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  • T Starlit Path

    Karon the trickster alongside his lover Trixie traverse the universe in search of adventure.
    187,611 words · 4,674 views  ·  679  ·  19

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  • 19w, 1d
    Trickster saga synopsis part 2

    The final Question:

    I should begin by saying that the large part of the fourth story wasn't anything I had planned out in detail, since the writing of it was so far into the future. Hence, the size of this blog compared to the last one. But you want to know the plot and get some closure, so here it is.

    The story starts of in New Ponyville. The former alicorn wasteland is now a garden nation befitting its inhabitants. It took a few years, but the ponies and their culture eventually managed to adapt to the new rules governing the world, and their making it work.

    A new capital was erected where the old alicorn one once stood, and the princesses are living there, mostly busy squabbling with their southern neighbours about trade agreements. Those would be the posh British otters if you don't remember.

    Karon had a lot of apologies to make for the asshole stunts he's pulled, but this new age is still an age of forgiveness and growth, so yeah, they all eventually forgive him. (Suckers)

    The secret of Lida's survival and subsequent apprenticeship to Karon is a well kept secret so far, but he did eventually reveal it to the mane six and the princesses eventually.

    They. Were not. Happy.

    Karon dropped a few speeches about the importance of second chances, then told the sob story of her past, and so on. They agreed not to tell anyone, but they still don't like Lida very much, and she herself keeps mostly to the company of Karon, Lyra and Promise.

    Anyway, the prologue was supposed to open up to this lone unicorn wandering the ruins of Canterlot. It shows him just walking around with a blank, dead look in his eyes.

    Until Loke pops up.

    Unicorn doesn't freak out however, instead it just looks up at him and asks if he's gonna kill him. Loke smiles and says that he won't, instead he asks the unicorns name. The unicorn replies he doesn't have one. Loke says he will give him one, he says he will also give the unicorn some secrets.

    The unicorn doesn't want a name or any secrets.

    Loke tells him, that the secret is that a certain human that waged war on the ponies is still alive, that the princesses and the elements of harmony, and all the other “heroes” are hiding her, that they have forgiven her.

    This puts some light into the unicorn's eyes.

    Then Loke tells the unicorn he will teach him a few magic tricks, and that his name will be Echo.

    (Just because names are supposed to be meaningful doesn't mean that meaning has to be subtle)

    So back in New Ponyville, it's another sunny day. Karon and Lida are seated in a glade where she is asking him questions, and he is responding in a typical koan fashion, trying to get her to think, trying to get her mind to scream like his once did, so she can let it all go.

    When he says they're done, she wants to ask him a final question. He says go ahead.

    She asks him if he really believes she can be saved.

    He says shes a numbskull for asking stupid questions, and mocks her for quite a while, all the way back to the village for it.

    Once there, Karon very overtly sneaks into a sweet shop run by Pinkie and steals a pie, then run away and share it with Lida. They're munching on it, Lida still trying to get Karon to answer her question- since his refusal makes her think he doesn't believe she actually can be saved.

    That's when they hear the screams.

    Both rush back into the village, and discover it is being attacked by walking shadows. They're insubstantial looking and flitter about, and both Trickster's sense hate, grief and pain just radiating off them. Lida, eager to prove herself redeemed, throws herself into battle with the creatures, while Karon tries to gather and lead the innocents away.

    During the flight, one of the shadows corners a pony and looks ready to skewer it with it's long, clawed hand. Karon rushes to save the pony, and evaporates the shadows.

    That's when another shadowy sword-hand plunges out through his chest. He realizes the first one was just a distraction so another one could sneak up and stab him in the back. Karon's own favorite trick was used against him.

    Lida goes ballistic, and soon the shadows retreat, apparently satisfied with their work. Karon is dragged out into the open, and the mane six, Promise, Lyra and Lida gathers round him to try and save him.

    Unfortunately nobody actually knows any healing good enough to fix such a wound. Karon comments about it, saying he never got down to learning since Trixie was always the healer...

    Lot's of crying, lot's of it. Karon looks up at all the ones gathered around him, weeping because he's going to die. Lida desperately asks for him to give her the answer to her question. He tells her she should stop asking stupid questions if she wants an answer of any value.

    Then he turns to Twilight, smiles, and tells her to tell Celestia that he was wrong, that he did get a happy ending after all.

    Cue flat-line.

    Yeah, that was to be the end of the first chapter. It was to be named, “One Last Breath”.

    The rest of the story involves Lyra, Lida, Promise and the mane going to the new capital to inform the princesses of what happened, and Karon's death.

    Once there, they report that for all the property damage the shadows did, and the appearant danger they posed to the innocent bystanders, they never actually hurt anyone except Karon. Not even a scratch. Instead, it seems like it was all a ploy to draw out Karon, Lida, the mane and the rest of the heavy hitters in the village so they could strike at them.

    I should also note that Lida has changed back into human form at this point. She isn't at her best when locked down in pony form, and since it's time to get dangerous, she needs opposable thumbs. Her human form however, is new. While she looked like a amber haired, sexy goddess of destruction in the third story, wielding a barbed whip that hurt just to look at, she now looks very plain. Brown hair, an avarage face, athletic and a bit too muscular build. The only thing that makes her stand out is her glowing amber eyes.

    When asked about it by Promise, she says it wasn't intentional, that this new body simply came naturally.

    (It's a sign of her character development for you thick headed people)

    The capital is attacked by the shadows during their stay, and despire valiant efforts, the slippery things manage to get at the princesses, and kills both of them.

    Yupp.

    At this point, a party is formed of the mane six, Lida, Lyra, Promise and a furious and shameful Nightchill, and they set out to find out who the culprit behind these shadows are. It's obvious they're targeting specific people, since during the capital attack they didn't seriously injure any of the guards they were forced to plow through.

    I actually hadn't planned so far as to the details of what they were supposed to go through and where. But during the course of their quest, Nightchill, Rarity and Rainbow Dash are killed by the shadows.

    They find out that the shadows are actually literal shadows. They're the echoes of suffering the ground of Equestria is soaked with from Lida's campaign, brought to life in order to seek vengeance.

    They found Echo, and they did battle with him several times. However, Lida allowed him to slip away when she had the opportunity to end him.

    Echo is an embodiment of her past sins come back to haunt her, all the suffering she wrought is now wrecking havoc back at her, and everyone else Echo holds responsible for sheltering Lida.

    However, Lida's final question to Karon still haunts her as well. And she believes that if she can save Echo, the same way Karon once saved her, that question will have been answered, that she can be saved herself.

    So she doesn't kill him when she has the chance, instead she tries to plead with him, reason him, do anything to save him. She doesn't succeed, and it gets more and more people killed.

    Eventually they track down Echo to the home he has made for himself in the cave system beneath the ruins of Canterlot.

    Before I go on, I want to say that even though Lida is without doubt THE main character of the fourth and final story, it was largely supposed to have three. Lida, Lyra and Promise. Promise especially, since she now has to learn without her master, without Karon.

    She is forced to fully become a real, whole being in and of herself. So it was important she faced her past. So when they do go to Canterlot, she comes across Feather Touch's tombstone, and has a moment there. Then, later, she also stumbles upon the chamber where More-than Tardy met his end, and Feather Touch died to save Karon.

    As the story goes on, she starts making her own decisions, instead of just blindly following others and taking orders.

    Anyway, back to the main plot.

    Final confrontation. It essentially ends up with Lida having to kill Echo. She starts to realize something, she can't put her finger on it, but she knows that she can't save echo, the same way Karon once knew he couldn't save Dolor.

    So, she grants Echo the only peace she can give.

    The really important part of the fourth and final story is the ending really.

    In The Walker's Rest, there's a lot of people gathered, to raise a toast and tell their tales of a certain crazy trickster. There, in the hall of the unsung (Remember people, Karon's involvement with the big wars was mostly kept downplayed, and for most, it is the elements that are the true heroes) Promise says farewall to karon's stone. She says that even though she mostly called him master, in the end, he was her true father, and her best friend.

    Lyra says good bye to him, says she'll have to take good care of the sword (hopesfire), and is now gonna start working for the angels and help them out, because she knows that would irritate him to no end.

    Finally, it's Lida's time to say good bye, and she is joined by the bartender. She asks him about that final question, and he tells her there is no answer, because she is asking the wrong question. He tells her the real question isn't if she can be saved, it's “What do you life for?”

    She couldn't save Echo, because just like Karon couldn't save Dolor, they didn't want to save themselves.

    Karon didn't save Lida, he just offered to teach her, to be her guide. The will ultimately has to be their own, because it by that will they will live their life. If Lida wants to be redeemed, then she has to ask herself what she lives for.

    It is at that moment Lida is no more, and she is finally reborn, just like Karon was once reborn from Erik to Karon. She is now Ama Karon Lamentum, a new ferryman (woman) of the Stygian Acheron.

    She doesn't answer the question of what she lives for with words, instead she sets out on the Starlit Path, accompanied by Promise, to find others who are lost like her, and show them a better way. Before she leaves, she put a hand longingly on Karon's memorial stone, which reads:

    Karon the trickster

    he died knowing that

    if you can save yourself

    you can save the world

    The epilogue begins at another memorial, one that stand in Equestria, in the middle of New Ponyville. It's dedicated to Rarity and RD, and has another four graves inside of it, so that all the six former elements will be put to rest together once that time comes.

    The ponies all say a few words, then leave. However, we all witness this from Rainbow's POV, as she is hovering above them as a ghost.

    Then Karon appears, and tells her she has been allowed to stay thing long because she was, after all, the element of loyalty. But the fight is over now, and a quiet life await her friends.

    Though I was going to drop a few hints that maybe the crusaders will grow up to face a life of dastardly adventures with Scootaloo in the front, taking after a couple of certain role models.

    A portal appears leading to the next world, and Rainbow can hear dead friends calling to her to join them.

    Actually, let me write out the final words of the trickster saga.

    ********************************************

    The golden light beckoned with a warm, welcoming glove. Its rays trickled down over Rainbow, and soothed the worry she felt clenching her heart. She knew, instantly, that her friends were going to be alright, that they could manage without her for those last years of their lives.

    And maybe, this way, she could be the one throwing a welcoming party for Pinkie, just this one time.

    Karon smiled at the sight of the awed pegasus, and then a laugh escaped his lips. He turned to her, his amber eyes glowing with a wicked light.

    “Dash...” he said.

    “Yeah?” she asked.

    His smile split into a grin.

    “Race you there.”

    *******************************************

    You can't complain about that ending.

    Karon begun a legacy of Karons, of ferrymans that will guide others, that will go out and battle, and achieve the greatest victory there is.

    He started out as a heartbroken magician haunted by his own horrific mistakes, suffered through indescribable torment. He was used as a pawn by a trickster god meaning to sacrifice him for his own gains. He has been wounded in his soul.

    The shit Karon was put through is mind boggling. And yet, in the end, because of the choices he made, it all turned out for the better. He took a dark legacy, and he showed it a better way. And that shit spreads, and it would.

    Canon, in this little world I created, is that the legacy of Karon lasted for milenia, and spread far and wide. Lida was just the first of his successors.

    It might be a bittersweet ending, and not a good one. But to me, that makes it a GREAT ending.

