• Published 13th Jan 2018
  • 1,602 Views, 77 Comments

In an Effort to Stay Evil - Empirical Deduction

A man of dark magic and dreams of domination was flung into an unsupecting world of ponies. Watch as years later this dark lord faces down the greatest challenge he's ever known: parenting.

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He Gives a Speech (990 AB)

"My minions! Tremble and know me as your Lord!"

A tremendous cheer rose from the gathered crowd; hooves stomped in applause and the icy walls of the city rang with joyful shouts and whistles. The city's central plaza was full; from the edge of the central stage all the way back to the stone streets that encircled the plaza, ponies were packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Many more leaned from the walkways of the higher street and from the windows and the rooftops; nearly the entire city had turned out for the speech. A sea of bright, pastel colors dotted the mixed stone and pale ice and dark iron of the city nearest. All attention was on the tall figure of Forgath, standing atop the stage towards one edge, clad in his full armor, freshly polished, his helmet adorned with the spiky crown of his rule. Behind him, in the very center of the stage, the pillar of dark fire yet blazed. Its flickering flames lapped out from the column as it rose high, leaving any who looked at it too long to perceive agonized shapes in its tongues. On the stage with him were a small court of ponies - just shy of a dozen. They stood proudly, two in their concealing robes, three in armor, and six in rather snazzy suits (all in properly dark tones, of course). To either side of the line upon the stage were two clusters of ponies, less extravagantly but no less formally dressed. They sent the occasional smile and wave out towards the crowd whenever Forgath was not looking - and as the Lord's attention moved from point to point in the crowd, he was not looking most of the time.

As the cheers died back to a manageable level, he continued. "Yes, my minions, be joyful, for you stand at the pinnacle of our achievement! One-thousand years ago to the day, your forebearers stood on this very spot, covered in snow, living in ramshackle tents, slowly dying in the cold. I met them there, lead by their undaunted chief, Forge Bellows." He was forced to pause as a portion of the crowd shouted "Puffy!" and others laughed, but he paid them no mind. "I offered them power and safety if they would join me, and look how far we have come!"

The cheers erupted again, echoing amid the Gothic architecture of the city.

"Our city stands, in defiance of the cold! Our city grows, in defiance of the windigo! Our city thrives, in defiance of all our foes!" Whoops and hollers followed each proclamation. "Never before have we been more mighty! Our warriors stand without fear, and our mages teach secrets that would sear the mind of lesser beings. But it is not just our generals and magi that are to be lauded," here, he turned and swept a hand to indicate the line of ponies behind him. "Our tradesmen, craftsmen, merchants, and administrators have made us not just mighty but prosperous. Be it mind or metal, coin or cloth, the world quakes when I stretch out my hand, and you are my reach. My most skilled and loyal stand before you; what say you, my minions?"

Once again, a great cheer arose. The line of exalted ponies stood a little straighter, smiles tugging at stoic lips as they basked in the praise of their people.

Turning to face the line, he continued. "Be proud, my generals, my magi, my keepers; you serve me well." A hand indicated the clusters to either side, one after another. "And the prized of our city; guild leaders, scholars, commanders, friends, all those who could be called noble - you too be proud."

If anything, there was a greater cheer that rose up; while relatively few in the crowd were close to the city's most illustrious, nearly everypony ended up knowing one or two of the "nobles", for they included those accomplished in nearly every craft, business, and pursuit. The groups largely tried to stand stoically as the illustrious had, but many couldn't resist a few waves or blown kisses, and one pink filly was all but pronking in place as she shouted "Yay, Dad!"

Resuming his slow turn, Forgath addressed the crowd after the cries again died down "Work hard, my minions; work hard and raise our city higher; show the world my power in your every step. Serve me well and obey, and together we shall make the next thousand years greater still than the last!"

There were a few ponies (and other beings) scattered through the plaza that seemed confused at all the cheering that some of this speech got, including visitors from elsewhere and a small number of diplomats, but nopony paid much attention to them; tourists are going to be tourists, after all. Still, it was not just the sight of this armored biped nor his questionable speech that they found odd, but the further sight of the tiny blue foal sitting atop his head. For throughout the entire speech she sat up there, looking out from behind the spikes of his crown, waving to the crowd and flapping little leathery wings as she giggled and babbled to herself. The less-confused portion of the crowd made a habit of waving back and making faces at the adorable little thing - at least so long as Forgath wasn't looking at them, of course. Forgath's slow turns and level gaze did nothing to dislodge her; she seemed perfectly content to sit up there.

"And so, let the millennial celebration begin!"

