• Published 26th Jun 2012
  • 1,663 Views, 41 Comments

Daughter of Chaos - Pennington Inkwell

Eclipse Tumult is forced to fight an enemy from his distant past, one that he had prayed was gone and dead. But can even the brother of Discord and his faithful student stand against the godlike powers of the sadistic Eris?

  • ...

Basic Training

...We were gods once, weren't we? The thought was one of the few wisps of sanity left in Eclipse's mind. Slowly, using most of his remaining strength to lift his eagle claw, staring at it as it shriveled before his eyes and his power was falling away. As his rapidly deteriorating body could no longer support it, the claw involuntarily dropped back down to the fatal bed of poison that he had thrown himself into. His eyes shifted to the right, glancing at his once-strong lion's paw. It seemed little more than skin and fur stretched over a skeleton, and even the fur was coming off in large tufts. Patchwork gods... But now, you're trapped in stone, and rightfully so... and I'm going to die. I promised myself I'd never do that... His shivering body was racked with shudders as he fell into a fit of hacking coughs, and a disgusting tar-like substance filled his mouth. Grimacing, he immediately spit it to the side, trying to ignore the taste of rotting fish in his mouth. He could feel his life force slipping away, and it scared him... but as the world began to darken, he spotted something through the canopy of the Everfree forest. A single beam of sunlight broke through the leaves and struck his cheek, creating a small pool of warmth on his face. A vision of a white mare, with her multicolored mane blowing gently in the intangible breeze, filled his mind for a split second, washing away his fear. I found someone worth dying for, Discord... and I hope that it drives you insane that it wasn't you, my brother. Because for you to go insane... It may make you good again.

I hope that your little "Daughter of Chaos" was worth it, Discord... Because she's killed us all.

Even as he felt himself slipping into the darkness, he tried to understand how this could have happened... How Canterlot could have fallen, how his dearest student could have become his greatest enemy, and how he could have freely given up the life that he had held on to so dearly.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Equestria. After a thousand years of practice, Eclipse knew that Celestia was good at her job, but she seemed to be putting in an extra effort to making this day beautiful.

Probably because it's a Monday. Everypony hates Mondays. He grinned quietly to himself as he took a sip of chocolate milk.

As he walked down the hallway in the Canterlot castle, Eclipse kept the grin on his face. He had a feeling about today. He still hadn't decided if it was a good feeling or a bad one, but it was a feeling! A tension in the air, like a spring that had been pressed down over the course of several days. The tension had been growing for some time, now, but he had kept his feelings to himself.

Being a draconequus, Eclipse had a close tie to the world around him, feeling the flow and ebb of chaotic energy that allowed him to work his magic. He relied more upon the swells of latent chaos around him, seeing as he wasn't nearly as strong as Discord. The thought had occurred to him that this feeling was actually a warning of something dangerous coming, but Eclipse had waved it away. The only being to directly threaten him had been his older brother, Discord, who had become enraged after discovering that Eclipse had allied himself with the Princesses. Eclipse's smile faded as he shuddered at the memory of his first days in the palace.

He had been an extreme introvert, having hidden himself away out of fear for more than a thousand years in the Everfree forest. He had been terrified when Celestia had found him in the garden labyrinth, visiting Discord's statue, but the two of them had slowly come to trust one another. Discord had tried to stop him, even going so far as to use his signature "color drain" to turn Eclipse on the Princesses, but their loving help had returned him to his normal self, and he had returned to the castle. Since then, Equestria had been through a lot, but Eclipse and the Princesses had always stuck together.

"Hey! Eclipse!" A voice called out from down the hall, startling him from his reverie. As he looked down the hall, he spotted a familiar pink unicorn trotting towards him.

"Whipstitch!" He chuckled as the seamstress pony ran to him, somehow not tripping over her long, black hair. "How did you like that last chaos lesson I sent you?"

"What, you mean that challenge to try and sneak past that parasprite guard at the Northern Border?" She gave him a suspicious glare. "You were trying to throw me into all of that drit with the Crystal Empire, weren't you?"

"Oh, you know me!" Eclipse rolled his eyes with a grin. "I never send you somewhere for just ONE reason!"

"Well, I learned a few new tricks!" She gave him a wide grin. "So I think it's time I had an assessment!"

"An assessment? But I just gave you one last week!" Eclipse shook his head. "You passed with flying colors!"

"Are you kidding? You wound up trapping me in a block of ice!"

"Well, you lasted three minutes in the fight!" Eclipse replied with a grin, despite her skepticism. "And three minutes against a grown draconequus is amazing for a single pony!"

