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Posts posted by dragonofruin

  1. 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.

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  2. After idly reading one errant newspaper, as his decision to even read the Equestrian news was sporadic at best, the mention of animals disappearing from the White Tail Woods had somewhat caught King Sombra's attention one morning. Animals, disappearing? It sounded unusual, especially for Equestria. The country was largely peaceful, ponies had no reason to hunt animals when they were herbivores (and possibly even opposed to animal pelts or leather as far as he knew), so why were the animals dwindling, and in White Tail Woods specifically?


    Perhaps he was bored enough with his general life around Canterlot that he wanted to find out why, as eager as he was to collect more knowledge about this land he just might rule. After a few idle inquiries from different strangers, he gathered a few of what he considered just might be rumors they'd heard from others. Something about a large dark shape seen lurking about the woods, or a great dark shadow of some sort going after the animals.. There were a few others, but one thing seemed to be common among them: something big.


    It piqued his curiosity. If he really thought about it, it might not be what he thought it would be, but who really knew? Nopony, apparently, and definitely not him.


    Sombra wanted to be certain, though, in the slim chance it might be something deserving his attention. So, with a few small things of importance gathered and tucked away in a pair of saddlebags and a plainer dark green cape in place, the king set out, taking the train from Canterlot to the small White Tail Woods train station, where he'd heard ponies came to camp and enjoy the scenery. It took a few hours from the capital, but he soon arrived and stepped off of the platform with long, confident strides. The forest stretched out ahead of him, vibrant and green even in what little light remained. The canopy cast thick shadows, interlaced with fading rays of light from the setting sun. It looked to be a lovely place, and the scents of nature were thick, all around him.


    The tall, dark stallion breathed it in and moved towards it, though he paused when something began to register in his view. The shape of a pony. His approach slowed to a halt and he eyed their back, wondering why they were just sitting there, alone before the woods. Waiting on somepony? Or.. afraid of the rumors? Sombra quietly scoffed.


    He wasn't sure if he should bother saying hello.

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  3. Surely there was something interesting about this old Crystalline book. He could certainly read the language, considering the time period he'd come from. However, he didn't have the time to just sit here and read it when whatever had been in this room had already moved on. If he could really call it a something. Whatever it was, he intended to find it. Deciding that he could read this book later, Sombra decided to teleport it to Celestia's room for easy access later. Right now he had to focus on the company he currently had.


    "It's not likely to show itself just because you want it to. This is something we're going to have to find, wherever it is in the castle, if it even has a source. It.. might." A small frown crossed his muzzle and it was evident in a look in his eyes that he suspected something, but he wasn't entirely sure what it was. He would never voice his concerns aloud, however. The only thing he would reveal was the amusement he felt over Blueblood's angry grumbling, which had sadly had to take a back seat to everything else no matter how cute he found it. There was the barest trace of a smirk for the noble stallion before he turned away and started down the hallway, heading deeper into Canterlot castle. It was a bit of a maze if somepony hadn't been living here for a while and learning its layout.


    They weren't likely to get far before there was a brief surge of magic that went flickering across the halls, heading.. somewhere. The exact destination was an unknown, but it was quite a giveaway. It was more than just a fluctuation causing these hauntings, but what exactly it was, Sombra couldn't discern. He quickened his pace to a trot, hoping to catch up with it.





  4. Thankfully the few books that'd flown off the shelves at him had missed Raven, although one pony was not so fortunate. Sombra couldn't fight back the smile that spread across his lips when he heard Blueblood growling- or at least attempting to. It sounded so much like Blueblood was trying to sound angry, or perhaps like himself, and failing. Ponies just couldn't growl, and all their attempts to sound like they were was.. cute.


    While Raven went to inspect the bookcase, which just looked like any other bookcase though had a lingering, steadily fading magic around it, Sombra turned to face Hogo-sha and Blueblood, mostly to give the latter a curious look. Beyond a bloody nose, the noblepony seemed fine. His attention shifted to the book Hogo-sha had sniffed and recoiled from, the book Blueblood now held. Sombra reached out with his own magic, hoping to pry it from the unicorn's magical grip so that he could get a good look at it too- there was something in the glimpse he'd caught of the title on the book's face that looked a little familiar to him and he couldn't put a toe on it just yet.


