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dragonofruin

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Everything posted by dragonofruin

  1. The king rumbled softly as he looked around, trying to figure out what doorway would be the likeliest looking one to lead them to the library. The second floor could wait; they could just work their way up if they couldn't find anything on the ground floor. "I think I might like to start with the halls to our right, first. Judging from how this place looked on the outside, it might be somewhere off in that direction," Sombra mused, heading off across the worn stone floor for the closest arching doorway. They, he noticed, were a fair bit taller than himself. Perhaps a little taller than Celestia at her strange height, and the hallway looked wide enough for a few ponies to walk side by side. At least the castle was roomy.. and perhaps plenty of places to get lost in. Not him of course, but perhaps somepony else.. if ever Sombra felt inclined to lose poor Heart Shield in here. The umbrum had to stifle a chuckle and moved in to the dimly lit hall. "After we find the library, or perhaps before, I wouldn't mind getting a good look at what's left of this place. Do a bit of sightseeing. I'd like to see what the royal sisters left behind with my own eyes."
  2. Sombra couldn't tell if there was any guilt in the satisfaction he felt when he discovered that the crystal he'd formed stayed in place, all unwittingly tested by Apple Bloom. He hadn't expected her to nonchalantly walk across it to calm Alizarin, if that was what she was doing, but she had. He only hoped it'd hold his weight, as she was just a filly. Her attempts to calm the earth pony mare aside, Sombra paid some attention to what Apple Bloom said about the quicksand as he briefly glanced up to check on the others. Fluttershy was dealing with the stuck deer, who the umbrum wasn't terribly concerned about, and the Captain who'd gone to land, presumably to get the very rope she mentioned, the same that Alizarin called for. Sombra waited until Apple Bloom had returned to dry land before he approached the edge of the quicksand, and his crystal, though he paused at the edges. "Where do you think you're-.. !" Sombra started to protest when Apple Bloom darted by him and off towards the trees. Investigating? These woods were too dangerous for a-... He stopped his thoughts there, a confused scowl on his face. Obviously there was nothing he could do about Apple Bloom, it wasn't as if he was her caretaker or anything. He would've considered whether he should say something to her if Alizarin's panic hadn't become so apparent, and he chose to focus on the issue at hoof. The filly could handle herself. A foreleg lifted and Sombra hesitated to step out onto the crystal he'd formed. While he'd never suffered from nearly drowning in his life and had never been in anything too deep, he knew he couldn't swim and there was something in Alizarin's panic that bothered him, echoing a little of his own fear. All his bravado and nonchalance hid that he was a coward- the king would do anything to protect his own skin, though he was never beneath fighting somepony or something if a situation came to blows. Sombra forced himself to move and gingerly stride out across the plank of a crystal, hopefully before anypony could notice his hesitation, and he bent down, reaching a foreleg out to the struggling mare to see if he couldn't grab one of her forelegs. If anything, he could at least try to drag her closer to the crystal so she'd have something to hold onto if he just couldn't get her out himself. This was probably where the Captain's rope might come handy; they might both be able to get poor Alizarin out of the quicksand. And probably deal with the deer in a similar fashion, he supposed.
