• Published 26th Jun 2012
  • 1,666 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?

  • ...

The Beginning of the End.

As Eclipse's eyes slowly pulled themselves open, he let out a low groan of pain. His body was sore everywhere, and somepony had moved him into the castle. Stretching with another groan, he rose up onto his feet, only to feel his horns collide with some kind of ceiling. looking around, he noticed a golden dome of energy around him, tinting the room outside yellow.

Unfortunately, it was at this point that Eclipse realized that he was in the throne room.

With Celestia.

Standing just behind the barrier, Celestia looked as if she was in no joking mood, and Luna stood beside her, her expression even more angry-looking.

"Haven't seen this since the day we met, Tia..." Eclipse tapped at the magical barrier, the same one that Celestia and Luna had used to trap him at first so that they could talk to him in safety, without his running away. Had it not been for the two angry alicorns glaring at him, he might have taken time to reminisce about the days when he lived in fear of ponies. Unfortunately, there were more pressing matters.

"Well, we haven't needed to keep you in one place since the day we met." Celestia replied. "You didn't keep any secrets from us until now."

Eclipse looked over at Luna, who remained frighteningly silent.

"I kept plenty of secrets, Celestia. You just never needed to know them." Eclipse shook his head, sitting down on the floor, feeling more secure inside the bubble than he would have outside.

"We DIDN'T need to KNOW?" Luna shouted, stomping her hoof on the ground as she finally lost her temper. "Need I remind you of some of those names you told us? Alicorn Assassin? NIGHTMARE MOON? And you withheld that information from us? From ME, of all ponies?" She stomped her front hooves again, this time together, shaking the ground with the force of the impact and fracturing several of the floor tiles. "And now, I get a letter from MY student telling me that Canterlot is in danger after going on a mission assigned by YOU!"

Eclipse started to stand up, only to find that the ceiling of the dome had lowered. Taking in a long sigh, he looked down.

"I think that you need to start by telling us what you meant about Nightmare Moon." Celestia spoke in low, barely controlled tones. "Now."

Eclipse looked up, then nodded in defeat. "Fine... But you have to remember that this was a long time ago, when Discord and I first came to Equestria!"

Celestia and Luna looked at one another, then back at him, their expressions unchanging.

"I don't know how much you two know about Discord's initial rise to power in Equestria, but he was able to take most of it by sheer magical force. It was a horrible, war-torn time for Equestria. City after city was falling to my brother's power, and I still refused to help him. No matter how hard he fought, though, there was once city that always remained out of his reach, and he eventually became obsessed with taking it."

"It was Fairytrail, wasn't it?"

Every eye in the room turned towards the doors to the hall, where Whipstitch was standing. She walked in confidently, ignoring the stares from the three of them, and came to a seat next to Luna.

"I suppose it wouldn't be any good to ask where you came from?" Luna asked.

"Or what you're doing here during a private meeting?" Celestia continued.

"I came from somewhere else, and I'm currently sitting..." Whipstitch shot them both a sideways glance before her eyes returned to Eclipse. "And I want to know why you sent Pennington without me! I'm YOUR student, aren't I?"

"Well, I asked him to let you come, but he said something about 'what happened in Saddle Arabia' and insisted that he work alone! Eclipse shrugged. "Besides, I think that you've been doing very well here!"

"Eclipse, Whipstitch, as much as I respect the bond between teacher and student, can we get on with the story?"

"Well, you can't tell a story about Fairytrail without me, right?" Whipstitch grinned. "I grew up there!"

Eclipse let out a long sigh under the domed prison. "Whips, I don't think that you're going to like the story I'm about to tell..."

"Oh, come on! I'm sure I've heard worse from Pennington around a campfire!"

"Really, Whipstitch, you're not going to like it-"

"Eclipse Tumult! Continue..." Luna growled.

Casting a disappointed glance at Whipstitch, Eclipse continued.

"Well, he began fighting Fairytrail on a day-to-day basis, trying to siege them. Needless to say, the city was almost completely autonomous within its walls, and doing so was a fruitless effort. Every time that he attacked, Discord was met by the same pony: Fairytrail's guardian-"

"Threadmane!" Whipstitch shouted out the name of her ancestor with pride.

