• Published 1st Apr 2014
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Puppets of Tragedy - Iridescence T Wind



We all know the story, human from earth goes to Equestria from buying a mystical prop from a mysterious unnamed salesman to attend Comicon. But what you didn't expect was the prop to be a puppeteers crafting kit.

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Nightmare Night 1 The Puppet Master's Game.

"Nightmare Night, what a fright, give me something sweet to bite!" was the sing song cheer of dozens of fillies as they went door to door caroling for candy in their tiny miniatures of fairy tale witches and zombies, and costumes of all genres. In order to blend in within this nighttime celebration. I had taken up the guise of a literature classic for a tragic villain. He who once dwelled in isolation as if a sin manifest with a destiny that was beyond his own control, one of the most iconic creatures of halloween alongside witches and werewolves.

"Bleh bleh bleh!" yelled another dracula dressed foal to the ensuing giggles of the other foals of his group.

"Dracula doesn't go 'bleh bleh bleh'." I muttered under my breath, as we walked through the town festival. Alongside me were some other members of my fortress.

"Whatever boss, I think the guy has the impression down pretty well myself." Amber commented having been closest to my slightly miffed grumbling. She was disguised as the 'phantom of the Hoofra', ugh horse puns. at least the mask was form fitted to her face, though when you know a guy who can make just about anything in regards to props given the right resources, it wasn't that much of a surprise.

"Don't you worry our costumes will put these foals to shame!", from the rear was Trixie, having traded her usual star covered clothing for a pure black variant, which while was hardly original, did match the witch motif she had went for, though it was hardly 'mind shattering' as she had been commenting about the 'brilliance' of her costume for the past half hour of walking from the base to the town. I had declined outright warping us there as the town was heavily decorated and with the number of guests arriving in the town I didn't want a chance for us to be spotted arriving by portal.

The town was alight with ponies dressed in the classics, though to my disappointment, only the classics. I was hoping this world had some form of Spiderman or Batman at least, though from all the little witches, vampires, pirates, werewolves, and other creatures from works of classic literature running around there seemed to barely be any variety among the children. The adults at least had a bit more variety, though not by much. The truly interesting ones, that I spotted anyway, was a pony who was dressed as a fisherman with a shark attached to his butt, and the out of place pony who seemed to be dressed up as... What?

It was a costume of a famous play I had seen a long time ago, only the strange part about it was that three ponies were used to form it, one for the center head, and two more for each arm of the costume, the costume itself was the carnivorous plant from 'a little shop of horrors' and in it was the three most easily intimidated ponies I could ever recall in the show, the infamous flower trio who fainted at an incoming stampede of bunnies. Even more interesting was that they were scaring ponies by sneaking up behind them, then running around the pony to tie them up in the two arms and having the big head say 'feed me!' to get candy from them. I took us on a detour around the plant costume and continued on my way, "Feel free to enjoy the festivities." I managed to say before I looked back and realized that the only one still following me was Amber, who was trailing behind me as she became more interested in a game stand.

I had also gotten a game stand set up the night prior after getting permission from the mayor (in disguise of course) and it was quite a brilliant little set up that I had recalled from my time back on earth, somewhat as a nerd in both shows, tabletops and gaming, another thing that had caught my eye in the past was a game that was made solely on the computer that visited a tragic tale of children who were violently murdered and had their corpses stuffed into suits, it wasn't the most pleasant of stories, as it was at heart a horror game, though being a security guard at that pizzeria with animatronics trying to kill you was oddly addictive in a way. In a way that booth was also for me to measure the reflexes and skills of various citizens in Ponyville as well as how easily terrified they were, if at all. That bit of mind games were going on in the corner of my mind as we walked, or rather, trotted around the center of Ponyville.

My real attention was taken up with the general festivities, and keeping note of the various ponies I could spot. Twilight Sparkle was easily found, alongside two of her friends, Applejack and Pinkie pie. I noted that they were dressed in the same tropes as the rest of the city as well, while Twilight wore a robe dedicated to the stereotyped wizard, albeit with bells, and stars sewn in, Pinkie pie had chosen to dress as a Chicken along with Applejack as a scarecrow. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at the first and last choice. Of course book-worm pony would choose an obscure reference to a magic caster while applejack would maintain the farm motif with a scarecrow. The Chicken was a bit acceptable until I drew an obscure reference to chickens and baking off the corner of my head. But then again I wasn't much better after choosing Dracula, the tragic tale of a man forced to indulge in a figurative meaning for his sin of greed.

