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Fanfic / Corruption At Nightfall

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Written by Jordan179, this incomplete novella chronicles the rise and fall of Emperor Sombros the First and Only, better known to Equestria as "King Sombra". Available here. Started in 2014.


Contains examples of

  • Abdicate the Throne: Either mares or stallions can rule the Crystal Empire. The two sisters among the five Quartz siblings have absolutely no desire to get involved in succession politics, and both Rose and Iolite Quartz deliberately renounce their claims. This in particular keeps Rose Quartz alive when her youngest brother Crimson merges with the Shadows and becomes Sombra.
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  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The current ruling dynasty, the Quartzes, who include among their five siblings two future tyrants: Morion and Crimson.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to all three protagonists.
    • Lady Tourmaline, a classic Silk Hiding Steel aristocratic heroine is raped by Morion, gets a Hope Spot when she is able to escape to Equestria with her beloved Prince Crimson and develop a technology with him that allows him to compensate for his mutiliation, then gets broken all over again when she is forced to witness her lifelong lover's slow descent into madness and evil as Emperor Sombros.
    • Prince Crimson Quartz starts as a bright and loveable colt, becomes an idealistic Science Hero, and then suffers the rape of his lifelong love Tourmaline, maiming in the removal of the horn which lets him be a mage, and after his Hope Spot with Tourmaline in Equestria and on the battlefield defeating Morion, becomes increasingly evil and insane as a result of his traumas and finally merges with the Shadows to become evil Emperor Sombros.
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    • Princess Luna, who has loved Crimson Quartz almost all his life, thinks that he finally returns her romantic love: instead he seduces her, pretends to love her, leads her down a path of depraved evil and madness, and in the end casts her out, SPECIFICALLY to destroy her attunement to the Elements. He succeeds, which forces Luna to instead help her sister kill Sombros. At the end of this, Luna's emotions and sanity are so utterly shattered that within two decades of increasing alienation from everyone, she becomes Nightmare Moon.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Imperial Derechian Guard Corps, which provides Pegasus formations to the Crystal Empire. Also coming from a Vestigial Empire of sorts, as Derecho has been abandoned for centuries, and the surviving "Derecho" Pegasi now live on Crystal-Imperial territory.
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  • Coming-of-Age Story: The early chapters are this for Crimson Quartz, who is introduced as a 3-year-old colt.
  • Contagious Laughter: Crimson (age 7) and Tourmaline (age 20) get a huge case of the giggles together when they tell each other their families' pet names for themselves. More significant than it seems because Tourmaline is recovering from years of depression at this point in her life.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Even the nicer Emperors have courts like this, but the ones formed by Morion Quartz as Emperor Sthenarkos and Crimson Quartz as Emperor Sombros are the deadliest.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Lady Tourmaline's is "Tor-Tor," bestowed on her by her brother Jadeite when they were both small. The fact that she is willing to reveal this to Crimson is a sign of their deepening friendship.
  • The Emperor: The ruler of the Crystal Empire under the Late Empire takes the title "Emperor" or "Imperator" (both meaning "commander" and implying a military role). The plot is largely driven by the issue of who will take or retain the Crystal Throne.
  • Evil Former Friend: Prince Crimson Quartz is destined to become this to Princess Luna of Equestria.
  • The Evil Prince: Morion, who in his repulsive personal habits shows a clear desire to become The Caligula. Unfortunately, the harsh events of his life are destined to turn sweet young Crimson Quartz into one of these as well — he becomes the character referred to in the series as "King Sombra."
  • Family Theme Naming: Most of the Quartzes are named after varieties of quartz crystals. This sort of thing is very common in the Crystal Empire, even more so than in Equestria.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Crystal Empire to the Byzantine Empire, to the point where Jordan179's Translation Convention renders many of their names and terms into pseudo-Koine (Vulgar Greek).
  • First-Name Basis: Crimson quickly gets on this basis with Princess Luna. It helps that Crimson is himself a Prince of the Crystal Empire.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Crimson will turn into evil King Sombra and be defeated and banished from the world, as established in the show's Season 3 premiere.
