This is my first fanfiction. Also, all the communications are authentic except for the last one. Some editing by [REDACTED].
Red Cloak Pt. 1
Twilight was finally alone in the library. Spike was off in Canterlot and nopony else seemed to have any urgent need for her at the moment. Nothing spectacular was happening in Ponyville lately. Winter wrap-up was still a ways off, and the weather ponies had been making it too cold for many ponies to want to go out and enjoy the frosty weather. She was wondering if it was time for the box. She hadn't used it in a while.
Twilight knew she should use it more often, but her friends were always around... and she knew deep within her heart that they wouldn't approve, Princess Celestia wouldn't approve, pretty much everypony in Ponyville wouldn't approve.
It had been hard enough to convince Rarity to make an entirely red cloak for her to wear. "But Twilight! Just red? Really? I could make you a wonderful gown with sapphires that would accent your coat wonderfully."
But Twilight had insisted on red, without decoration. After all, she wasn't high enough in the order to be seen wearing anything else.
She had met the order in the Everfree Forest, strange ponies from all walks of life, all in red hooded robes, circled around a speaker at a table. They hadn’t taken kindly to an intruder among their ranks and she was brought before an altar to be judged. There, she became a believer, she had been seen and had not been found wanting, she could feel that down to her bones. The other ponies were not certain, as the only thing it said was "Next oftips," but somehow that experience had changed Twilight.
Now it was later in the evening, and all the doors and windows in the library were shut and dark. Inside, the only light was a circle of candles around a chalk design on the floor, with what looked like a glass topped coffee table in the center. Closer inspection revealed a single button and a rectangle that seemed different than the rest of the glass plate. Twilight walked in. The unease she felt was almost palpable. Robed and hooded in red, she approached the altar and began to communicate to her god.
"Blummet Ler," she said in greeting, flinching slightly as it used her other name in reply. "Steditia Asn" was written back to her in a unsteady script as if the words themselves were forming out of the nether between worlds. The dark lord did not seem to be in any hurry to give commands today however and Twilight's mind drifted to the recent past.
She could still remember the prophet. Neritit Faw, his name was. His eyes were clouded over, and his cutie mark was a dark mass of interconnected lines. She had been told it was the symbol of their—and now her—god. Twilight had only spoken to Neritit Faw briefly, but he had told her how this cult had started without even an introduction, gazing at her as if those clouded eyes could see right into her head. She didn't pick up much from the story; something about an altar in the castle of the royal pony sisters.
But Twilight had a hard time concentrating on that, she couldn't help but stare at him. He was stick thin, with a haggard mane. His voice sent chills directly down her spine, it was like somepony was sharpening an axe. What fixed Twilight's attention most of all were his eyes. They were stark white, and he was obviously blind—but he could see, nonetheless. Through some other force, that pony could see her... and she got the distinct impression that he was looking right through her, and into the dark corners of her mind.
He had even called her by her other name before it appeared on the glass display, such was the strength of his connection to the dark god. Even the other initiated ponies jumped a little at “Steditia Asn,” rasped out in that sharp voice. Twilight had jumped, more than a little shaken at being addressed directly and startled from her unsettling reverie.
Coming back to the present with a start, Twilight paid close attention as a command issued forth in that otherworldly way. The initiates had told her that each command came out a bit strange and should be interpreted directly, and that a dictionary helped with the stranger words. Twilight didn't have a problem with that, but some of the commands seemed like instructions from a madpony. She realized that she was drifting off again and focused on the display before her.
"Cuties cildwi," was the best she could make out, and she searched through the dictionary she kept on her altar for this, holding it flat with one hoof. It quickly revealed the second word to mean "method of organizing." She decided that the dark lord could only be talking about the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Before Twilight could think much about that, a second command emanated, this one even more indistinct than the last:
She already didn't like where this was going, but before she could react, yet another command rose from the depths like a shadowy leviathan. This one was clearly legible, which seemed to give the words an added pressure, as if the dark lord himself was lurking unseen behind the glass in her altar... Waiting...
The words read simply "Bring forth."
