• Published 1st Jun 2023
  • 246 Views, 14 Comments

Guardian of the Bridge Between Nothing and Nowhere - Orderly Disassembly

Between a place without location and a location without a place, a dragon stands guard. However, each time the ponies attack, he loses a little more. How long will he last?

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Ch 7: Day X + 1

In the previous cycle, the pony asked, “How many times?”

I answered, “However many are necessary.”

I meant how many were necessary for him to give up.

I stared at the ground in front of me, caked in golden blood, my blood. It was such a beautiful color. It made the bridge shine with a luster I’d never seen before. Or at least, not that I remember.

I smiled up at my murderer. He had won, fair and square. I must admit, conditioning me to react a certain way over the course of a hundred days, only to break the pattern once certainly caught me off guard.

I felt a little stupid, to be honest. It was quite obvious if I looked back and thought about it.

But there was less of me to think every time he tried. He’d just played the long game.

The pony wasn’t smiling. He wasn’t frowning either, so I asked, “What’s the matter? You’ve won. Shouldn’t you celebrate?”

He snorted before answering, “Death is not something to relish, no matter its purpose.”

I chuckled at that, “You seemed to relish it plenty when you plunged those dull knives of yours into my gut.”

He frowned while the fog swirled behind him. It almost seemed like a cloak if I stared hard enough. “It was a momentary lapse in conscience. It does not reflect my morals.”

I tried to sit up but found my arms were too weak. It almost surprised me, but there was a lot of gold around me. I had a little time—best not to waste it doing nothing.

“Would you mind giving me your name, pony? Do you remember it?”

“It is Timewind. What is yours, dragon?”

I smiled again, watching as the blackness crept into the edges of my vision. “I don’t recall.”

We remained silent, waiting as my time bled away second by second. I broke the quiet with a question.

“What did you need from me?”


“You could’ve run past me at any time, why didn’t you? What did you need?”

He didn’t respond for a bit, but when my breaths grew more labored, he answered, “Your hammer is also a key. The key I need to get through.”

I weakly nodded at that. It made some sort of sense. The hammer always felt special, especially the words engraved on the shaft. I wonder what they are—what they represent?

I went to ask him, but found my vision had gone dark. My mind was fading, and the few memories I had left were following.

It was getting darker.




My world went white.

I hovered in a white void. It felt like time both rushed by and stood still at the same time. There was nothing to use besides my own thoughts to keep track of the seconds, but no matter how hard I focused, the numbers slipped from my memories.

There was nothing. I was nothing. I lay still in the static void, waiting, waiting, waiting…

But nobody came.

I tried glaring at the blank whiteness.

Nothing changed.

I tried listening for something, anything to call out to me.


I whispered nonsense, hoping to hear myself at least, and I was granted a brief reprieve from the emptiness as I let my own words ground me.

“Once upon a time…”

They were just words. They didn’t mean anything.

“In a place far away…”

If any were to listen to me, they’d have me dragged off to a madhouse! The thought brought a smile to my face.

“There was a little whelp, who was left all alone…”

They didn’t mean anything. They were just words… just words

“He waited and waited, until he could wait no more…”

Shut up, shut up! Tears began to blur my vision, but I couldn’t stop speaking. I couldn’t let the words go!

“So he screamed and wept for none ever came…”

I was not alone! I was cared for! …I just forgot their faces…

“Then he raged against the world, burning all to ash…”

They deserved it. They all did! No one was there, no one came, but I remember their faces, I just forgot—just forgot, but the flames didn’t.

“He was stopped by a band of brave heroes who did something no one else would…”

Y-yes, they were kind. I remember them. Hotshot, Clover was it? Yes, them and that old cat woman, I remember them.

“They listened to the beast, they talked to the monster…”

Yes, they did. I remember! They told me—they told me…

“And they showed him how even monsters can be good.”

They had another friend, right? One that I never saw but knew all the same. What was his name?

“So he decided that when others call out to the empty air, that when others find no hope on the horizon…”

That I would be there.

“That he would be there.”

The void peeled away like paper, revealing a beautiful landscape of madness. Twisted trees of red tentacles towered into the air, staring at me with golden eyes. The trees swayed towards me, curving their fleshy branches like they wanted to hug me. Purple grass cracked and popped with eye-searing energy, sending technicolor sparks upward in short fits of joy. Even the horizon boggled my mind with its unending twists and spirals that turned the skyline into a pretzel.

It was all too much. I could barely understand what I was seeing. It was like I'd stepped into a land where the physical laws were more like suggestions!

I stepped forward, feeling light as a feather, while I ran my hand through the crackling purple grass. It felt so real, yet it couldn’t be. None of this could be. It was all impossible!

I smiled at one of the trees as I felt a warm branch pat me on the shoulder. Looking into its eyes, I saw an alien intelligence staring back. As if it couldn’t ever know my plight but wished me the best anyway.

Then a thought struck me.

I could remember. My home, my order, my achievements, the bridge, the goddesses, the deal, my name. It all kept coming back to me, one memory after another, like a conga line of my personal history!

I could feel gaps in my mind fill, aches in my head fade, and bits of my personality beginning to return. I was me! I was me!

I laughed and sprinted through the eldritch meadow, happier than I’d ever been to know that I was whole. To know without a doubt that despite everything that happened, I was still me.

I wanted to roll in the glass-like grass, to relish the feeling of being whole again. However, a familiar silky voice cut the idea short.

“You did well, Ironhide.”

Yes, Ironhide, my name. It’s been so long since I’ve heard it. The voice continued as I turned to face the speaker. Typhon smiled back at me as he spoke.

“You may rest now, Paladin. You’ve certainly earned it.”

