• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,383 Views, 122 Comments

Fallout: Equestria - False Dawn - Requiem Mori

Equestria has fallen, and the pieces are still being recovered. A mare wanders alone, cold and embittered. Perhaps she'll find friendship, even in these dark times... if such a thing is even possible.

  • ...

Chapter 1: Mares and Monsters

Chapter 1: Mares and Monsters

What’s the difference between life and death? Motivation.

Life has a sense of humor, but not a very good one. That was one of the last lessons I learned. Ironically, it was also one of the first major lessons I learned. Twice. Everypony always held a memory that they would keep until the end of their lives. For some, it was blissful matrimony. For others, like myself, it was the pain of betrayal. Sometimes, however, some events overcome these memories. The first event that overcame being betrayed was, ironically, betraying one who was close to me. That particular memory, I was sure, would haunt me until I died. This is where's life humor comes in, apparently, and not in a good way. It did haunt me until the day I died, and it continues to haunt me even now.
~ From the Journal of Nevermore

“Wow, lookit all them bodies ‘round here!” The stallion’s voice draws me back to the painful light, the wound in my chest still throbbing with pain. Fetlocks. A slight tugging on my cloak draws my attention, though I am still too pained to do much about it right now.

“Fritter, what are you doing? Don’t touch that!” A mare’s voice this time... great, more than one of them. Opening my eyes, I see two young ponies standing nearby, talking amongst themselves. The glare hurts my eyes for a second as I try to focus on the pair. Did he just... try to loot my body? I look them over... they both looked different somehow, not what I was used to seeing out here in the Celestia forsaken Wasteland, but I couldn’t put my hoof on it. The mare was a pale blue unicorn, her mane cropped back and tied tight into a ponytail. I catch a glimpse of something on her forehoof, but can’t quite place it, my eyes partially blinded, my mind unfocused from pain.

“But she’s fresh... well, fresher, Zone. She might have something fer us to use! I mean, look’it ‘er! She’s dressed all fancy, with that nice hat and all.” Yeah... he was definitely trying to loot my body. They didn’t seem to notice that my eyes were open now as they continued to bicker with each other. Really... did no other pony have common decency to at least check if I was dead first? The stallion was a rather ugly earth pony... he didn’t seem as well kept as his companion, but the automatic pistol on his side was enough to draw my attention. Might as well get this over with...

“That is just really gross, Fritter... I can’t believe you’re trying to take stuff off that poor dead mare!” At least the mare seemed to care... though out here, such sentiment tended to die off quickly.

Despite the gaping wound in my chest, I manage to pull myself up to my hooves quietly, only a hiss of pain to betray the effort. The two continue to bicker, too loud, far too loud. What sort of idiot was this loud in the Wasteland... don’t they realize there are creatures, raiders, or even slavers out here? Coughing slightly, I try to interrupt them, my voice low and dry as I fight my vocal cords to work properly. I don’t really use them much, so I can’t really blame them for protesting. “Stop-”

Two things cut me off, the scream of “Zombie!” from the stallion, and the glow that suddenly surrounds their forehooves as they both draw weapons. That’s what I couldn’t place, their Pipbucks... they were Stable ponies, which meant...

“Yellow, yellow you foalish idiots!” The mare raises her shotgun, realizing that I wasn’t showing threat but the stallion... time seems to speed up around him as the Pipbuck works its magic with S.A.T.S. Of all the things I hate in this Celestia forsaken wasteland, trigger-happy Stable ponies with magical assistance doesn’t top the list, but it’s up there. Definitely up there. “Eyes Forwar-” The pistol rounds tear into my already battered chest as he empties the magazine into me. I fell back down amid a spray of blood and gore.

“Sweet Celestia, did you just kill somepony?!” The mare’s voice is near hysterical as she leans down to see if I’m dead... the pain makes me wish I was, but I stoically try to clamber back to my feet. The look on their faces was almost worth the searing pain. Almost.

“How’s she not dead, Zone? You see her, she sure looks dead! She’s a zombie!” He seems to be in a panic almost. I’d almost sympathize with him. He’s not the one who just got shot though, which severely limits my empathy.

