Canterlot Avenue requires Javascript to run properly. Make sure to enable it in your browser settings.
Cynbel Ferode
by on October 4, 2020
The night was chaotic and loud like an amateur band playing at a seedy little venue. A chorus of background noise that painted a putrid scene. The jarring alarm acted as the metronome, setting the beat for the pule abominations of magic-fused flesh crawling the hallways while the bass of clay golems pounded at the only room in which the music hadn’t reached. Each note sent a bigger dent in the metal door, the heavy, rock-like drumsticks of the clay construct proving to be too much for the simple mechanism of steel and gears.
“Sir, they’re about to breach the door!” a young gryphon cried out, nervously gripping a clipboard. White as the purest snow, with a face that screamed inexperience, the gryphon still aimed to warn his boss sitting at a large, wooden desk. He was older, with white specks of snow at the very tips of his usual grey coat. The red hued circles around his eyelids narrowed at the door while he fiddled with an antique crossbow... his grandfather’s trophy, taken off a Equestrian during the Gryphon Wars. Each little crunch of steel beckoned him to inspect if either. Crunch. He pulled back the string. Crunch. He loaded the bolt. Crunch. He took aim.
The door opened. An orange-colored smoke filled the gap between the doorway. The elder gryphon didn’t see exactly who stood in the center, but he saw a shape move. He fired, the bolt stuck into something... but it made no noise. Through the smoke came a golem, the bolt of the crossbow sticking out of its arm as if it were taunting him. Another followed, then... a pony in costume.
The stranger wore an old silver gas mask, painted to resemble a skull. The cylindrical filter dangled at the center of his mouth, while the rest of him was obscured with a heavy, pale suit and shawl. Lavender stuck out of his breastpocket. A visible, rubber-covered horn was the only identifying feature that the costume shared. Another creature followed behind, guarding the suit wearer’s back. Like a pony, but also not, it was completely obscured with a black robe that hung over its face. Parts of it twitched unnaturally, and a scraping sound could be heard as it dragged its scythe-like appendage across the concrete to assume its position at the back of the formation.
The figure spoke, his voice obscured by a combination of the mask and a voice changer. “This room makes for a wonderful location for a last stand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s the farthest from the entrance, yet heavily fortified. You could hide out here for days. Your only exit...” he looked at the large set of windows behind the desk. “Mm. That might be tough to break through. With no other route, you’re essentially trapped right now."
A scoff escapes the elder at the desk. “You have a knack for theatrics, Mister...”
"When gods wish to punish mortals, they send a plague. For far too long, they have witnessed the aureate laws of alchemy been besmirched with evil and wrong-doing, all for the benefit of a very few. I am the literary meaning of the word. The Gods are displeased... so they send me. You may call me the Plague."
The young gryphon quivered in step as he bravely approached the figure between the monsters. For whatever reason, the golems let him approach. Before the gryphon did anything further, the Plague spoke, simply turning his head to meet his lost gaze. “You have the eyes of innocence. I don’t believe you fully understand the man you defend. You should leave.”
The younger gryphon stuttered in his steps as he tried to comprehend the masked man's words. A low, breathy gasp, resembling a “What?” was all that left his beak.
“I’m not repeating myself. Take a right. The Flesh Eaters are drawn to sound, so they should be huddled by the speakers blaring that cursed alarm. If you’re quick and quiet, you’ll be okay.”
The younger worriedly looked between his boss and the Pestilence, his poor, young eyes welling up with tears... he managed to choke out an “I’m sorry,” before he ran off, following the assailant’s instructions. Mistral slammed both his talons on his desk and stood up, screaming “Coward!” but it was of no use. A fiery glare nearly melted through the rubber mask hiding the man's identity. “So, what is it you want? To kill me? I’m an old man, son, did you really need to go through all this trouble with your undead, your clay beasts and that silly disguise?”
“That’s the funny thing. These creatures? They’re not mine. No, these monsters, whose very existence is a spit in the face of creation were not created by me. Like it or not, these poor souls used to be someone. Those rotting corpses eating your security? Homeless and desperate. Volunteers for clinical trials that your friend paid them peanuts for, or they were simply off the street and turned into those hungry shells. The golems? Sentient, yes, but only until your boss got bored of them and stripped their consciousness away as if he were simply plucking batteries from a battered toy! Dear Hades, the figure you see before me, was once a starry-eyed colt with dreams of living his own life on the stage. You see him as a pony, but I assure you if the cloth were removed then you'd think otherwise... but I may be asking too much. You helped make them... why would you care?”
Mistral boredly clacked his talons on the desk. “Your tale of pity is intriguing, but I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve no interest in alchemy, or creatures such as these. I’m a retired soldier, Mister, and now I live quietly as the head of my private security company. Transmutation and potions hold no meaning to me."
"I wasn’t implying that you were the one slaving away atop a cauldron to upset the laws of alchemy. No, in that regard you were innocent. That doesn't remove the sin from your talons, though."
“And why?”
