come on, we need to get some idea of where we are in Equestria. Might as well see if the yokels down there know anything,” Temor grunted and started to head down the slope that would take them down to the village.

It didn’t take too long and soon the houses and ponies were close enough to see clearly. Temor was not very impressed by the buildings - they looked dull and exactly alike. The ponies looked even stranger to him and Emerald. The stallions had the exact same head and tail cut, and the mares had the exact style of braids. As they got even closer, both he and Emerald arched their brows when seeing that every single pony that wasn’t a foal had the same strange equal sign as a cutie mark.

What in Tartarus is up with that? The prince wondered, then he also noticed the strained smiles on them. Okay that’s creepy.

“There is definitely some magic at work here. These ponies have had their cutie marks removed, their inner magic has been suppressed. Even the lowliest of earth ponies should radiate more magic than this,” Sombra remarked as the spirit looked around.

“What magic could do that?” Temor muttered between his teeth, making sure Emerald was not looking towards him as he did.

“I’ve heard of a few spells. I know some of them, but none of them remove cutie marks. I’ve always felt that was unnecessary cruel. The Crystal Ponies may be idiots, but they were more useful as slaves with their inner magic intact,” this father responded.

Temor and Emerald didn’t go unnoticed as they entered the town. Immediately the ponies in the village were looking towards them, smiling their unnatural smiles. Emerald cringed a little at the sudden attention.

“Welcome!” various ponies started greeting them, their voices sounding more like someone straining to be cheerful.

“There is fear at work here,” Sombra muttered, while glancing at the ponies greeting his son and Emerald. “I’m almost impressed.”

The spirit continued to casually observe as they continued forward under the chorus of welcomes. Finally they were halted when a white earth pony stallion stood in their way. Sombra heard him introduce himself as Double Diamond, but the king could already see he was just as much magically suppressed as the rest.

It takes quite a bit of magic to remove a cutie mark and it has to be stored somewhere. Magic is energy and it doesn’t just disappear, it has to go somewhere. Only a unicorn or an alicorn could harness such magic, Sombra thought and his eyes began examining every single unicorn nearby. However, all of them were just like the others.

“I’m Starlight Glimmer, the leader of this little community.”

Sombra looked back towards where his son and Emerald where. A new unicorn had arrived. She had the same equal sign as a cutie mark, but unlike the other mares, her mane was not braided and her tail was longer. Her coat was pinkish purple and her mane and tail were dark purple with a sky-blue streak in them.

The king frowned as he watched the new mare speak to his son. Her inner magic wasn’t suppressed. He could feel it radiate from her. Sombra went closer to listen in on the conversation.

“Oh we are pretty remote here. Though if you go far enough south you will find Manehattan,” Starlight Glimmer explained, her smile slightly condescending, but much more natural than on the other ponies.

Temor sighed. It was already annoying talking with Double Diamond. He had had to restrain himself from not strangling the stallion, but this mare was just blaring all kinds of alarm bells inside his head. On any other day he might actually be mildly curious about cutie mark removal, but hearing his father say their magic was suppressed in the process had quickly cured him of any ideas of inquiring further.

“Is it bigger than this village?” he asked, since he had no idea what Manehattan was. Starlight blinked, indicating to him that he had asked what many ponies in Equestria would call a stupid question.

“Uh yes… it’s quite a bit bigger. It’s the biggest city in Northeastern Equestria,” Glimmer said, trying to sound polite, but Temor could almost hear her mocking him quietly.

“That sounds good enough for me. Goodbye,” Temor snorted. He quickly glanced skywards to see where the sun was so he could determine where south was before turning to leave.

“Are you sure you two don’t want to stay? I mean, new ponies are always welcome,” Starlight asked. Her confident expression almost vanished when Temor glared back at her.

“Don’t try me, lady. I know mind-control and manipulation when I see it. Oh I’m sure everypony here is happy and blissful and all that crap,” he growled and turned around to face her.

“Look, let’s be on the level why don’t we? I don’t care what is happening here. I have more important business to tend to. If you want to play pretend utopia, go ahead knock yourself out. If you are worried that me and my sl… traveling companion will rat you out, don’t be. I’m not exactly popular with the authorities either and I rather avoid them myself. So, let’s just go our separate ways and keep out of each other’s manes, okay?”

There was stunned silence around them. Even Starlight looked stumped. Sombra chuckled having figured Temor would quickly spot himself who the ring leader was. It was fairly obvious when one thought about it and considering how the other ponies were behaving.

Starlight managed to recover some composure, but instead of looking incensed she seemed to be thinking. Then she glanced at the other ponies around them and resumed her smile.