  • Hot Librarian: Lady Tourmaline, who is an assistant librarian at the Imperial Library, and is both sweet-natured and extremely beautiful.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: One of Princess Luna's motivations for befriending Crimson Quartz. This is how she keeps from becoming alienated from Ponykind.
  • Lady of War: Luna Selena Nyx, who has been filling this role with regards to not only Equestria but also the Crystal Empire since the start of the Age of Discord, long before she even became a princess in the political meaning of the word.
  • Lost Roman Legion: The 24th Legion, annihilated by the Snow Griffons while under the command of Prince Carnelian Quartz, father of Crimson and his siblings. Resulted in the deaths of Carnelian Quartz and many other brave soldiers of the Crystal Empire including Crystal Shard, Lady Tourmaline's childhood sweetheart.
  • Meaningful Name: Common among Ponies because of the link between name, cutie mark and destiny. Some extreme examples in this story are Sly Whisper (a slanderer and spymaster) and Shrill Song (a torturer).
  • Might Makes Right: Prince Morion's explicit theory of life. Princess Luna tries to demonstrate the fallacious nature of the Appeal to Force to him in her usual diplomatic manner: namely, by threatening him and thus showing him that there's always someone stronger, but all this does is convince him that Luna is poaching on his territory. Morion never really gets the point she was trying to make.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Lady Tourmaline to Crimson Quartz, which causes her great sorrow after he has his Start of Darkness.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: From black to white and everywhere in between. The most unambigiously good character is Princess Luna, and she's destined to take a hard fall; Crimson Quartz will become the evil King Sombra; and the loyal Lady Tourmaline will find herself serving him.
  • Noble Fugitive: Happens under at least two emperors, and in both cases they flee to Equestria.
    • Under Morion / Sthenarkos, many Crystal Imperials including Prince Crimson Quartz, his sister Princess Iolite, and his faithful Lady Tourmaline flee to Southern Dounitza, the town which is known a thousand years later as Dunnich.
    • Under Crimson / Sombros, the bulk of the nobility of the Crimson Empire flee; they become assimilated into the Equestrian nobility after The City vanishes into temporal stasis.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Princess Luna of Equestria, who likes to act like a young mare, but ... isn't. Crimson Quartz is fully aware that she is immortal and figures in Crystal-Imperial history all the way back to the days of the Middle Empire, a millennium and a half ago. Crimson doesn't know the half of it.
  • Rebel Prince: Aventurine and Crimson are this to Emperor Sthenarkos, their evil brother Morion. Their rebellion succeeds.
  • Royal Harem: Not official custom in the Crystal Empire, but practiced de facto by Sthenarkos and Sombra. In the latter case, with Lady Tourmaline as an increasingly-horrified and disgusted Chief Concubine.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Prince Morion / Emperor Sthenarkos IX, who considers atrocities in military campaigns a form of outdoor entertainment and as Emperor enjoys raping noblemares. This is especially tragic as it is ultimately his cruelty to Crimson and Tourmaline which proves the trigger for Crimson's own Start of Darkness, in time tempting Crimson to summon the Night Shadows out of a determination to ensure that neither he nor his beloved Tourmaline will ever be helpless victims again.
  • Start of Darkness: Crimson's destined fate, as he will become King Sombra.
  • Straight Gay: Emperor Valippos VIII, better known to his kin as Eisenkiessel Quartz.
  • Time Abyss: Luna's true nature — she's older than the sidereal Universe, being the Cosmic Concept of Gravity Itself. Lady Tourmaline has seen legends that imply at least that Luna is older than Ponykind.
  • Undying Loyalty: Lady Tourmaline to Crimson Quartz, which is why in All The Way Back Princess Luna remembers her as "The Faithful."
  • Used To Be A Sweet Colt: The protagonist, called as a colt Pentos ("Fifth") and named Crimson Quartz when he gets his Cutie Mark, is destined to become the tyrant Sombros.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Crystal Empire. It once preserved some of the glories of the Age of Wonders and ruled all the Northlands, but by the start of the story has already lost many of its provinces, and is increasingly overshadowed by the rising might of Equestria to its south.
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: Subverted. Morion (Sthenarkos IX) is the Crown Prince and hence the legitimate successor. He is also The Caligula who tries to wipe out all of his family save his sisters, whom he wants as mistresses. When Aventurine and Crimson return at the head of an army to overthrow Morion, you're cheering them on.

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