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Drop Shadow [Ready]


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((My first attempt at writing a villain in... well, anything. It turned out edgier than I've ever written, but hopefully that's okay. :P ))


Roleplay Type: WoE


Name: Drop Shadow


Sex: Male


Age: Older stallion


Species: Unicorn


Eye Color: Deep violet


Coat: Midnight black


Mane/Tail: The dark gray of his mane and tail is hardly distinct from the black of his coat, and both tend to blend together without sufficient light. The mane is slicked back completely in distinct lines down his neck and back, leading directly up to his tail. At the tail, these threads split apart into a messy mop of hair. 


Physique: Tall and gaunt, not very healthy looking


Residence: Primarily lives in the Everfree Forest, though there have been sightings around Equestria. Spooky places, pretty much.


Occupation: Is kidnapping an occupation?


Cutie Mark: A white chess king, symbolizing his talent for tactics and leadership
(Later modified to black so only the outline and highlights are still white, thus expressing the corruption of his talent into deception and misleading ponies)


Unique Traits: He specializes in illusory magic, to an extent where the only other magic he knows is the basic levitation that all adult unicorns can perform.
This magic allows him to project his voice and ghostly image, manipulate light and shadow, and most powerfully warp the environment to make ponies lose their way. This includes stretching or compressing an area, causing a space to loop indefinitely, or rearranging the land so places don’t connect the way they’re supposed to.


History: Drop Shadow is the son of a stoic royal guard in Canterlot. In his youth, he revered his father greatly and dreamed of one day being a royal guard captain, leading his own team of brave ponies in defense of Equestria. To this end, he studied chess and quickly became a master of the game. Eventually, his classmates weren’t even good enough for practice and he had to seek adult ponies to play against. The secret, he often said, was to treat the game like a real combat scenario. The king and queen were like the two princesses, and it was the duty of the other pieces to protect them. 


One day, Drop Shadow found his favorite table at the park taken by another pair of unicorns having a chess match. Irritated but morbidly curious, he trotted up next to one of them. Up close, it was quickly apparent that the pony across from him was much older and smarter than the colt next to him, and the board state quickly made it apparent that the colt had little hope of winning. Disgusted, Drop Shadow raised his voice and said ”Your B file is completely open. Seize it quickly or it’s checkmate.”
”Hey!” the other pony loudly objected, ”This isn’t your game, kid! Go home!”
Unfazed, Drop Shadow taunted the stallion with a sneer. ”What’s wrong? You were handling one colt so well, two should be fillies’ play.”
With wide eyes, the colt played the move Drop had suggested, his opponent seething with silent rage. For the rest of that game, Drop slowly guided his game partner to a decisive victory and earned his cutie mark and first friend in the process. The colt later introduced himself as Fair Trade and became Drop’s apprentice in chess until they went their separate ways as adults.


As a young stallion, Drop Shadow did indeed enlist in the royal guard. Among the other recruits, he was often admired for his dedication, strength and wits. Though the recruits knew no real combat, they could still feel Drop’s imposing presence even during training. Not one to ignore the envious looks of his comrades when he dominated their exercises, Drop quickly became known for boasting. He would insist that if they ever saw real combat, he would be the most heroic unicorn in the kingdom (an especially arrogant claim considering his lack of affinity for magic).


It would be many moons yet, but his chance would come eventually. Drop Shadow was standing stalwart in a line of three guards in the reception area for the wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. His mind was clouded with unwanted resentment. Why should he stand reserve while the defense of the city was left in the magic of a younger unicorn? And with the stress of his wedding already upon him, how could they trust him to come through? The rational part of Drop knew that it was because Shining Armor’s spell was the only defense they had that could keep the Changelings out and avoid all-out combat. He knew that his affinity for magic was far too weak to erect such a barrier, and yet still the resentment stood. He wanted them to be proven wrong. He wanted the shield to break, for him to get his chance to be a hero for once. 


