• Published 1st Apr 2014
  • 14,253 Views, 1,419 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.

  • ...
90
 1,419
 14,253

PreviousChapters Next
Abound In Strings

The meeting with luna was awkward to say the least given that I could now see the bindings she herself was unaware of. While it was short, mostly exchanged pleasantries and follow up details about the members of her old guard as we finalized matters. I was cowed largely by the measures that had been placed on her. It physically hurt to stare at her, which made it all the worse that I had to in order to be polite.

There was the chains, those of Celestias brand. Branched put not one or even a dozen ways but we'll over a hundred hanging down like a tent that used her as the central pole but the disturbing part had been what must of been the elements of harmony influence as scarce else could explain it. Golden strings hung off Luna, wrapped around her and her chains like a tangled mess of knots, while Celestias were a soft glow of gold, these were blindingly bright white light which lead up and above Luna to what hanged above...

I had oft wondered what had happened to Nightmare Moon and how it was that Luna remained eternally smaller in size to her sister. But with the strings sapping her energy to maintain a shadow of the former mare of the moon split from the rest of herself. As within a bubble of ethereal energies drawn from the points where the strings made flesh was kept the slumbering mass of the former villain, or rather harder to explain the motivations and ideals made manifest.

Loneliness and desperation reeked from it, kept in check by its prison, I dared not mention it or even touch it in the event Luna took notice, but I did resolve to try and increase the frequency of our conversations in the future, as well as to ask Starswirl how to turn the ability to see the spells off. The fact that her bindings were draining the lunar princess helped the impression that an Alicorns size was dependent on it. As it would certainly explain not just the future of Twilight and the differences between both Luna's first appearance post redemption, and the sudden change of cadence from her foal sitter flashback to her current far more lanky self.

I could note as our topics slowly diverted itself from the on going plans to more personal discussions that Luna carried with her a great love of astronomy and art. While my own experiences with astronomy was highly limited to mostly science fiction, and most of my input on that front had been exploratory questions on the subject to the great delight of Lunas own animated lectures. I found far more equal grounds when our discussion naturally had shifted towards art, culture, and the designs of constellations. While we shared different tastes, Luna having enjoyed far more abstract works, and I those of a story within, we both shared quite a few laughs over some of what many considered 'modern minimalism'.

By the time I left the bubble around Luna's Nightmare self had shrunk by a few inches. While it was still several yards across, I decided then and there that I was going to make my visits far more often for Luna. She was ever pleasant company and I felt a large amount of natural sympathy for her. Her life must of not been easy given the thousand years she spent trapped on the moon. Perhaps I could mend the damage so blandly ignored by the elements of harmony and after tonight I couldn't help but want to break them, drain them, and utterly destroy the remains.

Even as I rested I could not help but stare at the chain Celestia had placed upon me like the viper it was. Would I shatter it on my own accord, would Celestia notice? If she had dozens if not hundreds of these chains bound, would she be able to see it, or rather the lack of it? Given the fact she was an alicorn princess of over a thousand years of age, I would think so. But what if I deflected it in a different way? There was the option of using an item to cleanse magical effects and claim to be warding against the Queen of the Changelings mind control spells she'd use on Shining Armor, but that would beg the question why I don't equip everyone with one, the same could be said for using such a method for screening new recruits for changelings. If it wasn't a constant flux it wouldn't stop Celestia from just reapplying it constantly.

My mind debated about cleansing others at all, given what could happen if Luna accidentally got cleansed of her bindings as is. As well as how much could be revealed to Celestia depending on how I treated this. If I could break the element of harmonies seal over Nightmare Moon, things could go very wrong very quickly, and I couldn't even tell what would happen if I messed with her bindings at all. If I brought it to her attention, Luna might confront her sister about it, only to lose. I could feel the bindings draining my own magic slightly. While that would explain Luna's smaller size, that did little to solve the problems I had with finding a good solution. Doing nothing was an option, but I'd rather not risk my mind getting... Irreversibly changed.

I could go about protecting myself to a degree, just by holding it away from me, but sleeping would give it several hours to work upon me each day, as I wasn't quite a master of magic to be able to maintain a stranglehold on the chain while sleeping. Puppets were another matter as they just 'stayed' there while I slept. But none of my 'proper' spells did the same without constant concentration... Though I'd admit that my 'proper' spells amounted to light and telekinesis. Even with my improved concentration, wrapping my head around arcane equations was headache inducing. Magic in Equestria relied simultaneously upon both nuanced understanding of the universe around them and simultaneously existing and not existing at the same time.