As she lowered her horn, however, Eclipse could tell that a sparring match was about to begin. He had chosen to teach Whipstitch because of her unique heritage: a long line of ponies who had lived with chaos their entire lives. When they had met, she had insisted that he teach her how to control and use chaos magic to her own advantage. She bore a shocking resemblance to her ancestor, Threadmane, who had once fought Discord to a standstill, and Eclipse believed that she might one day live up to that legacy, becoming just as, if not more, proficient in chaos than he was.

If Threadmane could go toe-to-toe with Dizzy, then Whips will probably be able to beat me one day... Discord was a lot stronger than I am. But until then, I'm going to enjoy having the upper claw. With a snap of his fingers, Eclipse summoned a large cloud of cotton candy above his head.

"Well, then, show me what you've got!" He opened his arms, making way for her to start her attack.

Whipstitch looked up, firing off a blast of magical energy at the cloud. Eclipse watched as it changed from a cotton candy cloud to a large anvil, and slammed down on top of his head. Rather than the expected clang and sudden stop, the anvil slammed all the way to the floor, and Eclipse disappeared underneath it.

Whipstitch blinked for a moment, trying to understand what had happened to her mentor.

"Psst! Over here!" Eclipse whispered from somewhere behind her. As she spun around, she was greeted by a stained-glass window of the draconequus, reclining on a bed of parasprites and rubbing his head. "That really hurt!" He gave her a stern glare, though it was made ineffective by the fact that he was simply a group of colored shapes.

"You asked for it, didn't you?" Whipstitch rolled her eyes, tapping at the glass. "Now come on! Hiding in there is cheating!"

"No, it isn't!" Eclipse stuck his tongue out childishly. "You wanted a challenge, so I'm giving you one! Make me come out!"

Whipstitch thought for a moment, pondering the problem, then grinned. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a large black marker and uncapped it. With a little magical telekinesis, she brought the marker up above his head and scrawled out a familiar shape: a large boot. Immediately, the object realized itself in the two-dimensional world, floating down and slamming itself into Eclipse's rear end. With a yelp, Eclipse flew forward and out of the window, falling into a heap at her hooves.

"Now, to show you what I learned..." Whipstitch whispered with a smile. She lowered her horn, closing her eyes in concentration. Her black hair snaked out from her body of its own accord, forming a loop around Eclipse as he slowly rose to his feet, rubbing his bottom and cringing.

"Was that really necessary?" He asked as he looked down around him, noticing the obvious trap. He raised his hand, obviously planning on snapping his fingers to teleport away.

Whipstitch grunted with effort and a pillar of black crystal jumped up, growing up out of her hair and jutting itself between his fingers, stopping him. He looked at her in surprise, even as more crystals grew up and around him, and the hair around him turned into a solid black crystal. Within seconds, he was trapped in a crystalline prison, held in place by bars at every angle. Some pointed straight upwards, and others stood crookedly to wedge themselves beneath his arms, legs, and hold him above the ground. A few small branches even held his fingers apart and his wings spread open, stopping him from struggling. Even his tail was forced to jut out at an awkward angle, fully extended, the frills at the end only barely brushing up against the window pane. The crystals were the same deep black as her mane, but they both reflected and refracted the light, creating a dazzling array of colors and lights in the room, with the mismatched chaos god standing in the center of it all, looking in awe at the display of skill.

Whipstitch finally opened her eyes, then began to giggle and clap her hooves with glee. "I saw King Sombra making crystals just grow out of the ground, and I started trying to figure out how to do the same thing! It wasn't easy, but I realized that I could make crystals from my hair! You know, I wasn't really sure that would work! I was worried one of them might go in the wrong direction..."

Eclipse blinked, then gave her an incredulous look. "THE WRONG DIRECTION? You could have stabbed me!" He grunted with effort, straining against the bonds to no avail.

"Well, I didn't, did I?" She grinned smugly at his fruitless efforts. "I can see you in there, so you're not going to be vanishing away when I'm not looking, I've immobilized your claws, so you can't snap your way out, and the crystal slows down the flow of your chaotic magic so that your powers are weakened!" Her grin grew as she gently tapped the tip of his nose. "You're trapped... and I win! Checkmate!"

Eclipse's eyebrows furrowed in frustration, but a bemused grin still lighted his face.

