• Published 2nd Sep 2011
  • 3,506 Views, 6 Comments

Vengeance - Shader



He stood by Luna's side for millenia, until that fateful night. Now, he desires revenge.

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Part I - For a thousand years I've waited

Inspired by the song 'Luna' by Eurobeat Brony.




Celestia...

Use the name.

Hidden far from sight, in the depths of the Everfree forest, lay the ruins of an aging castle. The centuries of rain and weather having reduced its once magnificent walls to rubble. Great halls lay bare, empty of the hundreds that had lived and worked so many generations ago. Gardens overgrown with all manner of plant life, wild and untamed, freed from the tender care of gardeners.

I have to use it, use the pain. Use the memories.

Resting along the northern side of the Courtyard lay the barracks, a flickering torch within the only light source, illuminating a lone pegasus stallion. His black coat shone with sweat, running down and dripping off the two curved blades attached to his wing tips. A vicious snarl plastered itself across his muzzle, teeth bared as he glared down the log, a thick chain attaching it to the last remaining rafter above. Dozens of similar targets were scattered around the room, deep gashes in some, others lying broken in two.

Celestia.....

---

Warmth. The first thing he felt was the soft warmth of a bright warm day. The sound of flowing water nearby interrupting the empty void. The touch of grass tickling his stomach.

"Did... Did I do it?" a soft, gentle voice spoke from just in front of him.

Unfamiliar muscles twitched, slowly opening his eyelids to the sunlight, the vibrant colours of the world around him temporarily blinding him. Peering back at him, was a young purple filly, her teal eyes full of curiosity, horn softly glowing.

"I did it? I did it. I DID IT!" The curiosity on her face turned to shock, and the quiet foal opened her lungs, wings buzzing in excitement "'TIA! 'TIA COME LOOK! I DID IT! I MADE ONE!"

---

His wing flickered, droplets of perspiration spraying the wood as the steel found its mark, burying deep.

Celestia.

---

Much of the day had consisted of the pegasus being checked for deformities, and beginning the slow process of learning to walk. To the mirth of the little alicorn, his timing between steps had taken many hours to perfect, the taste of dirt becoming quite familiar.

As the sun dipped down to the horizon, both ponies rested in the cooling field, watching the beautiful display of oranges and reds. After some time of silence, the young filly turned to the stallion, pointing to herself.

"I'm called Luna, can you say that? Lu...Na"

Mustering up his courage, the black pegasus slowly formed the sounds in his throat. The feeling was weird, alien. "Loo... Nar"

He heard Luna's breath catch in her throat, the excitement in her face that had slowly diminished over the day building again. “And your name is Nimbus. Nim... Bus”

“Nimm... boos” he croaked

A high pitched squeal next to him was the only warning he received before a bundle of excited filly launched itself into him, knocking him to his side. Something he had gotten used to in the short time he’d known her.

"You can talk!" she gushed, tears of joy streaking her face.

---

He twisted his body, and the other wing sprung into action. The wicked blade followed its counterpart, lodging itself into the log on the opposite side.

CELESTIA!

---

"Come on Nimbus, bet you can't catch me!" Luna challenged as she galloped over the cloud, her black pegasus friend close behind, hooves kicking up the once undisturbed surface.

The entire day had been one long game, darting through forests, soaring though the skies, laughing without care. Hunger forgotten to the giggling pair, as was common for the many weeks previous, ever since she'd animated him from the soil.

---

He leapt. Strong stomach muscles curled in, before powerful haunches rocketed his rear hooves out. The inverted buck kick slammed into the target, both daggers burrowing deep trenches into its surface as they pulled free. The building around him groaned as the chain snapped taut, cleanly slicing though its supporting rafter. Launched through the air, the log came to rest embedded in the far wall, showering the area with stone shards.

CELESTIA!

---

The long trek back to the castle was nearly over, its shimmering walls and towers visible in the bright moonlight, standing regal above the vast Everfree City, capital of Equestria. Tucked securely under his left wing sat a moonflower, purple center giving way to gorgeous blues along the edges. It reminded him of Luna.

