• 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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Starry Nights

The vial glowed alight in a bright red glow as magic drained into it, and quickly I poured it into the urn containing Starswirls remains, glowing trails falling down first in a spiraling slow circle, that landed on the exact edge of the pot before pouring in, followed by the feather which took a new almost blinding glow in the nearly unlit room. When the feather touched the ashes, I knew something was wrong.

The tools used energy to perform, their drain dependent on how powerful the magic being used was. This drain was unlike any I had experienced before. It was massive, and I nearly buckled immediately as I felt in nearly an instant as if I had run a marathon. I gasped as the drain continued, already the massive reserves of energy I had from the dragon was gone, and soon after it Sharp Operas own addition to my reserves was rapidly fading. Luna looked with alarm as I landed on my knees, clutching at my chest, and in another instant the reason why became tangible. The glass jar had a visible connection of magic running through me, into it, and into the feather below.

The ashes were igniting, it was working but the drain was getting even stronger. The Link to GLaDOS was momentarily severed, as my concentration snapped, and I groaned in agony, The few tools I had on me turning off as well. A few moments were like hours of endless burning, and about halfway through the Windigo kings magic supply I knew I didn't have enough, but I wasn't alone.

Luna linked her magic into the strain, and soon the connection was feeding off of her as well. She winced as she felt the pull, but poured into it as well wordlessly, as the pile of ash went to rise, and rise and rise. Growing until it took the form of a stallion in shape. Now all that was left was the magical tools that I had absorbed from Starswirls study, and my own starting reserves. Luna was looking worse for wear, but then, suddenly the glow began to fade, swirling feathers and light now noticeable, fading away into the pot, as a stallion stood there, looking with shock at the two of us. I didn't even have the grace or energy to get a good look at him, as Darkness consumed me and I fainted, near completely drained of energy.

The darkness was blinding and terrifying, and I couldn't tell how long it lasted, only that it lasted what seemed like hours, days, or years. I floated in a dark abyss, my body hurting, and my chest feeling like it was on fire as exhaustion ran its course. Was I dead? No, Death shouldn't have this much pain. A brief soothing sensation swept onto me over the course of hours, dampening the fire, and eventually leaving just tied and sore limbs in its place. I still rested. but slowly sensation began to return. With it I came to in a new sensation.

I was covered in something soft, my head resting against something furred and slightly plushy yet firm. While my robe had been removed leaving just the T-shirt underneath. Shoes had been removed as well as my Puppeteering tool that had been attached to my belt. I slowly stirred, aware that I was on my back, and covered in a soft silk and that something smelt faintly of lavender and blueberries.

Next to return were two voices, in busy discussion, one an older mans, the others Luna's. Groggily I became awake, only to find my gaze ceiling bound to the side of Lunas bed, my head resting on her lap as she talked to what looked similar to Star Swirl the Bearded from the art, but instead of blue, he was the same colors as philomena, and his eyebrows and mane were on fire. In my dazed, exhausted state, I could only say, "Does he need a bucket of water...?"

Luna looked down at me, "Oh thank goodness, you're awake." as her hooves messed with my hair idly, "For a while there we thought you'd never wake up!"

"I think... that used everything I had..." I chuckled weakly almost immediately regretting it as my body punched me in the lungs with fire, "Way more than I had expected... Ow..."

"I've also heard, that you're the one to thank for reviving me, though I must say, this is certainly unexpected." The stallion said, sitting down aside the bed to meet me more at eye level as I turned my head to follow his gaze, "Luna has been telling me about you while you were unconscious. Pray tell if half the things I've heard about you trumping one of my former students and stopping a Basilisk is true, let alone being the one responsible for well..." He gestured at himself, "This. I have much to thank you for. What do I call my apparent savior?"

Luna moved to speak but I got to it first, Villain names at this point was pointless, and if someone was to lock me in stone somehow, I'd want my proper name on a gravestone, "Alexander... Just call me Xander for short..."

Starswirl and Luna were surprised by the name. Which in itself was no surprise to me. Considering most of these humanoid hooved ponies had names that were literally just words from a dictionary crammed next to each other.

The flaming maned stallion also had a flaming version of the legendary wizard Gandalf beard I realized, and wondered just how overkill did we go. He was clearly no longer a unicorn but some sort of phoenix unicorn. Pheoni-corn? Phocorn? No that sounded too much like Popcorn. I'd need a lot more magic if I ever wanted to try that again, and tilting my gaze, I could see the husk of the glass jar, whose insides were now blackened from flame and crumbling slowly down into shards next to the old urn, and was really glad that wasn't me right now.

I could hear the clatter of armor nearby as a large force was approaching the door, a feminine and familiar voice on the other side, "Out of the way!"

Oh goddess no.

"I really don't want to be here when Celestia Shows up..." I said, "But I can't move..."

