• Published 4th Apr 2021
  • 2,166 Views, 89 Comments

Sombra's Recovery - MisterEdd



Hunted by the crown, Sombra tries to evade capture while rediscovering who he is.

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Tenebris

All that the stallion could see was darkness, the kind that stung your eyes the tighter you clamped your eyes shut. The inside of his skull pounded against the stone floor, tapping out a fierce rhythm as his cranium recovered from an unspecified trauma. Sharp prickling at the back of his head jolted him awake and after a short battle, he finally managed to force his eyelids open. A thin layer of fog coated the stallion's vision but a few minutes and constant blinking later, he could make sense of his torch-lit, mildew-scented environment. It was a primitive stone chamber of some kind, the type that one could gleam from a colt's comic book or an adventure serial, complete with chiseled inscriptions on the walls and an altar for storing some all-powerful relic sought by the hero and their plucky sidekick.

Dragging himself from off of his right side, the stallion managed to sway into a seated position. He took inventory of his new form, inspecting the thick hooves on his forelegs, turning them over and mulling over the frogs beneath. A glint from out of the corner of his eye brought his attention to the Scales of Taijitu and the figure reflected off of its golden surface. A cursory glance told him that he still retained his exact features, minus the cheek scar, which was no great loss in his opinion. As long as his ugly mug had some improvements, he could live with the changes.

A light groan momentarily stopped his heart, or whatever muscle pumped blood through his circulatory system. It was another stallion lying semi-conscious on the floor just a few feet away. This fellow, apart from his height, looked more like your garden variety unicorns, complete with segmented horn instead of the first stallion's curved one.

How very curious...

The first stallion decided that it would best for him to vanish before his counterpart awoke. One by one, his extremities lost all feeling, an experience comparable to paresthesia, mixed with the sensation of being underwater. Shifting into his shadow form had become second-nature to him, a process akin to slipping into a hot bath after a long day. Once his whole body was converted, the shadow-pony crawled in a serpentine fashion across the floor and merged with the shadow of the dais. It didn't take too long for his other half to awaken and begin dancing around like a fool, something that almost made the shadow-pony titter with amusement and blow his cover.

Once he was alone, the stallion changed back into his regular pony form, a ball of hatred burning deep within him. That was one cretin that he was in desperate need of bumping off but for now, what he really needed was a plan. The Scales of Taijitu were engulfed in a dark magic aura and stuffed into the stallion's saddlebags; no doubt they would become useful later on. Pockets of wind rippled around him, a field of black and purple energy surrounding his body as the scent of black pepper and oak-wood permeated the air. The world fell from under his hooves, sending him spiraling through a whirling white and light cerulean vortex of swirling violets and golden starbursts.

The stallion soon arrived at his destination, his ears popping at the sudden in-rush of air and the rapidly changing altitude. The teleportation spell had deposited him at the entrance of his mountain-lair in the Frozen North, the one place in all of Equestria where he felt the safest. He spoke the password and was admitted entrance, the rune-covered door slamming shut behind him with a titanic boom. It appeared that neither Celestia nor Luna had discovered this area yet, which gave the stallion a much needed boost in confidence. Ever since awakening on that cavern floor, he'd felt a sense of rejuvenation that'd been absent for quite some time, something that he attributed to his other, more miserable half.

Sombra, the amalgamation of the two sides, was constantly fighting a losing internal battle within himself and the stallion didn't need the competition. He was always the strong one, the part of Sombra that kept him alive. How else could he have survived all the trials and tribulations doled out to him? The stallion was the part of him that was the survivor, the one who did whatever it took to both stay alive and to accomplish his goals. He was Sombra and yet, at the same time, he wasn't. He was Sombra Improved, Sombra Liberated, he was...

"Hmm, I need a new name."