  3. A shadow overhead prompted Sombra to look up and catch a glimpse of Heart Shield soaring over, having crossed the chasm himself and avoiding the rickety rope bridge. His expression was one of mild annoyance as, because of this, Heart Shield had taken the lead, the first to reach the old castle doors; tall, double doors, with metal rings for handles. The wood was faded and worn from age and weather, and the metal on it was rusted. "I'm sure it was pleasing to look at. I still find Equestrian architecture interesting, and what it might've looked like a thousand years ago was likely far better than the eyesore of Canterlot or.." Sombra trailed off with a frown. Well, Canterlot castle wasn't so bad. It'd taken him a while to get used to it, but it wasn't bad. "No, the Crystal Empire's palace is what I was thinking of." He sneered, a lip lifting back from a fang. The expression faded once he strode up the stairs alongside Heart Shield and used a hoof to push the doors open onto a grand foyer, a large hall that was a fair bit longer than Canterlot's with a few doors on each side of it leading off towards various parts of the castle. There were metal brackets mounted on the walls by each where torches would've burned once, and up ahead were stairs. It branched off into two that lead up to the left and right, leading up to the same landing that had possible paths that lead off through the castle's second floor. Sombra wasn't sure where to start on finding the library in this place- whether in its prime or in ruins, it was likely going to be a maze of halls and rooms. "According to some stories, they weren't. Some say Starswirl approached them, as well as the leader of each tribe, thinking that alicorns might rule them indifferently. Ponies couldn't rule themselves because of their racism, so outsiders were a better option to them at the time." He paused, blinking after he realized something. "You know, I've never thought to ask Celestia for the truth of all that happened. I'm around her often enough and yet I never thought to until now." Annoyed with himself, Sombra rolled his eyes and strode into the gloom. The interior wasn't quite as worn as the exterior, but there was visible damage, and chunks of the ceiling were missing. Plants grew up through the cracks in the stone floor, pillars were chipped, and two old fraying banners hung from the arched ceiling. These Sombra eyed with interest.
  4. Sombra made a noise in his throat, amused by the frantic tone in Heart's voice. "As I said, I don't think Celestia had a clue to what she was doing.. Unless she was being malicious, if she saw her poor little sister as just another 'villain' to beat." He inclined his head. "Although, as I know the mare to some extent, it sounds as if it was the former." The umbrum glanced back at Heart Shield, a frown back across his muzzle in response to how stubbornly the guard was insisting that they, as princesses, just couldn't be questioned because of their status. He snorted softly and slowed his pace once the trees began to thin out and ahead, the castle was more visible against the open sky. There was a chasm, over which hung a very old, rickety rope bridge. Some of the planks were missing, and the remaining ones Sombra didn't trust in the least. He'd much rather teleport across than try it, but before he did anything he chose to try to get through to Heart Shield for a moment longer. "They're not perfect. They're flawed individuals, like mortals are. They weren't always royalty either, from my knowledge.." The history books never mentioned where the royal sisters came from, only that Starswirl approached them about leading Equestria so they could rule the three tribes impartially. Sombra shrugged. "I get that you have to follow orders as a Royal Guard, but it's always.. healthy to question those orders and those who give them. They're not always right about everything." He wasn't entirely sure that he could say a thing to help Heart Shield begin to think more for himself, but he could try. Regardless, they were here now after.. what? A couple hours' walk? Sombra moved ahead, magic briefly flickering around his horn as he teleported himself across the chasm in a flash of dark magic.
  5. "It almost sounds as if you think Princess Luna chose that. I doubt Celestia understood what she was doing, either," Sombra put in with a small frown still lingering on his muzzle. His pace slowed so that he could drop back to walk at Heart Shield's side and look down at the off-duty guard. No place? How could any of these ponies think they couldn't question their leaders? Sombra knew from personal experience that princesses were terribly flawed, imperfect, despite their attempts to fool everypony into thinking otherwise, and he felt that to not question them was to be foolish to trust them. He trusted one once and look at how that turned out! The umbrum scowled. "You should always question them. Questioning your 'superiors', or anypony, is to have a healthy skepticism in those that are strangers. The only reason the princesses even have power is because they've made you believe they do, when really they have no say." Tossing his mane, he strolled ahead, spying the glint of sunlight finally shining through the trees. It meant there was a clearing, and one that meant they were close to the cliffs the castle sat on. "Besides, I doubt Celestia would do anything if you simply asked a curious question about her life and what happened with Luna," Sombra rumbled, flicking his tail as his pace increased to a quick trot. Their path to the castle would let them break away from the winding river and step back into the woods, but the brush was thinner here, and he could already spy the silhouette of something tall and jagged in the distance: the ruins.
