• Published 3rd Nov 2019
  • 424 Views, 7 Comments

Their shared history - Askre

Princess Cadance wanted answers from King Sombra regarding his rise to power in the Crystal Empire. He gave her a bit more than she bargained for.

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Chapter 1. Story time in Tartarus.

Chapter 1

There was only one way to describe the atmosphere in Tartarus, despite its ominous look, caged up monsters, and the huge-three headed guard dog. It was boring. The two most infamous residents didn’t even speak much to each other. The dark gray unicorn with the red curved horn usually just laid on his side and seemed to rest. The centaur ticked another line on the markings he was making on his cage floor.

Sombra wasn’t sleeping. He was sorting out all his jumbled memories, getting them finally in order. Having been exiled to ice and then blown up had crisscrossed them all over the place in his mind. He hadn’t had much of a chance to fully commit to it after his resurrection. He had focused on his plans to restore his race, the Dark Ponies. However, that went down the drain when he was captured. Now all he could do was go through his memories and sort them out.

But the monotony of their stay was about to be lifted for a little while. A portal opened right above the glowing platform the cages rested on. Tirek eyed over and Sombra relented to lift his head to glance up. Both raised their eyebrows when seeing the pink alicorn step through, along with a white unicorn stallion.

“Visiting hours are over; in fact, I do not believe we have visiting hours,” King Sombra grumbled and laid his head back down.

An old book dropped down right in front of him outside the cage. Sombra narrowed his eyes; then he glanced upwards. Standing in front of him were Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, both looking grimly at him.

“Are you bringing me reading materials? I didn’t know you were so kind,” he snorted and slowly raised his head again, glaring just as grimly at the royal couple. For a moment he wished his magic wasn’t blocked with the manacle on his horn. He had a clear shot at the ponies that now sat on the throne he had claimed so long ago.

“We have been slowly piecing back together the history of the Crystal Empire - history you systematically erased,” Cadance said and pointed towards the book. “This is the last remaining copy that was found that tells of the empire before you grabbed it, carefully hidden by a very brave crystal pony.”

“A brave crystal pony? I was not aware such a creature existed,” the king mocked and smirked a little when seeing the incensed look come over the Princess. Her husband raised a hoof to place it gently on her for support and comfort.

“Unfortunately, the book does not cover one part and you rather successfully erased it from the memories of the crystal ponies,” Shining Armor now glared at the king. “How you came to power. Even Princess Celestia is unsure how you went about it.”

King Sombra’s brow rose. He carefully and suspiciously regarded the two ponies outside his cage. Then he looked at Cadance, tilted his head; there was something familiar about her. Not just from remembering his defeat when the princess had his slaves activate the crystal heart and destroy him. His jumbled memories were recalling something else.

“Mi Amore Cadenza,” he whispered, then his eyes flew wide open and he sat up staring at the princess, looking bewildered. “It cannot be.”

“What? You know my full name? Considering you spent such a long time spying on Equestria before striking again, I’m not surprised you’ve heard it,” Cadance grunted, wondering though why the Dark Pony looked so stunned.

Of course, she was just an infant. She does not remember. Sombra’s bewilderment started to change into amusement. Slowly he began grinning. “Tell me, princess, do you remember your mother?”

“I do not. I was an orphan raised in a village of earth ponies before using a magic spell to defeat an evil force. That event gave me my horn,” Cadance responded, giving her husband an uncertain look.

“We are getting off-topic,” Shining Armor claimed. “We are here because we were hoping you would like to gloat about how you initially conquered the Crystal Empire.”

“Oh, but we are not actually off-topic at all.” King Sombra slowly looked at the prince, his grin turning wicked. “In fact, you have no idea how connected your lovely wife is exactly to that event.”

“What?” Cadance frowned heavily. Her husband arched his brow, looking mildly confused.

Sombra’s grin was now so wide it nearly split his muzzle apart. His memories were coming together now, slowly and surely he had begun piecing everything together. The king glanced over at Tirek’s cage; the centaur was listening, but so far saw no reason to interrupt.

“What say you, Lord Tirek? Should I give a poor orphan mare her dearest wish, to know more of her parents?” he asked and chuckled mockingly.

“Oh, don’t stop the show now, King Sombra. Clearly the poor souls are just dying for some answers. They did come here seeking them.” The centaur smirked, just as entertained as the Dark Pony was.

