• Published 3rd Apr 2022
  • 1,373 Views, 485 Comments

Alpha and Omega - Revel Montaro



For every beginning there is an end. Princesses Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer stand side by side as the rulers of Equestria, as beacons of hope against those that seek said end, as the darkness closes around them and the walls press in.

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Part 1-The Red Clover: Overture of a Forgotten World

In a place with no name, where time has no meaning, the light and darkness meet, dance, and exit the opposite where they entered. Two beings stand and work, just as they always have for as long as they both could recall. If asked, neither could say why they work, only that they do. It is their place, their role. Fate and Destiny, the twins, work upon the great tapestry. The history of the known universe itself.

Destiny pulled at the threads, the magical spools never running out of material. Sometimes she hummed when a song came to mind. Usually she just worked quietly, listening to whatever the flow of the universe was telling her. Destiny was blind, be it intentional or bad luck, but she had always been blind since emerging from the first light when time began. She had been told that her eyes were beautiful despite being clouded over, but that had been her brother talking, so that did not carry much weight in her mind. Nevertheless, Destiny did not need to see to work. She could feel what threads to pull and had to only imagine what magical beauty her brother had been crafting since they began. Since the first fate was sealed.

Fate sometimes hummed his own tuned, sometimes he hummed along with his sister. But like the light gray, biped alicorn before him the dark gray, biped alicorn mostly listened to the universe as his fingers danced over the loom and produced the tapestry of all existence. He enjoyed his work but rarely had time to admire it as time flowed and lives came and went.

Every pony, every griffon, every everycreature was woven in. Shapes, symbols, colors, all short-hand code for all who came and took part in the magical world they called Equuis. It was impossible to interpret unless one knew the coded language that Fate used to make sense of it all. After all, he did not choose the paths for the morals, only interpreted them as his sister handed him the threads, read their fates as free will and destiny worked side by side.

Sometimes, not often, thankfully, something big would happen and affect the fates of many. It began the way it often did… with Destiny gasping.

“Belldandy?”

Destiny shook her head in response to her chosen name. She turned her head to look at her brother, or at least to where she knew he was standing. “Chaz… something is coming… a creature I thought we were done with.”

Fate shrugged. “Would not be the first time I thought a fate was sealed and done only for them to pop back up. Look how many times Sunset Shimmer has thrown me for a loop.”

Destiny continued to pull the threads, her face creasing with worry and concern. Fate continued to weave the color strands through his ancient machine as quickly as his sister fed him the fabric of existence. Slowly, a mark appeared, one he had not seen in a very long time. A beautiful clover flower, dripping with blood.

“The Red Clover… returns.”

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‘The Badlands’ former sovereign lands of the Kingdom of Unicornia nineteen years following the first Hearth’s Warming: The First Celestial Age of Equestria.

How long had it been since he had last seen this part of the old kingdom? Was he even still in the kingdom? Surely, he must be near the Dragon Lands by now. Not that it mattered. Unicornia was lost, a still dying wasteland abandoned by its royals and the ponies that once called the land home. The great exodus north to the fertile lands of Equestria had concluded years prior. Those that chose not to leave would have likely starved to death by now or gone wildly savage. Neither outcome was one he wished to see.

Clover pulled back the hood of his cloak and wiped his brow of sandy yellow colored fur and indigo mane from his eyes, taking a moment to drink from his water flask. As he scouted the surrounding vague familiarity returned. If not for the recognizable natural landscape markers he would not have believed this had been the land of his birth. So much had changed because of the Great Frost caused by their tribal infighting and the negative energy that had brought forth the Windegos. The land had lost the precious life energy that allowed the earth ponies to cultivate it. The air tasted stale without the pegasi to help with the winds, especially now in the summertime. There was so little ambient magic here it caused his horn to throb. Their former homeland had defrosted to become a wasteland of baren rock and sand. A metaphor for death itself one might say.

“Just as well, one would suppose. The new lands hold so much more promise for our kind.”

“What was that, my apprentice?”

