• Published 20th Dec 2011
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A Heart of Stone - BorgiaBrony



One summer morning, young Prnicess Celestia meets a draconequus named Discord...

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Chapter 6: Reqiuem for a Tyrant

Cronus flew for days at a time. Almost never stopping for food, drink or rest, he seemed to be propelled by some unfathomable mixture of glee and newfound megalomania. Discord hardly noticed. He spent his days during this journey dreaming woefully about his lost friend. The wind, the rain, the snow, he was so entrenched in his thoughts he couldn’t feel any of them.

In fact, the first thing he felt after he departed from Canterlot was his father’s cold and scaly hand grasping at his tail. “Let’s go, abomination!” he shouted as he flung Discord into the wall of a familiar cave. Cronus laughed as Discord slowly slid down the wall and hit the ground. The cave itself wasn’t anything too special. It was standard fare for a dragon, with a few extra perks for the ruler of a colony. It was a cliff side cave that had a colossal main chamber, filled with mountains upon mountains of gold, silver, gemstones, and other riches that the dragon had amassed with his natural greed. In the center of the chamber, there were massive stalagmites that doubled as a table and chairs for Cronus and his “associates.”

Cronus paced the floor of the cave, eyeballing Discord. His footsteps shook the ground as if they were miniature earthquakes. “Now,” boomed the crimson dragon, “recite for me the three new rules we have in this household.”

Discord, exhaling a sigh of sorrow, resigned himself to an eternity in the colony, living under his father’s rule. “Always obey Cronus. His word is law.”

“Good,” Cronus hissed. “Rule number two?”

“No magic unless otherwise instructed by Cronus.”

“Number three?” he demanded with a toothy smirk. Discord stared at his father indignantly. He couldn’t say it. He wouldn’t say it, lest the terrible image erupt in his mind again, as it had when Cronus first told him the rule back in the garden.

Cronus grew visibly impatient. Not wanting his fun to be ruined by his son’s stubbornness, he grabbed Discord’s lower jaw and moved it up and down to synch up with what he was saying. “If I try to escape, try to rebel, or fail to comply with rules one or two, the result will be the immediate and total decimation of everypony in Equestria, starting with my little princess friend.”

His appetite for sadism was whetted, for the moment at least. He sent Discord to his tiny chamber for the night. As he shrank away from his father, Discord could hear the mocking voice coming from behind, “Don’t look so glum! I have a big day planned for tomorrow! Get lots of sleep!” He shuddered at the thought of doing anything his father regarded as “fun.”
He slunk into his room, his only sanctuary from Cronus. It could barely hold him before, never mind when his mother had to go in with him because Cronus was busy. His mother! He kicked himself for forgetting about her. The whole point of his journey, the reason he met his best friend, the only being who made life bearable for so long. And after everything that had happened in the last few months he was still at square one: no clues and trapped with his father.

He eschewed his usual pile of gems that he had slept on before, and made his way to his mother’s old canopy bed that lied in the center of the room. He flung himself down upon it and let his thoughts race through his mind until their sheer intensity made him pass out from exhaustion.

He woke up the next morning with a sharp pain poking him in the ribs. When n he rubbed his eyes open, he saw Cronus’ massive ebony claw poking through the crevice, beckoning him to wake up. He lazily rolled out of bed, walked out of the room, and climbed onto his father’s back.

While flying through the early morning darkness and fog, Discord looked down into the colony, which essentially consisted of two mountain ranges separated by a deep chasm. Cronus and his associates lived in the spacious caves of the tallest mountains. Across the valley, however, lay the homes of the other dragons, whose caves more than often couldn’t hold their families. Although he hadn’t thought about it much before, but he started to wonder just how right this system was. Before, he had assumed that this was the norm: the powerful should just walk over those with little. But after his time with Celestia, he saw that while the Canterlot Royal Family enjoyed more privileges than everypony else, they could still support themselves adequately.

His train of thought was interrupted by his father’s hissing. “New has reached my ears that there are some serfs trying to usurp me. They supposedly meet in one of the deeper caves in the early mornings.”

“I’m still not seeing why it is you need me here,” Discord said, despite the fact that he already suspected what his father was about to make him do.

