• Published 24th Jan 2013
  • 1,178 Views, 38 Comments

Dog and Pony Show: Aftermath - KaraC

Having been forced to deplete their territory of gems by Rarity, Rover, Fido and Spot must find a new way to offer Tribute to the Alphas of all Dogs.

  • ...

7 -Truths part 3: The Fury

As the moon rose over the heart of the Whitetail Woods, a twitching nose belonging to a red fox scented the air outside its burrow before emerging into the evening. Something rustled in the tree beside it and it froze mid-step, ears swivelling and neck twisting as it tried to locate the source of the noise. A glimmer of moonlight reflecting off a cluster of red droplets caught its eye and it slowly inched toward them to investigate.

The shadow cast by the ear of the fox revealed the cluster of droplets to be part of a trail of blood that led to an enormous oak tree with two gem dogs and a bitch huddled miserably at the base quietly talking to a gryphoness. Spying so many apex predators, any of which wouldn’t hesitate at snatching a fox for a snack, the fox wisely vanished back into its hole.

“Wait wait. Okay, lemme get this straight.” The gryphoness said as she held up her ebon-taloned forefoot at the dogs in front of her. They shut their mouths and let her continue. “You three, on orders from your royalty - ”

“Alphas, Gilda. Alphas.” Kell grunted before licking one of Spot’s many sluggishly bleeding wounds. Gilda waved it off.

“Yeah, yeah. Alphas. Anyway, so orders from on high have you looking for a banished pack to bring’em back. You find them, and they beat the livin’ scat outta you. Now you’re asking me to relay the message, not that I mind or nothing, but your Alphas are going to want more detail than that; their type always does.”

“Essentially, yes.” Fido sighed as he tore another strip from the remains of his vest and used it to bind the nearly severed tendon that ran from hock to paw on his rear leg.

“Let’s hear it again then. And speak slower this time, been awhile since I’ve last heard pure Dog.” Gilda settled back on her haunches and took on a look of concentration as Fido began to regale her once more with the tale of their harrowing journey.

We found their den easily enough. The problem was that they weren’t there anymore, hadn’t been there for at least six months from the smell of it. After spending the day, we split up to search for any signs of their passing. After travelling for several days in separate directions, Spot found the first sign of them and howled his location. The clue we found was not only a promising lead, being only a few months old, it was a worrisome one as well. The wagon it had once been was a barely recognisable heap of smashed wood, the skeleton on the other paw, had clearly been a female magic pony.

That should have been our first warning that something was wrong, but we continued for another fourteen nights until we reached a territorial marker. The size of the hydra skull gave us pause, because it certainly would have been accompanied by at least four other heads of equal size. Kell, Spot and I stayed an extra day in a small tunnel discussing what we should do. It boiled down to either facing a pack large enough to have taken down such a beast, or abandoning the task entrusted to us by the Alphas themselves.

The choice was taken out of our paws by force, we were ambushed.

Nine stormed the tunnel from the surface and six from beneath us. We had to fight our way out and when we did, their Alphas were waiting for us. They lunged before any of us could say a word, I ordered Spot to run, that Kell and I would cover him. The fight was long and brutal, Kell and I barely escaped with our lives but it didn’t end there. The pack chased us for nearly three nights and days straight until we took shelter in a cave.

The pack had succumbed to the Fury, but they weren’t so far gone that they would follow us into the lair of a Starbeast. By some miracle of the First Alphas or Alpha Moon, rest her soul, the Starbeast never noticed us and we left the next night without waking it.

“Our journey from the cave was much slower as we finally started feeling our wounds. By the time we reached these woods, we couldn’t continue. We’re still too far from the territory for them to hear us, so calling for help would’ve taken more energy than we had to spare. Then you came down, following our blood trail and found us.” Kell took over and finished the story from Fido as he struggled to stay awake.

The silence between them was thick and heavy after Kell stopped talking. Gilda’s lower jaw continued to drop and slowly attempt to close for almost two full minutes before she shook the stunned expression from her face and finally spoke.

“Would’ve been a hell of a way to go; surrounded on all sides by enemies determined to tear you limb from limb … now that’s a warrior’s death!” Gilda’s almost worshipful gaze was swept away under Kell’s glower. With a cough, Gilda quickly amended her statement. “All the more impressive you made it out alive and relatively intact though! One of these days, you’ve gotta tell me all the details.”

“Perhaps another time Gilda,” Kell told her with a chuff and an eyeroll. “You should rest; a hard flight awaits you tomorrow. I’ll keep first watch.”

