• Published 1st Jul 2017
  • 16,910 Views, 2,292 Comments

Necromancy For Foals - Queen Sanguine Dreams

Far from Canterlot and forced to work in gem mines for cruel Diamond Dogs, a young unicorn named Bone Marrow's pursuit of his cutiemark reveals a unique talent: raising the dead.

  • ...

Nightmare Night

The clacking of hooves on cobblestone and the blowing wind announced the approach of two small foals, one hooded and the other with a wide smile on her face. A glow emanated from the hooded pony in the dark night, worrying the grave-keeper.

"How can I help you ponies tonight?" The grave-keeping mare warily asked the two. The smiling one was beginning to creep her out. "Are you lost?"

The two walked further into sight, the filly giggling and whispering to her friend. The graveyard's metal gates would squeak occasionally with the wind's gusts, reminding the keeper of a ticking clock.

A brighter glow of blue came from the hooded foal and produced a scroll with an official looking seal. The foals halted in front of the gate and floated the document over. Unraveling it, the document was signed by the town's royal guard and spoke of express permission for the entrance of the graveyard after hours and the request for privacy.

Judging from the document, these two foals were part of a noble family that didn't want to be seen during the daylight hours mourning over the loss of an illegitimate sibling of theirs. Indiscretion on the matter was expressly stated to end horribly, and a regular sum of gold was to be payment for the intrusion.

Lowering the document and looking to the two foals with a degree of sympathy now, rather than suspicion, she turned towards the gate.

"Poor foals, losing somepony like that..." She mumbled under her breath while reaching for the keys to the gate. "You be careful in there now, you hear? The dead like their sleep, so don't go making a racket."

The hooded colt smiled, "I'm sure we won't make too much noise, ma'am."

The gatekeeper turned to see the pegasus filly stifling a giggle, which worried her even further. The document had been legitimate, signed and stamped with the royal seal. It also promised payment, and she could really use the money. Shrugging, the gate opened with a metallic clank and screeched open noisily.

Pointing a hoof towards the misting graves she stated, "In you go. I'll make sure nopony else comes by this late."

The two entered the graveyard with the gate clanging behind them, offering a single glance back at the gravekeeper before moving further out of sight.

"That went way better than I expected," Bone Marrow noted quietly, "I thought that would've gone horribly wrong at any moment."

Scenic tapped Bone's side playfully, "Come on, who expects two foals to be sinister? We're just out here mourning our dead brother is all. You know, the one we actually have and isn't fake at all?"

The hood tugged on Bone's muzzle as he got a better look at Scenic walking next to him. "You're certain you want to come along? I don't want to put you in danger anymore than I already have."

"Yeah, you've put me in so much danger I almost forgot to yawn," Scenic cheerfully replied, "All I've seen you do is act strange and crumple a can of meat. I want to get out there, experience the strange in life. I don't want to sit around town, being bored and watching the same sunsets over the lake for the rest of time."

Bone placed a hoof on Scenic's shoulder that gave her pause. "You have to promise me that if I'm injured- if I look like I'm about to die- that you'll fly or run as far away from me as you can, alright?"

Scenic was confused. "You don't want me to save you or find help?"

The hood shook side to side. "If I die, I will always come back. You don't want to be around when that happens. I really don't want you to be around when that happens."

"Aww," Scenic happily replied while wrapping her own hoof around Bone, "Necromancers really do have feelings for ponies! The stories were all a lie; Necromancers are actually cute colts that just want to take their filly friends out on a date in the graveyard!"

Bone huffed a sigh at that remark, yet also couldn't help but grin. "Just be careful, alright? You're the nicest pony I've ever met."

"Come on Bone," Scenic reminded him with a smile of her own, "You've got other bones to raise!"

The two foals walked along the neatly maintained pathways of cobblestone through the graveyard on the lookout for a crypt or mausoleum. Bone reasoned that if he was going to get skeletons moving around again with his magic, they would have a very hard time getting through their coffins and the dirt that sat atop them. A crypt would have the bones just laying around in small slots, just waiting for somepony like him to wander by.

"Think you should actually try bringing back a pony from their grave?" Scenic asked, "It won't hurt if you try it."

Bone shook his head, "They're just bones, how strong could they be?"