Eclipse chuckled. "Yes, Threadmane, the great protector. She would always be waiting for Discord, and every day, the two of them would fight to a standstill. The ground itself in Fairytrail stops the flow of chaotic energy, and Discord couldn't draw close to the city without giving up most of his power. Even so, he always managed to deal large amounts of damage, either to the city or its residents..." When Whipstitch looked at him in confusion, he let out a long sigh. "Let me guess: Fairytrail's records don't record Discord's power ever breaching the walls?"

"No... They all say that Threadmane kept him at bay, and the city was never harmed!"

"Well, never permanently harmed... While one of us was trying to destroy, the other was working to heal." He winked, though his heart wasn't in the smile behind it. "Bet you never that I was there, did you? When Discord was too busy to care, I would sneak into the city and help them with repair and their medical emergencies. Sure, Threadmane was suspicious of me at first, but when I didn't resist her capturing me, she was shocked enough to give me a chance."

"So... You weren't hiding in the forest the entire time you've been in Equestria?" Celestia asked.

"No, I used to have a friend..." Eclipse glanced at Whipstitch, then looked back up at the ceiling, starting to enjoy being forced to lay in place. "The two of us actually got pretty close. I would tell her about Discord's plans and tactics, and she would let me come into Fairytrail to try and redeem draconequui by helping to repair what my brother had done."

At this point, Whipstitch was actually more invested in the conversation than Luna and Celestia, who seemed to be trying to take in as much information as possible from the two.

"But- But why isn't there any mention of you in the records, then?"

Eclipse seemed to become very depressed at this point, any trace of the previous chuckles and jokes completely gone. "You two look exactly alike, you know... You just have black hair. Hers was white. You even have the same cutie mark..." He drew in another breath, almost as if doing so took any more effort than usual. "But I'm not there because I made a mistake... A horrible mistake that resulted in my losing her as a friend... and the creation of a nightmare unlike any the world has ever seen. Threadmane cursed me bitterly for what I did..."

"What did you do?" Whipstitch whispered, still looking down at him. Painfully slowly, Eclipse turned his head and stared her straight in the eyes. Whipstitch had always been able to identify that he was the younger of the two brothers, and she'd always considered him young by draconequus standards, but in those eyes she could see the pain of a thousand years, frightening her.

"I killed her... and her three best friends."

Discord was taking a longer time than usual getting back from Fairytrail, and I was beginning to worry. If he had lost, he would have just come right back to our small encampment in the forest. If Threadmane had lost... I didn't want to think about it.

"Eclipse! Clipsey, could you lend me a hand?" I was relieved to hear Discord's voice winding out of the trees. Without missing a beat, I promptly popped my eagle claw off of the rest of my arm and threw it in his direction.

"Ow! Oh, ha ha, little brother! We'll see who's laughing when you see what I brought back!" As he finally walked out from the trees, I could see that he had, indeed, done something vastly different from his modus operandi: he was carrying an unconscious pony.

"Discord, what have you done?" I rushed forward, my claw somehow restored in the moment of shock, and quickly began inspecting the pony in his arms. She was unconscious, but not injured. There was no evidence of a concussion or a blow to the head of any kind, and she seemed to be breathing normally. She was a white earth pony with a golden mane accented by blood-red streaks. Her cutie mark showed a twisting wisp of fire, jumping out from her pale flank.

"Relax, pal! She's not going to wake up..." Discord rolled his eyes as he set the pony down on the wide stump that we used for a table in our small camp. "This is our peace offering!"

"Peace offering? To who?"

"To whom, Eclipse." Discord rolled his eyes with a smile. He was acting pretentious again, but it was all in good fun. He always acted that way when he was excited. "To those preposterous ponies, of course! After all of this fighting, I've finally struck a deal!"

I couldn't believe him, at first, giving him the most skeptical of looks that I could muster. "Oh, really?"

"Yes, really!" Discord faked being hurt at my suspicion, a claw flying up to his heart in taking mock offense. "It's going to be hard, but all of the arrangements have been made! This pony," he pointed down at the sleeping mare, "has volunteered to be our saving grace! The leaders of this country have finally agreed that we can live here, but on one condition!"