Clover glanced over his shoulder to the older gray unicorn in the cape and chapeau. His beard had really filled in the last few years and was starting to become far more distinguished with streaks of gray hair.

“While I do not mind the title in jest, Star Swirl, we are both full grown stallions now and master mages at that.”

“True enough,” the elder unicorn acknowledged while examining the surroundings. “Are you certain we are on the right trail?”

“All but absolute certain, old friend. I know my chase has been long and many others grew weary of assisting, but I would not have summoned you this far south if I had not needed your skills so that we might finally pin her down this time.”

“You said something similar to that three weeks ago when we had her in that sweltering forest only for her to give us the slip yet again.”

Clover glanced past Star Swirl to the dark blue teenaged mare whose midnight mane was slick with sweat, sticking to her face and coat. She looked extremely irritated, such was reinforced by her matted fur and ruffled wings that were in need of proper care. However, she was still learning to do so since she had not been born with them. Instead, she used her more familiar horn to raise her own water to drink long from.

“Have faith, dear Luna, we are on the trail and it will lead us to our quarry.”

Luna huffed. “Good. I wish to face off against that monster wench properly.”

“Have a care, filly,” said the massive, black and brown earth pony stallion who was bringing up the trail of their party along with the supplies and weapons. “The Red Clover is as dangerous as they come. Even a dragon with a pebble for brains between its ears would approach such a predator with caution.”

Clover the Clever sighed. “I wish you and the others would stop calling her that, Basalt.”

“You were not there, unicorn. She sealed her fate and the title after leaving the Chancellor’s son a mindless, lacerated mess with a bloody clover painted upon his brow. No doubt a tease and mockery to entice you to chase her as you have.” The large earth pony glared down at the sandy unicorn, snorting hot, sour breath. Clover did not flinch a muscle. “That mare took pieces of him out to do goddess knows what with. Your best healers could do nothing but dull his agony. It took him DAYS to die.”

Star Swirl held up a hoof to forestall another argument. “Heinous indeed, but not the least of her crimes. Many of which were right under my own nose I must sadly admit.”

Basalt huffed. “The tribal alliance is at a breaking point once more, archmage. The arrival of the alicorn fillies, a blessing from Mother Creation herself no doubt, may have stalled any acts of war and the return of the biting cold, but a stall nevertheless. We already lost Pegasus Flight Lieutenant Cirrostratus to one of her deadly traps. Should this expedition fail to bring back proof of her capture or demise the Chancellor has threatened-”

“Yes, yes, we all heard Pudding Head’s furious tirade,” commented Luna, brushing past the earth pony that was twice her size with ease. “That is why we are here in this waste reeking of sweat and soil, is it not? A show of cooperation and harmony between the tribes against a common enemy of the new state? To show that the new Equestria is stronger together?”

“Well said, princess.”

Basalt huffed and muttered, “Not a princess yet.”

“She will be, good knight, her and her sister both. The tribal leaders and the council agreed unanimously that the young alicorns should lead ever since they proved that have undeniable control over the celestial bodies. As you said, a blessing and providence from Creation herself considering how many unicorns have lost their magic trying to raise and lower the sun before. All that remains is pomp and formality. The coronations of both set to take place upon the Hearth's Warming of this very year and not a moment too soon. All the more reason to have this nasty quest done with,” said Star Swirl, moving ahead through the rock and sand blown canyon. “I may be approaching senile elderly, but my ears still work just fine, proud warrior.”

Luna rolled her eyes at being called a ‘blessing’ once more, but fell in line without quip. The rest of the group soon followed without another word being said on the matter. The barren rocks soon gave way to a dead forest of gnarled and entangled tree limbs. Star Swirl paused to wait for Clover to join him.

“The Banum Wood.”

“Or what is left of it, I’m afraid,” Star Swirl agreed. “It was so beautiful and full of life when I was but a colt.”

“A great place for traps and an ambush.”

