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 An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]

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OneUnknownEnigma



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PostSubject: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:58 pm

Mostly, her mind was dark and still... but sometimes, she dreamed.

There were times – precious times – when the sunbeams would stream through the jagged hole in the ceiling of little courtyard, warming the statue with a heat she could not feel, and the dreams would be pleasant. Good, even. Half-formed thoughts of home, half-remembered parts of her childhood. Of her work, friends. But far too soon, the sweetness of all this clarity began to hurt, and she would almost – almost – remember, and the shadow would eclipse her mind again in a dark, dragging, comfortable completeness. It was safer there, to silently hum with the warmth of a stable anger, to sink into the protection of a constant, heavy blackness without beginning and without end.

These moods, these slow seasons of thought, would not have been visible to anypony observing the statue. Not that anyone was. Nature's seasons came and went – rain would sometimes patter down once that hole in the roof fell in, darkening the stone in uneven splotches, but the sun would dry again. Thin, swirling vines grew as the stones in the floor cracked, first over the base and then up to twine around the hooves and further. Sometimes they were dotted with clusters of tiny white flowers, and sometimes they were not. But the statue simply stood – unweathered and unbroken – without change. Only... sometimes... if you were looking – which ponies generally weren't – the crystal set into the pony's chest would flicker. Just a pulse, just for a moment, somewhere deep in the jagged black gem. But otherwise, it was undisturbed.

Nobody ever really entered the little courtyard with the arched entryway, set off to one side of the castle with doors that opened onto the Forest. It was mainly for the odd piece of storage but had been rarely used in the time when the sisters lived there, much less now, when it had been abandoned for so many years. The walls were bare, a little mossy, and the cobbled floor was cracking, and there was that chunk missing from the roof. Completely inconspicuous. Completely unnoticed... until now.
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Bright Eyes



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:07 pm

Days had passed since Inferno staked his claim on the old castle.  He hoped others had already begun to whisper his name fearfully, dreading the self-proclaimed king, praying they never come face to face with the beast.  He stalked through the halls and courtyards with pride for the kingdom he would create there, unperturbed by the slow decay of the castle’s walls and hallways.

He had been existing in his personal solitude for a long while.  Sure, there was Glitter Hail - his lip curled at the thought of the absurdly named, absurdly pink stallion (who Inferno had quietly learned to tolerate, and perhaps even appreciate, though he'd never admit it).  There were also two ponies currently residing in the dungeon — a pair of intelligent ponies from Trottingham, still too scared to be of much use thus far.

From the corner of an eye, he thought he saw a faint hint of light.  A sneer painted on his cruel muzzle, his head jerked in the direction, but there was no sign of life.  Instead, there was an old statue, with vines encroaching on what was likely once a grand and beautiful courtyard.  He paced forward, stopped before the statue - her - with unusual interest.  A lovely mare.  Carved from lifeless rock, but lovely still.  Discerning eyes narrowed as he inspected the delicacy of the stone on the pony’s chest.

He stepped closer, the red-hot tip of his horn pressing against the cold stone of the mare’s necklace.
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OneUnknownEnigma



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:15 pm

The contact hit her like a pinprick of searing light through the darkness, and her mind began to start ticking again in stutters and bursts. She became fully aware again before she could move, which was partially good and partially terrifying – the sensation of being trapped entirely in stone hit her instantaneously and made her want to lash out, somehow, in any direction, in panic – which was both unsuccessful and only helpful in making it worse.

She felt the spell collapsing around her, slowly, slowly, stone melting into crystal while she remained frozen in place. There was a flash of coloured light that passed through her body, like a solar flare through a stained glass window, and she fell roughly onto the floor as she finally regained feeling in her body. How long had she been frozen like that? What had happened? Her last memory was... she blinked her eyes open and scowled. Her last memory was being magically assaulted by those prissy ponies of the Sister's Court. She hadn't even been able to speak to the monarchs themselves...