What this amounted to, was if I wanted to say, form water to fill an empty cup, there would be several ways to go about it. I could pull particles from the air itself, converting hydrogen and oxygen into water, or perhaps call it from a distant pond or ocean, or even from another plane altogether, but the process of actually doing so did and did not exist. Like a paradoxical machine being formed of the state of matter known as magic that couldn't be quantified, or properly explained, as it simultaneously bent to laws that were individual to each person, and yet uniform across all other living beings. No two people saw an arcane rune the exact same way, yet everyone could identify it if they saw it. This sort of headache inducing magical nightmare when Trixie had explained it had left me with far more questions than I started with, and far fewer answers. This left me with, as Trixie told me upon my learning of just basic telekinesis that my technique of using magic was highly wasteful, and that I could probably hurl her old stage wagon with the same amount I used to lift a pony if I had the level of skill she had.

As migraine inducing as it was to be reading complex magical equations, I would probably have to do so in the recent future in order to get a better understanding of the Unicorns that i'd be training into proper guardsmen. For now I resigned myself to building a personal measure of protection in the near future against magic, and working out a screening process that 'seemed' too costly or unpleasant to keep running for a long period of time to catch out the changelings that would try to infiltrate my little training regimen. For the former, I was thinking of the magic ring from How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, which could reflect magic cast upon the holder unless they were the one casting the spell themselves. As for the later, funnily a scene from the books of Harry Potter book seven was a likely candidate, but I would first need to figure out if I could indeed build a waterfall as an item.

Turning logistics behind me for the moment, I took a few hours to laze on the extremely comfortable bed in my quarters tossing around more ideas for future items, resort my plans in the near future, and what I would be doing in the coming nights. The puppets were doing well, at least in terms of progress. The ones heading for the distant coastal city of sirens that I had been aiding were getting a decent amount of progress done, while the ones taking the paths through the Everfree Forest... My attention turned to them more sharply as one suddenly died from an explosive round of the two, barely being able to register the attack before it shut down in death.

The other puppets around the area ceased their movement, and the other member of the pair swapped from its wide spread path half a mile away towards the direction of the deceased puppet. Distantly, I forced despite the waste three more puppets to spawn around it and left one behind to continue its journey as the original, and the two new ones progressed with what they could manage for stealth when they were seven feet tall. I stood up from my lazing daydreaming while they worked through the dense forest, arming myself as I thought of what could of caused an explosive impact of that magnitude in the forest. It wasn't a dragon, as dragon fire was more akin to a flamethrower, and none of the other beasts in the show made that sort of instant explosive to the chest. That meant...

I hissed in both shock and outrage as my puppets came across the first sign of Orks.

------------------------------------

"Waz was dat?" BarbTooth Snarlwhack asked his patrol buddy. As far as Orks went, the blood axes were da best in his opinion, and the kommando next to him was da best of da best in da sector for now.

"Some weird doll thin'," the other Ork replied, "not a wood 'umie 'ound though." the other ork didn't particularly care about it, "Ded though, so no issue."

"Should we report to da boss or go see if they can give a good foit?" BarbTooth asked eagerly, as to them, the lack of a good fight as of late was as anathema to them, "Only onez so far, but might be more?"

"We haz orders you lout." the other ork reprimanded, "Set waagh footing, grow and establish a foot hold. Weird boyz need to get a breach for da boss to cross over, ya know."

"Boss don' need to cross if youz boss though." Barb replied, and the other ork punched him in the jaw.

Teef flew, not that it mattered much, Ork currency was in their teef, and Bad Moon clan orks like Barb grew them back rapidly. As far as either ork was concerned, the matter of clans had been put aside for this operation, but it wasn't like da boss to leave matters stewing.

Both orks new that there was a fight brewing in the horizon, since the weird girl didn't come back. Word was the boss was right cheerful that she lost her battle, and that meant a good fight was in the near future. She may of lost but the old idiom was that orks never lost. "Wuz we waiting fer?" Barb asked, "We got Trukks, and Killa cans, if they ain't got nothin'?"

