Date: June 2019 A.D (After Discord)
Current Events: Blood Moon
Description: When the Sisters are cut off from the Moon and the Realm of Dreams, a dark presence makes itself known in Equstria as children everywhere fall into a magically-induced slumber, plagued by terrible nightmares!
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Why had she never heard of the Forbidden Wing? She was the princess of this place for crying out loud! She was going to have some stern words for somepony later. Later was the keyword. For now, she'd go along with it, and keep her irritation at bay.
Princess Cadence was a bit thrown off by the book they were given. It was extremely flashy for a book that had such a dark, gloomy title. "Thank you, Turquoise. You may leave us, for now. We'll call you if you are needed." Cadence opened the book with a flash of her horn. What kind of secrets lay within these pages...
Turquoise left Shining Armor and Princess Cadance to look in the wing. He went to the front desk to hang up his ID, and he was just about out the door when he realized that he had forgotten to tell the Prince and Princess something very, very important! He rushed towards the wing, hoping he wouldn't find them when it was too late.
No matter how hard Princess Cadance tried, the book would not open. Instead, the ink on the front cover melted and began to drip and spread across the table in the center of the room. Another door slid abruptly in front of the entryway into the wing, trapping the Shining Armor and Cadance inside. Upon the side of the door Shining Armor and Princess Cadance would see was the sigil of King Sombra. The stone dome of the ceiling split and retreated away, revealing a stained glass window that portrayed chained crystal ponies facing clockwise in a circle around the border and King Sombra's snarling face in the center.
Shining Armor immediately tried to use his magic to lift the door open, but even with Cadance's help the door would not budge. He soon heard the rapid trotting of footsteps, and a frantic knocking upon the door.
"Printhe? Printheth?" Turquoise's voice called out. Shining Armor put his ear to the door.
"Yes, Turquoise? Do you know anything about why Cadance and I are trapped in here?"
"I forgot to tell you...There'th a golden book on one of the shelveth that activateth a trap...It'th the one about Lord Grogar, and it theemth it'th been pulled out of it'th shelf."
Shining Armor cringed. "That King Sombra...Prepared as always..."
"King Thombra wanted to uthe that book," said Turquoise, "for a plan to rethurect Grogar and the Thity of Tambelon for hith own purpotheth. He wanted to make thure nopony elthe could actheth the book, tho he curthed it to open a trap. There'th going to be two monthterth who will appear, two that King Thombra wath confident only he could pathify..."
Shining Armor looked to the bookshelves, and saw the wispy forms of two Banshees writhing out of them.
Of course Sombra would keep a book like this. She should've known something as flashy as that was a trap. And now they were trapped. She stepped away from the door, dispelling the aura from her horn. All they could do was wait for these monsters, and see how to proceed. Sombra might not have accounted for an alicorn when he thought nothing could destroy them but himself. And most of the Crystal Empire had evidence that he had been a proud unicorn.
"Do you know anything about these monsters? Anything at all that could help us?"
Shining Armor had never seen a real-live Banshee before, he had only read about them. They looked like ghostly mares, but they seemed to be dripping wet. Shining Armor recalled that Banshees were often seen washing the clothes and armor of those who were about to die.
Shining Armor's horn lit up, readying a spell. "Well, I remember from my Ogres & Obulettes gamebook that Banshees are fairy-ponies who are washermares for the dead. They also have a really ear-splitting sc-"
One of the Banshees unleashed her scream, which would pop the eardrums of even Turquoise, who was standing outside the room. Her mouth opened wide, revealing several rows of needle-like teeth. Shining Armor was nearly deafened by the sound, but was able to manage projecting up a barrier around himself and Cadance as one of the Banshees lunged at them.
Turquoise knocked on the door again. "Try uthing the torcheth!" he called out.
The Banshees thrashed against Shining Armor's barrier again and again, and after a few tries, the barrier shattered. Shining Armor knew he wouldn't be able to produce another one without letting his horn rest for a few minutes, so he instead levitated a torch from the wall. He thrust it a few times at the Banshee closest to him, and it seemed to make her back away a few ghostly steps.