    "I will," he stated, almost boredly, though Hogo-sha's reaction to it told him it was about the same: dark magic. Sombra didn't think the book would really be anything, beyond a random object the strange force in the castle had flung. The magic was likely already shifting towards some other part of the castle to wreak more havoc, and it'd only grow stronger as it wore on towards night- it already had been since it started. He couldn't fathom what might happen beyond scaring ponies, though the fact that it'd managed to harm one didn't seem to bode too well.. Sombra's mind was particularly stuck on the 'scaring ponies' part of it. Rather useful to somepony like him, but he was the only pony like him.


    There were a few other disturbances in the castle, scattered among the rooms, although distant enough they likely might not hear anything from here.

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  5. A grey ear twitched back towards the sound of Raven and Blueblood's voices as they talked, as well as the latter's musing on what could be going on here and something involving Luna. It did seem like a haunting- not that Sombra would really know anything about haunted places. This was his first experience with it, as well as most things since he'd come to Equestria. He didn't answer Blueblood's question as he stepped into the room, feeling that he'd answered with everything he knew about it so far.. which was very little. Just unusual.. activities.. Nor did he try offering Hogo-sha another greeting, in usual, grumpy fashion; not that he'd really said hello to start with.


    This particular room was just one of a few public rooms in the castle on the ground floor. Sizeable enough for a small gathering, with some furniture, a coffee table, and a couple shelves of books just for appearances, as well as two tall vases of flowers in the corners and some tapestries along the walls. Sombra stood just beyond the doorway, looking around the room with his usual frown for any sign of.. whatever might have lead Hogo-sha to this particular place. So far, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary..


    A book flew at him, flying off of one of the shelves. Sombra ducked his head just in time, and its passing over him ruffled his mane as it went flying out the doorway behind him. He scowled, straightening up, only to narrowly avoid a second one that flung itself at him. Maybe Hogo-sha had managed to sniff out something here, after all, though it was, thus far, a little half-hearted. Or perhaps it was just the beginning tonight? The castle always grew more active as evening waned towards moonrise..


    Sombra quietly grumbled to himself, seemingly unbothered by what had becoming something of the norm for him. "Maybe you've found something."


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  6. It'd been some time after he and Blueblood had gone out together for drinks, although Sombra couldn't recall how long it'd been between that time and when it all started. He did, however, have a general idea of when it might've started. His brow was furrowed throughout the time he'd fallen into step behind Hogo-sha, following the strange biped through the halls of the castle as he sought out a 'scent', what Sombra assumed was the magic the canine could smell. However that worked.

    "A week ago," Sombra replied. "Maybe a little longer?" his voice held a questioning lilt as he tilted his head, eyeballing the ceiling in thought. "So far it's been strange noises, and some of the castle staff have seen chairs or tables move by themselves. A few books flying off shelves. Doors slamming on their own. Things like that. It's becoming more and more common. Escalating."


    It hadn't escaped his notice that Raven had chosen to walk beside Blueblood instead of him, leaving him to walk alone between the yokai ahead and the pair of ponies behind him. Sombra tried to ignore this slight and tried to keep track of the bipedal canine, who was roaming further and further ahead in an attempt to track down the magic-scent. Soon, Hogo-sha had disappeared around the corner, and all Sombra heard of him was strange sounds. His brow furrowing, his pace increased to a trot and then to an all out gallop after that last, loud shout and the sound of a door banging open.


    He skidded around the corner and came to a halt some distance away from Hogo-sha, who was no longer a biped, but something four-legged and wolf-like, eyes aglow.


    "No," Sombra replied with a confused frown. This was.. unexpected, but it wasn't much of a problem. At least as far as he could tell.. ? Glancing over Hogo-sha, Sombra strode to the room the yokai found and took a step inside. His eyes narrowed, unsure what he expected to find in here.

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  7. Rose sniffed. "Very well, you can have your victory." Despite her jibe, however, she was looking forward to this trip to some extent. It was surely peaceful out in the Whitetail Woods, and it might give her some time to simply relax and think. She'd be free to do whatever she liked, if anything at all, after they set up camp of course. "It's such a pity. I was hoping to get even a hint of what this danger was so I could at least know what I could expect. Alas," the pegasus shrugged.