Her fragile anger fell away, though, as her eyes focused and she saw another pony standing over her. She looked up, blinking, and raised her head carefully to try and see better. "... Your kindness, stranger, cannot be understated..." she said faintly. "Who... who are you? What has happened to me?"
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Bright Eyes



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:13 pm

The tip of his horn had only just started to glow its eerie pitch-black aura when a sound alerted Inferno to the change his magic had unexpectedly inspired.  He took a step backward to watch in quiet amazement as the stone melted away into crystals, which glimmered and crashed to the floor at the statue’s base - or rather, at the hooves of what had previously been a statue.  The pale creature that had been hidden away in plain sight for countless years fell harshly to the stone floor the victim of a magic that even Inferno did not possess (though, in that moment, he decided he would have to attain something so useful as turning one’s foe into stone itself).

He gazed down at the mare with a growing smile. This was certainly an interesting turn of events. With a still growing smile on his maw, his head lowering to meet her eyes as she expressed gratitude.  “I am Raging Inferno.” His voice was ominous and deep as he addressed the confused mare.  “I am afraid I cannot tell you what has happened to you.  Someone trapped you.  It is I that have freed you, and this castle belongs to me.”
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OneUnknownEnigma



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:22 pm

The stallion – she now saw that it was a stallion, black as pitch with patches of deep red bursting through on his muzzle and mane – bent his head to her level as she struggled to her hooves. "Your castle...?" She gazed around at the crumbling room, eyes widening. "How long – Tell me, sir, where are the... Princesses?" She nearly spat the last word out. Referring to them by such a lofty title seemed disgraceful to her, after what they had done, but it would have been far too odd to address them by name.
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Bright Eyes



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:33 pm

Inferno allowed the nameless mare to orient herself - if such a thing were possible.  Only Celestia knew how much time had passed since the lovely creature had last been flesh and blood, not a mass of unfeeling carved stone. “Princesses?” Rather than express respect for the supposedly all-powerful mares, Inferno only laughed in simmering disdain for the royals he loathed.  “They abandoned this castle long ago — and you, along with it,” he guessed with a snort.  From the newly awakened pony’s tone, he ventured to guess that she, like Inferno, was not a great fan of Celestia and Luna.
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:24 am

The more she heard, the more frightened angry she became. The crystal set into her necklace hummed almost unnoticeably and she felt her fear boil away, steaming off of the surface of darker emotions to leave only a bitter resolve behind. "I suspected as much," she muttered, but then had to pause. "Just how long?" She pressed, taking a step closer to Inferno in her anxiousness desire for the truth. "I must know what has happened to Equestria in my absence if I am to find my way from here. I fear much has changed..."

((The odd grammar visible in this post is being used to show Pearl's internal thought process under the influence of the dark magic. The battle between her old self and now will become more intense/more seamless depending on various factors...))
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Bright Eyes



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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:50 am

Inferno was still as the mare stepped forward, with only a growing smile on his maw.  There was a simmering rage boiling within her, and the menacing stallion was all too eager to fan the flames of disdain and vengeance.  He watched closely to see how she would react to the bit of news he shared:  "The princesses have not lived here for a thousand years.  I am certain much has changed in the world since you were imprisoned here.  Left to crumble, as they left this castle behind to decay."  His sinister smile still growing, he offered, "Now you have been released.  You are free. But everyone you once knew is long dead."
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:00 am

She felt as if she were dreaming again as she stumbled a few steps away from him, wanting to accuse him of lying, insanity, but... why would he have any reason to fabricate something like that? It made a horrible, horrible amount of logical sense given the state of the room, and her twisted sense of time from so long asleep.

She had been kept still in torment for so long that it felt almost natural to be expressionless and motionless as her mind fell to pieces, again and again, new and old merging and crashing together and apart as they tried to reconcile this.

She did not cry. She did not give herself the relief of bowing her head, closing her eyes in defeat, allowing herself the weakness of attempting to seek comfort from the only pony she had encountered in all this time. No.

Only a few seconds had passed in silence, but it took her only that long to sever the link between the parts of herself that would drag her back into hurting again. "A thousand years?" When her words shook, they trembled with not sorrow, but dark rage. "It makes no difference," she continued, voice sharp and vicious. "Everybody I once knew was dead already."
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:41 am

As the mare fell away, Inferno was swift to step forward so that little space divided them.  The stallion recognized his peculiar position - as an unexpected savior to a pony with nothing left in the world.  He expected her to crumble, just as the rock that had been her jail had fallen away.  Nearly all ponies would be distraught to learn that a thousand years had been robbed of them, that no trace of familiarity remained to the world.