When he'd awoken, the stallion had found himself clothed in an all-black cloak, similar to the crimson one his "good" half was garbed in. Clamping down on one end with his tear, he ripped the cloak from his shoulders and wrapped himself in a garment made of tangible darkness like ink-black water. Unlike the previous cloak, which was a simple piece of fabric, this new one flowed and ebbed from his shoulders and down his back as though it were alive. He grinned toothily.

"'Tenebris.' Yes, that'll do nicely."

The stallion, now known as "Tenebris," soon found himself amongst Sombra's horde of relics and totems, items discovered or stolen while on his journey to unlock the secrets of maleficium. Weapons, amulets, spell books, scrolls, a veritable treasure trove of arcane knowledge, much of which was considered lost to time. Two items he would've loved to add to his collection were the Helm of Neighbu and the Eye of Stagamotto, relics that were just as annoyingly elusive as they were exceedingly powerful. He found a particularly macabre tome made of dried brown flesh and bearing the face of a pony trapped in mid-scream. Perhaps one day he'd actually get around to translating the blood-red glyphs etched inside and read the incantations.

He was momentarily startled by the arrival of an identical stranger, only to find that it was his own visage reflected off of the the Mirror of Lady Amalthea as it glimmered softly in the torchlight. Out of all of Sombra's relics, Tenebris found this one to possibly be the most useless out of the collection, as it merely showed the true nature of something. Other than that, it was a big, heavy bauble of vanity. Nevertheless, the stallion stood transfixed as the image in the glass surface morphed into that of a colt, his doleful red eyes staring pitifully back at him. Snarling, Tenebris raised a hind leg and kicked at the mirror, creating a large crack along the glass that split his reflection's face in two.

"Who asked you anyway?" He snarled dismissively.

Sharp pain abruptly seized Tenebris' skull, forcing him to his hocks as he howled in agony. Just as abruptly, the pain soon devolved into a dull ache and he was able to rise to his hooves. Migraines were something he'd never had to deal with, at least not to this caliber and that was mildly concerning. He wobbled a bit, his legs buckling beneath him but he remained standing so he filed the migraine for something to be investigated later. After all, he had pressing matters to attend to, chiefly who exactly he was and what it was that he wanted.

"My head is swimming with memories," he muttered as he grasped at his skull. "So much pain...so much anger...yes..."

Just who or what could I possibly be,
Now that I'm...finally free?
What is the direction my path should lead,
Given that now, I'm finally free?
I was once a prisoner,
Caged and chained up like a beast
But thanks to dear Sombra, I've finally been releeeeeased!

There is a rage that I cannot abate
Burning within me...it is pure hate!
I am full of a rage I cannot relate
Something that I must liberate!

I used to dream of darkness
Of being trapped in a void all alone
But I'm now free from the abyssssss
And ready to take back my throooooone!

Vengeance will finally be mine!
Equestria will finally be mine!
I will no longer be dismissed!
They all will feel the wrath of Tenebriiiiis!

A soft, humming glow brought Tenebris' attention to a nearby banquet table. Frowning, he briefly assumed his shadow-form, zipped over to the table, and became corporeal once again. The glow appeared to be emanating from beneath a pile of cobweb-wrapped notes and some pieces of alchemy equipment. Brushing the clutter aside, Tenebris found a silver diamond-shaped pendant with the words, "Quod vis ostendam tibi" inscribed around the marble-sized spherical gem in the center. The pendant in question was known as a desiderion, a talisman that showed whatever it was that the wearer desired and usually glowed with a specific color, such as gold for wealth or a bright orange to indicate fame.

At the moment, the normally-transparent gem was radiating a pink light, a dark violet arrow appearing on the gem's surface. Tenebris picked up the desiderion and turned east, the arrow also moving like the needle of a compass. He rotated again, this time facing face and the previously blinking arrow was now solid. The arrow then transforming into the shape of a familiar mare with a small heart above her head. So it would seem that revenge wasn't the only thing that Tenebris desired and this brought a cruel smirk to his face.

"Little Miss Sparkle, eh? How interesting..."

