• Published 9th Jan 2022
  • 879 Views, 39 Comments

Sanctuary Under a Paleblood Sky - Dragonfire2lm



Bloodborne crossover. Sunset Shimmer is a child when she is exiled from Equestria for trying to revive forbidden magic. Her grief and sorrow is heard by a Great One that still clung to human empathy and suffering in equal measure.

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Called by a Child's Cry

Author's Note:

This marks the start of a larger AU, which I'll hopefully show as I go. But in essence, Equestria is one world, one realm connected to many others. While this story is self contained, it acts as a starting point, and I hope that what I write here will be interesting enough to stand on its own merit as well as add to the larger narrative yet to come.

Welcome to the beginning of the Wish Fulfilment AU.

The night was long.

That’s what it felt like to the young filly with golden fur and a fiery mane as she trudged through the densely packed forest that surrounded the bustling capital she left behind.

Teal eyes rimmed red from crying as she picked her way through the foliage, mind adrift in a sea of emotions and memories.

“Sunset… What blasphemy is this?”

“W-what? But I just wanted to help! See? Ponies can use their happiest memories to—”

“That is not how We teach magic, this path leads only to darkness. Magic is cast through the mind, not with the volatility of the mortal heart.”

“Ponies aren’t going to turn into evil monsters if they use good emotions though! I’ve tested it, it works!”

“Thoust—What? How?”

“I came up with the spell myself, and there’s an entire branch of magic that can build off it. Here, look Princess, I’ve been testing it for months! It’s safe!”

“…”

“Princess Celestia?”

“…All it takes is one pony Sunset, one soul to fall and then a new era of chaos will be born. We have guided this Realm in the absence of both Chaos and Order, taught Our little ponies the safest way to harness magic. We stood firm even against Our dear sister when she rallied against Our vision… If thou will not discard thine treacherous creation, We will have no choice but to banish thee to protect what is Ours.”

Her fur was quickly becoming mattered, her hooves ached, and without the mercy of being given supplies the young unicorn had no choice but to press on. Away from the carefully tended paths and roads, the forest almost had a will of its own with the way the thick grass and twisting roots made it a gargantuan task to navigate. A canopy too thick to allow even a sliver of moonlight only added to her hardship, her horn alight with mage fire and draining her dwindling reserves of power.

Had it been minutes? Hours? She had no clue, it felt as if dawn would never come, that the sun had forsaken her. There was nary a sounds save for her own hooves and shaky breathing.

Even now, she didn’t see the harm in what she had done. Emotions were a powerful thing, yet since the sealing of The God of Chaos and the subsequent death of The Goddess of Order, magics pertaining to emotions and memories had been deemed too dangerous to use.

Ever since she had been taken in by Princess Celestia, Sunset had only known magic as an expression of one’s talent, carefully expressed through years of study and control of one’s will. To cast on impulse was dangerous, too many mages had fallen to dark magics driven by their own spite, jealousy, or sorrow.

But there were tales, stories of spells that embodied the joys of life, the strength of one’s bonds with others, the passions of mortals and gods alike. She had wanted to bring back those old teachings and integrate with the current methods.

She had thought a balance could be achieved. And what else could she do? She was a student of The Unconquered Sun, she had grown up on tales of mighty heroes like Starswirl the Bearded, she was expected to be as great as those legends.

Favoured by the sun, the weight of her predecessors on her shoulders, and the entire realm watching her Sunset had to show she was worthy of the favour of the gods.

She knew she was destined for great things.

Yet this offered little comfort to the cold, tired, and scared filly that had no idea what to do now that everything had been taken from her, That bright future now gone, and with fresh tears threatening to spill out once more, she stumbled through the dark night.

Her hoof slipped off the edge of an incline she couldn’t see until it was too late. The light of her horn winked out as she crashed down the slope, the world tumbling around her.

She landed in a heap on the forest floor.

Everything stung, aches and pains, scrapes and cuts marred her small form as she pulled herself to lie on her stomach and tucked her legs beneath her.

Why? She thought as she sniffled. Her throat felt tight, and her eyes burned. Mom, why?

I thought you loved me.

The darkness of the forest offered its own strange sense of calm, the clearing she found herself in was open to the heavens and the full moon shone down. It was almost peaceful.

Almost. Danger still lurked in these woods, monsters were especially active at night. Free from the baleful sunlight that kept them away from the capital and main roads.

Too overwhelmed, too tired, too spent to continue, Sunset Shimmer remained where she was, lying on a soft bed of grass under the moonlit night, and wept.