Scenic tutted with a raised hoof, "Ah ah, they're undead skeletons raised by a Necromancer. Who's to say they don't have super cool undead strength?"

The unicorn considered this for a moment before raising a question of his own, "What about the dirt left behind? Won't the keeper notice that I've been doing things with the bodies?"

"She was paid to stay quiet, wasn't she?" Scenic countered, "Besides, you could always have them re-dig their own graves and go back to sleep later."

Bone wasn't convinced. "I don't think all the money in Equestria would keep her from talking about an army of the dead rising from their grave at the command of a colt in a hood."

Scenic gave a sigh of acceptance at that. "I suppose you're right; I just wish it was easier to find a crypt, you know? It should be pretty obvious where all the fancy skeletons are resting."

The two continued their walk through the misty graveyard on the lookout for some kind of landmark or otherwise obvious building when they came across a large statue of what seemed to be a Royal Guard captain of ages past, complete with a smaller gate at the base of the structure.

The gate was locked and secured with a chain, making entry a bit more difficult than the foals had been imagining. Bone had no idea how to pick the lock with his magic and Scenic was at a loss, excepting a single idea.

"Hey, you know how you made that one can of meat really rusty?" Scenic suggested, "What if you try eating the lock?"

Bone's head retracted back in confusion. "You want me to what?"

"Try doing your magic meat eating thingy on the lock! At worst nothing will happen, right?"

Seeing no other option and seriously doubting the effectiveness of what was being suggested, Bone looked to the lock and chain and wrapped it in a glow of blue magic from his horn. "Here goes nothing," Bone added skeptically.


A very loud, very terrible screeching sound emanated from the lock and chain. Nearby birds had been scared off by the noise and by comparison to the quiet night around them, they may as well have been ringing a town's alarm bells from the horrid noise the lock made.

"Stop, stop!" Scenic shouted, tapping Bone on his horn and collapsing his grasp on the lock. "Look!"

Rubbing his horn and gazing back at the lock, he noticed that it had become very rusted and buckled in some places. Bone was at a loss for words, yet Scenic was only encouraged further.

"This is so awesome, seriously! You can eat practically anything, Bone!" Scenic cheered quietly, her ears still ringing from the noise.

Bone tugged on the gate with a hoof and watched part of the metal bars pop off and clatter noisily to the stone steps below. "Yep," the young necromancer replied, "noisy and awesome."

"Think anypony heard us?"

Bone slowly looked to Scenic with disbelief masked by the cover of his hood so that she only saw his tight lipped muzzle. "No," He replied sarcastically, "quiet as a mouse."

The two foals did their best to shut the gate behind them with zero success. Every attempt to close or bar the metal gate met with rusted out hinges and flakes of iron that stated the gate was going nowhere anytime soon.

Moving further into the crypt, the only light source was Bone's brightly glowing blue eyes that scanned each of the walls for the long dead he needed for his deal with the Royal Guard in town to work. Half complete skeletons missing hips, skulls or limbs were overlooked in favor of the better preserved while their hooves echoed through the halls of the town's crypt.

"This one work?" Scenic asked, pointing to a well dressed but molding body. It lay facing outward with a rictus grin of decay that made the filly uneasy. More than a few times already she had voiced her disgust with the actual dead, rather than her cleaned and romanticized version she had in her mind.

Bone was still a bit apprehensive at being so close to dead ponies but figured that if he was going to be a Necromancer for what was effectively going to be the rest of time, seeing as how he couldn't die, then he had better get used to the idea of staring death in the face regularly. Using his magic he moved the corpse around a bit, testing joints and accidentally prying off a leg in the process.

"Can't you just magic them alive?" Scenic asked while covering her mouth, "I don't think the rotten muscles of a skeleton matter all that much."

He sighed with agreement. "I suppose you're right, actually. The first time I did this I hadn't even considered what state the bones were in, let alone been so picky as I am now." He motioned for Scenic to come closer to him as his horn lit up in a field of blue. "Don't make any sudden moves, alright? I have to feel every skeleton in this crypt and I don't want to mistake you for one of them."

"Wait," Scenic interrupted as Bone was about to close his eyes, "You have to actually feel the skeletons of dead ponies with your mind?"

