• Published 7th Aug 2018
  • 8,925 Views, 309 Comments

To Calm a Tempest - Broman

A Human finds himself in the company of a hot Lieutenant. If only he didn't tell her that.

  • ...

The Trapped King

Princess Luna lunged from where she stood, flying directly towards the black unicorn. As she did so, the unicorn didn’t move or evade her attack, until finally...Luna collided right into him in a way that would make any rushing lineman proud. He grunted from the contact a split second before Luna kept moving, sending him out of his seat and into the wall.

I barely had time to comprehend all that was happening by the time his seat hit the ground. Minutes ago, she was as happy as rain and content with what was around her. Now, she had an arm shunted directly against the mysterious unicorn’s chest and pinned him in place, while a sword of excellent craftsmanship materialized out of thin air and pointed directly at his neck. She seethed in anger and bore the eyes of a killer, ready to strike him down at a moment’s notice. However, despite her apparent threat against him, the unicorn remained completely calm.

In fact, he didn't even seem fazed by her charge or the fact she was holding him at sword point. Instead, he looked rather bemused by this turn of events.

"Always the feisty one, Luna. Clearly, after all these years you have not changed in the slightest. For a thousand years being spent on the moon, you would think the time apart would have taught you patience." he smugly said.

Princess Luna responded by shunting a knee straight into his stomach. He coughed once before Luna placed the blade's edge against his throat.

“The only thing I’ve learned is to harden my senses and ensure that I temper my mind from monsters like you!” she exclaimed, her fingers tightening around the pommel and ready to chop off his head at any given moment.

Sombra flashed his row of teeth at her and merely laughed, chuckling at her bravado.

“Are you trying to kill me, my dear? Like so many times before? Last I recall, you and Celestia were struggling to lay a dent in me before the whole of the Crystal Empire disappeared.” he asked, looking all the more amused by her.

“I did not hesitate then, and I will not hesitate now. I am stronger than you, and you cannot stand up against me.” she retorted.

“That is mighty rich for a young princess who didn’t know how to properly wield a sword and flapped it about like some third rate amateur. I’ve taught you better elegance than that. You should know that, without me, you wouldn’t have been the way you are. You should have taken my advice back then. Which was to commit more to the dark arts and hone your craft.” he said, but Luna pressed her blade ever closer into his neck.

“I don’t need the elder magic to help me hone my blade and swordsmanship. If I had to take advice from you, it would be like taking depression medication advice from a precarious obscura addict.”

“Your near sighted omniscience is painful to watch. My ‘experience’ in the matter gives me a level of expertise that you so thoroughly denied. Your jealousy of your sister had allowed your craft to grow over the decades, if not centuries, under my tutorship. It made such a lasting effect over the centuries, even when you were imprisoned on the moon.”

“One would think that after all the stunts you have pulled and blinded against me, my sister, the ponies of all of the Crystal Empire, and her beloved ruler would defeat you once and for all! You deserve nothing but the sweet taste of death after you killed the empire’s previous ruler, who was also one of my cherished friends, so that you could take the throne. If you were half as mad or downright insane over the things you did, I would have gladly given you a parade with the smallest of banners, streamers, and pathetic ponies you called black guard.” she exclaimed, causing the black unicorn to sigh and shake his head at her.

“I’m not saying ‘I told you so’ because you and I both know damn well that I was in the right at the time. We knew of the dangers that awaited the Crystal Empire, and yet you and your sister would tie your hands behind your backs and let the countryside be plundered and ransacked until you eventually decided to act.” the black unicorn stated, before pausing to give her a half grin, “Oh, and in addition, it seems that even now you're both hesitant in dealing with the present threat of the Storm King and how to deter him without risking it all whilst he is pillaging Equestria without much deterrence. Such squandering in politics and the like is what caused you to split with your sister in the first place.”

Princess Luna snorted and growled in irritation at his wordplay.

As the two ponies kept arguing, I continually watched as the conversation kept going as the feeling that nothing was going to snap them out of it at the moment. I was deeply confused about everything and wanted to get to the bottom of it all.

Suddenly, though, I felt Tantabus shift her arms as they were underneath me and heard her clear her voice. I found that my head, back, and neck were apparently straightened so that I could look her in the eye without her having to bend her neck down.

“Is something troubling you?” Tantabus asked me with concern.

“Well, yes,” I told her, “But…”

I didn’t get to finish my sentence, though, because Tantabus gave me a gentle stroke with her fingers down the side of my face.

“It’s alright. Tell me what’s wrong.” Tantabus soothingly said to me.

“I’m just really confused. I don’t know what’s going on here or who this ‘Sombra’ guy is, and it seems like I’m not going to be getting an answer from him or Luna due to how busy they are stabbing colorful word shivs into each other.” I told her.

Tantabus giggled at me with a smile upon seeing, “Well, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up sometimes when you want to know something. But, I will gladly tell you all you need to know.”

And then as if she wanted to give me some kind of motherly comfort, Tantabus placed the hand of her other arm onto my right cheek. Her irises also began to glow somewhat.

