• Published 19th Jan 2013
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Rise of the Elements Part II: Return of the Avatars - Radiant Dawn



Ancient beings of long since past are returning, but for good or ill?

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Chapter 31: Shadows of the Titans

Chapter 31: Shadows of the Titans

“YOU SHALL NOT PASS, BITCH!” I roared as I grew an icy wall from the floor up, flattening and crushing the bones of a group of enemies that was preparing to attack Celly and Night. Both alicorns threw questioning glances my way, but I simply shrugged and answered, “I’ll explain later; I’m in the zone! BOOM, HEADSHOT!” With my latter statement, I brought an icy spike out of the wall, impaling four fleshy dead, with the last in line having the icy construct erupt from its skull.

What waited for us as we approached Death was a series of winding passages, with multiple chambers in which groups of Death’s forces were waiting for us in ambush. I nearly lost my head when the first group surprised us, but the four of us quickly counterattacked and fended the attackers off. From then on, we looked to Spike to warn us of any enemies lying in wait. With us making such good time and our wounds minor, we kept moving as our spirits rose.

For the first time since this whole war had begun, I was actually having fun.

I sensed hostile presences behind me, and on instinct kicked out my legs in a mighty buck. In such close quarters, my attackers couldn’t get away, and with a satisfying crunch, I looked back to see the skulls of two bone gryphons shatter into pieces.

Celestia and Luna were doing much the same as I was, though each were limited to physical attacks, as their magic could not be used. Still, as I watched the beauty that was Night fight, I couldn’t help but be in awe at the finesse and skill she showed. It almost seemed as if she danced around the field ‒ a deadly goddess of destruction.

Spike, on the other hand, forsook all subtlety and fell upon any near him like an unstoppable juggernaut. Wreathed in fire of swirling red and blue, he delivered punches that shattered bone upon impact, and breathed black flames that caused any caught within them to drop to the ground as Death’s magic was sucked out of them, halting their attacks. From there, he used his fists to ground the lifeless bones into dust.

With our optimism at an all time high, we battled valiantly against the horde of bones and rotting flesh.

Suddenly, with a collapse of my knees, the spell I had cast on myself expired, and crushing exhaustion overtook me. Through sheer force of will I kept my eyes open, and watched as Night rushed to my aid and slew the remaining enemies that surrounded me.

With a final crunch from Spike’s fist crushing a skull into powder, the ambush had been thwarted.

“Winter,” Night called from beside me, “will you be alright?”

I took deep, panting breaths as I struggled to calm my exhausted body, and only managed a shaky nod. “Y-yeah, I’ll be alright.” I then calmed my breathing and pried my eyes open, frowning. “I’m far more tired than I was any time previous though. I don’t think I’ll be able to stay conscious the next time the spell wears off.”

Celestia sat back on her haunches and lifted her helmet off her head, taking a deep shuddering breath before looking to me. “So what do we do?”

I closed my eyes for a moment to rest them, and spent a moment thinking over the options. After running through multiple ideas in my head, I answered, “If the two of you lend me some magic when I cast the spell, I can overcharge it and increase the duration to maybe thirty minutes.”

“But we can’t cast spells to give you any, Frost.” Celestia stated in confusion.

I chuckled and shook my head. “The spell I cast on myself isn’t a normal spell; it’s avatar magic. I’m just using my own internal magic to supercharge my body for a short time. Obviously, the more magic involved when I activate the ability, the longer it should last.” I then sighed and fully slumped my body upon the ground, unable to move any more. “I need a few minutes to rest until I can use it again, so we need to sit tight for a bit. Spike, crush all the bones around us to be sure we’re safe. Celly and Night, please keep me company for a little bit while I rest.”

Without another word, the two alicorns huddled around me and extended their wings over me, concealing me in a warm, feathery barrier. Within seconds, I was asleep.


I was awakened what felt like only seconds later by a gentle nudging at my face, and I opened my eyes to see Celestia’s bright magenta eyes looking down at me with concern. Wordlessly, I nodded and pushed myself to stand with her help. From across the small chamber, Spike and Night made their way over to me, and offered me additional help to stand.

