• Member Since 30th Jan, 2013
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Viking ZX


Author of Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels! Oh, and some fanfiction from time to time.

T
Source

This story is a sequel to The Dusk Guard Saga: Beyond the Borderlands


Long ago, a city of great magical power and ability was beset by evil and sealed away beyond the scope of time. Now that seal has begun to fray.

First Lieutenant Hunter and the rest of the Dusk Guard have been dispatched. At face value, their mission seems straightforward: Secure the city. Hold until reinforced.

But nothing for the Dusk Guard is ever quite that simple, and this mission is no exception. As the city nears its return so does its ancient king, a shade who once wielded enough power to bring even immortals to their knees. And if he is allowed to regain his throne, will once more. Worse, the city may very well be under the iron hoof of his own followers, a ruthless order who will stop at nothing to see their king regain his former glory.

Dark magics. Cities lost to time. Ancient evil.

The Dusk Guard's first official mission has begun.



Book III of The Dusk Guard Saga
Epic Fantasy
Official Series Timeline at TDG Group Forums
Can be found on TV Tropes at The Dusk Guard Saga’s page (Page outdated)
Cover art by ... well, I don't know. I was unable to find any credit whatsoever on the hosting site or by searching. If you know, please PM and pass it on so it can be properly attributed!
Alpha and Beta read by Halusm, Seirs, Bugsydor, and son_of_heaven176. Many thanks for your help!
If you encounter what you think are typos in the story, PM them rather than clogging the comments feed with them.

Author’s note: From time to time you may encounter a hotlink in the text. These hotlinks are background themes I listened to when writing the fic and can be clicked or passed over at your own choice. It is recommended that for maximum enjoyment beforehand if you do wish to follow them, make sure that your volume settings on YouTube are at a comfortable level and make use of Ctrl+Shft+Clicking or the middle mouse button to open the song in a new tab. Be aware that there may be ads if you do not have an adblocker.

Or just don’t click on them until later. They are an entirely optional experience, and can be passed over without incident.

Chapters (35)
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Comments ( 193 )

It’s out!:yay:

Just to note that the "The Dusk Guard" group link doesnt work. Missing the "saga" at the end of the link, and even then its missing "127607/the-dusk-guard-saga-timeline" after /threads.

FUCKING FINALLY!

AWWW YEEEAAAAHHH BOOYEEEEE!!!!

9722220
Thanks. Fixing now.

Totally forgot that the hyperlinks changed a year ago as the result of some tinkering.

Oh nice, now this is certainly going to be a lovely proper mess!

And I very look forward to it.

Maan, I really gotta catch up in this series.

I was afraid I wouldn't remember who anyone was after so long. Ended up falling right back into it pretty quickly. Also I saw that little nod to Anubis totally not still kicking around or anything, that would be ridiculous.

Commence Operation Annoy a Demigod!

I went away from the site for a bit and come back to a new story that I've been looking forward to!
I love the way the thoughts and actions shift from something animalistic to something with cohesion and purpose.

“Hmm … Brig it is then, if we’re not going to need it. And if we do, whoever is in it will simply be very healthy.”

XD

“Are going to hunt a mad king. And hopefully, if the Princesses played their cards right, save a kingdom.”

Seems like a potential summary for the story. :D

or how the death cults of Anubis still secretly run the Griffon Empire. Though I’ll admit the last one is far past the point of credibility,” she added with a roll of her eyes.

Well. Don't suppose they know yet that he isn't going to be a problem anymore?

Nova shrugged. “Princess Luna is a good teacher. Also, she cheats at poker.”

Hah! Sounds like an educational experience.

I think I can see why the Princesses are acting the way they are. But that's because I have information that the rest of the characters do not. Namely canon. :p

Looks like it is time to reread the other stories.

So, when did Sky Bolt get promoted? Also, it's great to have new content featuring these guys again - I've missed 'em.

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Yup! They couldn't be held back forever ...

9722441
Mess? Oh ... you have no idea!

9722642
Yes. Yes you do.

9723920
It was kind of the same with writing it. "Well, it's been about four-five years since I've written these ... Oh, there they are. Like they never left!"

And yeah, Anubis? Whatever happened to that guy anyway? Just dropped out of history ... Surely he's gone, right?

9726387
Definitely a lot of interconnection between the series here, yeah. Don't forget to check the timeline! Though I'm sure you'll figure it out as the chapters move on.