    Anyway, since this is the last blog before I'm gone forever, (I'm gonna stick around for a few days to read and respond to the comments of course) I thought I might as well speak plainly. I don't like MLP:FIM, I'm impressed they managed to do what they've done with such a shit material, but still. I found myself here because a female acquaintance of mine likes ponies and told me to watch it, so I did watch the seasons 1-2, once. Then I found out about the abnormally huge and devoted fandom and decided to investigate. I discovered this site and read a little and thought, "Oh for fucks sake this is just awful, even I could do better than this."

    And then, because at the time I had nothing better to do, I just threw a piece of trash ideas together and wrote out the first chapter of MoaT. I fully expected it to crash and burn, but then all the comments had to be so fucking nice I had to keep going. Then I was kinda stuck.

    So, I want to thank the people that supported me and decided my shit is worth reading. It's the one thing that kept me writing, and without it I wouldn't have discovered just how much I actually enjoy doing that. It's not enough for me to spend time equivalent to a full time job on it though, so this is as far as I take it.

    Real life is full of shit that's enjoyable and needs doing, and writing is frankly not on the top of my to do list. Still, I like it. So, if you did like my stuff, you should probably check out the profiles I set up at fanfiction.net (Poolofreflection) and archiveofourown (Deviance). Because if I do decide to return to writing fanfics, that's where I put them up.

    Because shit, I had sketched out huge ideas for a re-write of the Revan novel that fucked the character up almost beyond repair, a mass effect series, a fallout new vegas story, two morrowind stories, (one being a first person story from the perspective of an eccentric Telvanni mage), a Skyrim story featuring a female imperial MC with my own contributions and twists to the story. And more, a lot more. So yeah, it's unlikely that I ever return to writing fanfics, but if I ever do, those are the places to keep an eye on. If you care, that is.

    So, thank you for the encouragement. And once again, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. Because it's now or maybe never.

    Edit: Hole fuck I almost forgot. Karon learned in the first chapter while having a conversation with Rafiki about Lida's progress that he can "cure" himself of being a soul eater. When Dolor broke him, she awakened his hunger by denying him everything that is to feel alive. She teased and prodded him with little nibbles, forcing him to see things from her point of view until eventually that friction, that power chaffing between desire and denial, built itself up to the point it reached down into his soul. Then, she showed him how to take all he was denied with force, by sucking out another being's life, and all the things they've fed on through their experiences living.

    So, if he wanted to "cure" himself, he needed to give up that pain, that friction between desire and the pain of being denied it. He needed to give up his hunger for life, because his wounds, and the hunger behind it, was anchored to it. So when Karon was dying, he could have saved himself, he could have sucked out someones soul and it would have healed him. Instead he choose to let go of life, and the second he did, the wounds in his soul closed.

    That's why it was a happy ending. He died surrounded by those that loved him, and after years of torment from suppressing his hunger, his soul was at peace.

    Man, I nearly forget all about that part.

    32 comments · 370 views
  • 19w, 2d
    Trickster saga synopsis

    Okay, better late than never. I actually wrote this WHOLE FUCKING THING once here, than accidentally clicked away while checking if the links worked, and it was all LOST! You all better read this now, even if it's been months. So yeah, here it is, the final ending synopsis for the last two stories that will never be written now. It's incoherent messy ramblings, but it's something. So, for what it's worth, enjoy.

    *****************************************************************************

    Trickster's Deceit:

    ”Canterlot was burning.” That was supposed to be the opening line for Trickster's Deceit. It was the start of a prologue dream sequence where Karon dreams of wandering a burning Canterlot, surrounded by screams and the bodies of slaughtered ponies. He wakes up in The Walker's Rest and have a slightly foreboding chat with Trixie, before telling her that was the last straw, and it's obviously time to return to Equestria.

    They arrive almost dead center in the middle of Canterlot's castle, and cause quite a stir. Here I wanted to enter a bit of Karon's typical attitude of causing trouble and liking it, but also highlight the fact that he, Promise, Lyra and Trixie easily handles everything the guards throw at the intruders, before the princesses arrive. Karon's “power-level” is a very important plot point, so I needed the readers to be aware of where he stands on that matter.

    Typical “omgIhaven'tseenyouinsolong,you'vegronwupandlookkindastrange,didyouturnintoasouleateryoulittlerascal” comedy ensues, both Celestia and Luna act more than a little concerned at Karon's appearance but they both try and hide it(Protip: Doesn't work on Karon). Karon & co: are invited to a meeting the princesses have called in response to nefarious dealings going on in the world, and applaud Karon's sense of timing (Because destiny and angels and stuff are punctual if nothing else).

    Hours later, after Promise is finished gawking, Trixie is finished snorting at everything pony-related, which is everything, and Karon snoops around in spirit form (learning that nobody seems to know what is going on, only that something is going on), they get to the meeting, where Karon trips over Pinkie Pie rounding a corner, and run into the rest of the equine MC's.

    Slapstick humor ensues with Karon dodging objects Twilight throws at him while shrieking insults, while Trixie, Lyra and Promise stand back and enjoy the show. That was to demonstrate in some small way that Promise is undergoing some character development as well, and doesn't instantly try and solve every situation with murder. (I know, boring)

    More comedy, awkward greetings and Karon's clumsy attempts at dodging questions for why he looks so weird and, as Pinkie puts it, Evulish; or why half his left ear is missing.

    The answer to the last one btw is: Dolor went omnomnom.

    The meeting begins, and Celestia explains that there has been several strange events occurring in the last few years. The Jackals went completely quiet after Karon's stunt with them during the invasion, but further inquiries shows they actually vanished completely from even their northern lands. The criminal elements in Las Pegasus exploded for a brief while, then went completely silent and tight-lipped as well. Kidnappings in the minotaurs mountains, deaths of several grypphon nobles, etc. etc. Weird stuff happening. Celestia and Luna sensed something was moving behind the scenes, but in a subtle enough way as to not be discovered, or even traceable magically. (This was to be some small insight into the fact that ponies are connected directly into the world, as according to the mythology I built up, the alicorns are the guardians and keepers of Equestria- hence why the ponies directly control nature)

    Celestia gathered the elements of harmony, the captains of the night (Nightchill if you don't remember) and dayguard, to assist in tracking down whatever this threat is. Karon gladly joins the effort, thinking it shouldn't be that hard to handle compared to the stuff he and his team has gone through. (Yes indeed, he never learns)

    They divide into several groups and are sent to different locations to try and discover leads revealing what it's all about. Karon, Trixie, Promise and Lyra are sent to Las Pegasus, the mane six to gryphon lands, and the day guard to the zebras, and finally the night guard investigates the Evergreen forest (because weird shit = something to do with that place).

    Since I never got to re-writing MoaT, I never got to write the adventures Karon and his plus ones had in that city. Suffice to say, he got involved with the local mafia, caused a lot of havoc to the point the guards intervened. Not wanting to go to prison again, Karon resists, and when the conflict grows bigger he's asked to pick a side- being Karon, he invents a new one: he fights for the people. Doing a little bit of mental hocus pocus, he plants the idea of freedom fighters in the random onlookers brains, and soon mobs are formed. Mass psychology did the rest, and soon the entire city has revolted, declaring itself an independent city state, and electing Karon as their new leader in decadence.

    It should be noted that during the incident Karon was contact high from the fumes in the mafia bitches bar, and so wasn't exactly thinking clearly, none in his team were. When they actually sobered up the day after, they all made a run for it as soon as they woke up.

    I actually didn't plan the return to Las Pegasus very far, only that it featured them all having to go undercover and infiltrate the mafia so Karon could pick their brains with his spooky magic. (Don't want the big bad to know you're on to him.)

    This involves Promise having to stay on the rooftops and act as back-up in case anything goes wrong, and otherwise keeping out of sight. She grumbles, but doesn't actually complain loudly, and even adds some of her own suggestions on how to proceed. (once again, character development)

    Promise have to stay on the rooftops, because she doesn't know how to change her shape, and so, Karon, Lyra and (with great vehemence) Trixie changes into ponies.

    I wanted a bit of a noir feeling to this as well, not just miami vice, so the style of the writing was supposed to mimic the typical flourishes of old style detective novels whenever in Karon's POV, high lighting the fact that he was looking at himself like some kind of lone-wolf super private dick while doing this. They manage to get in with the mafia through gambling winnings (this was a pretty long part involving poker and Karon's ability to read minds) and they were eventually picked up and taken to the “boss”. Unfortunately this boss was the old maffia boss from Karon's last stint in Pegasus, and she instantly recognizes Trixie and Lyra. Fighting ensues, and it ends with Karon accidentally fetally wounding her (hooves are complicated people). She does the villain thing and tells Karon she can die happy, knowing what's coming for them.

    Karon is really annoyed, especially when he returns to Canterlot and finds out that almost all the others have succeeded in their tasks. The dayguard reported by magic mail that the jackals are still present in the northern section of the eastern continent, but are hiding in an underground tunnel network (as in, those old ruins Karon and the rest nearly died in).

    Twilight and the others discovered that all the gryphon deaths were nobles open to cooperation with the other nations, and then dig up one cell of gryphons assassins responsible for one of the deaths. They all committed suicide by poison before talking, but they found enough paperwork to know there are more cells, and the deaths occurred in order to push some kind of agenda they couldn't discover.

    The only real failures are Karon, and the night guards. Because just after entering the forest, all contact was lost with them, and even the outpost they left behind outside to carry communications disappeared.

    Celestia tells the others the guards were sent there because it's the one place neither Celestia nor Luna can't sense anything at all from. (Remember, forest is from before the pony rule, so neither princesses have any authority over it at all. Which is why nature works by itself in there)

    Before I go on, I want to inject a few things. There are tons of small things I haven't mentioned that was to be included, but I can't write it all here since that would mean actually writing the whole story. But in short: Pinkie has gotten a boyfriend, a magician (not real magic, stage magic) named Sleight-of-hoof that dresses colorfully, has a nervous squeaky voice, but is good with illusions and the likes. They bring him along because over the years he has proven useful and so slowly ingrained with the mane six, and pinky adores him.

    Another important point is that the story so far was something I wanted to keep lighthearted and relatively free from darkness or angst. The only sour note was to come from Trixie. She absolutely hates Equestria with all her heart. After the adventure in Pegasus and turning back into human form, she has a long talk with Karon about why she will never do that again no matter what, and explains why she hates ponies and every related to them. The core of her argument is that their deluded, that the world of Equestia and the ponies are spoonfed sugarcoated babies no have no real conception of suffering, death and fear- and therefore doesn't understand joy, life and courage. She says every such instance is like a padded version of it, she says that the world itself is built as to keep the ponies from growing up and realizing themselves. She hates them because without Karon, she would still be the deluded Trixie she was before, and it it only because of all the horrible stuff they've gone through (her in particular) she was grown to become the great and powerful trixie for real.

    So yeah, it's kinda important that the readers would understand Trixie at this point. She has gone through hell and come out a different being, and she hates the weakling she was before. And when she looks at the ponies, and sees her own former delusion in them. So she hates them to, and just wants to chuck them in a nest of corpus walkers.

    I was considering doing something with Spike, but decided it would be one plot point to many, and so for every single story, he will simply remain in the background as a somewhat snarky servant.

    Anyway, back to the story.