“You have unlimited magic, correct?” the dragon snapped at him.

“Yes,” Discord stuttered out timidly.

Cronus chuckled. “Now I need you to use it. Ah! Here we are!” He landed outside of the cave as silently as a cloud would if it touched the earth. Then they made their dark descent into the cave.

Discord had experience total silence before; his night in the Canterlot library, his time in the hedge maze before Tia came to see him, and his many days spent in solitude before his mother disappeared. But this, this was something different entirely. He knew that whatever he was about to do wouldn’t be pretty. That it was going to change him forever. He knew that he was about to take a life.

As they went further and further into the black, he could start to make out voices in the distance. Eventually, the darkness melted away, fought off by warm torchlights. Before them stood three very frightened dragons. He couldn’t exactly discern all of their features, but of two things he was certain: they were all significantly smaller than Cronus, but still larger than himself, and that they were blue, green, and yellow in color. They flung themselves down in front of Cronus, almost kissing his feet. All Discord could feel was pity.

“M-m-my liege,” stammered the blue dragon. “What brings you hear at this hour?” Discord could see the terror building up in every fiber of this poor creature’s being: through his voice, his eyes, his trembling tail, and even the scales on the back of his head seemed to stand upright.

Cronus sneered at the pitiable trio. “Get up.” All three obeyed, and flew to their feet faster than Discord thought was possible. “You know why I’m here, Fang. You all do.”

The three dragons all exchanged looks. “You intend to kill us then?” Fang gulped out.

Cronus feigned shock. “ME? Never!” He plucked Discord from his shoulder and placed him on the floor. “Him, on the other claw….”

Discord was fairly certain that the dragons were recoiling at the sight of him, but he couldn’t be sure. All he was able to do was listen in wide eyed terror as Cronus whispered the most horrible, repulsive, and stomach churning orders into his ear. When he was finished giving his despicable commands, all he had to say was, “Oh by the way, remember rule number 3…” Discord pictured the outcome of the punishment Cronus told him to carry out, but it paled in comparison to the image of what would happen should he refuse to do it.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and snapped his fingers. The screams he heard were the things nightmares were made of.

When he opened his eyes, Fang was left in a deep crater and the green and yellow dragons were gone, for the most part anyway. Bloody bits and pieces of them remained scattered across the room. Fang was shell-shocked at the sudden and total destruction of his two comrades, and was rocking back and forth in a fetal position.

In the hours that followed, two things happened. The first was the “trial” and execution of Fang for treason. Cronus took him to the cliff outside his cave, which also doubled as a public scaffold due to its immense height. There, he labeled Fang as a traitor in front of the entire colony. This was followed by Fang’s confession, which was barely even a sentence, as he was still in shock. Finally, he received Cronus’ punishment for traitors: He pulled Fang’s wings off and pushed him off the side of the mountain.

The second thing was Cronus revelation of Discord. Cronus presented him to the colony as “his new secret weapon,” and threatened to “use” him against any other rabble-rousers. Discord didn’t like the idea of becoming a weapon at his tyrant father’s disposal, but he yielded in the best interest of keeping Celestia safe.

This was the order of things for the next one hundred years. Discord was, as before, kept away in his room. Beyond squashing the occasional rebellion (which was always ended violently, as per Cronus’ will) he simply went through the motions of life, disgusted by what he had become: a tool for his father to continue his tyranny. Looking back, he wouldn’t be able to answer why he didn’t rebel against him sooner than he did. Maybe it was due to fear, fear that if he failed he would act upon rule three and attack Canterlot. Or maybe it was in part to an innate respect for authority he had when he was young. No matter what it was that stopped him from acting on his dislike for his father, it all came to a head one day when he overheard Cronus talking to his supporters.

Cronus’ confidants, as Discord grew to learn, weren’t partners, but yes dragons. He eavesdropped on many a conversation they had, and they were so spineless, he would have been amazed if there was a full vertebra between all. There was Dagger, who appeared to be the closest thing there was to a second-in-command in the group. Then you had Inferno. He was so hot-headed (no pun intended) Discord could have roasted marshmallows over his forehead. One of their names Discord never actually knew, and only learned his nickname: Smokey. The reason for this name, he could never tell.
One day, after reading through the last book that he had in his limited possession, he decided to listen in on one of their talks, which in all truth, was always about one of three things: their women, their recent killings, and maintaining control. He usually tuned out the boring parts of conversation until he heard something particularly juicy, like something about Canterlot or the ponies living in Equestria. This was one such time that the conversation turned to him and his time with Celestia.

