• Published 1st Apr 2014
  • 15,242 Views, 1,427 Comments

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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Meanwhile

Elsewhere at the local tavern promptly titled, The Tipsy Pony, a pair of stalwart figures stood in robes at a bar table, as they chatted amongst themselves looking for a few more party members. A stalwart young dragon, dressed in full plate armor that was comically too big for himself, A tower shield and greatsword far too large for him on his back revealing his chosen profession. Alongside him a skinny roguishly dressed figure in fake-leather armor armed with a variety of small knives sat. The young stallion had learned his lesson about licking strange liquids off random objects, and had chosen a drink with a straw to drink from. Juice that had the same potency upon the equine form as a strong whiskey. The dragon chose to idly eat a gemstone as they sat. Observing passively the other party goers in the room as the general discussion about Mare Do Well went on.

"How about her?" asked the smaller one as he gestured to a drunken mare, so tipsy that she could barely sit without slouching all over her table, however when someone tried to push her away, they ended up with a concussion.

"Drunken master, we don't need a monk." as the dragon shook his head in a negative response at the drunken Berry Punch.

"Her?" the smaller pony gestured to a nearby cyan unicorn who was poring over documents of... Hands?

"Maybe but she seems more like the studious type than the adventurous." the dragon shook his head again in a negative.

"How about-" He stopped what he was saying and shook his own head in a negative as he saw the pink party pony dancing atop a table, four tankards of cider in her hooves, "No, she's too...." he failed to find a better word, "Exciting."

"Let me remind you what we're looking for." The dragon said sternly, "Either a pony with high flight combat experience and a pony with a cutie-mark revolved around magic to counter the evil arch-mage atop the mountain peak."

"Right..." the pony paused, "Why do you think they'd be in a tavern again?"

"All adventurers looking for adventure hang out in taverns!" the dragon replied with anger, thumping his clawed fist against the table, eliciting a short glare from the barkeep and the dragon gave a short apology before continuing, "Though it seems none are currently at this one..."

"Shouldn't we be like, seeking an audience with royalty if we want either of those?" asked the rogue, "I don't think either of those would bother with drinking their troubles away if they had that much power."

"Let me get this straight, you think that I, a dragon, and you, a thief walking into the most heavily guarded castle in the country is a good idea?"

"Um... If its to stop a greater evil... Yes?" The rogue was squeamish under the armored dragons stare.

The stare lessened from a glare to a bright eyed hopeful look, "Lets do it."

"Wh-what?"

"Lets go visit Canterlot and get the aid of the royals themselves! I'm sure the pretty pony princess would be friends with a lot of skilled fighters like those... those..."

"Wonderbolts?" the Rogue offered.

"Yeah those guys, and that school of gifted whatsits." The dragon said happily as he got off, "Lets take the train there!"

"You do realize we need more bits for train tickets right?" the rogue said. The dragon looked at him like he was being dumb, which to the dragon, he was.

"That's what you're here for aren't you?"

"Oh!... Right!" the Rogue replied, and grinned happily, "Suppose it is! Don't worry boss, I the master of stealth and assassinating shall acquire us a seat to the capital!"

Great. The dragon thought, what could possibly go wrong? Their plan was fool proof!

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Meanwhile in Twilights Library!

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"What do you mean Rainbows house is Gone?!" Applejacks voice was raised as Rarity fainted upon her fainting couch.

Fluttershy had cringed at the raised voice of her friend and Applejack apologized as the quiet mare replied, "T-two puppet-things holding a p-piece of metal rammed the slab up it and it until it vanished without a t-trace. No smoke or nothing, gone!"

Fluttershy had regained a bit of confidence at the end of the sentence but Twilight quickly made Fluttershy cringe back as the scientific mare had gone ballistic, "That shouldn't be scientifically possible! Teleportation itself requires a massive reserve of energy just to teleport oneself. Let alone make an entire house vanish! Only Celestia or Luna should be capable of such a feat!"

"Maybe she's means that they smashed her house?" Applejack asked, and Fluttershy shook her head, "No, there would be the remains of Rainbows possessions and scattered clouds everywhere, they just up an-and vanished..." She looked on the verge of tears, as Rarity comforted her.

