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Posts posted by dragonofruin

  1. The circling monster paused to look up at the hovering pony, his red eyes flicking to watch the way Midnight's unusual wings moved. They weren't like a pegasus's, not at all, and it wasn't because they lacked feathers. How did such a pony come to be? Did they always exist, or were they the result of something, some sort of magic? These questions were filed away as Sombra came striding back around to stand before the flying bat pony and considered him, a frown on his face.


    "Now that is going too far. I'm almost offended." King Sombra snorted. A heart as black as night? To some extent, perhaps they weren't wrong, but for them to make him out to be so.. heartless just showed him how many assumptions they made about him and about his very nature. Did he enjoy conquering the empire and finally putting the crystal ponies in their place? Well, yes, he did, but there were other reasons involved in his decision. He'd had no choice to after he found the truth, because.. after what he discovered what he truly was, how could he go back to living the life he'd had? The crystal ponies would have been ruthless in their treatment of him, once his true nature had been revealed. They -- deserved what they got.


    A faint scowl had settled over his features and he grunted, a slight shrug following it. "I suppose 'tyrant with a heart as black as night' does have a nice ring to it regardless." Sombra fought the urge to roll his eyes and focused on the pony's smirk. "I came to do a little exploring, a little hunting.. for knowledge. That is all. How rude of you to assume such foul things about little ol' me." Sombra lifted an eyebrow. "Would you really be such a, as they say, tattle-tale? Running off to your dear princess at the first sign of an issue, or because a new bully on the playground gave you a mean look you didn't like? Is this what Equestria's protectors resort to?"

  2. To have a lance strapped to one's side felt a little unwieldy, at first. It was a new experience, and it took Sombra taking a couple of practice passes at the spinning target before he started to get a feeling for it, each time he circled around and went galloping towards the target as if he was threatening an opponent without ever really striking. His hooves pounded heavily upon the earth, and he could tell by the distant sound of hoofbeats that there were others in the practice yard too, doing the same. The tyrant never stopped to size up the other competitors to see how well the rest of them were doing, to see if he'd be able to match up to any of them.


    As far as it should concern him, they didn't matter. They couldn't match up to him, because there was nothing else like him. It wasn't that he thought he was special, or unique; they were thoughts that allowed him to think more.. positively about himself. A way for him to stroke his own ego, since he had nopony to praise him. And never had.


    The tall stallion took his time practicing out in the training field, letting everything fade into the background while he tried out jousting. Once he felt confident enough to, he finally around for another run at the quintain with the intent to hit it this time. To actually try to aim for what he'd been doing mock charges at. It was the only way to put what practice he'd been doing to the test.


    Biting back any hesitation, Sombra galloped towards the quintain with his lance ready, aimed.. and managed to strike. When the thing spun, he ducked his head much like he'd seen Chesster do. It wasn't a clean miss; he felt the weighted bag box the top of his ears and he immediately flattened them against the metal of the helmet with a wince. Shaking his head, he came back around and cantered towards Chesster, intent on seeing how well he might've done. Sombra might have just gotten lucky on his first try, because he knew his luck- the next time, it would probably be an embarrassing fall. There was also the matter of the rule sheet, and perhaps that next free question he could ask. "Well?"

  3. A dark eyebrow rose. Demented former ruler? It wasn't so much the 'former ruler' part that bothered him than it was the demented part. The tyrant scoffed, and soon barked out a laugh in response to the comment on his sideburns. If he only knew Midnight considered his appearance to be a re-enactment, he would've had something to say to that.


    "I wouldn't want to bother such a busy mare for a bit of idle chatter. So, you know who I am.." It was less of a question and more of a statement, and said as Sombra took a few, measured steps towards the grey areion, his toothy smile fading to a cocky smirk on his muzzle. "I find it interesting that you would call me demented. Is that really what you think of me?" A soft sigh escaped him, as if the umbrum found this fact a disappointing one. Demented. "I've been called many things, among monster, demon, devil.. to be called demented is a new one. I hardly think I am mad for what I've done. I acted on my own choices, my own desires; I wasn't driven by madness, or some dark entity. Would you ponies think that mad, to act for your own reasons? Or must you have a princess to dictate your every move to be good little foals?"


    Sombra began to circle the areion while he walked, studying the other stallion like he was sizing him up. Although he'd never directly introduced himself or stated that Midnight's assumptions about him were, mostly, correct, he made it clear from what he was saying that he was, indeed, King Sombra himself. Tonight, this meeting with this bat-winged pony, this areion, had put him in a mood to toy with the pony. If it was possible.. although it was certainly a dangerous thing to do. If this pony really did have connections to Princess Luna, they could fly off whenever they wanted to alert the moonbringer to his presence. Now that would be a bit of a disaster, but Sombra felt he'd likely be gone before Princess Luna could come for him.

  4. Sombra adjusted his weight on his hooves once he'd finished attaching the lance to his armor, getting a feel for the weight of it. It felt strange to have a lance attached to, and protruding from, his body, and it underlined how much he'd need these practice sessions before the actual tournament began, or else he'd look as much a beginner as he actually was. The stallion grunted softly and those intense red eyes of his shot up to the faceplate of Chesster's helm upon being teased. Afraid?


