• Published 12th Oct 2012
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Apocalyptic Riders - RedundantRedundancy



The Well of Souls is not where a journey ends, but where they begin...

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Chapter 4: A Tale to Tell

Equine soldiers entered the chamber, weapons at the ready. They glared at the two strangers facing their ruler.

“Don't.” Death said, his voice calm but dangerous.

“Listen to him,” the tall winged equine said, “I can see they don't mean to harm us.” or so she may think.

“Let me guess,” Death said, “you are their leader.”

“Yes.” the equine stepped forward and bowed her head in greeting, she was just as tall as the Horseman, her wings were wide and she had a horn. A strange trait for a pegasus, for this was what Death thought she was. Stranger still, she had the mark of a sun on her flank.

“I am Princess Celestia.” she said, “I rule this land, and its inhabitants.”

“Do you not have a queen?” War asked, curious.

“Practically, I am the queen.” Celestia replied.

“Ah, quite interesting.” Death said.

The Fourth Horseman looked at the broken form of Chrysalis on the marble floor, she was unconscious, perhaps that little encounter with the most feared of the Horsemen had broken that spirit of hers.

“And what of her?” Death asked, motioning towards their captive.

“She will be taken into a cell, where she is to be watched.” Celestia replied.

Death nodded, and took notice of the other equines behind Celestia, it was evident that they had fear and respect for the two Horsemen. They were too quiet also. The Pale Rider decided that it would be best not to bother them now, as they might have to rest from the invasion.

“Whatever will your subjects do next?” Death asked, curious. He had heard one of the guards speak of a wedding of sorts.

“We will continue with the occasion.” Celestia said, “In the meantime, you will have to stay out of sight. The changelings have caused quite enough panic, I don't want another crisis.”

“Understandable.” Death said.

“Also, I never got your names.” Celestia said, raising an eyebrow.

“I am Death, and he is War. We are two brothers of siblings four.” the Fourth Horseman replied.

“Interesting names,” Celestia mused, “we will have to learn more of you later.”

The guards approached the two brothers cautiously, they may have their weapons away, but they were still dangerous beings. They were right to do so, for none could escape the fierce and swift justice that would be brought upon them should they commit any crimes against the laws of creation. But then again, this race knew nothing of the laws bound to them.

The guards in armor surrounded them and proceeded to bring them away, still cautious of Harvester, and Chaoseater. The pair followed the guards. War never liked being contained in this way, he felt the need to kill these fools and leave this place. But his brother's calm presence stopped him from doing so, he knew his brother always had something planned in his mind should anything go wrong, and if anything did go wrong if you are a Horseman, then it would have been serious.

The strange company walked through the silent, but panic-screaming halls, earning ubiquitous stares of both horror and curiosity. The Horsemen were led down a marble staircase and into a dungeon. There, they waited for the events to finish. They waited for hours for the continued festivities that happened above them to reach its end.

Death sat down on one of the chairs. Which was again a surprise as these sentient creatures were able to even create furniture that seemed to surpass the way their bodies function. There was no way that these equines could sit as a humanoid creature does. The same could be said for War, he had seen strange things in his life, but not as much as this.

They remained in silence, holding their weapons casually, but sending an unmistakable message to their “captors”.

'Make a move, and die immediately.'

The silence was broken as the squawking of a particular crow resonated through the room. Dust flew across to Death and perched atop Harvester's blade.

“You're going to gut yourself one of these days...”

All he got was a rather derisive screech as a reply.

“Just don't come squawking to me when you're searching for your missing tail-feathers, or your beak.” Death grumbled.

War chuckled.

“Don't encourage him.” Death demanded.

***

Chrysalis sat in a dark cell not far from where the Horsemen were. Her wounds were slowly healing, but she was weak. Deprived of the very essence that gave her power. The Horseman called Death had seen to that. Silently she cursed herself and the intruding Riders.

“Ah, but it is all part of a bigger plan.” said a demonic voice in her head.

“You have not told me all of it!” Chrysalis thought back.

“All will be revealed, do not worry...soon, you will have to escape, though not in the way that you think...”

***

The festivities were over, the panic gone and the equines slowly recovering from the trauma.