Yeah... I trotted past them in my current disguise not getting much of a wayward glance from the three among the dozens of other costumed adults and children near the 'bobbing for apples' game that Applejack was running. Further exploration as I waited around and enjoyed the festivities was collecting some candies that were scattered everywhere. After a half hour of wandering and a new bag of collected halloween candies, I encountered Rarity who was looking disapprovingly at the sky where a single black cloud was hovering lower than the rest. Curious, I approached her, she was wearing an outfit that reminded me heavily of 'The Bride of Frankenstein', complete with hair done up in a straight up pillar and white tactically torn wedding dress that seemed to add to the allure she was trying to give off, judging at how many passing stallions gave her a look as they passed, it was working apparently. "What seems to be the problem?"

Rarity peeled her eyes away from the cloud as she took in someone was talking to her, her gaze momentarily scanning over her surroundings before settling on me, "Oh, sorry, I was looking at one of my friends who played a prank on me, Rainbow seems to be causing all sorts of havoc this year with the storm cloud she found."

"A storm cloud?" I asked, "Is that safe?"

She gave me a dismissive hoof gesture, "As safe as foals playing with stray cats I'd say, Less so when Rainbow is involved, at least it isn't like last year where she..." Rarity sighed for a moment, before giving another glare to the passing storm cloud, that now had a rainbow tail poking out of it as the cloud manipulator pushed the cloud over another group of unsuspecting ponies, "... Set half of Ponyville into a Mummy museum with rolls of toiletries."

"Sounds like one heck of a mess to clean up." I responded in turn. Should I go grab someone to go get her to stop?" I offered, though Rarity repeated the dismissive gesture.

"That is kind of you, though I'd rather not trouble someone on this holiday, I've been keeping a well enough eye on her to make sure no pony gets hurt from her antics. Last thing Ponyville needs is someone in the clinic for lightning burns."

"Okay then..." I trailed off, "Uh... see you around then maybe." I gave her a small wave and she waved back as I left the two, the only one of the mane six unaccounted for now was Fluttershy, who if I were to guess, would be locked up tight in her cottage rather than out and about due to the nature of this holiday and her timid nature.

Overall the festivities were fun, though I spent a good portion sitting on a bench in the middle of town watching and waiting seeing if a certain pony was going to arrive tonight while my mind toyed with ponies who were trying the game I had set up. The entry price was one piece of candy, and the reward, which had gotten the line super long was if they had beaten the five nights that they would get a hundred bits. Which attracted both adults and children thinking it would be easy. I cackled internally at how wrong they were. Two hours, yet a victor.

Patience paid off as I overheard someone ask, "What's that coming towards us? A carriage?"

"Not like any carriage I've seen before." another commented pony, this one dressed as a fisherman with a shark plush attached to his rear end.

"Aren't those bat-ponies who are driving it at that?" a peagsus zombie asked.

They were indeed bat ponies, and from the carriage's style, and my smile slowly grew wider as I saw that the occupant in said gothic themed bat-pony drawn carriage was wearing a long black cloak. Not unlike the one from the episode, fate favored the memorable it seemed. Though the real question was how it was going to go down in reality rather than in a half hour segment of time. In any case I braced myself to cover my ears should the noise volume quintuple in a minute.

"Its Nightmare Moon! Run!" Came the faint echo of Pinkie's shrieking terror along with the screams of dozens of other foals as they fled out of the outskirts of the forest and through the town square and beyond. dozens of children tripping and catching each other one foal dragging another up so that none of them would be 'gobbled up'.

The Carriage with the mare in question slowed down, as it began to touch down on one of the main streets and slow to a halt in the middle of the air, an impossible feat considering the harnesses connecting the pulling guards were shifting chains, but then again, there could be some form of magic to keep it there as well. Dropping down came the cloaked figure, whos shroud dissolved into bats that flew off into the night. The nearby townsfolk everywhere began to collaspe down onto their knees as if in sheer terror, though the casual glance would probably put them as prayer, a weird position in exchange to the shows variant in which the four legged equivalent looked somewhat akin to bowing in the similar pose rather than a pose of worship. I made a mental note for that. Besides me only two others were standing, Spike and Twilight.

I moved myself quickly out of general sight dipping behind a stand in the streets while Twilight spoke something from across the street while staring at Luna, Spike pulled her back though when she started to trot forward, and they both went into the same posistion as the others, though spike still had a claw to Twilights mouth as if ushering her to be quiet. Oh geeze.

