• Published 14th Sep 2012
  • 4,084 Views, 224 Comments

Roses for the Grave - Mordy



Dark magic is a powerful and banned art believed to be long forgotten. Unbeknownst to the common Equestrian citizen, that art is very much alive and practiced in secret by less harmonious individuals.

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Ch1: Investigation

MLP: Roses for the Grave
By Mordy

Ch1: Investigation

“Hmm,” a yellow unicorn stallion pondered as he examined the corpse before him. He wore a brown fedora and a long overcoat of matching color, but it didn’t cover his cutie mark, a magnifying glass. the detective had his own floating right before him so he could closely examine the details of the previously undead mare. It had been a few nights since the fateful encounter and word had immediately been sent to Canterlot. A batch of soldiers had been dispatched to the town along with an investigator to deduce what caused this rare situation to surface.

Within the room of the old shack where the body was being kept, stood three more stallions. One was one of the Canterlot guards, white coated earth pony brandished in the gold plated uniform of the army. Sky blue eyes stared intently at the decayed creature, but he remained stalwart and showed no emotion. He was to assist the inspector as well as guard him in whatever way he could.

Watching from the side was a very old pony. He was probably the oldest in town by far, but still had a lot of life in him. The old coot had a dirt colored coat, a trait that seemed to be very common in this ghastly town. However, he also sported a long white beard that covered his mouth and fell a little ways just below his chin. He had wrinkles here and there, but he was very well built, thanks to working the graves for who knows how long. His cutie mark was that of two shovels crossing each other with the handles pointing up. Unlike everypony else, he forgo wearing anything.

Next to him, was another dark chocolate stallion, his grandson. Who was the unfortunate soul to run across the undead mare and had been given the displeasure to strike down the creature shortly after her discovery. After ending her life he had cried for a short while. Partly out of happiness for still being alive, but more so for ending the existence of this abomination, that somehow seemed like an innocent bystander. It was an odd thought to say the least, but it kept nagging him even as he went home to tell the other gravediggers what had happened. Word quickly got out in the town about the encounter and everypony began to avoid the cemetery like the plague. Easier said than done.

“Ah hah!” The inspector exclaimed, causing all the gentlecolts to shoot him an expectant glance of anticipation. The inspector went on, “I have determined with my investigative skills that…” He paused for a moment to cause a bit of a dramatic effect. The other stallions in the room leaned forward eager to learn more. He then finished his statement, “…this mare is dead!”

The officer who was supposed to guard him facehoofed, while the grandson sighed at learning nothing new, and the old pony fumed at him, “I could of told you that captain obvious!” He gritted his teeth angrily.

The inspector retorted, “That’s Detective Details. Captain Obvious was busy with paper work so I was called in,” Before the grandfather could ask if that had been a joke or if there really was some pony called Captain Obvious, Detective Details turned to the grandson and asked, “You’re the one who found the body correct? What was your name again?”

“Dig Dug, sir. And….” He was interrupted before he even began to speak.

“You say it… she was digging a grave correct? Whose grave was it?” He asked as he pulled out a note pad with his magic and got a pencil ready.

The grandfather interjected before Dig Dug could answer, “Some pony named Blue Rhapsody,” he said with a bit of irritation and as he slowly began to lose his patience.

The detective looked up. “Wait, you mean the composer?” He perked up with a bit of excitement.

The old colt raised an eyebrow. “The what? You know somehow know this pony?”

“Not personally, but she composed a few famous classical pieces before her untimely demise. My history is a bit rough, but I believe she lived between three or five hundred years ago,” he replied as he then added on a bit of his own humor, “I bet you met her Gray Beard.” Details chuckled lightly at his lame joke.

“That’s Old Beard!” Old Beard retorted, fuming at the hot shot detective.

“Now, you said you had also dug up the grave to see what this… mare was digging up?” He felt uncomfortable referring to the once undead pony as a mare, but he knew better than to make something so presumptuous as to call her a thing.

Old Beard walked closer. “Ay, we dug up the grave and found that it was completely empty. Never been disturbed before this creature started digging into it.” He shook his head at the decaying corpse. It was an incomprehensible oddity to him for the dead to disturb the dead. “I also worry what became of that grave’s owner. I fear she might be walking around now just like this one.”

Details looked over the mare again and motioned his bodyguard to come closer as he examined her cutie mark. “What do you noticed about her cutie mark, Giant Wall?”

The royal guard known as Giant Wall got closer and looked it over. Old Beard also budged in to get a good look as well. The soldier took a good look at the mares flank for a while and just shook his head. “Looks like piece of paper to me. I don’t see what's so special about it.” He noticed the detective smiling knowingly.