Both unicorns nodded in agreement. Clover pointed to the south. “We should follow the riverbed. It will be easier to travel and give us a better view of potential threats. Luna, can you fly above to give us a vantage?”

“For a time, I am still getting used to the wings and my control is sloppy as a drunkard at best.”

Basalt huffed. “Lead on then, clever one.”

Clover checked an enchanted stone he had before slipping it back into his cloak. The dry riverbed would not be a direct path, but that was probably best. He was certain Datura was aware he had more than one way of tracking her even after blasting his memory more than once with that stone of hers. Or perhaps, he silently hoped, she was just leading him on like a twisted game and once he outwitted her they would finally be able to sit and talk like they used to. Find out when the madness had set in or if it had always been there just festering away.

Clover sighed. He missed his wife, the wife he fell in love with some years earlier. The beautiful and brilliant mare with a silky earth brown mane and yellow ochre fur whom he could speak to for hours about magic and magical theory. Sometimes they forgot about classes and responsibilities entirely when they began talking or conducting an experiment. Star Swirl would scowl at them and they would make it up with extra work or showing him what they had been working on. The good old days… except they apparently were not. Façade over a mountain of death.

“Where did it all go awry?” Clover sighed. He kept his eyes peeled for traps or changes in magical energy flow while in his mind’s eye was once again on the night they found Datura’s secret lab beneath the school.

Luna had gone missing without giving word to her sister, Celestia, or any of the guards. Given the precarious state of social and political relations between the tribes and the fact that the new capital of Canterlot and the new castle were still under construction a missing soon-to-be princess was a huge problem. Star Swirl had his suspicions, steeped in ever growing evidence that there was a murderer and monster living among them. A monster that had followed the exodus from their former home in the south to the lush green and lively lands to the north. A monster Clover knew well and yet, not at all.

They had found the heavily shielded, secret lab below the school that Star Swirl had founded for magic. Clover could only imagine that his wife must have excavated the lab a little at a time in the middle of the night likely taking a year or more at least even for the small space. Star Swirl, Clover, and Celestia broke through the defensive barrier just in time to stop the “Red Clover” from striking again. Luna had been tied to a table, inhibitor ring upon her teenaged horn. Though she was powerful, especially as a newly ascended alicorn, the ring was flawlessly crafted and despite struggling against her bonds to the point of self injury, Luna had been unable to escape on her own.

It could have ended right there, Celestia was certainly ready to end it right there, but Datura had blasted them all with a magic stone. When their eyes cleared they thankfully found Luna safe, but Datura was gone. Of the plethora of research that had been left behind Star Swirl pieced together that Datura had been trying to learn the secrets to alicorn ascension.

And so, the hunt had begun.

Clover had chased after his wife in the hope to bring her to fair trial so that she could beg for mercy and that he could understand what had happened. But as time dragged on, and the chase ended with his memory fragmented more than once, Clover began to question the sense of it all. So, he broke from his duty and returned to the old lands of Unicornia and be it by chance or fate, he found Datura’s old lab. Once again, built in secret below the school. Within was another mountain of evidence of sins and dark creations she had crafted over the years.

Star Swirl arrived with an army of mages to secure the remaining artifacts and all the books, notes, and evidence of her crimes. Clover, redoubled his efforts to have Datura brought in. The chase had now gone on for more than a year across old lands and new. He needed to pin her down and after the last time he lost sight of his wife Clover was certain the locations were not chosen at random. She was searching for something, or ingredients to make something. Either way, they were close and this time, he had had a plan.

Luna landing and returning to the group brought Clover back to the here and now. She fussed for a moment, finally getting her wings to fold properly. “There is a clearing in the dead forest less than a mile that direction. I did not dare rise further to confirm, but I felt a definite shift and pull of magic in said direction.”

“Then let us charge forth and end this,” said Basalt, checking his chakram was secured yet ready to be deployed.

“A blind charge would be foolish,” commented Clover.

“No, this is exactly what we should do. You and Basalt charge forth and I will flank and disable her. Not even she could blast us all at once. Just have your inhibitor ring ready.”

