Fists of the Evening Star

by Vermillion Prose

First published

Twilight has earned the trust and loyalty of both Hesperos, a former Rubricae of the Thousand Sons, and Te'kan of the Slamanders. Together they face the final fate planned for them deep within the maelstrom of the warp. A Warhammer 40,000 crossover.

Twilight has earned the trust and loyalty of both Hesperos, a former Rubricae of the Thousand Sons, and Te'kan of the Salamanders. In the idyllic realm of Equestria, the need for such mighty warriors is nonexistant. However, outside Equestria's borders are lands wild and dangerous. Worse, the galaxy the astartes call home has not forgotten them. Together they face the final fate planned for them deep within the maelstrom of the warp.

A Warhammer 40,000 crossover.


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Warp. Empyrean. Sea of Souls. The Great Ocean.

Many names, in many cultures and societies, for the realm beyond the material veil.

Neverborn. Enslaver. Warpspawn.


Menageries of names for creatures made of the unreal stuff of the other-realm, raw emotion and will given form, more often than not nightmares born from the stygian depths of the mortal psyche.

Through it all, the wisps of life lived on the physical plane, vasts distances a blink away in the illogical tides of the immaterium. For those who could project their essence, their psychic might and sense of self, across this fickle expanse of roiling impulses and fever dreams, it was a perilous journey at best, and a swift and terrible damnation at worst.

The conscious eddies prowled in the wake of one such daring soul, a body of light languidly soaring through the currents of wrath and lust, searching for the incongruous pools of calm that it sought diligently. When half-formed impressions of fangs and claws closed on the astral traveller, a gesture of thought lit them aflame, impossible hissing screeches sending ripples out and away, dissuading the lesser and drawing the predation of the greater.

The lone soul was unphased by such notions, swiftly soaring past and searching onwards.

There. Something inconsistent. Not the pool of calm he was looking for, but rather… a hole, in the very fabric of the warp. Impossible, yet there it was. Its pull was not evident until it had all but swallowed the traveller, who only managed to reel away with a supreme effort of will that blitzed the surface and tested the veil between realms with its raw impulse.

Yes, this is where it had happened. This was the gap in understanding. With a thought, the body of light recoiled the way it had come, soaring out of jaws the size of cities closing around it, meteoric as it returned from whence it had come.

With a snap of dislocation, psychic meshed once more with physical, and hoarfrost cracked across the surface of ornate powered plate. Sapphire and gold was adorned with images of scarabs, and the mark of the ouroboros marked a heavy-set pauldron. Bronze skin colored with dark stubble characterized the wizened face of a man kneeling in meditation, sweat rolling down his brow and stinging his eyes. The drops steamed away with a small effort of will, and the man groaned as he stood, sympathetic pains from his sojourn taxing his physical form.

“At last, my fellow sons. I have found our missing brothers.”

1 - Aggressive Diplomacy

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Magic flowed in a great storm of battle, the army of Queen Chrysalis relentless in their pursuit of subjugating those loyal to King Thorax. Only the few hardened changelings who served with Pharynx as the hive guard held the line. They retreated steadily into a crevasse, clearly trying to narrow the field and reduce how many of her new brood could attack at once. Yet so too did the tightening spaces slow their withdrawal, leaving them less and less room to breathe, the noose of her forces closing on them.

Chrysalis’s cackling echoed across the battlefield as she tasted imminent victory. She watched her brood, raised for this one purpose, overwhelm the rebellious hive of her errant children, and reached out with her senses to savor the despair of the wretches as she triumphed at last.

She was disappointed and confused when she sensed anxiety, and desperation, but no crushing fear or dying hope. No, hope burned brightly. Painfully brightly. Wait…

Chrysalis buzzed back from where she had been standing on blurring wings, snarling as a heavy weight slammed to the ground and began casually swatting away her guards, a crimson giant with glowing emerald lenses for eyes. Then she noticed the emblem on its pauldron, a stylized white sun circle surrounding a very familiar mark, the six pointed pink star of one Princess of Friendship.

She screeched curses and oaths that sent the few meek amongst her horde skittering aside as she loosed a torrent of sickly emerald magic at the armored interloper. A raised gauntlet was the only sign of activity before the beam struck an invisible wall, a kine shield breaking the magic into a spray of stray bolts and fitful sparks. The enraged queen fired more in quick succession, each splashing against the psychic defense as the warrior advanced. She smiled even as she began to exhaust her reserves of energy, her elite warriors circling in from behind.