"Do you really think she will punish you for your crimes after bringing back her father figure from beyond?" Luna asked, looking mildly shocked.

"I'm a wanted criminal... remember?"

"He has a point, at least for now you can give him credit, but stuff him out of sight for now." Starswirl said, and Luna sighed, as Starswirl the Flaming-beard added, "Under the bed with him then?"

"Sorry Ma'am give us a moment." said a Night Guard on the other side of the door.

Together the two of them rolled me off her bed and then under it and soon after the edge of the blanket covered the underside as Celestia herself bursted in just a few seconds later.

"Luna! I felt the disturbance from the Throne Room! What happ-." She looked at Starswirl the Bearded, and was silenced. Staring at the stallion as the stallion stared at her.

Silence rolled by as I stared idly at the bottom of Luna's mattress. I missed the lap already, my head was brushing against something hard, and I could turn my head enough to look at it. It felt like a box, or a book, could be either at this point but I didn't care. The lap had been soft. The floor didn't respond to my disgruntlement, instead drawing attention elsewhere on my body. There was also a quill under my back, digging a pointed tip into the back my shirt. I counted it as good luck that my possessions were on the other side of the swung inward doors, so they were out of sight while Celestia stood in the doorway, her form barely visible from the light pouring in and the veil of Luna's bedsheets between the corner of my eye and staring directly at the princess of sunlight.

I imagined her jaw must of dropped, as she stared at the glowing form of Star Swirl brought back to life. The words from Celestia's mouth was breathless, "... Swirly? Is it really thou?"

My mind skidded to a halt. Celestia had just used Thou. Oh no. "Tis is, I, in the..." Starswirl paused as the glowing beard lowered as he looked at himself, "Glowing flesh."

I didn't blink, but I could of sworn I did, as Celestia crossed the room in an instant. Colliding with the reborn stallion in what was a room shuddering thud of a running tackling hug. "Woah there! Not so tight! These old bones aren't as strong as that." Star swirl warned, before wrapping Celestia into a hug.

"How, how are you here?" Celestia murmured, as she pulled back "Let alone...Well, look at you. Your mane and beard, they're practically made of fire now!"

"Speak for yourselves. Last I checked your mane was as pink as cotton candy." Star Swirl booped the princess on the nose with the tip of his hoof smartly, "Now your hair is a rainbow, and Lunas is a collection of stars. My word, we have a lot of catching up to do."

You know, I wanted to ask why Star Swirl already knew how not to speak ye olde english but at this point I didn't care enough to blow cover from under the bed. Most I knew he was an eccentric pony in the past, maybe he had been so genius to predict speech a thousand years in the future or something, Wish I could sleep, would too if it wasn't for this pain in the center of my back and the corner of that box pressed into my head.

"Yes, we do!" Celestia had responded, "Luna, shall we retire to the mess hall and fill our mentor in?"

Luna, responded to my relief, "We would sister, but we still need to prepare for the approaching Night. Besides, we have talked a lot on your way up here. It wouldn't be fair for us to occupy the two of you when we will have all night."

I think Celestia was too busy to notice Luna distancing herself from her sister a bit with the use of the royal we over the personal term, but I would be lying if I didn't understand. Even if it was for your own good, being banished for a thousand years by family as well as the recent events didn't really shine in Celestia's favor either. Though Luna was loyal to Equestria, it would take a fair longer amount of time for the two sisters to reconcile. Especially after having showed Luna the Journal of Starswirl. I just wondered how much the Elements of Harmony affected her when she was de-Nightmare Mooned... As well as what the heck was digging into my back the longer I was under the bed. It had a point, a triangular one if my guess was correct. It also had a long spine attached to it. A quill maybe?

Starswirl also deflected Celestia away from Luna's judgement, albietly surprisingly subtle for a stallion with a now flaming hairdo, "I do feel positively famished, has culinary culture changed over the past thousand years Tia?" He guided the solar Alicorn to the door.

Celestia's attention was completely occupied by Starswirl, "Certainly! You just have to try cloud cheesecake, it is a masterpiece. Ever since sugar was discovered-"

The conversation drowned itself out as they left the room and the doors shut, the noise turning into a murmur through the reinforced door and fading away as they made distance. After a few moments, I felt both a magic field envelop me and the hoof reaching under to help tug me out from under the bed, the thorn in my back getting dislodged in the process, and I managed to check to see what it was, and confirmed my suspicion that it was indeed a quill! I also noted the box was unlabeled, though appeared to be a shoe box.

Luna was sitting crosslegged, back resting on her headboard as she drug me out from the side and plopped me down to the other side of her. "This has been an exciting day." Luna stated calmly, "Though I still wonder by what lesson you think to teach by bringing back one of our oldest of friends."