Luna nodded, “Lead then, mentor. I will assist where I can.”

“No,” Star Swirl said, replacing his hat, still sour he had to remove the bells for stealth reasons, “You must act as rear guard, Luna and in case we yet fail again. This will be your chance to disable her.”

Luna scowled, hard. “I will do more than that, I assure you.”

“A trial would be best, but if she refuses to yield…”

Luna nodded. “I understand.”

Clover sighed and shook his head. “This is not what harmony wishes for us. This is not how the new Equestria should act. The virtues of the hearth’s warming should always be considered.”

“Feel free to light a fire and I will gladly sing a song. Once the witch is dead.” Clover scowled at Basalt, but said nothing else. Instead, he turned in to his own thoughts as he often did in such situations. There had to be another way.

Basalt took the lead and trotted towards the clearing that Luna had indicated. Clover was to his left, having returned his hood over his head as they ran. Star Swirl was a few paces behind with Luna as rear guard. Clover could not shake the feeling it was too easy. He had been down this proverbial road before. So close to catching Datura, about to corner her when she either blasted them with her memory stone or set a trap and picked them off. She was too smart to just let them come charging in after all this time on the run. There was a glow of light in the distance, fire or mage light. Clover narrowed his eyes and made his decision, his horn taking on a glow for a moment.

Once Basalt could see with his own eyes the mare in the center of the clearing he charged and grabbed the chakram with his teeth, tossing it with force filled precision. The yellow ochre mare glanced up from the tome she had open on a stump, but made no effort to move or dodge. The sharpened circular blade was about to bite flesh when it struck a barrier and ricocheted to the ground. Basalt continued to charge and moved to slam his hoof down upon the mare instead only to also strike the barrier that flashed from the heavy earth pony hoof impact. Clover came to a stop immediately.

Start Swirl emerged in a flash of teleportation on the opposite side of approach. His horn lit with several runes flashing from the complex spell. The overpowered horn blast struck the barrier, the trails of power following the paths of least resistance down into the ground. Luna also came to a skidding stop some distance away, but close enough to evaluate the situation and that the surprise attack had failed. However, The Red Clover was making no attempt to flee or fight back. She just continued to work in her journal, making notations as she whispered to herself.

“Face us, MURDERER!”

Datura’s dark blue eyes finally glanced up, her multi braided mane jingled as the beads knocked against one another. “I’m sorry, are you speaking to me, dirt eater?” Basalt snarled and struck the shield again with no change in results. “Hmm, apparently so.” The mare shrugged and went back to working on her calculations.

“There is nowhere to run,” said Star Swirl, beginning to circle the barrier, examining it with his spell sensitive mind’s eye.

Datura once again looked up, slightly annoyed, blowing some of her mane from her face. “Whom are you speaking to? You old fool. Who exactly is running?” She shook her head again.

“Datura, my love, please.”

That finally caused her to pay attention to the others. Datura smiled. It was a flirty, sickeningly sweet smile that would have turned almost any stallion or mare to puddy had the situation and surrounding been different. Datura took a deep breath and sighed. “Clover, so lovely to see you again, darling. You are looking delicious since the last time we crossed paths. Exercising and eating well I assume?”

“You must surrender. For the greater good, to answer for the charges against you, and to help me understand what has become of you. Please, don’t make this worst.”

Datura shrugged again, turned and began to set out items on another stump that had been in a satchel. She did not seem interested or concerned about the others in the least. Luna could not tolerate her flippant defiance any longer and shouted in what was recently dubbed ‘The Royal Canterlot Voice,’ “YOU WILL FACE ME, VILE SCUM FROM AN INBRED WHORSE LANTRINE!”

Datura, paused and turned to look over her shoulder, smirking as her eyes locked with Luna’s. “Ahhh, the false god. How nice to see you again, Luna. Come to let me finish experimenting? I do hate leaving a project only part way complete.”

Luna growled. “You cut me. You were going to… I care not to think on it only that it is my turn to take pieces from you.”