Her smug satisfaction evaporated as surely as her elites in a haze of prometheum fire as another damnable armored biped dropped into their midst. This one wore armor of verdant green, motifs of flame etched into surfaces of the plate. A resonant, bombastic voice chanted litanies of battle as it roasted her chosen. She screamed and cried, channeling all of her magic for one final, pitiless burst.

The crimson warrior closed faster than she believed a figure so large possibly could, clamping her horn in an iron grip and bringing her forcefully to the ground. When his strange, hooklike sword went to her neck, his intent was clear. The battle settled into a tense stillness as the viridian warrior regrouped with the crimson.

The red armored giant spoke in a voice that echoed through her head and boomed from vox amplifiers.

“I am Hesperos, and he Te’kan, emissaries of Princess Twilight Sparkle. Surrender, or perish.”

So much for reconquering the hive.

2 - Not an Interrogation?

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Twilight Sparkle was exasperated.

She had expected the violence to escalate, because that seemed typical of Queen Chrysalis to take things too far. The changeling queen had been increasingly erratic in her raiding habits and had been leaving more traumatized ponies and collateral damage in her wake. It had only gotten worse when the queen finally got wind of the reformed hive’s location.

Thorax and Pharynx had requested aid, because Chrysalis had spent her time amassing an army that easily dwarfed their own hive, which had an even smaller fraction of trained fighters. So Twilight had done what she believed would be most prudent with a true battle approaching.

She sent her astartes.

After the invasion of Canterlot, she had a healthy respect for what changelings goaded into action by Chrysalis could do, the kind of damage they could wreak. She wanted an opportunity to reform them, and had Starlight Glimmer on hoof for that very reason after her previous success with Thorax and his converts. However, to truly secure success, she needed to have Chrysalis properly restrained and given suitable incentive to cooperate, even if it was on pain of imprisonment. The most decisive means to this end was the might of Hesperos and Te’kan.

What she had not expected was reports of fatalities and returning to her castle to find Chrysalis chained in an impromptu interrogation cell in the Castle of Friendship. It had been easy to find from the fearful, buzzing tones of a panicking Chrysalis. Thankfully, she had interrupted the astartes before Hesperos had begun to pick at the changeling queen’s mental defenses.

It had taken some very careful, thoroughly exasperating explanation to the two warriors that no, there was to be no interrogation, and yes, she had very explicitly requested as little harm come to any as possible. She took their protests regarding the violence the queen’s forces had been perpetrating and that swift, decisive vengeance was in order in stride, but reminded them that was not how Equestria dealt with its adversaries.

Te’kan had stolidly stood by his actions, claiming that the peaceable changelings of Thorax’s hive needed defending, and predators such as Chrysalis’s brood were creatures worthy of no mercy while they actively trapped and harmed the others. Hesperos shrugged, generally agreeing with the Salamander while pointing out that none had been slain on the edge of his khopesh. Only the fanatical had been burned, and only those that had been immediately attacking Hesperos.

Chrysalis seethed with hate and fear, Twilight issued a longsuffering sigh, and then Twilight beckoned the astartes to follow her out of the room. Outside, a nervous Starlight waited he cue to enter and talk to the queen while Twilight continued her lecture to the astartes as they tread the halls of the castle.

Hesperos was more introspective than usual, ruminating on the sense of unease that lurked in the back of his perception.

3 - Give a Little

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Starlight was so thoroughly done.

Every attempt to get to know Chrysalis, to perhaps befriend her, or at least convince her to stop being so antagonistic, had been stonewalled. She had nearly lost her temper and done something regrettable had Spike not entered the room Chrysalis was being kept in (free of chains of course, though a magic dampener was secured on her horn). Honestly, the cookies and milk had been a welcome recharge and distraction.

She had consulted with Twilight and each of their friends each time an approach failed. Nothing had aided her in breaking the callous queen’s unwavering contempt. Twilight had practically needed to order her to take some time away to recharge. Trixie was back in town after one of her show tours, and provided an excellent opportunity to decompress. At least… as much as any pony could decompress around the bombastic showmare.

Hesperos and Te’kan had, generally, been kept away from Chrysalis. Twilight had felt their particular talents would be less than helpful at this stage of reformation. After Starlight had tried and failed, and Twilight’s attempts met a similarly disheartening reception, Hesperos decided it was time to step in.