  6. A grey ear flicked back towards Heart Shield's voice, pondering the details of Princess Luna's story aloud and about her thousand year banishment. The king had been banished for as long as she had, if not a little longer.. He already knew that detail. Before he could think to tell Heart Shield about the general details behind Princess Luna's banishment, he overheard Heart Shield's thought and Sombra's hoofsteps faltered. I couldn't imagine spending a thousand years completely alone like that. "It's not the least bit fun. I could only imagine what it was like being banished to the moon. I had to endure an icy void," Sombra put in softly with a small twitch of his tail. It was something that bothered him, and while it was still relatively recent by a few months. Not a day went by he wasn't glad he was free of that place, and he never wanted to go back for any reason. Perhaps something had favored him when Celestia changed her mind about him so quickly, although he still wasn't quite sure why she had. "It wasn't so much what Luna did than it was what ponies had done, or rather.. what they failed to do." Picking up a different thread of conversation in the brief silence, the umbrum pushed on, acting as if he hadn't just shared that little tidbit. "All the stories say that ponies failed to appreciate Princess Luna and favored her sister more, all because her sister raised the sun and ponies being a diurnal species.. of course they would adore the princess of the day." Sombra cocked his head. "I imagine, in the details left out of such foal's tale-like stories and legends that Princess Luna was largely nocturnal, and she was likely left isolated and left feeling unappreciated and alone because of it. That, and her sister's failure to listen to her about anything, or perhaps brushing off her concerns and feelings, was what eventually left Princess Luna to grow angry and jealous about being treated so differently. So.. she gave in and had a confrontation with Celestia, and in that it corrupted Luna, turning her into something else. I'm not entirely sure what, but she'd shed her old name and took on a new mantle. Celestia apparently used the Elements of Harmony, and banished her." He frowned in thought, puzzling over Heart Shield's question. Why hadn't Celestia used the Elements to do what they'd later done? Maybe Celestia was in such a panic she hadn't thought to, or simply viewed Luna as another dangerous villain to lock away. They certainly had a habit of doing so, from what he read of old legends and alleged history. Discord, himself, Tirek.. "I can't really say, not knowing any of that personally. Perhaps you could ask Celestia when we're back at the castle," Sombra put in with a proverbial shrug. "As for the ruins, we'll see. It shouldn't be much further now."
  7. Sombra had set them on the path of following the river, which was going to help give them some direction to go in despite how the river wound through the wild forest. This allowed him to take some of his focus off of where they were going in favor of looking back at Heart Shield and caught a glimpse of that faint blush on the stallion's grey cheeks. There was always something about making ponies blush that sparked something in him that Sombra could never really place a hoof on. He could only puzzle over it and discard it for now to be studied and picked at later once he had the time to himself to do so. "Who knows? Perhaps Celestia simply abandoned the place after what happened with Princess Luna- she couldn't face the shame of what she was responsible for, something all those stories and legends fail to account for. They only praise Celestia for what she did, if they mention names or any identifying details at all." His snout wrinkled. It was easy to see, from an outsider's perspective who'd never grown up with such a butchered version of history to thoughtlessly consume, to pick out all the flaws in the telling of it and how ponies had viewed what happened through what they'd written. "If there's anything I might agree with, it would be that. Although I might word it differently, that we'd at least bothered to investigate and learn something, or at least find something in those ruins. I just wonder how bad those ruins must be after a thousand years, or if we'll be able to navigate it well enough."
  8. The shadow king only glanced over at the rustle of a bird escaping from the low foliage, unperturbed, but he had noticed how it'd startled Heart Shield. He smirked, eying the stallion for a brief moment before he looked ahead again, recalling his memory of the Equestrian map- specifically this part of it. The river that flowed around the east side of Ponyville split off into the Everfree, though if he recalled correctly.. Sombra angled their stroll through the forest to the left, intent on making sure they could run into the river so that they could follow it as close to the castle ruins as they could manage. Some of the maps and information he'd come across suggested it would be on a cliff. "We won't know until we get there," the umbrum thought to remind Heart Shield with a lift of one eyebrow. "I can't really see how they'd just be old novels. I don't think modern things like that existed a thousand years ago, although there were certainly plenty of stories recorded on pages. Many myths and legends and snippets from history, supposedly. I would know, the Crystal Empire had some of its own." The rumble of his voice filled the near-silence of the forest where they walked. There was still enough quiet ambience that when silence fell between them, it didn't fall entirely. The soft rustle of leaves and faint birdsong, and eventually.. the silvery sound of water. They were getting close. They'd come across it soon enough, a murky green-blue. The waters weren't running terribly fast, but even then Sombra had no intention of even ending up in it. He turned away, moving along the river's edge instead- and at a distance, too.