If Tenebris knew his other half-and he did-then "Good Sombra" would no doubt be on his way to Ponyville or was already there. No, that would not do one bit. Twilight was his and he would have both his revenge and the land of Equestria, complete with a queen to rule at his side. Together, they would establish a mighty dynasty that would last for millennia and nothing or no one would get in the way of that goal. Perhaps he could even invite the Element Bearers and Celestia to the wedding.

"My sweet Tia. Your days are numbered, princess."

Celestia thought she could take what was mine,
My daughter, my love and my life
She'll fall victim to my design
When I take her student as my wife!

The Elements will be useless
No princess can halt my scheme
All creatures shall be oppressed
As I rule supreeeeeme!

At last the pain will end for me
The old wounds will heal!
At last I will rewrite history
Tia's name I'll conceal!

And I'll be a god amongst ponies
Even Faust herself won't be missed
And I'll ensure that
Forever and all of time
The world will know of their king
All hail Tenebris!

What glory does it feel to be free!
At long last I am finally free!
Who knew it would be as grand as this?
I am Sombra no more
I am Tenebris!
My imagination can run free!
There's no stopping my will from being free!
There is nothing that can match this bliss!
Nothing will ever match being Tenebriiiiiiiis!

~*~

Tenebris had arrived at the edge of the Everfree Forest, next to where he recalled the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters existed. He took a whiff of the air, detecting burnt wood and rusted metal, the tell-tale scent of dark magic when it has saturated an area over a long period of time. The wickedness of Grogar's sorcery was as much a part of the landscape as the earth itself, a doorway that had opened up to create the plants and animals that made up the Everfree.

Reconnaissance in Ponyville was quite dull, as to be expected of some Podunk town. Just as Tenebris expected, his light half was indeed with Twilight, staying at her crystal palace of harmony and doing Faust-knows-what. Perhaps he and the mares were participating in a sewing circle and talking about their feelings. Snorting dismissively, Tenebris turned his attention to the castle's entryway, contemplating entering the structure before stopping himself to reassess the situation. Perhaps as an extension of the Tree of Harmony, the castle could very well house some sort of rudimentary consciousness, one that could alert Twilight and her cohorts to the umbrum's presence.

There was also the secondary possibility of Twilight laying down wards and traps for anypony foolish even to intrude upon her property and it was far too early for such a course of action. For now, Tenebris would watch them from afar, biding his time for the opportune moment to strike. As much as he'd revel in being the immediate catalyst for their suffering, he was just as content as working behind the scenes for the time being. The six of them weren't the only obstacles in his way, as not only was there a seventh Element Bearer, that being Twilight's diminutive henchdragon, but there were also three other princesses to contend with. Celestia was his main obstacle, his arch-nemesis and arguably the most powerful of the alicorns so she had to be promptly dealt with if his plans were to come to fruition.

Luna would be tricky as, due to her position as the Princess of the Night, she kept watch over Equestria via the Dreamscape and could thus see Tenebris coming. If he could find a way to hide or otherwise suppress his dreams, that would take care of that issue and allow him to focus on finding a way of taking Luna out. Then, there was Cadence, Princess of Love and his biological daughter. In spite of his gung-ho desire for destruction and retribution, he held no true ill will towards her and wished to neutralize her. No, he had plans for dearest Cadence and they didn't include disposing of her.

Returning to his lair, Tenebris turned to his impressive literary collection for answers. Sifting through the hodge-podge of notes, spell books and bestiaries, Tenebris happened upon a solution to his problems. He flipped through the tome on spells and found a reference to something called the Rite of Ashk’Anter, a ritual that could supposedly summon Thanatos, the Pale Horse himself. If this book was to be believed, the Rite bound Thanatos and forced him to answer any and all questions posed by the summoner. This could prove to be quite useful.

Sombra floated through the void, time no longer existing and space stretching on for all eternity. The Crystal Heart had destroyed his physical form, expelling him to a place between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. A chill somehow ran through his ectoplasmic body. He suddenly became aware that he wasn't alone, a presence making itself known. What appeared to be a giant snow-white face appeared in the purple-black expanse, a pair of dark blue orbs burning within its empty sockets...