The guards posted by Chrysalis’s room stiffened and questioned his presence, though they did so with a certain air of comradely respect, and he expressed the simple wish to talk and share with the queen. He even made a point to leave his weapons with the guards, though they had no doubt he would not need them to inflict fatal harm. They nonetheless understood the weight of the gesture, and tentatively allowed him entry, though one trotted away to inform the princess.

Hesperos dipped his helm to afford entry into the room as he did with many in the castle, and beheld the queen of the changelings.

Chrysalis’s… mane, or whatever it was, seemed more bedraggled than normal. Her chitin seemed more worn, and her defiant eyes were dimmer than when he had captured her. He noted everything with his perfect recall, expanding his study on such a singular specimen. Then he changed mental track from warrior-scholar to the being he had become serving the Princess of Friendship.

He knelt before the queen who stood with her back to the wall, a dangerous and desperate gaze locked on the rubricae. He offered a placating palm, gently pressing his thoughts out to her.

++Peace, Chrysalis, queen of changelings. I have come to learn, and perhaps to teach.++ Chrysalis snarled. Hesperos was impassive. This endured for some time, before the queen relented, shakily taking a seat. The rubricae simply observed. She was exhausted, seemingly drained. Her frame was perhaps even more meager that it had once been.

The queen appeared to be starving.

Hesperos understood the changelings fed on love, but he had precious little of that to give. It was simply… not something he was attuned to. So he opted for a shortcut.

Chrysalis tensed as she sensed the air around her change. The floor around the rubricae gained a thin sheen of hoarfrost as the warrior tapped into the tranquil currents of the Great Ocean around Equestria.

Hesperos had little love to give, but Equestria teemed with the stuff and inked the tides of the warp in it. His mental grasp dripped with the saccharine emotions as he pooled a measure together. Then, with a push, he directed it to Chrysalis.

The changeling gasped as she was flooded with a pure, undiluted love cast off from countless creatures. As it suffused her, she began to recover, if only slightly. The clearest giveaway was her eyes, clear and sharp and alert as they had not been for a long time, perhaps not since she had fed upon Shining Armor.

“What… are you?” she asked in cautious awe.

Though he had no physical features to change, Chrysalis simply knew the arrogant pile of metal was smirking faintly at her.

4 - Get a Little

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Twilight trotted at a quick step, not quite hurrying, but certainly with an air of trepidation as she accompanied the guard that had come calling upon her to inform her where Hesperos had gone. She trusted the giant warrior as much as anypony could, but knew precisely what he was capable of and what his feelings were regarding entities that threatened her.

She was surprised to hear Chrysalis’s buzzing voice faintly through the door as she reached for the latch. An ear pressed to the door did not help much with clarity, but she could certainly tell the queen was speaking as pompously as usual, but would pause for lengths of time as if listening for a reply before starting up anew.

Twilight’s brows knit in thought as she considered that Hesperos must be communicating with her via telepathy. A haughty laugh cut off her thoughts, then she stumbled back with a quiet yip as the door opened. Hesperos paused to look down, and she could tell despite his expressionless visage that he was bemused by her presence and looking askance of her. Beyond, Chrysalis was looking somewhat hale and lounged comfortably and arrogantly in her room.

“Ah, Twilight, dear, you never told me you kept such dangerous minions of your own. This one is positively monstrous. The stories he has to share…” she purred unnervingly. Twilight glanced between the two, receiving a guiltless shrug from the rubricae. She narrowed her eyes at him for a moment before looking back to Chrysalis.

“You’re looking well. Hesperos helped you out I take it?” Twilight asked hopefully.

The queen’s gaze hardened. “Unlike you ponies, he gave me the love I deserved.” Chrysalis smirked at the shocked and slightly flustered look that comment earned. “Now now, princess, get your mind out of the gutter. Your crimson killer knows how to negotiate like a changeling. A fair bargain: he knows how to channel love in a way I’ve never seen, and for it, I have agreed to… discuss where I stand with Equestria… and I suppose with you.” She feigned a yawn. “Shall we? I don’t want to take all day.”

Hesperos had disappeared long before Twilight broke from her stupor to question him about what had transpired.