    So Karon and his team join forces with the elements in order to venture into the Evergreen forest, and discover what happened to captain Nightchill and his guards. (remember, I wrote Nightchill as this ultimate gruff badass that defeated a hydra with his bare hooves once).

    Lyra blends in nicely with the ponies, and she tells stories about adventures she and the others have had across different worlds (PG-7 rated ones). Karon and Trixie have another talk about Equestria and why Karon himself feels such an obligation to come to its aid. He tells her he still have a part of the world inside him, since it infused a tiny amount of its energies when he first arrived there into him, and that there is something a lot bigger going on behind the scenes than what first appears, and he wants to find out what it is, and what his connection to it is. Trixie understands, but still doesn't like it. They make the lovey dovey stuff and the next morning, they all go into the forest.

    Karon instantly recognizes something has changed. There is a tension in the forest that wasn't present before, like a beast waking up from hibernation and realizing that it is hungry. Karon considers stopping by and visiting Eldros, but he realizes that the forest wouldn't let him. It's waking up, it's cranky and it doesn't like him or any of the others. He tells the others this, but with a bit of tricky soul eater stuff (bascially showing that his pen-, I mean hunger is much bigger than the forest's) he manages to guide them through hostile territory by tapping into the collective consciousness of the forest.

    They trace the oath the night guards took, (Karon sniffing out residue of emotions and memories still lingering) and discover a fortress carved into one of the mountains. The ethereal tracks led into that place, and it's obvious they're going to be in for a serious fight if they go in there.

    They squabble for a bit of the best course of action. But when Lyra brings up the fact that Nightchill and his guards might not have time to wait if they're still alive in there, they all decide they need to at least attempt an attack. Sending RD for reinforcement is considered, but they decide against it since it wouldn't arrive in time anyway, and it's unlikely that they'd manage their way through the hostile forest anyway, since Karon is the only reason nothing has tried to eat them yet.

    (He's been coy about what he did exactly, since no one knows he's a soul eater so far. Not even Celestia or Luna)

    They all go inside, and once passing the threshold, hell breaks lose. Changelings, harpies, gryphons, timber wolves and all manners of monsters attack them in a frenzy. And, what's worse, they're coordinated.

    It's though, but they managed to push back the monsters, and after that only encounters light resistance, like they're being poked and prodded just to see how they react.

    Eventually the make their way to a throne room, (of course), where they encounter a shadowy figure seated. Twilight steps forward, all blazing righteousness and order it to reveal itself and surrender.

    Said figure walks out of the shadow, and it reveals itself to be sleight-of-hoof. Simultaneously, the sleight that is standing in the middle of our heroes party, send a shockwave out from itself that catches Karon and the scooby gang completely of guard and send them flying. (Stone floor hurts to land on with your head FYI)

    Here comes maybe the riskiest part of the entire trickster series.

    The Sleight that just sucker punched them start to blur and quickly changes its shape into a human female. Yes, that's right, the super-duper villain of the series, the BIG bad, is a character never before introduced, and only slightly hinted at.

    Before this reveal, I planned to drop a few hints that would point at the villain being chrysalis and the changelings, so that readers who think they are smart would go running in that direction.

    Said female laughs, looks over at the dazed Karon, and asks him if he thought he was the only trickster in existence.

    BAM, another curveball.

    Trixie is the first one to recover, and while miss big bad walks over to stand beside Sleight, she stand up and rushes at her. Trixie is a badass of enormous proportions. She has killed gods, defeated armies, fucked eccentric old wizards for their armor, kicked a soul eaters ass and much, much more. She has truly become the great and powerful Trixie.

    But she still sucks at the subtle part of magic. Which is why she can't sense that the villain she is rushing instantly made herself invisible and left an illusion. Trixie can't sense it, but Karon can. He watches as Trixie closes in, knowing full well she is leaving herself vurnerable, but there isn't any time for him to stop her.

    He has time only to call out her name once in warning, before her sword cuts through empty air, and a an invisible hands clamps around her neck then twists.

    That chapter was to end with the sound of Trixie's neck breaking echoing through the hall.

    The next chapter was to begin with a flashback to the scene at the end of Dark Roots, where Trixie make Karon lie, and promise her that they are going to stay with one another forever.

    Because poring salt in wounds is what I do.

    Karon is stunned, and before the others can rise to charge the villain, monsters rush in to fill the chamber and pretty much have their fangs around the heroes throats before they can squeak. The villain makes a quick introduction, calling herself Lida and cheerily tells the group she didn't expect them this soon, but since they're here they might as well get the party started. Dusk Keeper arrives (you remember him, right?) and she tells him and Sleight it's time to get going. After they're gone, she tells the heroes she is off to burn Canterlot to the ground, and invites them to stop by before it's completely gone to catch a glimpse of the view.

    She leaves them with monster fangs still digging into their necks. This is at one point I want to show that the ponies aren't completely useless, because Karon is in shock, so Twilight takes charge, and with a bit of magic and punching, they manage to get out of the situation.

    Fighting some more, and then sneaking, and some infighting, and que a few days then they're finally back at the decimated remains of Ponyville.

    I'm skipping a lot of details from now on, but that's because this is so far into the future of the story I really haven't planned anything more than the general plot, the ending is an exception.

    Characters are torn between trying to find survivors and heading for Canterlot. RD and Applejack are sent to track down survivors, the rest of the team make a run for Canterlot, with Twilight exhausting herself by making teleporting jumps to speed them along.

    The start of the next chapter was to be one of my favorite scenes. I begins outside of Canterlot, with an army ready to sack it, and Lida, dancing around with giddiness. Shining does the magic bubble thing, Lida makes a few choose words about the sloppiness of the spell, then smashes it to pieces, breaks open the gate, and unleashes a flood of (almost) every single monster and “bad guy” the world of Equestria has to offer.

    Switch POV to the scooby gang arriving a few hours later. The team pretty much collapses at this point, as the ponies rushes to try and find and assist the princesses, and Karon remaining behind, still in a dazed state, with Promise and Lyra.

    Right, I almost forget, during their escape from the Evergreen they did find captain Nightchill and one or two of his operatives still alive, and they joined forces. So they are included in the “save the princesses” operation, for obvious reasons.

    Karon eventually come to his senses when he if faced with a burning Canterlot and a lot of screams, and so enter the city to try and save as many as he can. Lyra wholeheartedly agree, and Promise shows some small anger at the invasion, and surprisingly, anger at Trixie's death. (Character development again)

    Enter a bit of fighting, including Karon having a charming reunion with a pack of jackals that send them screaming in terror when they realize “the blood beast” is back. Switching to the princesses, they're having a fight with Lida, a fight that seems to be going in the princesses favors.

    Yes, of course it really isn't, Lida is a trickster.

    She manages to get under their skin and then into their minds. There she discovers, in Celestias case, that all she has done with Equestria has been more or less her attempt at redemption for failing to save the original alicorn kingdom. Her one great fear is that the same fate will befall Equestria. In Luna's case, her fear is losing everything again and becoming alone.

    So Lida spares them, and tells them she quite literally wants to destroy the world of Equestria, render it a lifeless piece of trash, and she wants both the princesses alive to witness that. Then she will kill Celestia and leave Luna trapped alone on dead planet.

    That get's to them, and they summon every single ounce of their power to try and wipe Lida away from existence, and can't. Though Lida thoroughly enjoys the attempt. Lida vanishes just in time for team pony to arrive, and they're forced to haul ass as the brunt of the invasion force is making their way into the palace.

    Switch back to Karon, and we see him separated from both Promise and Lyra, as the fighting has become a frenzy of hungry waves of monsters throwing themselves at everything that looks slightly tasty.

    Karon encounters a child unicorn (don't remember the proper word for it) in one of the ruins, and tries to get it out and into of the groups of  fleeing refugees. However, while searching for one he goes through the exact same scene he once dreamed of in the prologue. Seconds later, he feel Lida's presence as she is making her way out of the city, safely hidden beneath her invisibility.

    Karon's shock and grief turn to rage now, to the point he actually forget about the unicorn child (I know, he's an asshole), and makes straight for Lida.

    He eventually finds her, the forgotten child still following close behind him terrified, and throws himself into battle. Note: Back at Trixie's body Lyra picked up her sword before they buried her body in the woods, and Karon is now wielding Hopesfire.

    He throws everything he has at Lida, as despite having already fought the princesses earlier, she manages to outdo him in every aspect of combat, mocking him all the while, projecting images of Trixie that's begging for mercy and the like into his mind.

    I wanted to highlight the fact that while Karon is a soul eater, accomplished magician, and talented trickster, Lida is a trickster with about 400 years of experience behind her, and ridiculous amounts of power at her command. Karon is like a gangly teenager next to her is regards to ability and strength.

    She is simply the better trickster, and she turns every trick he tries on her on its head, and direct it back at him.

    Karon it outdone and defeated, humiliated and full of appropriate angst and despair. Lida stands over him, telling him that this is just the beginning, that she is going to completely pick apart and ruin this world because she thinks it's a piece of shit and she hates it, and there's nothing he can do to stop her because he's a weak little baby trickster who hasn't learned who he is, what it truly means to be a trickster. Until he does, he can't best her.

    I've been planning that final wording for a long time, and it clicks with Karon, and awakens a memory of someone saying he should call on him when he meets someone he can't best. So Karon uses the final piecemeal of energy he has, and invest it into the words he shouts as he call on Eldros true name.

    I was looking forward to the comments as the chapter ends with an enormous dragon opening its eyes for the first time in 11 centuries.

    It takes the dragon about 20 seconds to make the trip from the Evergreen to Canterlot, and when he does arrive, he goes berserk. Lida is smart, and after having already wasted a lot of energy on the princesses and Karon, she isn't up for fighting an elder dragon with Eldros' kind of power. So she makes a hasty retreat while Eldros is busy trying not to burn the innocents ponies while slaughtering the monsters in the city.

    So yea, huge streams of refugees, Canterlot demolished and 2/3 of it's population in small half-digested pieces.

    That was to be the end of the first arc.

    Fastforward to the refugees having set up camp outside of the ruins, and everyone in charge trying to get everything up an running. Karon is having a conversation with Eldros. Well, not conversation as much as argument.

    Eldros is returning home. He isn't allowed to interfered in worldly business willy nilly, since he's powerful enough that he might accidentally crack the world in two pieces of he really went all out. Karon can't really argue with that, since he's bleeding from nose, ears and eyes just from having a fully awakened eldros' attention fixed on him. He still argues that he wants information on Lida, so he can find and defeat her. Eldros warns him at this point not to let anger get to his head. He reminds Karon that he is a trickster, and there's more to everything going on than is appearant on the surface.

    Karon doesn't give a shit, he wants revenge and only cares about making Lida suffer. Eldros warns him again that this isn't a war of conquest, but says that this is a war of teachings.

    Karon doesn't know what that means and doesn't care, he just wants Lida to suffer. At this point its obvious Eldros isn't telling anything even if he knows, so Karon turns his back on him. Eldros parting words to Karon before he takes of are:

    “Then she has taught thee well.”

    The large chunk of the second arc wasn't something I had planned out a lot. So I will just give the cliff notes here.

