• Published 24th Jun 2017
  • 2,170 Views, 26 Comments

Rise of the Shadow Empire - Splash Surfer 216

When King Sombra returns to Equestria with an army of shadow ponies, Twilight and her friends travel west to seek out an old Equestrian ally to help them save their homeland.

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Prologue - The Arrival

Pure darkness...

Nothing but a

Black, soulless void.

Quietly, a soft, eerie wind blows...

Ghostly whispers echo.

In every direction.

Most definitely an environment unlike Equestria. Instead of a bright, colorful and peaceful landscape, the emotional stench of pain, anger, and fear permeated the land. Here, instead of lively and well nurtured trees, ones with rotten wood and branches that dangled down like talons or grasping claws grew and seemed to be consistently wilting every single day.

Now like any other sort of realm, this one housed a large kingdom, which like Equestria, had ponies as far as one’s eye could see. These inhabitants, however, were different from those found there. Instead of bright coats and manes with beautiful colors of all kinds and happy, cheerful faces, these ponies had only one coat color, a rather lifeless, emotionless black, with dark, flowing manes to match. The only other colors you could see were on their faces in the form of hideous green, irisless and pupilless eyes billowing with green smoke. If one dared to get up close to one of these creatures, they would also have had the misfortune of spying their snarling sharp teeth and snake-like tongues.

As for their legs, on their hooves was what appeared to be Clydesdale-like fur that left wispy trails of black smoke wherever they travelled.

However, there was still one thing that these creatures had in common with the ponies of Equestria. They possessed the traits and powers of the three tribes of unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies, but with major differences. The horns of local unicorns curved and distorted, but still allowing their bearers to cast spells. Pegasi flew around this realm on ugly, bat-like wings, fluttering above the bleak country. Only earth ponies remained a sense of semblance to their Equestrian counterparts, except their ghastly appearances.

In the middle of this kingdom, a large castle covered with dark crystals stood above the deteriorating, near lifeless landscape. Green and bluish flames atop the turrets burned from its many towers. An unsettling and frightful sight to behold.

Inside the throne room of this castle, three of these creatures, each a different kind of pony, gathered together for a meeting. One draped in a long grey cloak, and the other two, clad in dark metallic armor.

"I'm not really sure we should continue to go through with this, Maldark," said the pegasus to his friend, a hint of doubt in his distorted, echoing voice. "Are you really sure that he can help us?"

"Calm yourself, Nightshade," replied the unicorn, Maldark. "We all know what we're doing, and this will work.”

His eyes briefly closed as he began to paint a picture of just who they were discussing. “He contains a power greater than that of Celestia herself that can guide us to breaking out of this accursed prison."

"And what if he fails? Hypothetically speaking..."

"He won't," Maldark reassured his friend. "He may not have succeeded in the past at reclaiming his empire, but with us on his side, we'll all get what we desire, and that includes revenge on Princess Celestia for locking us away in this dark, fear-soaked hell hole."

"Hmph, indeed." Nightshade hissed, a sinister smirk forming on his face. "They currently know not what forces they'll be dealing with. Let us not keep her and her subjects waiting any longer."

"Shadowy is as ready as we are for this moment, aren’t you boy?" Maldark turned towards the scraggly earth pony next to him and Nightshade.

Shadowy Eclipse let out a deranged, garbled cackle, "Oooh, tahaba! Celestia blabunda tish mishka!"

The trio then jumped at the sound of the huge doors of the throne room slamming open as two pegasus guards stepped into the room with serious, yet proud expressions on their faces. One of them held on his back, a small case embroidered with several crystals of purple, red, black, and green.

"My lord, we've at long last found it..." The guard announced.

"It took a while, but we finally managed to open a big enough hole into Equestria and quickly retrieve it from the frozen outskirts of the Crystal Empire..." said the other.

A smile of satisfaction, creased Maldark’s face. "Bring it here, we finally have the missing piece. Now our new king shall arise."

Following his command, the guards unlocked the box as Maldark used his magic to levitate out a broken off, curved, red horn, which while separated from its owner, still seemed to be pulsating with magic. Maldark carefully lifted the horn into the air and placed it down gently before a large, crystal mirror.

He began to cast a spell. Dark magic began to emit from his own horn as he repeated an incantation, "Zacuzaa mortalis syphem obsidiuos ponemorto altala zalphem sey Maleficence…”

As he spoke these words, his voice increasing in volume and determination, the warlock shot a beam of dark magic at the crystal above the mirror.

The mirror began to glow blindingly as the creatures braced their eyes for what would happen next. A chaotic force pulled the severed horn inside it.

A light-blue light spiraled from within the mirror. Electricity crackled around the frame of the mirror as the candles lighting the throne room dimmed lightly.

Just for a moment then, everything was still, until a large shadow began to take form inside the reflective glass. As the light died down, two green eyes were left in its wake. They blinked slowly, their blood red irises slowly scanning the darkened room. Wisps of purple smoke curled from their corners...

The shadowy form of a tall unicorn stallion slowly stepped out of the mirror and into the throne room. His coat was as gray as a storm cloud, complimented by a pitch black mane. His chest and legs were armor-clad, with a red cape covering most of his back.

The figure looked around at his surroundings and at the strange pony-like creatures before him.

"Wha... huh... Where am I? Who are you? Wha... What are you? Am I… alive?" The stallion stammered in a deep, yet confused voice.

Maldark slowly approached the tall unicorn. "King Sombra," he began. "Former ruler of the Crystal Empire, it is we, the Umbrum, who have aided in your revival. Now I must ask, can we depend on your leadership and guidance for freedom from this accursed citadel and revenge on Celestia and company, especially her faithful student, the Element of Magic, Princess Twilight Sparkle?"

Sombra’s eyes closed as he thought to himself for a moment, it all seemed very clear to him now.

These creatures had brought him back to life and now wished to make him their new king. He realized this could be his chance to be not only a king once more, but also claim revenge on Princess Celestia, her student, a princess like her, and her friends that had prevented him from reclaiming his former kingdom.

Sombra finally grinned, a fanged smile of approval creasing his face. "Long live… the king..." He snarled, before letting out a sinister laugh. The Umbrum surrounding him joined in and cackled venomously. Now that Sombra had accepted their allegiance to him, their tirade against Equestria would soon begin.

Author's Note:

So, my first chapter and my first story, I think I did pretty well. Take the time to give any thoughts or constructive criticism of any kind as long as it's polite, please. Enjoy! More coming up soon! :)

Updated (12/15/21)