Thanks once again to [REDACTED] for editing and also for [redacted ]their[redacted][redacted][redacted] I I’m sure the world would be a much more populated place if it wasn’t for [REDACTED].
Red Cloak Pt. 2
Twilight was having a crisis of conscience. She hadn't been part of the dectrip faith for very long, and the dark lord made her rather nervous whenever she communicated with him. The messages were hard to follow, and all seemed rather mad; it had even asked her to count bears once. But the others in the following all seemed to take the commandments as if they where written in lead ten feet high. In fact, looking around the crumbling hall where they met, some of them were literally engraved in lead slabs set into the wall – insane things like "Create Trathira" and "Dereden Isle." Nonsense words that were clearly without meaning.
In truth, Twilight thought the whole cult was out of touch with reality, but she knew – while everything else about it might be a load of hooey – that there was something guiding them, divine or no. They had even talked about the supposed end times, with strange reference to "Palin University" and "The Dinoday." Twilight wasn't sure what either of these things were, but she was sure that a university couldn't actually bring about the end times. Thinking about this briefly, she amended that to “probably couldn't bring about the end times” – it really depended on what they were researching there.
While she was thinking about this, she finally arrived at Fluttershy's house, where the Cutie Mark Crusaders where having another sleepover. When Fluttershy came to the door, she didn't seem too happy. Looking inside the house, Twilight could see why: the entire floor was frozen solid with a layer of ice and the Cutie Mark Crusaders looked guilty, in what looked like homemade hockey uniforms.
"Yes?" Fluttershy asked, her patience clearly stretched at the moment.
"Uhh, well... Rarity told me that you were taking care of the Cutie Mark Crusaders today and I was wondering if you wanted me to take them off your hands for a while." Twilight replied, sweating under the pressure of telling a direct lie and Fluttershy's somewhat unfriendly glare.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders quickly saw a way to avoid trouble from Fluttershy and immediately chimed in their full support of the idea. "Pleeeeease Fluttershy?" Scootaloo implored, doing her best puppy dog eyes. Twilight could guess whose idea the Cutie Mark Crusader hockey players had been.
"I actually have the perfect place picked out for camping,” Twilight continued. “I talked to Rainbow Dash and she says that it’s going to be clear skies tonight."
Fluttershy still didn’t seem very enthused about having her floors covered in ice, but she couldn't resist the CMC's best imploring eyes. "Oh, alright." she folded, still annoyed. She just couldn't stay mad at anybody.
This seemed to cheer up the Fillies immensely, and Scootaloo in particular.
"Ok girls, lets go get packed up. Make sure to bring something warm to sleep in." Twilight said, a little nervously.
"Hey! We can be Cutie Mark Crusader survival experts!" Applebloom exploded. This seemed to get them really excited, and they zipped off to pack for the upcoming trip.
Fluttershy seemed slightly happier now that she didn't have three excitable fillies on her hands. "Where do you plan on taking them?" It was an innocent enough question, but it still made Twilight nervous.
"Um. Well... I found this spot in the Everfree Forest, not too far in, that I thought would be perfect." She hoped she could skate over the problem without Fluttershy noticing. It seemed to work, as Fluttershy was clearly too concerned about the prospect of cleaning up a makeshift skating rink in her kitchen to dwell on Twilight Sparkle’s words.
"Well, that will do them some good, I'm not sure if they have been out camping yet." she said, her normally timid nature brushed aside by anger.
"OK. I'd better get going, gotta pack up for the trip." Twilight felt like she had dodged a minefield there – Fluttershy knew how dangerous the Everfree Forest was.
It wasn't until much later that night, after she had cleaned up most of the ice, that Fluttershy actually thought about what Twilight had said.
Walking back to the library, Twilight began to rationalize bringing the fillies into the forest. After all, nopony would be there – and what could a altar that spat out nonsense words actually do to the fillies? Then she thought about some of the things it said and a few of the phrases engraved in lead, but she never actually got an impression that they did anything bad. She couldn't think of anything so far that she had been asked to do that was bad, as such; some of it was certainly weird. It had asked her to count bears once, for example, but there didn't seem to be any around; still, she was keeping a tally in her head...