The other ork chewed it over, killa cans were gretchins that had been forcibly shoved into mechanized suits of scrap metal, and rarely were they pleased with the affair, until they realized the power it afforded them. While the boss had worked his charm on the six in camp, their stout unreliable confidence of being gretchin still made them a cowardly and back-stabby force to deal with at the best of times, "Da mek boys and weird boys ah think."

It was no secret the mechanical experts, as far as orks were concerned they were, were building a gargant to take over the forests proper, and that the weirdboy numbers were slowly swelling, however it would be months before they had the numbers to open a portal between realms and start the waagh proper.

"We should expand at the least." the ork complained, and the blood axe ork had to agree, they were cramped. Patrols were limited to orks that couldn't yet shed their spores, as not to give the game away to any wandering civilians, which left either the painfully treated by their gods personal mad dok to do the chores, which both of them were. While the mineshaft they had claimed did much to alleviate the need for expansion, to seek fights, the Diamond dogs they had found in the mind had barely enough in them for a small skirmish at most, heck they didn't even expend a single round of ammunition before they surrendered and was taken in as slaves for as long as they had lasted. Which among ork culture, wasn't a very long time at all.

As they worked their way across their rounds they stopped... For orks were cunning as they were skilled. Something was making noise, a lot of noise... What was the noise? It sounded like a tree falling, like metal footprints marching in perfect harmony. The first of the orks turned round to investigate, but...

A scattering array of red lasers turned the duo into swiss cheese before a gout of flame consumed them. The noise had been close enough to camp that already alarms were being sounded but it was too late.

The Trade Federation was attacking.

------------------------------------

The ork camp was up in flames. After securing the perimeter, and scattering droids throughout the entire forest, there had come the slow draw in of forces as they scoured the Everfree forest inch by inch. While many of these droids would be here for days scouring out every sign of ork fungal life, the main event however would be over shortly. Hyena bombers, the trade federation version of the Y wing bomber in the starwars universe was proving very effective here, as their plasma based explosives were more implosive than explosive, preventing body parts, and thus spores, from being flung into the air, as droid laser fire made short work of the infantry guarding the compound.

While laser fire wasn't enough, the flame thrower armed droids in the mid line of each rank was on clean up duty. No ork body parts were going to be allowed to escape within my watch, as every green skin that died shed spores upon their death that could root itself up miles away if allowed, and tales of orks warbands being repulsed only to decades later pop up again as savage tribals was not on my agenda. Thankfully in the inital attack wave, several scouting parties had been caught out and the ground they treaded similarly treated with a deep amount of fire that would make the ground uninhabitable for decades to come most likely. The reason why, had to do with how the ork genome worked. Grown from spores, the fungal race had an advantage in sheer reproductive might as well as physical poweress, that a single ork snotling could be host to an entire warband in reproduction as their psychic energy known as the waagh molded their conception to what is needed at the time. The fact that multiple different banners had been present had been a worrying concern, but that worry grew less and less as scorched earth tactics began to fully burn into the orkish settlement.

None of them had the chance to flee, not that retreat was a traditional ork concept, and the caves themselves were being rushed through to the various dead ends before being fully purged in order to prevent any unknown emergency passages from being used. As for the resistance itself, while I had cleared out a good portion of psychic weird boys and mek boys from the central camp command structure in the bombing run, there were plenty of orks, snotlings and gretchin to give me trouble alongside the hulking Nobs that had started to wreck a number in melee with crude metal axes that cleaved through droids as if tissue paper. Given the fact that those very same Orks could rip a man in half with their bare hands, I wasn't surprised that the cheap models of B1 battle droids were faring horribly, so I swapped models on them to make it truly one sided. B2 Super battle droids were far harder to kill targets, given their far larger carapace, and the rolly poly droideka were pretty much able to ignore anything outside of close ranged combat due to their shield generators acting much like a rosarius. In melee, commando droids and Magna Guards were giving me an opportunity to train my ability to commit to melee warfare relatively risk free against the orks, but for every one Ork I fell at least ten droids fell as well.

I did snort given the color schemes here preferred black,blue, and red. As Red was the color of speed among orks, and the red lasers of the type of gas the trade federation preferred must of made it harder for them to dodge. Blue was meant to be lucky, and as one ork decided to try and be particularly clever by painting his upper body blue and lower body red to be particularly hard to hit in the torso and extra fast. That particular ork had his legs turned to swiss cheese by laser fire and then bled out faster due to the color scheme. I almost wanted to hand that particular ork a picture of Yoko's painted set of miniatures if I had one. She had decided the optimal way to paint an ork was to make them resemble something out of a mid 1970's fashion show if the sterotype bright color schemes had been hit face first with a layer of soot covering the fronts of their bodies.