"And what would that be?" I felt a small flicker of hope in my chest. I had been trying my hardest to convince my brother that we didn't need to rule Equestria, we simply needed to live in it. That a balance could be found had always seemed ridiculous to Discord, but he'd been listening to me more and more, lately.

"These three races founded their country on the virtues of friendship, love and tolerance... But ponies aren't perfect. There's still hate, racism runs rampant, no matter how much legislation is passed to treat all three equally, and the nation is going to rip itself apart again at this rate." He looked down at the unconscious pony, something akin to admiration in his eyes. "Now, Discord is defined as 'a lack of harmony between ponies.' What do you suppose would happen if we took all of the chaos away? Pulled it out of the land and drained it from their hearts? All that would be left would be harmony, correct? A veritable utopia, free of hatred! The ponies would prosper for thousands of years without it, and by the time that it returned, there would be almost no place for it, anymore!" He was getting very excited, gesturing with his hands to try and emphasize his point. "And we'd be their heroes, welcomed with open hooves! They wouldn't care about what we are or what we do, they'd happily accept us!"

I should have realized that what he was saying was too good to be true, but Discord's silver tongue had always been more potent than I gave him credit for.

"And... This pony?"

"She's volunteered to be the conduit and the container for that energy... It's too much for even us to hold within ourselves. She'll be the only pony in the world to understand chaos the way that we do! She wanted to be unconscious for the procedure, however, since it's most likely going to be painful... Like putting a patient under before surgery!" For illustration, he was suddenly dressed up with a mask and pair of latex gloves, playfully snapping them at his wrists.

I took in a deep breath, shaking my head. "Discord, something seems wrong about this..."

"Look, Eclipse... You're just afraid. I understand, but I wouldn't have agreed if I wasn't sure that we could do it! This is going to be a big change, after running for so long... But we're going to have a real home! Isn't that what you always wanted?" His voice was soft and serious, just as comforting as it had been when we chose to run away as children. It hadn't been the betrayal of our parents or seemingly the entire world turning against us that had convinced me to leave my home: it was him. That inexplicable sense of safety that I always felt around him. Looking up into his bright red eyes, I slowly nodded, feeling my worries washing away.

"Great! Because I can't do this without you!" Discord smiled and walked me over to the unconscious pony with a firm hand at my back. "Now, take my hands... and we'll do this together."

I nodded, gripping his hands with mine. We both closed our eyes. "Just focus... Inhale through the nose, out through the mouth. We need to pull all of the chaos in the land to this one point, then funnel it between us."

Everything grew silent as my mind moved out of my body and down into the earth. It was as easy as breathing to call the flow of chaos to my will and draw it in, and a slight twinge as I felt the energy begin to flow outwards into the convergence point between Discord and I. Drawing in all of the chaotic energy from the immediate area, I reached out further, feeling the strain grow over the miles. Still, I refused to give up, drawing in as much of the energy as I could, like a traveler in the desert would hastily drink water. At this point, pain was beginning to build in my body as I was transformed into a simple conduit, providing the focus for more energy than my body could ever hope to contain at once.

"Hang in there, Eclipse!" Discord grunted, obviously in pain, as well. Taking strength from his assurance, I reached out farther and farther, calling out to any wisps of entropy, any ounce of strife that permeated the land. Pain was racking through my body in waves, now, and my teeth were clenched in an effort to remain strong for Discord.

This is our chance. A home, maybe even friends or a family again! If we can suffer through a thousand years of ridicule, we can endure this!

That was when she started screaming. It wasn't a scream of fear, but a scream of agony. Sheer and total agony beyond anything she could have imagined. I remembered Discord saying that she had wanted to be unconscious, but in my current state, to try to use my normal powers to do so would be suicide, as the flow of energy would pop me like a balloon. I only prayed that she would forgive us when it was over.