Luna's wings outstretched as she walked up to the closest pedestrians and held out a hoof with a smile, before yelling out deafeningly loud, "Citizens of Ponyville! We have graced thy tiny village with our presence!" I could see a pony visibly clinging onto the ground as the voice pushed him, and it sounded from my distance like luna was shouting directly into my ears, she continued on, and I couldn't imagine the migraine the others who were CLOSER to Luna were experiencing, "So that you may behold, the real Princess of the Night!"

She began walking forward, ignoring the terrified looks with her eyes closed, "A creature of Nightmare no longer! But instead a pony who desires your love and admiration!" She still had that smile on her face, not quite reading the situation right, though everypony began to inch away from her crawling backwards to escape the Royal Canterlot Voice, "Together we shall turn this dreadful celebration into a bright and glorious feast!" she drawed out the last word doing a commanding pose, with lightning striking somewhere behind her.

"Did you hear that everypony!?" Pinkies voice came again and I looked behind me where a bunch of cowering foals and Pinkie had been hiding, "Nightmare Moon is going to feast on us all!" The screaming began again as the foals retreated back the way they had came again.


Luna noticed this, that smile turning into a look of startled bewilderment, and momentarily dropping the shouting voice, "What? No, children, no! You no longer have reasons to fear us! Screams of delight is what your princess desires." She looked disapointingly at a mare who was cowering near her hooves, dressed as a mouse.

Huh. Would of expected Fluttershy in that costume.

"Not screams of terror." Luna stomped and the mouse-dressed mare squeaked in fear before whimpering.

Luna went to mayor mare and a few other ponies trying to strike up conversation but they all cowered too much to even greet the princess. Fed up Luna dismissed them and trotted off. I knew the course of events that were going to happen, at least in regards to Luna learning to stop shouting, and the backfiring of the games, so I decided to prepare myself for when she wasn't at Twilight Sparkle's side, and went onto a rooftop to take a minor rest from standing, particularly near the spider-toss stand and focus once more on the amusing game that I was running ponies through. So far several groups have failed to pass the test, several ponies having left shell-shocked as if they had walked out of a warzone and up next was the cutie mark crusaders oddly enough. They were the second group that had decided to insist on working as a team. The other 'party' type participates had lossed but came out completely unphased from the scare somehow, meanwhile three others were in the fetal position muttering about a bunny, chicken, and bear respectively.

Returning my attention back to myself as the games went on, I tracked onward, following the slowly recovering terror of ponies from Luna's angry stomp outward, eventually leaving the general populace as I reached the outskirts of the small village. I released a cloud of bats from my puppets and scanned until I found her, making progress on foot rather than risking a chance to startle the one I sought. She was on the middle of a small bridge that crossed a creek, staring down at its thin waters that couldn't be more than a few feet deep. As I approached, I took noticed that she was leaning down on her arms staring down at her reflection, "Evening madam."

"Hello Puppet Master." Luna said without even turning her gaze, "What pain and misery brings thee here?"

"Just celebrating the holidays." I replied, "Noticed you were having a bad time as the guest of honor so to speak, and decided to check on the princess that doesn't make me want to cringe."

"Seems tis both a jest at our sister and a compliment at the same time." Luna commented, before casting me a cold shoulder, "Now what is the real reason to your visit? Can you not see that we are not in the mood for your interference on this dark night?"

I paused, giving a cautious stroll over next to the bridge, but maintaining a few good strides worth of distances, she wasn't shouting by any means, but she was a princess and I was a criminal after all, "Well two things really. One was to see if I could get an audience with you without being attacked by guards, or locked in a dungeon... Or petrified into a statue...." I rambled off for a short bit, "And two to see if I could get some answers in regards to what happened to you a long time ago."

This got a slight stare from Luna, "And why pray tell would I divulge you with answers?" I had gotten her interest, if at least a bit, which was a whole lot better than the worst case scenario of being blasted with magic and having to flee from a very pissed off and very pretty, even if terrifying, pony princess.

I smiled, "Information exchange? I imagine that my own motives aren't entirely that clear to either of you after that.. court room incident. We trade questions with each other until either an interruption occurs or we exhaust both supplies of questions."

Lunas eyes narrowed, and I added in, "Don't worry neither of us should be asking questions in lines of 'guard patrols' or 'where your secret base of operation is'. Limiting it to ourselves rather than adding risks to others. Can't imagine my friends would like it much if I brought the royal guard on our door as much as the guards reaction if our game lead to them getting ambushed on duty. I'll even let you ask the first question if you want."