Save for the soft, whistling snores of the gryphon in the tree above them, the night was quiet, unnaturally quiet. Kell and Fido were tense, each standing on opposite sides of the tree with their ears, noses and eyes working overtime in the dark. Spot circled the tree a few metres from them, checking the trees and bushes around them. A bush rustled and when Spot turned his head to examine the cause, his eyes met with a pair of lamp yellow orbs looking straight back at him.

Yelping sharply, he ran to the tree and slid in behind Fido. The fur of both Fido and Kell bristled as the prepared to meet their stalker head on. From the shadows stepped a Thestral and it quickly became obvious she wasn’t alone as nearly a dozen more joined her.

All three Gem Dogs relaxed.

“It’s just you.” Fido grumbled as he gingerly sat down.

“First Alphas! Are you tryin’ to scare us to death!” Spot barked, only to be silenced by a brief glare from Kell.

“Apologies, Diamond Alpha; we had to be sure the three of you were not part of the Rogue Pack.” She eyed their injuries. “It seems you’ve already had the misfortune of meeting them though.” At their suddenly alarmed expressions, the thestral beside her spoke up with a grin that showed his fangs.

“Don’t need to worry about them anymore, they were checking out a Starbeast cave when it … ah … ‘accidentally’ woke up.”

“Yes …” Kell growled as her eyes narrowed. “Speaking of the Rogues, it’s the duty of your clan to keep an eye on them. What happened?”

The body of the lead mare sagged as though a great weight had just been placed upon her and the grin of the male beside her vanished as he flinched at Kell’s accusatory tone. The rest of the thestral clan members looked decidedly uncomfortable as eyes were cast downward and leathery wings rustled.

After taking a deep, bracing breath, the lead thestral began to speak.

“As you know, doing a full sweep of each of the territories can take several nights. Seven months ago we went through the rogues territory and they weren’t there. We thought they were all out hunting and waited that night, and the next, in a line of clouds over the den. When they didn’t return the third night, we knew they were gone for good.” She sadly shook her head. “We were too late for the unicorn when we did find it, but it gave us a direction to look in. It wasn’t until your fight that we managed to pinpoint their new territory. If it’s any consolation, we did manage to slow them down and give you a good head start.”

Spot huffed out a relieved sigh. “We’d wondered how they didn’t catch us. Good to know we had our tails covered.”

“At least until you were sure we were the proper Diamonds; right Lamplight?” Kell added darkly. The female thestral, Lamplight, shrugged unapologetically.

“You know we can’t pick out any gem colour at height, they all look the same.” The male beside Lamplight stated matter-of-factly before he flicked a tufted ear and tilted his head in curiousity at Fido. “Why did the Alphas send just the three of you to the rogues? Surely they knew you’d probably be ripped apart?”

“Windscream!” Lamplight scolded him before turning to the small pack. “If you don’t want to answer, we understand.”

Finishing a jaw-cracking yawn, Fido answered them. “It’s alright. The Alphas didn’t tell us much of anything, but on our way out of the Territories we heard a lot of gossip and we think we’ve pieced together what’s going on. All the hunters in the badlands and the Everfree, the traders on the roads, the weather watchers on the mountain peaks, the entire Gryphonia Pack and even the Timberwolves are being called. Combined with the fact Alpha Moonsong’s shadow is gone from the moon, it means she’s died and the Alphas must be planning an Appeal to the First Alphas for a new Voice.”

The eyes of all the thestrals widened in comprehension. “But such an Appeal must be Sung by all living Dogs, rogues included.” Windscream breathed softly before his brows furrowed in confusion. “Wait a second, what do you mean Alpha Moonsong’s dead? Word out of Canterlot has Luna sitting beside the White Alpha on the throne.”

“She’s alive?!” Kell exclaimed excitedly.

“What does the Blue Beta have to do with anything?” Fido asked at the same time and found himself under the disbelieving eyes of Kell and every thestral there. “What?” he asked again.

“You don’t know? How could you not know?!” Kell all but barked. In the tree above, Gilda shifted in her sleep. After giving the gryphon a quick glance, Kell continued at a significantly lower volume. “Wait, how old were you and Rover when the rest of the Diamonds went rogue?”

He shrugged. “We were twelve, old enough to take care of ourselves and Spot.”

“That explains it; you’ve missed the last four years of education.” She groaned. “The Rogues really set you up to either fail and be banished or eventually join them of your own free will. By the First Alphas, I never imagined any Dog or Bitch capable of such deceit …” Kell’s head slowly shook.

