• Published 2nd Nov 2020
  • 334 Views, 13 Comments

The Black Dragon - Silent Slender

A lone hunter and her trusted companion make a final stand against fate itself, against Fatalis.

  • ...

The Black Dragon

The sounds of screams were only muffled ever-so-slightly under fire and ash that rose into a sky beyond the walls, agony, chaos, all these horrors mingled into a siren song of torment under the crackling of hellfire and powerful thrash of wings. The strength blew the stench of ash through the roads and past ruined buildings and walls that barely stood against the massive torrents of spiral flames that riddled its faces. The landscape, it's once lush green now barren rock and black under hooves, what little that remained standing. A harrowing shadow loomed in the crimson skies, sweeping across the world, setting it ablaze with vicious speed and terror, a bellowing roar straight from Tartarus shook the bones of many, and scarred many ears for miles.

Inside the stone walls of the keep, several nobles surrounded a table, all either frightened by the continuing attacks or remained utterly still, as if the world would break under a single hoof. All eyes and ears were to the white unicorn with a light blue, wavy mane, stationed on the other end of the table, his magenta eyes never once leaving the many tapestries that decorated the hall, almost reminiscing on a time before this great calamity.

With a heavy heart, he sighed, "There is no more time, our actions have merely stalled its assault, we beckon our demise if we prolong this fruitless test of valor." His decision was absolute, no amount of ponies or magic could stop this creature. Just as he declared this, the walls trembled, chips of stone falling from the ceiling. Closing his eyes momentarily he spoke solemnly to his audience. "We must live, if not for ourselves then for our descendants, so they may know of Equestria's foolish plight against fate."

"But your Highness, we can't just leave-" One of the noble's spoke against the matter, but another slammed his hoof down

"If we stay any longer all of us will perish!" Their ruler let them bicker, his attention both to the door to the left-hand side of the throne and to the main doors that slammed shut with two figures, one of which was one of his most trusted knights. The sight was enough to raise a relieved smile to the aged king

"King, if I may suggest something?" The pony in silver armor etched with intricate designs from head-to-hoof, almost all of the pony within was concealed behind the gleaming, silver metal, a black-metal buckler fixed to his left forehoof and a matching sword strapped to his side, jiggling as he motioned with a hoof

Behind him, a creature standing taller than the king on two legs. Dragonhide was weaved together with scales and spines laced with a red undertone across the studded spines; Constructing a suit of armor that hugged the female creature's body nicely, her defense that of the toughest dragon scales, strength comparable to that of the wyverns themselves, and with claws hooked around her fingers and toes, a pair of black wings tipped with crimson like the many accents of her armor.

The helmet gave her the look of a demon, crimson horns twisted alongside the red gem fixed to the forehead, slits in the visor providing her optimal sight. The weapon, a longsword, she carried bobbed against her back in its straps, a complete contrast to her otherwise devilish armor, pristine white meshed with gold scales lining the curved guard and fixing the light blue blade to the body of the sword and its ruby. the tip of the blade dipping into a deeper shade than the rest, the edge having been concealed behind its scabbard.

One of the nobles sneered at the two. "You dare enter the King's Court at a time like this?" His eyes were jaded. "You should be out there, keeping that thing busy-!"

"ENOUGH!" The King's voice thundered throughout the hall, himself having heard enough bickering for one night. Breathing through his nose he eyed the two. "My apologies, please, Artorias, speak."

The earth-pony, Artorias, nodded, then slowly looked to his companion behind him, smiling under his helmet. "I... we would like to purpose a chance, for our kin and fallen brothers, for you my King, and... for our future,"

Another noble snorted. "And what, pray tell, can a single pony and his pet, pos-" His throat was silenced as both the Knight and the creature behind him drew their weapons, posing them at the stuck-up pony. "W-What are-"

"Our magic is exhausted, my comrades have fallen, stallions, mares, foals, all have either escaped or have been... culled," Artorias' voice strained, lowering his weapon with a flick of his hoof, the odd yet useful mechanism inverting the blade for him to slide back into his scabbard. "I implore you to observe the situation and graciously stick your inflated ego where the sun can't shine." The creature behind him snickered at that, sheaving her blade.

