• Published 6th Aug 2012
  • 9,593 Views, 128 Comments

Part I: Precursors - Auryx Saturnius



A royal family secret and an alien stranger threaten the peace of Equestria.

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1:2- Lost and Far from Home

“Is this it?”

Rarity grabbed the gemstone in Twilight’s aura and carefully examined it. “No.”

The two of them continued on, deeper into the mines. A few steps later, Twilight tripped over yet another rock. The cave was dark (in the understatement of the century), the only light coming from the glow of their horns and the reflection of random gemstones across the caverns. It only went so far; the light was easily dwarfed and snuffed out by the heavy darkness that surrounded them at all sides.

Twilight levitated another crystal towards Rarity. “Are we getting any closer?”

Rarity closely examined the stone like before, and then shook her head. “I’m afraid, not considerably.” She sighed and continued deeper in, illuminating the crystals ahead. Rarity followed close behind. “Twilight, why would the princess even need a Celestial Firestone for this Summer Sun Celebration? I mean, she is the princess of the sun...”

“Celestial Firestones are said to be able to possess vast stores of magical energy, particularly the astronomical kind called Astromancy...”

“But the princess, in essence, is the sun. Why would she need to find a gemstone for control of her own element?”

“Princess Celestia isn’t all-powerful. I guess whatever she is doing is beyond her power alone.”

“This father of hers must be a real stickler to his foals.”

Twilight grasped another rock and closely examined it herself, “I don’t know much about her father, but what I’ve heard of him, the stallion is nonetheless very powerful and... competent in his skill of magical practice.”

“Oh come now Twilight, I’m sure that’s nothing more than embellished storytelling.”

“Celestia had never been the kind to exaggerate, and you know how powerful she is,” Twilight finally discarded the useless gem and faced Rarity, “All you would need to do is imagine what kind of stallion would train a mare like her...”

Rarity stared at her funny before Twilight sheepishly smiled. “That sounded better in my head.”

“Of course.” Rarity stepped forward and lit up more gems buried deeper in the mines, then sighed furiously. “We’ve been at this well over three hours with not even a point in the right direction...”

Twilight looked ahead into the darkness. “I don’t know how much this would help, but when the Changeling Queen imprisoned me in these mines, there were... by Jove that’s it!”

“What?”

“My prison... it was full of this reflective and strong crystal. Several times I made a magical burst towards it only to have it either become absorbed or bounce off. I had to put a lot of power behind them to break it.” She suddenly began to rush into the darkness. “Maybe it was Celestia Firestone!”

Rarity galloped after her. “Well it does fit the description... and it's at least a start!” she suddenly found herself rushing past a halted Twilight and lost the floor beneath her hooves. There was a dull glow and Rarity jerked to a halt.

“Watch out for the hole,” Twilight said, slowly levitating down with Rarity’s tail grasped by a magical aura.

“You mind warning sooner?”

Twilight giggled, landing gently on the cavern floor before and setting Rarity on the smooth crystals that littered the ground. She grabbed a small piece with her magic, lifting it to eye level. It shined a dull violet with her magic, growing in intensity the more energy she put into it. “I think we found our gemstone.”

Rarity smiled and gawked at the beautiful sight. “How much do you think we need?”

“I don’t know, but there were maybe dozens of crystals over two stories tall where I was. One of those has to be enough for the princess’s energy needs.”

“Well, how much longer until we reach them?”

“They’re not far away, probably only a short walk to the edge of the caverns where they grow...”

“You certainly know your way around here. Are you sure you’ve only been here once?”

“I came back several times to check out the lay of the land, but I personally think that I’ll never forget what happened that day...”

“It’s hard to believe that the Changeling Queen could just simply fool every-”

Rarity found herself walking into Twilight’s hoof, stopping all of a sudden.

“Twilight, what’s-”

SHHHH!” she whispered, “Listen...”

Rarity was just about to ask Twilight ‘why should she’, when her ear flicked at a very quiet noise, her first instincts telling her it was the noise of hoofsteps.

“Are those...”

Twilight nodded, “Sounds like it to me too... but why would somepony come all the way down here.”

“We’re down here...”

“You get the point,” she hissed.

“Well there is only one way to find out.”

Twilight stared at her as she trotted forward. “Are you crazy?”

“Twilight, darling, it’s us: two wielders of the Elements of Harmony, versus whoever is down here: somepony whom I am sure is not expecting anypony to find them this deep... I’m sure we’ll manage.”

She still looked at Rarity as if she was crazy, but eventually gave in. “Fine, but you better be ready to run at any time.”

Rarity nodded and swiveled her head around as the sound of dirt shuffling came off from the distance... something hard and heavy. “That doesn’t sound good.”

Twilight and Rarity dashed off deeper into the mines in an attempt to reach the sound. All around them, the crystals began to cover more to the walls and ceiling, creating large structures of glowing violet and cyan. The passage gradually widened into a large cavern where Twilight stopped short, causing Rarity to run into her flank and send both of them sprawling to the ground.

What the two of them saw shattered their doubts of danger.