“Yes, it is some piece of paper, but what you need to look at is what’s on the paper!” He grinned as he magically brought up his magnifying glass and hovered it over the mark, “What do you see?”

Peering closer than before he could make out the words that adored the paper, but they weren’t just any mere scribble. They were in fact, music notes! A bit of realization hit Giant Wall. “It’s… a music sheet….”

“So?” Old Beard replied not making the connection.

Detective Details just sighed and shook his head, “It’s a music sheet my friend. So, one could assume this mare had a talent for music. And how many mares with music related professions do we know that are missing from their grave?” He smiled again.

“Wait, you’re saying this thing is–"

“That’s correct. This is the famous Blue Rhapsody!” he said with a bit of triumph, but he quickly frowned. "This would explain why she was digging up her own grave. She was probably trying to get back into her resting place. However, that doesn’t explain how she got out of it in the first place.” He sighed dejectedly as he came back to square one.

There was a quiet peep from the corner of the room as Dig Dug raised his voice, “Uh, Detective Details?” He was still a bit shaken up by everything and was nervous to speak up.

“Yes, Dig Dug?” He turned to him as a friendly smile plastered his face.

“Well, over the past few years we’ve had some odd things happen in the graveyard...” he trailed off to collect his thoughts.

“Odd things?” He motioned at the corpse. “Odder than this?”

“No, but strange things have been happening. Like mist and fog coming out of nowhere and covering the entire cemetery. Then there were the dug up graves and missing bodies…” He was quickly interrupted by a surprised detective.

“Wait, you mean to tell me that some pony has been going around and digging up the dead? And this never struck you as odd?” He became very suspicious of the young colt.

Old Beard spoke up with a hint of anger, “Of course is struck us as odd! Some days we would find freshly buried graves or disturbed ground as if a gopher had dug out of them. Other days we would find graves dug up, but the body completely undisturbed. Then some mornings we found the graves dug up with a note attached to the tombstone with an apology on it. And not too long afterword the body would be returned with another note apologizing and offering condolences! It was the strangest thing...”

“A grave robber who leaves an apology? Do you still have the notes?” He asked hoping for a lead. Old Beard nodded to him and went to a cupboard and pulled out a few white slips and hoofed them over to the detective. Most of the notes had generic apologies like, “Sorry for your loss and for taking the body". Others were apologizing and trying to explain that it was of utmost importance that they had the body, but never went into details as to why.

Old Beard began to explain, “We were quite upset when this started to happen, but the bodies were always returned and sometimes in better condition than they had originally been in. Usually the notes were left for freshly buried corpses. I don’t like think about what they needed them for, but it never felt like they desecrated them. We were even grateful when one body that had been completely destroyed was returned in perfect condition. You would never have suspected they had been broken into bits. Figure they had died in their sleep.” He chuckled lightly, but then noticed the hardened look on the detectives face.

He breathed in deeply and sighed, “I had heard of cases where sometimes magical energies could cause inanimate objects to start moving again. I had hoped that might have been the case or that maybe this was just some random mare with a skin disease. However, after hearing all of that it leads to the one conclusion I was hoping to be wrong.”

“And that would be?” Giant Wall asked looking back at the corpse.

He grimaced and his horn glowed orange as he cast a simple spell. The body of the mare started to glow as dark purple smoke began to drift from the body almost like an odor. This caused the detective to grind his teeth.

“W-what is that?” Dig Dug stammered out as he watched this all happen.

The Detective answered with a bit of reluctance, “That is leftover magical energy escaping her body. Sometimes spells will leave an invisible residue for some time after being cast. Usually when hastily cast or if the caster doesn't care about leaving a mark.”

Detective Detail took a deep breath and uttered the type of magic that was feared and loathed, “I have only one possible conclusion; Necromancy…”

The eyes of the other stallions went wide. Despite them being earth ponies with limited knowledge of magic, except for Giant Wall, Necromancy was still something not unknown to them. It was one of the blackest sheep of all spell schools. One of the spell types that gave magic and unicorns a bad name. It was the go to spells when the less modern and less tolerant of ponies wanted their kids to fear and hate unicorns or magic.

Great Wall finally spoke up, “You mean there’s a Necromancer somewhere in this forsaken town?!” He got a few queer looks from the two residents of said town, but they were still chilled by the revelation to berate the soldier. Great Wall continued to speak, “We must inform Princess Celestia immediately and find this fiend at once!”

Details nodded in agreement, “Yes, have a messenger send word to the princess immediately and make sure all the guards know that no pony is to leave this town, understood?”