Rainbow Dash was sleeping very peacefully, dreaming she was part of the Wonder Bolts being showered with applause after a particularly impressive stunt. Fluttershy suddenly brought an end to the pleasant dream by gently shaking her awake. She rolled over and pulled her cloud blanket over her mumbling about double weather patrol duty today.
"RAINBOW DASH!" Fluttershy yelled.
Just hearing Fluttershy yell was enough to shake Rainbow Dash into wakefulness. Combined with the fact that Fluttershy was very agitated, Dash was up and ready in a second. Anything that could agitate Fluttershy that much was certain to be trouble.
“What’s got you so worried, Fluttershy?” she asked immediately, on the alert for anything from hordes of parasprites to a rampaging Hydra.
“Errr..” Fluttershy faltered, losing most of her anger driven brashness.
“That is to say, what’s so bad that you need to wake me up mid-nap?” Dash asked, a little softer this time. “You do know I’m on double weather shifts this week.”
“Sorry, Rainbow Dash. But I’m... worried about Twilight...”
“Twilight?! Why in the wide world of Equestria would you be worried about Twilight?” Dash replied, half incredulous and half curious.
“Well, uhh... she came over today... and she was acting kind of strange. She wanted to take the Cutie Mark Crusaders camping or something.”
“I don’t see any problem with that. It’s a good night for it. They can stay up being Cutie Mark Crusader story tellers.”
“Umm. Well. I wasn’t quite paying attention, because they had frozen my floors during the night, and well, er, I think Twilight said she was going to take them into the Everfree-”
“WHAT!!” Dash interrupted. “She knows as much as anypony that place is dangerous!” She reflected a moment, then went on more soberly, “She knows BETTER than anypony that the Everfree Forest is dangerous...”
“Well, she seemed kinda nervous, like she maybe... wasn’t telling me everything,” Fluttershy said. “I was wondering if you could, you know, follow them. And make sure they are alright.”
“Come on, Fluttershy, this is Twilight we’re talking about here. She knew what she was getting them into, and she can probably take care of herself.”
“Umm. Well... probably. But... could you follow them anyway? To make sure they are safe? She seemed really nervous about something.” Pausing for a second, Fluttershy added “She didn’t want to go in there inw the first place... and she suggested it. I’d really feel better if you followed them, Rainbow Dash.”
The unease in her voice must have gotten through to Dash – seeing Fluttershy worried was unusual. Oh, she was nervous all the time, but she wasn’t usually very worried about things without good cause to be.
“Alright. I’ll go see what’s up with Twilight.” Dash conceded, starting to gather up some winter clothes.
Twilight was waiting for the Cutie Mark Crusaders at the edge of the Everfree Forest at that moment. She was jumpy. She knew she probably shouldn’t be doing what she was doing.
So she nearly jumped out of her horse shoes when she thought she heard a sound behind her. It turned out to just be the Crusaders loaded up with everything from sleeping bags to s’more ingredients.
“So Twilight, where are we goin’ camping?” Applebloom asked. She seemed excited to go camping even thought they weren’t going all that far away from Ponyville.
Rainbow Dash relaxed. Neither the Crusaders or Twilight had seen her shadowing them. She was very worried about Twilight right now, she hadn’t even seemed that nervous when Princess Celestia herself was visiting. And Dash thought she had been a bundle of nerves then – seeing Twilight like this, no wonder Fluttershy was worried.
Thanks once again to [REDACTED] for editing all this. Also thanks to (Subject Name Here) for sanity checking.
Red Cloak Pt. 3
Elsewhere in the Forest there was plenty of life, most of which was unfriendly, but even the trees seemed to shun this abandoned temple. It seemed to exude a hair-raising malevolence so thick that even the tough thorny shrubbery in the Everfree Forest did not grow around it. Although apparently unused for generations it was still an impressive structure, made of a bleak stone that despite hundreds of years of neglect was only just showing signs of wear. Unfortunately the masonry around the seemingly unbreakable stone was not in such good repair and the roof was gone. Or hadn't been there at all, it was hard to tell, there wasn't even a trace of fallen masonry anywhere in the single amphitheater like room.