“The new pony we are seeing here is King Sombra, the Shadow King and former ruler of the Crystal Empire.” She started, my reaction being that of a raise of the eyebrow, “Long ago, he was once a servant to the king of Equestria, the father of Luna and Celestia. He and his brother were attacked in a meeting with the Gryphon Empire, among the results being that the gryphons killed both of them. A brutal melee ensued between Canterlot’s populace and the gryphons who escorted the mad king. The battle led to the First Contact war between the two nations, which lasted twenty years before the gryphons soon surrendered. King Sombra later became a caretaker and teacher while Starswirl the Bearded, one of the Pillars of Old Equestria, helped in guiding them on the right course. After the war, he and the guards under him went to help Queen Amore, a distant or close relative to Princess Cadance, and protect her from the oncoming Changeling invasion. During that time, he also became a tutor to Luna as Starswirl was to Celestia. Over the years, however, he embraced a darker path that lead him to embrace the shadows. He overthrew Queen Amore and took the Crystal Empire as his own, ending the changeling threat once and for all. The cost of it, though, was the elimination of many lives. For several decades, if not centuries, he had ruled the Crystal Empire until he was stopped by both of the Princesses, but not before he, the Crystal Empire, and its denizens disappeared.” she finished, her eyes having stopped glowing once she was finished.

Her look then became a playful smile.

“I hope that was able to bring you up to speed.” she said to me.

“Sadly you lost me halfway.” I bluntly stated, still trying to cope with the amount of information that she bestowed upon me.

“Tantabus.” Sombra suddenly spoke.

Our attention peeked, the two of us turned to find Sombra and Luna looking at us. Each of them had a different expression. Luna’s expression was that of an expressionless sort, while Sombra’s was more of a smug and pompous kind.

“It’s been far too long. How fare you and the pet you have in your possession.” he asked with a sense of smug equal to his expression.

Suddenly, though, I felt a singe of annoyance overcome me. It was true I was being carried around in a bridal style fashion by Tantabus, but I was in no way a pet!

“Now wait just a minute! I...,” I began to say out loud, but struggled in Tantabus’s grippingly strong cradle as she held me.

I looked towards her to find she had an innocent smile on her face while I frantically tried to get out.

“You’re so cute when you act like a toddler.” she stated, which made me grow even more irritated by the way she was treating me.

“Let go of me.” I said to her softly.

As if she was sensing my seriousness and irritation, Tantabus shifted her arms as they were underneath me again to where I was no longer sitting up. Then, she gently lowered me to the ground.

“I’ll have you know I haven’t been having a good night for who knows how long, and that’s not even counting the times I had a peaceful rest while being imprisoned by a psycho maniac. I...” I paused briefly when I found Tantabus lowered me to where I could gently land my feet to the ground. I was ready to immediately get up and continue my rant, but when I tried to...well, Tantabus didn’t let me go again. So I looked towards Tantabus again and chided, “Do you mind?”.

I didn’t know whether she was going to be persistent about continuing to cradle me. However, she suddenly sighed. And as if some kind of hidden strength was eased, I was able to get up and out of Tantabus’s huge arms. My feet touched onto the soft furs while I felt my back being propped up by her, before I faced Sombra again

“I don’t recall how many weeks I’ve been trapped! Day in and day out, I’ve been forced to…”

But before I could fully get back in my rant, I heard Tantabus giggling. I turned to face her and found her patting my back and shoulders like she was cleaning imaginary dust off of me. She also appeared to be back to her normal size.

Having enough of this, I swatted away at Tantabus’s hand while it was on my right shoulder like a horse’s tail would a fly.

“You don’t need to do that,” I softly told her.

She gave me a mock surprise and giggled at my resistance.

“Anyway…” I said, before turning back to Sombra, “I’ve been forced to work to the bone. I’ve been emasculated, run down, having melancholy nightmares, and having to deal with a mare who seems to both hate and tolerate me every single day. So to compare me to some pet that should be smothered on a daily basis is the opposite of what I’ve gone through. In fact, I’ve been treated like a worthless toy ever since I’ve been here!”

“In all seriousness, fallen king,” Tantabus voiced, before stepping herself to the right of me and draping an arm over my shoulders and behind my neck, “This one here isn’t my pet. He is my friend, and he is an equal just like the rest of us. Even if he wasn’t born in this world to begin with, I would rather protect him and give him support even if it costs me my life.”

Upon hearing how supportive she was for me in testifying that I wasn’t her pet, I couldn’t help but meet her fond-looking gaze and look towards her with a thankful smile.

“Thank you.” I said to her with gratitude.

“It’s my pleasure, young one.” Tantabus told me, before ruffling my hair with the hand of the arm draped over me.

I tell you this’ll never get old, and I don’t think she’s ever going to get tired of doing it.

All of a sudden, though, the two of us heard the sound of something chiming. We turned to find Sombra making his body turn black. Well, not as black as his coat, but into a liquid pitch. He melded into the wall so fast that it caused Princess Luna to catch herself when she no longer had him pinned.

A second later, a small black circle appeared in front of me and Sombra houdinied himself before me. I blinked in surprise and looked up to see his coat had changed back to its normal state, and his clothes materialized on his body and appeared all the more regal.

And good lord he was big, and I’m not talking about the football kind.

I stood at five eight to Sombra and my head only came up to his shoulders. He had lean muscles and broad shoulders, making him all the more intimidating. His jawline was sharp and his hair was long and wild, going past his shoulders. He wore stylish clothes that appeared silver in nature, representing a bygone age that I couldn’t remember. He carried himself and was not bothered by Princess Luna approaching behind him, or Stella brandishing her sword and shield, looking ready to take him on.