One last whoop from the crowd, a flare from the pillar of flame, and the crowd began to break up, moving to the various shops that lined the plaza and the stalls that lined the nearby streets. Carts of food and knicknacks were pushed into the plaza proper once the crowd started to thin, and the festivities began in earnest. Over the day and well into the night ponies would feast and celebrate, in deference to their dark lord's order of course.

As the ponies from the stage made their way to the stairs to join in the ruckus themselves, Forgath made his way over to one of the groups - and was met halfway by the pronking pink filly who had shouted out earlier. She bounded her way around him in a little circle, her yellow pigtails bouncing as she chattered excitedly. "Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, can we go? Can we play some games? I wanna play some games and win a stuffed bat and eat some taffy and and and...."

"Settle down, settle down. First, let's get you and your sister some food."


Later that evening when they arrived back at The Tower of Despair, a little filly was still enthralled.

"...And did you see the way I threw the ball? It went right into the cup! That's how I won my new stuffed duck!"

"Mmmmhm, I was there." Forgath inclined his head slightly to the guards as he passed, getting a giggle from the foal atop who had wanted to ride home and now rocked forward, forcing him to steady his helmet. The guards, plenty stoic, stamped a quick salute. They pointedly ignored the few plush toys and similar fair fare their lord carried in a bag at his side.

"And the popcorn! That stuff was good! You should tell somepony to import more of that!"


"And when we got to play Pin the Dagger in the Traitor? I got it on the first try!"


"Hey, the tail counts!"

"If you say so."

She stuck out her tongue at him, blowing a smiling little raspberry. "You're just jealous."

"I missed on purpose."

"Sure Dad, Suuuuure."

As they reached the apartments (passing further guards), Forgath gingerly plucked the foal from atop his head, who whined and wiggled until she got a belly-tickling. Once she was safely set on the floor to play and watched by her sister, he went about removing his armor. The gauntlets went first, unstrapped and freeing a pair of blackened hands. The helmet second, placed upon the top of a convenient rack. Boots and greaves and gorget and cuirass followed, one after the next. With his magic to help, eventually he was left in more simple fare; a tunic, pants, and a shirt of fine chain over his chest.

"So, can we stay up late tonight?"

"No. Little fillies need their sleep so they can grow up to be strong."

"Aw, but everyone else is staying up!"

"The adults are, yes."

"C'mon, we'll behave!" Here she indicated her younger sister, who blew a raspberry in support.

"Hah. Dinner, and then bed."

She gave him her best pout, a hoof poking at his leg as he passed. "Daaaaad, I'm serious!"

Forgath's instincts perked. Turning slowly, he looked down on her with his stony gaze. Her eyes widened; she recognized her mistake, but it was too late now. Forgath leaned a little closer, the beginning of dark mirth welling up within him. The filly raised her hooves, as if to ward off what she knew was coming, but it was in vain. Forgath opened his mouth, and spoke the most cruel words he possibly could.

"Hi Serious; I'm Dad."

After dinner arrived and was eaten, the pair of fillies had played until they tired and then nestled up against their father to listen to him read. It wasn't long before they were dozing, the smaller in his lap and the other against his side.

Forgath reached down, his hands still free of their gauntlets. He reached for things familiar, soft and dear. He gently stroked the manes of his two drowsy foals and they nestled closer. Parting at his touch, running in soft locks, their hair passed through his fingers. The rest was tended to soon enough; he pet the foals a few more times, getting little yawns that betrayed just what his daughters needed. Lifting the ponies gently into his arms, he made his way towards the bedrooms; there was some wiggling and one tired objection, but he paid it no mind. Soon they rested in bed and crib, sleeping soundly. Their dreams would come. And Forgath knew, as he long had, that he had purpose.

Author's Note:

tl;dr - Forgath gives a speech, flatters some tents, and avoids nodding.

Hi folks; just to repeat for whoever's confused, this story is going to be told in two alternating parts, at least to begin with. Half of the chapters will be set in the past, like the previous one was, while the other half will be set in the present (future; whatever), like the this one is. The "past" chapters will follow the rise of Forgath and his city and the events that lead to the state of affairs in the "present" chapters, while the "present" chapters will largely be fun parenthood shenanigans Forgath continuing to be evil, with this one set a bit before Nightmare Moon returns.

Or, more simply, you just read a thousand-year time skip, and further chapters will move back and forth.

Comments ( 67 )

Amazing work, Empirical! better than I could have imagined!

Aw shucks, I'm glad you liked it; it's been fun to write so far! :twilightblush:

And please, call me Ed.