***************

Silence… darkness… pain…

That was all he could feel. Where was he? Who was he? It was all a haze. He couldn’t feel anything on the outside world: just him and his confusion. His head ached dully, but noticeably, identifying to him what was possibly causing the confusion.

He opened his eyes and saw blackness. Everything around him was dark and unfocused. It was nothing but a blur. Soon his eyes found purchase: a rock, passing by slowly under him. Then he found another, then another, until his entire vision was covered with rocks and uncountable rocks.

Where was he? A cave, he could reply.

Who was he? That was a different story…

Who were they, he asked himself? That is a fact only the reader and author could know currently.

Kaius groaned as he and his blood-brother, Kavek, dragged and heaved the heavy mass of flesh and bone that was their prisoner. The creature they held seemed to weigh a ton, but Kaius refused to accept that. Its frame was that of a tall and slender man, not a bulky and muscular. It didn’t appear to wear any armor, only lightweight cloth of black and white colors, so either the creature was heavier than they imagined, or they missed something completely, which Inferi like him rarely did. Either way, Kaius wouldn’t give his complaints the pleasure of a voice.

His brother, however, held no such resolve. “How much farther must we heft this baggage?” Kavek complained.

“You whine like Razons fresh from the milk!” Kaius snapped, even when he was thinking the same as his brother, “The Prophet of Truth had told us specifically what to do with this one...”

He turned his head down to the prisoner. It remained unconscious, fortunately, the head bowing towards the ground unmoving. He was raised listening to stories of this man’s exploits and achievements: many of which brought pain to his people and kind. Whatever his master/employer had planned for him, it was too much of a kindness in his book.

“Why don’t we deposit him like a normal prisoner, any cliff would do...”

“Silence Kavek, he is not meant for such a measly death.”

They heaved one more time and the prisoner’s feet dug deep into the loose soil of the cavern, creating a large echo and making it harder for the two Inferi to continue on. As the two pulled harder, Kavek dropped the arm he was holding onto, leaving Kaius to hold his entire weight and slowly lose his grip as the prisoner slowly slip down and hit the ground with a heavy thud.

“Kavek! Are you lost in the head?”

His brother only stood there, claws bared and the teeth in his maw showing with a deadly stare at an unseen opponent. “Brother! Two of the locals have found us.”

Kaius frowned, “You are mad brother.” He turned to where his brother faced. “No one may find us this deep-”

Before his eyes were two of the locals, like his brother said. The Prophet of Truth had told them they were called “Magi”, and had vast capabilities to control magical properties and abilities... words that Kaius laughed at for the moment. They looked nothing more than small and colorful equestrians, completely innocent and ignorant compared to his contrast of bloodied flesh and bone: the elite of the Coalition and Inferi species.

“Brother, what if they heard our conversation?” Kaius growled a vicious, predatory sound. “They must die...”

The two prepared for a charge against their intruders, much to their apparent fear and dismay, when Kavek’s ear swiveled down to the unconscious body of flesh. Something made a sound, something loud enough to be caught by his sensitive hearing, soon filling his ears with the noise of dirt shuffling... a hand moving...

His yellow eyes widened. “Kaius, the prisoner is regaining consciousness...”

“What? It’s only been two hours and with how hard he was hit, he should be dead as it is.”

“By the Marker...” Kavek didn’t know what to do; he just knew he wasn’t going to die here.

***************

Twilight prepared for the worst. These creatures in front of them could easily rival a gryphon in combat: razor claws and sharp, hostile teeth that looked ready to kill and tear anything in their path: an apex predator if she, or Rarity, ever saw one. It didn’t calm her nerves to hear them both communicate to each other through some kind of language, or that they were holding a completely different being, no doubt their form of prey, by the limbs. She almost screams when she heard one of them bark at the other...

Parrok ei riva kosia, Kaius!” The other one barked and growled back, too quiet for her to hear, but the first one promptly replied. “Venai tria...

Before anypony, or in this case, being, could react, the two pushed off with their feet and were absorbed by the shadows and darkness around them, leaving their prey collapsed on the ground. It took long seconds before either one decided to speak or move.

“A-A-Are you alright?” Twilight stuttered at Rarity.

“I’m fine darling, but what about that?” she pointed a hoof towards the unknown being. Rarity decided to get up and, slowly and cautiously, began to trot over towards it.

“Rarity! What are you doing?”

“Twilight, this... being needs our help and those two... two things, did Celestia knows what to it. If we show kindness and generosity, then most likely to receive kindness in return.” Rarity continued to step forward until she was only a few feet away.

“Hello, are you alright?” she inquired. For a couple seconds, it lied there motionlessly, prompting Rarity to take one more step and ask again. Something then groaned and they heard a subtle groan. It clawed at the dirt, slowly lifting itself onto all fours. It then raised its head: deep brown eyes piercing with sorrow and pain.

“We can help,” Rarity gestured to her and Twilight, trying to communicate, “Please let us help.” It only stared at them; taking in the image of both of them, then raised a limb and extended it to Rarity.

E tu, Brute...” was all it said before collapsing.