“It’s alright. Not everypony can be understanding of what we are building here. It is quite natural since they haven’t joined us,” she said aloud as she approached Temor and leaned her head closer in to whisper, “Can I talk with you privately?”

Temor was about to answer flat no, when he noticed the ghostly form of his father standing behind Starlight. The king was nodding.

“I’m curious to hear what she has to say,” he said with a devious smirk.

“Fine. But make it quick,” Temor groaned.

“Please follow me,” Starlight perked up and all condescension and smarminess seemed to vanish from her. She gestured to the house at the far end of the village. Temor relented to follow her.

When they arrived, both the prince and Emerald noticed that the other ponies were now keeping their distance. Starlight opened the door and gestured for Temor to enter.

“Your slave can wait outside,” she said and smirked when seeing the look on Temor. “Oh yes, I heard what you were actually going to call her.”

Shaking his surprise off, the prince followed the mare into the house after ordering Emerald to stay outside. He was offered to a seat, but decided to stand.

“Alright, what do you want?” he asked as Starlight began preparing tea.

“I do hope you forgive my previous attitude, I have to admit I thought first you were just two regular wandering ponies who happened to stumble upon my little village,” Starlight started while pouring water in a kettle.

“And what made you think we aren’t?” Temor asked.

“Oh I have no doubt you’re wandering and that you just happened to stumble upon us,” the mare remarked and put the kettle on the oven. She turned to look at Temor.
“But regular ponies? No. Not with that horn.”

Temor froze and quickly put a hoof on his horn. He had forgotten to conceal it with an illusion spell. He could see the spirit of Sombra hoof his face. The prince growled at himself for the stupidity. Of course his red curved horn would be a dead giveaway that something was not right with him.

“Alright, so we’re not regular ponies. What of it?” Temor grunted trying to look uninterested again.

“Relax. My villagers won’t say anything. They don’t even leave the village. As for me, I’m interested in all kinds of magic and though I’ve never received a formal education in it, I do consider myself pretty adept in,” the mare said with a chuckle.

“That’s putting it mildly. A cutie mark removal spell is a highly advanced magic,” Sombra muttered. Temor had to restrain himself from looking at his father.

Starlight returned her attention to the kettle and continued making the tea, being silent for now and allowing Temor to mull things over. Sombra continued to observe the mare and although the king was suspicious, he was certain his son could handle things.

“Tea?” Starlight Glimmer offered a cup to the prince. Temor took the cup but didn’t sip from it, not until he saw the mare drink from hers.

“Alright, it’s obvious you want something,” Temor stated after sniffing his drink to be sure it hadn’t been tampered with.

“Well, aside from your horn, it caught my attention you that you said you weren’t popular with the authorities.” Starlight sat down by the table as she began explaining herself.

“And as you probably have guessed, what I am doing here with my little community probably wouldn’t go well over with the Princesses. I realize not everypony would appreciate and understand what I’m trying to do here.”

“What are you trying to do here?” Temor asked and carefully sipped his tea.

“I’m trying to show ponies the evil of cutie marks. They divide ponies, not unite them. They make ponies feel superior over others. No, I want to show rest of Equestria that true happiness and friendship can be found with no cutie marks and nopony should be better than others’ because they have a special mark on their flank,” Starlight told him. There was fire in her eyes and in her voice as she said this.

Temor arched his eyebrow when hearing this. He pretended to look around just to see where his father was. The spirit looked like he was straining to contain laughter. The prince wondered what he found so amusing, granted the spiel from the mare had been absurd to even his ears, but he wasn’t exactly feeling like laughing out loud about it.

“I see. So where do I come in?” The prince was starting to think though that he was wasting his time here.

“First, tell me. Are you Prince Temor, the son of King Sombra?”

The question caused Temor to spit out the entire content he had taken into his mouth and the cup clattered to the ground as he dropped it. Even his father looked at the mare in utter surprise. A murderous look came over the prince as he glared daggers at Starlight who herself was now gasping in shock.

“It is you! WAIT!” Starlight quickly shouted when seeing the stallion advance towards her with a growl. “I can explain, Sire. Let me explain.”

“Calm down son, let her explain!” Sombra ordered. It hadn’t escaped him what the mare had just called the prince. Temor stopped, but was still sneering and his eyes were beginning to flash green.

“There is another reason I chose this spot for my village. Aside for my own personal quest to rid the world of cutie marks… I have another mission. I was told that upon the return of the empire, the heir of the Shadow King would pass by from the north. I was to be ready to aid him and introduce him to modern Equestria,” the mare told him, speaking with rather impressive speed. She seemed to simultaneously be in awe and mortally afraid.