After a moment of allowing me to get my bearings, Celestia spoke, her voice laced with concern. “Frost...you don’t have to do this.”

I grunted and nodded solemnly. “Yeah, I do. I’ll never forgive myself if something happens to any of you because I wasn’t there.”

Neither of the alicorns spoke, but offered me reluctant nods. Night then asked, “Alright, what do we do, Winter?”

I took a few deep breaths in through my nose before pointing to my horn. “Touch your horns to my own, and look into my eyes.” Each alicorn did as they were instructed, and I felt their power rush up against my own, as if they were a raging river, and I was the dam. With a bit of focus, I lowered the barrier that separated us, and felt raw power flow into me from both of them.

The infusion of the two alicorns’ magic felt like liquid fire within me, and I grit my teeth to keep from screaming in pain. Once I felt I could handle no more, I activated the latent ability once again, feeling renewed vigor flow throughout my entire body and mind.

As we finished, the alicorns of night and day slumped a little, clearly feeling drained.

Night licked her dry lips and asked, “How do you feel?”

I nodded gratefully. “Much better. The amount of power I’m feeling within me is at least double in strength, maybe more. I should have maybe twenty, twenty-five minutes.”

Celestia straightened herself and glanced toward the far corridor, which we were about to head through. “What if it takes longer than that?”

I shrugged. “I have one other idea, but I don’t know if it will help: I’ll use my Element. I’ve used hardly any magic power since I can’t cast regular spells, so it would give me almost an hour of fighting time. The only problem is, I don’t know if it will counteract my exhaustion.”

Spike shook his head wearily, running his claw over his brow to wipe away dirt. “Well, it’s all we’ve got. I’ll open up a passageway to the outside once we’re there, and hopefully Death will follow me to try and escape while pretending to pursue me. Once he’s outside, Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Celestia will cast the barrier, which will give you a safe place to end this.”

I nodded again, a small smile gracing my face. “Home stretch here, people. If we do this right, we’re done.” I then yawned and shook my head to wake myself up. “I tell you, I’m going to sleep for a year straight after this is over.”

Spike chuckled, slapping my shoulder. “You and me both, Frost.”

I rolled my shoulders and stretched my back as I stood, then motioned to the passage ahead of us. “Alright, let’s go.”

As we traversed the winding passage leading down, I was thankful that Spike’s combined fire had the secondary effect of still providing light like normal fire did. Not that I was afraid of the dark or anything, but my cool confidence would have been shattered if I face-planted into a wall.

Night, Celestia and Spike followed me from behind, the latter keeping a sharp eye and ear out for any burrowing enemies that might be trying to ambush us.

Finally, after a few minutes of travel, Spike reached forward and stopped me with a glare, pointing to the bend in front of us. I raised my eyebrow in a silent question, and he nodded grimly. I released a relieved sigh that our quarry was just around the corner, and nodded to my three companions before rushing into the final chamber.

There was no army waiting for us; only a single black alicorn stallion with an unreadable expression on his face. We took a quick look around the area before Spike nodded to me and began digging up, securing our exit passage. To our dismay though, Death did not follow. In fact, he didn’t seem the least bit worried at all.

Something was definitely up.

“It took all of you long enough to arrive.” he snarked, the corners of his mouth rising in a disturbingly normal-looking smile. “After everything you have all overcome together, I thought a few remaining gryphons wouldn’t have put up much of a resistance to the four of you.”

I mentally growled at him. ‘What’s his angle?’

Forgoing pretense, Celestia stepped forward a single hoofstep and glared at him. “It is over, Death. Your army is defeated and scattered, your magic nullified, and you have no allies to rely on. Surrender, and we may show you mercy.”

Death was silent for a moment before smiling toothily. “Ah, I see you are laboring under the delusion that I am going to ‒ what’s the term? ‒ come quietly. Well, I am sorry to inform you that I have no intention of coming quietly at all, dear princess.”

With a shifting of earth around us, a great rumble tore through the mountain, and I watched as bones of the recently slain dead began to shoot through the ceiling and walls as they began to assemble around Death. Turning to dust, they began to swirl around the avatar of death, and I struggled to back away, lest I be swallowed by the storm of death in front of us.