"We almost have it!" Discord shouted as the wind around us began to howl, rocking the trees and calling the clouds together. There was a brief moment of gut-wrenching strain, and then my entire body relaxed. The vortex of energy had breached the event horizon: the process of drawing in energy was self-sustaining, now. Discord and I were now nothing but a funnel, with the energy spilling through us of its own free will. For the first time since we began, I was finally able to open my eyes again. What I saw was an image that I would hold in awe and reverence for the rest of my life.

The energy was so concentrated, it was beginning to manifest itself physically as a gigantic cloud of black in the sky. The cloud was falling downwards in a frightening tornado, with storm-like winds being pulled into the fray, rising to hurricane speeds and a thundering roar that even drowned out the poor pony's screams. It was as if the powers of Heaven and Hell were coming together to touch the Earth, ravaging anything in their wake. Not a speck of smoke left that stump, and the pony couldn't be seen inside. This continued for several minutes, accompanied by several lighting strikes between the two of use, ripping through the center of the tornado and igniting a momentary flash of fire. The process seemed to speed up exponentially at this point, and the entire cloud sunk down through the column of smoke in a massive crash of thunder. There was a flash of light, an explosion, and Discord and I were sent flying in opposite directions.

Discord was able to catch himself, of course, because he could fly. I, on the other hand, was sent crashing into a tree, where I laid for a moment, dazed and confused. Discord immediately flew back to the results of his work, trying to see what had been created. The smoke, however, was still shifting and settling, blocking out any kind of view of what was inside.

"Did it- Did it work?" I asked, trying to find the will to stand. After a few attempts, I was up on my feet again. Discord hadn't looked so happy in years, chuckling to himself and rubbing the palms of his hands together like a child.

"Oh, it worked, Eclipse! She's just not quite done baking..." He chuckled.

"Over here! It came down over here!" A voice shouted from afar. It was a stallion, obviously calling out to other ponies. Discord was surprised for a moment, pulling a small pocket watch from thin air and checking the time before tossing it away again.

"That was faster than I thought it would be..." He looked from side to side, trying to see if any ponies were already upon us.

"What was faster?" My eyes narrowed as I realized what it was that had been striking me as "off" about the situation. I had been taking Discord's word as the sole evidence of what he claimed was true. "Discord..."

"Okay, so I may not have been 100% truthful with you about the circumstances..." He muttered, still looking down at his creation, as if staring at it would make it finish faster.

"Over here! I found them!" The stallion finally made his appearance, his bright red coat and mane jumping out from the bushes and into our clearing. He was a unicorn, and obviously an angry one. Looking between Eclipse and Discord, he seemed surprised for a moment then shook his head, ceasing to care. "What have you done with her? Tell us where she is, you monsters!"

Discord didn't seem intimidated, even as the unicorn reached up behind his back and began brandishing a large, painful-looking sword.

"DISCORD! What did you DO?" I screamed, feeling the future that he had promised me slipping away.

"Well, I may have borrowed our little volunteer without... 'asking,' per say..."

"Over here! Threadmane, they're over here!" Another unicorn, this one a pink mare with an aqua-colored mane. She nodded to the first pony with a grin. "You weren't thinking of holding back Discord all by yourself, were you, Quill?"

"Not at all, Ixia, my dear!" He replied, not taking his eyes off Discord. "Just waiting for the cavalry! Once Threadmane gets here, we'll have them outnumbered three-to-two! At this point, I don't care much about a fair fight.."

Threadmane? My eyes widened as my heart skipped a beat with fear. "Look, it's not my fault! This is all a big misunderstand-NNG!" I was cut off as the first pony's sword floated to my throat, held in place by magic. I was still too weak to fight, and I knew that Discord was, as well.

"You'd do well to keep that tongue still, unless you're going to tell us where you took our friend..." Quill growled, scowling down at me. With a trembling claw, I pointed at the stump, where the last of the smoke was washing away. What was left behind caused every jaw to drop. What had once been a modest earth pony, lacking any kind of outward beauty beyond that of a typical mare her age, had been replaced with a tall, lithe figure, almost mistakable for a doe at first glance. She was still unmistakably a pony, but unlike any that Eclipse had seen before, being so astoundingly thin and tall. Her hair had been transformed into long, flowing, golden locks, tipped at the ends by blood red. Her ears were pointed and ended in small tufts of fluffy fur, and her tail had been thinned and lengthened, a single white, whip-like appendage, ending in a large tuft of golden hair, once again looking as if the ends of which had been dipped in blood. Her cutie mark had disappeared, leaving her coat completely unblemished.