Grieving for the home and life she had left behind.


The Dream was long.

A field of white flowers, ringed with gravestones and surrounded by a wrought iron fence stood as a expression of power, in memory of a bargain made so very long ago.

Beyond this fence lied a hill, and a flagstone path that led to the building atop it. More graves rested at either side of the path and at the edges of the small courtyard like space the hill occupied.

The sky above was one of a clear, calm summer night, the moon far brighter and far larger than one would expect.

And within this melancholy place, peace reigned, welcoming even as a giant orange beast slumbered in the middle of the field, a human resting against it.

The human was dressed in the appropriate number of layers typical of the era, several layers of shirts beneath a buttoned up, dark coloured long coat and similarly dark slacks. The legs of said pants were tucked into the sturdy pair of boots.

Gloved hands rested on her stomach as the fair skinned human napped alongside the feathery fox-like beast, a tricorn hat adorned with a large white feather was pulled down to cover her eyes, and curly orange ponytail was draped over one shoulder.

A sound pierced the stillness of the Dream.

The beast awoke, the creature’s lone blue eye glowed like moonlight, and yet the human merely slumped over, hat dropping onto the grass, like a doll that had become unbalanced.

The silence of the dream was broken, the crying of a little girl grew louder and louder, a symphony of heart wrenching suffering and grief that spilled past the boundary between realms.

Oh, you poor thing, who hurt you so?

The beast, the god, let out a rattling sigh and settled down for a long night.

The human snapped awake, her lone functioning eye as grey as storm clouds.

A long night indeed she mused as she got to her feet and made her way over to new, gem encrusted gravestone that had risen from the soil. The red and yellow jewels depicted a bird and a sun intertwined together.

“And where are you off to then?”

She blinked and turned back around to find her former mentor looking down at her with a frown. An elderly man in similar, yet tattered garb with red lining, and a simple black hat atop a head of grey hair. He moved with a prominent limp and came to stop just in front of her.

“Gehrman,” she greeted warmly. “Did you need something before I left?”

The old man scoffed, resting his weight on the simple wooden cane in his hands. “Just be careful out there. You may be… more than just a hunter now, but you still care too much for your own good.”

“I’ll be fine,” she replied casually and smiled, showing off a mouth of sharp, canine-like teeth. When that didn’t appease him, she shrugged helplessly. “Caring is all I have left.”

“I know… But don’t you think you’ve done enough?” he asked tiredly. “Good Hunter, you have your friends, your home, and you’re just going to go running off?”

The crying still rang around them as the two stared each other down.

“Listen to that,” she said. “Can you in good conscience leave a child alone when they’re that distraught?”

Seconds passed, the two stared each other down, and as the crying rang out around them, Gehrman relented with a sigh.

“No.”

“I’m not leaving,” she said and gestured to the fox once more curled up asleep behind them. “I’ll still be here.”

“Leaving the feather duster behind isn’t the point,” Gehrman argued, and the woman let out an annoyed “Oi!” in protest. “I just want to make sure you’re coming back…”

She took in the sight of the worn-down old hunter, a man who had spent years trapped in the Hunter’s Dream to guide new hunters through another night. Blind to the comforts the place offered, lost in his own sorrow and torment, and unwilling to seek out the truth.

She often wondered how long he had spent here, hoping for someone to free him.

To abandon him now would be cruel and she was far too soft hearted for such an act. More to the point, she was far too much a creature of habit to simply abandon those she had come to care for.

“Of course,” she answered sincerely. “I didn’t cling to my friendships to just go wandering off.”

“I swear I won’t be long.” She added. “Honest! I’ll just pop on over, grab the poor babe, and be back by daybreak.”

She took off her hat, swapping it out for a plainer tricorn and pulled a leather covering over the bottom half of her face. “If I need to be gone longer, I will send you a note.”

Gehrman stepped back and nodded. “Alright Raine, you’ve made your point. Go save another lost soul.”


A faint purple light broke through the darkness and a strange scent wafted through the air.

Sunset sniffled as she tried to stifle the storm of grief and fear that still gripped her. She looked ahead to see a small metal post had appeared out of thin air. A set of small bells were set atop it and the post ended in a curled hook upon which a strange lantern hung. It emanated purple light and coils of smoke from the incense it burned wafted up and into the night air.

She could only stare, bewildered, as someone appeared beside the lamp in a brief swirl of grey, wispy smoke.

The filly had seen humans before, even before becoming Celestia’s student a human from one of the other realms often wandered in from one of the unstable gates that opened across the kingdom. But this human was dressed in manner she had never seen before, long, dark garb, and a face covering.