Sure enough, the barrier did break. Changelings pouring in, Drop quickly snapped corralled his panicking comrades. He instructed them to head to Shining Armor’s side while he would head into the city to lead the evacuation effort. With a battle-hungry grin, Drop charged into battle, any changeling who crossed his path meeting a mighty headbutt from his helmet or a quick buck into next week. It wasn’t long before he encountered Fair Trade. He questioned why the stallion had run toward the castle, and he surprised Drop by saying it was to see if he was safe. Their reunion was short-lived, however, as a troop of changelings divebombed them. Wanting to separate the two, a pair of them crashed down in front of Drop Shadow while another abducted Fair Trade in front of him. Drop backed up in surprise, but moments later huffed with blind anger. He charged forward, but there was a blinding flash of light and he soon found himself charging at a pile of black ash. He stopped in disbelief and looked around to see his father. ”You... what did you...”
His father shook his head and glared at him. ”This is the reality of battle, Drop Shadow. I believed you smarter than this.”
Drop gazed toward his father, then toward the chaos in the sky. In a flurry of mixed emotions, he suddenly took off running. He galloped far, far away from Canterlot, swatting away any who tried to stop him. 


Days later, Drop had still not returned or been seen by anypony. He was declared a deserter and a disgrace by the royal guard. In truth, he had galloped all the way to Ponyville and fled when he saw other ponies, eventually getting himself lost in the Everfree Forest. Becoming lost in the forest gave him time to reflect, at least until the dangerous creatures caught on to his presence there. He began to consider the “reality of battle” and what that could mean. With his training as a guard, he fought off the plants and animals of the forest but this only made him weary and seemed to get him nowhere. Was this the reality of battle? Wearing yourself thin just to survive? If that was reality, he decided it was not to be accepted. Reality was too harsh to him, so he had to detach himself from it. Over time, his mind eroded until he couldn’t see the predators as threats on his life anymore. They were only opponents in his way of winning, and win he would... as soon as he found the exit from this forest.


Eventually, he would miraculously trot out of the forest, but not without a price. He was a shadow of the pony that had trotted in, and now didn’t give the ponies that greeted him in Ponyville any acknowledgement at all. The thing that made him weak, that stopped him from being a hero... he identified it as magic. He found his new resolve in studying magic, though this time for a new game. The princesses were no longer the king and queen of his chessboard; he now stood as the sole king. He learned illusion and trickery and though it took many sleepless nights, through determination he would master it. He started back into the forest to test his newfound powers. Drop would harass terrified animals, leading them around in circles that all lead back to his sadistic grin before suddenly changing the path right into the maw of a carnivorous plant. He would project his image before a fearsome timberwolf only for it to disappear as the wolf attacked, his real body wiping its muddy paws on the creature’s stunned form. For the first time in moons, Drop felt glee, though of a twisted and perverse sort. 


Over time, he made the forest his home, the creatures unable to touch him as his illusions kept them at bay. To reflect this new lifestyle, he started a fire and branded the white out of his cutie mark, hardly feeling the pain. His once-muscular body atrophied with age and inactivity, but this didn’t bother him. He was a puppet master now, and physical exertion was beneath him. The first time a filly wandered into the forest, he knew it was time. The table was set; it was time to start capturing pieces. 


((Ending left intentionally vague in case him actually being successful in kidnapping fillies in the Everfree Forest is too dark. It’s fine if I have to make it so everypony he’s tormented has ultimately escaped.))


Character Personality: Sinister, sadistic and egotistical, Drop Shadow’s version of “making friends” is to trap and enslave ponies until they get Stockholm syndrome so bad they worship him. Always one step ahead, if anything, his biggest weakness is getting so caught up in creating fear that he fails to account for what ponies can do when they’re not afraid of him. He understands the feelings of other ponies, but rather than giving him any form of empathy this just gives him the means to get into their heads. If there is any good left in him, it has been buried under many moons of following nopony’s ideals but his own.


Character Summary: Drop Shadow is a vile creature who once had the potential to be a great leader, but was too weak-willed and eventually turned to evil as a form of escapism. Something inside of him snapped, and he has now made it his life’s work to trap and torment other ponies and ultimately brainwash them into being okay with it. 

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