"Eh. I'll let you think on it. Get back to me... Right now though..." I tried to continue on, "I feel rather..." I passed out again, the combination of a soft bed, and Lunas calming presence had quickly overcame the momentarily exhilaration of seeing Starswirl the flaming beard and the panic of Celestia nearly discovering me in the state that I was. The dreaming world taking sway over reality as unconsciousness took over.

My dreams took a familiar form. A long twisting and winding road lined by endless flowers. Myself in a car going down the road, more precisely in the back seat,as the old green military styled jeep, went down the road without a driver or even a single noise of the engine. I was looking out the window, imaginary chaos taking place as I watched imaginary and fictive characters try to outrace each other as random obstacles presented itself down the road. All interacting with each other as the villains they were. Trying to win by sabotaging each other or using clever tricks to momentarily get ahead of the rest before another villain did the same.

I watched them for a while, for how long I did not know before a new voice snapped me out of the spectacle, "This is what you dream of?" Luna asked, bringing into focus that I was not the only one along for the dream induced car ride.

"What can I say? The mind does what it wants." I responded, without thought, as I turned to face the other direction, Luna present in the passenger seat, past her on the right side of the car, heroes doing much the same as the villains were on the other side. My attention being slowly drawn from the immediate surroundings as countless rectangles of memory appeared. Cartoons, anime, fictive works of literature rolling off the pages, and a sky filled with countless starry nights worth of stars and constellations. A hoof brought my face at attention to Luna, who was staring at me. My masked face. Still there even in dreams. I hadn't really noticed, but now I was even more frustrated at it for some reason.

"This isn't the chaos of Discord, though it isn't order as well." Luna commented, before turning to face the front of the endless winding road, "Pray tell do you know where this road leads?"

"Why would it matter?" I asked simply, "It is a dream correct?"

"One can find great meaning in dreams." Luna spoke with sage like wisdom, "Like all paths, it must end somewhere."

I considered it with a long hum, and thought deeply as the road went on, and on, episodes one by one trailing on, heroes and villains began to disappear as their franchises ran out of episodes, movies, or books. Soon only a few were left of the original racers as newer villains and heroes joined in. "Perhaps, it is the journey and not the destination that this car seeks. The destination being the point past where all stories are told to their fullest."

Like that the road faded away, the running heroes and villains all appearing at once, stuck in their various high-points of their animated and fictive lives, the jeep fading away and us suddenly being standing, in front of a large library of knowledge as texts and books floated into its open doors. The scene faded away to villains reconciling with heroes, a surprisingly friendly chatter, of hundreds of voices at once. Luna surveyed on with me my mindscape, and I surveyed with her.

I looked to Luna, and she looked on, watching as countless alien like beings in their true shapes continued to chatter, and talk. Though like all good things it quietly came to an end as each hero and their villains, collected themselves, and faded into books. Each book lining a shelf of the massive library as we entered it. Like that, a library in dreams gave way to interesting scenery. A field of moon lit flowers in the central plaza of the library with an unoccupied piano in its exact center. The ceiling above was gone to reveal that brilliant moonlit scene of endless images and stars which shed rays of thin crystalline almost solid appearing rays of dancing lights, appearing like a silvery aurora before fading and reappearing as though curtains drifting in and out of reality.

Luna was a bit surprised at the scene, I was as well a fair bit, but I did appreciate the scene it brought to my eyes as well. Music I didn't even know was playing faded away a fair bit to near silence as we approached the piano, and Luna sat down near the seat, and gestured me to take the seat itself. Her eyes spoke a question that needed answering, What was next?

I considered it, a few ideas flickering by visibly, a small scene of a sonata stowed its way back into its book. Too cheesy at this point. Something exciting? No, not quite the time for it. Then it struck me, a brilliant idea. I was a strange man with fantastic devices who lived in a castle far from ordinary. In this realm, there would be no better choice. I sat down, and began to play. I knew not the piano and how to play it, but the notes themselves slowly began to play, taking shape of a miniature moving castle.

Luna turned to watch as the small thing grew to the size of a pumpkin, and began to walk across the piano in a large circle. Its loping grate revealing itself as a small man came out, waving at Luna, before turning into a bird and flying away. As it was away a small child emerged, took one look at her, and raised up his hood, before growing a beard with magic as another small girl appeared and got medicine from the disguised kid before leaving. On the other end of the table, a small hat shop rose, and a young woman emerged, as well as the witch who would curse her with age. The tale commenced, as the woman went to find the wizard, the later returning only after she found and got onto her castle, the later turning around to provide a cutout view of the inside of it, as the granny turned hat shop woman slowly grew to love her new family, and them her. Her age seeming to disappear into only being grey hair at the end of a long tale. The Song repeating the entire time, occasionally changing in pace to match the flow of the story. Slowly, for the sad bits, and faster for the action scenes.