    Karon and the rest link up with the refugees, who are joined by RD and Applejack after a week or two with a bunch of refugees. Including those three small crusaders. Information starts coming in with different refugees and pegasus scouts, telling the princesses and everyone that pretty much every large settlement was attacked simultaneously, and everyone was eventually overcome. And now large group of different monsters are roaming the countryside, attacking and feeding on the smaller settlement and trains of refugees.

    Then the pragmatic troubles begin. Nature and the environment is becoming unruly, and is kinda struggling against the ponies dominance. Nobody knows why, and it's blamed on Lida. There's also limited amount of food and clean water, and the environment is starting to fuck with those things.

    The princesses take charge and start the camp on a path towards the gryphon lands in order to seek their aid.

    We get to see how Sleight-of-hoof report to Lida together with Dusk Keeper about how the conquest is going. And it's going splendid. Dusk tells her their agents in the Gryphon lands have set the countries nobles more or less in civil war mode, and what's more, every single noble with pro-pony relation ideals have been killed, so those left are mostly neutral or outright hostile towards their kind. The zebra nation is in a crisis as the jackals are now supported by harpies, sea otters and minotaurs in the conquest of their lands. The rest of the world is in a similar state. Lida has gathered, organized and is now using every single monster, psychopath or outsider that doesn't fit in Equestria's perfect world, and is letting them lose to pillage, burn, rape and feast on it.

    Another important plot point is that Sleight reports that his infiltration of the elements was a success, and that he identified the “real threat” among them, and she is now broken by his betrayal. (That would be Pinkie Pie).

    It's explained that the elements of harmony is kinda the contract written on between the pony guardianship with the world itself, it's the nexus focus of that contract. So when the elements are harnessed by the wielders, they are channeling the powers of the entire world. The whole Laughter, Magic, Honesty, blablabla was merely the qualifications of the wielders, because the new pony ruled world couldn't be allowed to go down the same path as the old one.

    However, Lida is a veteran in stuff magical and spooky, so she realized that the elements, since they're separated, need a dominant focal point in order to properly be directed. The obvious would be Twilight and her element of magic, but that wasn't the case, as it merely is the glue that binds them together, not direct them. Sleight discovered Pinkies... uhh... eccentricities, and sporadic reality warping antics, and so Lida decided it was obviously Pinkie that is the dominant force in the elemental blend, since the world seems to make exceptions for her regarding its rules.

    I know, I actually put thought into this. However, the pony Pinkie loved turned out to be a traitor just using her to get to her friends (or at least, she thinks so) and is now not in a state to command anything.

    During the flight west towards gryphon lands, Karon has been boiling with anger, seething with hate, and just generally getting more and more pissed. This gets worse though, as that hate start to be directed at almost everything and everyone.

    As the train goes further west, he start noticing the ponies behavior. Their perfect world is shattered, and they can't deal with it. He acknowledges that they are exactly what Trixie herself thought of them, and he starts to hate them for their weakness. He's also getting hungrier and hungrier with the passing days, and the unleashed energies and emotions raging across the entire planet is stirring those wounds in his soul.

    They make it all the way to the gryphon lands, and here a long game of politics, deceit and desperation was supposed to begin.

    I wanted each element to have to face their opposite really, but not all to overtly so. Applejack was supposed to be forced to face a reality where she has to lie and manipulate the grpyhons, if she wants her fellow ponies to survive. Rainbow would be torn with seeking out the traitor Dusk Keeper, who turned his back on the ponies because he felt HE had been betrayed by the princesses. Rarity would be faced with the ugliness of war, sickness and hunger, and forced to get her hooves dirty and stained. Pinkie would face her own depression at the world devoid of laughter and knowing the pony she loved most doesn't give a shit about her. A key point to her depression, is a scene Karon felt her playing over and over in her mind, is that of Sleight laughing when Trixie was killed. So her struggle I was interested in especially.

    Fluttershy would be forced to take charge, but that would be mostly in the background, as the important bit comes later with her. And Twilight, she would be forced to face a world full of suffering and troubles she can't fix with magic, and the changing environment makes her magic unpredictable. She is now in a world where he power is unreliable, and where the rules have changed to a point she doesn't really understand them, and so she can't lead and command as before, because she just don't KNOW.

    The part above was supposed to begin with arc 2, and lead well into the first half of arc three, however, something happens towards the end of the second arc.

    The more that goes on, the more Karon begins to hate. He wants to leave and find Lida, but the demands the ponies make of him in order to help them chains him down. And those ponies that needs his aid in these games of intrigue with the gryphon nobles are creatures he doesn't really care about, not anymore.

    The final drop happens when finally, the ponies manage to earn a few friends, and a piece of land to settle temporarily, with food and water supplied. When this happens, all the ponies are talking about rebuilding, of starting over and trying to forget about the horribleness that has happened, and let someone else solve the problems with the monsters.

    Karon snaps.

    He insults the princesses, the elements and every pony within earshot, tells them he doesn't give a shit about them and plans to find Lida, and hopes they enjoy their new world, because they've earned every single ounce of suffering that has been brought upon them.

    He leaves, and Promise follows him together with a reluctant Lyra.

    That was the end of arc 2.

    Lyra was to act as a character stuck between two worlds, and she was to keep running back and forth between Karon and the ponies in order to try and help them both. ( I know, she's an angel)

    Karon knew he was no match for Lida in reagrds to power and skill, so he needed more power. So he set out across the wastelands of Equestria, with it's freak weathers, ruins, monster and occasional refugees. He would begin hunting the monsters, killing them and feasting on their souls. He would use terror, mind games, and clever tactics to attack entire units and small armies. He would harass larger armies with hit-and-run tactics, leaving everyone alive, but many quivering in fear, whispering his name as he forced their mind into a loop of nightmares.

    As Karon grew in power, he would become more and more like a hungry spirit haunting the land, a monsters own nightmare. Walking invisible both in the physical and in their minds, gorging on souls, and awakening terror in those left alive. As he eat more souls, he was to grow paler and more ashen, thinner and more in the image of a bird of prey- the vulture of war and deceit, remember?

    Also, he would gain the ability to become like a spirit (something I foreshadowed in The Greatest Victory, when he falling down through the mist), so that he can pass through physical objects.

    I wanted him to become an embodiment of THIS trope, and I was kinda inspired by THIS for this segment of the story.

    As Karon grow more and more disturbing, whenever encountering refugees, Karon wouldn't give a shit about them, and instead Promise would be the one that acted as the kinder of the two, as she herself was growing as a character, and would try and make up for Karon's obvious lack of concern. She even acknowledges to herself at one point that the reason Karon isn't eating the souls of the ponies they come across is most likely because they're not powerful enough to be worth it anyway.

    Karon himself would be consumed by hate and thought of vengeance. Dreaming of Trixie and how Lida so effortlessly defeated and mocked him and Trixie's memory.

    Eventually, when Lyra returned to him after having gone back to the ponies, she tries to stop him, to bring him back to reason. He's obviously gone over the edge, but Promise won't leave him regardless, but Lyra has no fangirl glasses on and can see where Karon is headed clearly.

    This moment was to be the real crowning point of Karon's descent into absolutely villainhood. When Lyra threatens to try and stop him, he tells her if she doesn't leave and stay away, he will go into her mind, he will force her to transform into a pony, then he will ripe every memory she has all the way back to before they meet, when she was just a odd pony with her head full of weirdness and dreaming of meeting and being human. He would make her forget about her abilities and who she has become, then leave her alone in the wasteland they stood on.

    Lyra runs. ( good choice girl)

    When Karon feels he has become powerful enough, he realizes he still don't know anything about Lida, so he sets out to find out more about her by leaving the world of Equestria, and returning to the Walker's Rest.

    The reception isn't exactly warm, but the bartender still gives him some pieces of information, and Blitz in the bazaar provides the rest.

    Short version: Lida is the result of a really, really mad or sorcerer who wanted to create a vessel completely uncontrollable by the divine. He wanted to create a tumor in creation, someone that could spit in faces of every single power in existence. And he wanted this creature to become his successor.

    Lida was the result. Everything he knew he imparted in her, but it wasn't pleasant. What Dolor did to Karon was nothing compared to what daddy sorcerer did to little Lida.

    (In case you are to lazy to google it, names usually are picked for a reason in my stories, and Lida in Swedish quite literally means (to) suffer)

    However, daddy sorcerer did really bad things, things that would give Maeror a hard-on. So, of course the angelic hit squad eventually tracked him down and banned him from existing. Lida was left though, mostly because she hadn't actually done anything and was regarded as a victim.

    The angels and the ones above them decided to leave her be, since her destiny -now that her ties to daddy were cut- was uncertain. Considering her childhood it isn't that weird really that she decided to do exactly what her father created and raised her up to do, spit in the face of everything. Lida's uncertain and unaligned destiny and nature evolved into a trickster's, and she started an interdimensional campaign of bloodshed and destruction, trailing several dead worlds behind.

    Equestria is the latest because, well, if you're someone like her, how could you not want to fuck up the cradle of sugary unicorns and happiness?

    So, armed with Lida's background Karon returns to Equestria, and then REALLY gets going on harassing her armies. Before he was spreading terror, gathering power and the like, now he just wants to draw Lida out by smashing her power base from out under her.

    Here, there's a chunk of the story I really hadn't planned out at all. The end result of it would be that, for some reason, Lida is forced to gather the remnants of her minions that Karon sent running, and then sent them on a forced march straight for the ponies, since she was still suffering from the delusion that he cared for them, and hopes it would force that to draw HIM out.

    So, the last big army, (save the other smaller ones on the other continent attacking the zebras) attack the pony and gryphon alliance in one typical big showdown.

    Here's the tricky part, that whole pony section wasn't JUST because they needed something to do. The theme of Equestrias nature and the real meaning of the elements of harmony was supposed to be a big one constantly running in the background of the plot. Let me summarize it.

    Each element is forced to face their antithesis, in order for them to discover where their true strength lies. Each one does overcome the obstacles obviously, but the end result is that they're not just blindly presencing it in their behavior, but they understand it's and their own nature because of the contrast they've discovered in their opposite.

    But, as I said earlier, Lida sent Sleight to discover the anomaly that was the true dominant force within the elements, and he thought it was Pinky, and subsequently broke her spirit in order to put her out of the game.

    The real dominant power in the elements though, is Fluttershy. More to the point, her stare is. When I first wrote MoaT there's one part where Fluttershy actually stares down Nightchill, and the wording goes something along the lines of “it was like the entire world of Equestria itself turned its gaze on him, and disapproved”.

    Yeah bitches, I've been PLANNING.

    So the climax of the pony section of the story was to be Fluttershy staring down an entire army, demoralizing them to the point even the puny forces of the ponies and gryphons could wipe them out.

    Back to Karon. Oh, wait, Promise is also sent to have fun with the monster army, in order for Karon to face Lida alone.

    I would like to mention before I get down to that, that Karon over the course over his campaign of terror and soul eating, still didn't go completely insane or amoral. His hate kept growing and found outlets at every turn, but he still felt sadness and regret when he found refugees being eaten alive. That sorrow turned into more rage of course, and so the circle went on. Anyway, the jackals, in Karon's mind, came to be the face of this huge slobbering army of monsters.

    And so, over the course of his campaign, he genocides them.