“We have to get out of here!” Night screeched over the roar of the mountain and the howling of wind.

“I agree!” Celestia added in a panicked tone, beginning to retreat to the tunnel that Spike had created.

With a simple nod, I followed the two alicorns to our escape passage, glad to see moonlight at the end of it.


Perspective change ‒ Rainbow Dash

For a long time, the outside was silent save for the murmur of resting soldiers, but suddenly, the bones of the monsters we downed started flying toward the mountain of their own accord. Shouts of surprise and fear began to tear through our ranks, and all the soldiers began to retreat from the secure area, which no longer seemed so secure. Not wanting to be the idiot that stuck around and got killed, I yelled loudly to all in the sky to back off as we all retreated to a safe distance.

From my new rally point a mile away, I saw an armored dragon erupt from the mountain and begin rapidly fleeing the area, followed by three familiar alicorns at breakneck speed.

“EVERYONE GET BACK!” Frost’s amplified voice boomed across the field, and nopony saw fit to defy the order. Frost then spotted me in the air and pointed, then he flew down and picked up Spike as the four of them flew toward me.

I watched as the troops that were inside the mountain cleared the border of the FOB, with Applejack and her brother out front, just before all Tartarus broke loose.

With a tearing of earth that sounded like the roar of hundreds of dragons, the mountain exploded.

I worked with Twilight at a split-second’s notice to cast barriers to shelter the troops that hadn’t gotten far enough away from getting flattened by huge chunks of what was once a mountain. Needless to say after making sure all our ponies were safe, I was more than a little tired, but it was what I saw next that brought me back to full awareness.

Bones and what could only be bonemeal was swirling around the previous site of the mountain in a huge vortex, the mere size of which I’d never even imagined before. It was at least the size of the mountain itself.

My attention was diverted from the sight in front of us by the arrival of Frost, Night, Celestia, and Spike. Night collapsed on the ground and reverted back to Luna, while Celestia and Spike collapsed on the ground in exhaustion from such a frantic retreat. Frost was the only one out of the four of them left standing, so I made my way over to him.

I swallowed thickly and asked, “What the hay is going on, Frost? Are we suppose to cast that barrier now?”

He stared at the swirling bone-nado before shaking his head with narrowed eyes. “Not yet. We don’t know what we’re dealing with, and I don’t want you all to waste your strength on something that-” He trailed off as the bones began to take shape into something...something big.

I felt my mouth drop open as I stared in shock, unable to make sense of what I was seeing. “F-Frost...what…?”

He shook his head, still unwilling to look away from the horror in front of us. “If I wasn’t so flabbergasted, I’d be fuming at how he stole a damn video game character from Earth and is using it against us.” He looked to me with a grim expression on his face. “I don’t know where he got the idea from, but it’s known as Night Terror.”

I looked back to the monstrosity before us to see a bony titan with flightless bone wings, two oversized arms and legs each, and one massive sword carved from bone, which it wielded in one hand. Burning orange eyes in the head flanked each side of a great bony horn in the forehead, and the wings began to emanate a smoky, dark energy. The hands themselves looked like they were made from the mouths of giant monsters, and the tail that whipped around behind it leveled what was left of the mountain. The thing stood taller than the mountain had, which put its head above the lower cloud level.

With a shudder of terror I asked Frost, “What the hay do we do? We can’t fight that thing!”

Frost offered me nothing more than a glance before replying, “We have to.” He looked to me and grinned in an oddly confident way. “Change of plans, Dash. It’s time to see just how far my magic can go.” He walked over to Spike and poked him, causing the panting drake to open his eyes. “Spike, I need a white flame breathed on all three of us, please; I need my magic back.”

Spike nodded and stood, taking a deep breath and breathing a stark white fire on Frost, Night and Celestia. After he did so, Frost worked the kinks out of his neck and back before looking around.

“Where’s my brother? I need him.” he asked urgently. He looked to me and motioned with his head. “Find him as fast as you can, and bring him here; tell him he’s about to become a war hero.”