“Tell us then!” Fido growled.

“I can’t! You can’t order me to either! Pack Law demands silence until the Alphas know your Control.”

Fido and Spot’s heads jerked back in shock at that before they turned their pleading eyes to Lamplight. The thestral mare shook her head. “We can’t tell you either, the Clan follows Pack Laws as well as our own. You’ll just have to wait until the Alphas test you for the big three, Speed, Endurance and Control.”

Fido and Spot rolled their eyes at that. “Our Control is fine, we’re not vulnerable to the Fury.”

Kell and Lamplight shot each other an uneasy look before Kell’s entire posture slumped and she shook her head. “It’s not that simple. Just because you don’t snarl at the slightest thing doesn’t mean you’re not vulnerable to it. I’ve seen perfectly placid dogs and bitches taken by the Fury and frothing at the mouth within a minute of the test starting.” She lifted her head and she met eyes with him, making his hackles rise at the challenge in her gaze. “Be honest with me and yourself, how long would it take for you to pull yourself out of that state while being watched by not only the eyes of the Alphas, but the entire Alpha Guard? Because if you can’t do it within a set time limit, the Alpha Guard will overpower you, muzzle you and hog-tie you with steel cuffs so it’s safe for Alpha Healer Skye to sedate you.”

Their tense eye contact continued for another minute before Kell finally looked away. “The Fury is much more than mere anger. It’s an all-consuming rage borne of primal fear that wrenches your body away from you; most Gem Dogs, myself included, don’t even remember what happens when it takes us.”

The silence following Kell’s words hung thickly in the air as Gem Dog and Thestral alike absorbed the dire speech.

“I see.” Fido muttered, breaking the silence, as he looked thoughtfully at the ground below his paws.

“Look, why don’t we take over gryphon-sitting while Lamplight and a couple other clan members help you three get home?” Windscream suggested as he walked over to Fido and threw a wing over the diamond-alpha’s back. “You look almost as bad as you probably feel. I figure if you get going now, you might make it to our camp by dawn. Then the healers can properly patch you up before something really nasty sets in and you’re too weak to walk.”

Fido, Kell and Spot smiled gratefully at Lamplight and Windscream before nodding.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 3 )

Now things are getting interesting :pinkiehappy:

Awesome, another update! I really do enjoy this story.

Dragon Turtle, hey! Long time no read! Since you've asked the Q's, let's see if I can supply the A's without spoiling anything.

Here, as a direct manifestation of surpressed memories from even before the divide between the sisters, is a pretty original approach to NMM's spectre. An interesting idea, that is completely botched during the landing.

[notseriously]You wound me DT, you really do.[/notseriously]
I know a compliment when I see one. Thank you for that DT, it's nice to know that out of all the NMM origin fics out there I managed to come up with an original idea.

:discordgrin: Anyway, I never claimed to be an excellent writer; I know I'm not, yet somehow you're still drawn to this story :raritywink:. For something I pretty much pull out of my butt :twilightblush: with almost no forethought I don't think I'm doing all that badly.

Drawing her carnivorous transformation and association with the moon to a canine heritage works, but the motivations and pool of knowledge don't work out in the slightest. During the events of the Pilot, how do you explain NMM (or "Alpha Moonsong" as it were) not going out of her way to contact the dogs? Why does she even WANT to the throne of Equestria if she doesn't consider it her home? And why did she, you know, try to blot out the sun?! I think even the dogs would raise some objections to that.

If you were argue that the antagonist we saw in the show was a bastardization of the Alpha Moonsong persona, why not go out the way to demonstrate it? Instead, the third-person narrative NAMES the spectre as Nightmare Moon, and even claims the two LOOK perfectly alike!

There floated the semi-opaque form of Nightmare Moon, armour and all.

Nightmare Moon idly buffed her hoof against her chest and examined it.

Nightmare Moon rolled her eyes.

This personality talking with Luna expresses no morale outrage, sorrow, or regret at the prospect of terrorizing people that had never wronged her, or trying to extinguish all life on the planet.

Just wait for Chapter 8, then we'll both know if I successfully managed to explain all that neatly. I'll be looking forward to hear ... ah ... reading from you again. In the mean time, I'll see if I can fix those three little holes you just pointed out about NMM.

(Take note here, authors and future authors. This is the kind of stuff that gets missed when you're too lazy easily distracted to search for a proofreader/editor like I am.)

Chaps 5 - 8 all happen during the same day and they're all exposition chapters. Hopefully I can finally wrap up the entire story during Chap 9 or 10.

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!