"Still impossible!" Twilight said.

"Yet it happened." Rarity interjected, "Maybe this is something traditional science can't explain, like Pinkie's special senses or Discords magic darling. Didn't he say he was working for Discords sake back when we met him in the castle?"

"Yes, but...." Twilight ground her teeth as she exclaimed, "Dang it Discord!"

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Meanwhile in the Statue Garden of Canterlot

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Somewhere the statue of Discord was trying to 'crack a smile' but he simply hadn't the strength to crack the imprisoning stone. Else he wouldn't be in this situation, would he? Even if he could crack the stone, there was literally an orderly office pony standing nearby his statue on guard now with a bucket of magically kept sealing cement and a scrape waiting for it to happen. Celestia had gotten paranoid of another breakout. Silly girl, thinking that a trowel and some wet cement would stop a future breakout. Discord really wanted to smile right now.

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Wheras thou now? Oh outside-st thy royal chambers of thou princess of thy night? Okay then I'll stop the bad attempt at old english.

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Four royal guards of the bat variety stood outside the chambers of Luna's chambers. All four were males, with two chosen to guard the princess herself, and the others her chambers. The former were curious though, since the Princess of the Night hadn't come out of her chambers in several nights. After her return from the festival of Nightmare Night in high spirits, she had taken to her room, in which the Princesses mood had soured drastically after reading 'some old book' as the maid assigned to cleaning her room had said. The maid had attempted to clean Lunas room several times each night only to be either ignored, or shoved out of the room with magic. Celestia had been saddled with most of the proceedings over the course of the day, and by the time she was done over the busy day she was about to drop dead from the social exhaustion of running an entire country by her own decisions.

The guards understood that delegating several of these decisions to an assistant or forming a co-counsel would ultimately end in disaster since that had been attempted several times before, but the nobility caste of unicorns were far too greedy and resulted in massive power struggles and constant warfare between those trying to gain, and promptly abuse, the power Celestia tried to entrust them with. The remnants of that council still had some unwanted control that they had wrested from their monarchs iron grip, mostly over political events and the ability to do just about whatever they wanted outside the bounds of the law as long as it didn't directly harm somepony else or was done in the complete open.

Only the Bluebloods, by virtue of being a blood relation to the Alicorn princess, albeit distantly, were still loyal to Princess Celestia. It was little wonder with their constant petty squabbles for power caused Celestia to be forced to act like a gentle mother to what the guards considered a flock of angry, stuck up, children from dawn to dusk. She would be far too exhausted to confront her sister about her recent change in attitude, the day guards could see how their princesses wings drooped ever so slightly as she turned in for the night. The guards had also hazarded a guess that she didn't even know about the mood that had fallen upon Luna, since the shifts also exchanged with the change of princesses. Since most ponies slept during the night, very few would ever make a meeting with Luna and what few words that were exchanged between the day and night guards were mostly idle gossip or recent events that had happened elsewhere throughout the country.

Luna still rose and lowered the moon each night, and trays of food still entered and left empty from her room as well. But the guards knew that the usually semi-shy princess wasn't just watching over other ponies dreams. Whatever had been in that 'old book' had messed with her a fair bit, and some of the guards were gambling on which idiot was going to try their luck at entering to cheer her up next. It was weighed pretty heavily that one of the maids or Prince Blueblood would try next, but others still bet on other odds. One bat pony had bet that a guard would abandon post to aide their princess. They also bet several times in the past that whatever guard was foolish enough to abandon post would probably get their heart broken and job fired but that was a longstanding bit of pragmatism. Every day guard could dream of making their princess swoon, but the night guard were above such things. Mostly because they knew Luna would find it creepy if she found her guards dreaming about her in socks and what not.

Another guard, particularly one of the escorts Luna had during Nightmare Night had bet that an animal would fly down the chimney and make a friend out of Luna, they weren't told that the chimney had a grate inside it to prevent intrusions from the outside, and were secretly being robbed from the betting pool. Another of the same travel guard had bet that the kid they had met back in Ponyville, a little scamp dressed in a pirate outfit would come pirateering dramatically to Lunas aide. That guard had been given a lecture by Shining Armor himself that if a foal with a plastic sword could break past several heavily armed guards, that they would need to seriously reconsider their career options and find more competent replacements.