“Not a step closer, brathadair. You touch him or harm my princess I’ll castrate you here and now.” Stella said, taking a step forward, her blade going ever closer to him.

He seemed to pay her no heed, which showed when he rolled his eyes in boredom at her.

“Please, at the state I’m in, I’m no more dangerous than a willow tree high up on the mountains. Besides, I believe your flimsy swordplay would harm you more then it would I.” he said, taking a step towards me.

“Ho ho that tears it slag. I’m going to break every bone in your body and turn your tendons into puppet strings. I’ll take this blade and shove it right up your-”

She didn’t get to finish, though, because her mouth sealed up.

Literally speaking.

Sombra had waved his hand towards her direction and her lips began to seal shut until her mouth was completely gone, all that remained being flesh. Her sword and shield clattered to the ground when she placed a hand over where her mouth used to be and her eyes widened in pure horror. Sombra, on the other hand, remained as calm as ever.

“I don’t need to hear your unnecessary dribble, nor do I wish to trade barbs with one who is equally prone to trading insults with another. So your current speechless state is most welcome while us elders speak.” he finished.

Stella merely gave him a blank stare and promptly flipped him the bird.

Sombra stood in front of me, placing his hands behind his back like a military veteran before he began to inspect me. I felt Tantabus move her arm away from my neck and shoulders before moving it to my arm and giving it a tight grip with her hand, but not tight enough to break it in two. Sombra leaned himself towards me, paying Tantabus no mind despite her being next to me. He kept examining me like I was some prized possession ready to be viewed before hand and sold at an auction. Princess Luna was behind him, her weapon at the ready if he was to make a move. He began to pace himself back and forth, keeping his hands behind him yet his head remained on me at all times.

I swear he would resemble an owl with the way his head kept itself in place.

After at least a minute passed, he stopped in front of me and nodded his head to me.

“You certainly are an interesting one, Spencer.” Sombra said, surprising me in the process.

“How’d you know my name?” I asked, unsettled that the equine that I just met had known my name.

“Simple really. It was-” he stopped speaking when his eyes flared and his body stiffened. “Not again.”

Sombra’s body hunched over. And no sooner had Tantabus removed her hand away from my arm and quickly placed both of her arms downwards to the center of my chest, forming a triangle with one hand over the other, keeping me in place and holding me close to her like a mother would a child.

Meanwhile, both Stella and Princess Luna took a step back away from Sombra as he clutched at his sides and grunted in pain, a light beginning to shine around him. Within moments, lightning struck him. Tantabus jumped back, moving me with her and pushed my body against her to where I felt like I was pressed to a pillow, while both Stella and Princess Luna guarded themselves. Sombra clenched his teeth as strings of light traveled across his body, the epicenter being forced onto his horn. From his horn it glowed and turned a hot bright red. He seethed and hissed, moving his hands up onto his head as he cried out.

After a few moments, the lightning was gone and the light faded as soon as it appeared. Sombra stood motionless where he was, his body giving off tiny tremors from where the electricity struck him. After another moment he slumped to the ground, one of his hands slapping into the fur pelts as he attempted to compose himself.

“What...just happened?” I asked, suddenly noting how uncomfortably close Tantabus was holding me against herself.

“Strong magic,” Tantabus stated, moving herself and her right arm away from me while she kept her other hand on my chest and her arm on my shoulder, “Magic that has the power to take and be used against their owners.”

Sombra lifted his head, bemused my her statement.

“An astute observation, Tantabus.” he said, placing a hand onto his knee to support himself upright. “It’s that damnable staff that has been siphoning my power.”

The moment he mentioned the staff, my thoughts turned to the Storm King.

“The same one that had turned an old man into stone?” I asked, and Sombra nodded in kind.

Princess Luna turned her attention to me, a serious look on her countenance.

“Spencer. Did the staff the Storm King wield have two forked points with a blue gemstone in its center? And when activated, does a blue electrical current would disperse out?” she asked, scarily accurate to what she was describing.

“Um…” I said to her, uncertain and nervous over whether I should tell her. Ultimately knowing I needed to conquer my nervousness, I slowly nodded my head up and down and said, “Yes.”

And no sooner had I said that, Tantabus tensed up and held me closer to her chest, that feeling of being pressed against a warm pillow coming back.

Two big pillows, mind you.

“If what you say is true, then we are dealing with the Staff of Sacanas.” she explained, to which, in my non historical mind of this world, caused me to promptly turn my head to the side and look directly to her.

“The what?” I asked.

Once again, I felt Tantabus ruffle my hair with her hand before she parted from me, the soft warmness leaving me as she moved to where she stood in front of everyone else.

“The Staff of Sacanas. A deadly staff created by the late Sultan Sacanas, the namesake of the weapon.” she began to explain, her eyes glowing bright. She waved a hand in front of her and a small sphere began to appear. “In order to understand the weapons. We must understand its history and origin.”

Inside of the sphere, an image began to take shape. An arabian desert, and a golden city in the distance. The city grew closer to where a large palace stood high above the city, with high spiral towers and golden domes that reflect in the light. I stood in awe as the image zoomed closer and a single brown equine, garbed in black and red garments, with a cheeky goatee and long black beard, came into view. He was certainly taller than most ponies I’ve met, but he no doubt had the villain vibe about him.