9727645
Shortly after realizing that she'd just put together something that could upend the industry of Equestria. She's a corporal in the last two side shorts from Rise.

The cold poke and fun was a fun back and forth, and even the talk and from sabra's views another fun way of it.

It has been a hot minute since I read the first Dusk Guard and its supplementary follow-ups. I feel like I'm meeting everyone all over again, even though I'm just remembering things about them.

Things like how supportive Sky is of Sabra's search for his question, in spite of it meaning he'd leave. It's sweet and dodges a cliche.
Things like Nova reciting his own punishment just for Steel to double it.

So on so forth. Never did forget Hunter's accent though.

I love how sabra is in these. He has a voice that is exterior to many, but one that resonates to the readers.

And he works alongside the crew so uniquely. Inwardly focused characters are all-together neat when we can hear the thoughts.

And so it begins. In the four years (yikes I was still in high school) since I read Rise, I’d forgotten a lot of things. The Hummingbird, Sabra and Sky Bolt’s romantic tensions, the annoyance dynamic between Dawn and Nova, even the fact that this series is set in the Season 2-3 interim.

It’s all coming back to me now. This chapter was a good way to catch an old reader back up to speed. Can’t wait to see how this all comes together and plays out!

“She’s good,” Hunter said with a nod. “You can’t run from Dawn’s med-bay.” Sabra'sHis hoof extricated, Sabra and Steel began making their way toward the distant sergeant, scanning the snow in front of them.

Bap . Snow billowed around his head as a snowball slammed into the back of his helmet. “I agree,” Sabra said, looking at his own now-empty hoof with a measure of awe. “One must relax to properly shoot an arrow. Or,” he said, smiling,. “Tthrow a snowball.”

very minor typos here but so far great chapter as always

A nice fun moment of levity, and sabra with the fun again. Though its nice that we get the insights on everything, and fun points of allusion too.

I think we’ll be just fine.

And cue the darkest, most game-changing entry in this series, all because of this one line.

Otherwise, the saga is officially ruined.

[/sarcasm]

Alright, who gave you a license to make Sabra and Sky’s relationship so adorable?

Man, I want to hear about Asterion’s Jewels, Reus and Kyr, and the death cult of Anubis now

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Well hey, never a bad reason to reread the first two, right? Still, I'm proud that they come back so strong. Signs of great character.

9740420
Sabra is still (and especially was in this book) one of the difficult characters I've ever written. He take a lot of work. But in the end it is absolutely worth it. :pinkiehappy:

9744055
Glad to hear that the recap material was both light but enough to completely immerse you back in! That was the goal, after all!

9745858
Fixed now. They're from issues with GDocs integration. Since Fimfic no longer lets you import GDocs without giving it full read permission over your account (even if you've made the specific GDocs public) and I keep plenty of work files on there, I have to rely on copy-paste. Which sometimes has issue with versions and fixes.

If you notice any others, as the descrip says, just PM them.

9746328
Oh really now? :trixieshiftright:

9746348
You know that was never planned, right? I never wrote them with that in mind, or designed the initial character documents for it. They just gravitated toward one another. As good characters do they took on lives of their own.

They do make for an absolutely wonderful couple, though. Their journey is heart-warming.

9746957
You mean, you don't know? You didn't skip Book II, Beyond the Borderlands, did you? This is Book III. There's gonna be a lot of subtext and background in this you'll miss out on if you've not read that one!

As for more on Asterion's Jewels as well as Reus and Kyr (especially the latter two), you should check out Discord Day Care. Or check the forums in the Dusk Guard Group for the thread on the Immortals (though I'd be wary of spoilers if you have not read Beyond).

9747309
Note the sarcasm tag. If it's gonna go down that road, it's not gonna do it for its own sake.

More forgotten things popping up here. I somehow completely blanked on both Derpy and Thistle’s roles in this story. .

Starting to think I should have reread Rise first, but that would mean I wouldn’t start this for a few months. Some sacrifices must be made, I guess.

So far, I’m loving it. Re-familiarizing with the cast is proving just as fun as first meeting them years ago. My hopes are for a little more spotlight on Nova next chapter.

I would like to play a game like this. It sound darn fun thing to try.

And ooofle on that whallop. Poor guy.

The banter is quite fun, and sabra with the "aww" too. but nova is nova with a fun poke, until dawn finds out, and its needle time.