"Moving on, our plan is... an irreversible solution, if we go through with this, the chances of our survival are next to nothing, sir," The proposition struck several in the hall, again with a frightening rumble from outside to remind them of the looming threat that was currently running rampant through the kingdom

Slowly, the King answered, "And... you have considered all possible options?" A single nod, "You are willing to sacrifice yourselves for a pony like me?" Those words alone made them gasp, though Artorias remained firm

"We know the stakes, and we'll battle harder than any other day in our lives, defend our home, even though we are ultimately outmatched," The female human stepped forward, patting his helmet gingerly, assuring him of their choice together. "We will fight until the bitter end so everypony can escape,"

"If we give up then absolutely nothing will remain for a time when others may stumble upon our past, maybe even the creature who would be waiting for them, perhaps they will give this old, battered keep one final day of triumph," This was absolute, even if his King were to order it, his hooves weren't moving, and neither were hers.

Once more, the King was silent, hearing the door behind him open to reveal a few guards and the white unicorn with a long, pink mane and tail, worry and fright etched into her expression. "Hmm, it is not my place to judge you both," Even if he told himself to refuse their offer, to spare two more lives of this calamity, a decision had to be made. "...Artorias... Nana, I offer you my thanks, how little it's worth right now."

Artorias chuffed, breaking his formal mannerisms for a brief moment, perhaps the last he would share with his friend. "Don't start with the theatrics, I'd like my last memory of you to be a little less mortifying," The two shared a small laugh as the King's daughter stepped forward, the last of the guard arriving in the grand hall

"Your Highness, everything is ready, we must depart immediately!" One saluted to the King's affirmative nod, stepping toward his daughter who's eyes wavered between him and the Hunter and Knight

"D-dad, why did he say l-last memory of you?" That look in her eyes was almost too much for them to bear, however, sparing her this grief was unavoidable. It didn't take her long to figure it out, seeing as neither of them replied. "N-no... no you're coming, right, right!?"

Nana shook her head, thereby breaking the dams of the Princess' eyes as she shook her head. "Please... i-it'll kill you..."

Artorias pondered on what exactly could he say, this wasn't his forte, combat was all he really understood, well, until Nana showed up, but he was still grasping the concept. So, he took a decisive step toward the weeping mare.

"I am sorry, Princess," He rested a hoof on her mane, ruffling it as her tears slowly fell. "My words may not be enough right now to convince you of our motives, but, allow me to say this," He reached down to tilt her chin, her eyes meeting the helmet visor placed between them. "You have be strong; take action, Princess." Her eyes started to water more, scrunching up her face as she found her muzzle pressed against the warm armor of the Hunter, her arms wrapped around her back to allow the young filly a final moment with her closest friends - no, her family

"Arty, Nana... please don't go," It was hard hearing her cry, Nana hated it, she'd be lying if she didn't feel afraid at this very moment, to calmly accept your own demise was... unexpected, although her sudden career change upon arriving in this magical world was also unanticipated. Patting her back one last time she pulled away, allowing the King to comfort his daughter, his feature relaxed but his eyes sharper than any blade

"Your odds?" He inquired, the duo looking over one another expectantly. Both then grinned under their helmets and nodded

"In our favor as always, sir," Artorias' quick salute and tap to his buckler signifying his confidence; Or until the whole world shook with a terrible roar, one of the towers outside crashing down with a mighty crumble and wave of debris and dust. "We'll buy everypony enough time to escape!"

"Wait!" They froze mid-step, turning back to their ruler and his heartbroken daughter resting under his hoof protectively. However, a small but sad smile broke across his muzzle. "...may the sapphire star light your way, my friends."

Nana froze at the words, remembering them all too fondly before facing down the calamity-breeding Elder Dragon known as Shagaru Magala, the remnants of the Frenzy Virus infused into her weapon. "Goodbye." Was the one word she spoke, turning and sprinting for the large doors alongside Artorias, neither looking back on their choice to dare challenge fate

The world was still on the brink of chaos, the skies tainted red with a downpour doing very little to smother the many fires that broke out far and wide, it was as if the very horizon was set ablaze among dark clouds. The moon's crystal white appearance felt off and eerie as if it somehow didn't belong in the sky any longer. The duo rushed through to the forward courtyard that overlooked a larger portion of the kingdom from above, it had everything they needed and more, all thanks to Nana's forward-thinking of past sieges on the kingdom.