“Sacanas is from Saddle Arabia, a land were the people that live there are larger than the ponies of Equestria.”

Huh… well that answered that question.

“The Sultan and his people were not affiliated with magic as the rest of Equestria or her allied nations. Despite his wealth, glory, and an extensive empire, he grew envious over our abilities to control the elements. His people always had very little rain and harvests to survive through the years, relying on trade and other means to secure themselves. Because of this, his jealousy grew to rage over Equestria and her allies, and he began to rally his people into a fervor.” Tantabus said. The image soon changed, showing the sultan shouting at his people for their woes and misgivings as they shouted in kind. “Many flocked to him and began to arm themselves for war. Yet, a few princes in the land outright refused his call, seeing that his vision and hatred were clouded and misjudged. They were the first to fall in the sultan’s conquest.”

The next image showed the same princes being cut down by the sultan’s men while others were fleeing from him.

“After many months of preparation, and securing the undying loyalty of his subjects, Sacanas realized that even with a strong army that numbered tens of thousands, they were not strong enough to combat the magic of Equestria head on. It was at this time he procured, or in some cases, stole from a griffin caravan and took a single most pure crystal from their possession. He then had taken the liberty of forcing several ponies of each race to craft him the staff that was necessary for him to control the magic they wielded. They resisted at first, but one by one, they were broken and complied with his demand.” she explained, while the image changed and showed ponies of all three races, an earth pony, a unicorn, and a pegasus, helping forge the staff to the sultan’s design.

While she explained this, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Sombra had moved himself to his seat, bringing the fallen chair up with his magic and sitting down to rest. He had a tired look on his face but still showed interest in what Tantabus had to say. Meanwhile Princess Luna and Stella, the latter still having her lips sealed tight, remained silent and listened patiently throughout the story.

“Once the staff was completed, he took the crystal and placed it within the staff’s notch. It immediately took the crystal, its magic creating lightning from its edge. Then, he unceremoniously struck down the ponies who crafted it, stealing their magic and killing them in the process. By taking their magic, Sacanas powered the staff he wielded, took the might of his nation, and marched against Equestria’s allies.”

“So...did the equestrian allies manage to stop him?” I asked, curious as to how this story was going.

“Initially no.” Tantabus explained, hovering her hand to show what appeared to be pyramids and a vast army approaching it. “This was over four hundred years ago, and during this time, messaging and long range communication was difficult. Only a select few had direct communication to Princess Celestia at this time.”

This revelation caused me to pause and I waved my hand in a questioning manner.

“So, wait, if Princess Luna was stuck on the moon during this time...how do you know this?”

She turned to meet me in the eye and gave a fun smile.

“Once Princess Luna returned she had to be up to speed with the world’s events and past histories. So I had a lot of free time.” She said, before turning back to the sphere and rearranging the image.

Of course, I thought, while feeling the stern gaze from one pony in particular. I couldn’t help but cast my gaze to Sombra, who looked me over my ignorance. I decided to ignore him and continue to listen.

“One by one, nations fell. Sacanas used his army, the staff, and every tactic he knew of to overwhelm the nations he took in a few weeks time. Those who resisted were put to the sword, and those who surrendered had their magic stolen and fed into the staff’s power. Barely any life was able to escape his clutches, but those that did fled into the neighboring countries.” she said, more images propping up with people fleeing their homes with their families and belongings, while in the background distant cities were burning in the far off distance.

“Sacanas soon discovered that the magic he absorbed into the staff was able to create powerful storms of any kind. Especially rain. Yet, despite this discovery, he had no intention of bringing this newfound power to his home country, and his taste for conquest made him all the more ambitious.” she explained, showing the Sultan’s armies preparing a fleet and Sacanas all too eager to continue expanding his reign. “It was soon after the fleet was created and after conscripting more unwilling fighters into his forces, he moved his ships to the neighboring countries across the seas. Using the staff’s powers, he created winds to guide his army forward, while outlying villages suffered from the storms that were left in its wake. From here on his armies marched onto the shores of many countries. From the coasts of The Greedcian city states, the heartland of Maredonia, the spice trading hub of Coltstantinople and even to the shores of The Roama Empire. All had suffered from his wake. With much territories claimed, he focused on one city that would be the centerpiece of his conquest before he could turn on Equestria. The famous city of Lipizzaner.”

She waved her hand, the sphere rippling and enlarging before showing a massive city with high walls and towers. The walls surrounding the entire city, where parts of the wall would jut out in a triangle or star shape and soldiers were deployed on all sides to attack anyone that would come for a fight. The inside of the city gleamed in the light of the noon day sun, where near the center a dozen or so towers shout out to the sky, with a massive one in the center of the city itself, next to a grand palace that overlooked the city. Within the city, the denizens were preparing for the battle ahead, fortifying their defenses and arming themselves for battle.

There was one thing that I noticed about them. The adults were all pure white whereas the children were all black.

The children were all black or bay in color. From what I could also tell, the teenagers and young adults share a mixed color of lighter grey to white, with hints of black upon their coats surrounding their arms and legs. It could have been some genetics or some other inexplicable explanation, but I found it rather interesting.

