Post by Hollyleaf ღ on Jul 13, 2016 15:57:47 GMT -5
Thanks for the critique, Light. I agree; I wish I could incorporate some humor in somewhere. Maybe I will in the chapters I haven't written yet. It's kind of tough to add some humor when you're focusing mainly on the story.
Thanks Forest and Gray! I'll post the next one.
Beware the ones yearning for justice
Two days had passed since the news of the attack, and fretful, uneasy conversations buzzed about the castle. Security had been doubled throughout the kingdom’s quarters, and every day Celestia watched a troop of soldiers going out on a daily commanded patrol to scout the immediate area; She’d overheard her mother state that the same course of action had been instructed for every other sector.
She’d also learned that the invasion had occurred in a large town called ‘Weathervane’. Unusual storms had been going on in that area and Princess Cloudwhisper had been sent there to monitor it, being the princess of weather itself. Vibrant suspected that whoever had attacked the city had something to do with the recently odd squalls. Meanwhile, Nebula and his own royal guard attempted to guess where the next incursion would take place.
No one knew enough to speculate who was behind it all. There were a few survivors who testified that a storm worse than the ones they’d witnessed before had rolled in and a terrifying darkness fell on the city, and suddenly creatures draped in dark armour plunged like birds upon the citizens and plucked ponies one-by-one, then disappeared into the clouds. All they could hear were screams from the residents, peculiar roars like a lion would produce, and loud squawks that reminded them of an eagle’s.
The entire description of it shook Celestia with a great disturbance. She could feel that something big was behind this, something with terrible intention…
The firm call of her name broke her from her thoughts. It was Nebula, his eyes wide with an unreadable expression.
She reminded herself that she was within the Crystal Hallway, and looked outside of the various windows lining the hall and saw that it was night.
A dark tint was upon the place due to the purple shades outside, and a moon nearing crescent hung in the deep blanket.
“Honey,” her father repeated, sounding more sympathetic this time. Celestia turned to meet his warm blue eyes.
“Sorry,” She muttered, “I keep drifting off.”
A sympathetic smile broke upon Nebula’s face. “I know it’s scary,” he murmured, “but we’ll figure this out soon enough. Don’t worry.”
Celestia searched her father’s gaze and knew that he wasn’t entirely certain, but in her desire for reassurance she allowed herself to believe him.
Nebula then looked out into the darkened view outside the windows and murmured, “Why don’t you come with me to my dorm?” He offered, then put in, “You should be getting some rest; you’re only a filly and you’ve been put through quite a lot of stress the past couple of days.”
In silence they walked back to his room, the two of them equally enveloped in their thoughts. She tried not to fret over how they would figure out who had launched the attack, or if something were to happen to one of her parents - and in result her coming sister - or where Princess Cloudwhisper had gone and if Starswirl would remain stable meanwhile her disappearance. But the more she shoved away the thoughts, the more they seemed to attack her. She squeezed her eyes shut and closed off every thought from her mind, trying to allow silence to occupy it.
Her father laid a wing on her shoulders and gently guided her into his room as he held the door open with his magic.
She closed her eyes as she snuggled into the comfy sheets on the bed and watched the shaft of light from the outside of the room shrink until the door closed with a faint thud.
Celestia began to run in the pitch-black halls of the castle, loud stomping echoing from directly behind her in pursuit. The thing behind her roared and Celestia squealed, quickening her pace and breaking through the breeze that was picked up in her speed, the air thick with her fear.
She could sense the creature catching up on her.
Then it did.
To her immense dismay she felt its claws pierce into her shoulders and forced her to the ground, its hot, stinky breath hitting her face. Then it began to shake her violently, and she let out a horrified yelp.
Celestia woke with a start, her eyes wide and her chest heaving as she wheezed with short, terrified gasps, her lungs clenching tightly. The realization hit her that during the dream she had been holding her breath. But she didn’t have much time to catch it.
As her eyes began to adjust she saw the shape of something just in front of her, and felt something gripping her shoulders, just as she’d experienced in her dream. She had no air left in her lungs to scream. Wriggling out of the grasp of the creature, she glared at it and slapped at what seemed to be its head.
Celestia widened her eyes, realizing that the voice sounded oddly familiar. Frustrated that she still hadn’t adjusted to the dark, she squinted to try to make out a clearer image of the creature.
She only heard the reply of a grunt.
Yeah, that’s him.
“What are you doing here?” She whispered furiously.
“I’m going on a little adventure,” he replied, “I want you to come with me.”
“Adventure?” She echoed irritably, her voice raising a little. “In the middle of the night?!”
Her eyes had adjusted enough to see Starswirl’s own eyes grow with caution.
“Keep it down!” He growled, then added, “And yeah. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
She felt frustrated that Starswirl knew very well how hard it was for her to turn down the opportunity of an exciting experience and was using the weakness against her.
