• Published 12th Feb 2021
  • 599 Views, 37 Comments

When the Stars Sleep - Sea Gnash

Have you ever wondered what happens when the sun sets, but the moon doesn't rise to take its place?

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8. Epilogue

~*~ Chapter 8 ~*~


~*~ Epilogue ~*~


The Nuckelavee is a creature from Coltic folklore connected to the night and darkness. It is believed that this demon's arrival is always preceded by a cloak of magical darkness that is a part of its being, yet not. No one knows the true form of this being, but the most common beliefs say it either takes the form of a pitch black pony or that of a literal shadow on the ground or walls. One common trait between the few stories that exist of the figure, however, is the apparent possession of glowing, featureless eyes.

Despite all of the differing stories surrounding this creature, all tellings appear to agree on one similar point. The Nuckelavee can be chased back to whence it came if exposed to the light of day. Other sources of light can effectively weaken it, but anything less than the sun will fail to remove it for good.

Despite covering its claimed territory in a shroud of living darkness, it is not all-seeing within the field. It must employ the help of a lesser creature dubbed shades to do its bidding for it. These shades are formed from the remains of ponies, griffons or other intelligent beings who have fallen within the field of living shadow. Like the Nuckelavee itself, the shades under its command can take the form of living shadows or a physical body when in complete darkness.

According to local folklore, the Nuckelavee itself can see and hear through its shade army, thus allowing it to grow in strength the more it collects. No pony seems to know the exact reasoning behind this behavior beyond the simple desire to take control over as much territory as possible and build its strength.

Twilight let a sad sigh escape her lips as she lowered the book held in her magic's grip. She let her eyes trace along the wall bearing framed photos of nearly a hundred different ponies, each with their name engraved on a little plaque underneath. The official reports given out by the authorities have been assuring everypony that they were all merely missing, but she knew better. She knew better and it crushed her heart as her gaze stopped on the images of her four missing friends.

She ran a gentle hoof over each of the pictures as tears rolled down her cheeks. Setting her hoof down, she tucked her book away into one of her saddlebags before producing four small bouquets of flowers from the other. She gently placed them down on the ground against the wall, under where the pictures of her friends hung in a neat little pile of blue, orange, white and pink.

A gentle hoof came to Twilight's shoulder, pulling her gaze to the side. Fluttershy looked back at her with what she could easily tell was a forced smile, but she appreciated the effort to comfort her. Without a word, Twilight turned away from the wall and started down the short path back into town with Fluttershy at her side.

Ponyville had returned to as close to a semblance of normalcy as it could in the month since the incident took place. Members of the Apple Family had come in to help Granny Smith and Apple Bloom with the farm and most businesses returned to a semi-open state at the very least. What gave the biggest comfort was seeing other ponies finally working up the courage to spend more time out of their homes to help the town feel less empty.

Despite the recovery, Twilight could still feel the cloud of gloom that hung over the heads of nearly every pony she could spot while trotting through town for the second time that day. Shops were functioning, but they were anything but truly welcoming. Every interaction felt forced or fake, but she couldn't bring herself to blame any of them. If she was forced to run an active business, she would probably be even worse off.

She could only glance at the library she used to call home as she and Fluttershy passed by on their way to her new one. Though she still worked there as the town's librarian, she couldn't bring herself to actually live in it like she had before. Though she knew it was safe by all logical sense, she couldn't shake the feeling of unease that it gave due to the memories associated with the event.

Her attention instead turned to the side. She could have sworn she saw a familiar shape from the corner of her eye, but it was simply the elongating evening shadow of a nearby flower bush. Even if she had no reason to worry left, her mind kept playing rude little tricks on her and she began to grow weary of seeing those little reminders in every little thing.

Twilight felt a gentle hoof come to her once more, Fluttershy's worried eyes betraying her true concern despite the faint smile she forced herself to wear. She merely leaned in to nuzzle Fluttershy to tell her she was alright, getting one in return as they started up the hill to their cottage amid the setting sun.