    Her attention was snagged by the heavy sound of the train's approach and her ears perked towards the sound as it steadily grew louder. Their ride was here! It stirred some excitement up within her for what lay ahead of them, and it was with an effort that Rose pulled herself back to her hooves. She tried to do it with as much grace as she could muster so that nopony would see her struggling, though she'd likely be unsuccessful in that attempt.


    In any case, she could strive for that grace now that she was on her hooves, holding her head high and looking as unbothered as she possibly could as she moved closer to Grey on the platform. The stallion had pulled his bags on with ease, something she could admire just a little bit. After all, he was stronger than she was, and he was far more used to the weight and.. everything else about travel. Rose stood by him, watching the train's approach as it came ever closer to the train station, and soon, slowing down in front of the boarding platform with a squeal of brakes.

  8. Those hours passed Sombra by and lead him right back to the train station, where he was planning on returning to Canterlot after a less than productive trip to the country town. The only thing notable that he could tell Celestia about when he returned to Canterlot would be his encounter with Hope, but beyond that? Eh.


    He started up the wooden steps of the platform when it happened. The feeling of dark magic just on the edge of his awareness. Sombra came to a halt and looked back at the town with a frown, scowling when he saw the gathering of dark clouds and various ponies drifting up in what looked like... bubbles? He blinked. Somehow, he had a feeling he knew who was causing it. Sombra turned back to the platform, finding himself in a dilemma. It would be very easy for him to simply get on the train and go right back to Canterlot, to leave ponies to deal with this on their own. Surely the Princess Twilight Sparkle would rise to the occasion to meddle, as she did, but who knew? His tail lashed. He had no interest in helping.


    Grumbling to himself, Sombra heaved a sigh and turned back towards town with a roll of his red eyes. Perhaps he would decide to meddle, though why Hope didn't come directly back to him to blast him with magic in some fit of distraught anger was a mystery.


    The king of shadows trod right back into town, heading for where he knew Hope's house to be. He ignored panicked ponies along the way, feeling that what ponies were still on the ground were more than capable of reigning in the upset children without his help.

  9. The quiet ambience of the town had finally settled over Sombra, who was intent on trying to pick up where he left off: exploring this town. It gave him a reason to get out of Canterlot for a while, gave him something to do, though after his meeting with Hope, he could scarcely manage to resume his explorations before. Thoughts still crowded his mind and anger still sat uncomfortably in his chest, burning like a flame.


    He was only distracted by the sound of wingbeats and the sudden appearance of Hope, flying swiftly by him. He ducked to avoid her, feeling wind ruffling his coat and his long mane, though his hooves remained firmly planted on the ground. Where could she be flying off to so swiftly, or had she made an attempt to attack him after considering he was worth fighting? No.. perhaps not.


    His eyes narrowed and Sombra straightened, frowning after the disappearing blue blur of Hope.


    [You would have to apply to play her, since she's considered a canon character.]

  10. King Sombra felt a certain vicious satisfaction in letting loose that secret he'd been harboring ever since he'd discovered the mare's identity. He saw the way her eyes flared red with dark magic and his body tensed, expecting a fight. He would've even welcomed one if it meant a little excitement, but instead Hope appeared to struggle to control her breathing until finally taking that one, deep, calming breath. Some disappointment filled him and he quietly snorted, relaxing.


    His magic flickered out to tear down whatever illusion she'd put in her house, returning it back to normal. He hardly looked away from her as he did so, watching the changeling leaving him alone in her own house. Sombra debated on following her this time- he could easily end up pushing the issue without trying to.


    Sombra pulled himself to his hooves and strode after her, just far enough to exit her home. He shut the door behind him with his magic, red eyes focused on Hope as she headed off in between Ponyville's straw-roofed buildings. From what little he could tell of her body language, she was deep in thought. Perhaps it would be best to leave her be to think.


    "Find me when you want answers!" Sombra called after her. Leaving it at that, he waited until she was out of view before he started off, picking a random direction to wander in. There was still time left in the day for him to wander Ponyville..


  11. A grin flashed across Sombra's face, baring many of his pointed teeth at the yokai. "I am exactly who I claim. Being trapped in an icy pocket-dimension beneath the ice as a shadow can do wonders for preserving one's looks," he quipped. Chuckling low in his throat, he turned away with a little toss of his mane.