A sigh escaped his lips. She'd been acting strange, distant, even towards him. And it caused him no end of worry. In the thousands of years he'd known Luna, he'd never seen the cold that now shone though her eyes. Gazing up at the star filled sky, he gave a silent wish to have her old self back. The happy, love filled filly. Maybe the flower would work as a gift?

A sudden explosion ripped his attention back to the massive castle. The ground rumbled under his hooves, the black of night rearing back as a sphere of fire erupted from the western tower, soaring high into the air. The wooden roof covering Luna's room incinerated instantly, the tower itself knocked from its foundations by the shockwave. As the structure tumbled, a strange black bubble burst from within, only visible against the twinkling stars.

"No..." The moonflower fluttered to the cold ground, left forgotten as fear and shock gripped him, voice little more than a whisper "Please no."

Far above, the two orbs tore through the sky, moving erratically as if jostling for position, looking for any advantage over the other. Celestia moved first, driving her protective field into the bubble surrounding Luna. Lightning streaked across the horizon, the earth splitting into craters when the errant bolts impacted the soil.

---

"CELESTIA!" A long, drawn out snarl ripped from his throat, throwing himself towards the log, quick beats from his wings propelling him forwards. The wooden target flashed briefly before his eyes, taking the form of a pure white mare, eyes filled with the wisdom of millennia, a soft smile bending her mouth.

---

The fight between the two goddesses had lasted less than a minute, but the damage was irreversible. The castle lay in ruins, the grounds surrounding the walls destroyed, vast chasms sunk into the earth, and the air itself crackled with unstable magical energies. Even after the battle, undetonated spells still hung suspended mid flight, and the earth shook from after shocks. Hoards of ponies ran through the streets, fleeing the sisters wrath.

Nimbus knew he was risking his life, gingerly trotting through the main gate, but the worry ate at him. He could make out two muffled voices coming from the courtyard, amongst the sounds of evacuating ponies. Unable to make out individual words, he crept closer, avoiding a glowing spell embedded into the stones. Bolts of electricity arced from the unstable spell’s core, leaving scorch marks in their wake.

Reaching the vast archway that lead to the courtyard, it became clear the voices were having a heated argument, both rapidly increasing in volume. Volume far beyond what moral throats could produce. Waves of vibrations shook loose rubble. Pain lanced through his head, his eardrums screaming.

Slumping against the massive arch, he got his first view of the sisters, the only ones left in the courtyard. Both mares were bloodied, deep gashes across their sides, burns and melted fur spread along their skin. From their stances, it was obvious Luna had come out second best, propped up against a fallen statue, left eye swollen shut and a trickle of blood streaking from her lips. Celestia was not in much better shape, shaky legs held her up, a missing ear, breath coming in ragged gasps. Six strange circular stones floated around her, free from any magical glow, seemingly defying gravity on their own.

---

His hoofs' impact sent a jolt though his body to his flank, the force of his right foreleg cleaving though the mares temple, continuing into the wall behind. Blood splattering across his face, searing and burning into his eyes. The pain was welcomed with open hooves, it's what drove him, kept him moving, training.

---

The argument between the two living Goddesses reached its peak, the raw force collapsing more of the damaged walls. He was whimpering like a foal now, the throbbing in his head unbearable, panic rising in his chest as Celestia finally reared back.

"ENOUGH!"

Wings extended with a wild fury in her eyes, the elder sisters horn shone, washing the courtyard with pure light. The six stones vibrated violently, adding a loud whine to the chorus of sound. The previously still air, now whipped up into a frenzy, buffeted him with small stones. Ducking his head, cowering behind his hooves to shield it, he could barely make out the prone form of Luna.

The younger alicorn’s face was a mess of emotions, anger giving way to fear, to panic and back to anger. Staggering to her feet, only to tumble back to the earth, she watched with defiant eyes as her opponent’s horn blasted searing light over her broken body. It lasted a single instant, the howling winds returning to its still calm, the night reclaiming its place amongst the ruins.