Death stood in the colorful and intricately woven throne room. Its radiance seemed brighter compared to what it had looked like a few hours ago. It was already evening, but the room gave off an incandescent glow despite the contrasting darkness. The doors opened and War walked towards Death in a rather lackadaisical manner.

“About time.” Death said, his voice sarcastically level.

“I see you are in a good mood.” War replied, revealing no trace of amusement at his own remark. He had been the last to leave the dungeon as he had to discuss with the acting commander about the damage that he had either purposely or accidentally created.

There they stood, facing the one called Celestia. Dust had settled on Death's shoulder, watching the princess with his beady little eyes. Beside the princess were six smaller equines and what Death guessed was a baby dragon. They stood to Celestia's left-hand side, while another stood by her right-hand side, or rather, right-hoof side. The equine was of equal stature as Celestia was, but she was perhaps a counterpart as she had darker fur and had more of an austere expression.

“Well, I believe it is time for proper introductions.” Celestia said, smiling.

Death stepped forward, “I believe we have already told you our names.” he said. The equine only smiled and nodded, telling those beside her that their “guests” were War and Death.

The one beside Celestia stepped forward, her face ever-stern and fearless, ignorant of the many things that these Horsemen could do.

“You have not told us of your origin, stranger. But first, let me introduce myself, I am Princess Luna, sister to Princess Celestia. These are our subjects and close companions.”

The smaller princess pointed to each of them, giving their names. Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy and the dragon's name was Spike.

Odd names, but nonetheless, Death shrugged it off mentally.

Then Luna gestured towards the two.

“Now,” she said, “tell us of your origin.”

Stepping forward, Death set down Harvester – now one scythe instead of two – and begun his tale...

***

We were once members of a race called the Nephilim, a cursed mixture of angel and demon. It was us, through which countless worlds would be denied of their future and sent to the Abyss, where whole worlds would slowly rot away. The Nephilim fought savagely against the darkness, but eventually, we where exiled from the light. We were primitive at that time, easily corruptible. Believe me, even if you would live till the very end, you would not even BEGIN to understand how depraved we were.

It was during this time when the first of our kind, Absalom, decided to lead us in a world slaughtering campaign. We first started with the Ravaiim, a race that had not yet even reached its full potential. From them, we created potent weapons, but I don't think I will share what I know of these weapons with you. Then we moved to other worlds, killing mercilessly and violently. Nothing could stop our bloodlust. Nothing.

Eventually, amongst the turmoil, the Third Kingdom was made, Man. These weak yet intelligent creatures were given the privilege of the eventual ownership of Eden, eternal paradise. We were outraged, believing Eden to be ours as we had no home of our own. From that point, four of us grew tired of the slaughter and turned to an ancient and powerful entity bound by laws.

The Charred Council.

The four bargained with them. The Council would grant them with eternal powers for the exchange of the lives of their brethren. At this they agreed. And so the four were charged to slay their kin at the gates of Eden with the help of the angels.

The four did most of the work and ensured that the Nephilim stayed dead.

The four the became the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a feared brotherhood of the last remaining Nephilim.

I believe that is all I will share for now...

***

The equines stood silent, staring at the two with fear obvious in their eyes. Death could sense that they did not trust them. At least not fully, and they were right to do that.

Celestia looked at the two, pondering. The enormity of the tale that Death had told truly did evoke emotions of awe and fear. Her people, along with her, were ignorant. Believing that they were alone, not knowing that there were other worlds out there, some dangerous and potent. Others still blooming to their potential.

She was lost in thought when something occurred in her mind.

“Wait...you said that you were two brothers of four siblings..”

“Yes.” Death said.

“Then that must mean-”

“Yes, you have though right,” War said, “We are two of the Horsemen.”

Perhaps it would not have been wise to reveal that, but Death felt the same as his brother, that these equines had to know what they were dealing with. They deserved the truth, despite the fact that they had just met hours ago.

Finally Celestia spoke, “We will have to keep you two out of sight then, I believe that you are hiding something from us, and I respect your decision. For now, you will have to live somewhere where there is no civilization but near enough for us to keep an eye of.”

Then one of the smaller ones, Twilight Sparkle, stepped forward. It was the first time they were to speak after all of these strange events.

“Princess, if I may suggest, perhaps the Everfree Forest?” she said.

Celestia smiled.

“I thought so too.”