A trace of the human’s orange hair could be seen poking out from beneath the hat, her fringe covering her left eye as the newcomer looked to be observing her surroundings.

“Who are you?” Sunset squeaked out.

Was she a Hero sent by Celestia? Was the lamp yet another of form of gate that pulled this unsuspecting soul into?

There was something unmistakeably different about this human, she didn’t smell right, a scent Sunset couldn’t place.

Still, it wasn’t a bad smell, and Sunset remained wary as the human pulled out a torch from the confines of her coat and held it up to get a look at her.

“Well now, what have we here?” she mumbled and looked down at her with brows furrowed in confusion. “Was it you that was crying?”

With dawning horror, Sunset remembered one of the key cornerstones of her research in to emotive magics, that magic often had a will of its own when the caster was overcome with intense emotion.

“Y-you heard that?” Sunset asked, hooves scrabbling against the damp grass as she struggled to get up.

The human took a step back, her free hand raised in gesture of surrender. “Easy little one, I mean you no harm…”

As if to emphasize her point, the woman put her torch away, and walked over to the lantern to sit behind it. With her legs crossed and gloved hands resting in her lap, a tense silence filled the air as Sunset froze.

When the woman spoke again, her voice was gentle. “Peace child, you are safe here. No harm shall before you under this lanterns light.”

Unprompted, the woman continued. “My name is Raine, I am… new to this world. Your suffering resonated with me, and I am not callous enough to ignore such sorrow.”

From the storm of Sunset’s misery, a spark of hope blazed to life at Raine’s words.

“You want to help me?”

“Well,” Raine replied, fiddling with her gloves. “Within reason… should you need a home, or somewhere to stay until you’re back on your feet, I can provide it… Should someone be out to harm you, I will stop them.”

“Tell me little one, who hurt you?” Raine asked softly.

“W-what?”

The Princess hadn’t hurt her, Sunset knew full well what she had been dabbling in was forbidden… but she had hoped that her mot-mentor would understand how much of a difference Sunset’s research could make.

She had put her faith in the princess, she forgot that Equestria’s kind and guiding ruler was also a god. Sunset had ignored this and foolishly so.

She pondered this in the quiet of the lamp light.

Celestia had hurt her, a wound on the filly’s soul that would leave a scar. One that would stay with her, haunt her.

But here in the solace of the strange human and the pale light of the lamp, Sunset moved on weak legs to sit down across from Raine, took a deep, if slightly shaky breath, and steeled herself.

“My name is Sunset Shimmer, I was the personal student of Princess Celestia, The Unconquered Sun... She—”

It felt like the words were stuck in her throat. She knew what to say, but the words never came. Raine nodded understandingly.

“We have a long night ahead of us, take your time.”

She nodded and decided to try a different approach.

“Does your world have magic?” Sunset asked.

Raine hummed in thought. “There are the arcane arts, tapping into the power of the Great Ones, and handling arcane tools or weapons. I suppose that could be defined as magic, from a certain point of view.”

That was as good a starting point as any.

“When I was taught magic, everypony always stressed that casting without a clear mind is bad… But that’s not the whole truth!” Sunset said, passion returning to her as the topic shifted to her research. “Before, when it wasn’t just the goddess of the sun ruling the land, magic using emotion was everywhere! It was a source of healing, of inspiration! But something changed…”

“And now it’s outlawed?” Raine asked and Sunset nodded.

“It’s-it’s like nopony can see past the worst abusers of that kind of power, like all the good it could do just doesn’t exist,” Sunset said. “Something caused a big shift in how ponies use magic… and I was looking into the old emotive magics to try and bring it back. If I could show that you can cast with a clear mind and while drawing upon happy memories, then it could revolutionize magic as we know it!”

“How so?” Raine asked, leaning forward slightly.

“W-well, there’s old healing magics that draw power from the faith and wonder of old tales and heroes of legend. Magic that can help plants grow faster and healthier as long as the caster is compassionate… It’s not much…” Sunset admitted. “I tried showing Princess Celestia what I had come up with and she… was not happy about it.”

“And that is the reason she cast out a child?”

Sunset was taken aback by the disdain that came from the human.

“She’s The Unconquered Sun…” Sunset said meekly. “If I stayed, I would have had to give up everything I’ve worked for! I would have been watched like a hawk until I finally snapped…”

Sunset stared at the ground, bright beams of opposing magics clashing in her mind’s eye. “… I left because I wasn’t the first.”