  9. It became apparent what those calls of distress were coming from when their charge through the forest came to a swift halt, and a look past the foliage told Sombra exactly what he was looking at; the others commenting on it certainly helped explain it for him. Quicksand. Something he'd read and knew about, but never saw or experienced for himself- after all, much of this world was unexplored for him, something he wanted to rectify at any chance he could seize now that he finally had the freedom to. The creature the calls were coming from was a deer, stuck in the sand and struggling. Sombra couldn't feel any particular pity for it. A flash of yellow up above showed him where exactly Fluttershy had gone, who he'd lost track of once he rushed off into the forest after Alizarin. His ears perked. Rope? There was something of an idea rolling around in his mind, not one he acted on quite yet when he was uncertain about the quicksand.. and helping, for that matter. It didn't concern him. It was only once he heard a branch snap! somewhere up above, and Alizarin, who he hadn't been paying attention to in that moment, came tumbling down into the quicksand herself. Stuck. Ears pinning back, Sombra debated with himself, red eyes flicking from the Captain and Apple Bloom to Fluttershy, who he judged probably wasn't strong enough to pull Alizarin out if she couldn't even help the deer. He began to question himself as soon as he spurred himself into moving, striding past the filly and the red armored mare towards the edge of the strange patch of sand, where he paused. He didn't know what the others were planning on doing, and so the umbrum disregarded them for the moment. Sombra couldn't be certain of how it might work with so loose a material, so he instead focused on the solid ground at the edge close to where he stood. The familiar effect of dark magic was evident in his eyes as he used it to summon one of his trademarks: a flat black crystal. It split the earth and protruded towards the quicksand, albeit far slower than it would've usually moved as he actually bothered to take some care with it. Sombra didn't want to hit Alizarin, (or the deer for that matter, considering how Fluttershy might react). It was what he could think to do, better than any other option, though whether it might work remained to be seen. They weren't exactly finished here.
  10. An audible snort escaped the umbrum at the brief list of belongings he was given. A compass was useful, perhaps.. and for any non-unicorn ponies, lanterns too; but Sombra was here with all his magic at his disposal. Who'd need lockpicks, or any other such tools, for that matter, with a unicorn (or at least one that had the appearance and abilities of one) present? Maybe what Heart Shield had brought along was useful, at least that he'd been told of thus far, but he could have doubts that the rest of it could be. His tail swished behind him and he glanced back at Heart Shield, pleased to see both the red possible shame on the other stallion's cheeks, as well as the fact that the pegasus was beginning to question the princesses. Of course it was only about something like 'why didn't Celestia go back for her things?' instead of anything bigger, like why Celestia ran Equestria the way she did and had history told a certain way, close to the manner in which stories and foal's tales were sometimes told. Why was everything built up the way it was? Among many other questions. Maybe Heart Shield had some potential.. "I suppose. Some of the knowledge that must reside there could be the only copies of those books left from that era. I'm sure the Canterlot Archives and other libraries have updated versions, but the original books? What might they contain?" An eyebrow quirked upward as another look was cast back at the pegasus. "Who really knows? We won't, unless we get to that castle and see what we can uncover about your supposedly good and benevolent rulers."