“How does this relate at all…” Shining Armor started but light blue magic shut his muzzle up. Cadance had activated her horn and used her magic to silence him. The alicorn, however, was staring sharply at the king.

“What do you mean, my parents? You knew them?” she asked, half between angry and intrigued.

“My dear Mi Amore Cadenza, I didn’t just know them.” Sombra slowly looked back at her, his grin turning sinister. His voice lowered to a whisper. “I killed them.”

“What?” Cadance face fell, her magic faltered and it lost the grip on her husband’s muzzle. Shining immediately put a leg around her, before glaring angrily at the king.

“What the hay are you talking about!?” he snapped.

King Sombra started laughing, madly and loudly. It had finally dawned on him why the princess was so familiar. For a while, nothing came out of him except the mad chortles. Slowly he rose up, shifting the chains around his legs a little. When he finally stopped, the king looked at the royal couple with a smug smile.

“You were so small and delicate when I held you aloft for the entire citizenry of the Crystal Empire to see as they blessed you. The crystal used to gather up all the love shone so brightly before being put into the Crystal Heart. Your mother watched so proudly, your father was exploding with it,” Sombra said softly, seemingly enjoying the memory.

“What are you talking about?” Cadance blinked when Sombra described a crystalling ceremony very accurately.

“Mi Amore Cadenza, I was your Royal Crystaller,” the king whispered and grinned wickedly when seeing the stunned looks come over the faces of the couple.

“I really need something to snack on while listening to this. Could either of you provide me with some magic in a bucket while I listen?” Tirek remarked, chuckling a little himself at the expressions on the royals.

“You’re lying!” Cadance snarled, her ears bending low. “You took over the Crystal Empire over a thousand years ago. I haven’t been alive that long.”

“There is a reason I do not like time ponies very much,” King Sombra sighed deeply and shook his head. He returned his attention to the two ponies. “Very well, I shall start from the beginning.”

“When I first came to the Crystal Empire, I was still grieving the destruction of both my empire and my sister, Queen Ira. However, I still sought power and I could already tell there was unique power in the Crystal Empire,” Sombra began and sat down, gesturing to the couple to do the same. Cadance and Shining eyed each other skeptically before doing so.

“I wasn’t even aware of the refugees that came to Equestria further south - would probably not have cared at the time,” the king shrugged. “So, I went to the Crystal Empire…”

“And conquered it,” Shining Armor interrupted with the roll of his eyes, not bothered by the stinging glare he received from the Dark Pony.

“I recall you wished to know how I went about it? There is a little more between me arriving at the Crystal Empire and the point where I finally ascended to the throne,” Sombra grunted then looked at Cadance, who had been a little amused by her husband’s interruption. “And it involves her parents.”

Cadance scowled. She returned to giving the Dark Pony her full attention. Shining Armor did so as well. Sombra continued to glare at them for a little while, wondering if they were going to continue to interrupt him.

“If you thought I just arrived in the Crystal Empire blasting away with my powers and enslaving the population as I walked the streets, you are mistaken. No, at first I just arrived as any regular visitor. I still didn’t know nearly enough about it to just start claiming anything,” the Dark Pony snorted.

“Please proceed then,” Cadance said. She was starting to get very curious since the king seemed willing to talk. Shining nodded, feeling much the same, he had just not been able to resist the earlier jab. It was rather nice to see the king locked up and chained like this.

“You know who Princess Amore was, I expect?” Sombra asked.

“She was the last ruler of the Crystal Empire before you took over, yes we know,” the princess responded with a small snort. “The princess you usurped the throne from.”

“Are both of you going to keep jumping ahead?” Sombra snapped, now looking more like a teacher tired of his know-it-all students. When there was no response except the amused smiles of the royal couple, he continued.

“Are you also aware that Commander Hurricane was still alive and well, living in the Crystal Empire?” Sombra then inquired, smirking a little when seeing the amused smiles change into uncertain frowns.

“I had heard stories, but there were no confirmations. Are you telling me they are true? Commander Hurricane lived his last days in the Crystal Empire?” Cadance asked, almost amazed to have this legend confirmed. Shining still looked confused.

“He was still alive? He was a pretty larger-than-life pegasus, but still just a pegasus.” The prince had difficulty wrapping his mind around this.