    A part of him wanted to retort. He was the master of fear, the embodiment of hatred itself! But to so arrogantly announce himself in order to protect his pride and hide whatever second thoughts he was having would have been a very foolish one. It would've ruined any chance he had at making an entrance, and frightening the crystal ponies the way he envisioned doing; for his own pleasure, of course. He'd never allow his ego to get in the way of that. Sombra could only scowl at the other stallion and face the practice yard, mentally shoving down all doubts and hesitation he had about this. He'd seen how Chesster had done it, and how he'd ducked the swing of the target.


    He'd probably need a few more practice passes than what his fellow competitor had done, when he had no experience at all to speak of, but he could do this. Sombra's eyes flicked towards the arrival, Shieldbreaker, upon seeing movement in his peripheral. Seeing that Chesster wasn't about to hoof over the piece of paper that was, no doubt, the rule sheet, Sombra felt that he wasn't going to read it until afterward. It was time to stop dawdling, and start practicing.


    Sombra rolled his shoulders and started forward, moving at a trot while he adjusted to the extra weight and feel of the lance at his side. He moved up to a canter as he entered the practice field and made for the target. As he started on his practice passes, missing the quintain on purpose, Sombra used them as an opportunity to see how jousters could aim their lances for the targets, for the other competitors, and he began to get a grasp of how it worked. After all, he'd need it, if he wanted that reward money.

  5. It became easy to see that the creature he was talking to could fly. Wings were visible in their silhouette when they came down from the streetlamp, though the shape of them didn't seem to match a feathery pegasus's wings, and he got a better look at them when the creature came into the light. They were a pony.. or something of a pony. Black mane, grey coat, the eyes, teeth.


    Color me intrigued, Sombra thought, dark eyebrows rising. The words Nightmare Night caught his attention and he had to stand there for a moment, searching his memory. He was fairly certain he saw some mention of it, a holiday in favor of Princess Luna's little alter ego, Nightmare Moon. It still brought him a dark sort of pleasure to know that one of the ever so angelic princesses had fallen, after they had banished him for what he'd done. The only pony who was left who'd never known any form of imprisonment beyond her crown was Princess Celestia herself, and he knew what to ask her should he ever have the misfortune of being found.


    Speaking of the princesses, it seemed he'd run into somepony who was in Princess Luna's service. "I'm not here for any silly holiday, and I presume, neither are you." A little snark slipped into his voice, and was gone. "This is just my natural look. I would be greatly amused if you had a problem with it." A wide smile crossed the umbrum's muzzle, baring all those sharp, monstrous teeth of his to go along with his other, unusual attributes. The only thing the stallion was wearing was his signature cape, a rich red color that was lined in white fur. It was the only thing he could salvage of what was left, his armor had been completely shattered by the Heart's blast, and he was glad that it at least survived so that he might keep his bare flanks covered. Perhaps the only thing he wouldn't be showing this.. areion? Was that what this pony's species was called? "How is Princess Luna doing these days, might I ask?" It was as if he had no care about being discovered, but it was just a little question he thought to toss the armored bat pony to throw him off.

  6. The king awaited the answer with some anticipation, knowing that Chesster would have to give him one, and when it came, his red eyes glittered maliciously. A crystal pony. It was certain. That little detail would make this tournament all the more interesting. How would the crystal ponies feel when they discovered the competitor who had defeated them was him, the very creature who had conquered them? Amusement flickered through Sombra and he turned his attention away from it to the training yard as it came into view.


    Inclining his head, his eyes swept the fields and he gave the jousting lances in their racks a look over before he turned his full attention back to Chesster, his ears perked and alert to everything the other stallion was telling him. The demonstration of how to attach the lance drew his eye, and Sombra watched everything closely, as determined to learn all the little details of jousting as he was to defeat Chesster- and everypony else here for that matter. He was going to keep this in mind..


    Sombra picked out the next lance on the rack and simply held it in his magic while Chesster trotted off to demonstrate for him. The umbrum watched how the pony did each pass, the test runs, and the final one where he had to avoid the swing of the wooden target. It was interesting that it spun the way it did, but it was possible it was there to teach ponies. How well would he do against it? He found himself hesitant to try, all because he didn't want to get knocked down by a spinning target and look like an utter fool. He was feeling.. uncertain. Sombra didn't tear his eyes away from the quintain until Chesster approached him again, and he frowned faintly.


    "I see. It makes sense." Some part of him was regretting signing up to this jousting tournament at all, but he had nothing to lose save for some of his pride. Sombra snorted softly, and his tail flicked. He might as well practice while he had the chance.. He turned his head away and went about attaching the lance to his armor as Chesster had shown him. It was time to simply act, rather than let his feelings make this out to be any harder than it was.