I felt excitement bubble up from the bottom of my chest as I began to whoop and holler joyfully. I’d see my brothers again, my comrades, the family I’d found at the order! We’d drink and fight and play horrid music and… and…

“But I lost, sir. I failed.”

Typhon nodded.

“Indeed, and?”

Was he serious?

“I failed.”

It was all the answer I should need, the only answer ever needed. I never failed, never! I stood I stood, I never ran! But I fell. I lost. I lost? I lost!

I brought my claws to the side of my head as images of golden blood flashed by. I’d died again, I’d failed. Why was I still breathing? Why—

A sharp slap rang out across the field as I felt my head snap to the side. I felt my panic dislodge and seemingly fall straight out of my head as I turned a shocked look ok Typhon.

He gave me a sheepish smile.

“Apologies, but I’ve found that a little pain usually straightens out the existential dread. Now don’t go panicking again. Everything’s alright.”

“But I lost.”


“So I should be dead.”

“You currently are.”

“But I was—“

He put a finger up to cut me off.

“Just don’t question it friend. I could try to explain the inner workings of a soul, but it’d give us both a headache. So, let’s settle for ‘magic’ and move on, hm?”

His lips pulled up into a gentle smile, revealing a large fang that stuck out from the rest of his jaw. It felt so surreal seeing that, like I was witnessing a flaming pile of snow. It almost seemed wrong that he acted so rationally while appearing anethema to the idea of logic.

“So what now?”

“I already told you, silly. You get to rest now, for real this time.”

His tail swiped down, tearing a hole in space, revealing a set of pearly gates beyond it. The place radiated warmth and light, like a cozy hearth on a winter night. I felt my claws and talons pulled towards it as I stepped forward.

However, I paused before I could step through.

“Could I ask a question before I go?”

He cocked an eyebrow, but nodded.

“Who was that pony?”

Typhon tilted his head.

“Which one? There aren’t exactly a small number of ponies in Oblivion.”

I snorted. It really should be obvious. Hope he’s not trying to avoid the question.

“The one that killed me, sir. Who was he? What was his name? Why was he down there?”

Of course, I’d known he called himself Timewind, but who knows if that was his real name. Oblivion had a habit of wearing at your sanity if you stayed near it too long.

Typhon shook his head with a grimace.

“Oh, him. His name was Timewind back when he lived. Was a right nasty fellow, killed a child right in front of my eyes.”

He frowned when he mentioned the murder, despite the casual tone he employed.

“I tried to unmake him, to make him nothing, to set all the ones to zero, but it turns out that not even I can completely wipe away a soul.”

His scowl deepened as he continued. “Took me a long while to realize that those I erase end up down here in Oblivion.”

My thoughts ground to a halt.

He was a child murderer? I was felled by a disgusting pile of filth like that? I felt a new fire burn in my gut.

“How long has he been in Oblivion? And how much longer until he becomes less than nothing?”

Typhon’s scowl bled into a small, strained smile.

“I’m sorry, friend, but that’s not how it works. No matter how much it takes, Oblivion always leaves something to linger.”

He leaned forward to put a hand on my shoulder.

“If it’s any consolation, he’s been trapped there since before your great grandfather’s time.”

I felt… I felt a lot of things. Satisfaction that he’d been trapped for so long, anger that he couldn’t be fully wiped away, and… and sadness that a person like that existed.

I’d killed many people before my time at the order. Many of them were innocent, but I never went out of my way to slaughter children. I. I… still made those kids grow up alone.

Was I any better when I started out?

I stared into the portal ahead for a time, feeling the tugging warmth of Akatosh. I wanted to give in, to finally rest. However, if I was given another chance, he should get one too. It’s only fair.

My face went flat as I braced once more for a long post.

“Typhon, I still have more to do.”

His head tilted as the portal snapped closed.

The bridge before me was a familiar sight. Gray stone ground, faint lights on the sides, and a large gate behind me. I gave the black sky a smile, seeing if I could bring a little light to the edge of everything.

My attention snapped forward when I spotted a bank of fog rolling in. I felt the fire return and an icy hatred crept in alongside it.

Timewind was a monster.

The clop of hooves echoed across the bridge.

He doesn’t deserve another chance!

The mist swirled and billowed as a silhouette glided forward.

But so was I once upon a time.

The vapor peeled away, revealing a sandy-colored mane.

And if I got a second shot…

I felt the fire wane and the blizzard cease as a creed echoed through my head.

Who do we help?

It was a guiding light in my darkest hours.

Any who need it.

And maybe, just maybe…

How much do we do?

I can pass on that hope to him.

As much as is necessary.

Timewind drew his knives, and I readied my hammer.

But not yet…

He lunged, and I dodged a swift stab from his left.

To give him that fire…

I swung, and he retreated.

I’d need a spark…

Back and forth, we danced until he fell, crumpling beneath the combined force of metal and strength.

I smiled at the fading corpse. Today would not be the day. But perhaps tomorrow or maybe the day after that.

It’s not like I was going anywhere.


Author's Note:

hello again, friends. Seems we're at the end of this road, but no worries. I have more things planned. First off I'm probably gonna finish off A Fatal Error Has Occured and then go into one of a few different options regarding new stories. I'll probably hold a short poll on my Discord soon, so feel free to bug me about it there

Comments ( 3 )

This is a nice little story. Didn't realize it existed until now. You know a story is good when it leaves you wanting more, even knowing any more would lessen the whole thing. It doesn't seem like you got the comments you wanted. I wonder if rapid fire updates trend towards that. Why comment on yesterday's chapter when there is a new one today? Not much to say about this one other then I liked it.

It's good to hear you liked it, and yeah the update schedule probably contributed to the low comment count.

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