“You are welcome to try, little filly, but you might have a bigger concern to deal with first.” Datura’s horn lit up and Luna felt an unseen energy begin to push her forward towards the others. Luna turned and struck at the second energy barrier that was pushing her and the others towards the first one.

“She intends to crush us!” shouted Basalt.

“Oh, a coin for the peanut brained earth pony for figuring it out first. And it is tempting to stay and watch, but I have an experiment I need to conduct and believe it or not the moon’s alignment position has a great deal of effect on this particular spell.”

“You would dare use my moon in your witchcraft!”

Datura sighed and rolled her eyes. “It’s not your moon. It existed long before you did. Also, I detest being interrupted, especially by foals.” Luna smashed her hooves into the shield, digging her hindlegs into the soil to try and slow the progress.

“Datura!” Clover shouted, standing as closer to the inner shield as he dared. “You must stop!”

Datura stepped away from her items and came to stand before Clover, a small smile on her face. “You know, you could come with me. It could be just like it was before, you and I learning all the secrets of the universe. Before this farce that is harmony, before Aine decided we needed foals to tell us how to live.”

Clover glanced over his shoulder then back to his wife. “With you where? And what do you mean before Aine? Wait... Aine. As in the old heathen lore of the gods and goddess of nature story?”

“More than a story, Clover. While you have had your nose thoroughly glued to the pucker of that old bearded fool there, I have been learning the truths of our world. All stories contain a nugget of truth, darling, some more than others. I have conversed with that which is older than time itself and he had bestowed upon me the burden of reality.

“We, and I do not limit that statement to just ponies, but ALL sentient creatures are simply play things to those that came before us. The royals and scholars called the sisters alicorns from the old story of the gods. Ponies with powers of all three tribes, living gods in mortal bodies sent to answer the crying prayers upon the broken horns of unicorns who toiled day after day to raise the sun that once was the duty of Mother Creation herself. But I know the truth. The wool is no longer covering my eyes, husband. Give me the chance and I will show you the truth as well.”

“I have no more chances to give and even if what you say is true, that the gods are real, such a revelation does not make up for the lives you have taken. For the creatures you have tortured. The council will put you to death if my companions do not do so first. Only I can save you. I can convince them if you give me a chance.”

Datura scoffed, taking a moment to relish the frantic look on Star Swirl's face. “Crumbs, puny offerings to an ally in exchange for unfathomable information. What I have learned is far more important. I did not bow to the foolish king and queen of Unicornia nor their spoiled daughter yet now they all wish for us to bow to these two false gods. It's true our land would have drowned under Platinum’s insatiable lust for opulence if the windigos had not destroyed our home first. However, do you really think this new Equestria will fair any better once the power goes to the heads of these new royals? You are smarter than that. Not that such little things matter any longer."

Clover just scowled, unmoving.

"Just stand there and watch then and you will see my greatest discovery yet.”

“Clover!” shouted Star Swirl, desperately trying every spell he could quickly conjure that might break the shield that even his beloved chapeau fell away forgotten.

Clover sighed. “I’m sorry my love.” The other three ponies found themselves pressed against both shields, but the energy just passed over Clover, his form shimmering for a moment. Datura gasped and turned to look at the dead tree just to her left. High above in the skeletal branches where she had hidden her shield generator talismans Clover emerged from behind the invisibility enchantment he had placed upon his cloak. With a stomp of his hoof, both shields shattered and Luna, Star Swirl, and Basalt fell to the ground with gasps after almost being crushed.

Datura shot a beam from her horn and exploded the ground where the three had fallen, buying herself a moment to pull the memory stone out from her side pouch. Clover swung down the branches and teleported at the last moment, he rolled and snatched the memory stone and the sheet of parchment that was tied to it from her grasp coming to a stop between Datura and the rest of his travel party. Star Swirl recovered from his disorientation and teleported to stand behind Datura to keep her from fleeing.

Datura chuckled and smiled. “And that is why they call you clever, honey bee of mine.”

