• Published 24th Sep 2017
  • 1,515 Views, 80 Comments

To Bring Light to Eternal Darkness - scifipony



In the days before Equestria was even a dream, when mares are second-class citizens, a pony with a solar cutie mark tries to help her brother become a mage. She doesn't realize that she and the sun have an appointment with destiny. (EqD Story Post)

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Cad

My stomach slammed into throat the instant I woke. Heart racing, I clenched my jaw to clamp down on my nausea even as I rolled and hit my head on some wood, adding to the already intense ache pounding there. A rocking motion drove my muzzle with a bang into the side of what had to be a wagon—judging by the squeaking of springs and the thump of wheels against a rutted road, and the snap of leads and the clatter of metal links against the tack. As I tried desperately to scoot back, my flank hit wood siding immediately. Chains rattled. I rode in a tall wagon barely large enough for me scrunched up. I found myself hobbled. Restrained, too sick to stand, my innards spasming at every shock, I splattered myself.

A crust of tears and dirt glued shut my eyes. My eyelids felt like they were ripping as a pulled them open. The acid smell made me want to retch again and I gagged repeatedly. The moon overhead provided sufficient illumination in the dead of night for me to see the steel cuffs and chain that hobbled me front and rear. The wagon banged over a rock and I struck my head again.

Pain spiked me through the eyes. I was no longer inebriated by the mages' tea, or enchanted. I wished I was.

I'd been struck unconscious behind my right ear. Dizziness made me think concussion. As I struggled to focus, I saw myself. I wore my mares-cloak like a blanket; the reason: that was unreal...

Fire had burnt off all the hems and totally consumed the hood of the cloak, leaving the rest full of burn holes like bubble cheese. The blue messenger bag had escaped the fire, but its contents—the lacquer box and jug—lay smashed in a corner with it, the remnants bouncing in concert with the squeaking springs.

The logical part of my mind wondered about my captor; the attack on my possessions seemed particularly vicious.

The rest of my mind shied away from recollections of marshaling magic (how was that even possible?) and sending it into the heavens. I'd be a mad-mare if I allowed myself to contemplate that any of that had been real.

The wagon's slat siding had the pronounced, dashed grain of local High Desert wood. I recognized the vehicle as a hay or grain hauler.

For a few minutes, I breathed in and out through my nose, despite the smell—in and out slowly—until I forced my stomach to calm. My anger grew.

I knew this about the wagon: the brake's location.

I pulled it with same viciousness as the attack upon my things and body. My magic flowed the way cold honey barely flowed, but I managed.

The wheels locked. The rig slid and fishtailed, slamming whomever pulled it hard into the harness. I heard a pony whinny and stumble, spitting choice words and vulgar improprieties.

Unfortunately, I also recognized his voice.

Umbra ripped himself free of the tack and a heartbeat later appeared over the dash, his black front hooves hooked over the side as he screamed, "You stupid mare!"

I stared as he raged, more numbed then frightened by his vitriol in comparison to what had happened today. Involuntarily remembering that I'd been drawn into a ritual to lower the sun and raise the moon seemed less surreal. I'd at least learned that my brother's future would be assured. In comparison, finding myself ponynapped seemed completely mundane.

When his rage ran its course, I asked, "What have you done to me?"

"You've run away. You've interfered with the raising of the moon and the lowering of sun. You've consorted with foreigners!"

By consorting, he did not mean innocent socializing. "I did not! It's rude to even say that!"

He spat on me. It hit my nose. I gasped and scooted back against the rear of the wagon and the busted gifts that rested there. My eyes went wide. Shocked, I didn't even think to wipe it off as he sneered, "And there's the proof. Your illicit earnings—"

"That was a gift from the Collegiate—"

"Tell me another story!"

"They wanted me to stay and recover from my travels before returning home, but I wanted to leave so they insisted I take food and drink—"

"Don't insult me!"

I huffed. "You could just ask them!"

"Foreigners. I have no need. I've got the evidence!" He jumped back, and I heard him rattling the lever to unjam the brake, making the suspension creak and wagon shake, before harnessing up.

"Are you crazy?" I asked.

"You will be punished for your crimes. I warned you!"

The wagon jerked. He grunted and strained loudly, but got it going. Why he didn't use Motivate to at least overcome inertia surprised me. Maybe he felt that acting like a big strong earth pony made him more stallion-like.

As we began to bump along, I rubbed my nose against the wood to remove the spittle. He continued, "Of course, you could agree to marry me—"

"Never!" I yelled. Impelled by the sheer gall of the cad, I found myself upright, barely able to stand thanks to dizziness and the pain, but I glared and yelled again, "Never!"

His robe had been tied to the hoofboard of the wagon. He pulled with only his cutie mark on. Perhaps he'd thought taking the wagon to follow me was a good idea when going down the mountain from the High Desert plateau. Not so easy going uphill, was it? Sweat lathered him. He proved muscular and horsey smelling, but he was determined and he got us up to a trot.

He glanced back. "Do you realize you're wearing nothing but your cutie mark? Do you even care? Don't make it worse by using magic." His crimson aura made his magenta eyes glow while his black lion's mane and dark grey fur blended with the darkness. He levitated a stone. "I have battle magic."

"Throwing stones?" I scoffed, refusing to look for my ratty cloak. My hide ticked and I felt cold like I'd never felt it before. My cutie mark was showing. I neither ducked nor hid.

He looked forward. A moment later, a wheel hit a big rock and I tumbled over, striking my shoulder and flank.

At Five Waterfalls Township, he'd thrown a stone at my head. As I jostled and moaned from the combined pain of my injuries and the indignity of it all, I had no way to break free of the hobbles. Were my magic strong enough, I'd be able to escape the wagon, but not to flee. I had zero energy. I felt sick and chills began to make me shiver. I had no battle magic. In fact, I felt like the last of my magic had gone into pulling the brake lever.

I recognized the spreading canopies of widely spaced acacia trees and recognized the mountains ahead. We were headed back to the High Desert. There was nothing I could do, other than moan and bide my time.