  11. His eyebrows rose and Sombra glanced over at Heart Shield with half-lidded eyes. "I suppose we could. It'll get us there most of the way," Sombra replied with a sigh, as if he was relenting to a demand instead of a suggestion. Before he looked away from the off-duty guard, he glanced down at the stallion's saddlebags, curious about what could possibly be making that rattling sound. He'd just have to find out later, wouldn't he? "If you're here for books and valuables, why did you bring saddlebags already full of.. whatever that is?" Sombra thought to ask, as he looked ahead. It hadn't taken them long to get through the winding streets of Ponyville and out onto the outskirts where soon, the Everfree Forest loomed. It was nothing like anywhere else in Equestria he'd seen, and perhaps he liked it for just that reason. It was unique. It was also dark, and ponies avoided it for its dangers. Sombra trotted into its heavy shade, undaunted, a small smirk crossing his muzzle. The dark shadows cast by the trees, even during the day, didn't bother a creature such as he- he could see well enough in the dark without needing a candle or a summoned werelight to see by, and it was far better than the numerous sunny days that seemed to plague Equestria. "We'll see what sort of adventure we find here in the Everfree, even if we might not find the 'books and valuables' you seek to pilfer from the royal pony sisters' old castle," Sombra spoke up again, his powerful voice carrying his words easily. "I wonder what they'd say if they found out. I also can't help but wonder why they, or at least Celestia, didn't get their remaining belongings out before she decided to move to Canterlot. Though if I recall the information from the history books correctly, Canterlot was still being in the process of being built by the unicorns then. I wonder how pleased they were when their great savior chose their city as her seat of power," he mused, some sarcasm lacing his tone in the latter statement.
  12. His question evidently didn't need to be answered. The others had heard that yelp well enough, and all concern for the squirrel flowed towards whatever the source of that yelp might have been. Albeit, the normally timid yellow mare became surprisingly irate with Alizarin over the squirrel, something that raised Sombra's eyebrows. He already expected that reaction from Alizarin, but not from Fluttershy after he'd been around them long enough to get a read on each pony's particular personality. Fluttershy's courage, however, didn't last long after that distant distress. Sombra rumbled softly in his throat, barely managing to take a couple of steps towards that edge of the clearing when a little yellow and red blur flashed by him and disappeared into the dark. Apple Bloom. If he could have any concern for any of the ponies here, it was at least for the filly; she could very easily come to harm, running off into these woods on her own. Soon enough, the Captain and Fluttershy were disappearing into the dark, leaving him alone with Alizarin. The shadow king moved up next to the farmpony, a small frown on his face. "Naturally. We should probably make sure they don't throw themselves directly into danger." An eyeroll followed his statement. Normally he would just stay behind and let them run into whatever was taking the animals in these woods, if it didn't involve what he assumed it was, or if it was anything like it. Not that he was here to play protector.. The Captain was likely the only other pony there with them who might know how to fight, though he wasn't sure how capable Alizarin might be too. The words Ah trust ya caught him by surprise, snapping him out of the short flow of his thoughts while Alizarin had been lighting her candle, and he looked around at her with wide eyes. Why would she trust him? He blinked and spurred himself to move, running after the mare. It was easy enough to catch up with her with his longer stride, and it wasn't long before the pair of them finally caught up with the rest of the group. Letting Alizarin do the talking, he peered ahead, hoping to catch any sign of whatever they might be coming up on.
  13. His ear twitched back towards the stallion's voice, the only sign that he was acknowledging that Heart Shield spoke at all. He could hear the hesitance in the pony's tone. "Beyond wandering the very edges of the woods, I've never really set hoof in the Everfree Forest before," he replied, and there was a brief pause, one he purposefully left to see if the statement created any dismay in Heart Shield. "However, I've looked at the maps and it just seems to be in the southeast part of the Everfree Forest, somewhere just east of the Ghastly Gorge. It shouldn't be terribly difficult to find it. If I recall correctly, we can either follow the river that seems to flow through the woods, or we can simply walk until we find the cliffs." There was a dry tone to his voice that suggested he found the question a waste of his time to answer. Of course he wouldn't get them lost- or at least, he wouldn't get himself lost.. Sombra lifted his eyes to the sky and snorted softly. The second question Heart Shield had to ask had to be given some consideration. What was he seeking? Well, information mostly, as well as a chance to look in on the royal sisters' old castle. There was something else, something he was equally curious about, but it was something he decided against telling Heart Shield; just as he'd decided not to tell anypony else. Sombra couldn't remember if he ever mentioned it to Raven, as she was the only he just might consider telling. "I have some curiosities. I'd like to see what old books survived the castle's near destruction and what secrets might be hidden in those ruins. What of yourself? I don't remember if you ever told me."