Once she started talking, Sunset couldn’t, wouldn’t stop. She had spent many months keeping silent under Celestia’s watchful eye as the goddess scrubbed all knowledge of her fellow god from the public record.

“Lady Luna of the New Moon was the goddess of the night and justice… and Celestia’s younger sister They argued a lot, what Prin- C-celestia thought was best for Equestria sometimes went against Lady Luna’s divine duties as a goddess,” It felt like a lifetime ago since she had last seen the proud and kind goddess of the night. “…Now Lady Luna’s locked away and branded a monster…”

Sunset turned her gaze skyward, the moon tarnished with the seal keeping its goddess trapped within.

“I still don’t understand why I was exiled in the first place… I only wanted to help...” she admitted. “But I won’t go back…”

“What of your family?” Raine asked.

What family?” Sunset bitterly replied as she gazed at the star filled sky.

“None?” the disbelief in Raine’s was palpable. “This princess of yours was your caretaker?”

“…Yes? No?” Sunset replied. There was a host of memories and feelings about the sentiment that she wasn’t prepared to face. “I became her student the day I got my Destined Mark as a talent in magic.”

She could still recall the fateful day she had finally been noticed, wanted by somepony.

“Thine talent in spellcraft is truly impressive. We see a bright and noble future ahead of thee, under the proper tutelage of course.”

“R-really? Princess Celestia, can I learn magic to help other ponies like me?”

“Likest thou, little pony?”

“Unwanted, because of my otherness…”

“Sunset Shimmer, from this day onward thou art a student of Our divine self. Magics worthy of celebration and grandeur await thee as a Favoured Soul of The Sun.”

“Under Our guidance, thou shalt follow in the hoofsteps of heroes of ages past. A pony Our subjects will admire as We are admired.”

She was pulled from her reminiscing as Raine stood up and brushed bits of grass off her coat.

“I take it you had no time to recover your belongings?” the human asked, and Sunset shook her head.

Raine made a noise in disapproval.

“Not even a travel bag with supplies…” she muttered and from the confines of her coat, she pulled out a simple saw blade, the serrated, spear like saw attached to a wooden handle. “Point me in the right direction and I will go collect your things.”

She held the saw in her right hand with familiar ease while she lit their surroundings with the torch in her left.

Sunset knew repurposed tools when she saw them, but she knew weapons just as well. These tools, no matter how plain they looked, were made to slay monsters.

In the pale light of the lamp, Raine looked like something out the old tales. The visage of this woman in strange garb and equally strange weapons called to mind stories of deadly tricksters and vengeful spirits.

Something otherworldly.

Sunset was too used to heroes in extravagant outfits, mighty warriors and brave souls that performed extraordinary feats that would be told and retold across generations. In contrast, Raine was a mystery, a stranger.

And yet this stranger was the kindest soul Sunset had the good fortune to meet. And after the ordeal she had faced hours prior, she was more than willing to put her trust in this stranger.

“My research notes, they are the only things I care about,” Sunset replied. “If… If Celestia kept them intact, we should find them in my room in the palace.”

“Ah, what makes you think she has yet to destroy them?”

Sunset stood up to walk beside the human as she picked her way through the forest with laguid ease. “Well, she gave me a choice…I think she was expecting me to follow her will and abandon my research.”

“And the fact that she gave you a choice, with no discussion nor middle ground is what makes this so detestable,” Raine commented. “She had a duty of care, regardless of her status, and you are not yet fully grown. To treat you like this without considering your safety is a terrible abuse of power.”

“What if I was dangerous though?” Sunset asked. “What if emotive magic did corrupt me?”

She looked up at Raine, the human tutting at the question.

“Then the fault lies with her for not only failing to prevent you access to dangerous material, but not providing proper care and attention to your mental and emotional development,” Raine explained. “In my pursuit of the arcane, a dangerous school of study even on a good day, I kept my wits about me when those who were several years my senior were driven mad or obsessed to the point of appearing as such.”

Sunset watched her, curious, as she continued. “Power does not drive one to madness, it is the failings of one’s own will that invites a loss of the senses,” The two of them stepped out of the maze of trees and onto a narrow path that wound its way across the forest floor. “People are fallible, and most often forget this fact when they have great power in their grasp. Whether it be political, monetary, religious, or arcane power at their disposal, most forget the inherent weakness and strength they have.”

Sunset’s confusion must have shown on her face, and Raine snorted in wry amusement.

“Not physical strength, the intangible sort. Strength of character, grit, empathy, joy, hope. Knowledge is meaningless if you lose sight of what makes life worth living.”