Rainbow dash didn't notice much of this, she had followed Twilight and the Cutie Mark Crusaders and she was worried. Twilight hadn't relaxed the entire journey into the forest, she wasn't worried about getting caught, Dash thought. She was obviously either being forced to do this, or doing this against her better judgement. Although looking at Twilight down there now, as jumpy as Fluttershy on a bad day, it was impossible to tell which.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders however seemed immune to the abandoned temple's aura of hate. They seemed content to be Cutie Mark Crusader ghost story tellers. Gathered around a small fire off center of the altar and bonfire, Twilight had told them not to go near it, and that was exactly what they planned to do. Just as soon as Twilight wasn't looking.
On the way out here Twilight had fabricated a number of reasons why this was the perfect camping spot, only about two of them where actually true, and only one told the whole truth. It was true that monsters didn't come here, what she didn't tell the Crusaders is that they were too terrified to even approach the disused temple, even a dragon would think twice before even flying over it. The other reason is that it provided an unparalleled view of the night sky. Twilight had brought a telescope with her, and the fillies had taken briefly to being Cutie Mark Crusader Astronomers before losing interest and moving off to cause trouble.
Twilight had decided that this was "brought forth" enough for her and she wasn't going to show the Crusaders to The dark lord like so many... wait. It was too quiet even in this fairly large amphitheater the fillies were very audible. Looking around there weren't any places to hide in the amphitheater...
Then she spotted them frozen in front of the altar and panic set in. sprinting over her mind raced, what could it do to them? After all it was just an altar that spit out nonsense commands, but she knew this was just a rationalization. Twilight could still remember that prescience, it felt as if you turned around there would be something there that nopony would want to see.
She could see the Cutie Mark Crusaders up close now they were frozen not in terror, they just stood staring empty eyed at the altar, eerily motionless. Moving around it she could finally see the monochrome display. There were no words on it now. Just a pair of eyes like something... Something was staring out from behind the glass. Even with the brief glance Twilight could feel her eyes being drawn back to it and she could hear voices in her head spewing endless streams of nonsense and impossible commands.
Twilight averted her eyes and covered up the display, unsure of what to do next – or even what had happened to the fillies. Then she heard a voice like the sound of a drawn sword.
"Twilight, Twilight, Twilight..." Neritit Faw seemed to appear, forming out of shadows next to the bonfire which lit up suddenly. “It was all just a test of your loyalty! Would you not sacrifice all these," gesturing briefly at the Crusaders, "and more, for the glory of our Dark Lord?"
"THESE?" Twilight exploded "You are talking about them as if they were THINGS."
"Can't you see? You could be great. The Dark Lord had plans for you, but now...” Neritit Faw paused for a moment, his eyes rolled up as he was conversing with the dark lord “Now you must DIE.”
And even as he spoke the bonfire flared up and a cloud of smoke began to gather above it. Twilight could sense that there was magic going on here but it was different from unicorn magic, this was a sort of divine power, twisted in hatred but divine none the less.
Twilight’s hind brain decided that this was the moment to either run or perish. Scooping up the still stunned Cutie Mark Crusaders she teleported out and into the Everfree Forest. And even then looking back she could see the terrible smoke monster, the living avatar of a god taken full form.
Its eyes were the empty void between worlds waiting, ready to eviscerate the sanity of any who gazed into the eternal darkness of the pupil. Its roar was like a beckoning call into the next world, promising terrible death and eternal damnation in one bone shaking undulation. It turned and surveyed the Everfree Forest and as it’s gaze passed by Twilight she could feel a tug in her mind along with a trickle of... words that despite the fact they didn’t have a meaning they seemed to have a beguiling attraction.
Meanwhile Rainbow Dash hadn’t been spotted by anything yet, and looking at the terrible apparition she couldn’t think of anything to do against it, she could only think of one pony that could help them now only. One being with the sort of power that could match a rampaging god. She really hoped that she could get to Princess Celestia in time. Rocketing off into the night hoping to... err... Celestia that she could get to Canterlot in time.