I was more than a little unnerved by Frost’s oddly calm tone, but nodded before flying off.

Perspective change ‒ Frostbreaker

As I watched Dash fly away, I turned my attention back to the behemoth I was about to go head-to-head against. Oddly enough, even with the threat of death and the fall of all life on the planet, I felt very optimistic; I was looking forward to this. Maybe it was the adrenaline and knowledge that this damnable war was almost over, but I was excited to get in there and tear Death a new asshole.

Metaphorically of course...maybe.

“What do we do, Frost?” Spike asked from behind me.

Without turning around, I just chuckled. “We’re gonna get in there and beat the ever-living shit out of him. It’ll be a little more complicated than that, but that’s the bottom line.” I then motioned to Celestia. “After we get him out of that thing, Dash, Twilight and Celestia will cast the barrier, and then I’ll beat him into submission. Once that’s done, Cadence can have him to do whatever she has planned.”

Spike seemed unconvinced as he said, “That’s a great plan and all, but that’s assuming we actually last more than a few seconds.”

Sensing Dash approaching with my brother, I smiled and turned to Spike with a nod. “We will. Have faith in me, Spike; I know what I’m doing.”

Dash and my brother landed on either side of me, and my brother couldn’t help but gasp in awe. “Shit man…”

I chuckled and nodded. “That would be form number two for him.”

My brother chuckled as well and tilted his head side to side, popping his neck as he grinned at me. “Is this guy going to run with the last boss cliche?”

I shrugged. “It’s possible, but if he is, so are we. Just like the protagonists in the games do, we’re about to pull something out of our asses that no one’s seen before, and I need you for that.” I then glanced to Spike. “And you too, dude.” I then looked to my brother and said, “We need two more, though. Go and find Antares and Tilak with the dragons; bring them back here as quick as you can.” My brother nodded before launching into the sky, speeding away at a velocity that made me a little jealous of him.

“Um, Frost?” Dash asked in confusion, which was a step up from downright terror. “What exactly are you planning?”

I smirked and motioned to the monster that was now heading toward the north end of the battlefield, straight for the dragon auxiliary units and minotaurs.

“We’re going to level the playing field. I’d explain more, but I want it to be a surprise.” I replied with a growing smile.

Dash seemed unconvinced as she placed a hoof on my shoulder. “Frost, you’re freaking me out a little bit here.”

I just winked at her and leaned in for a quick kiss, nuzzling her softly as I pulled away. “Trust me, Dash. I got this.”

“Drew!” my brother boomed from above, just before landing ahead of us with the two required dragons in tow. “I got ‘em.”

I nodded before motioning for Spike to follow me, and I stepped out onto the desolate battle field a ways before stopping and turning to face the group of dragons.

“You all are about to be a part of one of the coolest things any of you will ever experience, and it’ll live on in legends for thousands of years after we’re all dead and gone.” I chewed on my lip for a bit before amending with, “Well, those of us that will die of age, anyway.”

Antares, which from what I knew was the late Veroxzhar’s daughter, looked to me curiously. “What do you have in mind, Prince Frostbreaker?”

I tossed my head as I said, “Form up around me. When I cast the spell, you all are going to feel weird for a few seconds. I promise though, you’ll know what to do after that. Give in to the power, and we’ll all keep each other safe.” The four of them nodded, and I began to cast my spell, charging it as quickly as I could. When the spell was at its apex, I released it into the air, and it broke into five separate blobs of silvery-blue magic, each one finding a home in the chest of all present. As the magic began to overtake me, I closed my eyes with a triumphant grin.

‘If Death wants to go all out, he’s going to find he’s not ready for what we have in store.’

Perspective change ‒ Rainbow Dash

Death became a monster when we cornered him. Rather than surrender when we had him dead-to-rights, he chose to cast some crazy spell and turn himself into some behemoth of bone and magic. Before us lumbered some undead terror that strode about the field on two legs, dragging a sword the length of Ponyville as if it were nothing.

But, as I watched what Frost was doing, I began to see that we had a monster too.