  7. His late night lurking in Canterlot's streets didn't account for ponies with sharp night vision like himself. He knew that mortal ponies had difficulty seeing in the dark without the help of candlelight, or in the case of this city, streetlamps, so he felt there was no need to make a real effort to conceal himself. He could readily blend in with the shadows, if need be.


    Sombra continued to roam freely, but as some time passed, his interest in the contents of the shops large display windows began to wane. There were many shops that displayed modern fashions, jewelry, furniture.. the list went on. There were very few bookstores, and while it disappointed him, it wasn't as if he'd be able to get into any of them so that he could find some more reading material, more information about Equestria. Did this city at least have a library of some sort?


    His wandering thoughts were brought to a halt by movement, and Sombra paused mid-step to focus in the direction that he'd seen it. In the dark, a pair of purple eyes opened. Even from here Sombra could see the pupils were sharp, vertical slits like his own, and he could see the glint of fangs in the smiling creature's mouth. It, they, whoever they were, was hanging upside down and he couldn't figure out how exactly they were managing that with their tail. His head tilting, the tyrant took a few, slow steps in the creature's direction. Were they.. a pony? His eyes narrowed. With attributes like that, they -- couldn't be. His interest piqued.


    "Who, and what, are you?" The silence was broken by the king's deep, rumbling voice. "I've never seen anything of your sort before. Tell me, I wish to know."

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  8. After what he'd gotten himself into, the former tyrant felt it would be imperative that he finally dare to explore Canterlot. The world was always quietest once the sun fell beyond the horizon, and the moon was bright overhead, when most ponies were long since in the comfort of their beds, their dreams.


    Canterlot, as Sombra had learned, was Equestria's capital city, a development that had happened some time after he'd been banished beneath the ice of the Frozen North. Although whether it happened during Princess Luna's tantrum, or after, the history books he'd found on Equestria never mentioned. It was an interesting tidbit to wonder about. The city was currently quiet with very few ponies left on the street at this dark hour. The golden glow of the streetlamps kept the street themselves lit well enough to see by, but they also created many heavy shadows in the spaces between buildings and behind whatever objects sat on sidewalks and what carts were left sitting on the side of the roads.


    Coming here at all had been a great risk, and staying to explore it was even worse. Yet, despite the danger of the royal sisters discovering that he was back, that he was alive, Sombra remained, walking through the capital's streets. He kept to the shadows when necessary, and skirted the edges of the streetlamps' light so that those few who were still on the streets couldn't get a good look at him. Couldn't see the curved red horn or wicked red eyes and inequine slit pupils and know that a monster walked among them. Thus far, none seemed to pay any attention to him, and for that Sombra was glad. It allowed him to turn his focus onto why he was here in Equestria at all: exploring what changes a thousand years had brought, and what modern wonders this grand city held. Ponies seemed to hold Canterlot in high esteem, and he could see why. He could also see it was because it was where many of Equestria's rich, and the nobility, lived just by what he could see peeking into dark shop windows at the wares on display. Fancy place. Sombra couldn't decide whether he found it appealing or if he was sickened by the extravagance.

  9. The offered reward of information for his victory nettled him for a reason he couldn't figure out until he investigated that annoyance, and found that he had some doubt in himself. The shadow king was an arrogant creature, enough so that he felt he was fully capable of winning the jousting tournament.. despite never having done jousting in his life. His doubt stemmed from that, and from that self-conscious part of him that he tried to keep out of sight, keep locked away within himself. It was a part of who he used to be that still surfaced from time to time whenever it came down to his existence, and as the only free umbrum, the only one of his kind.


    King Sombra's eyes had narrowed slightly, but he otherwise didn't show any outward sign that Chesster had annoyed him. Why did they come to the pony's tent, if not to talk more privately about information that wouldn't normally be aired in public? Just who was this pony, anyway? All Sombra could figure out about him, beyond being an earth pony was that he was possibly a crystal pony to boot.. or perhaps a descendant, if any crystal ponies ever managed to slip out of the empire during his reign. Those that survived, anyway. That was what made ruling the empire so easy- their choices were to either bow to their new king, or dare the Frozen North's unforgiving climate.


    A soft rumble rolled up Sombra's throat as he considered what little information he was given, and the rules of jousting that would be coming as soon as one of Chesster's underlings located the paper. He mentally tucked away what information he was given and rose to his hooves, shadowing Chesster out of the tent on their way to the practice yard.


    "If my reward for victory is information, then I shall certainly look forward to defeating you," Sombra spoke aloud at last. Knowing this was the price, he was quite determined to win. To flaunt that victory over this pony would be a bonus, but Sombra couldn't allow himself to get too far ahead. He knew his own pride could be his downfall- it had been in the past. It was why he'd lost the empire a second time, outside of the effect a thousand years banishment to an icy void had had on his mind. Mad, desperate to reclaim his throne.. reckless.


    "Hrm," the tall stallion grunted thoughtfully. One free question now, and one after training? He'd gladly take Chesster up on that, but the snag was: what did he want to know about this pony the most? It would only be the one question to tide him over until he could get the rest of the information, whether it came from his victory or if he ever succumbed to dragging it out of the other stallion. "Very well.. I certainly understand the need for secrecy. Quite well," he murmured. "I suppose one of the things that I'm most curious about is this: are you from the Crystal Empire?"