“So where did you say you found that one, Cronus?” said Inferno in between bout of stuffing his face with gems. “Looks like a hydra stepped on it and rolled it in manticore dung.”

“I’ve told you all this story before. I found him one day talking to a pony,” Cronus said, slightly annoyed, but still very merry.

“Oh and we all know how much Cronus loves ponies, eh fellas?” laughed Smokey. Discord clenched his fists: he knew who they were talking about.

“Gentledragons, please. I remember her. Eris was her name right? Looked beautiful,” said Inferno. “Not beautiful enough to cross nature like Cronus did, but in her own way.” The other two weren’t smart enough to get this jab at Cronus, but Inferno and Dagger still snickered to themselves. Discord heard a loud bang against the cave wall.

“I’ll have all of you know that I hated that little nuisance everyday she was out here. I was a young kid you got in too far over his head. Besides, we all knew how preachy and obnoxious she was all the time, right?” he could hear a few grunts of approval from the underlings. “So one day, while she was sleeping, I popped her in my mouth, and swallowed her who-" Discord didn’t wait for him to even finish the sentence.

“YOU DID WHAT?!?!?!” He screamed as he tore the door to his room off its hinges. He could barely think straight he was so furious. It all made so much sense. Cronus took away everything that was ever good in his life: his mother, Celestia, and his freedom. He was done with it.

Cronus told his lackeys that he needed to cut his losses. They all began to breathe their fire at him. Discord, blinking easily through their flames, made his way onto Infernos’ head. He clutched his spikes and began to veer him in all directions, as if he were at the world’s most dangerous rodeo. Dagger, who was getting caught up in the mayhem, continued to cast fire at Discord, despite the fact it was burning Inferno more than anything. Inferno screamed, and ran in all directions, knocking up against the walls of the cave. The ceiling began to shake: the opening to the cave was collapsing.

He blinked off of Inferno’s head and out of the cave. He could still see in as the rocks fell, blocking the entrance: Dagger was trying to put out the fire on Inferno, and Smokey was in the corner with copious amounts of thick black smoke billowing from his nostrils and mouth., Cronus was trying to make his way to Discord, pushing the incompetent dragons out of the way as he tried to use his last breath to end his son’s life. But the cave collapsed just before he could make it out.
Discord placed his ear on the rocks so he could hear what was going on inside. All that was audible was the coughs and last gasps of the evil dragons, who were being strangled by their own smoke. Discord, who felt that this was a somewhat bittersweet victory, took a moment to remember his mother.

The peace of the moment was broken, however by the faint rumbling of rocks from behind him. He looked at the rocks puzzled and wondered if the suspicions he had were correct. After a few moments, the rocks flew in all directions, and Cronus emerged from the cave in a huge cloud of dark smoke. He let forth an earth shaking roar and began his charge at Discord, who was still standing still at the side of the cliff.

He remained steady, waiting for the right moment to strike at the charging dragon. At the last second, just before Cronus was about to achieve his ultimate goal, he leaped out of the way and gave his fingers a snap, and took away Cronus’ wings in a flash of white light. The crimson dragon screamed as the mist and fog below enveloped him, until he eventually disappeared forever into the dark valley.

He looked around to see the rest of the colony and was greeted with a surprise: the entirety of the colony’s population was staring backup at him. They had obviously been alerted by the commotion that was going on and went outside to see what was going on. They were greeted by their ruler being killed by his own ultimate weapon. Needless to say, this caused a fair amount of panic.

Discord looked at the anarchy that used to be his father’s highly organized empire. And he laughed. He laughed at the chaos. He laughed at the families rushing to their homes. He laughed at their escapes. And he laughed at the storm clouds that many of them flew into in their panic.

When he was finally done laughing the colony was empty. He looked around and there wasn’t a soul in sight. And then he took to the sky, and was off to laugh with somepony whom he hadn’t laughed with for a very long time.