Luna was gone

---

Luna...

"Why? Why'd you do it?" It was barely a whisper, a common question he'd asked over so many years, now directed at the mangled face before him.

How could you have done that to your own sister? He knew he'd never get an answer, not now. He'd hidden himself after the fight, terrified of being found. If she could do that to her own flesh and blood, why not knock off Luna’s companion too, loose ends and all? No, his only chance had been to remain unseen. He’d seen the guards she’d sent after him, searching through the debris. He knew they were searching for him, to take him to Celestia.

A thump from behind him jerked Numbus from his thoughts, the face of Celestia returning to the dull brown log impaled with his hoof. Behind him, the two halves of the rafter that once held his targets now rested on the floor. Its last support finally gone, the wooden roof bowed dangerously, the entire building groaning under its own weight.

"Oh horseapples."

A quick glance over to his living corner showed a pile of rubble had already fallen over his bed and saddlebags, trapping them firmly beneath. Ripping his leg from the wall, Nimbus leapt for the entrance with a curse, narrowly avoiding a spear of wood crashing down as the building collapsed around him.

* * *

Resting on the cool grass of the courtyard, the dust covered pegasus watched the old barracks finally give into age, joining the rest of the castle in its ruin. It'd been his home since he'd come out of hiding, and the only place that had survived the battle intact. While he’d known it wouldn’t last forever, it still hurt to see it go. And it would take hours to dig his equipment out. Sighing, Nimbus rolled onto his back, staring up at the night sky, tossing his wingblades to the ground. Watching the stars, looking at the moon, thinking of Luna, and of his 'siblings'.

She'd only told him bits and pieces about how they’d created ponykind, but just enough to know the two sisters had not been prepared for it. Neither would even speak of the first few attempts, immediately changing the topic with a shudder.

The first real breakthough had been by Celestia. A brown female earth pony she'd christened Terra, to represent the solid foundations of a new civilization, stabilized on the backs of immensely strong, dependable workers. A proud apple adorned her flank, showing the earth pony way to care for and use the land for the betterment of all.

She was brain dead, lacked a tail and a leg, and had accelerated aging, in her grave within 3 seasons.

The second was a joint effort between them both, its magical nature requiring both their power. An effort that produced a dazzling white unicorn stallion, his cutie mark quickly showing up in the form of an atom. They named him Nova, in the hopes he'll bring a burst of magical sciences, and to lead the pursuit of knowledge that would assist all creatures, great and small.

He was albino, blind in one eye, and insane. He died within 4 weeks by his own hoof, trying to work out if his internal organs were fireproof. They weren't.

And finally a pure black male pegasus. Black eyes, mane, and tail. Not a drop of colour. He was created by Luna. She'd called him Nimbus, to symbolize pegasi mastery over the sky and everything contained within, molding the weather and clouds to provide bountiful crops and cooling rains.

He was deaf in his left ear, never had a cutie mark and suffered from vivid hallucinations. He was gifted with eternal life, however, and had never aged a day. Luna claimed it was a mistake she’d made, scared with what happened to Terra and going to far in the opposite direction. But he had his suspicions to the contrary.

It always amused him that despite all this, the three were put down in legend, songs written about them, tales told about their exploits that shaped the future of pony kind. How Terra had moved mountains for farming, Nova had studied the stars to guide all ponies, and Nimbus had driven back entire coastal storm fronts alone.

Nimbus laughed, dry and without mirth, arching his back and waving his hooves in the air like a carnival announcer. "Witness the beginnings of the glorious pony race. A vegetable, a suicidal loon, and a blank-flank. See the feats they performed. Drooling, combusting, and arguing with thin air" He mocked. "Come and see the great and beloved Cel... estia...?" He trailed off as he blinked. A new, brighter glow cast shadows along the walls surrounding him, a soft crackling noises reaching his ears.