  10. Sombra glanced between the three ponies, noting that Chesster's companions didn't seem all that interested in really anything beyond checking over the equipment. It seemed like it could be pretense, or it could be nothing at all. He had a right to be suspicious, to even be paranoid. Ponies had stabbed him in the back before. The comment from Chesster about how long he'd known his companions only earned a grunt from Sombra, who normally didn't care much about ponies or their connections, their friendships.


    His eyes followed Chesster's movements when the stallion dug through a chest of items and pulled out a long, fake horn that he attached to his helmet. This was an earth pony, posing as a unicorn; no wings could fit under that armor. "Interesting," Sombra commented dryly. If he were to follow that tip, he wasn't sure what exactly he could use about himself to deceive the competition beyond simply not being a mortal unicorn like the rest. He was strong both physically and magically, and he was quite aware that magic wasn't to be used in jousting- as far as he knew.


    "How disappointing. And here I was hoping for some information," the umbrum growled out. He'd been hoping to learn more about this mysterious masked pony, more so than about jousting, and his options had just been limited to the latter. In that case.. "From what little I've seen of it, I can presume ponies use the pointy end of the lance and run at each other in an attempt to knock the other over." Some snark slipped back into his tone again, indicating that his phrasing wasn't entirely serious while still expressing he understood the basics of it. He also knew the combatants had a short fence separating them, but he felt he didn't have to mention that when it was right there in the tilt yard. Speaking of..


    An ear rotated towards the tent flap when he heard the magnified voice of a pony, commentating on what was now happening outside. Ponies had begun practice. It would probably be a good idea to get into practicing soon so that he could get a feeling for it before the actual competition began. Sombra wasn't about to fail, or let himself look like an inexperienced fool- though inexperienced he was. "So, go ahead. Give me more tips."

  11. It was disappointing that he didn't get to see if the pony reacted at all to his quip, but it was entertaining to imagine. Sombra made a soft noise in his throat that was close to a laugh that didn't quite make it and he followed after Chesster without another word; although it was certainly tempting to try to have the last in their banter. The tall stallion followed the pony with his familiar gait and, much like Chesster, his head held high as though he were royalty deserving of respect and recognition.


    It might've been easy to pick out Chesster's tent among the others, though the interior showed it a lot more than the exterior. Sombra was glad to retreat into the shady confines and stood near the tent flap for a moment to let his eyes adjust after being out in the bright sun for so long. Blinking away the last echoes of light from his vision, he finally took a look around at the pony's belongings, picking out the weapons and spare set of armor with a curious eye. This pony was oddly prepared, though Sombra couldn't make a good judge of whether they were Equestrian.. or a crystal pony. The style of the armor made it difficult for him to truly figure that out. It was only until he'd gotten a good look that he finally glanced towards Chesster's companions with a slight lift of an eyebrow.


    "Friends, you say? Interesting names," the umbrum commented, sizing them up with a look. He had to wonder what it was that they did to have such a muscular appearance.. Sombra set the question aside in favor of moving further into the tent and finding a place to sit down comfortably- as comfortably as a pony could in jousting armor.


    "So, shall we get right to it then? You mentioned you had some tips to give me about jousting, unless you have questions. I've certainly got a few to ask, just off the top of my head." He looked towards Chesster then, eying the blank face of the stallion's closed helmet. With such companions as his, any normal pony could've felt intimidated being in a tent with three complete strangers, but Sombra was no normal pony- much less a pony at all. He felt confident, and he had the power to protect himself if need be if anypony thought it'd be a good idea to intimidate him out of the competition. In hindsight.. Sombra didn't think crystal ponies could intimidate him, no matter how they looked. They just seemed too.. soft for it.

  12. A small smirk followed the lift of one of Sombra's brows. By Chesster's answer alone, he knew this pony was going to be a fun one. "The signs, I expect, unless I've somehow forgotten how to read Equestrian. I could have ended up at an event with quite a few ponies greatly interested in getting to know thine mother." Sombra took a small step forward, and it was something that lacked any hostility. It was just a physical expression of taking a step up in their banter, something that was encouraging him to display more of his snark.


    That smirk of his still lingered around his lips as he took in the answer. "You don't say?" he replied, visibly feigning surprise. Shortly after, he dropped his sarcasm to more visibly show his interest. If crystal ponies had organized this jousting tournament, here in Equestria, then they were no doubt introducing the southern kingdom to their culture, as well as doing what he was- exploring the modern day. It was an interesting little tidbit, and it told him a lot about why this was the first sign of jousting he'd found thus far.. beyond it possibly being outdated compared to Equestria's culture.