Twilight was running as fast as she could, she knew that it at least knew her general direction. Her mind was racing. What could she do to something like that? Weather magic? It didn’t look like anything that would obey normal rules or any other type of rules. Pausing in the twisted roots of a skeletal tree she nearly dropped the still stunned crusaders in sheer terror as she heard the avatar above her.
She barely escaped the gout of flame that eradicated the tree, but then in the adrenaline fueled heat of the moment she realized that she couldn’t feel any heat from what certainly had been a very dry tree. Looking back mid gallop she saw the last embers of purple flame begin to die around what should have been a charred tree, but instead was a fairly size-able hole where a burning tree should have been. There wasn’t even any smoke to show it had ever existed.
It wasn’t breathing real fire. That was her only thought as Twilight made another blind teleport, this time arriving in another ruined building quite a ways away. She knew she couldn't keep running from it forever and she really needed time to think. She set the Crusaders down in a corner, and thought. It was hard, most of her studies in magic didn’t involve offensive magic. She couldn’t remember any spell in her limited repertoire that she could use against something like that. Except one.
Twilight had found it looking through Princess Celestia’s personal library. Well not exactly. It was referenced there but she had to reconstruct the spell herself. Even still it took a lot of energy to even do on small things. And right now if somebody had an incredibly powerful telescope they could probably still see a number of small objects that Twilight had “banished” to the moon. But even something as small as an ink pot had her exhausted for days, she knew that something like that monster would take a lot more than just being on the moon to get rid of.
Just as she was reflecting on this, the wall next to her blew out silently. One moment she was thinking about how to banish the Avatar of a god, the next she was watching those purple flames fly past. Inches away from her face. Except they weren’t flames at all, Twilight could see the flames were made up of nightmare skeletal shapes. Flowing and grasping as if they were tearing holes in empty air.
Twilight turned around, steeling herself for the hardest piece of magic she had ever attempted. Her horn lit up the crumbling ruins like a second sun, every muscle in her body was tensed as if to aid the titanic amount of magic that was being released.
And now on the brink of exhaustion Twilight looked up to see that the avatar was still there in all of its terrible glory.
I had a very hard time writing this part, the Dark Lord is extremely hard to write around. Editing by [REDACTED]. Also thanks to (Subject Name Here) for sanity checking, Also I’m writing at least one somewhat related story to this.
Red Cloak Pt. 4
"Did you think that your petty unicorn magic could stop the Avatar of a GOD?" Neritit Faw asked derisively. He seemed genuinely amused by this. "I didn't think you were that desperate." stepping through the hole in the ancient stonework, he paused a moment enjoying the feeling of power. Then Twilight felt herself flung aside by magic.
"Deal with those first," he said, gesturing at the Cutie Mark Crusaders, "I'd like to savor this moment a little longer."
Twilight could barely stand, her fruitless magic had drained her. But then everything snapped into an adrenaline-fueled slow motion. She could see the Crusaders just beginning to stir, she could see the first skeletal shape emerging, gnashing, tearing endeavoring to destroy the entire universe with it's endless hatred of everything. And she could see Neritit Faw standing in front of her gloating with a faint glow where his unicorn horn... wasn't?
Things began to click into place for Twilight. Several realizations along with a flood of magic borne of desperation exploded into her mind. She began casting Princess Celestia's banishing spell again.
"What's this one last throw of the dice? What could you do against a..." Horror edged his voice as he felt himself being dragged backwards into a swirling vortex. But his hooves couldn't find any grip on the decaying flagstones. He screamed his defiance one last time before being sucked into the vortex.
Twilight was spent, she knew she should be worried right now, she could feel herself falling victim to her own spell. But she didn't have any strength to feel anything right now. With a dull indifference she fell into the closing maelstrom and blacked out.
When Twilight came back to awareness she wasn't standing on anything, around anything or in anything. The only other thing in all directions was Neritit Faw, who was likewise not standing on anything. As Twilight approached him, through some unknown means, she noticed he was glancing around him in terror as if the nothingness around both of them contained countless untold terrors that only his eyes could see.