    Karon and Promise hunted down and killed every single jackal that lived in the planet. He made them extinct. There's was one section where he was supposed to sneak into the big jackal camp and then drag out the leader and consume his soul in front of the res tof the troops, then spend the next weeks chasing down all of them. (For understandable reasons, they all fleed. By that time, Karon had become a legend they all checked under their beds for before sleeping)

    My point is, Karon has eaten quite a lot of souls, and he is bridling with power. He has thousands of souls within himself now. Which is also another plot point, but that comes in a minute.

    So, Karon and Lida, ultimate showdown of ultimate trickstery.

    When it came to their fight, I wanted it to be more than just a typical Hero vs Villain brawl, since it really isn't one. It was to be a fight between two tricksters.

    They were to stand opposite, measuring one another, then start a very cliché run towards one another raising their weapons, and just a step away from reachong one another, they would both just vanish.

    *Poof*

    Then a battle would commend waged not just on the physical, but on the mental as well. Reality and illusion would blend, where real attacks hid behind illusionary attacks, and one attack was just a diversion to attack the mind with an illusion, and so on. Karon would get an opening and strike with his sword, only for it to cut into a vision of Trixie pleading on her knees, Karon would bombard Lida with visions of him sucking her soul out piecemeal and scatter it to the winds.

    You get the point.

    This unconventional unleashing of everything thought would open up channels inside both combatants minds, and eventually Karon would manage to pin Lida down and her throat at sword point, only for both of them to plunge down entirely into their minds, locking each other in the vision by their gaze.

    Karon eventually wins, striking on the weakness that is her whole childhood and all the crap she was put through. However, it was at this point that Karon has unleashed too much of the power he has gathered. I did write in a few warnings about what would happen to Karon if he lost control, if the souls he ate would overpower him, and so he is sucked down into his own soul, where the residue of all the souls he's eaten resides.

    He would find himself sitting in a little boat, lit by a single lantern with a flickering, almost dead candle. The boat was floating over a pitch black river, from which arms would reach up from, accompanied by wails of torment and terror.

    On the opposite side of the boat sits another Karon, one that looks just like him, but one who speaks with a dry, sarcastic tone of voice.

    I honestly could have devoted an entire chapter to what was to occur there, deep down in Karon's soul- and honestly, I would probably have needed to, because it's complicated as hell.

    Still, what was to happen was that the voice would try and stabilize Karon, instruct him of what to do, in order to save them from being dragged down and just become another of the souls he's eaten. The voice would instruct Karon to eat Lida's soul, then use the power he would gain from her to tear himself lose. Lida was made to spit in the face of creation after all, if he consumes her, Karon will gain all that power, plus his own.

    He will be an unstoppable abomination.

    However, some of what the voice says triggers memories in Karon, and so as their float down the river of souls, shrieking in despair, the memories would play out to their sides. Echoes of things other people has said over the course of Karon's journeys would play out like ghostly theaters as they drifted along.

    If didn't notice, I place importance on such things as arc words, questions and names, because to me their the skeleton that binds a story apart. Their the important bits, the rest if just dialogue between them.

    So, these memories would play out. Lida would scream the rants and mock him like she did before. Eldros would tell him the same thing as earlier, about the war being one about teachings, and about her teaching him. Dolor would ask why Karon didn't save her, and he would respond because he couldn't.

    Thing is, as these things play out, Karon begins to think. And he begins following these ghostly memories lines of reasoning, and as he does, the voice starts speaking against it.

    As they drift along, the voice begins screaming at Karon, telling him to trust the voice, that he has always protected and cared for him, that without the voice Karon wouldn't have lasted a week when this all began.

    Thing is, the voice tries to command Karon, but the memories doesn't, they just ask questions that's been broiling down there in Karon's soul for a long time.

    What does it mean to be a trickster (arc word for MoaT)? What is the greatest victory (arc word for SLP)? Can you see (arc word for TD)?

    Maeror, Timor, Twilight, Varsif, Eldros, Dolor, Promise, Lyra, Jörmungandr, Lida, the bartender (G-D), the angel, Trixie. All of them provide him with keys that leads to an understanding of things.

    Eventually the voice is roaring at Karon to do what he says and just fucking eat Lida. To do what he says because he IS Karon.

    I want to mention also that as far as imagery goes, the lantern would grow brighter every time Karon actually listened to the memories and absorbed what they said.

    Karon is crying at this point, and tell the voice about another memory, of when they first arrived at Equestria and the voice spoke for the first time. That Karon knew then, and he remember now, that there is no voice, it was all just a trickster's deceit, there's only Karon.  

    The boat is empty.

    At this point, the lantern shines bright, and with it, Karon can navigate the river. He speaks to it then, calls to it by name, Stygian Acheron, and tells it he can see it now, and he doesn't fear it. He has becomes its master, the one who knows its waters.

    He wakes up with his sword still at Lida's throat, their eyes locked.

    Come to think of it, perhaps THIS would have been the riskiest moment in the entire saga.

    He looks deep into her eyes, and he can actually see into her, feel her. He as a trickster has walked in minds and dream many times before, but he has never connected to them, never shared of himself with them. It has always been a trickster's trickery before, deceit, lies and illusions. But now, he has learned the true tricks, and knows how to look beyond it. By learning all about the lies, he's learned to look behind them into truth.

    (Can you see)

    He sees a lot of hate, and behind it, pain and despair. She in turn recognizes that something has changed in him, and stares in confusion, which only grows when he removes the sword and steps away from her.

    Then a dialogue which would have been really difficult to write would have started. One where Karon starts asking Lida about herself, about how she feels, and what she truly believes.

    It would eventually devolve into Lida shrieking at him to kill her. Because she is looking into his eyes, and where moments ago she saw a kindred spirit, a fellow trickster she had broken down to the same state as herself, who is now clear sighted and completely free of it. And it fucking terrifies her beyond belief.

    She can't even comprehend it, and she accuses him of trying to trick her. He says he isn't. She says it's impossible, he says it isn't. She asks him how.

    He asks back, “Want me to teach you?”

    (What is the greatest victory)

    She stares at him, into his eyes, and accepts.

    Here's the thing, this course of events would be really hard to swallow for most unless I really managed to sell it. But, thing is, this has happened before. When a sour magician filled with despair and longing see hope in a unicorns eyes, and it awakened something similar inside himself.

    (Those eyes...)

    Lida can see that Karon understand something she doesn't, that somehow after all he has gone through, and all the shit he has done, he can still actually hope for himself. That he can be better and leave the other bad shit behind, that no matter how loud the voice screams to rip her soul out, or whatever else, he doesn't have to, because the voice isn't real, there's only him.

    She doesn't understand it yet, but she can see it's presence in his gaze, and he is now offering to guide her over her own Stygian Acheron.

    He has become the ferryman.

    He offers his hand to her, and she accepts.

    You have to realize, that at this point, Lida is fucking terrified. Everything she has relied on and thought of as solid as crumpled, she is drowning in her river and Karon is the only thing keeping her over the surface, because he has made her dare to hope.

    It's at that moment Loke appears.

    BAM, curveball again.

    He surveys the scene, looks a bit confused, then walks over and pats Karon on the shoulder. Then he orders him to eat her so they can get on with their plans.

    It is at this point the god-killing sword find itself at another throat.

    Loke looks completely dumstruck, a sight Karon savors deeply, and asks him what the hell he is doing.

    Karon tells Loke he gets it all now.

    Remember Jörmungandrs prophecy? That the one closest to Karon would betray him. Who could be closer than his own ego (the voice)? And the prophecy also stated that the true threat was the one standing behind the betrayer.

    Loke.

    More dialogue and some badass posturing, and then Rafiki shows up (because angels needs to have fun too, and it irritates Loke) and adds his own piece to the discussion. Summary:

    Lide was rampaging across worlds, bringing suffering and death to whatever she touched. However, in some regards she was still an innocent. She was what her father had made her to be, she has been carefully groomed and taught to be that way. So destiny was weaved, for someone to stand in her way, but nothing specified what that someone would do. The mantle of that destiny was Karon's.

    When Karon met Twilight in the void, he had become nothing, since there wasn't much left of Erik when he went in to start with, Twilight was different, she had plenty of life in her soul. And so when he made that shift to help her, when hope in the face of despair was willingly chosen by him, he mantled the destiny of Karon.

    However, Loke sniffed this plan out, and like a true trickster, he entered the game and turned it on its head. He imparted some of his own essence into this newly formed being named Karon, and so made him a trickster, a son of Loke.

    That was why Karon always had two paths within him. The first Story was more or less Karon becoming Karon, and leaving Erik behind. Starlit Path was about Karon growing as a being, tried and tested. Trickster's Deceit was to be the final challenge it had all lead up to.

    These two paths was either the path of the ferryman, the guide across the Stygian Acheron. Someone who had drowned in the waters of despair, suffering and death, who knew those waters through and through, then rose to master them by what he had learned and gathered from others in his journeys.

    The other path was the one created by Lokes meddling, it was the path of the vulture of war and deceit. It was two sides to the same coin really, there's was always a chance for Karon to fail of course, and succumb instead of mastering. Loke however, actually took effort to try and lead Karon down that road. To make him the vulture, for whom all thing are lies and conflict, where there is no truth, only despair.

    Why? Because if Karon had given in to the voice, he would have BECOME the voice, he would have become the vulture, dragged down into the river of eaten souls without a sense of who he was anymore, leaving only the voice left in the boat, left in charge. He would have eaten Lida, and gained all her knowledge. Gained the result of a brilliantly mad sorcerer's attempt at spitting in the face of creation.

    The power, perhaps, to escape a certain fate to be chained up for all eternity and have poison dripped down on you...

    When you look at the titles of the stories, the meaning of Starlit Path is pretty clear, and was supposed to be forward. However, Machinations of a trickster could rightly be thought of as a reference to Karon's machinations in Equestria as he learns what it means to be a newly minted trickster. Trickster's Deceit could also be thought of as Lida's attempt to deceive Karon into becoming like her and break him, or his own attempts at deceiving his opponents through his campaign of terror.

    But really, if you looks behind those two to the real plot, what they really refer to is Loke's machinations of meddling in the attempt to stop Lida, and his own deceit to make the game turn out to his benefit.

    Sacrificing Karon's soul and the lives of countless more is hardly worth noting for someone like him. It's all a game after all. He planted the voice, shaped his essence so it would guide Karon in the form of an overactive ego, which clear guidelines to turn Karon into an unwitting pawn that would gain him the power he needed to escape the fate he dreads.

    Thanks to the “sorry, we're having connection issues” meddling of the angels and a certain bartender, Loke wasn't able to actually see what Karon did in those final moments of his and Lida's battle.

    So when Karon pulled a sword on him, and he didn't find the vulture waiting for him with the prize tucked away in his stomach, he was quite shocked.

    The angel laughs and disappears. And Loke remains, eying Lida hungrily. Karon tells him firmly that if he so much as comes near her ever again, Karon won't use the sword, instead he will find out how a god's soul tastes like.

    Loke isn't happy, but he is a trickster, and so after some fuming, he takes a bow, and gives Karon an applaud, admittin he is no longer a pawn, but a master of the game. A real trickster. As far as sons go, Karon wasn't as disappointing as he expected him to be.

    And there's always another game to play.

    Then he vanishes. Karon and Lida agrees it is best that Lida changes her shape into that of a pony, in order for them to sell the story of the big bad being defeated.