  14. Sombra's snout immediately wrinkled. "Don't be foul. This disguise is hideous compared to my actual appearance," he snapped back and strode past the pony, his tail flicking behind him; he may or may not have attempted to flick Heart Shield in the face with it. Whether or not that he managed, he didn't bother to look. "I do," he deigned to answer, heading towards the edge of the platform. The umbrum was eager to be off, and he knew just where to go. It wasn't as if traversing Ponyville to reach the Everfree Forest would be hard, it only bordered the south side of the town- right across from the very station they were still at. He'd looked at the maps, of both the Equestrian map and the map that involved the area Ponyville was in, all found in Canterlot's libraries. Without another word, Sombra was off, intent on getting across town so that he might finally shed his disguise in the heavy shade of the Everfree Forest, and find that old castle. He'd never gotten to see it before, not when it was newly built, nor when it was in ruins. There was something of a depiction of its ruins on one of the maps that he'd managed to find, but drawings and depictions could never really do the real thing justice.
  15. As much as Sombra hadn't wanted to, he chose to go out into the city under a disguise when the time came for him to leave. The disguise was that of a generic unicorn stallion, pastel fur, white mane, green eyes. It worked well enough for his purposes, as much as he hated to hide his good looks. He boarded the train, and he wasn't sure if he'd glimpsed Heart Shield at one point- he'd met him once and only ever saw him with his armor on at that time. Whether or not it was that very stallion, Sombra made no attempt to greet him or make his presence known. He just picked an isolated section of one of the train cars to sit in and stare out the window, to watch the world go by once the train started moving. The train's journey down the mountain to Ponyville seemed, at least to Sombra once it eventually reached Ponyville's train station, like it'd fallen into this strange in-between place where it simultaneously felt like it'd been an eternity and like it hadn't taken long- he certainly wouldn't say it 'took no time at all'. It still seemed to stretch on for a time. Sombra was glad when they finally reached their destination, and he rose to disembark once the train's assistants finally opened all the car doors. He sauntered out, eying the crowd of ponies for a semi-familiar pegasus. He knew, at least, that Heart Shield stood out just enough with his grey fur and the blue streaks in his mane- that is, if he was remembering him correctly. The tyrant himself, while disguised, could've been easy enough to spot- all a pony had to do, at least those who either knew or had interacted with him, was look for his signature grumpy expression, apparent even in any disguise that he crafted for himself. As his eyes swept across the crowd between himself and the train station's wooden building, he spied Heart Shield out on one of the benches against the wall. Looking a bit more alert, Sombra headed straight towards him, green eyes boring into the grey stallion's own. "Good to see you came."
  16. They can be used in the main section, O: It has some requirements that characters fit into the universe, (I've been struggling on a way to phrase it and this is the closest thing I can manage xD) and you can put in an application for your character(s) to be able to play them in the main section. The staff are definitely willing to help you out with anything on your application. There's also http://www.canterlot.com/topic/14150-fluttershys-creature-compendium-roleplay-species-list/ and http://www.canterlot.com/topic/12309-raritys-simply-fabulous-application-form/ that might be of help for any information.
  17. The glowing eyes in the dark had him on edge, and it didn't help that most of the others were trying to talk to the owner of those eyes as if it would respond. It annoyed him. Whatever lurked in the bushes wasn't here to talk.. although Sombra was beginning to doubt it was dangerous. Despite the glow of the eyes, they didn't seem to belong to anything big.. He tensed as Alizarin was the one to make the first move and approached it. He had to fight himself not to move when she suddenly stumbled back.. .. and it turned out to just be a squirrel. Dark magic flickered blackly around the curve of his horn and he scowled, briefly debating on lashing out at it just to scare it off. Despite his irritation, Sombra eventually decided against it and let himself relax. He didn't want to frighten the young filly, Apple Bloom, nor did he want to end up making Fluttershy more scared of him than she already was if he was to ever try to hold any sort of conversation with her later on; not if he was hurting animals. The others wouldn't have been as much of a problem. Alizarin and the Captain were the only ones that came off nigh unshakeable. Sombra turned, ready to throw himself back down on top of his sleeping bag when the ground began to rumble underneath their hooves. "Either that's the squirrel army or it's whatever must be in this forest causing trouble," Sombra replied dryly. His gaze returned to the shadowy treeline. He'd heard a yelp from something, deep out in the woods. He couldn't determine whether it had been a pony's frightened yelp, or perhaps a sound made by an injured animal.. only that it was a yelp. "Did you hear that?"