Her narrowed eyes turned into a momentary raised eyebrow before she changed her stare back towards the stream that ran beneath and past the bridge, "Very well then... If this game is what thou wish to play, we shall indeed ask the first question, be it only out of duty to our subjects, even if they fear us. Your first question to answer on this night begins with this; what is your motivation for your crimes?"

I gave it a moment of thought, mostly for phrasing, and responded, "Three core things, really. Tragedy, Truth, and Redemption. Those being the short answers for it, would go into more detail, though that'd be outside of the question." I gave a soft smirk, "My turn, then, what lead to your transformation those many years ago into Nightmare Moon?"

Luna rolled her eyes at the name, "Jealously, anger, misplaced desires, and irrational behavior, take your pick." Similar to me she didn't elaborate further, "Our turn. Your 'core' things, what are you trying to accomplish with these?"

"A lesson that the truth is sometimes hidden, and that there are redeemable 'villains' out there who need a second chance and their stories told. I'm rather not fond of people becoming stoned or locked in the moon." I replied in turn, "My turn again, what sparked those emotions in you to try and overthrow your sister?"

Luna sighed, "We were jealous of our sister's popularity, and how ponies rarely showed their faces during our night, yet almost always rose with her sun. Ultimately we were misguided in our attempts to claim that attention for ourselves, and had we succeeded, our own misguided desires could of caused the world to inadvertently end."

"Understandable, a lot of people back where I came from sleep at night due to routine and jobs that were needed to be done under bright conditions of the day, was always more of a night person personally."

"Anyway, as for our question to pass the proverbial stick," Luna continued on after I had said my short piece, "Why Tragedy?"

"Tragedy is what makes a villain..." I searched for the ponified term of it, but failed, so I used the human one, "Humane." I said, "Its the difference between the villains you would see twirling evil mustaches while petting shaved cats and ones that do what they do because they find that they have, or had, little other choice in order to accomplish their goals. I take it you have heard of Mr.Freeze by now?"

"Yes, one of your lackies, Shining Armor was most peeved about his ice puns." Luna replied, "What of him?"

"On the outside he seems like just another villain, but the reality of him is, his motivation isn't greed, or hate, or anger, it is of love."

Luna's eyebrow rose, and I continued on, "Mr.Freeze was involved in an 'accident' though I guess the correct term if given all the details would be to try and stop either a murder or kidnapping. He was a professor, who was working on cryogenic research. His goal was to save the life of his wife, who was terminally i'll by preserving her until medical science advanced enough to the point where she could be operated on and live. His boss cut funding however, and tried to disconnect her and thus end her life. The resulting mess wasn't pretty. His employer escaped, and Nora, his wife, was still alive, but stuck in a cyrogenic state for the rest of eternity. As for Mr.Freeze himself, he can no longer live outside of his suit or in rooms flooded below a certain temperature."

"That is just awful." Luna said, "Did they arrest his boss for attempted murder?"

"Sadly money is power where he is from, and while Mr.Freeze has tried to get revenge on the perpetrator multiple times, he was always stopped by another cloaked crusader of justice. Though in Equestria I imagine he'd be another statue in the garden before his story was even half told due to the current legal system."

"This explains a bit about that... court thou ran a while back." Luna remarked, now she was leaning against the railing on one side, actually locked in conversation, and in interest."

"Yes it probably does, though I think you've asked two questions, so I have two for you," I replied giving her another small grin, "If you don't mind me asking, could I ask what exactly the elements of harmony... did to you when they struck you both times? I don't mean just physically, but mentally. To be more precise, what did they do to stop you from being well.... fangs and 'the night shall last forever' complex? Yes that is my second question too."

Luna winced at the 'night forever' bit in my speech but didn't keep me waiting long for her answer, which was slow as if she was thinking out and measuring the weight of each word she said, "The Elements of Harmony is a curious thing..." she began, "When we were struck the first time with them by my dear sister a thousand years ago, our ill found hate, jealousy, and lack of foresight had been fresh enough that when the elements struck, we saw they lacked the power required to cure me of them with only one user. So instead they temporarily banished me for a thousand years in a condition that would normally prove fatal for a non-alicorn. When I eventually broke free of my bonds and came back we've had a thousand years of idle waiting to vent, and while my anger grew early on, a large amount of despair also filled in over those years, and anger turned to idle hate that burned itself out over the years. My resolve shattered at that point, and only briefly resurfaced when we was freed from those accursed bonds. Similar to rekindling the coals of a fire however, that didn't last long as the metaphorical bucket of water doused with a tad bit of overkill by six individual element bearers."