This is the very epitome of “Calm before the storm”

Also, Hunter absolutely jinxed everyone with that last line. Why would you do that, Hunter?

You wrote that whole conversation about illusion and changeling magic just to plant the idea of alicorn Nova in our heads, didn't you?

Yeah we laugh now but when Princess Nova single-highhandedly - single-hoofedly? - saves the world later on, we'll be the fools.

9748308
Yeah, it's a tricky balance. I've made sure that if this were the first of the books someone read, they'd still be able to follow along, and get enough put in front of them to keep everything straight.

But it's a bit like the MCU: Rise and Beyond have a lot of details referenced in here that you may not notice without keeping fresh on both. That's just how series work. You can read this one without those two and have a great story, but if you want to pick out secrets or spot some lore, it'll be time to pick up the expanded world!

9750286
Honestly? Me too. It won so many awards, and is in such high demand, that it's still "good luck" to getting a copy. I really want to get one though. It's apparently really fun.

9760202
Oh, just wait. Enjoy the calm while it lasts ...

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Alicorn Nova would be hilarious. Actually alicorn any of the cast would be hilarious.

And everything has a reason. :pinkiehappy: No spoilers!

Poor Sabra. As someone who has lived in different climates, I feel for him. Adjusting can be a pain.

How much energy went into sealing this place?

Well. That is a good but frightening question.

“So what does it—?”
“I’m glad you asked!” Sky said, rounding on Nova.

I love Sky's energy and enthusiasm for the stuff she makes. :)

Hahah. The multiple family visits are now over and I can finally work on catching up. The one good thing is that I can enjoy multiple chapters in a row.

“Oh yes please,” he said, sinking back and letting go of the controls and moving to slide out of the seat. “I would like nothing better.”

He should be honest with us and not hold back how he really feels. :raritywink:

“Considering that one of the options I’ve heard her exploring so far is a mod that simply removes waste from your intestines via some sort of failed teleportation magic, possibly,” Steel replied. “But I told her ‘no’ to that one.”

This makes me laugh. And probably one of the few explanations as to how the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation has only one toilet listed on the diagram of the ship. XD

“Esteemed doctor, and Sky Bolt, I have learned, for the good of the team, that in the current, inclement weather conditions, one-and-a-half ladles of soup in a bowl is a little too much. Heed my warning, and beware!”

XD

The Hummingbird is certainly a well designed ship.

I get the sense that if Dawn, Hunter, and Nova worked together to build traps, they would be frighteningly effective.

“Air traffic … control,” Sabra said as Hunter wiped snow from his visor and sat up. “Says you’re grounded.”

That's a good one! Now I want a snowball fight. But it has to be the right kind of snow and group of people. :( I'd complain about the story making me cold but it summer and it helping me stay (mentally) cooler. Heh.

Hunterhe said as soon as the gust had passed. “I mean,” he added as he saw Nova’s confused look,. “Sshe might have something that can detect wild magic flows.”

HeHunter shook his head, snow falling away as Bolt came to a stop right where she’d been when she’d started, a wide grin on her face as red lines of magic faded from her undersuit.

Some typos.

“Squarely,” Sabra repeated, drawing out the word. “Both were hit.”

He may seem stoic and calm. But he has a sense of humor there. XD And that was a hilarious (from my viewpoint) story.
Always a delight to have embarrassing stories swapped.

Thundersnow is bizarre and comes off as seeming wrong. I've heard it on a few occasions and it always catches me off guard.

Whatever “kale” was, he was fairly certain it had never been meant for consumption by intelligent beings.

You and me both, Hunter. It doesn't taste good. Why do people eat it? Seriously, dandelion greens taste better kale and those are a bit bitter for my taste.

If this empire ever shows up, we might be too tired to do anything.

One of the reasons I think it might be good to set down for the night for a few hours.

“Speaking of which, making yourself look like a mare? Harder than it looks.”

Reminds me of this video and how the host comments it is almost impossible to turn a man into a woman with disguises.

“Because I want to be there to see his gob drop open in complete confusion, that’s why!” Hunter said. “And tell me in advance, so I can get a camera.”
“Bonus points if I can make him question reality?”

Well, at least it is good plotting. More of how to surprise someone than hurt them. I'm down with that. :D

Still a bit alarming when she jukes on you though, and you’re right next to a large crankshaft.