There was a moment of silence as she rose on her spindly legs, blinking several times with her beautiful, sky-blue eyes. As she stood, the sunlight glinted off of the gold-and-ruby necklace that she was wearing around her neck, along with the matching tiara.

"Ember? Is that you?" Ixia finally choked out, still recovering from the initial shock.

Her name was Ember... I thought to myself, realizing that I had never even bothered to try and discover the information up until now.

She slowly turned her head, turning to look at the pony who had called her name. The two mares locked eyes for a moment. No one moved, and I hardly even dared breathe in the silence.

"Eris, my dear, Daddy needs your help..." Discord spoke quietly, but it was plenty loud enough for everyone present to hear.

"Ember, it's me! Ixia! Remember? Your friend!" The mare refused to give up, shaking her head. "You have to fight him! Whatever kind of spell he has you under, we can hel- AAAUGH!"

I have to wonder how many of us actually saw Eris flick her tail from side to side, but we all saw the effect. A gigantic wall of fire was flung outwards from where her golden hair had cut the air, scorching the grass, obliterating the trees in the line of fire for at least a mile, and instantaneously cremating the pony. In the split second between the flames springing to life and her demise, I still think that I caught a glimpse of the light reflecting off of the wedding ring on her horn.

There was another beat of silence before Quill's sword dropped to the ground with a loud clatter.

"I-Ixia?" He whispered the name in hoarse, disbelieving tones. staggering forward, Quill ignored the flames and rushed to where she had been standing, his hooves raising small clouds of ash and glowing embers. Even as the heat singed at his coat and mane, he didn't seem to care about the heat. When he reached the spot, he fell to the ground, tears already beginning to stream down his face. "Honey... where are you?" Shifting through the soot, he found her still-red-hot ring, the diamond in the center mockingly reflecting the flames around him as he levitated it in the air. "My flower... don't leave me!" As the stallion began to sob, the silence found itself filled, and I was racked with guilt for what I had created. In a single flick of her tail, she had taken a life, destroyed a marriage, and reduced a stallion to a quivering pile of grief... and I had created her.

This... This is a monster!

Suddenly, from behind me, Threadmane finally emerged, already dressed in her full battle armor, constructed of her own silver hair, held in place and solidified through her own unique magic. Her legs were lengthened, somewhat, allowing her greater mobility and agility, and her abdomen and neck were covered in a thick plating. Two extra, lance-like legs extended out from her sides, made completely out of her hair under the same spell. I'd seen the armor a few times before, when she had been fighting Discord, but never this close. She surveyed the scene in a matter of moments, eyes darting back and forth. When she caught sight of Quill sobbing amongst the ashes, it didn't take long for her to realize that Ixia was dead, and she stepped back in shock with a sharp intake of breath.

"Discord! What have you done?" She asked, more out of fear and shock than defiance.

"It's not what I've done!" Discord actually began to laugh at this point, running his claws through Eris's hair. "Did you really think that I came here alone? I've been toying with you, Threadmane! Do you really think that you can stand a chance against the powers of two draconequui, all thrust upon one, single pony, along with the combined chaos of an entire nation?"

When Threadmane turned to look at me, I wished that I were dead. I wished that I could simply roll up into a tiny ball and die. If my powers had been strong enough, I would have just dropped a mountain on myself. It would have been less painful than the look of betrayal in her eyes.

"She was my friend, Eclipse..." She whispered the words, only loud enough for me to hear. The words themselves carried very little power, but the sheer loss of innocence in those words better displayed her shattered trust in me better than a thousand others could. She looked back at Eris, then at me. Her expression had changed to one of pure rage.

"Eris is going to come for you, Threadmane... You won't know when, you won't know where, but she'll be coming!" Discord sang, snapping his fingers. In a flash of light, I was suddenly at his side, even as the tree I had been standing in front of was felled by Threadmane's hair stabbing straight through the trunk and out the other side.