This is a brilliant start! You've seriously pulled off Whiskeylullaby's idea perfectly! Keep going, Ed! :raritystarry:

This is wonderful! Please keep up the good work!

So its a Sombra story with Sombra as a human?

Nope; Forgath is entirely his own man. He merely has similar...aesthetic sensibilities. :duck:

At the time the first chapter takes place in, Sombra is still at large and rules the crystal ponies (hence the escaped slaves); at the time the second chapter takes place, Sombra has been banished to the ice of the north and neither he nor the Crystal empire has returned yet.

AB as in After Banishment?

This has a lot of potential. The filly of the top of the helm was adorable.

Indeed so! Referring to Nightmare Moon, of course.

Congrats on making the Featured box again!

ED! You're featured! Congrats!

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Heh, thank you, both of you. Though I don't think it lasted very long. :moustache:

Edit: and it's back. Darn fickle algorithms. :derpytongue2:

LordMentat #13 · Sunday · · ·

"Hi Serious; I'm Dad."


:pinkiegasp: Dad jokes! You monster!

Azarias #14 · Sunday · · ·

Your story is well put together so far, easy to follow and without any jarring moments such as poor spelling & grammar or ridiculous style shifting. You've also managed to make a fairly interesting character in your protagonist -- I'm intrigued how he got from the first chapter to this one, development-wise; from my experience that seems to be a difficult feat when the only thing your story has in common so far with established canon is the setting. I'm certainly interested to see where you'll take this, so I'll give it a track and a tentative like. I would've liked for the two posted chapters to each be a bit longer for more exposition, but you've managed to get enough story in your word count for it to not feel like something rushed.

I look forward to more.

Gondola #15 · Sunday · · ·

This is a good start, can't wait for more.

JDragen #16 · Sunday · · ·

This is great! The first part of the story fills me with curiosity, excitement and intrigue about the creation of a new city; and the second part is cute heartwarming and funny.

And chapter two was hilarious. You did an especially great job switching tones between the chapters to take him from being genuinely evil to just "evil", all while still keeping his core personality intact. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing what you can do with this story.

About the only thing I can possibly complain about is that there are some run on sentences in the first paragraph that could be smoothed out for the sake of clarity, and one or two minor spelling errors.

I had no idea I needed this. THANKS! Faved!

This is amazing.

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Thank you, all of you, for the kind words and encouragement; it makes me all the more eager to scribble a few more chapters! Knowing you've enjoyed it is quite rewarding.

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I'm especially glad to hear that there's interest in Forgath, and how he got from Point A to Point Dad; building that bit of intrigue was the reason for telling the story from both ends. That, and not wanting to wait to write him as Father-Lord; it's just fun to write those fillies. To address a few specific things:


Oh, I can understand wanting more exposition; I was trying to be cautious to keep from overdoing it, but right before publishing I noticed that I hadn't yet mentioned the names of the foals nor of the city itself. :trollestia:

Have no fear, now that the premise is established there will be more fleshing out in further chapters.


Thanks for the critique as well; I smoothed a few of the more egregious bits of the first paragraph and gave it another check for spelling errors - turns out in the first chapter, Puffy had had "patients" at one point - but do feel free to point out further issues if you spot them!


And that was exactly what I felt when I read the writing prompt that inspired it; I didn't know how much I needed to write it until that moment. Glad you enjoyed!

Last, but not least:


Forgath would respond only in cackles, as befits his role.

i cannot wait for more.

Pretty good

coduss #23 · Sunday · · ·

by the gods.....he.....he makes.....he makes dad jokes.....*shudders in abject horror*

Xzrea #24 · Sunday · · ·

Celestia has her "little ponies" attitude. Maybe somebody doesn't like it, but everybody has their own quirks after their second century.
Forgath has his pathos. And ponies around him respect this and keep up with it - at least when he's looking ))

OK, so the Crystal Ponies adore their "evil overlord" and completely ignore his "evil minion" speeches and attitude, because they are used to it. Meanwhile all the inhabitants outside of his kingdom probably think how this guy is the next Sombra in disguise...

...seriously, how is he still there 1000 years later? Did Celestia never care for him? I somehow expect the Element Bearers to appear in order to defeat the "evil wizard". :rainbowlaugh:

Oh, and we shall always remember the Lord's first most trustworthy and legendary minion of all... Puffy. May her soul rest in peace. :ajsleepy:

Sunset demands MOAR.:pinkiecrazy:

The line of exhaled ponies stood a little straighter

Pretty sure you meant the "exalTed ponies". Unless someone was breathing on them. Or they were breathed out, from the mouth of something? The ponies exhaled and then stood straighter? They exhaled as they were exalted? Pretty sure it was supposed to be "exalted".