“Who told her that?” Sombra looked at his son, clearly as confused about this as Temor was.

“Who told you about my arrival?” Temor repeated what his father had asked since the spirit could still only be seen and heard by him.

“The High Shadow, the leader of the Order of Umbrum,” she admitted and suddenly dropped from her seat to kneel in a bow. “Forgive any insolence, my lord. I had to be sure it was you. The descriptions were vague and I’ve always been suspicious in nature.”

“The Order of Umbrum...isn’t that the elite guard force you created out of loyal followers?” Sombra asked his son who was blinking in surprise at the current development, all anger vanishing from him.

“Who is this High Shadow?” Temor asked and sat down finally. “And how did he… or she know about my arrival?”

Starlight looked up, uncertain how to answer. She rose up but didn’t return to her seat. Using her magic she got a cloth to wipe up the spilled tea and grabbed the cup from the floor.

“No one knows really. She claims to have assumed leadership of the Order when the empire disappeared. She’s recruited ponies from all over Equestria to the cause of the Shadow King. She taught me a lot of the spells I now know, including the spell I use to replace ponies marks with the same sign. She always encouraged me to seek out my goal and told me to build my village in a remote location in northern Equestria because she foresaw that you would come this way,” she finally explained while cleaning the kettle and her own cup.

“Son, there is only one way to see if she is telling the truth. You must risk entering her mind,” King Sombra advised his son, the spirit still unsure what to make out of this mare.

“Alright, if you are who you say you are, a member of the Order of Umbrum, you will obey me,” Temor snorted and approached Starlight who was facing him again.

“Of course, sire. I am tasked to assist you as much as I can.” She nodded without hesitation.

“First I must enter your mind to make sure.” The prince’s eyes began glowing green and red, purple smoke began pouring out of the corners. His mane began flowing and he locked his eyes with hers. Soon Starlight’s eyes had turned the same color, but there was no struggle from the mare, in fact she almost looked excited at what was happening.

It took a minute, but then Temor broke eye contact and stepped back. Starlight was smiling much more genuinely now, as if a long time wish of hers had come true. The prince knew he couldn’t vocally confirm to his father what he had seen, so instead he spoke to Starlight, but making sure to do so that his father would know what he had seen.

“So you are a member of the Order after all. I created it originally to have a good loyal security force around my father and to investigate and weed out any possible resistance in the empire. I didn’t figure it would evolve into a secret order to herald my father’s return.” Temor was moderately impressed.

“Oh yes, sire. The High Shadow has agents in nearly every level of Equestrian society, except those closest to the Princesses. She feels the time is not right for that yet. Of course Nightmare Moon’s return and reformation back to Princess Luna set some of her plans back. She had hoped to recruit Nightmare Moon to our cause.” Starlight sighed a little at the last bit. She then noticed the confusion that came over Prince Temor. Unseen beside him, King Sombra was just as confused.

“Oh right, that happened after your time. See, Princess Luna became envious of Princess Celestia, and her envy turned her eventually into a creature of darkness called Nightmare Moon. She tried to invoke an eternal night, but Princess Celestia banished her to the moon. Just over a year ago, she returned. I’ve not heard all the details of how Nightmare Moon was defeated, but she was reformed back to Princess Luna and the High Shadow mentioned the Elements of Harmony were used,” she explained.

“Oh for the love of… I tried for months to corrupt those two and it happens to one of them AFTER I’m banished!?” King Sombra snarled loudly and stomped a ghostly hoof on the floor. Starlight jumped and looked around startled.

“Did you hear something?” she asked, growing a little suspicious. Temor had to really restrain himself not to look like anything else except just as surprised as her.

“Interesting, if I sound angry and loud enough ponies can hear me.” Sombra immediately mellowed down when noticing this.

“Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe one of your villagers decided to eavesdrop. Or we have an uninvited guest.” Temor decided to play along. He figured his father didn’t want to be revealed just yet, plus he didn’t trust Starlight completely even if he had entered her mind. He also figured that she was the type of pony who needed to see things to believe them. “I can check it out for you.”

“Please, though my villagers should know better. You can’t be too careful. They don’t know I’m a member of the Order,” Starlight nodded.

Temor activated his dark magic again and though he didn’t need to, swept for anything in the immediate area. But as he already knew, he could only feel Emerald outside. She seemed to be organizing their gear that had been left with her.

“Nothing,” he reported. Starlight relaxed a bit when hearing it.