“You FOAL! Do you even know where you’ve taken us?” Neritit Faw seemed to be only assuming Twilight was there – he didn’t seem aware of anything other than the terrors that assaulted him. “You’ve taken us directly to-” He screamed, eyes wide, staring off into the black void. But even Twilight could feel a familiar presence approaching.
She couldn’t describe or even comprehend the true form of the Dark Lord. The best she could do is describe the feeling of it, and it felt in some indescribable way like the monsters she had imagined under her bed as a filly. Menacing in a real enough way to make her want to hide under the covers, and hope for sleep or dawn. It was terrifying in a way she couldn’t fight or face down. Then it spoke.
"Relows judgments." Its voice boomed in the empty void.
"Hypothesis storyth." Once again, like it was slamming lead slabs into place.
Twilight felt the presence reach directly into her mind and begin to sort through her memories like somebody skimming a piece of light literature. It focused on odd things like when she got her Cutie mark, and that time she had messed up so badly in Winter Wrapup. It sorted through her memories without any rhyme or reason. Then it began to look through the few times Neritit Faw had talked to her outside of a normal gathering. She hadn’t liked those much: he had gone on and on about power, and the need to expand the faith, so they could bring in a new order with him at its head. The Dark Lord didn’t seem to like this much. The feeling like an itch inside her head jerked and disappeared like a retracted claw.
Now she could see that Neritit Faw was undergoing the same treatment, but judging by his expression not quite as gently. Then it retracted from his mind. The Dark Lord seemed to think for awhile. Then it spoke to Neritit Faw, it sounded accusing.
Neritit Faw seemed to be utterly terrified about this single statement. He began looking around him in terror at the unseen... Things. With a new, much more directed fear.
“But surely that’s not all you wanted us to do, I certainly planned on starting that eventually,” He was babbling, pleading. The desperate horror in his voice was something even Twilight, somepony he had recently been trying fairly successfully to kill, could hardly stand to watch.
“Create Trathira.” The Leaden voice repeated with all the cold menace of a thrown knife.
“But-” was the last thing Twilight heard from Neritit Faw as he was dragged into a fiery portal by black undoubtedly demonic claws. She heard a scream but it was drowned out by many more, and they were abruptly cut off as the portal closed.
Then the Dark Lord seemed to turn to Twilight and essayed a deafening silence.
“Errr.... sorry about your prophet?” Twilight said, apologizing for speaking with every syllable.
“Common Icopace." It hadn’t lost it’s heavy tone, but the malevolence was defiantly absent. In fact it sounded a little dismissive.
Twilight decided that this was a good thing and continued on a little awkwardly.
“So what now?” It felt very awkward talking to anything that had undoubtedly damned somepony right before her very eyes.
"Prep illsoust." The tone left no indication if this was good or not.
“I’m sorry, My Lord, I don’t have my dictionary handy. It’s very hard to understand you.”
"Location witurae." She decided that it meant to bring her back to the real world.
“So... what are you going to do now? You don’t have a prophet in our world anymore.”
“Future icalso." The tone cut off any further questions with a steely indifference.
When Twilight woke up next she was being prodded by a grim looking pegasus in the same ruined building where she had banished Neritit Faw. This wasn’t Celesita’s Royal Guard, these Ponies had a grim toughness about them, and they were dressed in dark practical work clothes. What really set them apart from the Royal Guards was a general set of body, as if they were ready, willing and permitted to do almost anything at their own discretion.
After taking this all in, Twilight's mind immediately scanned the clearing for the Fillies, they didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. The grim pegasus seemed to know why she was so agitated and immediately reassured her with;
“The Fillies are fine Ms. Sparkle, but they don’t seem to remember anything and we were wondering if you knew what happened here.”
Twilight was about to answer when she heard a voice in her head.
"Service. Orairma" it didn’t have any particular tone, it didn’t seem to menace in any way, but she knew its meaning all to clearly.
“I really can’t remember, I found this wonderful place here in the Everfree Forest to take the fillies camping and then I woke up here.”
Meanwhile in another ruin almost untouched by time, a small glass topped altar sat waiting..