    Yeah, most won't understand or be as forgiving as Karon has been.

    The ending was to be when the princesses takes their people north, with the help of the gryphons, to the old ancestral lands of the alicorns, where the wastelands lie. There, they confront the ghosts of their parents and their dead people, and they earn forgiveness. They upheld the duty of the alicorns as the caretakers of the world, but that age has passed now.

    Trickster's as upheavers, revolutionaries and forces of change. It was a messy, destrutive transition period, but the time of the alicorns and the elements of harmony is over now. Something new has started to grow, and for the ponies, it begins with the alicorn wasteland. The reason the world of Equestria invested a piece of itself in Karon when he first arrived is because it knew the time of a new age was coming, and since it would came at the hands of a psychopathic trickster, it wanted him to return to balance it out so at least some interesting things would remain after it was all over. The new world isn't the ponies bitch anymore, and it works by its own rules the ponies have to learn from, and grow from.

    Fast forward a few years, and it looks kinda nice, and Twilight and the other begin hollowing out a new oak for her to install a new library in.

    Guess what the new village they live in is called?

    New Ponyville. Because those fuckers are creative.

    Anyway, that's the end of the third story, still one left.

    Yeah, now you know why I gave up on finishing this thing.

    I have to admit, I took a lot of inspiration from THIS, THIS and THIS, so if you like the story/rambling summary of what it would have been, then you should probably check those things out.

    I will be making another blog post for the fourth one, because seriously, this is already long enough. I'll make a link to it here once it's up.

    Also, other small stuff I missed earlier: The reason the princesses sense Karon might destroy them is because they sense that in the middle of this clusterfuck is the energy of a trickster, Karon just happens to be the only one they've met. Pinkie learns the importance of weeping as well as laughing, and cries while she kills Sleight with a kitchen knife when she found him hiding in a kitchen. Rainbow Dash is the one that takes out Dusk Keeper since he is a traitor. Sleight and Lida switched places the same night that the party first entered into the Everfree forest, I would have dropped a few hints about that. Lida also killed Chrysalis and took her place as changeling queen.

    If you've got any questions or need clarification, ask in the comments. Since these blog posts are the last thing I will ever do on this site or with this saga again, I should try and be thorough.

    22 comments · 321 views
  • 30w, 4d
    Final and real good bye

    Yeah, it's real and permanent this time.

    I've tried to struggle against it, I really did, but it was inevitable I had to quit at some point. The trickster saga would take me more than a year, maybe even two, to complete. I don't have that time to put down on a fanfic to be honest, and I have constantly other stuff that's beckoning me right now. End result is that I'm done. Not just here, but with fanfics entirely.

    Which is a shame really, because there were so many cool things I wanted to do with the trickster saga. I considered going back to Starlit Path and deleting the entire Greatest Victory and The Great Game chapters, because Dark Roots ended on what could be described as the best closing chapter available. I decided against it though. This way, you can feel free and discard the stuff I was planning and have hinted at in favor of your head canon, or just make a disgusted sound and regret ever getting into the stories. You choose, but truth is, I did try and write a synopsis of what I was planning for this blog, but it's just too complicated to summarize in a comprehensible way. So, you make up your own ending to it, or just forget it.

    Though, if someone isn't satisfied and wants to continue the story, or take it somewhere else, feel free. I hereby cut Karon and the trickster universe completely free for anyone and all to use as they please. Just don't expect me to provide support or advice or anything.

    So... good bye, and thanks for having stuck around this long, and thanks for reading my crap, I learned a lot.

    40 comments · 937 views
Machinations of a Trickster
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Karon woke up slowly, his eyes gradually opening millimeter by millimeter. When his blurry vision cleared, he saw that he was laying on a mattress on a wooden floor. Next to him was Twilight with her forelegs draped around him protectively.

He remained still and watched her sleep, her chest rising and falling with calm breaths. Whatever effect experiencing Erik's memories had had on her wasn't affecting her sleep apparently, and it brought Karon some relief to see that she'd been spared in that regard.

Eriks' memories; that was how he thought of them. Not his, not Karon's. There was a feeling of displacement, like he was still getting used to the idea of who he was, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized he hadn't been Erik for a very long time. The boy who had burned his life to the ground, the boy who had apprenticed under Varsif, was dead. He had been dying for years. Ever since he lost his family, he had, little by little, lost himself to the pain and despair. Until eventually he had left Varsif, and alone with only his desperate need to see his family again, he had slowly lost his identity until he simply became 'the mage'.

That had changed with Loke. Something had awakened in Erik from the tragedy, and it had changed him. It had stayed dormant within him even after the fire – Erik had been focused singularly on his family after all – but as Erik slowly died, it was given the chance to grow, and Loke had seen this. He had felt it when the mage had sent out his calling within the void, and, seeing the opportunity, he had chosen to answer. He had tricked the mage, and through his trickery he had granted Karon a chance to be born.

Loke had seen the conflict within him and had seen Erik's desperation, how it was whittling him away bit by bit. He had seen 'the mage's' empty obsession, and he had seen the seed that was Karon. So he had broken down 'the mage's' body and reshaped it as he saw fit. Karon nearly snorted when he remembered the explanation that Loke had given him about the body being Karon's ideal self image. It was another lie. Loke had shaped Karon's body in his image, the image of a trickster. The first step towards killing Erik and 'the mage', and allowing Karon to emerge.

In hindsight it was all so obvious. The only reason he hadn't seen it then was simply because he had been too busy tormenting himself and finding distractions.

What part destiny had played in it he didn't know. Most likely there was simply a need for a Karon, and Loke went with it because he liked the idea of helping another trickster come into being. That, or maybe he had just been bored. It didn't matter, as he had given Karon the chance to truly be born. Erik was dead, as was 'the mage'. Karon had outgrown them.

And it had been thanks to this world. It had been thanks to the challenges he had faced in Equestria and beyond. It had been thanks to the kindness and joy he had seen and been allowed to share in with Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and even Rainbow Dash. It had been thanks to Lyra's friendship and Feather Touch's goodness, and Trixie's need for someone to love and be loved by.

And perhaps most importantly, it had been because of Twilight. Through the hope he had seen in her eyes, she had shown him that even in the empty void, there can still exist the strength to become more than a slave to your past mistakes, and that the fear of what would destroy you can be denied.

He smiled at the purple unicorn sleeping peacefully, and he leaned in and kissed her carefully on the lips. Then he rose from the mattress and took a closer look around, and after a few seconds he realized they were in Fluttershy's house.

Twilight must have taken him there after the connection between their minds had been severed. He didn't remember all of it. After the memories had been unleashed, he had not been lucid, and the only things he could remember were the intense pain and Twilight's eyes reminding him to be strong.

He walked over to a canister standing on the kitchen table, and after sniffing the contents and determining it was water, he drank from it. The water flowed down his throat and settled in his stomach, its cool presence soothing whatever frayed nerves that remained. Inside he didn't feel anything else besides a sense of … emptiness. Not the emptiness of the void, but the emptiness left after an intense release. The quiet calm after the storm.

It felt like a scab had been removed, and that he was just now realizing how it felt to be without it. It was the guilt and torment that had festered within him and grown to a part of who he had been, and now that it was gone, he could feel the difference and what it meant. He was Karon, and he was free.

“I'm free...”

The thought was so simple, but therein laid so many possibilities that it baffled his mind. He was free to pursue his life without the weight of a troubled past bearing down on him, free to enjoy or suffer whatever experiences he sought. He could very well end up causing another great tragedy like the one before, but the risk of something like that happening was a part of the freedom, and should it ever occur again, he would not be broken by it.

He was Karon the trickster, and his way laid open for him.

“Dramatic, but you also know what that means.”

He did, and Karon stared down into the canister and looked into the water thoughtfully.

“It's not very fair.”

“Life, remember? It is what it is, and considering all the things we've had to face, I've gotta say that there were far worse endings than this one.”

“Ending?”

“One ending, one new beginning.”

“Still ... it's disrespectful towards her considering all she has done for us.”

“Twilight has her own role to play, and we have no more of a place around here than Discord had. What would have happened in all the places we've been to if there hadn't been great conflicts for us to meddle in?”

Karon sighed and put the canister back down, and the water inside rippled with the movement.

“If there had been no conflict, we would have created one sooner or later.”

“It's our nature, and someone like that has no place here in Ponyville or with Twilight.”

“So we'll leave them again.”

“It's necessary.”

Karon turned his face and looked at the sleeping Twilight. There were no words meaningful enough to describe what she had done for him. Not by healing him or talking to him. It had been through no magic that she had helped him. She had merely served as the example, and that had been enough.

He wanted to leave this knowledge with her, to let her know that it was not through any fault of hers that he had to leave. He walked over to a nearby table where there stood an inkwell and quill right next to a pile of paper. He took the quill and kept it hovering over one of the parchments uncertainly, having no idea where to start.

Then a smile crept unto his face, and he remembered that a lot – if not all – of Twilight's friendship reports had been lost in the fire – unless Celestia kept copies. Also, there was something fitting about Karon adding this one piece of what he had learned during his stay on the world of the ponies.

So he put the quill against the paper, and wrote:

Dear Princess Celestia,

I've learned that sometimes even the tiniest of actions can have enormous consequences, and a mistake made in naïve innocence or childish carelessness can led to something beyond horrible. But I've also learned that no matter how much you suffer because of it, living in pain is a choice.

Sometimes you might forget how to look beyond it, but that doesn't change the fact that the pain only lasts because you choose to hold on to it, and if it has ever gone so far that you don't know how you'll ever let go of it, then there will always be others to show you the way. Not to take the pain away from you, but to show you how you can do it for yourself and that the joy of living is always within reach for those that dare to desire it.

                                                                                                            Karon

Karon blew a little on the paper to make the ink dry, then read through it with a careful eye. It was short, but Karon doubted he would be able to properly explain all of it no matter how many words he used. Some truths can not be told, they can only be felt in silence.

But his small addition to the collection of friendship reports was not enough, not for Twilight. So he dipped the quill in the ink again and picked another parchment and started writing.

Twilight,

I don't know exactly how I am supposed to write this down without it sounding hollow and pointless, but I need to say something as a good bye. You have been closer to me than I think any other being ever has – you literally lived inside my mind for a time – and now you've seen what I did my best to keep hidden from even myself.

You have been close to me Twilight, and it is thanks to you that I could be freed from my past. Loke might have been the one that sent me here, and I have had a lot of help along the way from others, but at its core I owe it all to you. Before I arrived in Equestria I was not Karon in any other way than some small dream locked away inside the shell of a man I once was. You made me real Twilight, and for that I will always love you.

I never really understood the meaning of friendship before meeting you either, but now as you have looked into the darkest parts of my past and still did not abandon me, I understand. You are a true friend and I will carry the lessons you have taught me close in my heart wherever my road may lead me.  But I need to go, I don't belong here. Perhaps it isn't just that I don't, but it doesn't change anything. I wish you and all the other ponies as much out of life as you can possibly have, and if fate is kind (or I find a way to trick it), I will get to see all of you again.

                                                                                                  Your friend, Karon

He blew on the ink as before and put the quill away. It wouldn't be enough to spare her from grief, nothing would. She would be disappointed and hurt that he had left her once again without even saying farewell in person. But it couldn't be avoided, so Karon walked over to the sleeping unicorn and looked down at her with a sad smile on his lips. He wished he would get the chance to see her some time again before he died, so he could see how she would grow – how they would all grow – without him interfering in their lives.