The glowing hood looked to Scenic. "I suppose so. That's how I've always done it." He then realized that he had also kept his eyes closed when he raised the dead, not out of necessity but out of both fear and the need to apply more concentration. If he was going to encounter bandits, he couldn't afford to expose himself to another crossbow bolt to the heart.

"I'm going to try something new." Bone stated, his eyes open and glowing enough to bathe the crypt in a deep blue light. "Stand close, alright?"

Scenic did as asked and practically hugged Bone Marrow for dear life as skeleton after skeleton began to glow with the same blue that her necromancer friend emitted from his horn. Wisps of energy had slithered their way through the open air in smokey tendrils that pierced the skulls of the bones nearby before they shook to a mockery of life itself and pulled their own bodies from the stone holes in the wall they rested in.

Clattering and rattling of bones and hooves clacking on the stone floor grew in frequency as more and more dead were raised by Bone Marrow. The young necromancer looked with awe at his quickly assembling army of the dead nobles and knights that could afford to be buried in such a place when suits of armor rose along with their corpses.

Focusing his efforts again, a second wave of magic went out like an ever expanding sphere making its way like a ghost through the walls and beyond. Glowing orbs of blue locked in the endless abyss of the skeleton's eyeless sockets stared back patiently at Bone Marrow as they assembled all around the two foals.

Regally dressed nobles with molding clothes and suits of armor stood all around him in a circle, staring and waiting. Scenic was shaking and clinging very tightly to Bone Marrow with a look of terror on her face, her previous bravado and nonchalance about the entire event shattering along with her perceptions of how long the dead truly rest.

"B-B-Bone Marrow?" Scenic shuttered, "C-can you make them look away p-please?"

With a thought the skeletons turned around in perfect unison, the loud stomps of hooves bringing complete silence as they halted.

"Are you alright, Scenic?" Bone worriedly asked, pulling her closer to him. "I told you that it would be scary before we came here."

"I didn't think it would be like this, though." She quietly replied, her eyes darting from skeleton to skeleton with slowly dissipating fear in the company of Bone Marrow. "They're not going to eat me, are they?"

Bone shook his head. "I'd never tell them to do that to anypony, don't worry."

The two shared a moment as Scenic's nerves slowly calmed in the company of so many skeletons. Mentally ordering one of the skeletons to slowly turn around, it sat across from the two foals patiently with glowing orbs of blue staring back at them through it's helmet.

Bone reached out a hoof and mentally told the skeleton to do the same. "See, reach out your hoof."

Scenic shakily did as she was told, joining her hoof with Bone's and the skeletons cold metal hoof gauntlets. Looking between the skeleton and Bone Marrow, her worries eased further.

"They're my skeletons. Without me, they'll just fall apart into the bones that they are. There's nothing to fear from a skeleton so long as I'm the one controlling them," Bone explained. He hoped that he was right, seeing as this was his second experience raising an army of the dead.

Looking over the undead in front of them, they noticed a few problems. "How are we going to get all these bones past the grave keeper again," Scenic asked as her cheerful mood slowly crept past her fear of the skeletons. "These 'ponies' don't fit in, you know."

Bone smiled at that. "When I raised my first army of the dead, I wanted to give them long black cloaks like the one I have so they'd look cool."

Running over the idea in her mind, Scenic quickly nodded with excitement, "That does sound super cool!"

"I also thought that ponies might be creeped out by a ton of ponies with glowing eyes marching through the streets in black cloaks, though." Bone added.

Scenic was quick to counter that concept. "But what if you wanted to feel safe? You said yourself that they won't hurt anypony. All they've done so far is have their bones bleached white, their rotting bits turn to ash and then stand next to us with big glowing blue eyes!"

Bone shook his head. "Other ponies won't see it that way. Think about how you were just a few minutes ago, Scenic."

Realization dawned on her rapidly as she sighed. "Yeah, I suppose you're right about that."

The two sat in silence for a moment as they took stock of the skeletons around them. All in all, the crypt had ten ponies with old and unpolished Royal Guard armor along with another thirty or so noble-looking skeletons dressed in all black garb.

"Hey," Scenic pointed to one of the noble skeletons, "Think they'd look good in a hood though?"

Bone's glowing eyes rolled, moving the source of light around in the crypt. "And where would we get that many hoods? Even then, we'd have to find some way to cover their faces and the bits of their clothing that are showing bone."