The familiar sights of ballista not scorched to molten slag, a used but sharp drill nestled deep inside a raised battlement that overlooked a large open courtyard at the edge of the cliff. It was almost a tragic beauty, so see what exactly compared to the end of the world as they walked beside one another, the many trails they've faced together stretching into their minds.

They fought through mysterious jungles, windswept plains, and the tallest mountains. Trek through snow and caves carved like labyrinths, battled with monsters across scorching sands, and braved volcanic lands. From standard to Subspecies, and Varients, even the infamous Deviants and the mightiest of Elders. Now, all that meant nothing here, for the Hunter felt it as she did when facing down her first Great Jaggi, anxious, fearing the unknown.

"Ready?" Artorias hummed, both stepping into the crimson light

She answered by stepping forward herself, taking the vanguard. Something stirred under her, very subtle, barely above a hum but it was the first of any form of life she had felt in this hellish place. However, both she and the Knight eyed one-another, then continued to examine the area, yet her ears remained taut.

"Something's wrong, he's not circling the kingdom anymore..." His worry traveled to her, she sensed it like a nagging feeling against her crown, something was watching them, critically evaluating their movements. The world went silent, even the sudden rush of rainfall that looked almost like blood became deathly quiet.


She stopped, raising her hand for the Knight to prepare as that same rumble stopped, her heartbeat slow and steady, every blink made her sweat, fearing It may appear in that singular instance. The Hunter's head snapped forward, jumping back. Her hands reached for her belt, prying off several items, she didn't need to know what they were and simply threw the contents down her throat between her visor's slits, her muscles became stiff and her skin felt firm, most of her senses sharpened as far as humanly possible.

The ground tore itself apart, the bricks uprooted by a pair of large claws, hooked into the edges to pry them apart like a pair of doors. The head snaked through, wings darker than the skies threshed, blowing away dust and debris as the Hunter stepped back from the wind pressure. A low, bellowing snarl rumbled amongst the rock, a thin tail swiping away one of the battlements.

Painted below the crimson skies the massive figure rose proudly before the Hunter, eyes laced in malice, death hung around its figure like an omen of destruction. Rigid, onyx scales lined the serpentine body, the wings aged and broad, able to send fissures across the castle, the towers trembling. White, irregular spines jutting from the vertebrae.

The long neck sat high in the air above itself and the Hunter who was left rooted beside her equally startled ally. Four backward-facing horns jutting across the scalp with a row of enlarged bottom teeth, the maw licked with flames and swished by the forked tongue.

What stationed the Hunter was that of the beady eyes, clouded in almost unspeakable depths of hatred and scorn under a glowering veil of orange, this dragon embodied the very contrasting traits hidden under the helmet of the Hunter, destruction etched across its thick scales. Gradually, the Hunter finally made her move, lifting on hand over her shoulder, the clasps of her blade were undone, prying the longsword from its scabbard for her hands to clasp tightly, shuffling her feet into a far more flexible position alongside the Knight, himself drawing his sword into the leg-brace with his buckler tapping off the cobblestone, himself stepping back toward the battlements.

The dragon sneered then unveiled an earth-pounding roar that shattered the sky, lightning clashing high above their heads under the powerful vocal force, wings fanned and head swaying left and right to usher forth its declaration to the Hunter and Knight that foolishly stood in its path. Her hands merely held true, and her eyes ablaze with the memories of countless foes that brought her so far.

"Now, time to fight fate one last time!" She smiled at his boisterous words, she couldn't agree more.

To Be Continued...

Author's Note:

Surprised? Got the idea to post this old project I had planned before Fatalis returned to Icebone. This is basically an interpretation of Castle Schrade, only now an old kingdom set long before Princess Celestia and Luna's rule and before Zen's arrival to Equestria. This a two-part story so the next piece will be up tomorrow, I hope you enjoyed it, appreciate the support, seeya tomorrow.

Next: Fade to Black