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Something like that. :yay:

...seriously, how is he still there 1000 years later? Did Celestia never care for him?

Give it a few chapters. :trollestia:

Without giving too much away, Celestia is aware of them, and thanks to their locale they get much of their trade and tourism from Equestria by the millennial. But it didn't exactly start that way...

Whoops; missed that one. Fixed, and thank you!

azereath #29 · Monday · · ·

really enjoying this story, especially the whole evil overlord thing that appears to be actually smart evil instead of either becoming instantly nice or acting like an idiot. I can see this story going up to the point of the crystal empire reappearing and then a sequel happening where Forgath claims the crystal empire and ends up meeting with Candace and co. who were sent by Celestia to do the same thing. Funny thing about it would be that Forgath would actually have a relevant claim to it as his empire is made up of descendants of the inhabitants of the empire.

...you got me interest in this. With a like from the dad joke.

Definitely going to be tracking this. A very interesting premise, and the jokes are on point.

Neece #32 · Monday · · ·

Puffy, the greatest hero of the north! :rainbowdetermined2:

Little Filly, never ever give openings to a dad, they are ruthless creatures of comfort and horrible, terrible humor.

I can already tell this will be hilariously cute. Have a like and a fave as a token of belief in this story and you.

I love this story idea and I look forward to seeing where your going to take us.

The Monk

This reminds me of Dungeons 3. Does he have an evil laugh? All good evil overlords need their trademark laugh.

Exaxxion #35 · Monday · · ·

i await more, this stuff is great

So he's turned from 'Evil' into ' "evil" ', huh? That sounds like a fun story. I sort of hope he hangs out with the rest of the immortal princesses and stuff at some yearly get together or something and they see through his attepts at keeping up the evil part of his evil overlord shtick. That's the scenario that comes to mind when I think about the given premise of your story at least.

That would definitely work... at least for me. Depends on what the author has in store (but I'd love to see it happen).

Scarves #38 · Monday · · ·

She gave him her best pout, a hoof poking at his leg as he passed. "Daaaaad, I'm serious!"

Forgath's instincts perked. Turning slowly, he looked down on her with his stony gaze. Her eyes widened; she recognized her mistake, but it was too late now. Forgath leaned a little closer, the beginning of dark mirth welling up within him. The filly raised her hooves, as if to ward off what she knew was coming, but it was in vain. Forgath opened his mouth, and spoke the most cruel words he possibly could.

"Hi Serious; I'm Dad."

You have me hooked with how brilliant this was. 10/10

That was the single greatest execution of a dad joke I have ever experienced.

Nimnul #40 · Monday · · ·

I am hooked. This is very promising.

Algedor #41 · Monday · · ·

Very cute, I can't wait to see more!
Btw any chance this story will cover after NM? So we'll see th main 6's reaction to an 'evil' overlord!
Though that kinda sounds more like a possible sequel.
Anyway, good luck!:pinkiehappy:

Story Approver

Yeah. You've got a solid start here. The alternating timelines (for now?) are interesting as standalones, and together create more mystery and intrigue to them. Keep up the writing, plenty of interesting stuff, past and present both, that prove to be interesting.

There's also the fact that Celestia will most likely know of him. Should be interesting, past and present both.

While Forgath would be the first to tell you that he does not laugh often, hours of practice have allowed him to refine a shiver-inducing baritone cackle. Tragically, he's never had the bass range to pull off the "dark chuckle" lead-up. :moustache:

Ah yes, Dad jokes, the most villainous of jokes.

Tatsurou #45 · Tuesday · · ·

So...who was this Forgath Ironblood before he wound up in Equestria?

Not only does this have an interesting premise, but unlike so many other stories I've seen that started out similar and then proceeded to fall into the traps of unwarranted edginess and a plot that is more about things happening TOO the main character rather than them progressing in any way at all, this so far seems extremely well executed. An easy follow.

P.S: That was a god-tier dad joke, that's probably one of the first times I've genuinely laughed at one in my life.

Reykan #47 · Tuesday · · ·

Pin the dagger in the traitor...

Writer, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

Truly he is the most evil of all villains.


Jesus H. Mary-Flipping Poppins, that dad joke.

I was just sitting there, minding my own business, skimming the story, thinking the premise was cute enough. Then the gauntlet was thrown with this line. Geez. I wasn't expecting that even a little. Previously, you had my interest, but now you have my full attention.

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