“The stories go that after retiring from ruling the Pegasi tribe after the formation of Equestria, he traveled and came to the Crystal Empire. There was an accident involving a magic mishap he helped stop, but it nearly killed him. It’s said that Princess Amore poured her magic into him to keep him alive,” Cadance told her husband who could only arch his brow.

“They are true, that is what happened,” King Sombra confirmed her words with a nod. “When I arrived, the two of them were married.”

Once again the royal couple could only just stare stunned at the king. This time he was not grinning or smirking. He had assumed a neutral expression as he regarded them. On the inside, he was laughing a little.

“I didn’t, of course, tell them who I was. The Lost Son of Queen Rabia had long since faded into legend. I presented myself as Umbra. The Commander didn’t trust me for a second, but Princess Amore had a kinder and more understanding heart. She had, of course, heard of the destruction of the Dark Pony Empire and welcomed me to her court, thinking I was just one of the refugees, one who had come to her nation instead of Equestria,” Sombra finally resumed his smirk. The couple was now frowning again.

“And she was expecting at the time of my arrival. Seems there was still life left in the old Commander,” the king chuckled.

“Princess Amore had a baby?” Cadance asked skeptically. She had heard no stories about that.

Sombra’s smirk grew into a wider grin and he could tell the couple hadn’t caught on yet, even if they had been discussing it not that long ago, being too engaged in all the new information about the Crystal Empire’s past he was providing them. He didn’t mind telling them. This was actually helping him get some of his memories in order. There was also the added bonus of their varied reactions.

“As I considered my options, I started to study the Crystal Empire, spent my time studying its history and its laws in the royal library. Princess Amore was rather impressed by my abilities and knowledge. I used no magic on her, just kept myself courteous and proper in her presence, eventually gaining her confidence,” he continued. “After all, I was myself a prince from a royal court, even if she didn’t know yet the Commander suspected.”

“What about the baby?” the princess asked urgently, looking far more interested in that than other parts of Sombra’s story.

“Ah, the baby, what a precious little creature she was. Born so pink and with a multicolored mane and tail, she inherited her father’s wings. The first pegasi princess to be born in the Crystal Empire,” Sombra stared at Cadance, wondering if she was finally catching on.

“She… was a… pegasus?” Cadance whispered and was starting to look pale. Shining reached over to place a leg around her.

“Indeed and they named her…” King Sombra paused for a second, slowly his smile turned wicked. “Mi Amore Cadenza.”

Princess Cadance felt numb hearing this. She just stared forward, unable to say a word. Shining was already embracing her and trying to comfort her. The alicorn didn’t seem to respond to it, she was frozen like a statue.

“And as I had already provided some excellent service to your mother, she appointed me your Royal Crystaller,” Sombra told her. “Despite your father’s protests.”

“You monster!” Cadance suddenly snarled and scowled hard. She pushed Shining away from her, rose up and grabbed Sombra with her magic and slammed him into the cage bar.

“Honey, please calm down,” Shining tried to grab a hold of his enraged wife as she continued to slam the king into the bars.

“Not…” Surprisingly, Sombra kept talking between the slams, only slightly grunting in pain. “Just… a … monster… the… king… of… monsters!”

Finally the magic vanished off him and Sombra crumbled to the cage floor, feeling a little disoriented and in pain after the beating, but stubbornly refusing to show it. He slowly glanced over and saw that Cadance had wrapped her legs around her husband and was crying. The king chuckled, he could already tell that the physical pain he was feeling was nothing compared to the emotional he had just caused Cadance. He felt somewhat vindicated, considering these two had a hoof in his death.

“Shall I continue?” he asked when the sobbing stopped, but the couple was still embracing each other. Both slowly glared at him.

“I think you have said enough,” Shining Armor snorted, almost tempted to resume slamming the king to the cage bar, yet knowing it wouldn’t help.

“No… let’s finish this,” Cadance whispered icily, wondering if she could convince Princess Celestia to drag the cage to the Crystal Empire and have Sombra blasted again with the Crystal Heart.

“Well, there isn’t that much left to tell really. What Princess Amore didn’t know and Commander Hurricane only suspected, was that I was up to something the whole time. I didn’t just study the Crystal Empire. I was very busy slowly corrupting Amore’s guards, staff, everypony around her except the princess and her stalwart husband,” King Sombra started again, rising up to sit and cringing slightly at the pain in his head.