“Well this area is rocky and there are hills nearby, maybe an animal dislodged a rock,” she reasoned.

“Possibly,” Temor shrugged, allowing the mare to find the explanation plausible.

“I’m going to go get a map of Equestria. I have a feeling you’ll need it. It’s the most modern map I’ve managed to get, though it could be slightly outdated if recent events are any indication,” Starlight Glimmer told him and headed for the stairs up.

The moment she was gone, Temor looked at his father. He had dropped into thought. The prince figured though, he had a good idea what Sombra was thinking. These recent revelations certainly had changed things quite a bit.

“How much of our initial plans have changed?” he asked.

“Well, our priority is still to get me resurrected, but the news that your security force survived has definitely put a new spin on it. I think it is prudent we meet this High Shadow. That for the record, is the title of the leader of the Dark Pony religious order. It is an office that has been extinct since the Saddle Arabians destroyed the Dark Pony Empire,” Sombra responded and looked at his son fully.

“And who held that prestigious title last?” Temor wondered and immediately noticed the solemn expression coming over the dead king.

“Ira… my sister. The head of the religious order was also always the Queen of the Empire,” he answered after a moment of silence.

Temor could only nod. He had heard his father speak sometimes of his beloved sister. It was probably one of the few times he could hear the king speak kindly and lovingly about someone.

“I guess we should try and locate this High Shadow then,” the prince said and glanced towards the stairs to see if Starlight was returning.

“You need not locate me, for I am here,” a soft voice spoke suddenly. Temor jumped, turned around and his eyes opened wide when seeing the tall and cloaked creature emerge from the shadows. He was so distracted by its appearance that he didn’t see the look come over his father.

“That… voice…” the spirit whispered.

“Pardon the sudden arrival, but I had just recently heard news that the return had occurred and just could not wait, so I’ve kept an eye on Starlight’s village, eagerly hoping that your path would indeed lead here as I had foreseen,” the being spoke and approached the prince.

“You’re the High Shadow, the leader of the Order of Umbrum?” Temor wondered, though that was probably asking the obvious at that point.

“Oh no, my prince. I am merely substituting. You are the founder and leader of the Order. I’ve merely led it in your absence,” the High Shadow clarified. Temor could almost swear she was smiling under her hood.

“Who are you? The title High Shadow is reserved for the sovereign of the Dark Pony Empire, which is long gone.” The prince frowned a little, starting to get a little suspicious.

“Ah, the King taught you well about us. Yes, that is indeed a very special title,” the High Shadow said and started to raise one leg. It escaped from under her cloak, revealing it to have a dark gray coat and hoof. Slowly the mare raised it all the way to her covered head and removed the hood to reveal it.

King Sombra’s jaw dropped at the sight. Temor arched his brow. Standing before him was clearly a tall unicorn mare, with a coat similar to his father. Her mane was black, long and lush. Her spiraling horn was the same color and her coat, she had red eyes and as she smiled warmly, Temor could spot fangs not unlike his father had.

“It cannot be.” Sombra couldn’t believe his eyes. “Ira?”

“Uh… shouldn’t you be dead?” Temor was about as dumbfounded as his father was and just asked the first thing that came to his mind. Fortunately his father was too stunned right now to really be bothered by the question.

Ira merely chuckled at the question, took a moment to examine her hoof a little before dropping it and looked back at the prince.

“I was. But as your grandmother would often say, death in a world so magical like this one, is merely an inconvenience if you know what to do,” she told him and started to approach. Temor didn’t move, in fact he was starting to feel a little awestruck to be in the presence of the last queen of the dark ponies.

“Welcome to back from your exile, nephew. As a spirit I watched you grow under my brother’s care. Now that I am flesh, I will assist you in bringing your father to it as well,” she said as she gently raised her hoof to touch Temor’s cheek.

“I’ve waited so long. I barely can believe the time is almost near,” Ira’s voice dropped to a whisper and her smile changed into a wicked grin.

End chapter 10

Author's Note:

No flashbacks in this one, since there really was never a point that could lead into one, plus they would just have interrupted the flow of this chapter.

Evil Starlight since, this is happening during an alternate version of season 3.

I was originally not going to use Starlight's Village, I was going to just create an entirely new village at the borders of the Crystal Empire and Equestria, but then I took a look at the official map and saw that Starlight's village was in fact close to the borders of the Crystal Empire and Equestria. I dumped my village and used Starlight's instead, in fact things just worked much better when I did. Starlight even worked better as an Order agent prepped to welcome Prince Temor than any original character I had in mind.