"And I'll be coming for you... Both of you!" Threadmane shouted,, her voice quickly rising to a shrill scream. "I'll get you for this, Tumult! Even if it takes me until the end of my days! I'll-" She was cut off as Discord teleported himself, Eris and I away. Despite having only a near-brush with decapitation thanks to my brother's timely teleport, my pain was nearly unbearable as I was racked with guilt.

My creation was a killer, and she hadn't even alive for more than five minutes.

Eclipse let out another sigh as his story drew to a close. "Discord spent the years that he was in power over the rest of Equestria teaching Eris the various arts of assassination, torture, the like... I spent my days trying to determine how I could destroy her. We discovered that, while her normal body was very unstable, she could possess another creature's body and use it to her own ends, even bonding with it permanently to maintain control." He glanced at Luna. "Even after Discord was defeated, Eris kept up her work of making sure that all the powers of Equestria remain under chaotic control. She possessed you and turned you into Nightmare Moon, Luna. She'd hoped to avenge Discord by killing you both, but when she got a taste of the power that comes from bonding to one as powerful as yourself, she refused to let go, wanting to rule all of Equestria, just as Discord had. You and Celestia have the deepest apologies of my heart..." He turned back to Whipstich, ignoring the fact that his head was now laying in a pool of his own tears on the floor.

"I'm certain that Threadmane had me stricken from any kind of records in Fairytrail, but I kept watch over both her and Quill from afar... Eris killed them later in their lives. She possessed a dragon friend of Quill's in order to kill him with an artifact called the 'Windigo Gauntlet.' She first froze him, then stabbed him in the heart and electrocuted him. It was a death fitting of the hero, to be honest... The raw power put into the blow would have been enough to kill just about any being on the planet. I don't know why Eris chose to be so cruel with it, but that was what she did. It was for the best, seeing that Quill had fallen into a deep depression after what happened. He became like a nomad, never returning to his home again, spending every day and night outside for the rest of his life. I forced myself to listen to his mourning, knowing that it was my fault. He wore Ixia's ring alongside his own, even until the day he died."

"Threadmane never gave up on her vow, always working to hunt down and kill Discord and I. Eris allowed her to live into old age, though to this day, I don't know why... Just as Threadmane was dying, Eris tried to make her young again. The result was horrifying as some parts of her body grew younger, smaller, and weaker, while others withered away in seconds, and her silver hair turned black in her dying moments. I guess that, deep down, the monster still remembered their friendship..."

For the first time since her had begun telling his story, Luna spoke up again. "So... Nightmare Moon wasn't-"

"No, not your fault. Eris awoke something inside of you, then manipulated and possessed you to bring it to its full potential. Your banishment was my fault... That's why I never told you. The guilt of knowing that the pain you both went through was my fault is just too much to bear..." His gaze shifted up towards Celestia, who was remaining near-expressionless.

"That doesn't explain Pennington's letter." She spoke curtly and formally, refusing to look at him. Creating a small opening in the dome, Celestia passed it through to him. There was a moment of silence while he read.

"I could swear I've heard that story before..." Whipstitch whispered, breaking the silence. No one replied to her revelation.

"Celestia, Luna, do you remember what I told you about my homeland?"

The two princesses looked at one another, then back down at Eclipse. "You told us that it was the native land of the Kirins," Luna said. "You said that chaos was what brought life to their land, so a single draconequus would appear, and then when he died, a new one would follow."

"But you and Discord were a fluke, born together." Celestia maintained the same impersonal tone, and Eclipse knew that she had good reason to be angry with him. "You left when they tried to separate the two of you because you were overflowing their lands with chaos, and the nation died in a week."

Eclipse cringed at the last part, but nodded. "I'd hoped and prayed that Eris had been killed by the Elements of Harmony when she and Luna were separated, but I knew that it was very likely that the Elements wouldn't be powerful enough to destroy her.

"Not powerful enough?"

"It's like running over a cockroach with a tank: You can try all you want to crush it, but sometimes the roach will just bunker down and enjoy the ride from inside its shell... So I asked Pennington to spearhead and archaeological dig in the dead lands some time ago... It must have taken him some time to reach them."