"I'm proud of you, Whipstitch! You've taken what you've learned and applied it well! You're using your perspective to your advantage, you've obviously put both chaotic and harmonic portions of energy into these crystals to fix me in place, and you're even confident enough in yourself to believe that you even trapped a fully-grown draconequus!" He stretched his tail as far as he could, the tufts of white hair on the tip of his purple tail gently brushing against the glass. "But you should never say 'checkmate' unless you're absolutely sure!" Whipstitch glanced at the window, keeping Eclipse in the corner of her eye. She was surprised to see the hairs tickling the nose of another illustration of himself on the window. This one remained static, but the action seemed to be having a noticeable affect on Eclipse, who was beginning to breath heavily and wrinkle his nose in discomfort.

"You see, there's just one... little problem..." He wheezed between words, eyes beginning to water. "You're still a pony, at heart. You need to put aside... the idea... that the world is based upon logical order... and expect... the unexpected!"

Whipstitch jumped forward, pinching her hoof on his nostrils. She didn't know what it was that would have happened when he sneezed, but she had a feeling that he hadn't simply felt like tickling his nose for nothing.

"Let me guess... It was going to be some kind of 'super sneeze' that would shatter the crystals?"

"Well, no..." Eclipse smiled. "I just wanted to get you close enough to do this!" He snapped his head backwards, as if trying to break free from her grip. Whipstitch held on, but stumbled forward as she did so. As she fell, her horn collided with one of the crystals, chipping off a small piece. As she stood up again, a spiderweb of cracks spread out from the single chip, growing with a chorus of pops and cracks until there wasn't a single non-compromised surface.

"Oh, motherbu-"

She was cut off as Eclipse shattered the crystals, rising to his full height. He shook slightly, sending a few last black shards falling to the ground, then looked down at her and smiled.

"My turn..."

Whipstitch took a step back, and was surprised to find her hoof in something wet. She looked down to see a small black puddle where the crystal shards had been. Her eyes darted left and right, confirming her suspicions. All of the crystals were melting into an ink-like liquid and forming a large puddle around her hooves. She jumped to the left, but the puddle moved beneath her, and she simply landed with a small splash. Using her magic, she tried to levitate herself into the air, but the liquid seemed to suck at her hooves like thick mud, keeping her rooted to the ground. She looked at Eclipse, who had his arms folded smugly across his chest. He wasn't smug often, and Whipstitch knew that it couldn't be good news for her that he was now.

"Would you care to try jumping again?" Eclipse asked with a wink, prompting her to roll her eyes.

"Do I have a choice?"

"Well, we always have a choice... you could just surrender!"

"To a puddle? Not a chance!" Whipstitch jumped up again, this time using her levitation spell once she was already in the air. It seemed to work, keeping her aloft at about eye level with her teacher, and she grinned at him in celebration. In that moment, just when she thought that she had outsmarted the strange puddle, Eclipse snapped his fingers. In a sudden surge, the black liquid struck upwards, taking hold of her back hoof and violently yanking her downwards. With a cry of indignation, the unicorn was pulled down and back into the puddle. Somehow, she kept falling, the puddle seemingly having grown somehow deeper, and she vanished from sight.

It was at this point that Celestia came in on the scene, a light smile lighting her face at the familiar face of the draconequus.

"Eclipse! I was wondering if you could help me-"

"Just a minute, Tia!" Eclipse held up a single finger, then reached down and tapped the puddle with his finger. It froze at his touch, forming a crystal mirror on the floor. He picked it up, spun it a few times on the tip of his finger, then turned it to the reverse of the side that he had picked it up from. As Whipstitch fell head-first onto the floor in a heap of hair and pony, Celestia gave him a questioning look that he simply returned with a shrug. Whipstitch began to gently groan as Eclipse snapped his fingers and the mirror disappeared. "Say it, Whips!"

"Uncle..." She muttered, giving him a burning glare from underneath the hair covering her face.

"Hey, you made me break out the big tricks! Be proud of yourself! I'd call that 'ready for the next level of magic!'" Eclipse gave her a wink as he picked the dejected pony up and set her down on her hooves. "I'll send you your first advanced lesson this week! Making it rain assorted beverages!"

Celestia rolled her eyes, not sure whether she should feel amused by or sorry for Whipstitch. She, however, needed his attention for something far more important. Eclipse had seemingly found his place in Equestrian society when it had been discovered that his parasprite creations could be used to protect the borders of the nation, but something strange had been happening, lately. Something that made Celestia worry about the safety of the ponies that she watched over.

"Eclipse, there's something wrong with your parasprites... Captain Armor and several guards from the Northern border are here claiming that something strange has been happening all over the edges of the country..."

"Tia, I told Cadence, the whole 'avoiding the crystal empire' thing is to stop them from messing around with the kingdom's natural magic! It's nothing personal!" He gave Celestia a small pout. "Though I am still mad at her for moving so far away..."