“So, what made this city in particular so special?” I asked, my endless supply of questions never ceasing to desist.

“Lipizzaner is homed to the most prestigious college of magic. Celestia and Princess Luna, before she was banished, had created it for the people when they had a distinctive use of magic. Compared to the School of gifted unicorns, the Magic College of Lipizzan was used for other gifted equines who have an affinity for it, even for ones without horns or wings. It was known for its deep relationship with many of the nations that surrounded it, as they all sent their own students and pupils to attend the college.”

“As much as I would love to hear more of this college, can we get on with this story? There are far more important things to discuss.” Sombra called out, sitting upright and clearly wanting to get to the point of the story.

Tantabus paid him no heed, but waved her hand to change the image within the sphere. The next thing I saw was the army of the Sultan marching towards the city. Yet, instead of going at the walls, they prepared a siege.

“Wanting to preserve the college of magic and not destroy the city, Sacanas decided to hold out and starve the populace while having the city surrounded and every road blocked to prevent outside aid, his soldiers being at the ready. However, due to his want to preserve the city, he made a fatal flaw which allowed Equestria’s allies to muster their forces and prepare for a counterstrike.”

The next scene showed the city and its inhabitants firing cannons off against the Sultan’s massive army, keeping them at bay and not allowing them to get closer.

“The Lipizzaner defenders held out for fifty nine days, but they were losing supplies and beginning to starve. They had only enough rations to last them another fortnight. However, Celstia and her allies were gathering, and on the sixtieth day they arrived.”

The next image showed the armies of Equestria and her allies, gathering from the northwest. Her forces were gathered together on a hill, overlooking the city. Celestia was wearing golden armor that glistened in the light, wielding a spear that was decorative and equally deadly. Her hair billowed in the wind, and a determined look was upon her countenance. Her army was present, along with many allies that stood with her. The Sultan, though, looked undeterred by their presence and pointed his staff towards them and the city.

“When the armies arrived, Sultan Sacanas was not perturbed by their presence and instead began channeling his staff. It began to emanate storms and he sent them towards his opposers while he ordered his forces to take the city, not caring if the walls were damaged in the assault. Celstia and her allies, in response, conjured their own magic to fight off the Sultan’s massive storms, but the result hindered their movements while his forces made their assault on the city.”

The next image showed the Lipizzaner defenders putting up a strong resistance against the Sultan’s armies. Yet every time they repelled the enemy, more kept coming into the breach of the assault and were getting onto the walls.

At one point there was a section of the wall that got taken and several individuals attempted to raise a flag and claim that the wall was taken. Thunderous cheers broke out in the Sultan’s forces but it was not meant to be. A single group of Lipizzaner soldiers manned one of the cannons that was fifty yards away. It had a broken wheel and couldn’t turn properly, but an equine, who was quite likely the largest out of everyone, managed to move the cannon with his bare hands alone. The others managed to prop the cannon on a broken stone slab and prepared to fire. The Janissaries who saw this panicked upon the wall, but it was already too late. The group fired the cannon and it barreled through the enemy soldiers, tearing at their armor and ripping them to shreds. The responding explosion struck where the flag was raised and smoke covered the section of the wall. Moments later, I saw the flag of the sultan burning and tumbling over the ramparts below.

Yet, that was mediocre to what happened to the cannon. In one hilarious motion, since the cannon was not propped up right, the cannon flung backwards off the wall, and struck into the side of a siege tower, collapsing part of it and sending more of the sultan’s forces tumbling to the ground.

It was either complete stupidity, or sheer dumb luck, but the soliders mannning that cannon managed to buy time for a small detachment to reclaim the walls.

“Despite the heavy fighting and the casualties massing on both sides, Sultan Sacanas was not going to let Equestria or her allies prevent him from obtaining what he wanted. He ordered all of his forces to strike at the walls and batter down the gates. If he achieved this, then he would go straight for the college, and seize the magic contained within. Yet, as the Sultan’s forces surged towards the walls, this is what Celestia had wanted to happen and allowed another force to come from the West.”

An image soon changed and revealed a tightly packed forest, where many figures began to move but were not visible due to the thick foliage. From what I could guess, though there were either hundreds or thousands of soldiers coming out of the woodwork.

“At the earliest hour of the evening, the warriors of Wojnasaw had arrived to relieve the city.” Tantabus paused, turning her head towards me in an educated moment, “For Celestia this was a crucial moment. She and her army would have been there with the first few weeks of the siege, but political opponents and leaders were very finicky and demanded for troop movements within their lands and restitution for what was lost. Wojnasaw was very adamant that if the fight was won the spoils would go to them, whereas other nations would demand property to be returned and lands to be reinstated. Celestia had to carefully wove through the political landscape and internal affairs to gain their trust and convince them of the fight ahead. She had to make very few concessions from the weeks that followed, making political maneuverings, offering river taxes, sharing glory in battle, and trade. It all came to a decisive political win for Princess Celestia as she managed to gain their forces so that they may push back against the Sultan and his horde.”

Tantabus turned back, changing the image within the sphere and keeping it on the forest, where the equine army had gathered.