To Inferno's delight, the freed mare didn't appear to grieve.  On the contrary, her expression was as devoid of emotion as the chuck of stone she had been only minutes before.  But it was not her face that betrayed how she was reacting to this devastating news - no, Inferno could feel it, thick in the stale air between them.  She was angry, and rightfully so. Like Inferno, she had been cast off by a society that did not want or appreciate their kind.

The raw fury in her voice, lacking any sense of regret for the years she had been concealed, brought Inferno an unspeakable pleasure.  Such unbridled outrage was rare, and, naturally, Inferno found it intriguing.  It was a language he spoke fluently.  "What you were then no longer matters," he commented, tone even as he spoke.  "You can be someone new here, with me.  Someone powerful."  Captivated, he never looked away from the delicate pale features of the unnamed mare.
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:56 am

Pearl considered this for a moment, raising her eyes slowly to meet the gaze of the tall stallion. "Before the Princesses–" she stopped, and tried again. "Before I was imprisoned," Pearl continued slowly, "Before the Empire was lost, I served at the court of Princess Amore." It was almost hard for her to say the name of the lost Princess, but she ignored the sting. The bones of who she was would have to be buried somehow if she was going to survive this intact, and Raging Inferno was a good a pony as any to help her do it. There was something in his gaze that drew her to him – acceptance, perhaps? A twisted kind of appreciation for the darkness she could feel writhing around the edges of herself even now. It was strong, whatever it was, a band of something solid in a fast-crumbling world. It was solid in an oppressive, overbearing sense, but solid it was. Comforting was not the right word to describe it. It was too dark for that, too... brooding. Too calculating. If she had been in possession of more of herself she might have thought to be careful around such a pony – who could be so self-assured and have that violence in his eyes, but... as it was... "I think it is time I seek... a new position."
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:37 pm

The mare's vulnerable state made her all the more appealing to Raging Inferno. She didn't appear to be fearful of him, and the energy that surrounded her was deliciously chaotic. So much potential in one little pony. "The world can be yours," he began, before his voice dropped an octave ominously, "if you stay with me and serve me as your monarch. In my kingdom, you shall be valued, not imprisoned nor silenced. Whatever you desire can become a reality, Pearl Facet."

Naturally, nothing in Inferno's world came for free. There would be... expectations, of course. But those were details best left for another conversation. For now, he needed only her acceptance, and his sinister smile never wavered as he brazenly filled the slight gap that stood between the two, who were almost comically different in height and bearing. His head lowered slightly to give the mare the faintest nuzzle, nearly tender in his touch. She had nothing in the world now but what he had to offer - and Inferno did not intend to lose such a lovely little prize.
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PostSubject: Re: An end to solitude, a beginning of something else. [Inferno]   Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:49 pm

These were grand promises for any one pony to make, and Pearl Facet knew it. She had seen for herself the instability of fledgeling kingdoms, championed by brash lords who attempted to win more than they could ever achieve and crumbled in the process... but she wanted this to be true. She wanted it badly. It was as if somebody had offered up to her the one thing she needed most, spoken directly to the same painful desires she was trying so hard to push away. A new kingdom to build, create? A pony with this much power who seemed to have just as much resentment for the two sisters as she did? She was powerless to refuse as she listened to his low, dark words with growing resolve.

For a moment, this was almost an ugly reminder of a scene she had witnessed before – the dark intentions of one individual had been what ruined the Empire in the first place. These thoughts, however, were soon removed – Inferno's muzzle grazed her, almost gently, and the crystal around her neck pulsed once at the proximity of such a dark, magical presence. She felt almost as though she were not in control, thinking through a dream, as she stepped back just enough to incline her head and tuck one hoof up as she leant down in a graceful, fluid bow. Had she made the decision to do so? She wasn't sure. The movement was one that she had repeated probably hundreds of times before, travelling for diplomatic enterprises and even in her own court, and the familiarity of it was steadying.

"It would be an honour," she said, finding her voice even as she held her position for a moment more and then slowly raised her head.
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