One guard had bet a decent sum of coin that the one who gave her the book, the villain who had robbed the court of its natural proceedings just weeks prior and turned Luna into a judge, and made their captain a laughing stock would be the one to break in and cheer her up somehow. While the other bets had been placed in some skeptism, all the other guards had denied this outright. There was no way some scrawny kid with a weird mask would be able to get to Lunas bedroom without having to besiege the entire castle first. At least that's what they thought. Young Star Dancer was an optimistic guard, one of the few unicorns employed by the Night shift, and surprisingly a newer one at that. He had much to learn, the other guards thought. There was no possible way that the dastardly over dramatic midget could slip past them. He was way too loud and dramatic to not announce his presence to the entire world.

The pool was only growing though. Since no guard would dare abandon their post after the recent incident with Discord that year, and the maids were too intimidated to speak with Luna. That left Luna to dwell alone in her misery. Something had deeply unsettled the princess. Tonight something else interesting had happened as well. There was a momentary sound of a horn going off with a magic spell unknown to the guards. There had been no call for help, and no alarms going off. Luna had cast a spell for some reason. Silence ensured for a few minutes as the guards stood on razors edge. The doors too thick to hear the quieter sounds within. There was the clacking sound of metal on stone, as something approached the door, and pushed it open slightly. A quiet voice asked, "Someone bring me a maid... Tell them to bring a broom and dustpan."

The door shut, and one of the guards left their post to alert the appropriate staff. When the maid came in, she saw what was the cause of her summons. The statue of Starswirl The bearded had crumbled. All that remained of it was a pile of stony dust, a blue bell ringed hat with intricate designs, and a cloak that matched the hat to a key. Luna was buried in her pillows and blankets, and the only instruction the maid had been left was to leave the cloak and hat. The maid silently cleaned up the mess, not quite understanding what was happening perhaps wrongly wise enough to know better than to interfere in the affairs of Alicorns. Especially ones that terrified her with the constant thundering roar of a voice as if she was ready to send her to the afterlife

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Back in the Puppet Masters Bedroom.

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I was finding it a good distraction to clean and maintain Cass's new limbs. It was also good to see her maintaining a rigorous workout routine, and she was starting to understand and actually manage to maintain the limbs themselves as well. It was a bit surprising to me that someone else could maintain one of my props, as I had fully expected such an effort to fail, but it seemed as someone else used and knew how my props were supposed to work, their magic became the sustaining factor and thus allowed them to edit it without breaking it as well. Cass had gone from about half an hour of casual use to eight hours of casual use each day over the past two months worth of effort. half that under the routine she managed. She said it was 'as if they were learning to become one with the machine'. As she reported often 'feeling as if they had been a natural extension of her body', rather than as the intrusive prop-cybernetics that they were.

The maintenance had also been overwatched by Yoko, who was curious about the things I had been making since arriving here in Equestria, and her tech priest Bronze Leaf. Who looked at me with two kinds of expressions that through the rebreather covering his face made me think of a mix between, 'curious' and 'disgusted' at my antics of fake-technology.

"By the omnissiah. You are either working with tools beyond my comprehension or are truly blessed by the machine god. I can't understand how you manage to turn..." he picked up a piece of my crafting supplies, "Mere foam and bits of scrap metal into a functioning tool in much better and reliable fashion than any of those Frakkin' Orks. What trickery is this?"

"Magic." I said offhandedly, during maintenance, "Special power to craft good tools of other universes, don't overthink it too much."

"Inquistor Deargon," The Tech Priest had said, "If this was the Equestrian Imperium, then I'd be trying to take you directly to Celestia to explain your techno-heresy, but seeing as shes dead..." The Tech Priest said, "I'm going to go ahead and outdo you and invent new technology."

That set off a red flag and I looked to Yoko as she sheepishly grinned. Tech Priests in Warhammer had been against straying from a standard template construct in that universe. Doing so was heresy to a the Adeptus Mechanicus that saw straying from the templates as an invitation for disaster, such thinking had turned the cult into scavengers for recovered STC's as they were called and progress in the Imperium had ground to a halt there.