    "I'm sure we can look into making this sword after this problem is dealt with, presuming we can do away with it tonight," Sombra told Raven, looking her way as he initially picked a direction to walk in. Whether there were any civilians still in the castle, or if any might have slipped through the door, he neither knew of them nor cared if they were here as long as they didn't get in the way. Blueblood leaving leadership to him encouraged a smirk to flash across his face and Sombra paused then at the question that came afterward, glancing back at his current companions with a thoughtful look on his face.


    "I can't really say. It comes and goes," he paused as the tall, double doors of the castle's entrance finally swept shut with a hard bang. It didn't look as if the guard had much to do with it. "Maybe the two of you have a good idea. We can start out and work our way inward, though I doubt we have to go out onto the castle grounds anywhere.. It's only been in the castle." He frowned. "Let's look into where it's weakest, then. Take the lead."

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  12. "We were at the part when I was telling you about the very beginning of the Crystal Empire's history and the umbrums' attack on it," Sombra stated flatly, quietly glad that the apparition had gone. It allowed him to relax a little again, nevermind the way Hope tried to change their surroundings with an illusion. It didn't look much like any room that he'd keep, though the sheen of dark crystal echoed the time he'd once ruled the empire. How she could know anything, unless she'd come to the empire the same time those meddlers had, then she would've seen the effect his corruption had on the city.


    "You've never seen it, and you'll never know it. This isn't it. My history lesson isn't over." The umbrum abruptly straightened up in his seat, dark magic flickering around his horn for a moment to try and halt the music record Hope started to play. With anger, some of his usual rashness was resurfacing and he had to emotionally bite down on it to control it.


    "The Crystal Heart kept the empire safe so long as it was kept on its pedestal beneath the palace, in the city's heart. The Crystal Faire strengthened its magic through the love and light of its citizens, aided with the help of a crystal princess. It has always been like that until I came along. Throughout most of my life I thought I was normal, despite how terribly I was treated by most crystal ponies for not being like them. I'm sure somewhere in their hearts they knew what I was and feared me. All save one, but she's unimportant," Sombra sneered, his upper lip curling.


    "What is important is that I knew agony every Crystal Faire that came and never knew why. Never understood any of it. Until something good happened to that mare and drove me out into the wastes where I discovered what I truly was. I returned to take the heart and carry out my purpose, feeling as if I had no other choice now, and Amore tried to stop me. And you know what happened then?" Sombra's head cocked and he verbally barrelled on towards his harsh reveal. "She revealed she knew what I'd been all along and let me suffer all those years. She called me a monster, so I turned her to crystal and broke her for it."

  13. His ear twitched towards the voice, and it took only one glance before Sombra faced forward again, staring directly at Hope. He had no idea what he just saw, or who it was. What was even going on? Was he having a stroke? Unfortunately, as far as he was aware, perhaps not..


    Sombra was torn between deciding whether this new apparition was an illusion of some sort, though he'd never sensed Hope using her magic, or if this being was simply the lord of chaos, Discord himself, in some strange form. From what Sombra knew of Discord, the spirit was known for all sorts of strange hijinks, but he had never personally met the draconequus yet. He didn't want to ask, either. Something like bitter anger was growing in his chest as he frowned across the space at Hope, angry that his attempt to teach her about the Crystal Empire's history and to simultaneously tell a story was being spoiled.


    He would never admit to anypony that he had a love of stories, mostly of hearing them, and occasionally to share it through telling one too without making his love of stories obvious. The shadow king grumpily crossed his forelegs and slouched back in his seat, his ears pinned back. Sombra could only stare at Hope, disgruntled.

  14. The umbrum made a face, eyes narrowed and brow furrowed. What was she even talking about? "I don't know what part of this world you're talking about, but Equestria does have education here. History is taught, among many other things from what I'm aware of, more so than what was taught a thousand years ago." Scowling, Sombra waited until the mare had settled down, and the book sent elsewhere in the house, before he'd deign to speak.


    "The Crystal Empire found humble beginnings as a race of ponies tried to settle in the Frozen North, despite its wild, uncontrollable weather and deadly temperatures. They managed, however, and made rudimentary homes out of rough crystal and rock with the magic they had. Eventually, their growing village drew the attention of creatures living out in the wastes. It was not the Windigo, who are drawn by disharmony, but umbrum, shadow creatures who fed off of fear and despair. They burned the homes and crushed the hopes of the crystal ponies, and their magic was seemingly lost until a young princess by the name of Amore rose to the challenge. While her mother did what she could, Amore left to find a weapon she could use against the umbrum." Sombra paused then, head cocked. It was evident that he enjoyed telling it, like it was a story.