The Wojnasaw warriors were covered in plated cuirass armor with accompanying shoulder pauldrons, as well as what looked like a pelt of a Jaguar or some other large cat on their shoulders. They wielded their spears and sabers, the weapons glistening in the noon day sun, and shields with an image of an eagle claw reaching out to its prey. They were all pegasus soldiers, since I saw each one having wings upon their backs with had a red line going up and showing white wings spreading out. They were accompanied by the soldiers who marched out of the trees, their banners and flags waving behind them as they moved forward. On closer inspection, and to my disbelief, every single one of the Wojnasaw warriors had wings.

I mean…all of them.

There were earth ponies and unicorns who also wore the wings upon their backs while the pegasus had their real wings displayed. The wings on the ponies of the foreign two races were highly decorative, almost giving off the false appearance that they were pegasi as well. The wings of the pegasus warriors were massive to say the least, each one stretching out and making them larger than they appeared. Another noticeable feature they had was, for the pegasus in particular, that they all had red paint upon their armor. The paint covered their lower bodies and moved its way up their chest, with paint pointing out every so often until it reached the center of the collar bone. The red lines ended when it headed up towards their necks and reached their lower lips. They all had grim determination on their faces, and the armor they wore and the paint on it and their bodies made them all the more fierce.

They were truly noble warriors born for battle.

Off to the side, I noticed a hand movement being waved about and turned to see Stella waving at her face. I blinked and slightly grinned in smug amusement over how beat red she was as she stared at those warriors. Even if her mouth was missing, I imagined that her tongue was rolled out and fawning over those guys. I also couldn’t help but think that she had one thought on her mind if she was to be in their company.

And that involved lots and lots of babies.

Soon after, the image changed and revealed the whole army exiting the forest. The Sultan’s forces were stunned by their presence and the fact that they were right behind them. In a glorious, shout the army charged forth, starting with a simple jog before gaining speed and rushing towards the enemy. The warriors of Wojnasaw were at the head of the column, forming into a triangle formation and rushing at breakneck speeds, with the pegasi taking to the skies and shouting out their warcry.

“3,000 Wojnasaw warriors charged at the lead with 15,000 soliders of the Roama empire following behind, making the largest charge ever recorded in Equus history.” Tantabus said, shifting focus on the city itself.

“With Celestia and her forces, they too began to move out as well. Seeing the sight of their allies charging to their aid, the valiant defenders of Lipizzaner sallied forth to meet the armies of the sultan. Sacanas’s army was not only stunned by the charge, but they went into utter panic. The clash was swift, the lightly armored Arabians being no match for the heavy armored warriors of both Roama and Wojnasaw. The army fought and labored for so long that seeing the sight of the enemy crashing and breaking through their lines broke their resolve. Sacanas and the few most loyal to him attempted to rally his army and surge to the city so that they can get to the college. However, the magic that he had created for the storms was stopped by Celestia and her strongest magic wielders, who were able to subdue the storms and turn it’s direction onto them instead.”

“The Sultan’s forces were battered and beaten down by the storm while Celestia and her allies clashed his army from three different points. Many were slaughtered by the initial clash, while only the elite Janissary were able to hold their own and the personal guard of the sultan remained standing. The remaining army began to flee in a panic, but they were picked off by the Wojnasaw forces and ripped apart by the cannon fire from the walls. The sultan’s loyal followers surged towards the gates, attempting to break through the stalwart defenders. Yet this was not meant to be.” she explained.

The image changed to show Celestia breaking through the ranks of the Sultan’s personal guard, with her own royal guard seizing the moment to rush and attempt to kill the mad tyrant.

“However, the Sultan’s end was not by their hand but by one of his own. Or rather, one who had longed for vengeance.” Tantabus said.

The image changed and it beheld a single guard standing behind the mad Sultan. In the midst of the fighting, as Sacanas was shouting and screaming out his anger for his army’s incompetence and failure, he didn’t pay heed to one of his soldiers approaching him from behind. In one swift stroke, the guard thrust his blade into Sultan Sacanas’s back. The blade protruded from his chest, and his staff fell into the dirt below. The guard then removed the turban over his head and revealed to the stunned Princess Celestia who he really was.

It was a pegasus that had a red body and blue mane, and he had a heavy black eyeliner that went around his eyes and carried outward towards his temples.

“Prince Hisan, last heir of Canaanite whose country was the first to fall to Sacanas, became a hero for killing the Sultan. He had sought vengeance for his family's death, his country’s ravaging, and the personal destruction of his family dynasty. With their leader gone the rest of the army faltered, with many surrendering soon after. Pockets of resisting soldiers were within the army, not knowing that the sultan was gone.”

The next image showed the many combatants of the Sultan surrendering eagerly to the allied armies, whereas many of the others fled into the countryside.

“After the battle, the Wojnasaw warriors were able to get the first spoils, while the others sent relief and aid to the starving citizens of the city. Celestia, along with her close allies and advisors, discussed what they would do with the Staff of Sacanas. Knowing full well how dangerous it was, they opted to destroy it. But Prince Hisan, seeing the staff’s work first hand, offered to take it and use it for the benefit of the people in both Saddle Arabia and to others living in the desert regions of Equus. After much deliberation Celstia agreed, so long as they kept constant watch over the staff and that it was being used correctly.”