After a moment of hesitation she puffed,
In response, Starswirl lightly leapt off of the bed, nodding toward the door as a gesture for Celestia to follow. Grunting with reluctance, she crept down while cautiously trying not to make a sound that could wake her father up as she landed and joined Starswirl just beside the door. He lit his horn and slowly cracked it open, then slunk through and entered the next room. Celestia followed and broke into a sprint as Starswirl began heading down towards the staircase and placed a hoof on the first step.
Once Celestia had caught up, they took their time down the stairs; She hadn’t even the slightest idea how long it had taken them, but it had already felt like an hour.
Just as Celestia was ready to start into the first corridor, Starswirl stopped her with a hoof and murmured,
“There’s a quicker way we can get out of here without alerting any guards.”
Celestia lifted an eyebrow with interest.
“How can we do that?” She whispered.
Starswirl looked out into the corridor to see if any guards were near. “It’s a spell that’s going to have to take the combination of our magic,” He responded after a moment, and then took a step towards her and dipped his head to touch his horn to hers. Then his horn lit with a golden glow and he instructed, “Start thinking of the park outside of the castle, in the area just in front of the forest.”
Celestia lit her own horn and began to imagine the lush expanse of grass and several flowers, and then focused on the very far side of the park where undergrowth surrounded it, trees and shrub lined up against the grass to form an entrance into its woodland.
White sparks flew from their twined horns.
Suddenly she felt the spell envelope them and complete in an abrupt flash. Then seemingly a second later, she could feel with certainty that they were in a completely different place.
She opened her eyes and took in her surroundings to see that they were just in front of the forest.
Her chest tightened with excitement once the realization hit her.
♦I'm the Forgotten Warrior ✽ an impossible girl ❀ raggedy and always running♦
Post by Hollyleaf ღ on Aug 13, 2016 14:57:30 GMT -5
Thank you! Next chapter up...!
What’s found in the forest
Celestia and Starswirl plodded through the forest side-by-side, but not a word was spoken between them. They had been wandering for hours and no explanation had been given to why Starswirl had brought her out here, in the forest, in the middle of the night. Celestia’s mind was abuzz with an abundance of questions and, because she couldn’t bring herself to speak up, she continuously attempted to solve every little thought that came up in her mind.
The more steps she took through the darkness with only the glow of their horns to see five feet ahead of them, the more her irritation and desire to quench her curiosity grew.
Finally, the words that had been sitting impatiently on her tongue for more than she could handle flew right out of her mouth, and at this point she didn’t know what would come out.
“Starswirl, why are we doing this?” She blurted. “You can’t just take me through a dark forest for who knows how long without even telling me what we’re doing or where we’re going! I’ve been literally blindly following you through this place and you haven’t said a word. If you don’t tell me what is going on in the next few seconds, i’m turning around right now.”
Starswirl’s eyes widened with surprise. Admittedly even she felt a spark of shock at how sharp her words had been.
But she didn’t feel like apologizing.
I have scarcely had any sleep these past few days and now i’m walking through the forest in the middle of the night without any reason, She thought in an attempt to justify herself, Why shouldn’t I be upset?
But yet she felt like the outburst had come out of nowhere, like the anger and the additional frustration hadn’t been her own.
Still she ignored the thought and stubbornly held Starswirl’s gaze as she waited for an answer.
“Fine,” he said.
For the first time Celestia noticed how his face seemed to sag with weariness. Her chest clenched faintly with momentary guilt, but then it disappeared, replaced again with the reminder that he had dragged her into something she didn’t understand.
Starswirl began, “This afternoon I was practicing a new spell and then I vaguely detected something unnatural… I sort of sensed an odd, different-feeling magic that seemed to be originating in this forest,”
He explained, his golden eyes darkened with an unreadable expression.
“Okay,” She muttered, “why are you so interested in this? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to send some guards to check it out?”
Starswirl’s eyes lit a little and he replied, “I did a little while afterwards and they plan to send out a few scouts in a couple days... But... Celestia, I can’t wait that long.”
His golden eyes suddenly glowed with a look of determination that scared Celestia a little.
“Why not?” She asked, her eyes narrowed.
“Along with the feeling of the odd magic, I could sense… I thought I found just the faintest hint of…”
His voice trailed off.
“Of what?” Celestia persisted.
“My… my mom,”
Starswirl replied, his tone so intense that Celestia wondered if she should try and talk him out of this belief. She felt as if his mind had conjured up the sense of his mother in its yearning for her return.
“Maybe we should go back and leave it to the guards to figure out,” She muttered.
Starswirl’s eyes grew with desperation.
“NO!” He exclaimed.