"No!"

Tenebris swiftly banished the memory before it could cause him any real harm. Neither he nor his other half could completely recall everything that'd happened during their time in the void but it was for the best that he didn't try. He eventually found the exact instructions for the rite, which wasn't as difficult as he thought it'd be. Amazingly, not only were the ingredients required for the ritual common and readily available but some of them were already in his possession. It wouldn't take long for him to acquire the rest and soon, Tenebris would be holding a face-to-face meeting with the Embodiment of Death himself, a prospect that was equal parts exciting and terrifying.

He went to work preparing a space for the ritual, first drawing a large five-pointed star in white chalk, then painstakingly inscribing a series of spells in a ring around the star. He then set brass bowls at four points of the star, the bowls filled with ash, salt, rain water, and crow feathers respectively, along with the skull of a unicorn. Lighting eight red candles around the circle, he then lit eight black candles inside of the circle. This task completed, Tenebris stood a few feet away from the star and circle, taking a moment to prepare himself. After all, it wasn't every day one met with the Pale Horse himself.

Eldritch energy flowed from Tenebris' horn, charging the star and circle of sigils with magic.

"Ego, magus, invocabunt in unum nomine Equus Pallidus...."

The mountain rumbled, filling the chamber with a titanic groan.

"Magister Mortis, Collector Animarum, apparent autem, quia hoc tempus est revelare te...."

Torches sputtered and candles flickered, causing the room to fluctuate between light and darkness.

"Thanatos, prodire et responsum meum quaestiones. In summoner cogat!"

The air around Tenebris rippled and popped, a feeling of unknown dread coming over him as though he were about to witness something cosmically undefinable. Nevertheless, he had already come this far so he continued with the incantation.

"Apparet nunc!"

The star and circle roared to life, creating a near-blinding cascade of white, blue, red and purple flames.

"Apparet nunc!"

Balls of energy erupted into crackling sparks around the wall of fire.

"APPARET NUNC!"

Slowly, a figure began to manifest, unperturbed by the fire that he was currently standing in. The flames died down to reveal an equine shape wrapped in a midnight blue cloak with the hood drawn up, the garment held in place with an omega-shaped brooch. Its emaciated body was a sickly yellow-green and, curiously enough, its long limbs ended in three-toed appendages in place of hooves, one such appendage grasping a glittering and especially sharp-looking scythe in its bony grip. A pair of unkempt feathered wings like those of a carrion bird laid at rest at its sides, every feather crooked and bent as though their owner had never tried preening them. In place of a flesh-and-blood head, an elongated chalk-white skull sat on the figure's shoulders, a tall segmented horn gracing the brow and sticking straight through the top of the hood like a jousting lance.

It was the figure's eyes, however, that speared Tenebris' heart with mortal terror, a pair of glowing blue orbs floating within the skull's empty black eye sockets.

YOU ARE SOMBRA, AND YET, YOU ARE NOT. The figure spoke, his deep, gravelly voice akin to two stones being rubbed together. SOMBRA USED THE SCALES OF TAIJITU TO DIVIDE HIMSELF INTO TWO HALVES. YOU ARE HIS DARK HALF, EVERYTHING HE NEVER WAS, NOR SHALL BE.

"You know much, Thanatos," Tenebris replied with a bow. "Now, you will answer my questions."

INDEED I SHALL. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WISH TO KNOW?

Tenebris' smirk widened.

"I want to know how to conquer Equestria..."

Author's Note:

"Free (Tenebris' Declaration)" was written by me and heavily inspired by "Alive" from the musical Jekyll & Hyde created by Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden. I find that it's perfect considering the subject matter concerning alter egos and the different sides of one's personality.

Thanatos was based off of Death from the Discworld series written by the late Sir Terry Pratchet, which I highly recommend you should all check out.