And just like that, Banshees were upon them. Her mind flew back to her training at Celestia's School, and racked her mind for a spell that could help. Her husband's quick thinking brought up a barrier just in time to block one of them. It didn't last long, but Turquoise's voice called out. The torch? Did that mean they were weak against fire?
The barrier shattered, and she stumbled back. Before the Banshees got closer, Shining Armor leaped to their defense again armed with a torch. So they were at least afraid of it. Time to see if it hurt them. Princess Cadence's horn lit up, and she reared back. She lunged forwards with her horn, and a column of magical fire shot straight towards one of them.
The Banshee that Princess Cadance fired her magic at was split in half, and its two parts fell to the floor. However, this did not kill it. The two parts slowly merged back together, and that Banshee was good as new.
While the Banshee Shining Armor was holding off was initially scared of the torch, it eventually stopped backing away. Opening its terrifying mouth, it unleashed another, more powerful scream. This scream wouldn't deafen Shining Armor and Cadance, but it would surely disorient them for a few seconds.
Shining Armor growled in pain before calling out to Turquoise again. "Turquoise!" he shouted. "The torches aren't doing anything to them now! Is there anything else we should try?"
Turquoise called back. "Uh....There'th Thombra'th dark magic, I gueth?"
Shining Armor tried to perform some dark magic, but his horn just ended up flickering out. He knew barrier spells, not the magic of evil! The Banshee that he was facing lashed out with her tail, sending Shining Armor staggering into one of the bookcases.
Cadence watched her husband receive a lashing from a Banshee, and looked at the other one. Her ears were ringing a bit, but she couldn't let it phase her. "Alright, Sombra's magic... Hang in there Shining..." She closed her eyes, and emptied her mind. Cadence remembered learning a little of it. It was out of necessity, and it was only being used now out of necessity. She needed it. She let go, and embraced the shadows.
She let the darkness in. Her horn sparked green, black, and purple, and her eyes shut tight. The shadows filled her mind with secrets. So, many secrets... Such darkness... It made her think of... Crystalsss... Her eyes opened, and her crimson pupils rested on the banshee in front of her. Cadence swayed back and forth, and the purple mist pouring from her eyes mirrored the motion. The Banshee screamed again in her face, but she didn't move. The shadowy sparks danced up and down her horn, and she glared at the spirit with an indifferent hatred. "Burn."
She blasted the Banshee with green and black fire. And smiled.
Shining Armor sat up in the wreckage of the bookcase he crashed into, watching as Cadance called upon Sombra's dark power. Even though he knew that alicorns were able to basically use whatever kind of magic they wanted to, he was still a bit shocked at seeing his wife do such things.
His jaw literally hit the floor when the magic coursed through one of the Banshees, and bounced into the other. They stiffened for a few moments, then slowly wisped toward the seemingly glued-shut book about Grogar. They both picked the book up, and opened it as if it was nothing, holding it open for the Crystal Prince and Princess.
Shining Armor called back to Turquoise. "Turquoise, it seems the dark magic causes the Banshees to stop fighting. It looks like they're going to help us with that book!"
The Banshees flipped the book to its first page, which showed an engraving of a completely black silhouette of a ram with glowing eyes. Around him were what appeared to be foals imprisoned in dark bubbles.
Cadence clenched her eyes shut. The shadows, were, hard to fight back. It drained her, but she could feel the shadows oozing back to the corners of her mind. Her eyelids fluttered open. Her familiar irises focused on her husband, as the last wisps of purple magic faded into the air. Princess Cadence ran over to her husband and gave him a hug.
It lasted longer than it should have. She pulled away, and coughed once. "We should focus on the book." Without another word on what just occurred, Cadence turned back to the book. "I think this is it, Shining!" A shadowy ram was responsible? Perhaps her aunts would know.
Shining Armor wrapped himself into his wife's embrace, awkwardly leaving it when it had gone for a bit too long. They really did need to read this book, here, and the Banshees were looking at them with narrowed eyes.