The five bodies began to lose their definite shape, and came together as they merged into one form. From there, the form grew larger and more menacing by the second, at the same time that a blizzard began to coat the form. Within the smoky confines of the frosty storm, I could see five long serpentine necks take shape off of the main body, and each of these five split...and then split again. The shape still continued to grow until it grew to rival the size of its intended target. It was when the blizzard began to fall away that I identified the shape, but on a scale I’d never imagined before:

A hydra.

Fifteen heads in all, a six-limbed gray body of scales and claws, and from what I could make out, three heads for each of the five beings that went into it ‒ three were obsidian, three violet, three bronze, three silver, and three looked to be made completely of ice. For a moment all was silent, but then fifteen pairs of eyes lit up with an eerie golden glow, and a deafening screech of a roar tore across the land.

A flap of scales seemed to part from the main body, and I watched as yet another head pulled out of it, this one larger than the rest with sixteen eyes in all and dwarfing the others in size. Its obsidian color made it clear who it took after though, and I watched its eyes focus on the camp for a moment before looking across the battlefield.

With a deep breath the main head bellowed, “HEY UGLY!” The voice reminded me of what an earthquake sounded like, similar to rocks grinding together instead of a normal voice. It made the insulting taunt sound even funnier, for some reason.

From across the battlefield, I watched as the bone monster ‒ or Night Terror, to be more accurate ‒ turned its head until its gaze settled on the huge hydra that challenged it, and with a grunt of acknowledgement, it turned away from the fleeing soldiers and headed toward its new enemy. Perhaps it was my imagination, but its eyes seemed to widen in surprise before it began taking larger, quicker steps to bring it to the hydra on the field.

The hydra reared up so that its front legs were free, and balled the claws of the appendages into fists as it challenged, “BRING IT!”

The Night Terror hefted its paddle-like sword higher as it prepared to strike, but just as it stepped forward to begin its swing, its clawed foot froze to the ground and it fell with a mighty crash that shook the ground underneath us.

With a deep breath of air, all sixteen heads covered their enemy in bright orange fire, and the heat from the exhalation was enough to cause me to sweat, even from nearly a mile away.

“Wow.” a voice from beside me breathed out, as if speaking too loud would cause the sight to become false.

I looked to see Twilight, Celestia and Luna standing beside me, and I just nodded with wide eyes. “Yeah. This is crazy.”

“How?” Celestia asked in utter shock and confusion.

I shrugged, turning my eyes back to the battle of magic titans. “I have absolutely no clue, but it’s probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in...well, it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“So um…” Twilight began, seemingly unable to form a coherent thought, “w-what do we do? I mean, they seem to have it handled-”

Just as Twilight spoke, all sixteen hydra heads grasped the Night Terror and proceeded to bash it repeatedly on the ground, each hit causing the ground under our hooves to jump a bit. Even so, the Night Terror seemed unfazed or even damaged, as it simply stood and slapped the flat of its weapon against the hydra, throwing it through the air and to the ground only a few hundred feet away from us, displacing the earth and causing a lot of us to fall over just from the force alone.

I pushed myself back to my hooves and shook a little dirt from my coat as I reached and helped Twilight stand, then looked to see the hydra already standing again. With a grunt and growl, it found its stance once again and broke into a dead sprint toward the Night Terror, dodging a slice from the weapon before giving it a full-body tackle and pummeling it with fists and burning with fire. Ice crept up from the ground to immobilize its limbs, leaving it at the mercy of the giant reptile on its chest. Blow after blow struck the bony head of the Night Terror, each more punishing than the last, but it seemed that not even those did any damage.

The hydra began to glow with a silver-blue light, and I watched as a green-armored figure with purple scales jumped straight out of the hydra, and ran along one of the long necks until it landed on the face of the downed bone monster.

“I-is that Spike?!” Twilight shrieked in fear.

I nodded, watching as the small figure jumped directly into one of the eye sockets. “Yep, that’s him. No idea what he’s doing, though.” Suddenly, I saw Twilight gallop forward and was forced to restrain her with magic and my hooves as she began thrashing wildly.

“N-NO! LET ME GO! I HAVE TO MAKE SURE HE’S ALRIGHT!” she screamed hysterically, squirming in my grip as I held her back.