A bit alarming would be an understatement to me. :P

“Your mind is like one of those rock crushers, set to the finest setting of sand it can manage. You’re always looking for new knowledge, new ideas, new concepts. Not just because you’re searching for the answer to your question,” she said as she turned herself back to tightening the pipe. “In fact, I’d say you’re searching for the question because that’s the way you are.”

That is an insightful view of Sabra's quest.

I think my dad would appreciate the safety precautions of the engine room. He's an engineer and has worked in gas refineries and I've heard him talk many times about safety.

9768468

Some typos.

AAAAAGHH!

So GDocs has this weird thing where when importing into something like Fimfic, it'll just copy over old fixes and the fix for some reason, making a new typo like this one. Drives me absolutely mad. Something to do with the way its comment system works.

Super frustrating though, because the original will just have one or the other, but the import both.

Well, here comes the Crystal Empire.

Huh, twists and turns.

Though the sanity check on matters for looking at that unaided might be costly.

And with rotting cords, the armor and ship would be pretty sharp..

“And are we starkers, lieutenant?” Steel asked, still eyeing the map.
“Nah,” he replied, grinning. “We’re worse. We’re Dusk Guard.”

XD At least you're all starkers together. Good company.

Hunter is such a tease. And Dawn knows exactly how to let him know she is who she is. I'd forgotten that she received some reports before they deployed until now.

Steel's last line is very appropriate.

good luck getting a fan art picture of THAT moment, some things only words can do

And now the "fun!" begins! But a good and pretty concise mission briefing.

'Glacier of Woe'? I can imagine it might end up also being the Glacier of Whoa. XD

“Okay.” It was Nova speaking. “So what about us, then? If we’re not supposed to defeat this King Sombra …?” He let the question trail off.
“If you could, it would certainly save everyone a lot of trouble,” Captain Song replied.

This made me chuckle. Kind of a 'If you are able to, that would be nice. But don't kill yourself trying.'

I can't help but think that it is a shame they didn't have a camera (still or motion) on hand to record the reappearance. Twilight would spaz out over it.

So... three ponies against an unknown number of hostile forces in urban warfare... Where the opfor knows the terrain better than you... And you don't know what the opfor looks like... Or what kinds of weapons, training, or organization they have... And where you don't have fortified positions...

I know this is fantasy and all, and that they're essentially Equestrian special forces, but this seems basically impossible unless the bad guys are really dumb.

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I think I mentioned it in the notes, but one Alpha Reader commented "Finally! An engine room with hearing protection!" after running into this scene.

I've spent far too much time in engine rooms to Hollywood them,

9773851
Hey, a guy can dream. :pinkiecrazy:

9774783
It's actually very real. Commando and special forces teams face these kinds of scenarios quite often during real wars. Guerrilla units or insurrection units are made for situations like this. Militaries have even faced situations like this one in the last decade or two, dealing with the constant violence in the middle east.

9775027
Yes, but this looks like it will have more in common with the Battle of Faluja than Operation Neptune Spear. From what we know from that briefing (and not to mention the giant cache of supplies they're carting in and intending to distribute), they aren't doing a fast attack raid against a known target, they're acting more like an occupying force against an insurgency.

Unless the ponies of the crystal empire are already in open rebellion against Sombra, which we have no reason to believe so far, they're playing the part of the regular US Army or Marine Corps from 2003 Iraq.

A lot of what is about to happen hinges on how much memory loss the ponies as a whole will have. If it’s cannon or near and Sombra forces are effected easy. If there not then... hmm.

A lot of unicorns are going to hate hunter before things are through, but sabra, ooh sabra is going to scythe through these given half a chance.

Five versus one. He thought back on the training he and the rest of the team had been through. Almost a fair fight.
Almost. And he had no plans to make it fair.

Whatever it is he has planned is fair. It's a war against the Order. And, for all that he didn't describe what happened to the Empire in the initial contact, his final line of the chapter was a fine one.

For those of you curious if Steel really was serious about breaking that Order member's horn off ... Yes. He was. Steel is no stranger to war.

I honestly didn't question it, but I had the Reader's advantage of knowing Steel.
The Order member, on the other hand, did not.

I found this chapter satisfying to read. Of course, it won't be that easy for long. But it is great to see that the training and equipment are proving themselves.
9786064
Same here. I knew he'd do it, too. My thought was both sides are playing (so to speak) for keeps.

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