"Eclipse, please! I know that you and Whipstitch have a lot of fun, but I need you to come back to being serious!" Celestia would normally have been happy to see the timid draconequus having a good time, but this wasn't the time for levity. "They're saying that parasprites, entire patrols, are being found dead at the borders!"

Eclipse's smile immediately dropped from his face, and he gave her a cold glare. Celestia almost regretted asking him to become serious, as the transition was sudden and drastic. He had always been very close to his parasprites, claiming that they had helped him to survive in Everfree. Now, when they had taken up the mantle of guarding Equestria's borders under his orders, all ponies were beginning to appreciate them as more than simple pests.

"Show me. Show me right now."

Pennington Inkwell wiped the sweat from his brow as he worked under the glaring sun. He was a long way from Equestria on an archaeological dig, and he was doing his absolute best to enjoy himself in a country that seemed to be comprised almost entirely of sandstone. There were nothing but flat expanses of sandstone for miles around, creating a veritable oven on the entire surface of the earth. He had tried telling himself that a request straight from Eclipse Tumult, himself, was an honor, but all that he had managed to do was generate a large amount of pent-up hatred for the draconequus. He had tried everything that he could think of to make the grueling task of excavating the arid land a pleasant one.

It wasn't working.

"This is so boring!" He tossed aside his pickaxe in frustration. "I swear, when I get back, I'm going to give 'the last draconequus' a piece of my mind! In fact, I have half a mind to give him the whole thing!" He paused for a moment, chuckled at the play on words, then groaned loudly at the horrible humor. "That's it! The sun is soaking through to my brain! I'm just going to shut up..." He took a long drink of disgustingly warm water from a nearby bottle, then picked up the pickaxe. "And get back to work."

Taking his frustration out on the ground, Pennington swung down harder than before, taking a large chunk out of the earth. He tossed it aside with his magic and struck again, grunting with the effort as he dug the pointed end into the groove left behind. In that moment, something changed. Instead of the resolute stubbornness of the sandstone, the pickaxe only met resistance for a moment, and a loud cracking sound was heard as it broke through into the other side of some kind of wall. Immediately, he froze and took in his surroundings.

He was standing in an indentation in the ground that he had chiseled out, himself, most of which was at almost the same depth as this break in the ground. If the hollow space was very large, he knew that the ground could give way at any time. He could be about to take a fall of undetermined length into an area that may or may not have some kind of trap in it, and there were more cracks that formed in the stone beneath his hooves. This was a very bad situation.

If Twilight finds out I got injured on a trip that she specifically told me NOT to take, I'm going to be in some deeper trouble than this... He thought to himself. You know, it's times like this that I wish she was here to help me out... I really need to ask her about self-levitation...

"Over here! I need some help!" He shouted, doing his best not to move. "I think I found something!"

A group of other ponies quickly ran over to him, then stopped when they saw the cracked ground beneath his hooves.

"Okay, Pennington... Just hang tight." A pegasus pony whispered. "We'll get you out of there. Any other unicorns around here?"

A few ponies raised their hooves, and the others parted to let them through.

"'Hang tight,' Sure Shot?" Pennington chuckled lightly, giving his old pegasus friend a glance. "I'm not going to lose my nerve, I've been in worse situations than this!"

"Yeah, but when was the last time you fell for a pitfall trap?" The banter helped Pennington stay calm, despite the fact that the cracks underneath him were growing wider and more numerous. It was definitely a case of standing on thin ice.

"Well, the best traps are the simplest..." Pennington took a moment to ready his own horn in case things went wrong. Using his magic, he took a grasp on the outer edge of the hole, on a piece of stone that he could tell was secure. Only a few seconds later, his instinct proved to be right as he watched one of the unicorn ponies' hooves strike the chunk of rock that he had thrown away only moments before. Time seemed to slow down as the pony fell forward and into his hole in the ground, inch by painful inch. When the pony collided with the ground, there was a huge cracking sound, and the ground gave way completely. Both of them fell.

Instinctively, Pennington poured all of the magical energy that he could muster into his grip on the rock above, solidifying the connection into a physical form: a rope. He had learned the skill of creating solid objects from magic a long time ago, and it had saved his life more times than he could count. They didn't last very long, and Pennington lost a large portion of his energy when he did so, but he still had enough to hold on for dear life, wrapping it around his hoof to secure his hanging position.

The other unicorn plummeted to the floor, landing in a disheveled heap on the floor.

"Are you alright?" Pennington asked, struggling to see his fellow unicorn as his eyes adjusted to the dark room.