Sighing for what I was about to do, I turned Twilight to face me before slapping her with a hoof, causing her to look up at me with wide eyes and tears streaming down her face. After giving her a moment to realize what just happened, I released my hold on her and sat down on my haunches in front of her. “Twilight, you have to calm down; Spike's a smart dragon, and I know he’s not gonna do anything stupid with no reason behind it. Besides that, I’m pretty sure he values his own life quite a bit, so he’s not trying to be a martyr or anything.” As I released my friend and brought my wing around her, I turned her back to the field with me, and pointed with my hoof. “Let’s just watch and see what happens, Twilight.”


Perspective change ‒ Spike

As I made my way through the inside of the bone monster-thing, I found that digging through bone took quite a bit longer than digging through earth, but my claws were still up to the challenge nonetheless. It had been Darkflight’s idea to attack from the inside, seeing as how attacks from the outside weren’t doing much good, but Frost had told me that he didn’t know how much longer he could hold Death down, so I had to hurry.

Just as I was about to lose my temper at not being able to find anything worthwhile, I sensed a large empty chamber in front of me, so I continued tunneling until I broke through. When I tumbled down the side of the hollowed-out portion of the monster, I noticed that there was a large glowing sphere of white energy in the center, and I could only think of the sphere as being this thing’s “heart” or something just as important.

I grinned mischievously. “Well then, let’s cause a little mayhem.” With a deep breath, I breathed blue flames all over the room, taking care to leave no surface untouched as I did so. Then, as I closed my eyes, I breathed a green flame.

Perspective change ‒ Princess Celestia

We all waited patiently for anything to change, but all was quiet save for the taunting and roaring of the hydra as it loomed over the “Night Terror” beast.

Suddenly, we all saw the hydra retreat quickly, and heard a series of explosions followed by a crack forming in the bony armor of the beast. The monster flailed against its icy bonds, breaking them, and began clawing at its chest as gouts of green and blue fire began to spill out until…

BOOM!

With an earth-shattering blast and a similar shockwave of force, the monster blew apart and fell to the ground, defeated. Before we could think though, the hydra’s icy heads sent up three balls of light, each one bursting into a different shape in the sky.

It only took me a moment to realize they were cutie marks ‒ mine, Twilight’s and Rainbow Dash’s, to be precise ‒ and I recognized that this was the signal Frost had referred to. Without any word, I grasped Twilight and took flight, with Rainbow Dash quickly overtaking me and speeding to the area.

It took us only a few seconds to reach the site of the titanic battle, but as I dropped off Twilight at her predetermined spot, we three began layering barriers together at a speed that would had left me dizzy, had I stopped to think about it. Before five seconds had passed, a massive barrier of shimmering cyan, gold, and lavender had been erected, trapping the remains of the bony monster inside.

A loud noise that sounded similar to a lightning bolt issued forth, and I watched as Frost, Darkflight, Antares and Tilak calmly walked up next to me, and was infinitely relieved to see a blackened and bruised Spike make his way to stand beside Twilight, many feet away.

With a wordless nod, Frost’s horn began to glow softly, and he stepped right past the barrier as if it were nothing.

“Just the two of them, now.” Darkflight muttered, placing his clawed hand on my shoulder.

I kept my focus on holding the barrier strong, but cast a glance to the Obsidian as I asked, “Why not all of you? Surely that would increase the odds of success.”

He shook his head solemnly, locking his gaze on the icy blue alicorn within the barrier. “He told us that he can’t cast that spell on anyone else, so he’s the only one that could get inside.” He then shrugged. “I don’t know if he was telling the truth or not, but I know that he’s not in the state of mind to do something stupid like sacrifice himself again; if it’s true that we could have all gone in with him, then that means this is personal for him.” Darkflight then smirked at me. “If that’s what it is, you can get ready to see Death himself have the everloving tar beat out of him.” He turned his eyes back to the interior of the barrier, and we all saw a stumbling black alicorn climb out of the remains of his monster.

“It’s on now.” Darkflight quipped with a grin.

Author's Note:

Kudos if you get the references.

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