“Spare us your banter, monster,” growled Basalt, chakram in hoof and ready to be thrown again.

Clover stashed the stone in his own side pouch, pulling his hood back once more. “Please, friends. Let there be no more blood.”

Datura's smirk turned psychotically gleeful. “How about just a tiny bit more.” The sound of glass breaking under hoof set them all in motion. Star Swirl fired a quick stun bolt. Basalt threw his weapon. Luna took to the sky. Clover moved to tackle his wife. A reddish blast wave erupted from under Datura’s hoof disorienting the others. Stars Swirl’s blast knocked Luna out of the sky and Basalt’s chakram took the top of Star Swirl’s mane clean off. Clover however only collided with Datura, sending them both over the stump she had the ritual pieces set on. As they rolled, Datura collected an item in her magic and activated the charged spell.

A column of light erupted up towards the sky. Just above the two ponies a black swirling vortex opened and began to draw them in. Clover, wrapped his forelegs tighter about Datura’s withers.

“You are not escaping me this time!”

Datura continued to smile with mad glee. “Then I suggest you hold on tight!” With no tether or anchor the two ponies were pulled into the vortex which closed a few seconds later. The wind died, the surrounding excess magic discharged in a shower of sparkles and the dead forest grew silent once more.

Luna groaned and rolled onto her back, regretting the maneuver after pinching one of her wings. “Ow.”

“Where… did she escape once more?!” Basalt searched about, looking for a trail or other clue.

Star Swirl, after checking to make sure Luna was well turned his attention to the book on the stump pedestal. He quickly scanned the information and mumbled to himself.

“Did you not hear me, wizard?! Where is The Red Clover?”

“More so, where is Clover the Clever?” asked Luna, making her way back to her hooves.

“I did not see it all, but that magical tear… was it…” Star Swirl flipped through a few more pages, coming to rest on a drawing of a full sized mirror. “A mirror? Yes, a stabilizing anchor, of course.”

“Are they dead?”

“Hmm, perhaps. And without her notes I doubt she could easily recreate such a feat. Yes. I feel confident in saying that The Red Clover is no more. Sadly, such is the same with my former apprentice.”

Basalt retrieved his chakram. “We have no body as proof. The council will be displeased.”

“We have this evidence, our testimonies, and more so, our lives. That will be proof enough,” Star Swirl replied, eyes never leaving the book. Basalt grunted again and began to leave for the long journey home. Luna however, approached and peered down at what had caught her teacher’s eye. Most of the information was notes, calculations, and a few mathematical and thaumalogical equations. All of it far more advanced than her current studies.

“Strange.”

“It is all quite fascinating… I would never have considered the possibility of it at all. Alternate dimensions like the back of a mirror on the same axis of our existence. Assuming her theories were correct and they did not just turn to dust in the wind.”

“I do not understand.”

“Well, you see. Think of it like a cake with la-”

“Pfft,” Luna scoffed. “Bored now. Talk to Tia about this layer cake nonsense. I am going to go bother Basalt. Maybe he knows another monster we can go hunt down on the way back.”

Star Swirl sighed before quickly scooping up all the notes and remaining items. He picked up his damaged chapeau before returning it to his head to cover the damaged mane. His mind was racing with all the new possibilities that he had never considered possible.

Author's Note:

Welcome back all!

I finished working on chapter 10 last night which gives me a comfortable buffer as I continue to move forward on this, the final segment of the Incarnate series. Updates will be on Saturday or Sunday, depending on time constraints and once a week as usual. I have a lot of loose ends to tie in and hopefully can hit as many as I can.

Now, for the first part of this story, it is a good idea to have read the previous story instalments but is not a requirement.

For part two: it is also a good idea to have seen the Gen5 My Little Pony movie because that is what I am steering the story towards. Again, not necessary, but will help with some things. If that fact ruins everything for you, well, sorry. Please try to make it to the end if it pleases you.

As always, Questions and Comments are always welcomed.

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