    "How kind of you, but I'd more likely end up embarrassing you." Sombra's eyebrows quirked up and he took a few, measured steps around the other stallion. A few tips.. Truth be told, he felt like he'd need some more information on how exactly jousting worked, and what he'd have to do. He'd only ever seen a few jousting matches as a young colt, and seeing was not the same as doing. There was also the problem of not having understood much of it in his youth either.


    "In all seriousness.. I believe I'll join you. I'm curious," the king added. "I knew about the armor. I've seen it before; well acquainted with it, in fact." Falling silent, his eyes flitted away from the pony's helmet to survey the hardpack dirt field and the competitors that were milling about. It seemed like they'd have the time to talk. He wasn't in any rush to get started; the bits could wait. He held no greed for money, only for power.. although how much of that lust for power remained after his last defeat was something Sombra couldn't be sure of anymore. The Crystal Empire might as well be lost to him, and perhaps that would be a good thing. It was, for him, a miserable place- though to see something of it, and the citizens he hated so much here, was quite a surprise. And somewhat unpleasant, too, despite how much he looked forward to frightening them if and when he revealed himself. He did like to make an entrance.

  13. The king's ears perked forward, focused more fully on the sound of the laugh through the helmet. He was paying close attention, but with the way the helmet muffled this pony's voice, he couldn't.. quite place it. It sounded vaguely familiar to him, somehow, but his memory was muddled and he couldn't be sure. "Lucky you," Sombra replied dryly. A helmet with some protection from the sunlight would've been nice; he could only hope that his eyes had adjusted well enough to Equestria's sunny weather to handle it. His vertical pupils were mere slits in the light, one of a few things that marked him as unusual; he hadn't bothered to use illusions to hide himself beyond altering the color of his horn.


    "Competing, as well. A thousand bits will help quite nicely," Sombra replied, his answer vague; the pony may have made an introduction, but he wasn't about to give his own name. There was something about that name.. or.. had he heard it before? It was another frustratingly elusive thing about this pony that made it difficult for him to know what it was about this pony! Did they ever cross paths? An overheard conversation? Either possibility would place it as a coincidence that they were both here. Could it be something more, then? "I'm sure there are plenty of others here for the same thing." Something like snark edged his voice.


    His eyes quickly roved over the pony when he found the moment to, making little notes about the state of the armor and its apparent age. It seemed.. original, rather than some sort of attempt at recreating crystal pony armor for the aesthetic. Could it have been bought, or had always been owned? Was he speaking to a crystal pony, then? Something within him was darkly pleased; if only they knew! Any amusement was kept out of sight while he focused on something else: questions he could ask.


    "Where are you from? I couldn't help but notice your armor.. From the Crystal Empire, isn't it?" the shadow king queried, inclining his head.

  14. It was a small town, one that most creatures might tend to pass through for nothing more than a meal and a night to rest, but on this particular day, there seemed to be something of a fair. It was bright and colorful, full of ponies who were equally so, and many scents of food both sweet and salty. It was an interesting mix of smells, one that Sombra had sniffed curiously at when he'd wandered in.


    Fair or not, he normally would have nosed around to see what interesting things there were to see, and moved on, but the advertisement for the jousting tournament caught his eye. It was the first one he'd seen in a thousand years, something he'd nearly forgotten about. Jousting was something he'd gotten to witness only a few times in his youth, though he'd never gotten to see it during the Crystal Faire. The Heart's magic always got in the way of that. The memories were quickly set aside before his mind went down any sour paths, and the former tyrant chose to investigate the reward the advertisement offered for the winner of the jousting tournament. A thousand bits.. If he'd learned what he needed to learn about Equestrian currency, then that was quite a lot. It'd get him somewhere, at least for a little while.


    It hadn't escaped his notice that there were crystal ponies at the tournament, and knowing that they were there set up the potential for something.. great, something that he was going to be looking forward to. If he wanted it to be successful for his pleasure, he needed to not be recognized immediately. King Sombra removed his signature cape and quietly signed up before he slipped off to check out the equipment before anypony could get a good look at him, or his blank flanks. It was difficult to find a proper fit for a stallion like him- taller than most, with an athletic form rather than the thick build of a working pony. He managed, and he was in the midst of putting on the last of the armor, the sabatons, when he heard a voice. A greeting, directed at him.


    An ear twitched, and Sombra slowly turned to behold one of the tournament competitors, decked out in armor reminiscent of a crystal pony's jousting armor in grey. The closed face of the helmet kept him from getting a good look at who they were- if there was any chance of knowing anypony in Equestria. The umbrum didn't think he'd run into anypony who would recognize him beyond the crystal ponies he'd seen getting ready for the tournament.


    With that deep, rumbling voice of his, Sombra answered. "I suppose you can say that. It's a little too bright for me."

  15. King Sombra's silence was a sullen one and the stallion had crossed his forelegs over his chest with the addition of his rear hooves still being propped up onto the edge of the table. Those unsettling red eyes of his finally broke away from staring down Black Ice in favor of looking upon the new arrivals, his attention drawn to them by the heavy metallic sounds of the armored mare's hooves. Both she and what appeared to be her brother particularly caught his interest because they were both grey ponies, and though the curve of the stallion's horn was more pronounced, he was intrigued by both of them. Grey, green eyed ponies. The stallion in particular almost reminded him -- of himself.