I snarl at him in pain and anger. “You foalish moron... all that fancy tech, and you cannot even be bothered to check the colors.” I feel my knees buckling, the blood loss making me weak. A pasty black ichor oozes its way from my chest, plopping to the ground with a sickening splatter. They’re looking at me... I can feel their eyes, judging what they see. My breath hisses from behind my partially broken gasmask as I stagger back away from them. While the smell of death may have been attributed to the corpses around me, my decaying hide and dripping gore gave it away that I was not quite a normal pony. That, and the gleam of my glowing eyes, or at least the one still visible behind the mask. “Leave me... alone...” I can’t focus, my vision swimming. Dear Celestia... let me die and end it all... just let it be over... I stagger up next to a sky chariot, leaning against it for support. The two are staring dumbly at me... I can sense it without looking at them. Perhaps if I were more focused on what was around me instead of my injuries, I might have noticed what was about to happen.

The feel of a rifle barrel against the side of my head informs me that I’m not likely to die from blood loss. I barely get a glimpse of the raider before there’s a loud noise and a bright flash, and I feel myself flying back across the empty street before crumbling into a pathetic pile. Please... let it be over... My vision starts to grow dim as I watch the raider advance on the two young, foalish ponies... Gak.

I want to scream, I want to retch, I want to beg, I want to cry. I can’t do any of that, however, from my position on the street. He’s dangerous... can you not see that? You bloody idiots... The raider leaves his hiding place, next to the chariot even as the two Stable ponies face him. “Now, I just saved the two of you from that there ghoulie, so why don’t ya give me all yer gear and caps, and we call it even.”

The mare looks at him, incredulous. “She wasn’t doing anything! And you just killed her!” At least somepony realized that I wasn’t threatening them...

The stallion snorts back at the raider. “Besides, we need these, and what are these ‘caps’ anyways?” Right... Stable ponies... they probably still use bits, or something like it. The raider, however, doesn’t seem amused. The two still have their weapons holstered, as if they’re unsure about whether to shoot him or not. Then again, with his assault rifle and spiked armor, they look outclassed anyways.

“Well, if ya dun got no bits, then there are... other ways ta pay me for my kindness...” The lewd way he stared at the unicorn left no doubt in my mind what he intended... Come on Nevermore... die already, die die die! I will my heart to stop, I will myself to expire. I want to die right now, I need to die... Not again... not like this. Moving quicker than either of them anticipated, he sweeps Zone’s shotgun aside as she starts to draw it, the buckshot ripping into the pavement next to me. Fritter’s pistol clicks on its empty magazine... he never reloaded after emptying the pistol into me, apparently. The raider kicks Fritter down, and holds them both at gunpoint, keeping a hoof on the mare’s shotgun so she can’t levitate it, though I can see her trying. “Now... that’s gunna cost ya extra...” I can hear the sinister tone in his voice, the threat he represents to them. Finally, I close my eyes and bleed out... Thank Luna...

There’s a hissing in the air, a dark swelling of energy. The very air itself feels evil and tainted as I stand back up, my wounds sealing shut. There’s the faint plink of metal as the rounds are forced out of my chest onto the road as the regenerating flesh forces them out. I convulse slightly, detesting the feeling of the cursed magic infusing my body. So... that was not my time either, it seems... The two Stable ponies look at me in abject horror... the raider doesn’t know I’m standing, that it’s me they’re looking at, and that I’m behind him. With a sinister snick, I slip a knife from inside my cloak onto a forehoof. He never saw me coming.

I carefully wipe the blade clean on a less dirty spot on the raider’s barding. No reason to let it rust or stick. It was a simple maneuver, really. With his back to me, a swift jab under the ear was enough to put him down. Granted, the second and third jabs were out of spite, but he did shoot me after all. “What?” The stare those two were giving me was starting to annoy me. Did they expect me to eat him or something? I may be a ghoul, but I still have standards, or was it...

“You killed him... I can’t believe you killed him!” The unicorn mare seems to be on the verge of tears. Really? After he just threatened to kill them, or do other things to them, this is what she’s worried about?