She paused, to take a breath before continuing, "As for what they did... we're not entirely sure, some of it was showing us the future that we would of wrought if my vision had come to pass, an eternal darkness that lead to nothing but death, something we hadn't wanted, rather only to have others enjoy the splendor of my night. Others were the feelings of those who would of suffered under my rule, and others still... something about that strong magic had ripped away what shreds of anger I had left as well as forcefully, as we noticed once we recollected our senses, changed our body back to its former glory."

"So in other words it altered your mind." I said, recalling the various strange things in the show, "You'd think that controlling another persons mind would be illegal in Equestria, yet there are apparently books on the subject in a public library along with methods of brewing poisons and forcefully starving a species by trying to halt its diet." I recalled, remembering the scenes of discord's reformation, as well as Twilight's attempts at changing the habits of not only the Para-sprites but the Vampire Fruit Bats in the show.

"Mind control?" Luna asked, from her expression, she hadn't considered it.

"Yes, apparently the ability to forcefully reform someone is a spell found in several books," I recalled the show's salad that discord had ate during his reforming episode. Geeze if someone of less than pure intent got hold of those.

"In that light we are not aware. The elements of harmony are supposed to be just that, harmony."

A thought struck me, "Perhaps they are misnamed?"

"Misnamed? How so?" Luna asked.

"Well considering the circumstances, These elements of harmony are directly opposed to chaos in original intent, correct?"

"We originally found them to deal with Discord over a thousand years ago, and until then there had been no recollection of their use, we can assume very little, my sister may be more knowledgeable to the subject considering she has had near a thousand years to attempt and study them."

"My theory is that these Elements are rather of the order type rather than harmony. A bit of a negative doctrine so to speak in comparison to harmony. Similar but not quite the same." I started, "For instance the Elements tend to do one of either three things. The first two are demonstrated with your 'Nightmare' self. Where it tries to convert the victim into its line of thinking in order to cause order rather than the chaos of two opposing sides. When it fails, it attempts the more lethal parts of itself when non-lethal isn't an option. In your case since it couldn't kill you, it banished you to your key of power, the moon. For others, who lack such methods, it is a solid stoning."

"Your theory would be correct, but we have been assured by Celestia and from her, the correspondence of Starswirl the bearded, our old magic instructor, that the petrification process is reversible. We have underwent that process ourselves in a test spell."

So she didn't know, that confirmed it as concrete fact. My mind worked fast, already a copy had been made weeks prior, as part of a different plan, but plans change. I started out, "There is a bit you should probably... know, though not now. Wait until your holiday is over and you've had a good... day's sleep?" I added the last bit a bit questioningly. She nodded to the terminology.

Wordlessly I had a portal open, and she tensed up until she saw what popped out of it, a really old book. The last journal of Starswirl the bearded. I held it out to her, "It seems Starswirl's assistant from back then was keeping things from you, She decided to transmute herself into a basilisk and wait out eternity. That stone statue of a giant snake underneath the old palace of yours and Celestia is what remained of her after she tried to kill me."

Luna looked at me with a bit of skepticism, I didn't blame her, "You can check it for authenticity yourself, I've made a copy of its contents for a personal look, so you can have the original."

She took the book in her magic and slipped it under a wing, before speaking, "We will be sure to scour it for any signs of lies."

"I'd also give you his statue but that's a bit heavy to be dragging around." I tacked in and the look of shock almost made me concern for my own immediate health, "Should some form of agreement come around, I'll be handing him over of course. I'd rather not be the focus of a nine on one battle between the three current Alicorns and the elements quite yet."

One of my puppets spotted Twilight heading down the road, "Until then... it seems our conversation will have to wait, since one bookworm is heading down the road, please try to enjoy your holiday, even if it is built on delighting in being scared half to death."

With that the portal that had dropped the book vanished, and another opened up under me to warp myself out of there.

A few minutes later....

"Princess?"

"Leave me be Twilight Sparkle."

"Princess.... I'm sorry it hasn't worked out how we wanted..."

And there was my queue to stop interfering with their festivities.

Author's Note:

Sorry this chapter took a lot longer to write than expected, got buried underneath term papers and other essays for college work for the last few months and finally the work load is lightening enough to continue writing. There will be a part 2 coming up on what happened in the festival for the past few hours of Nightmare Night as well as their later contenders to make up for it.

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