Rolling to one side, he glanced over towards the new light source. "Oh no... " The wooden roof of the destroyed barracks were wrapped in flame, billowing out in great tongues. "No. Not my bags, anything but..." Leaping to his hooves, he galloped towards the inferno, only the painful heat on his coat keeping him from diving in head first. Panic began taking hold, his voice raising to a scream "No, oh Goddess NO!" Everything he owned were in those bags, his food, books, medical supplies and -

"Even your little gift" A white alicorn appeared, her sun cutie mark bright against the roaring fire, sparkling mane and tail whipped up by an otherworldly wind. Casually strolling though the flames, she slowly moved towards Nimbus, a sneer across her face. "Poor little Luna, such a thoughtful gift. So sad she never received it" Holding up one gold encrusted hoof , the mare peered at the small purple and blue moonflower she held. "So carefully pressed and stored for all these years, kept as a memento of a better time. It's just a pity to see it..." She turned her hoof, sending the flower fluttering to the fire, turning to ash before it landed "...burn."

Nimbus could only stumble backwards, staring in horror as the remains were lifted by the heat, scattering in the breeze. "What's wrong, my dear Nimbus?" She crooned, slowly advancing on the trembling stallion, stepping out of the flames "Did you not want to see me? And now that I’m here, you cower? Very well, then join your precious Luna.” Celestia's wings extended, carrying her over the destroyed barracks, horn flaring with powerful magics. Great tentacles of fire wrapped in a magical sheath rose from the inferno. The glowing lances streaked towards him from every direction, and he ducked, flinging his wings up to cover his face.

It took several seconds of silence for Nimbus to uncover his eyes, peering out from under his wings. The night had reclaimed the yard. Only the roaring flames broke the dark, illuminating the now empty yard. Falling back to the ground, he stared blankly at the stars, too shaken to move further from the sweltering heat source.

“I hate hallucinations”

* * *

Weaving though the blackened remains of the barracks, it was apparent the fire had spared nothing. Even the steel armor and weapons housed inside were destroyed, misshapen and useless. But the faint glimmer of hope that something, anything, of his gear would have survived pushed him onwards. Much of it was worthless, old maps and bits of food. But some things were irreplaceable.

His hooves black and charred from the few still glowing embers, he finally reached his destination. His living corner. It didn’t take long to shift though the coals covering the area, but his efforts quickly proved fruitless. Like the rest of the building, the saddlebags were unsalvageable, crumbling away when touched.

Nimbus’s shoulders slumped, feelings of defeat and hopelessness worrying at him. The terrifying vision had reminded him of the gravity of what he’d sworn to do. Sworn on that one night so long ago. It was a fools quest. Attacking the most powerful pony in Equestria? Might as well waltz into the dungeons himself. Or a shallow grave.

Soft steps brought Nimbus from his thoughts, a single teal eye shyly peeking though the entrance of the destroyed barracks. The hidden figure let out a gasp, eye darting around at the area, before zeroing in on the saddlebags.

“Wh... What happened?” Luna asked, stepping in though the doorway.

Nimbus was trapped, he’d never been able to bring himself to lie to her. Sparing a glance for the crumbling bags, he stared shamefully at his hooves, feeling much like a scolded colt “I... uh, there was an accident.”

Luna’s voice wavered, eyes glistening. “But, you promised. Promised you’d keep it safe. To remember. You PROMISED!”

“I’m so sorry Lu - LUNA!? Wait!” Nimbus’s yell fell on deaf ears, the mare already fleeing into the night, trailing soft sobs behind her. “I’M SORRY, COME BACK!”

Leaping to his hooves, Nimbus moved to follow, but a whispering in his ear held his steps “Shame on you, Nimbus” The sound seemed to come from all directions. A soft mares voice, almost sultry, but surprisingly cold. “Breaking a dear friend’s trust like that? She must be so very disappointed in you.”

Nimbus’s eyes opened wide, darting around the dark, searching for the source of the voice. “Who’s there? How do you know my name?”

“Just an old ally of your dear Luna, and I’ve been watching you for a very long time” A dry chuckle left chills down his spin. “A very long time indeed. I watched you hide in the bushes like a foal. I watched you make your silly little ‘oath’. And am still watching you break it today.”