“Yes. I killed him. Good riddance to another raider. In case you missed it, he tried to kill me, and he was going to kill you. Or worse.” I let that linger in the air for a bit, turning my head from them to start rummaging through his stuff. “Junk... junk... junk... ew... junk...” A stream of items leave his saddle bag as I strew them across the road, slipping what looked useful into my own bags.

I can still feel her staring at me. Celestia, this mare was annoying. “Well um... thank you, Miss... I’m Zone Control, and that over there is Frisky Fritter, and well um...” She hesitates, trying to decide if she can ask me without offending me.

The stallion solves that for her quite easily. “What the hay are ya, freak?! Ya took a buncha rounds to the chest, then he put one in ya head!” Zone Control tries to hush him, apparently worried that I’d turn my apparent penchant for knifing ponies onto the two of them.

Sighing, I turn to face them, and I see them flinch. Of course. “I am a ghoul, as you may have noticed.” I can’t really help the bitter sarcasm, even though I knew they don’t really know about ghouls. “Since it is so hard to notice the rotting, you may be excused for not being aware of that little fact...” Snorting in derision, I resume my looting, pocketing a few more things from the body. “You can come out now, Watcher.” I turn to face the floating sprite-bot that was hiding off to the side. “I know it is you, since you are quiet.” Celestia... the only time I hated the sprite-bots more than when they were playing that obnoxious, upbeat music was when they weren’t.

“Nevermore... you look the same as always.” The voice comes out of the bot. “And your eyes are still just as keen.”

I snort, spitting a wad of blood and ichor at the bot. “Do not flatter me, Watcher. I still do not care for, or appreciate, it. But you knew that.” I eye the sprite-bot with distrust. Nopony I know of knows who Watcher is, but it seems to know things, especially... “You are looking for these Stable dwellers, are you not. You know what this Wasteland will do to them. You cannot honestly expect them to not falter.”

“Yet I must try... you too could-” The bot is interrupted by a well aimed piece of trash thrown at it.

“I am not that sort of pony, Watcher. You have seen it before. I am not the pony that you want... I am not the pony that anypony needs. I cannot be trusted. You know this, Watcher, yet you insist on pestering me.” I snarl at the bot for making me remember...

Zone Control trots over, tilting her head curiously. “You know this machine, Miss Nevermore?” Blast... what is with these nosy ponies? Listening in on our conversation... Did Stables not teach manners these days? She looks Watcher over, with a critical eye. Somepony looks like they know their way around machines.

“Zone Control, Watcher. Watcher, Zone Control.” I snort and turn to leave. “Be careful what you listen to, Zone Control. The Wasteland tends to leave more corpses than heroes.” I start heading out, my hooves clicking slightly along the road. “Not that there are any heroes left these days.”

There’s an awkward silence after my tirade, and it’s Watcher that breaks it. “You don’t believe that... you never admit defeat.” I could hear the pity in his voice... and I hated it. “You’re better than that. You believed in things, once... just please... at least make sure they don’t make the same mistakes that so many do.” He sees me about to tear into him again, so he interrupts me with one more pleading. “Please?”

I look over at the two Stable ponies... Zone Control keeping Frisky Fritter’s mouth shut. Did I want to help them? Could I help them? Or would I just leave their broken corpses in the Wasteland. “I am sorry Watcher... perhaps that pony would have helped, when she believed in something... but... she died Watcher. She died a long time ago.” I turn my back and start heading off.

“Good riddance. We don’t need that zombie anyways.” Fritter’s parting shot helps to steel my heart, quickening my pace.

“Come now, Nevermore... you know how it is. Those bright eyed, enthusiastic ponies can’t even look at the sky... they won’t last a week without help.” I sigh and turn to face the bot. “They need you... you’re experienced, you know the dangers. They won’t live without your help!”