"That would explain why his past few reports were detailing creatures from outside of Equestria... But that's no excuse for throwing my student into danger!"

"Well, it seems that he found something powerful, regardless. Something that we might be able to use in conjunction with the Elements in order to destroy Eris once and for all." He passed the paper back through the hold in the dome. "I knew Pennington and Moonstone would be the only ones able to make it there and back without being killed, and able to survive the dangers of the dead land."

"Well, I've sent a chariot and pegasus envoy from the New Lunar Republic to bring them home, so they should be coming back in the next few days..." Luna took the letter back, wishing it away with a simple spell. "I think that we can raise the barrier, now, sister..."

"Oh, don't bother!" Eclipse reached up and grabbed at a small metal tab that had appeared on the inside. With the loud sound of a zipper being undone, he pulled down and created a large opening through which he could climb out. "I'll let myself out."

"Wait, you could have gotten out this whole time?" Celestia was shocked, finally changing her stoic expression.

"Celestia, if I were still the scared little draconequus you found in the gardens, I would have escaped a long time ago. I don't want to leave you and Luna in the dark, I just need to feel ready to admit my guilt! Now, if you have any more questions, I'll be in my room, thinking about what I've done..." With a snap of his fingers and a puff of smoke, he was gone.

The entire interaction seemed to have gone straight over Whipstitch's head, who was still in shock after hearing the story. Something about the entire narrative had struck a deep chord with her, and she felt like something was wrong.

"And this thing that killed Ixia, Quill, and Threadmane... It's coming back?"

"That's what the evidence seems to point to..." Luna replied. "She's coming for Eclipse."

"I need some answers..." Whipstitch shook her head, finally snapping out of her reverie. "If you see Eclipse, your highness, please tell him I've gone back to Fairytrail! There are some ponies I need to talk to!" Without waiting for a response, she bolted to the doors and out of the room, leaving the two sisters alone.

There was a long moment of silence between the two.

"He puts a lot of blame on himself..." Luna muttered. "Too much blame."

"He trusted Discord blindly, he deserves it." Celestia turned away, walking towards the throne at the end of the room.

"Tia! That's cruel!" Luna shook her head. "Would you put the blame on me if I chose to trust you? If what I had hoped and dreamed about for a thousand years were used to trick me into doing something that hurt someone? Eclipse and I were once in the garden together, some time ago. He asked me if it was ever too late for second chances, for apologies! I didn't understand at the time, but I assured him that it was never too late! I think that he may have been talking about why he chose to take Whipstitch under his tutoring: he wants to try and atone for his crimes against Threadmane through her descendant! But there's no proxy for the two of us, no chance to apologize to Quill or Ixia! Our forgiveness is his only chance at solace after all these years!"

"And you expect me to just forgive him in a heartbeat for taking you away from me?" Celestia kept her back to her sister, but Luna could tell from her voice that she was on the verge of tears. "All those years, I blamed myself for mistreating you, and it was his fault?"

Luna took a step back, shocked at her sister's words. "It wasn't his fault, Tia! This 'Eris' creature was the one who did that!"

"Eris was a consequence to his actions. His decision had lasting consequences, and they hurt ponies outside of himself. I'm not blaming the consequences, I'm blaming the one who made the decision!"

Luna shook her head, eyes narrowing at her sister. "So... You're blaming the one you can reach. You can't touch Eris, but Eclipse is right here... Happy to take the blame for what happened. So, now that you can shift the blame off of yourself, you throw it all onto Eclipse. I've always expected better from you, sister. I've already forgiven him, and will shortly be on my way to tell him as much, but I would urge you to remember: Eris must have chosen me over you for a reason. Maybe she needed some insecurity, some pain or wrath to take a hold of, in order to force herself on me. Your actions may have had 'lasting consequences,' too..." Silently, Luna walked from the room, leaving the ruler of the sun to ponder the blame.

The Three Heroes, The Victim, and The Twisted Little Witch

Ember and Threadmane

Quill and Ixia


The One Who Killed Them All