The large soldier saluted with one hoof and trotted out of the small shack to send word and give the others their orders.

Dig Dug spoke again, doing his best to have courage in his voice, “What should we do?”

The Detective rubbed his fedora and then sighed, “I think Miss Rhapsody deserves to be laid to rest. Wouldn’t you agree?” The young stallion grimaced, but he nodded in agreement. He wasn’t too keen to go back out there, but he was reassured by the detective.

“I’ll make sure to send a guard or two to help you.” His attention quickly turned to Old Beard. “I need you to give me a list of every unicorn within the town and how long they’ve lived here if possible. Necromancy requires magic so that eliminates a lot of possibilities, but I can’t have guards arresting ponies left and right without some kind of proof.”

Old Beard smiled, “Well your search will be quite short. Mostly earth ponies in this town and if I remember correctly one particular couple has only been around for a few years.”

The detective a gave sly smile back at the old coot. “That most definitely helps. I’ll still want a list of every pony else. I’m not eliminating any possibility.” He then started to trot to the door. “I need to handle a few other things, but I’ll be back shortly for that list. Where is this couple anyway?”

Old Beard chuckled. “They run the magic shop in that large dead tree.”

Details stared blankly then laughed and struggled with his reply, “This… is almost too easy.” He winked and rushed out, determine to arrest this necromancer before he would know what hit him.


Giant Wall was finishing barking out orders when Details trotted up to him, his brow furrowed in thought as he approached. He gave him a small smile before motioning him over. "Wall, mind if I talk to you?" He looked over at some of the other guards and then whispered, "In private?"

The guardspony only nodded with only slight concern as to why the detective wanted to speak to him alone. The two trotted off to an alley between two houses for their little chit-chat.

Details sat down as he tapped his chin and knocked the side of his head lightly with one hoof. Something was obviously bothering him, but Giant Wall wasn't going to press him for it until he was ready to speak up. As the silence between the two started to draw out he began to shift uncomfortably.

"Wall," Detective Details began quickly catching the guards attention, "this might just be my imagination or insignificant, but I just want to talk it out with somepony without causing a panic." Giant Wall just nodded while the inspector continued, "There's some oddity's about the corpse that aren't adding up and I'm wondering if I'm missing something."

"Like what?" He asked simply, giving Details' his full undivided attention.

"That mare, Blue Rhapsody, died some hundred years ago." He was merely stating fact and didn't wait for Giant Wall to respond. "Yet, if you looked at her corpse you would never suspect that. It almost looked like she died somewhat recently. The decay suggests only a few years."

"Well, didn't Old Beard say that the bodies were sometimes returned in like new condition? Is necromancy capable of repairing a dead body?" Giant Wall was only making a guess on this.

"While I'm unfamiliar with the art, I believe it to be possible. However, why was she not returned fully repaired like the others? I know part of it was the injury from when the lad that struck her, but some of the decay on her was... unnatural. I saw signs of magical based injuries."

"So?"

"These injuries originated internally, not externally. That suggests the magic that was driving her possibly began to rapidly destroy her from the inside." The detective hummed to himself as he got lost in thought again. "It's obvious this necromancer was experimenting with all these bodies."

"And you believe these injuries were a result of one their experiments?" Giant Wall queried to make sure he was on the same page.

Details nodded as he confirmed the question, "Yes, but it seems whatever went wrong made them want to quickly get rid of the body and be washed clean of it. Didn't even bother to fix her up again. Which brings me to the last and strangest thing of all."

"And that is?"

"Her blood. It was fresh, way too fresh. Almost like she had a recent transfusion, but I don't see why this Necromancer would bother with such a thing. Even if necromancy could somehow produce fresh blood, why would they even bother giving it to a walking corpse?"

"Why bother raising the dead in the first place?" Giant Wall quipped.

The detective chuckled. "Fair point, but I think this is something the princess will be most curious about. Whoever this necromancer is, they have a lot to answer to..."

Author's Note:

UPDATE 7/4/2016:
Removed "(Updated)" from the chapter title.

UPDATE 2/23/2014:
Proofread the whole chapter. Cleaned up some of the writing, adjusted some of the conversations, and I added a bonus scene. For those who already read the story it's at the very end of the chapter. I think you'll find it most interesting!

UPDATE:
I got rid of the old Author's notes. They were placed there before fimfiction added an Author's note section. I also retconned one small thing. If you read before the update you haven't missed much. Just retconned the bit about magical residue and changed it so that it only sometimes is left behind if a spell is cast hastily. Don't want it to be easy to track necomancy. Fixed some grammar, but nothing in depth.