    The umbrum's mood changed, if slightly, and he took note of both of their names, something he normally didn't bother with when it came to ponies. Perhaps he'd get a chance to work with them and get to learn more about them. He'd look forward to that, which was strange enough.


    The next new arrival that he noticed seemed to be an older pony-like creature. Diverse group, Sombra thought to himself with a slight lift of an eyebrow. His appraisal of the arrivals was cut short by Black Ice's voice, and his gaze snapped back to her, meeting her eyes with his own intensity. Her answer did annoy him slightly. Even after the others were dead of old age, and he was still alive, anypony that took over would have as much power over him as Black Ice would once he signed whatever contract, or made whatever promise, to help her on her mission. He felt he might actually be willing, if joining Black Ice's cause meant he'd be paid so much. As much as he didn't care for money, it'd certainly help him out quite a bit.


    "If you treat me right, perhaps I'll stick around," Sombra remarked dryly and fell silent, only shifting one rear hoof off the table when Black Ice slid their files out to them in the midst of her explanation. Dark magic flickered around his unusual horn and he plucked his up, cracking it open and reading it with more curiosity than he'd let on. Much of what he'd done in the Crystal Empire was there, on top of strange reports that Black Ice herself spoke of aloud. His eyebrows rose and there was something in his expression when he looked up at her again.


    "I don't recall that. I must've been terribly drunk." This was stated with a flat expression, and his tone was dripping with sarcasm. An eyebrow quirked. "In all seriousness, I never knew the Crystal Empire was attacked. I've been.. indisposed.. these past two years. I hardly think I can raid the empire when I was still in literal pieces." The king snorted and his snout wrinkled in annoyance. With as heated as Black Ice became as her speech continued, he didn't dare voice that such destruction happening to the empire -- pleased him. Great loss of life. Good. They deserved it.


    His ear twitched back from Black Ice's shout, and he curiously eyed the ice that'd formed on the table. Beyond lifting his rear hoof slightly when it was frozen, he didn't seem at all bothered by it. He waited until she'd finished and opened it up to questions. "Is Equestria truly so poor at defending itself?" he decided to ask, his rumbling voice ringing out again and carrying easily. His ear twitched towards the blind pony's expression of loyalty, and the sound of a new voice. Somewhere behind him. Something about it sounded.. familiar, and Sombra shifted in his seat to peer around the back of his chair, making himself visible.

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  16. The pastel pink mare's attention was pulled away from the sphinx, who she had been awaiting answers from, to a warmly colored stallion. He was a fair bit taller than herself, but thankfully not so tall as the horses who inhabited this city. Her ears perked.


    "Oh, uh, hello!" Yuna nervously chirped; she could pick up that this stallion seemed to be about as nervous as she was about approaching strangers, judging from the way that he'd fumbled over his greeting. The corners of her lips twitched up. Curious specimens, figures. Yuna ruffled her dual colored wings and turned in place to more fully face this new pony. "I'm Yuna," she introduced herself, misunderstanding his question; she didn't know he meant to ask what they were rather than for their names.


    "A scholar, huh? Must be nice. I've long since finished school, but I've never been to any sort of fancy university. Never had the money." Yuna smile faintly and shrugged, trying to indicate that that fact didn't really bother her at all. She was pursuing what she was interested in already, her desire to help ponies, through both her talent and the best way that she felt she could help them. Even though they were mere strangers and owed her nothing, even if they didn't listen to her or didn't do anything to help themselves to start with. It was an effort she was willing to make because helping them made her happy. It meant she was, in some small way, making a difference.


    "So, what's your name? And what kind of cultures have you managed to learn about?" Yuna couldn't help asking her questions, as curious as she was about it. There still wasn't a whole lot that she actually knew about zebra culture that hadn't been watered down by Equestria and mixed up with ponies.

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  17. Sombra's lips twitched. Passable. It wasn't as good as the praise he'd been hoping for. Passable. He quietly scoffed and ran a hoof through the new styling of his mane while Shadow continued to talk. His idle preening slowly stopped, his hoof freezing in midair. A thousand years. He'd been imprisoned in that void for a thousand years. That was an enormous chunk of time, his life, that he'd lost.


    A year of slow recovery after the Crystal Heart had torn him apart wasn't so bad, but it was still a year. It was a good thing, aside from waking up weak, that he hadn't bothered with the Crystal Empire again. A year was a long enough time for the new crystal princess to strengthen her hold on her stolen kingdom. Another, low grumble escaped the stallion and he averted his eyes to the new, purple cape he wore. He idly flicked at the hem with a toe and adjusted it to make sure it was settled on him properly so that it, and he, looked good. As good as he could possibly look in the robe of crystal royalty. Sombra wasn't ignoring Shadow throughout his rambling thoughts- he was still very much listening to what he'd have to do before they could really get to anything else.