“So what?” That stunned it into silence, so I press my advantage. “So what if they die? What are two more corpses in this wasteland? Two more bodies under the broken sky. Those fools know nothing, and you expect me to watch them for you, to care for them. That will not happen, Watcher. I am done.” I look to the side, not wanting to look the bot in the eye any more as I fight back my own tears. “You know I am a time bomb... and when it is my time...” I look over at the two. “I do not wish to betray more ponies again, Watcher. Look for somepony else... somepony who has not already fallen to the Wasteland.”

“You have a good heart, Nevermore... I wish you would let it open.” I flatten my ears and keep walking. It floats back to the waiting ponies to talk to them... probably give them a speech on friendship, and a bit later, I hear the music coming from the infernal device. Good riddance... I have seen too much now, Watcher. I am too tired for this anymore. Heroes die, or are broken. There are not any exceptions to this... not in these days, or even in the better times.

My only company is the sound of hooves clattering on the hard trail as I leave them behind. The rest is the stillness of death. Eventually, I come to a stop and curl up under a dead tree, resting myself against it. Time passes, but what is time to the dead? Seconds... minutes... hours... I stare blankly at the landscape, etching the suffering world into my mind. I run the Stable ponies’ faces through my mind... faces I expect to never see again. I add them to the list of ponies, gryphons, and other creatures that I would never see again. It’s a long list, and I mentally recite their name next to their face... time may have marched on, leaving them in the dust, but I would not forget. I could not forget. Zone Control and Frisky Fritter... two more names for my list. Patting the book hidden in my cloak, I give a faint smile. I will not forget, not while I- “Nevermore. Nevermore!” The voice breaks my solitude, though it seems to be slightly panicked... or worried, which meant...

Growling, I turn to face the sprite-bot. “No, Watcher. I said no. Go. Away.” Petulantly, I turn away from it. Maybe it’ll finally get the hint.

“Slavers got them, Nevermore... and... they’re close to you. You can help. You can make a difference.” Blast... I knew those fools would get themselves caught. They did not have the knowledge or care necessary to survive. They were too young, too innocent, not nearly jaded enough.

“No. I cannot make a difference. What can one pony do against the Wasteland? I am tired of this, Watcher. Too tired. Leave me alone.” I close my eyes and try to ignore him... try to ignore myself. Surely there was nothing to gain... ponies everywhere were being taken by slavers even now... nothing I can do... Zone Control and Frisky Fritter... their names and faces flashing through my mind despite my best efforts.

“But you can make a difference to those two. You know the old farm... the Kumquat Plot? They’re being held there.” A robotic sigh. “Look... I know you’ve gone through a lot, but don’t take it out on those two kids...”

“Get banished, Watcher... and get burned by Celestia’s flaming sun.” I open my eyes and stare hard at him. “Just. This. One. Time.” Standing up, I start heading towards the farm, quiet as a shadow. The heavy weight of my dress beneath the cloak is oddly comforting. Time to dance again... perhaps... no... hope leads to despair. Perhaps I can find a friend.

The sun had set by the time I reach the farm, the last couple hours burning off during my solitary trek. I gaze over the small, dilapidated farmhouse with its sagging roof and burned husks of trees. The sad sign marked with an orange fruit and “Kumquat Plot” written in bright letters lay broken to the side. A few of the raiders are standing guard, though they seem to be disorganized and lazy, with the guards seeming more interested in milling about aimlessly and stomping around the fire than actually watching anything. Then again, most ponies tried to go away from a known slaver nest rather than towards it. Like a shadow, I flit across the wasted field, eyeing my first target. The mare didn’t even have time to scream as my blade punched its way through her neck, severing her spine with a well placed blow. Lowering her to the ground, I continue to work my bloody craft towards the farmhouse, one guard pony at a time, each falling before they realize what hit them. Aim for the throat or the gap beneath the skull... keep it silent, avoid an alarm where possible... My old skills hadn’t deserted me, it seems. That, or these slavers were really bad at making sure that nopony like me was doing this. Quite possibly both.