The Plague began to walk around the office space, taking in every detail. Portraits of the gryphon, all gussied up with his military buddies made up most of the wall-space, along with pictures of Mistral with a gryphoness and a young daughter with a birthday cap. Written in the pen on the corner was "Peach's B-Day Party, Dec. 21, 2012!" The Plague took a deep breath... maybe the young one would understand one day. "Do you recall an incident revolving a royal guard's death six or so years ago? Glorious... Valor, I think his name was, killed in an explosion during a rescue mission. They were tasked to rescue a young girl who had been kidnapped by a street gang known as the Iron Ijiraq."
The gryphon set down his crossbow and watched as the suited stallion meandered about his room. Occasionally, he'd look at the monsters standing stationary at the doorway. The cloaked pony twitched... "I have. He sounded like a good soldier. I'm sure whoever knew him was proud that he gave his life for the greater good."
"Agreed. After doing some digging, though, I've discovered that the I.I. isn't some run of the mill Fillydelphia gang that just so happened to have a huge investor... I think after their misdeeds were laid out in the open they rebranded. Who better to step up as CEO than their own anonymous investor?"
"What are you implying...?" The gryphon said after swallowing a lump in his throat.
“I know you, Mistral. I know your motive. Maybe you don’t like the way your current administration in Griffonstone is ran... maybe that seat on the council looks mighty inviting. But you wouldn’t get the votes. Your platform is too vintage, it doesn’t match the current outlook of today’s voters. Unwilling to change, you learn of your friend’s ‘hobby.’ For dedicated funds and asset security, you want first take on whatever creatures come out of that cursed lab. After all, anyone who can control creatures such as these could be damn near unstoppable, am I right?"
As the Plague spoke, Mistral’s heartbeat quickened to a snare drum. “H-How do you know all this...?”
The figure chuckled. “I was there. I found what was in Mister Ferode's lab. I saw all the hidden secrets, the encrypted transmissions, all of it. As I said, you know me by another name. Seeing as how you won't be leaving this room, I find it only fair for you to see the face of the man who'll bring your evil misdeeds to a close.” His horn ignited in a baby blue aura, gripping at the seam of the mask. As he pulled, he revealed more of himself... baby blue fur, dull, icy eyes, and a messy pale mane made only worse by the mask-hair. He dropped the mask, revealing the face of Cynbel Ferode. The gryphon looked at him with hurt eyes. He stood up from his chair, his talons resting on the edge of the desk “Cynbel... Cynbel, my dear boy. What are you doing?”
“Surprised?" Cynbel spat, his tone sharp and quick, like a whip. "Pin a child as a villain and what does that child become?”
“You can’t be serious. It— It’s me. Your uncle Mistral! Cynbel, I read you bedtime stories...”
“I hold that memory fondly in my heart... but you are not the same man I knew. Perhaps you never were."
“You said you'd be there for me. Where were you when they slandered my name and dubbed me a demon? Where were you when I needed you?” His volume escalated with each continuing phrase, his eyes burned red with fury. After a brief pause, he drew a knife from the sheath attached to his ankle. It shimmered with a faint blue light as it slowly approached the gryphon’s eye. “Oh, I know. My caretaker overheard it all. You helped him make up the lies. You're the reason my future was stolen!"
He tried backing away, but the knife would almost remain hovering just in front of his eye. It didn't matter what he did, the knife would follow. Eventually, he hid behind his large office chair, but even then the knife remained. “Cynbel, mercy! Please.”
"When was I shown mercy?!" The knife slashed the leather seat, ripping deep into the tanned flash and forcing the tightly packed stuffing to fall out. "When were these abominations shown a modicum of empathy? Lest of all, when was my dear, dear friend, Tonnage, shown a single care?!" The knife continued to slash into the chair until there was no more leather to tear. Stuffing wrapped around the sharp blade, as did bits of the chair's skin. Mistral had a shield no longer... all it would take is a single thrust, and yet the floating knife withdrew, back to Cynbel's sheath. He then pulled a vial out from his coatpocket, containing a grey-colored liquid. "You recall how I told your assistant that those corpses were attracted to sound? There's one more thing I forgot to mention... Gall. This putrid liquid, made of wormwood and the essence of Gomorrah, is like catnip to them."
The gryphon rose up from behind his chair briefly, only to witness Cynbel hold the vial up high and toss it right at his beak. A dead hit. The grey matter splattered across his face and feathers, eliciting a smell most foul. He screamed, he spat, but no act would free him from the sickening stench. While the gryphon desperately tried to clean himself, Cynbel picked the mask up off the floor and began fitting it back on. "Fear not, Mistral. You may survive, so long as the alarm still holds their attention." It didn't appear that the old soldier was actually listening, as he only looked up to Cynbel once he realized the inevitability of it all. His eyes watered. "I never meant for it to get this bad, Cynbel..."
He looked away from pathetic, old man. A twinge of guilt struck whenever he caught a glance at his eyes. This vile man was responsible for the deaths of many, and yet Cynbel still saw him as that kindly uncle figure who filled the void of a paternal figure... but even that may have been an act. As he rejoined his possee near the entrance, he saw a number pad labeled as "Alarm Shut Off." With a heavy heart, Cynbel took a crack at the four-digit code... 1221. Mistral's daughter's birthday. The alarms went off with a click, leaving only a chorus of groans from the shambling corpses in the hallway who were previously occupied by the speakers. Slow, heavy footsteps made their away to the office. Mistral's fate was sealed.