"I- I think I'm okay..." The pony slowly stood up, rubbing the back of his head. He looked around, obviously unsure, and started to take a step forward.

"Don't move!" Pennington shouted, stopping him short. "You don't know if there's any kind of trap in here!"

"I don't see anything..." The pony muttered, pulling back his hoof and taking a smaller, more hesitant step. "I think that it's empty in here..."

"I'm telling you, that's what they all say before the trap kills them!" Pennington replied, even as his grip on the rope weakened. He could feel the energy of maintaining the rope seeping out of his body, and he knew that he only had one option: to fall. He took a deep breath, whispered a quick prayer, and cut off the flow of energy into the rope, letting it fade away into mist under his hooves. The moment that he hit the floor, he tucked in his front leg and dropped into a roll, dodging whatever projectiles might have been triggered by the landing. After a single revolution, he was back up on his hooves, ready to jump into the air to dodge another onslaught. The other unicorn simply stared at him as if he were crazy, most likely due to the fact that nothing had happened. He had been dodging air.

"Well, better safe than sorry, I guess..." He muttered, walking past Pennington with a sigh. "Do you know what those are?"

As Pennington looked in the direction that he was pointing in, he saw something that he hadn't noticed, before. Three pedestals jutted out from the wall, each holding a large stone orb. Every orb had an inscription and a symbol carved into the surface. The inscriptions were in an indecipherable jumble of glyphs, but the illustrations were quite clear. One orb held a picture of a broad shield, one was a picture of a long, broad sword, and the third was some kind of crown, standing between and above the two..

"I think we really found something big..." Pennington whispered. Without a word, the other pony stepped up, trying to touch them. "No! No, don't!"

It was too late. There was a loud cracking sound, a flash of light, and the unicorn was laying on the ground, his body blackened and smoldering. A disgusting smell of burning hair and flesh filled the room, and the second before Pennington turned away was plenty of time for him to take in the image of the body. The unicorn had been a dark orange to begin with, but all of the fur on his body and his mane had been scorched to a coal-like black. He looked as if a million volts had run through his body at once, and his mouth was hanging open. A small amount of soot had fallen out when he had hit the ground, which Pennington could only imagine were the remains of his tongue and teeth. His eyes seemed to have disappeared completely, leaving ashy holes in his skull where they had once been staring up at Pennington. Even his cutie mark had been affected, and in the most disturbing way. The pony had originally been a specialist at dating ancient objects, and his cutie mark had been a sundial next to a modern clock. Now, there was only a pale white mark standing out from the black with no trace of his previous identity left. Pennington had seen ponies die before, it was an unfortunate part of investigating the most dangerous, paranormal, and dangerous creatures in Equestria, and he still hated it. He couldn't stand to see a living creature, an identity all its own and unique in every way, being destroyed.

Trying not to gag at both the sickening stench and the body below him, Pennington was about to step away from the dangerous objects, when he had a feeling. He was scared, but something in the room had changed. What had once seemed cold and forbidding was now warm and welcoming. Nothing had changed in the room, but he didn't feel afraid, even in spite of the dead pony laying on the ground before him. The dim room felt cozy and personal, as if it were all his own. He tried to shake it off, but the feeling only grew stronger.

And then he had it. He knew that he shouldn't have had it, but he did. The trigger. The crazy idea. The impulse.

I think these things are alive, or something... If I approach with respect and proper subjection... maybe I can get closer.

Maybe I can touch them...

And, in his mind, the challenge had been issued. There was no backing down, now. Not without losing his self-respect.

Just remember... These things, whatever they are, are trying to make you feel welcome and at peace... When they attack, they attack with open aggression. They want you here.

I can do this...

Author's Note:

Well, it's new! It's improved!

It's hopefully going to be much better than last time!

For those of you struggling to grasp these characters (Whipstitch and Eclipse), this story works in conjunction with all of my other stories, and you can find more about their backgrounds in their own stories, "Brothers" (Eclipse) and "Whipstitch" (She got her story named after her.) I would highly recommend reading those, especially because this story is a direct sequel to "Brothers." You can learn more about my OC, the adventurous Pennington (Who may or may not be about to die) in my story, "Happy Adventuring, Twilight!"

I've rewritten this from the ground up, though it will follow a similar storyline to the first rendition, which you may or may not be familiar with. However, as you can already tell, Whipstitch will be playing a much larger role, Eris is going to be much more sinister, and the plot will be much better timed and more lengthy.

So, here goes nothing! Happy Adventuring!

-Pennington Inkwell