When the Tech Priest had left the room Yoko explained to Cass as she looked worriedly at my expression, "Before you say something, he is not a hera-tech," she paused as she looked to Cass, "Xander's just concerned that the nice stallion that just left is dabbling in forbidden arts. No worries though, he isn't, Bronze Leaf actually generated a fair amount of the original STCS for my universe." Cass explained, "The Universe we came from was more of... hmm... a mix between the 30k storylines and the aftermath? Definitely before the legions split."

I relaxed and Cass looked a bit lost, "Is that a good thing or a bad thing... um... Xander?"

I sighed, "As long as he knows what he is doing, Though I wonder where he is going to get the supplies for his... research."

I looked to Yoko, "If I see any flying Skulls around the place, I'm going to put him on the moon. Because that means he has killed someone."

"Got it Xandy, no Servo Skulls or Servitors."

"Uh..." Cass said, unsure of what we were talking about.

"Don't worry about it." I replied in turn, patting Cass on the head, "Anyway your maintenance is all good for now, remember not to overdo the joints, I might be considering full metal replacements soon for you, since they'll last longer, but I've still yet to master the art of blacksmithing."

I could experiment with making molds, and pouring heated metal into them, but that would be a while yet before I could figure out a way to make a molten metal resistant mold in the first place without props. Props were sturdy, but as several others had proven, they weren't invincible. A foam mold made to pretend to be an actual mold, would still burn to a crisp like a plank left in a tornado of fire if I attempted to do so. That and I'd rather not mess with flaming hot liquid metal until I was properly trained. Unluckily blacksmithing was a barely used profession outside of crafting metal parts for wagons and the like in Equestria. Factories were a thing, and their processing plants in the more major cities instead of villages handled most of the scarce metalworking. Meaning only those whose cutie-marks were of the trade even plied it right now. Even if I did find one, it was very unlikely that they'd teach a wanted villain unless they themselves were either indebted to me somehow or bribed heavily. It was more of a side project anyway, since it took pretty major blows to really harm the props I made, and with the new influx of power, I partially figured metal props would be a bit overkill.

That and I didn't know if I could use a different set of tools to make the props anyway. Discord provided the major tools for turning foam and basic non-metal materials into magical objects. Would I be able to do the same with different? The prospect horrified me to think about. As Cass left, Yoko excused herself to check on the Tech-Priest, and the door remained open long enough for another pair to enter. Melody had come, to present progress. Days earlier she had finally been fully accepted by the elders of the siren race as their new Princess, which was odd since there was no Queen or King, and had begun preparations. She had come to me shortly afterwards with a request to be moved to the western Ocean edge of Equestria, where apparently the civilization had once sat nearly a thousand years ago.

The request was granted, and the sirens now used the portal network on a day to day basis, about a few dozen of them going in between each day until the first few new homes became ready for living in, and in the span of a few days the sirens had made a small settlement from the local resources. It was taxing to open a portal across the country, doing so would drain me after a few minutes, which meant that I had to keep the portal open only around pre-determined times of which I would use the silence and concentration afforded to me during these routine check-ups with Cass. Melody's appearance had meant she had a new round of reports, four more homes were built, and that meant a few less that I needed to care for. They would still need food of course, until their own farms finally started producing their own produce, but those could be shipped from other parts of the nation once fully formed. Apparently traders had already spotted the growing community, and upon an unknown persons insistence they had begun to trade rather rapidly the much needed tools and supplies that the Sirens had needed to get well and truly going.

Melody had strongly insisted during each day to try and give me a report, in which she read off what had occurred during the day even if I wanted it or not. It would of been rude to deny the one Siren I trusted of the group entry into my office, I wasn't going to ignore a major ally like that, but the way she did present these reports were a bit... awkward. The finned pony would often take to having me sit cross legged on the bed while she herself sat in the chair I usually reserved for my workshop nearby. Reading to me as if a bedtime story. Only it wasn't interesting in the slightest nor was I tucked in like a foal with their mother. That and she occasionally looked up from her reports to... study me every so often, as if gauging my reaction or trying to figure me out. Had I not already of made it clear to her before, I would of sworn she was trying to train me to becoming a king with these reports, or into becoming her prince since she wanted the title of Princess. Self consciously I covered my lap with a workbook as she she continued, a few more idle ideas springing to mind. As she droned on and on about progress this, and what had happened that.