“Come on,” She sighed exasperatedly, “I’m sure that if you told the guards you felt that your mom had something to do with this, they’d send out a search much sooner!”
Starswirl shook his head.
“It’s too late now. We’re so close… if we wait any longer something could happen to her that we... may not want to find.”
Celestia let out a groan and Starswirl doggedly exclaimed,
“It’s my responsibility to find her!”
Celestia paused for a moment and met his distraught gaze, her mind suddenly opening up to what he seemed to need her to understand.
“My dad is busy with all these guard duties now because of the attack. Nopony likes my mom because she married a sentry, so they aren’t going to find it as important to look for her. She is my mother, and now that i’ve made it this far, I cannot let her down!
“I am the only pony that is family and willing to find her right now, and I let my guard down to show you that I trust you enough with this situation to come with me. Please, just do me this one favor. If you do, I promise that I will never forget it.”
The irritation seemed to leave her in one breath as she heaved a sigh, replaced with the desire that rang in her heart to be a true friend to Starswirl in his time of need.
She agreed, her gaze becoming firm with determination. She felt like herself again.
She met Starswirl’s gaze once more, but to her surprise she found for the first time a new look breaking through his icey golden eyes - like the door of his world had been opened up, the hard stone barrier that had protected his heart cracking a little.
“Thanks,” He muttered curtly despite the expression that his face gave away, and then began to walk again, sparking light from his horn once more in order to see ahead. The night was gradually growing darker and darker, but almost unnoticeably, like an intruder of the sky.
Now that she was no longer focusing on trying to find answers and the unusual aggravation creeping into her thoughts like a virus, her mind was clear. The problem was that it was now open to a rising fear that quickly grew as they moved further into the woodland, her heart beating a little faster in her chest every second they moved further towards their destination.
“Starswirl?” She whispered quietly, almost coming off as a whimper, “Are we almo--”
Her grey-blue friend cut her off: “We’re nearing the area. I can see this orange-ish light up ahead.”
She squinted to see ahead. The light of their horns were making it difficult to see any other source of light in the deep darkness, but sure enough she spotted the appearance of a source of light in the distance, glinting with an odd orange color as Starswirl had affirmed.
“It must be fire,” She observed.
She looked up at the sky, feeling the fear surge through her once more, and thought urgently,
Please protect us, even from up there… Please let us be okay.
Starswirl nudged her with a hoof and together - now no longer using the light produced by their magic - they felt their way around the undergrowth and focused on the gleam, which became brighter as they moved closer towards the source of the odd magic that Starswirl had felt earlier.
She started to hear the echo of voices and quickly ducked behind a bush while Starswirl joined her, and strained her ears to make out the words of the creatures that were speaking around the fire. At first all she could detect was gibberish.
Finally she caught a few words from someone with a deep, raspy voice.
Starswirl furrowed his brows and whispered, “We need to move a little closer.”
Celestia’s eyes widened with fear, but Starswirl stared back at her with urgence, and reluctantly she crept from the shelter of the bushes and followed her friend to the next nearest hiding spot.
Starswirl pointed out to her the shelter of a few brambles and slunk behind them. Celestia settled beside him and once again attempted to listen in on the conversation, trying to ignore the loud crackling of the fire.
“We shouldn’t have to wait until morning,”
One murmured, his voice dripping with anticipation.
“We must perfect the tantabus,” Another one growled, his voice deep, but smooth and imposing.
That must be their leader, Celestia realized. Suddenly her fear grew even greater, and her heartbeat rang loudly in her ears, drowning out the discussion of the creatures.
He’s the one who influenced that attack that harmed so many and took down even an alicorn! There’s no way he won’t find us - we’re going to DIE!
But another voice popped up in her mind as she attempted to reason with herself and sooth her worry with rationality.
It’s not like he’ll just be able to tell that we’re here. We just have to be super careful and make sure we don’t make any sudden sounds.
Celestia let out a silent, slow breath.
Then her eyes widened as the leader spoke again after several impatient sighs from his companions.
“Alicorn magic takes time to completely filter into my own,” he murmured, “Once perfected it will be a powerful darkness that can overtake any alicorn. And then… once we pluck those royal pains one-by-one, we’ll take their magic to add to the tantabus. We mustn’t rush or haste… We must plan and execute with precision.”
She suppressed a terrified squeal when he added,
“And if any of you question me again, with absolute sincerity I will make you regret it with every ounce of your sorry little half-blooded bodies…”
A scream rang suddenly, then was cut off after an abrupt sound of an explosion that could have only been produced from magic.
Afterwards she only detected whimpers.
“You … just disintegrated him,” one of the creatures croaked.
There was a short moment of silence, then the leader’s smooth voice answered without emotion,
“I just gave you a warning.”
♦I'm the Forgotten Warrior ✽ an impossible girl ❀ raggedy and always running♦