As the purges continued, into the night however I found myself wondering if there was more pockets of orks about. Skargor didn't strike me as a dumb individual. Certainly not one to leave just a single camp in the middle of the only wild area in Equestria. I would need to comb the world bit by bit now if I was to safe guard it. Possibly multiple times, and until I could resolve the underlying issues of the world, doing so would be a nightmarish task. My mind reeled at the implications, of what an orkish tactical genius like Skargor could come up with, if his only summoning had him thinking this far in advance.

------------------------------------

The self made and proclaimed ork diety smashed his squig. A decent meal by an ork standard, still kicking and screaming until it died just then, but a waste. He had only one location that he could of placed that camp. The everfree forest was the only place to keep his men both hidden and in a fighting mood to continue growing, and the fact that the Puppet master had found it meant disaster. Any place other than the Everfree forest was asking for trouble in equestria as orks would rebel no matter what their number if they couldn't find a halfway decent fight wherever they were. Their genome prevented them from doing elsewise. The fact that it also meant that he couldn't send more challengers Xanders way also frustrated the ork. He was hoping for a good fight himself, from the trickster of many gimmicks down the line.

Looking to the waste he sighed, tossing a few teef to the nearby gretchin whom served him a tradional orkish drink of fungus beer and squig pie. Decently made, just the right amount of carmalized squig eyes. It did little to improve his mood, however. With his influence gone from that world, both Yoko and Xander were now out of his direct reach. Wiping away the splattered remains of his once living snack, he looked again at the distant shattered planet now a blackened husk of what his final fight with his rival was supposed to have been. It was a shame, that. Further beyond, he grasped the scope of where the fights were still going on, other universes not so lucky nor as interesting as Xanders. Several had super heroes or villains gifted props by the Merchant to fill in as an interesting side show, but none of them held a candle in raw savagery that the ork craved. The sheer amount of them that got stuck in a god damn statue for a thousand years was also staggering, alongside those who tried to make amends with their racist or flat out stupid ponies was also innumerable.

He didn't of course, imply any less of them for the company someone kept wasn't always an indicator of their strength. Even now he was preparing to meet someone who claimed the mantle of an overlord demon. Which should take the actual edge off for a while, but that was the thing. It took just the edge off, the boredom would still be there. Boredom was an Anathema to Ork kind just as much as most people would find suddenly ceasing in the ability to breathe. He needed a fight, a real fight. Someone who could match him blow for blow. He scoffed, as he departed the tavern, pie gone in one swell bite and tankard that would take most warbosses more than one swig in a single gulp.

The trophy room, for to claim it any less would be insulting, was his destination, a magnificent menagerie of both conquests of his wars, and of future fights yet to be claimed in the tokens of displaced. Almost none of these tokens had come to him willingly, but were rather claimed from others. A tempting smile here, and a few kind words there and a door would open that most of the time wouldn't be fully shut until it was too late. Though for the ork it painted a very different picture. A picture of multiverses, of universes yet unspoiled, and yet unfound. Somewhere in that massive glorious mess would be the fight he wanted, and so justly deserved. But since he couldn't find a fight, he had wanted to make one. He recalled the few tokens that the self proclaimed master of puppets had gathered, that stolen look inside his closet. He was new to the scene, not well known. He knew better than most what sort of weaknesses that left displaced. No reputation in the multiverse was a horrid thing by any being of his standard. It was one, however, that could be exploited.

A few friendly words could lead to the conquest of a universe, a few unfriendly ones, could lead to the opposite for someone else. How would he phrase it... The Puppet master had never met the merchant, interestingly, Discord had been the source for his displacement, but how could he use it... A nasty smile grew on the orks face. The merchant had distributed props and kidnapped people from their home universes on a cosmic scale. The puppet master made props, and sold it in exchange for magical items... He could work with that. A small lie here, a rumor there, and the whole damn war of displaced on both sides of light and dark would be hounding for his blood. A finer way to grow his rival he knew not. And all he had to do, was give...

A few fine words.

PreviousChapters Next