  18. Don't do anything evil. He'd heard what the Captain had said when he'd been walking away, and it lingered on his mind as he settled down on the sleeping bag he'd brought with him; he likely wouldn't be doing any sleeping, but it was cushy enough to relax on instead of the hard ground. He was neither blind or stupid. What he'd done in the Crystal Empire? It was horrendous, and yet he'd gone through with it anyway for his own reasons. Many of them selfish, and vengeful, as well as the intent to keep himself alive and to some extent, to protect himself. If ponies had treated him badly before, they would have done worse if they'd discovered his true nature before he had any chance to act. It was good he'd always been a step ahead.. Up until a point. Would he do anything.. evil.. here? He internally scoffed. It wasn't likely. This was just an investigation, unless somepony got in his way in one way or another. Sombra rested his chin against a propped up forehoof, his elbow digging into the cushy material of the sleeping bag while he watched the group settling in to the campsite. Ponies set out sleeping bags or propped up tents, and soon food and drinks were making an appearance. He eyed what he could see, especially the bottle of something the Captain pulled out and soon offered to Alizarin. It hadn't escaped his notice that she'd set up near him, and he briefly met her gaze when she'd been looking his way. The growing firelight of the campfire Apple Bloom was building briefly reflected in his eyes as he watched, curiously, as Alizarin took a drink from the bottle the Captain offered. From his spot, he could smell something strong, but couldn't place it; he wasn't familiar with Equestria's hard drinks. As curious as he was to try it himself, he hesitated, glancing away to look in on what the others were still up to. His eyes briefly lingered on Fluttershy, who was fussing over a small white bunny. His brow furrowed. Where had that come from? He hadn't noticed it before. No matter.. Sombra couldn't help making a mental note to ask the timid mare some questions, if he could, at some point, although what questions he could ask her he wasn't sure. Mostly curiosities like 'Were you at the Crystal Empire with a group of mares?' and.. well, he didn't really know what else he wanted to know yet. His tail flicking, he turned back towards Alizarin and the Captain, dropping his hoof onto his sleeping bag as he straightened up in his spot. "I'd like-.." he began and was stopped short by a soft sound. His eyes followed the direction Alizarin's head had turned to a spot somewhere behind her, in the dark.. The sight of glowing eyes had Sombra on his hooves at once, his body tensed.
  19. The dark woods ahead of him would have to wait just a little longer. The one they referred to as the Captain seemed to have finally registered his presence there and blocked his path, to them, as well as to the loosely gathered group of ponies scattered in this open, moon-lit space. What snatches of conversation he'd heard were quickly set aside in favor of the one who'd grabbed his attention so thoroughly. Sombra met the armored mare's fierce eyes and couldn't help but be a little impressed by how undaunted she was when facing him, even challenging him. The tug at the corner of his mouth that would've formed an amused smirk quickly faded as he took in what she said, and what it sounded like she was avoiding trying to say. The last part of it was nonsense, but he could figure out what it was she meant through both context and how that nonsense sounded; it wasn't hard. He most assuredly should've died that day, and yet.. he hadn't. Some small part of him had survived the magic that'd torn the rest of him apart, and it'd taken a few years for his magic and his body to re-form from what remained. In that time he'd been less than the meanest ghost haunting the frozen wastes, and once he'd finally awoken, it was as if almost no time had passed with what little he could remember of that disembodied experience. The Crystal Heart, he felt, must've at least done him the favor of smacking some sort of sense back into him after how he'd acted before. His tail flicked. In unnerving quickness, he closed the gap between them with just a few short steps, using his height to loom over the mare. His eyes blazed and he lowered his head until his snout was mere inches from hers, lips peeling back from the monstrous teeth he bared at her. "Go ahead. Say it." His voice was a low growl. "I can assure you I'm no changeling, no pretender. I'm the real thing, in the flesh~." The umbrum tilted his head as he met the Captain's gaze evenly, his eyes narrowing. His expression changed upon hearing the filly, Apple Bloom, speak. Daring to break off his little staring contest, Sombra looked over at her and straightened up, his expression softening and his voice changing to a silky-smooth purr. "As a matter of fact, I am. I've heard some rumors about it that has made it interesting enough to check out, with good reason. There won't be a problem at all." His red gaze flicked past Apple Bloom towards the fearful Fluttershy, who was already heading off with the filly, and back to the Captain. An eyebrow rose. The others were leaving while they were still having their little standoff here, and as much as he enjoyed the posturing (as if his anger hadn't flared at what the Captain implied with Fluttershy's friends), he'd rather get to the bottom of this mystery. He certainly didn't need Alizarin's insistence to get moving. Flashing the armored mare a smirk, Sombra stepped around her and started after the others, following them into the woods to the campsite Alizarin lead them too. It was a nice little clearing with a rock-lined firepit at the center. After a quick look around, he picked a spot apart from the others and settled down, his magic brushing through one of the saddlebags under his plain cape to pull out something he could lay on. It'd probably be best if somepony else handled the fire instead of him.