He took a blanket from the couch and tucked her in tightly, then without a word, he walked out the door and left the cottage behind, grabbing Promise on the way out. The path towards Ponyville was clear in the dawning light of the rising sun, and the quiet calm was only interrupted by birdsong. He knew that there would be a train leaving about once every hour beginning from dawn, so hopefully he would be back with Trixie before the day was over.

He phased in and out of invisibility as he moved from place to place. The last thing he needed was to run into anypony that recognized him. On the way towards the train station, Karon kept looking over his shoulder since a tingling in his spine was telling him that someone was trying to focus their attention on him. However, no matter how hard he tried to spot anyone watching, he failed to do so.

The mystery was solved when he arrived at the train station, and saw a familiar pink blur zipping from place to place in a frantic search.

Karon dropped the invisibility, buckling beneath the pressure of the Pinkie's focused attention, and came into view standing just beside her.

“Looking for something?” he asked and held back his laughter when the pony flew up into the air and span around several times before crashing down to the ground on her back.

She stared at him upside down, and a huge grin spread over her face.

“Hi Karon! I was trying to find you here, but I couldn't find you, but that's okay because you found me instead!” she said with a giggle and bounced up into a standing position.

“What made you think I would be here?” Karon asked with a raised eyebrow.

“My Pinkie sense woke me up and said you were going to leave again,” she told him.

“I thought the Pinkie sense wasn't specific?”

“It usually isn't, but when my ears get spunky and my tail twitches the Equestrian national anthem while my left hoof gets itchy, that means that Karon is going to leave.”

“Great, now I have a Pinkie sense sequence.”

“Uh, why does your Pinkie sense have something just for that?”

“Because you've left us like a million times now, duh! Anyway, I guessed you would be here at the train station since Canterlot is really far away so I started looking, and here you are now.”

“And what do you want Pinkie?” he asked with as much calm as possible. The last thing he wanted was for her to plead with him to stay or cause a heart rendering scene making full use of her pony cuteness.

Thankfully she did neither.

“I just wanted to say good bye, and hear you promise that you'll come back again some time,” she said with huge eyes of blue.

Karon swallowed hard when those eyes reminded him of another similar pair, and he found himself unable to just outright deny her. Even so, he hesitated in making such a promise. He could lie of course, but in this particular case it felt like a coward's way out.

“I promise I will come back one day if I can,” he said as a compromise, hoping it would be enough to placate her.

Pinkie's eyes turned sly and she asked again in a sweet voice.

“Pinkie promise?”

Karon sighed and rolled his eyes before answering.

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

Pinkie's eyes widened even further after he had dutifully sworn the sacred promise, and somewhere in the back of Karon's mind where his animal instincts resided, he heard a voice saying it would go very bad for him if he ever broke that promise. Even if it was because he had died. Such a thing would not be a valid excuse to Pinkie, and it wouldn't keep him safe from her either.

The train arrived soon after, but the small window of time was big enough for Pinkie to squeeze in a rambling conversation ranging from topics such as chocolate vs. vanilla or if alligators could wear hats like Karon. The result of this was that as soon as the train had arrived, Karon was on it, and doing his damn best to ignore the pony jumping up and down on the other side of the window waving at him. It hadn't stopped him from giving her a goodbye hug though.

Eventually the train left and he spent the journey towards Canterlot looking out the window, and enjoying the bittersweet emotions he felt. Despite his sadness over leaving Ponyville again, he felt a much grander sense of joy overshadowing it. This was only the beginning. He had been stuck in a loop because of the memories and the small shreds of Erik that still clung to life; without them he was now ready for so much more.

When he arrived in Canterlot it was growing late, and, with a bit of effort, he was able to slink through the city towards the palace without being gawked at. As soon as the guards at the gate saw him, they called one of their colleagues over and Karon was taken straight to the princesses. He very much doubted he would have to report his success in taking care of Discord since the lack of chocolate rain should be enough of a hint.

He was taken to the throne room, where both the princesses were gathered together with a familiar figure. Karon was left standing in the doorway staring at Varsif who was sitting cross legged on the floor while talking to the two alicorn princesses like it was nothing out of the ordinary for him.

He finished what he was saying, and both Celestia and Luna burst into loud laughter, then he turned his head around and faced Karon.

“Are you going to stand there gawking for much longer? I have things to do,” the old wizard said and waved him over.

Karon slammed his mouth shut and walked over to the trio. On the way, Celestia turned to one of her guards standing close by and asked him to tell Trixie that Karon was back. Luna shifted her eyes between Karon and Varsif, and her fascination with the old man was written plainly across her face.

The wizard rose up and rolled his shoulders gingerly when Karon stopped in front of them, and the two princesses followed. Karon was unsure of what to say, so he settled for a simple question.

“What are you doing here?”

“Isn't it obvious?” the old man responded with a twinkle in his eyes. “I'm here to offer you your old place as my student.”

The answer left the entire hall in total silence, where Varsif and the two princesses waited patiently for Karon to get his bearings and respond. It took a long time before that happened, and Trixie managed to arrive before Karon had gotten even halfway there. So instead, he blinked in surprise when a light blue torpedo hit him right in the back and brought him down to the floor. Before Karon could recover, Trixie had forced her lips hard into his and held them there until he started to kiss her back. They both hung suspended in time until the sound of a throat being cleared brought them back.

Trixie backed off Karon with an embarrassed smile, and he rose from the floor with an annoyed look on his face. If it was for the unexpected assault or the fact that it had been interrupted wasn't clear, but the unexpected kiss had brought him out of his stupor, and after he gave Trixie a loving smile, he turned to Varsif.

“Why would you do that?” he asked the wizard.

“You've dealt with that irritating door of yours, so I can now resume teaching you in good conscience knowing you might not snap one day and destroy Earth or something equally dramatic.”

“And how did you know I had faced what was behind the door?” Karon asked, already knowing what the response would be.

“I have kept an eye on you, as you well know, and I'm not the only one for the record. You've gotten quite popular ever since you turned towards the path of Karon.”

“You knew about that?”

“Please, I'm a wizard.”

Karon snorted and shook his head with a smile. It didn't come as a surprise that the old man had kept him under watch, and he already knew others were keeping interested eyes on him as well, but the offer left him standing on yet another crossroads that might lead in many different directions. Should he go with Varsif and take up his old training? Or should he remain in Equus?

“Before this conversation is taken any further, I would like to ask, what happened with Discord?” Celestia inquired.

A guilty look flashed across Karon's face, but it lasted for less than a second and neither alicorn caught it. The wizard on the other hand seemed to have done so, but he didn't say anything.

“I took care of Discord for good, you will never see him again. Please don't ask for more than that,” Karon said, and Trixie put a hoof on his shoulder when she heard the weariness in his voice.

Celestia obviously wanted to ask something further, but Luna gave her a quick glance that said otherwise. The princess of the night knew the trickster a little better than her sister, and evidently this was enough for Celestia. She nodded in understanding and asked instead, “What about the elements? What of Twilight and her friends?”

“They're fine, though Twilight's library was burnt to the ground. You should probably send somepony to fix that.”

The princess looked worried at the news, but she didn't ask anything else.

“Well, what will it be?” Varsif said with a hint of impatience.

Karon swallowed and looked down to Trixie, and the unicorn looked up at him with confusion.

“Varsif is offering me my old place as his student. He's offering to take me back to earth and finish my study with him,” Karon explained.

“But … what about me?” she asked fearfully.

“I'm not planning on leaving you,” Karon told her firmly.

“We've done enough of that for one day.”

“So you want me to go with you?”

“Always.”

“So you've made your decision then?” Varsif asked  him.

“You know what I was going to say already old man. I was sent to this place for a reason and now that it's done, my time here is over.”

“Indeed it is, but I was concerned that you might have formed attachments here that might make it hard for you to leave,” the wizard said with brows slightly raised in question.

“I have, but I have learned how dangerous holding on to something you should let go of can be. If I stayed, it wouldn't lead to anything good sooner or later.”

“So what about her?” the wizard asked with a nod to Trixie.

Karon looked down at the unicorn and smiled down at her.

“Remember what I once promised you Trixie? When I was trying to convince you to become my apprentice and call me master?”

“YOU TOOK AN APPRENTICE!?” Varsif bellowed, and the walls shook with the power that trickled into his voice.

“It was just teaching her a few basics, nothing more,” Karon reassured him quickly.

The wizard calmed at the words, and Karon turned back to the unicorn.

“Yes, I remember,” she said to him.

“This is your chance. 'Do you want to dance in creation itself? Do you want to see all that life and death holds within their domain? Is the path of the arts truly what you want? To have tea and biscuits with gods and goddesses, to listen to demons and angels and spirits, to soar together with dragons, and look at eternity and see its course. To see what dwells within yourself, to call out to the ancient and that which is to come, to seek the divine and be welcomed to it with open arms.' That is what I asked you. It is the exact same words Varsif spoke when he first offered me a place as his student, and they still hold true.”

Trixie looked up at him with a hunger igniting in her eyes, and she slowly nodded. In that nod laid a powerful decision, and the brink Karon had been standing on vanished. Their course was set, their road was chosen.

“Okay … it's time to go home it seems,” he said to Varsif, and the old man looked pleased.

“Not that I wish to interfere, but isn't this a hasty decision? Surely there is time for you to consider what you wish to do thoroughly?” Celestia said and looked between those gathered with something uncertain in her eyes.

It surprised Karon to see her like that, but he laughed it off and smiled when he answered her.

“Tia, this might look like a hasty decision, but it has been coming for years now. The only thing that's changed about what's always been meant to happen is that I won't have to go alone,” he said and put a hand on Trixie's back.

The alicorn princess looked like she wanted to say something, to object for whatever reason, but she held her silence and seemed to accept the situation. Varsif huffed with impatience at this point, and made a quick cutting motion with his hand, and a gateway was swiftly cut through the very fabric of the dimension.

Karon eyes boggled at the display, and he was once again reminded of the fact that he was nothing compared to some of the practitioners out there. That in turn made him confident that returning to Varsif as an apprentice was the right choice, especially now that Trixie would go with him and that Lyra was already on Earth.

He had gotten rid of something bad here in Equestria, and he wouldn't leave without something good to take its place.

With a polite bow of farewell towards the princesses, Varsif entered into the portal and disappeared. Celestia took one step towards Karon and opened her mouth, but no words came out and she closed it after a few seconds of silence.

Karon and Trixie both looked at her strangely, but whatever it was the princess had on her mind, she had just lost the chance to say it. Instead she settled for giving Karon a quick smile and simply told him, “Thank you Karon, for everything you have done for us.”

“You're welcome, and thank you for everything you have given me.”

“I bid you farewell too Karon, and I hope your future will be bright,” Luna said with a smile.

With one last look between one another, Trixie and Karon slowly walked up to the portal, but before they entered, Karon hesitated and turned to the two princesses.

“They're waiting for you, you know? The ghosts of your parents are waiting. The entire kingdom that once fell is waiting for you to return. I know it hurts, I really really do, but you must go back and face it at some point. So just remember, they're waiting for you.”