The pegasus filly smiled wide. "I know a few ponies that might be up for it. Call it a new kind of celebration or something, you know?"

The necromancer was skeptical. "A celebration in the middle of fall when nothing else is going on? What would we even say it was for?"

Scenic shrugged. "I don't know, maybe something to do with skeletons and spooky stuff? We could explain it all away as some kind of special event that the nobles in Canterlot are trying out as some kind of showboating. They really like one-upping their other noble-buddies, so why not have a fake one throw a party that they say will be every year?"

Bone was coming around to the idea, but he still had his own doubts. "What would we call it, Spooky Eve?"

Scenic had a different idea accompanied with a very wide and very smug grin. "Nah, we'll call it Nightmare Night."

The two foals decided that it would be best for the skeletons to remain waiting where they were so the two could gather what they needed to pull off their stunt. Scenic went the next morning to gather the favors that ponies had owed her for previous help she had offered with chores, cooking and whatever else they needed in exchange for very specifically black hoods. Others would notice her excited giggling and wonder what she was up to, and Scenic would reply that there was a festival coming up that she needed costumes for.

Word got around of this new event as each pony had their own idea for who started the whole thing. Now and again, ponies would see black dressed and scary looking newcomers enter the town. They would never speak and they hardly moved a muscle, but soon the town grew about as accustomed to them as they could, assuming that they were servants of some noble that was paid to stay in character and create a better atmosphere for this 'Nightmare Night' they had been hearing so much about.

The single Royal Guard in the town had been getting question after question from passing nobles wandering through the town by carriage about what all the commotion was, and the message was passed along that a new event was being formed. He added that it was a commemoration of Nightmare Moon's banishment and a warning to all ponies about straying too far into the woods at night. The costumes were supposed to be what ponies dressed up as, and what scared most ponies most were the undead coming back to life.

With growing enthusiasm and popularity, the ruse had taken on a meaning of its own as it spread from town to town by word of mouth. The idea was seemingly entertaining enough for the social elites who wanted nothing more than to have yet another excuse to spend their wealth on extravagant costumes of fright rather than adding a fourteenth suit or dress to their collection.

The regular ponies of the town had wrapped themselves with strands of cloth and whatever else they could get their hooves on with such short notice. A few days after the original rumors had spread they were all sitting in the town square with excited faces and curiosity about what the main event was going to be for the first ever celebration of what was said to be a new yearly occurrence.

Standing on the stage normally used for public announcements and the odd hanging, of which the nooses were occupied by a few decorated target dummies, Scenic Sights had dressed themselves with a black cloak and darker clothes, only her lighter sky-blue wings sticking out from the sides as she gathered the towns attention with the help of the singular Royal Guard.

"Everypony!" Scenic began before coughing and re-trying her introduction. "Hear-ye, hear ye; Town's ponies and foals of Galloping Glades!" She decided that was a far better beginning and continued, "Welcome, and thank you all for coming out to the first ever Nightmare Night!"

The crowd gave a few halfhearted cheers of skepticism about how long this night would actually last in the grand scheme of things. After all, nobles had tried to make practically everything under Celestia's sun a new holiday just so they wouldn't have to go to the courts and debate about laws.

"You've probably seen him wandering around town looking a bit shady, never talking to a single pony and keeping to himself..." Scenic announced with some dramatic flair, "Always out at night, and always staying at my place and eating all the cookies," She added, gaining a few chuckles from the audience, "The one, the only, Bone Marrow!"

Gasps of horror flooded through the crowd at the mention of the name. The Royal Guardpony, at the request of Scenic, had been placing the posters stored in his home all over town the past few days warning the citizenry of Bone Marrow.

"Fear not, fellow ponies!" The pegasus filly called out, her hooves patting down the metaphorical crowd's fears, "It's all for the show! There is no Necromancer here, for this is Nightmare Night! A night of terrors and frights that are meant to be enjoyed for fun and entertainment as we celebrate the banishment of actual evil from the land, Nightmare Moon!"

A thunderbolt clapped in the distance, courtesy of Scenic's mother wrangling a storm-cloud the day previous and storing it in her broom closet.

"Now, In order to keep the Night Mare at bay, you must..." Scenic paused, not actually thinking this far ahead into her speech. Thankfully, the other ponies in the crowd took it for another dramatic pause. "You must give all of your candy to her, so she doesn't come and eat you!"