  20. A few days ago I prepared half a post to finish once it came around to my turn again and Canterlot seems to have eaten it. I usually try and want to put in my best efforts with my writing so if my post seems particularly short and shoddy, I'm sorry. edit; i seem to have managed something, I just had to leave out some things i wanted to acknowledge in order to. 😧 It's not as good as it could've been but eh.
  21. It seemed he wouldn't have to say anything after all, she'd heard him coming. He also heard others' hoofsteps too, arriving on the scene shortly after he had. Were these others here to discover the source of the animals' disappearances, or just campers? A look at the ponies that'd arrived suggested the former, especially the red-coated mare in her plain grey armor. His eyes swept over each of them as they approached and gathered in a loose group. After the armored mare who didn't even appear to register he was there, there was a filly, who he was surprised to see here in a place that was presumably dangerous, but out of all of them she was the only one to offer him a smile and a greeting. His resting expression softened somewhat. Sombra didn't have much of a soft spot for foals, but they were the only ones who were exempt from his hateful view and treatment of ponies; they didn't deserve, and had done nothing to deserve, his ire. The last to arrive was a vaguely familiar mare of yellow and pink, who quite clearly was trying to ignore him. His scowl made something of a return, with the addition of a slight narrowing of his eyes as he tried to place where he'd seen her particular coloration before, as well as her overall appearance.. Until he gained some sort of clue, he'd have to set aside the question for now. The yapping of a little dog was distracting enough to keep him from delving too deep through his memories anyway, and he eyed the tiny thing with uncertainty; Sombra had never been around dogs before, much less had any experience with any other sort of pets. The filly, Apple Bloom, appeared to like it well enough. Sombra's attention shifted back up to the first mare he'd seen, who the others addressed as Miss Fruits or Alizarin, when he heard her voice. He really didn't know what an Alizarin Fruits was, or if it was just one of the stranger pony names. He put it out of his mind, instead paying close attention as she approached to greet him first. The undaunted way in which she had impressed him, and he got the idea of some sort of fierceness lying under her stern and collected demeanor. There wasn't the slightest bit of nonsense about her. He inclined his head, approving, and even shook her hoof after a few seconds' consideration of her outstretched foreleg. "I am," he spoke at last, his voice a smooth, deep rumble. "I've heard about what was going on and I thought I'd.. look into it. For my own curiosity, of course." He couldn't possibly look as if he was here to help. He tilted his head as Alizarin moved off towards the other ponies, greeting each of them in turn; it was through this that he learned the others' names that he hadn't already heard, other than the armored pony who Alizarin just referred to as Captain. Sombra grunted softly, his tail flicking behind him. He'd learn her name soon enough, he felt, once this particular little party got moving. The mare taking charge of it was something he could appreciate and he took a few, casual steps towards the woods, making it clear he was ready to move, though he had no problem going in alone if it came to it. It likely wouldn't.
  22. Welcome to Canterlot! I'm Mal, or just 'Dragon'. Your character sounds pretty interesting. 😄 I happen to have a zebra hybrid character, and I find it fun to run across others~
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