Karon saw the war that started raging on their faces the moment the words left his lips, and it hurt him to see. He knew all too well what they were experiencing, so with a final smile, he turned away from them and walked through the gate with Trixie at his side, their first steps on the starlit path he had once promised her.

                       ***************************************************

The silence stretched out for long after the strange gateway had closed, and Luna had her eyes fixed on her sister. Tia was busy staring down at the floor, and she didn't notice her sister's gaze until she finally looked up.

“What is it?” she asked carefully.

“Why didn't you tell him?” Luna challenged.

“I … I didn't feel it was the time for it. He has already faced enough, and I didn't want to burden him with more conflict now that he seems to have found some small measure of peace.”

“Don't you think this is something he deserves to know? Even if it would be a burden upon him?” Luna persisted.

Celestia sighed deeply and looked at the throne, her mind distant.

“Maybe I made a mistake not telling him, but it hasn't changed anything.”

“It would prepare him, it would keep it from taking him entirely by surprise.”

“He understands already that he isn't done with our world. There is still a piece of Equestria within him, and the blessing of the old forest has marked his spirit. He knows he will return here eventually.”

“You should still have told him,” Luna said angrily.

“What would you have had me say? Should I have told him that Discord wasn't the great threat I have felt coming for a long time now? Should I have told him that what I have sensed coming is something I also sensed in him?”

“It would have been right,” Luna told her sister with conviction.

“I couldn't Luna. I couldn't look at him and say something so awful now that he is no longer so tortured. He's free of what has been stalking us for thousands of years.”

“He will return some day Tia, and it will be our fault if he doesn't understand what his actions will do.”

“I know, and I hope that when the time comes for his return, he will come to save us.”

“And if what you fear comes to pass?” Luna said with worry in her eyes.

“Then he will return to end us.”

*************

*************

*************

                                                                                       THE END


*********************************Author's note*******************************

The sequel to Machinations of a Tricksters, Starlit Path, is now up. You can find it here,  Starlit Path

PreviousEpilogue
#1 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Damn, that took me a little bit by surprise, and hopefully this won't be the last we see of Karon :twilightsmile:

#2 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Beautiful

#3 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Finally! It's here!

Now where's that sequel?

#4 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Oh you :rainbowlaugh:

Blatant set-up for a sequel? I'm okay with that :twilightsmile:

Been following this story for a long ass time and I just want to congratulate you on a job well done. Honestly, I'm surprised you kept my interest so well throughout the entire experience. You are a master of witty, realistic dialogue and internal monologue and I'm truly sad to see this story come to a close. However, I can't wait to see what you write next. :pinkiesmile:

#5 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Oh dang! Thanks for the great chapter and for the story overall. :twilightsheepish:

I hope you will find the patience and time to write a sequel!  :twilightsmile:


(P.S. Because Trixie human sounds... tempting :rainbowwild:

)

#6 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

If you are going to continue can you make a side story of Karon and his misadventures?

#7 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Mere words can't express how much I like this fic, and now that is gonna have a sequel... :raritystarry:

#8 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Bravo! I enjoyed this.

#9 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

First off: Pinkie can transcend death to kick Karon's ass if he should happen to die and break his Pinkie promise?

Whoa! Death is a harsh mistress, but Pinkie is downright SCARY.

Secondly: Yay! Sequel!

#10 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

And so Karon's time in Equus is at an end. For now, anyway.

I also just realized that Karon basically lucked out in regards to the whole Las Pegasus event. I wonder how long it will take Celestia and Luna to realize they've been had.:pinkiehappy:

Also, to anyone who's interested, in addition to Starlit Path (the sequel to MoaT for those who don't know), Deviance also has another story planned and ready to start which he intends to run in tandem with SLP. Now, as he tells me jack shit about his release schedule, I have no idea when either story will be coming out, but he has completely assured me that they will both melt your brain from their sheer awesomeness and impeccable grammar.:rainbowkiss:

So, enjoy the wait, and don't forget to bug Deviance every single day until he releases something new. (That'll totally motivate him and not annoy him at all.:trollestia:)

Also, Deviance, you can finally set this thing to 'Complete', 'cause this bitch is done.

#11 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Goddarn you celestia.

#12 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

brilliant. now for the sequel....i hope

#13 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

I sense a sequel in the force... Regardless, this is quite the story, perhaps do a private publishing of this? Of course that would cause some legal problems if you make any profit, but if you really wanted to, I'm sure you could find a loophole.

#14 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

BAWS!:rainbowwild:

A great epilogue for a great story.

I know this isn't the end, if I read your blog posts correctly...

But yeah, this story is going to be amongst my top 10 for a while I bet.

#15 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

...... Continue.....

#16 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1461169 Why?

If Celestia didn't make that big mistake... I'm sure that the sequel would turn out boring.

Best part about a world where all hell breaks loose is that, If someone has to fix all the problems...

Then the more problems there are, the better!

#17 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1461215 I'm not thinking about the sequel, just how she always seems to mess things up for everyone.

#18 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Dat incomplete tag?

Edit: nvm

#19 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Good thing Karon put a clause in his promise, to return to visit if he can

if he can

sigh, he'd better take the first opportunity

anywaho I await your next story I will have to subscribe to your channel to get the notification! allonsy!

#20 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Gosh, It seems like all of the Fics I follow are ending... Anyways no need to get all misty eyed and wistful; you're coming back (I hope). Good job, good luck, and may your muse dote upon you.

#21 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Oh, Celestia... I cried when I saw that the last chapter was posted. This story has taken us on an incredible journey, and it's one that I'll never forget. It now reigns supreme as damn-near one of the best things I've ever read; and I've read a whole lot of things.

Sequel time! HELL YEAH! [img]//dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Lyra2.png[/img] [img]//dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Trixie_lolface_1.png[/img]

#22 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Yeah, its hard to believe this has been being written since April, wasn't it? And yet, you managed to keep the story quality high. I applaud your dialogue and character building, as well as the entertaining and engaging plot. As it all stories, there were rough patches, but the end result makes them inconsequential. And I will unabashedly admit that I was expecting the romantic subplot with Twilight to amount to something :twilightangry2:.  

Great job and looking forward to more!

- Reignbow

#23 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Now get to work on that sequel! (and the secret mature-rated chapters side-story of fun!:pinkiecrazy:)

#24 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

This has been quite possibly one of the more favourite stories I've had read yet. It definitely tops all the other HiE stories out there! I would definitely love the idea of the sequel, in fact I really hope one comes around sometime in the near future. :pinkiehappy:

I wonder how things will be with Karon now that he is no longer being held back...?

#25 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

Fantastic ending to a fantastic story! It's sad to see this story ending after following it for some time, but I'm left with much joy since I know there's going to be 3 more stories! and a possible spin off (you teasing devil you!)!

Dat foreshadowing at the end....I CAN'T WAIT!

~Have a good one.

#26 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

This has got to be one of the greatest stories i have ever read, my eyeballs almost melted from all the awesome.

Now hurry up and get to that sequel so my eyeballs can melt some more.

#27 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

this brought both a tear to my eye, a blush to my cheek and a brony shouting at the screen! ;D well done on completing what i hope is only just part 1 :3 a story that brings in the reader and draws them into the story blanking out everything else, (did anyone know that "getting into a book" is a literal thing? its a form of self hypnosis!)

so again thank you for the many hours of entertainment amusement and shed tears :D please sequel this as soon so you can ^^

#28 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Really well done, one fo the best fics I have ever had the pleasue to read! :twilightsmile:

#29 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Bravo to this story.

Bravo to it's creator.

Bravo to the doughnut I am eating.

And bravo to you.

:moustache:

#30 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Truly an amazing story, I was hooked from the first chapter.

Also...

I want...MOOOOAAAARRR

Please...

#31 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Woot! Excellent ending. Now for the sequel

#32 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Awesome story! You should put a post here when you start the next one, I hate when a sequel has been running for ten chapters when I happen upon it!

#33 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Pleasent ending to a wonderful story.

I also see that you've put it on a 'teen' rating; does that mean that you've removed the clop, and that you are now going to submit it to  EQD?

If so, then good luck.

#34 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Super overly blatant sequel set up! YAY! See you soon!

(great ending by the way!)

#35 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

You mister Deviance are a cheeky bastard and I will eagerly await the sequel.

Great work on this story.

#36 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1461070 From what he's said, if won't be. If I recall correctly, Deviance said that there will be a total of 4 stories.

Great ending, but I do want to know how Celestia and Luna deal with the ghosts of their former home.

#37 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Hells yeah.

#38 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

sequel or i remove th' marbles you call testicles.

#39 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

O.i was not expecting this to end, anyway, it was good and varif is a boss

Din
#41 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

May I ask if you have an estimation on when your next book in the series will be out? Because I really really do love this book... And I remember you saying something a long time ago about others.

#42 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1462906

I did a blog post about that, but maybe around a month or so.

Din
#43 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1462920

I saw the blog post about this shortly after I posted the comment. And I'll be honest, a month wait will kill me. Luckily, I have work to occupy me. Lastly have you ever though about getting this in print so your dear fans (yours truly) that have limited interwebs can have something more tangible to dote over?

#44 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1462944

It's a neat idea but I doubt it is possible for me to do it anytime soon. Something a little more on the realistic side at the moment would be for me to do a audio reading of the thing and put it up for download. But that would take a lot of time and effort too and I need to find a way to balance my writing with my real life duties first since I suck at that.

#45 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

if this was in paperback i would buy it

cant wait for the sequel

#46 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Yaaay.

Well, as most others, I await the sequel and following stories. You did a very nice job of wrapping up the little loose ends (besides the obviously saved for the next stories ones).

#47 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

I already commented on the blog post, but I guess I'll leave my actual review on here. A story this big and epic deserves a serious review.

First of all. I have said it before, and I'll say it again. Machinations of a Trickster is the best fanfiction on this site. In almost all categories. Everything in here is written so well, I don't know if I can handle reading anything else until Starlit Path comes out. I'm going to have to go read through the Hitchhikers Guide again. Or maybe Enders Game. Yes, your writing is that good that I have to go read actual published novels to hold me over until your next story comes out.

Honestly, I've almost fallen out of the MLP fandom. Not entirely, because I still have unfinished business here. But I can say that yours is the only story I actually gave a fuck about when it updated. All the others were just filler until the next Machinations update.

That being said, I almost feel that these past four chapters felt pretty rushed. I'm sure you noticed, being the writer and all. But the only reason they felt that way to me is because the first 30-something chapters were so perfectly paced. Whenever Karon went anywhere or did anything, you had paragraphs upon paragraphs describing it in almost brutal detail. There was never a moment when I wondered "where is Karon anyway?" The entire time we were out in the desert with the jackals and zebras, I could vividly picture that entire continent. From the dunes, to the city, to the ruins. The reason the end felt rushed to me is because whenever you had Karon leave and go somewhere new (from the boneyard to the otter kingdoms and then to Equestria) It almost felt like fast travel. He just "went on the journey" and then the next paragraph he was there. This isn't a complaint or anything, I just want to make sure you weren't losing your shit.

Thanks for a genius story, though. Just reading this I feel improved my writing. You are an inspiration to us all.

#49 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

I'am sad to see it end

#50 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Iv'e followed this story from the start and I gotta say, it was fucking worth it!!!

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