“I didn’t initially intend to divide and conquer. I indented to ascent to the throne legally. You see, I had discovered that laws of the Crystal Empire allowed their rulers to be betrothed when very young to other royalty,” Sombra explained, smirking when seeing the uncertain looks return to the royal couple. “But Amore was already married and so that really just left me with one option.”

“W-wait… you intended to…” Cadance’s anger vanished to be replaced with disgust. “Marry me!?”

“Well when you were of age, of course. I do have standards,” Sombra snorted and rolled his eyes. “My plan was basically corrupt the castle staff and the guards, get rid of Amore and Hurricane, raise you as your custodian, being your Royal Crystaller, and when old enough, yes, marry you and rule through you.”

“I’m from Dark Pony society. We are matriarchal. It’s the mares who rule, but stallions can sometimes gain power through their wives,” the king shrugged as if this were completely normal. Judging by the expressions on Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, it was anything but normal to them. They looked both disgusted and horrified.

“Well, corrupting the staff and getting rid of Princess Amore and Commander Hurricane worked,” Sombra sighed and shook his head in dismay. “However, it was all disrupted by unexpected guests.”

“What unexpected guests?” Shining asked, feeling relieved that things hadn’t played out like the Dark King had intended.

“At the same time, Princess Amore was hosting two guests. What I didn’t know these two guests were there because of me,” Sombra growled as he recalled these events in his mind. “You see, in my travels I had acquired scrolls of time magic from the race called time ponies. The time ponies were trying to get them back and had sent agents. There were two time ponies in the court.”

“They never got their scrolls back; they never got the chance. When I finished corrupting or mind-controlling the last of the crystal guards, I went straight into the second part of my plan, getting rid of Princess Amore and Commander Hurricane,” Sombra wasn’t smirking or grinning anymore, he looked almost annoyed now.

“Princess Amore never saw the knife into her chest coming. She thought I had just arrived in the throne room to discuss some matters with her. She didn’t even get a chance to scream, just a quiet ‘why’ before the life seeped out of her,” the king continued, ignoring the withering glare from the princess.

“Then the time ponies burst in. They had figured out my plans, thinking they could warn Amore in time. They couldn’t. It was already done,” King Sombra snorted in contempt. “They could have saved your mother, they could have traveled back in time and stopped me at an earlier point. They didn’t because their own laws forbid them to change things that have passed.”

“They saw me over the dead body of the princess and that meant it was too late, even for them,” the king rolled his eyes and chuckled mockingly.

“I ordered the guards to kill them, blaming the death of the princess on them The guards were more than happy to as they were now under my full control… however, there was still Commander Hurricane,” Sombra raised his hoof to rub his forehead tiredly. “I somewhat regret not dealing with him first.”

“Anyway, to cut this short, he burst in as well, knocked the guards away from the time pony couple and ordered them to go get you and take you away while he dealt with me. We battled in the throne room, but already the life was draining out of him, no longer being kept alive with Princess Amore’s magic,” the king continued.

“I was distracted by the battle. The time ponies had managed to get to your cradle in the nursery. By the time Hurricane lay dead at my hooves, they were gone with you,” Sombra finished and slowly lay back down. He eyed the couple who stared silently at him, looking grim again.

“Tell me, in that village you grew up in, did your earth pony foster parents have hourglass cutie-marks?” he asked curiously.

“They did not,” Cadance stared coldly at the king who just smirked at her. “I was found in a forest by them.”

“Typical time ponies. Probably couldn’t stand the thought of raising a ‘normal’ pony. Always so high and mighty about themselves just because they know time magic,” Sombra snorted and shook his head.

“I think you can guess reasonably well where it went from there. With the rulers dead and the infant princess gone, I took the throne of the Crystal Empire.” The king laid his head down on top of his front legs.

“I’ve heard enough,” Cadance growled and stood up, she grabbed the old book up again and stomped away with Shining Armor following. The couple was soon gone through a magic portal.

“What an engaging story,” Tirek finally saw fit to make a comment again. “Any of it true?”

“Every single word,” the king responded and fell silent, smiling.

End chapter 1

Author's Note:

If you find this back story a bit familiar, you may have read The Tyrant of Fear and Hate. :pinkiehappy:

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