With the mask now fully fitted, Cynbel took one last look at the old man, who was now sitting slumped against the desk and consigned himself to his fate. "Goodbye, Uncle Mistral. We'll see each other again. All of us? We're destined for the inferno after this life. The only difference is I will ensure you and everyone else involved will be waiting on me."
With those stinging parting words left to simmer in the elder's mind, Cynbel, the pony, and the golems all walked out. He didn't look, but he could hear the small dozen of undead walking over each other to charge into the office shortly after their departure.
The memory of all would haunt him till his dying days.
----------------IRONCLAD MANOR [12:39 AM]--------------
Cynbel tip-toed in the manor, his footsteps light and feather-like as he made it onto the carpet. The costume was gone, as were the monsters; hidden away within with manor's many secrets. His usual lavender scarf was wrapped tightly around his neck, and he carried a take-out box within his mouth. Chocolate cake, one of Lucid's favorites. Something of an apology for being out so late. The plan was to simply carry it into the kitchen and crawl into bed with her while she slept and prayed she wasn't mad enough... but then the lights turned on. Lucid stood at the corner of the room near the lightswitch, dressed in a fuzzy bathrobe and without makeup. "Where have you been?" she quietly asked with an impatient tapping of her hoof. "Sorry. I meant to call, but there was an issue with the supply line of zosimosium. I had to spend all day picking through and testing each bottle... now I have to wait for more reputable supplier, so I won't be able to make vitality potions for a while. Why are you up?"
Her eyes met the floor with his explanation and her lips subtly poked out in a pout. "I couldn't sleep. Chamomile got a call just before I was about to sleep, and..." she let out a sigh at the mention of Cynbel's caretaker. There was a moment of intense stress in her eyes, that briefly faded as she caught Cynbel again. "I wanted you to hear this from me. Um, something's happened." She scooted closer with a somber glance as she put one hoof on his shoulder, the tears came back as she looked in Cynbel's clueless baby blues. He blinked, his heart beat rapidly as he struggled to think of what could've possibly happened that's made Lucid act like this. She finally managed to find the strength so say it, albeit directly. "Your uncle Mistral is dead. At first they said it was a fire, but now they're saying he was murdered. A whole mob of ponies just... clawed into him and then there was a fire and... Oh, Cynbel, I'm so, so sorry."
There was a sickened look on the alchemist's face as he processed just what Lucid said. She may have taken it as grief, but truly it was all guilt. The imagery Lucid lay out was so sickening vivid that he had to hold back the urge to vomit, which he hid by dropping the box of cake and embracing her in a teary eyed hug. He tried not to think about it, to not let the memory pass through his mind as Lucid lovingly stroked his back. Eventually, he was strong enough to pull away and look at her. As much as he loved her, this wasn't for her nor was it for him. This was for everyone.
He planted a kiss on her nose and picked up the cake. "Thank you for telling me. I-- I'm just a bit shocked, is all. I'd... really like to lay down. How about you go up while I set this cake down and we can get some rest?" The mare nodded, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye. "Sure, just don't keep me waiting hours like you did tonight... heh," a dumb laugh left her as she desperately clung to her humor. "I love you," she finally said, then walked off after Cynbel gave her a tear-plastered smile and said, "I love you, too."
Once she was gone, he ran into the kitchen and turned on the radio in the kitchen. His magic flipped the dial to the news channel, where he conveniently caught the tail end of the nightly broadcast.
--Foul play already suspected in the death of Piercing Mistral, a Griffonstone Veteran and CEO of the Steel Spartans Private Security. An eyewitness and survivor of the awful tragedy tells the tale of a unicorn in a mask wielding lab-grown monsters to carry out his attack."I-- I heard him! He-- He had these... these clay monster things, and-- and zombies and a mask and cape and-- and he called himself the Plague! I'm not crazy, he's a fucking psycho!"There you have it. Authorities are on the lookout for any information that can pinpoint the identity of the mysterious, masked individual referred to as "The Plague." Stay tuned as this story develops.
And so it was done. Cynbel's master plan was finally seeing fruition.
The Plague poured the first bowl.
Cynbel Ferode
Lucid Melody because i used her baby also this is kind of rushed and gross but here's story stuff i promised lmao
Alexander ‘Crow’ Kingston
you’re talented ily
Cynbel Ferode
no you're talented ily
Spirit Weaver
Spirit Weaver
you know what? Not everyone knows what I was yelling about on discord so yeah i'll say for real that this is fucking incredible, Cynner. Every couple lines had me like o: irl. The dialogue is on fucking point. The _casual_ monster design? Hell yes. The fucking NAME! The plague! Fuck! Yes! my only ...View More
Cynbel Ferode
god i love you so fucking much making me cry in an arby’s parking lot
Ayyy this was a good read.
My mask is better tho