    "The legends vary between different details, but some say that Amore found caves in the mountains north of the empire that contained a special type of crystal that she used to make the Crystal Heart. Other legends say she found the Crystal Heart and brought it back. Whatever the case, she used it to rally her citizens, using her love magic and the light that still existed within them to drive the umbrum back. The Crystal Heart amplified it, for it is a special type of crystal, and Amore used this magic to seal the umbrum away in a prison deep beneath what is now a city. It is on the anniversary of that day that the crystal ponies came up with the idea of the Crystal Faire, something that would strengthen the empire's magic and ensure that it would always be safe. Until.. well." The grey stallion stopped abruptly, uncomfortable. Perhaps it might be better he told her here and now, 'rip the bandage off' as ponies said. If Amore had done the same with him, would things have turned out differently? Instead of waiting all those years to tell him?


    [That's probably not a good idea, tbh xD It'd be rather OOC to this setting and against the rules of this site.]

  15. Sombra grunted. Personally he thought that was a naive way of thinking, something that could be taken advantage of by those who were less fussed than he when it came to using ponies for their own gain. He chose not to say anything on the matter and simply walked beside the mare in brooding silence, reflecting on various memories. All that he remembered of the day of his defeat was the feeling of being ripped apart, and then nothing. The next thing he knew, he was waking up in the snow and ice of the frozen wastes some distance from the Crystal Empire with vague memories of being less than the meanest ghost, anchored to his severed horn. He could've told Hope such if he'd known what she was thinking, but as it was, he didn't.


    The king was certainly glad to be outside again and out of that crystal castle, if he could ever dare call an abomination like that a castle. Though his brief time outside was cut short when they finally came upon Hope's house, as humble as the rest of them in Ponyville, and he strode after her through the open door. Sombra stuck a back hoof out to swing it closed behind him while he eyed the interior of her home to see what sort of house she kept.


    There were certainly a lot of books, which was a good sign, he supposed. Moving to the living room where she was, he unceremoniously dropped down on one of the seats and settled without asking so much as permission to do so. Sombra eyed the book she'd plucked up and felt tempted to pull the book from her grip- he'd have nopony reading while he talked.


    "Hope," Sombra stated her name, aiming to get her attention, "sit down. I'd like to give you the history of the empire, since you must have been far too young then to even remember much of it."



  16. "If you were a baby, or a small foal, I wouldn't be surprised you wouldn't remember, especially if they were never mentioned," Sombra pointed out. It was clear that she was distressed, and her attempt to leave the castle without him meant that she wanted to be alone to cry in peace.. but Sombra was hardly ever a creature to care about others' feelings. He didn't entirely know why he was following her either, beyond refusing to let her escape before this conversation could truly be finished. He'd just discovered one of two, perhaps, illegitimate children that Amore had that had been kept secret from the empire. There'd never been any news that she'd married, unless it had been in secret, or that she had children and now he thought he might know why. If her partner had been a changeling.. imagine the scorn from her citizens!


    "They're more than just fairy tales. More than just foal's tales. They are very much real, and I'm sure I can tell you more about the history of the Crystal Empire since you must've been far too young to even remember much of it." Did that mean she was older than him, or around the same age? He had no idea, nor did he think he cared much when it was a detail that didn't matter. Though it would give him a more accurate time frame.


    What else- Sombra wasn't even sure why he was thinking of spilling it all to her. He couldn't say it was entirely some old, sadistic desire to hurt somepony on a whim, especially the child of his enemy who had been the reason why he'd suffered all those years.. Maybe it was some strange want to be better than Amore and tell Hope what she needed to know instead of keeping it all a secret. It was in a confusing tangle for him.


    He eyed the look she'd given him after she made that offer that she would listen if he wanted to talk. After his experiences with Celestia, he could recognize something in that look now to name what it was he saw: some form of kindness. Despite her clear distress, she was still attempting to offer it. "In time. You're a mere stranger to me, despite all that I know, and after what I tell you.. I cannot say if we'll ever be.. friends."



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