I dispose of the last guard I can see, and start to examine the door. Locked. Things were going so well too. Of course, as things go well, they have to turn sour quickly it seems. A shrill cry from a mare, Zone Control, lets me know that I’m now on a time limit... and its not a very long one. I work the lock on the door as quick as I can, fearing what I’ll find inside. My haste costs me a couple bobby pins, but more importantly, it costs me time. Gak this moon-cursed door! Caution thrown to the wind, I spin around and buck the door, hard. The wooden frame splinters from the impact, even as I dive low into the doorway. A wise choice, it seems, as the remainder of the door above me is shredded by a shotgun blast.

I see the Stable ponies chained on the floor, both of them looking terrified. My eyes glow softly in the darkness, picking out the details of the room despite the gloom. Zone Control appears to be fine, just in shock... though I see why she screamed. The unicorn stallion in front of me was heavily armored, and armed, his shotgun floating in front of him, held in his telekinetic grip. Everything was armored... well, everything except... What he was about to do to her... unforgivable.

I can be rather apathetic... rather cold. But when a stallion is going to force himself onto a helpless mare... “Get out... both of you. Now.” My voice leaves no room for complaint as I launch myself at the stallion. The two Stable ponies start to hobble towards the door, the slaver focused on the berserk ghoul trying to stab him to death. His shotgun roars, and I feel the pellets slamming into my chest. Not nearly enough to stop me... never enough. There’s a harsh ping as some of the shot ricochets off my armored dress beneath my cloak. A clang as my blade glances off his armor... I wasn’t strong enough to punch through his armor, though I was fast enough to throw his targeting off. We fought for a while, my blade slipping off his armor, occasionally managing to find a weak joint, eliciting a grunt of pain, while his shotgun roared, the blasted weapon blessed with a large capacity, tearing holes in the wall, with not a small amount clipping me in the process, though it was only pain. Eventually though, this dance would end, as he was getting closer to landing a full blast with his shotgun... there was only so much room to dodge. One blast that could possibly cripple or kill me outright.

Hoping that the Stable ponies had gotten out, I reach up for my mask, even as he hits me full in the chest with a slug. I tumble back, leaning against the wall behind me, looking up at him, wheezing as my armor barely held against that, preventing a crippling blow. “Let’s see your fancy moves now.” He starts cursing at me, vile, foul things, disparaging my family, my background, and comparing me to certain parts of my anatomy.

“Come closer... and I will show you something...” It feels like my chest is on fire, though I still watch him impassively... My hoof reaches my gasmask, and I manage to tug it off, the heavy rubber hitting the floor with a thud and a sloshing noise.

“Yeah, I’ll show you something too, you-” Again, curses me out... such crude language... hardly befitting a lady like myself, and vile in nature too. Though given his intent towards his helpless prisoners, I was not surprised. His taunting tirade is cut off as I take a deep breath then exhale. No longer absorbed by the water stored in my mask, the Pink Cloud leaves my lungs in a stream directed at the slaver. Not knowing the danger, he inadvertently inhales a large lungful of the stuff. Immediately, he screams in pain, flailing in a blind and terrified panic. He struggles, trying to leave the building, but is betrayed by his body as the necromantic gas starts to rot and liquify him from the inside. I could stop now... he may live, or if not, I could use my blades for a quick and merciful death. Inhaling again, I blow another stream of Pink Cloud directly onto him, and keep it there until nothing recognizable as a pony is left. Recovering my mask, I set it back into place, the cloud already dissipating.

I look at the two Stable ponies, and start working on their locks silently. They don’t say anything to me. I don’t blame them. The slaver had shot enough holes in the building that they could watch the fight. The entire fight. They saw everything. They cheered when I got good hits in, they cried out when it looked like I fell. They saw me kill him. They saw me render him into a liquified organic heap with my cursed breath. I recognized the look in their eyes. Not thanks, not gratefulness. Terror. I recognized it, because I felt it myself. I was not a pony. I was a monster. I was a Canterlot Ghoul.


Welcome to Level 1!

New Trait: Canterlot Ghoul - You’re incredibly resilient to damage, able to stand up even after most crippling wounds! Additionally, death is just a mild inconvenience to you, as long as you don’t lose your head or get disintegrated, that is.

New Trait: Pink Cloud - You can exhale the deadly Pink Cloud! But be careful, it’s dangerous to friends and foes alike!