    "Well, let's get started, shall we?" Sombra broke in, straightening up to meet Shadow's gaze again. An eyebrow quirked up at the question and the tall stallion made to step past Shadow, heading back into the main part of the unicorn's home so he could find somewhere comfortable to settle down on.


    "If you wish to save these relics you mentioned.. I suppose we'd have to find a way to pack all of them easily and remove them from the home. The house itself I can destroy in a number of ways once your.. uncle.. is clear. I could use spells to make it all come crumbling down, open up a pit beneath it, or spear the house with many crystals from below. There'd be nothing left but wooden rubble," the tyrant mused aloud while he moved between rooms. "Or you can just set off a spell and destroy the entire thing in an explosion." A shrug followed this afterthought and Sombra flopped down on a sofa, curling his legs up against his body as he settled against the cushions. "At worst, we can always let the frost wolves menace your uncle a little to teach him a lesson about living in such a dangerous place as the Frozen North to encourage him to leave."

  18. Yuna couldn't help smiling at the filly. "I wish I could. But there aren't any clouds, and the snowflakes would melt easily in this heat." Her tone was sympathetic, as if to acknowledge the poor filly's disappointment in the fact ahead of time. The pegasi could alter and change the weather.. they just couldn't change the way a desert worked. The exchange between the filly and the sphinx drew out a soft chuckle, and Yuna took a few seconds to watch as the little pony ran off.


    Her attention shifted back to the sphinx, her small smile still lingering on her muzzle. "Oh, well.. I pretty much just got here and I was wondering, uhm.." Yuna trailed off as she sought the phrasing she was looking for, and her specific questions, "what I should know about Saddle Arabia? As well as if there's an inn of some sort I can stay, and where I'd be able to get food?" Cutting herself off there, so she wouldn't overwhelm the sphinx with her questions, Yuna idly drew a small circle in the sand with the tip of one white hoof. She had more questions, and one of them was a little less about Saddle Arabia itself and more about what the creature was before her. They were winged and feline. Yuna tried to wrack her memory for the name of the species; it seemed familiar somehow, but she couldn't be quite sure.

  19. The former tyrant's gaze was intense as he glanced between the two ponies present, taking in all the little details as he walked around the table and past Yoru. This Black Ice was covered up well enough, but it wasn't like he could really know anypony enough to recognize them, or need to recognize them. The other pony, whose name he hadn't gotten yet- scratch that, a Ms. Arashi- seemed to recoil from his very presence. Her attempt to draw herself back up despite the fear in her body language earned a small, smug little smirk from Sombra. It was nice to see.


    King Sombra lost interest in the mare quickly in favor of Black Ice's explanation about the spheres that floated around her person. Artifacts, made only for her use. It was an interesting little detail. It'd prevent anypony else, especially him, from trying to bend that power to his will; not that he was here to take another's power in the first place, or at all. He was only here to see what this was all about, and why he'd been.. invited.


    Picking a seat a few down from the mare responsible for this meeting, Sombra plopped himself into the chair, an ear cocked towards Black Ice. His attention briefly shifted as another pony entered after him, somepony who was apparently blind. The detail about the warmth in the arrows to guide her here was an interesting one, and he had to wonder how else she was able to find her way around without sight. Any further, internal pondering was cut short by Black Ice's voice, highlighting that further information was pending until more ponies arrived.. and that this would all be for life. For life. He leaned forward, forehooves dropping onto the edge of the table.


    "Do you know how long that will be, for me? I am a long-lived creature, and this would be far too binding for my liking," he growled, his voice deep and powerful, carrying easily no matter how quietly he spoke. "What if you were to die of old age, or violate the rules of whatever contract you wish to set up? Would that void it?" Sombra continued, asking a question that he was curious about now that this.. for life was an issue. He had no interest in ever being trapped by anypony else again, and especially not by a piece of paper. They were questions he couldn't stop himself from asking despite Black Ice stating it was something she'd wait to explain- he had to know. Swallowing back a sliver of dread in his throat, Sombra grumpily leaned back in his chair and kicked up his rear hooves onto the table's edge where they came to rest, one crossed over the other in a rude fashion only known of him.


    The king wasn't leaving, despite his concerns; he was going to hear everything out before he decided whether this entire situation had more pros than cons. He could stand to wait. After a last glance over at Yoru, and the blind newcomer, Sombra settled himself to do just that and looking disgruntled while he did.

  20. The answer to the riddle surprised Yuna. It was something she never would've thought of, and she had to give the filly a point for having been close to the actual answer. A snowflake. The zony shook her head with a small smile. No, riddles just weren't one of her strengths at all. As the topic of snow came up, Yuna chose that moment to wander a little closer, half because she felt like actually trying to join the conversation, and to get out of the way of the other market passersby.


    "It's also a little crunchy underhoof. During the winter when it's snowing, it covers everything; it's a pretty sight to see. You might think it looks like frosting," Yuna chimed in, her voice holding a hesitant quaver. It suddenly felt like she was being very rude to butt into their conversation like this, but it was too late now! She had already spoken. A hoof scuffed against the ground and she'd offer up a smile for the both of them that she hoped said she was just trying to be friendly. Her wings were ruffled against her sides, readjusting the way they were settled over her saddlebags; she was fidgeting, just a little.