By the time the tale had concluded, Luna had been transfixed by the tale, and after it ended I gave the song a play through once more as the small group of people gave a theater stage type bow all together, and even though the story had lacked words, it truly didn't need them. Actions had spoken louder than words, and Luna gave a small applause for them, and me by extension. As I ended the last round of the song, I asked Luna, "What would you like to do now?"

"Well it is a dream, so we could relax for a small while before each of our duties drag this dream away, correct? That is if you don't mind me being here."

"Not at all." I said, moving myself from the wooden chair to the ground of moonlit flowers next to her. The flowers themselves were particularly radiant, and only grew more so the longer we stayed in this setting.

It was a while before either of us spoke, both just admiring the scenery around us. Luna was first to comment, "I imagine, if Twilight Sparkle was here, she'd be pouring over every book in this library and already nose deep in at least a fifth of them."

I chuckled, "She wouldn't leave my mind for weeks if that was the case. She would probably put me to sleep for months on end if she saw this sort of mental arrangement of knowledge from outside of Equis."

"True." Luna rolled her eyes playfully, her voice with mirth, "We have visited Twilight before in her sleep. It is an endless sea of books most of the time."

"What is your opinion on the star pupil of Celestia anyway?" I asked, curious since Luna was the one to bring her up.

Luna sighed, "She is talented, and intelligent, but quite... Inexperienced to adversity, and social problems. She reminds me of... well me. When we heard of the Mare do Well incident in Ponyville, we hardly believed the magnitude of the blunder that the rest of the bearers did to alienate their Element of Loyalty, Rainbow Dash."

"Posing as a superhero, upstaging your friend, and then bragging about it to her face was hardly the correct thing to do to correct Ego."

I posed the point, and Luna asked, pressing my line of thought deeper, "What do you consider would of been the correct line of action?"

"Just talking about it with her, get her to understand her flaw with examples. Instead of Mare Do Well, just check her on the ego by correcting mistakes she makes because of it. Mare do Well didn't need to stop a carriage, Applejack did." I gave the counter point, and continued to elaborate, as the library faded away to the memory, the field of flowers and pianos remaining nicely behind as we saw the scene in reenactment.

Where Mare do Well was replaced with Applejack out of costume, saving the carriage of ponies, and having a few words with Rainbow in the distance about how her Ego had almost gotten a lot of people, including herself hurt. Rainbow was many things, but stupid wasn't one of them. Just doing that could of solved the problem neatly and prevented the slew of problems that arrived afterwards including her defection thanks to everypony including Applejack making the situation worse in the end. Again that slew of Applejack singing her own praises about how Humble Mare do Well was irking me as strangely out of character for the normally polite and actually humble farm mare. Guess I had to reconsider my opinion of her as well.

"What Twilight and company did was temporarily take over what Rainbow was doing, shut her down, and quit afterwards. Now who's going to stop a runaway carriage or save some unfortunate who falls down a well? They act, but do not consider consequences for what actions they take." Mental image of Rainbow Dash ranting back in her home was evidence enough of that. Loyalty had been betrayed, and it would take a lot of effort for anyone to fix that with what had happened. Loyalty did not mean blind acceptance, it meant that you could trust one another and make sacrifices. What they tried to do was essentially clip her wings in terms of personality.

I rolled my eyes as the scene vanished to show each of the mane six standing side by side with a beam of light on all of them but Rainbow, "Imagine what would happen if they tried that stunt on any of the rest of them."

Rarity delit, speaking for herself, "What do you mean I'm VAIN?"

Twilight next, her current mistakes in using magic to forcefully solve problems constantly backfiring, "What do you mean that magic isn't the solution for anything?!"

Applejack, her stubbornness and pride getting the best of her tone of voice, "I am not prideful! I'm just telling the truth!"

Fluttershy, a crying wreck. Too busy sobbing to get a word out.

Pinkie Pie, Mane deflated, looking like a horror story ready to happen in the ordinarily cheerful world of Equestria, just giggling to herself.

The images vanished shortly after and Luna rolled her eyes, "We can see your point, none of the Element bearers are for a lack of a better word, 'perfect'. But this mistake could cost not only them their friendship but Discord his freedom should they remain apart, not to mention any number of dangers that Equestria might yet face."

"I'm working on it." I said confidently, as the music resumed softly in the background.

Luna sighed, and relented, letting the newest round of music catch her ears and leaned back into my side as it continued. We sat there a while longer staring into the starlit horizon, as the field of flowers grew larger and began to cover the empty scene, each blooming beautifully. Slowly, I plucked one out of the ground, and put it in Lunas mane. A useless gesture, as it wouldn't be there when she left or we awoke. But I thought it added a nice touch. My left arm intertwined with her right, and what felt like an eternity of peace continued onward. But like all wonderful dreams, it must slowly come to an end.

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