“After that, the war was over, the regions that were conquered were returned, and the staff was used to bring water to their regions. Canaanite, however, would never return to its former glory. They were reduced to merely one small town, knowing the work they would have to do would take many decades if not centuries to rebuild their lost civilization. To accompany this fact, the name was changed to Somnambula. Finally, in closing, the people of Saddle Arabia were humble in their defeat, knowing full well that they had served the Sultan out of fear than in complete adherence to their leader. When a few surviving princes came back from exile, they reformed their kingdom and made changes to better suit their needs, using the wealth they had to help rebuild the nations they had ravaged. Today, they are steadfast and close allies to Equestria, as well as a close trading partner in the region.”

Tantabus soon finished, her glowing eyes fading to its natural state while I remained where I was motionless.

Or rather, I was speechless over the whole story.

I was always under the assumption that Equestria would be all powerful and they’d save the day in the end. But it turned out to not be the case. They were strong in their right, but they needed allies to help them engage a much more powerful foe. Having to navigate the political landscape and the dilemmas amongst them was a challenge, but to have it succeed and bring the nations that more close was daunting onto itself. There were many things that could go wrong, and it was an entire balancing act to keep things in line and get the nations what they needed.

I couldn’t help but understand, if not respect, a bit more about how Equestria got things done and that every party involved was given an equal chance to speak out.

“So, after the staff was returned to the people, what happened to it? How did it fall into the hands of the Storm King?” I asked, curious as to how it ended up in his claws.

Tantabus’s ears folded back and she turned her attention to me before shaking her head.

“There is little to no record of what became of the staff. From what I was able to find, for a few centuries, the staff had been transferred between the desert regions in order for the rainfall to be produced, only for it to be taken in transit.”

“Thieves and bounty hunters who have a keen eye for treasure and wealth would no doubt have taken it.” King Sombra spoke out, sitting upright in his seat as he placed a hand over his record player and began to tune it.

“An astute observation, Sombra, but we didn’t need to hear your opinion.” Princess Luna chimed in, bearing a contemplative look as she drew a finger to her chin.

“And yet you do. With the staff now in the possession of the Storm King, history will repeat itself upon your very city.”

“I understand that!” Princess Luna raised her voice slightly, annoyed that she was even speaking in the same room as him, “What I will not stand is for you to foul our presence with your vagrancies and lies. You should be grateful that I allow you to even speak with us, despite the fact that your company would be better suited for a windigo in heat!”

Sombra sighed deeply and rolled his eyes at her.

“Luna, you can name every moniker for what you can call me. But, if you want to stop the Storm King, then I wish detente between us. We share a mutual enemy.”

“That is absurd! I will not stand by and watch you skullduggery your way behind our backs. What can you possibly offer us when we would more than likely trade one villain for another.” Princess Luna stated, her arms folded and clearly agitated by his mere suggestion.

“Trust me, I do not wish to share this camaraderie with you either. However, if we are to safeguard your kingdom from the Storm King then you mayhaps wish to learn from what I know of him, as well as what he plans for your kingdom and for the magic he wishes to seize: Alicorn Magic.” he stated, and this caused Princess Luna to pause.

“Our magic?” Luna said in shock, “What do you mean-”

“What I mean...” Sombra interrupted, more sternly than before, “...is that you will need my aid if you are to combat the magic that he is siphoning from me. I know for a fact that you do not want my magic to befell your precious kingdom. Especially since ‘she’ has broken free from the wards that suppressed her before.”

The room fell silent after that. I looked at Princess Luna and she looked rather alert over what he had said. I couldn’t imagine what kind of magic that Sombra had to begin with. Did he have some relation to the storms that were being made during our long march? Or something more sinister?

For a time that felt like hours Princess Luna stood there, contemplating his words, while he remained sitting in his chair, watching over her like an aged gargoyle that still had its pristine look.

Then, as if a spell was lifted, she lowered her head to him.

“I will convey your message to my sister so that we may arrange this. But know this,” she raised her head, a searing gaze revealed before him. “I will not hesitate to strike you down. If you make the slightest inclination that you will betray us, I will bring you pain so unimaginable that you wished you were dead and that your carcass be given to the vultures.” she said, not once backing away.

Although the opposite could be said for me when I had to back away from her. There were only a few times where I saw her angry. Trust me…it’s best to stay away at a reasonable twenty meter pace if you want to avoid her burning wrath.

Sombra, on the other hand, appeared to be calm and collected by her threat. He inclined his head to her and remained there as such. Her glare dissipated as she understood that both of them were in agreement. Both Tantabus and Stella went to her side as Luna remained quiet. Tantabus conversed with her while Stella merely shook her head since she didn’t have a mouth, while Sombra sat where he was. I was only thankful that things didn’t get out of hand.

“Luna,” Sombra suddenly voiced, catching the attention of the three mares, “There is one thing that needs to be done.”

Or...maybe not?

I looked to Sombra, who stood up from his seat and turned to look at me. I took an uneasy step back when I noticed that his body faded. I bumped into something behind me and I whipped around to see what I hit. It was Sombra, and he reached a hand at me before I could even react.

“Spencer!” Princess Luna shouted out, while I felt Sombra’s hand encompass my head.

I felt a burning sensation reach into my mind and screamed out. And then, everything went black.

I awoke with a start, kicking the blanket off in the process. I placed a hand on my chest and felt my heart hammer against it. I looked about the room I was in, trying to figure out if I was still in the dream realm or if I was awake. Everything was still dark. I saw that Tempest was sleeping on her bed, still wearing her armor. And as Tempest slept, I remained on the floor as the soft sound of rain pattered against the tent.