    "So! Uh, hey. Are you.. y'know, natives?" Yuna thought to ask, just to make sure. The fact that she'd found a couple of creatures that spoke the same language might afford her the chance to ask the questions she'd been stressing over mere moments ago.

  21. The street she was on met with a busy intersection, one of the wider streets of the city. It was just at the edge of it Yuna stopped, peering out at all the passing creatures while she quietly struggled with answers to her questions. There were native horses, tall and slender legged, with a mix of other ponies among them. Yuna couldn't tell if they were natives too, or foreign visitors like herself. Some certainly looked like it.. It let her feel a little less out of place than she did.


    Hesitantly, she stepped out and picked a direction to wander, staring up at the sandstone buildings all the while and marveling at what she'd seen from overhead moments ago. It was such a warmly colorful place, and.. Her thoughts broke off as she neared what looked to be some sort of market. Even here, Yuna caught the wonderful scent of freshly baked bread. Lifting her head, she followed it through the market to its source: a bakery. She'd passed a few other little shops along the way, ones that she felt she'd like to look at later. Especially one that seemed to have an array of clothing, or perhaps it was cloth? In either case, Yuna would love to get a new shawl from a foreign land like this! Something nicer than the simple worn ones she had.


    The zony pulled herself out of her thoughts when she became aware of voices, a distinct conversation- Yuna was surprised to see it wasn't coming from ponies, but rather a winged feline creature she'd never seen before, and a filly. It sounded like a riddle! But the answer to it, or what she'd overheard, Yuna didn't think she could figure out; the meaning of poetry and the answers to riddles and other such questions were always difficult for her. The answer was either right in front of her face, or something that she'd never considered before.


    Coming to a halt nearby, Yuna tried not to look like she was rudely listening in on their conversation. The pegasus was curious to find out what it was, and the scent of bread had taken a backseat to this- though the smell was a little distracting so close to the bakery.

  22. It'd taken a little time to reach this Canterlot after obtaining a ride to it via a 'train' after receiving the letter. It was strange, that letter, and Sombra had to wonder who this Black Ice was and how they'd found out that he was even still alive. Although, in hindsight, if they happened to have agents of some sort, any one of them could've seen him in Ponyville and recognized him for who he really was. Hrm.


    Eying his surroundings on the way to the building that'd been specified, Sombra noted it seemed rather.. upscale. There were plenty of signs of rich and easy living here, from the store displays to the prim, marble buildings. He didn't dare look out at the high view Canterlot had; standing on the balcony of a tall castle was one thing, being so high up on a mountainside was entirely another. His attention drifted back to his destination, ignoring the few posh ponies of the streets as he stepped up to the building in question. After a last glance around, he strode inside with the confidence of somepony who was meant to be there. Mere seconds after he was inside, out of view, he dropped what illusions he wore to disguise himself on the way so that whoever had decided to summon him here would see him as he truly was, signature horn, cape, and all.


    His eyes roved over the ice with interest and shifted towards the arrows that lit up on the floor, no doubt meant to guide him along. There was something about it all that had Sombra a little on edge; it had a feeling of a trap. If somepony wanted him captured, or worse, sending him a message like that with the possibility that it'd benefit him was one way to snag his interest. Sombra didn't give a damn about protecting Equestria, or anything else for that matter, but he was here regardless for his own self interest and to see if those benefits might be genuine and there was that chance they wouldn't be. Whatever lay ahead, he would be ready.


    Taking his time, Sombra followed the arrows as each one directed him downstairs, pausing briefly along the way to curiously tap one with his toe for a reaction, and soon found himself at the end. The tyrant darkened the doorway to what was obviously some sort of meeting room, peering in with a resting scowl that seemed ever present on his face and those inequine red eyes sweeping over what he could see. There was a mare at the head of the table with strange objects orbiting around her, and.. it seemed somepony else had made it here before him. Inclining his head, the tall stallion sauntered inside without a word, his head held high like he was royalty.

  23. Pony Name: Sombra

    Link to Character: King Sombra

    Special Skills: Dark Magic: The only brand of magic Sombra is capable of using. Its source is rage, and Sombra employs offensively or defensively when it's required of him. It is most often used in doing one of the things he is best at, casting curses, as well as creating traps that target a pony's greatest fear. Along with that, he can make doors open up onto small rooms or serve as a portal to another spot, so long as it's in the same area or building.

    Crystals: Perhaps an addition to what he can do with dark magic, Sombra can make strange, black crystals grow from the ground. Spread by his corrupting influence, or used defensively as a barrier between himself and others.

    Sombra can also turn himself into shadow and blend himself in with them, but never in sunlight.

    Previous Combat Experience: Solely within the Crystal Empire against the two sisters.

    Any other relevant special training: None! He has never had any special training; he's good at tactics and being crazy prepared.

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