Hesperos sat in his room at his table, a thick tome quickly filling with carefully penned notes about his encounter with Queen Chrysalis. Details of anatomy, reaction, psy-resonance, and other technical, physiological, and general psychological traits were all scribed in intricate detail from his recall, blessed with ever greater clarity as his psychic self healed and grew whole from his exposure to the strange energies of Equestria.

A separate, locked journal sat nearby, recently filled with the details of his conversation and interactions with every being he had met in Equestria, now with Chrysalis and personal theories on her character, his own, and how they interplayed. Among the lines of dialogue lay the foundations of one of a number of sworn pacts.

5 - A Day in the Life

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Sparks danced across the crystal floor of one of the Friendship Castle atriums. Blades clashed as Hesperos and Te’kan sparred. Te’kan was clad in his battle plate, as he had been during the changeling intervention. It had taken months of work to restore it to function, only achieved with the combined knowledge of the Thousand Son and fine magical control at Twilight’s command. Some of the components were of inferior quality, as Equestria lacked the means to fabricate some of the esoteric materials used in its original manufacture, but power armor had been restored to function with lesser resources available. The Heresy and millenia of war had seen to that.

Spike watched from a balcony as the astartes sparred, observing the difference in their movements and sword styles. Hesperos was not quite as swift as the Salamander, but each sweep, parry, and thrust had an almost aquatic economy of motion and fluid grace. Te’kan’s style suited his controlled, fiery temperament. His motions were sure and sudden, volcanic explosions of motion followed by calm before the onslaught resumed. His defense was intractable, his offense relentless.

The flare of cascading brilliance intensified as blades locked for a grapple, the power field of the power axe Te’kan had recovered from the crash site fitfully attempting to overwhelm the subtler energies of the psychically imbued khopesh sliding along its weighty edge. Te’kan shifted the blade lock suddenly to hook his opponent’s weapon and tear it away, but Hesperos countered with a wrenching motion of his own that ultimately saw the weapons slip from both their hands to rattle-clang to the crystal floor. The clash of ceramite greaves signalled their grapple to passers-by.

Spike was about to shove another handful of popcorn into his mouth when Twilight sprinted in, aghast, and pleaded with them to stop fighting. She grew understandably confused when Spike laughed raucously from the balcony, and she turned back to see Te’kan grinning as the two casually disengaged and Te’kan settled into banter.

It had taken quite some time for the Salamander to adjust to his new life living and working with the colorful equines of his new home, and even longer to break the hidebound suspicion and automatic hatred of the Thousand Son. After long, tense nights filled with minor quarrels (which ensured Twilight was ever fearful of a relapse), and the intervention of other ponies with checkered pasts seeking to mend fences millenia old, Te’kan had come to a cool comradeship with Hesperos in service to Twilight. Though he had not sworn himself to the princess the same as Hesperos had, the humanitarian mien of the Salamanders had meshed quite well with the Equestrian mentality, and he had found himself more inclined to defend the ponies and build a legacy of triumph over monsters and legends. One day, he reminded them, he would return to his chapter with more stories than they could dream. Hesperos likened him to the warrior poets of the old legion, which Te’kan had taken to heart.

Starlight trotted in, rolling her eyes as she moved to retrieve the discarded weapons, giving the curved sword a flourish, and smiling at the approving nod of the Thousand Son. She had been studying magic with him of late, and even bladework. Officially, at least, that was what Twilight had allowed. She did not need to know about the plasma pistol safely tucked away under Starlight’s bed. She floated the axe over to Te’kan, who nodded his thanks as he took it from her mage grasp, then fell into step beside Hesperos as they left to begin their lessons for the day.

For Spike, it was his signal to grab the bundle of parchment he had laid down nearby and run down to join Te’kan. He had taken to be a scribe for the giant warrior when he was not occupied working with Twilight or his personal goals. Today he was tackling tasks for Twilight and Te’kan both, as he learned and recorded more cultural and historical notes. It was less tedious work when it so intrigued him. The Salamander also respected him in a way no one else seemed to. It had shaken him at first when he had finally learned of the ritual hunt for the warrior’s namesake that saw him elevated to a space marine, but he understood the bestial nature of the animal in question and what it represented in their harsher reality. It had driven him to expand his own worldview, and he had begun to grow in more ways than one.

Twilight offered a sigh filled with equal parts long-suffering and amusement at the way things played out this day. Just another day in Ponyville. She frowned. That was what had been bothering her of late. It was just another day in Ponyville.

Why was she beginning to share Hesperos’s sense of foreboding?