Groans of annoyance came from the town's foals. They had been expecting to feast on treats and pastries later that night, and for as much as they were concerned, the rest of time from the size of their hoards.

"Okay, okay, My bad." Scenic conceded, "A bit of your candy!"

The crowd cheered as foals rushed the gallows and dumped a small amount of their winnings from pestering their neighbors about festive spirit before returning to their parents amongst the crowd.

With a look over her shoulder she nodded at Bone Marrow. His skeletons were in place away from the crowd's sight and assembled in a menacing formation. The plan was to march the silent army directly around the ponies and bring them out of town. The fear of the skeletons moving through the night along with the possibility of seeing a bone or two was lessened by the ruse of this celebration being all about fear and terror, and they hoped that it would be enough.

"What's that?" Scenic rhetorically asked as the sound of steady marching sounded from around the back of the town hall. "I hear hoof steps!"

The town quieted and murmured amongst themselves as their ears shifted and scanned for the source of the noise. Then, a few shrieks from the fringe of the crowd sounded out as the first skeletons were spotted.

Clad in black cloaks and masks, painted armor of white and silver courtesy of the town painter's donated paint buckets and moving with perfect unison, the army of the dead marched straight through the cobblestone streets with the whole town watching. Ponies were silent with foals and parents alike in awe of the display.

While the town was distracted, Bone Marrow gained a place on the gallows' stage and brought the army to a halt with a loud stomp of hooves that echoed through the streets. Turning in unison to face the crowd and stomping once more, just like the Royal Guard he had seen training in the town of Scoria, the town went silent.

"Thank you all for coming," Bone Marrow shouted out to the crowd. All eyes moved to him and gasped once more, being the exact image they had seen posted all around town. "I'd like to thank the Royal Guard Captain, Bright Idea, for joining us as well and helping us to make this all possible."

Bone's heart was hammering inside of his chest. This could all go terribly wrong at any moment, but so long as he had control of the skeletons that surrounded the ponies of the town, all would go well. His cool exterior was easy to maintain so long as he faced the ground, his glowing eyes illuminating the wooden planks below him as he spoke.

Bright Idea spoke next, taking the stage between Scenic and Bone as he was dressed in the same outfit as the skeletons that surrounded the town. Taking off his helmet and removing his hood, the crowd instantly recognized him and breathed a sigh of relief.

"I hope we didn't put too much of a scare in all of you," He began with a smirk, "But really, keep up the festivities as our friends from the nearby garrison make their way out of town. They're glad to help make this night one to remember!"

Bone mentally ordered the skeletons to salute and in unison the army of now fifty strong raised their hooves in compliance. The town cheered at the display, moving to the 'guards' to give them thanks and to congratulate them on their acting skills.

While the town was distracted, Bright Idea covered his mouth to whisper to Bone Marrow. "Get those skeletons out of here before somepony knocks one of their skulls off, would you please?"

Bone nodded eagerly, and the group of skeletons lowered their hooves to turn in unison once more, moving away from the town and into the nearby forest ridge like a group of wraiths marching into the night.

"Enjoy the festivities!" Scenic called out, "Enjoy Nightmare Night!"

Bone slipped out of town later that night with a heavy breath of relief. To his immense surprise, everything had gone off without a hitch in their plan. Nopony was hurt, nopony saw a skeleton and panicked, and it left an impression in everypony's mind about a fake holiday they had constructed just to move an army of skeletons past their very eyes.

Now, Bone Marrow realized the hard part would be dealing with the bandits ahead, hidden in the forest. Looking around at his army he took a deep breath. They had no weapons and only a few wore armor. He had no idea how many bandits he was going to be fighting, but he remained optimistic.

Even if he failed, Bone realized with a bit of remorse, his death would most likely kill every single bandit in that encampment regardless of him wanting to take them alive. His only goals then, was to not get killed for a fourth time and to either capture or route the bandits. Without any weapons.

"This is going to be a long night, isn't it?" Bone mused to himself. His army trampled the forest underneath their skeletal hooves and continued onward with the young necromancer leading the way.

Author's Note:

Another Chapter!

Let me know what you think, and let me know if it all seems just a bit too perfect as well!

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