Eventually the Night called the siren to go back to her quarters to sleep, and I was glad for it. Accounting and mass management wasn't my thing. Puppets were busy enough to manage without adding more people into the mix. This project had been a bit of a test with my lack of involvement overall. I was testing the Siren peoples ability to create and learn new crafts to recreate their cities above land, and they were testing my ability to understand the intricacies of what they were doing.

In the end it didn't feel like it mattered much what my thoughts on their progress was. I maintained a good relation with the occasional quips, but nations and rulership did not interest me. My interests so far had been concentrated eastwards far beyond ponyville and the mountains of which I dwelt. All the way in Canterlot of which I was certain was either going to figure out Rainbows disappearance one way or another. Had Twilight sent a message confirming her screw up with her friends or did she hide the information, too scared of failure? If she did hear about it would it break the calm facade, or would it make Celestia work even harder towards Twilights eventual ascent into the Alicorn that had been the last episode of my time on Equis?

Would security double down again with the Elements of harmony no longer in action? It certainly seemed so at first glance, but then again a prominent stallion and his mare were planning for a wedding several months in advance. Just where had the time gone? So much to do, so little time. I arose from the bedside and sat back down at my station, beginning the next tool. Perhaps I should make a commission for someone in another world? Just what sort of wonders lay in other universes. I didn't need gold certainly, but a magical relic would easily be welcomed as another addition. Celestia and Luna could move divine bodies, I couldn't. The gap in strength was still highly evident, but perhaps the magic of this world wasn't the only thing else I could find... Mildly I began to search the laptop, dusting it off and making sure it still worked as I continued the project.

Its main file over my powers had degraded somewhat, confused by the changes I had gained in myself leaving just the old guide on the marionette tool of which still hanged from my waist. I brought the files attention towards the friend requests and spotted a few interesting ones. Slowly I began to browse them one by one.

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The Everfree Forest, Puppet Masters Dimension

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"Stinkin' twig-dogs!" an ork yelled as he smashed a timber wolf with a stone axe, "I be da bestest wolf slayer in da forest! Ya git this yet?!"

"No! I be da bestest wolf slayer in da forest!" yelled another ork as timber wolves were fighting Orks deep in the Everfree. The wolves for their part were confused and disrupted. Most prey they had in the last few hundred years had been either large enough not to mess with, and thus they didn't mess with it, or timid enough that they made easy game. These were smaller than their average hunting game, yet somehow were fighting them back with zeal reserved for yak barbarians after a particularly heavy night of drinking. Such ferocity of their target had caught them off guard, and several of them had fallen, for good this time as their magical cores had been captured by a werid one in the center of the group of melee happy green skinned humanoids.

"Now calm da self!" yelled the one carrying what the other orks had called a 'Pup-stick'. "You're both da bestest hunters in da pack! Gork and Mork would be proud that you killy so many of dem with so little!"

The staff wielding ork was a Weridzboy, one of the more experienced ones at that. He had been the sole survivor of the planet killing blast, but that didn't mean he'd stay either the only one, or be the only one left over from that world. Already these wooden daemons, as the Ork had assumed, had donated enough energy to begin the long process of bringing back their god of the Warghh. They would need more numbers, and more tools before Skargor could be brought back proper. Luckily the earth was rich in jewels and metal, and more than three quarters of the tribe had roles as miners as the goal was threefold. Mining would build up the muscles later needed for war. Mining brought forth valuable minerals that were needed for the mek-boyz to build their machines of war. Then three, this magic wielding ork was going to become the biggest baddest warboss in the sector.

Things were all going according to plan, the weridzboy thought as another spirit was drained into his staff, the reanimating spirit of the timber wolf joining the rest, as they squirmed trying to get out of his magic stick.

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