"Uh...Sorry about that..." said Shining Armor. "Please continue, ladies."
One of the Banshees nodded and talked about the engraving of the dark ram. [GLITCH]"The Ram depicted in this engraving is Grogar, the High Duke of the city of Tambelon[/END MAGICAL GLITCH]. He was a powerful necromancer and magician, and with the assistance of dark magic, would steal foals during the night."
The other Banshee flipped the next page. The page on the back of the first one had an engraving of a shadowy figure of a donkey looking over a crystal ball. There were indecipherable ancient runes on the page next to it.
"Grogar's second-in-command was a donkey by the name of [color=brown]B̴̶̹̰̠̠͝Я͈̼͔̱̣̫̯̬͎̭̗͚͢͡͞Λ̱̖̭̪͖͜Υ̸̧̞͙̪͈̙̤̺͎̣̹̟̪̤ . He was also Grogar's apprentice, and just a powerful magician as the High Duke himself. He delighted inTorturing prisoners with terrifying nightmares."
It was clear that the Banshees functioned in a similar way to some kind of magical automaton, and that the dark magic caused them to lapse into an automatic response. However, they were a bit glitchy, and difficult to understand at times.
Shining Armor, despite his ears having been ruptured by the screaming earlier, was able to at least understand some of it. "So Grogar's in charge of Tambelon and steals foals in their sleep, and Bray, his right-hand donkey, is some kind of inquisitor or torturer...Say, Cadance, Tambelon wouldn't happen to be on a map, would it?
If Cadance searched for a map, she would find nothing. There were no maps in this library that would display Tambelon's location on a map. It simply wasn't anywhere to be found on this plane of existence...
The more and more she heard, the more and more out of her depth she felt. Grogar? Bray? Tambelon? These seemed like prominent names that she should know, yet, they were lost to her... "Perhaps we need a more direct line of communication. We need to speak to my aunts, and the letters are going to take too long. If anyone would know something about Tambelon, it would be them.
Cadence looked at the apparitions, frowning. She couldn't even protect her own kingdom... What good was spreading love if the foals were wrapped in never ending nightmares? What good would love give to the grieving parents if they were grieving over the ones they love? All she could do was try to find out what she could, and hope her aunts and Twily came to help.
Shining Armor sighed. "I don't know what the Banshees are really talking about, either," he said as the two spirits simply sat there, unresponsive. They started to shut down, as they needed more dark magic to continue and Cadance's spell, although impressive, was not enough to keep them going.
The Crystal Prince paced back and forth. "I don't know if leaving to see Twily or the Royal Sisters is really the best idea with the Empire in this kind of state...If anyone leaves, it'll have to just be one of us so the other stays and helps the Crystal Ponies with this."
Shining Armor began to look a bit more confident once he came to a resolution in his mind. He wasn't sure if Cadance would appreciate the idea of them not sticking together, but it was the best plan he had at the moment. "I can go to Canterlot and see Celestia and Luna while you stay in the Empire, or we can do it vice versa. It's really up to you."
Split up? As difficult as it was to imagine not being able to have her husband there with her during a crisis like this, it was the best course of action. The more important question was which one of them would go. It made a lot of sense for Cadence to speak to her aunts about this. She was, after all, the Princess, and if there was something she could do while there, then she wanted to do it. But, she didn't want to abandon the Empire. She was more than confident in her husband's ability, but it was still hard to imagine leaving her ponies in their time of despair. It was just as hard to sit back and not be able to do a thing while this occurred.
Princess Cadence placed a hoof on her husband's arm. He was giving her the choice... Her eyes were misty, and she was trying to hold herself together. Which was the right one? Abandon her Empire, or try and help them through this? She'd be helping them either way, but it made the choice no less difficult.
She thought about her citizens. The parents watching their foals... The foals tormented by terrors within their own minds... Everypony slumping around in sadness and losing hope by every second... She didn't have a choice. "Go to them, Shining. I'll remain here." As difficult as it was to wait around, it was painful to leave her citizens.