By now, Nimbus had backed himself into a corner. Wincing as his leg brushed against a glowing ember, he called back out at the voice “But I didn’t bre-”

“Oh, but you did. Always telling yourself ‘One more day, one more week’. You don’t even know how long its been, do you? In two days time, it will have been a thousand years, little Nimbus. A thousand years of lies.”

Nimbus’s mouth worked, opening and closing, trying to muster words to defend himself with. But nothing would come. The voice was right. Giving up, he slouched, eyes closed. When he finally spoke, it was hardly more than a whisper “What do you want?”

Even without a face, the pegasus could almost hear the presence grin. “I just wish to help you. I too desire revenge. During the fight, Celestia stripped me of my magic and banished me to the moon. However, my prison is weakening, my magic returning. And after so long, I will soon be free.”

Help? Revenge? Nimbus perked up upon hearing those words, curiosity overriding fear. “But why me?”

In front of the stallion, a transparent appendage rose from the ground, black as night and twinkling with millions of stars. Like a mother comforting her child, it rubbed against his cheek, cold and unpleasant to the touch. The voice became softer, sweeter. “My, my, my. You are full of questions, aren’t you? Isn’t it obvious? Because I need your help.”

---

“But why me?”

Turning, Luna faced Nimbus, giving a warm smile. She towered over the pegasus, her mane black as night and twinkling with millions of stars. Like a mother comforting her child, she raised a hoof to his cheek, cool and pleasant to the touch. “My, my, my. You are full of questions, aren’t you? Isn’t it obvious? Because I need your help.”

---

He shook his head, trying to clear the sudden dizzy spell, nearly knocking himself off his hooves. Where did that come from? Straightening up and forcing back the churning in his stomach, Nimbus stared into the darkness, eyes slightly glazed. “What cou-”

A second tendril reached up, the pair gently holding his head, interrupting him. He could feel the presence peering into his eyes as it gave a soft sigh. “Your endless questions are getting us nowhere, my friend. Don’t you trust me?”

---

“What cou-”

Luna’s second forehoof reached up, the pair gently holding his head, interrupting him. He could see her peering into his eyes as she gave a soft sigh. “Your endless questions are getting us nowhere, my friend. Don’t you trust me?”

---

If not for the hooves of Luna holding him up, he’d have fallen, the world spinning around him violently. Her face graced with a wise and loving smile, patently waiting for him to regain his balance. He’d do anything for her.

“I’ll help you.”

Luna’s smile widened, reaching almost ear to ear. Bringing up her right hoof, she pressed it gently to the fur on his forehead, brushing away the grim accumulated there from the nights woes. “Then just relax, my little pony.”

The face in front of him was no longer motherly and warm, but growing twisted, a cruel grin breaking across her features. The gentle comforting pressure on his forehead gave way to searing pain as the hoof pushed into Nimbus’s head, white hot and scalding with every twist.

* * *

From atop her lunar prison, a figure stood high upon a barren mountain. Her mane and tail a swirling eddy of stars and nebula, wings outstretched and horn aglow. Beads of sweat rolled down her face, collecting dust and grit from her dark coat. Delving into a pony’s memories was taxing, and the vast distances involved strained her abilities to their fullest.

From her perch, she could hear the prone pegasus’s screams of agony and watch as the pathetic thing writhed over the ash covered floor. The starry appendage embedded in his forehead thickened and throbbed, refusing to release its searing grasp.

It had been far too long since Nightmare Moon had last felt the thrill of causing pain, and manipulating ponies had always been so simple. So delicious. Cause them to doubt their self worth, then give them a means to ‘fix’ it, and they’re putty in your grasp.

But this one had been too simple, too easy. No satisfaction. A simple nudge of his already cracked mind, and his hallucinations took over, giving himself over to her in a moment of weakness. Broken toys are not much fun, after all.

“But like everything broken, it can still be useful.” Two more coiling snake like arms rose from the ground, lunging down though tear stricken eyes. Moulding, changing, producing a new wonderful chorus of squeals. “You just need to break it a little. Bit. More.”