Author's Note:

Phew, this story was amazingly fun, but honestly nerve wracking to complete. When I first started working on this, I was so afraid no one was going to like it, but all of the support, kind words and enjoyment coming off of you all gave me the encouragement I needed to continue on. So for that, I wish to say thank you to you all!

I hope this ending doesn't leave too much to be desired. All of my writing practice before this was always little one-shot stories, so writing endings is still a weak point for me, but I hope to get better with practice!

And for all of you who have been enjoying my writing, I want to say that I plan to keep posting more stories even if this one is complete, and though I may work on other projects in the meantime, keep on the look out for more stories set in the WtSS setting! :heart:

Comments ( 9 )

Well, that was an enjoyable romp. I look forward to seeing what you do next!

Very well done, had chills all the way. RIP AJ, Rainbow, Pinkie and Rarity. :pinkiesad2:

Can't wait to see what you have in-store for later.

Aw, I'm all sad now. But I'm glad that this happened to be finished by the time I returned to it. I really enjoyed it and you kept quite an amount of info about the darkness hidden until towards the end so that I definitely had to keep reading to figure out what it was. The story's pacing was great and the errors were minimal so as not to disrupt the flow of understanding. I am a little sad Pinkie didn't make it all the way to the very end when she came so close. I bet she coulda helped cheer the town up after the fact.
Interesting take on the Nuckelavee, too. Though I don't know much about it anyway.

I do look forward to reading more in this setting!

Oh my god
This is absolutely amazing!
It was truly scary, intriguing, and amazing at the same time.
I can't wait for whatever you write next!

This is a awesome story that is worth reading all the way to the end. I'm kinda a little sad that not everybody made it in the end. but thats how horror stories work, not every bodies gonna make it. Poor, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity.

Nice! This story was a fun read, I'm so sad I wasn't able to read it earlier. Though I'm sad about the ending. While it was well written and had awesome ideas. I felt it had a bit of an abrupt ending.
Then again it was a one-shot as well. So that kind of thing can be natural to one-shots so, :twilightsmile:
Overall, great job! Again, love the story idea. I look forward to your next story! Though I feel this story has an opening for a sequel? :derpytongue2: But if not, good ending. The flow was good! And the sequence of events connected pretty well together, kept me on my toes. The feeling of mystery and horror was definitely there!

Editing note: There were a few run-ons. Not bad enough to disrupt anything, but if one were to read it aloud it would be pretty hard :rainbowlaugh:
Though the best tip I can give is to try to read the sentences out loud. If you run out of breath, try to break it up. Other than that, it's really good! Got to complement ya on your description skills. Scenes like the Canterlot Library, ooooh my goodness. I had chills up my spine!
Keep up the great work! Look forward to what's next! :pinkiehappy:

Thank you so much!

Yeah, I might go back sometime in the future and re-write the ending so it feels less abrupt when I get some more practice in actually ending a story well. Still one of my weaknesses seeing as most of my practice writings before going for something actually serious didn't have much of a need for solid endings. :twilightblush:

Though, I'm very glad you liked it and I very much appreciate all of the advice you've given me! I've hopefully been ably to apply it to my latest stories!

No problem! Thanks for the story! Though don't feel pressured to go back and, "fix," the ending. It's good as it is. I may feel it's abrupt but I'm only one person. :twilightblush: Don't feel you need to change because of one person's words. If that's how you see the story ends, that's how its ends. :pinkiehappy:
If you do want to go back to it, try to continue it. If you re-write this story's ending you may get stuck in a loop of trying to continuously, "Fix," the story. I've found building off your previous ideas can help you make better coherent ideas. Trying to, "fix," leads in loops. Except for grammer and such, don't forget about that. :rainbowlaugh:
Though again, I'm not that experienced. I've only got one story under my belt so take my words as you will :derpytongue2::pinkiehappy:
Regardless, I wish you luck on your future stories! I look forward to them! :twilightsmile:

Well, I can definitely say I do plan to add to the story however I can, so knowing that’s a good idea helps~ :twilightsmile:

Thank you again! :heart:

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