Annoyingly, I found myself having to deal with the sound of the constant downpour as I was awake.

I breathed easily, trying to calm my nerves and wondering what the Shadow King did to me. I placed a hand on my head, wondering why he grabbed me that way. I thought of a million different things, but yet I couldn’t comprehend why he did what he did. Or what he did for that matter.

“Glad that’s over,” I muttered, adjusting the blanket back over me in an attempt to go back to sleep.

‘It’s not over.’ I heard Sombra’s voice mere inches from me.

Alert and panicked, I looked around the room, wondering if he somehow managed to escape the dream realm.

‘It has only begun.’ His voice said again.

I was even more panicked when I heard him the second time, but yet...I couldn’t find him. With the exception of Tempest and I, the tent was void of life.

“How? Where?” I managed to stutter.

When I said those words, I heard the sound of bones knocking together, which made me jolt my back straight. As the noise kept going, I realized that it was coming from below me. When I looked down, I found that my knees were knocking together. I quickly put my hands on my knees to get them to stop, and as I held onto them, I couldn’t help but feel surprised that Tempest didn’t wake up from hearing that.

‘You can only hear me boy. I am still in the dream realm.’ Sombra’s voice spoke again, which made me feel a tingling sensation in my mind.

“You’re in my head!?” I nearly shouted, before I clasped my hands over my mouth.

I turned in Tempest’s direction to see if I accidentally woke her up or had caused her to stir in her sleep. To my relief, she did none of that. My knees weren’t knocking against each other again, so that was good.

‘I have a direct link to you, yes,’ Sombra’s voice spoke, and I didn’t even bother swiveling my head everywhere, ‘You and I have much to discuss. I know that you must have a million questions running through your head and I will not hesitate to answer them, but for now...you have the gratification that I will be watching over a mere diminutive being like you thanks to this link.’

I didn’t know if I should be spooked or unnerved by the way he said that.

I removed my hands from my mouth and tried to take a calming breath. As I lowered my hands and arms down, I attempted to open and close my fists like I was holding a stress ball. However, the moment I clenched my right hand...I felt something. Looking down, and in the pale light that the gloomy weather seemed to provide outside, I turned my right hand and opened it up.

I shuddered when I saw red in the palm of my hand, and a lightning flash accompanied by thunder helped me confirm what it was:


I shuddered at the sight and placed the tips of my fingers onto my lips, which felt warm and hot to the touch. I removed my hand again and saw small drops of blood on the edge of my fingers. The blood from my lips felt cracked and I tasted it when it entered my mouth.

“Why are they bleeding? It’s not dry out?” I said to myself softly, continually bewildered as I was wiping the blood off me.

As a last resort, I decided to shut my lips together to stop any further bleeding. Luckily, nothing else came out. But, by using my tongue, I felt two small holes on my lips.

I couldn’t have bitten them when I slept. Could I?

‘She has left her mark on you.’ Sombra said.

“What?” I quietly asked.

‘The dark creature. The one who has been haunting you and the mare called Tempest, has left her mark on you.’ Sombra clarified.

I tensed up when the memory about the demoness surfaced. My body shivered and my breath became shaky as I remembered when she had her hands on me, how she held me close to her body, and...the kiss she gave me.

I was starting to think I had become a doll to a monster who could tear my head off if I didn’t please her.

‘Do not worry. The wounds will heal. I cannot say much about the scars though.’ Sombra spoke again, which was enough to bring me out of my thoughts.

“Sombra. Who is she?” I asked him.

Sombra said nothing. His voice was a void to the darkness around me. I shuddered again, wanting to know what that demon did to me.

“What did she do to me? Answer me!” I said, wanting to force it out, but my body continued to shake in obvious fear.

Again he did not reply.

I was alone.

“What’s her name? What is she?” I asked in a weak tone.

But again, Sombra didn’t answer.

Silence was the only response I was given, and it seemed like it was going to be that way.

I decided to give up on the matter, knowing the ‘secret king of shadows’ would not give me any acknowledgment to my questions. I was even more alone in the dark than when this night began. I slipped the blanket over my body and attempted to rekindle my sleep. I closed my eyes, trying to think of other things to clear my mind off of what happened.

‘My creation. The very being that I had forged and has broken away from me.’ Sombra finally replied.

Even though my eyes were closed, I suddenly saw a pair of red eyes staring back at me. Sombra’s eyes looked fierce yet almost sympathetic. I opened mine up to avoid his gaze, only to instead find a cloud of shadow in front of me. His eyes were still there and it hovered in front of me as I remained at a loss for words. His eyes then glowed brighter than before and a mouth materialized below them.

“Her name...is Misery.” I heard him say in front of me.

The shadow disappeared just as soon as it emerged, once again leaving me alone in the tent.

I didn’t go to sleep for the remainder of that night. The very name of the demoness, Misery, haunted my mind all through the night, along with wondering what she could want with me.

Author's Note:

Another long and overdue chapter. Thank you for your patience everyone. Took me awhile to get this one out because I wanted to feel right and make it work. Can't thank my editor enough for making this chapter.

Next one is being worked on and will be extra good, even an art piece will be thrown in. See you then.