• 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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...For The Future Generations...

Among the hundreds of applicants we had gone through for the past three days, I had to thank Luna and Starswirl for aiding in my testing process, as well as Wildfire of the Wonderbolts for taking the time out of her schedule to aid in taking on the Pegasus testing herself with my given list of requirements. While Celestia had tried to argue a spot for Earth ponies to fulfill a spot in my military unit, I had simply lacked the reason to include them, as they were the most military disadvantaged of the three races, which left them fulfilling back-line paperwork roles at best . While I could certainly try to cheese them into functionality by giving them tools and gimmicks, I was trying to build a unit that could deal with all forms of threats without an obvious weak-point. While ponies like Maud and Pinkie Pie may of existed to prove that Earth Ponies had something going for them, the vast majority of them were failed for either not having the administrative capacity I was testing for, or the unique edge of being able to break stone with their bare hooves that ponies like Maud could. All in all, ten or so Earth Ponies of the five hundred had met the administration requirements, while none had came close to either farmers feats of physical strength to even deign an attempt at using them for combat purposes. Further putting to field that something to field that I predicted I would have to deal with some other day.

In the trials, three Changelings had tried their luck only to be caught and thrown to the newly secured dungeons for interrogation by a cheerful Celestia supposedly, and while they made a footnote of the days that came, they each had came as one of the races that were in open recruitment rather than private. Unfortunately, disguises didn't work so well when hit with the harry potter waterfall of 'Is that magic? Stop Working. Now.' From book seven, and the removal of ongoing magical effects also did wonders to freeing up a good one thousand six hundred some odd would be recruits. While I was paranoid of fleeing initially, the removal of chains had apparently gone unnoticed. Either Celestia couldn't see or tell when a chain was removed, or more likely she didn't see them all at the same time, but rather selectively like Starswirl had guessed. He shared my opinion that being on the ground floor when Celestia was around was absolutely nauseating given that there was untold hundreds of thousands, if not millions of them coming out of the heart of the solar monarch. Thank god, that after four days of it, I finally figured out how to turn it off after indiscreetly vomiting into a bathroom toilet on the third day. The fact I could shut it off by forcing magic away from my eyes was a god send after I figured out the trick. On a minor note, I had also figured out how to make my globes of fire that were my eyes expand and contract on purpose as well, so that was a fun day.

The unicorn trials had provided mixed results. With the exception of Ditzy Do, having passed shockingly by being able to see magic as a pegasus, and Prince Blueblood, who took one look around the room before asking directly if there had been renovations as of late (he had memorized the blueprints of the castle apparently, and found an error with our room layout's illusion as a result, proving that he had the capacity to pass through alternate means alongside the standard as he produced an illusion-detection spell)... There had been surprisingly few straightforward cases of ponies being capable of magic that would be required of them. Star Swirl had suggested lowering our standards, but when the standard then would become by being a magic graduate of Celestia's school of gifted unicorns, that had left too few applicants for what we needed, and testing continued. It wasn't until day three, and well over seven hundred applicants tested, did we have the forty unicorns we needed for phase two.

The Pegasus test, was a fair bit simpler, and required culling in the meantime with performance examinations for the best of the best. Wildfire was happy to do this however, as it left her with a rather moderately sized group of newbies to introduce into the Wonderbolt reserves and academy for the next generation of elite fliers out of those I had rejected either due to personality or performance issues. Among them were several other ponies whom would have entered the reserves anyway in Rainbow Dash's future episode about said reserves a year or two from now if my time line was correct.

Finally came the warriors of the past tests, which was primarily a group made up of Luna's old guards, as they were slowly cured of their states of being an underground pigeon bathroom. Lunas old guards had been cured using the petrification curing device known as Gold Needles from final fantasy, having deemed phoenix downs as something that had too much risk to be used any further given the drain, and while they would primarily be given tutelage of all that had transpired, as well as language lessons... I had higher hopes for ponies that had grown in an era of war, than those with a thousand years of false peace. Which I was proven right, given that the first bat-pony I had cured had tossed me over its shoulder in reflex like a sack of flour in what seemed like the bastard cousin of a Judo throw meant for airborne combat. The headache I walked off, was more than worth it. While they were the least in need for physical training, and would be getting their own lessons in catching up in the modern day, a surprising amount of them had also decided to join up after the first few days of their recovery. All in all, within the first five days, forty of the fifty decided to opt in, and the remaining ten all but dominated the ranks of Luna's 'present' time guards. However, this came with its own set of issues.

The Gold Needle cure, as I saw it was a fair bit of a paradox. Petrification, as Starswirl saw it, was a death sentence, or in the event of an immortal, a path to insanity. Yet I highly doubted that these bat ponies were immortals. When I inquired about as much, to both Luna and Starswirl, they had mixed thoughts on the matter. Luna had the thought that some of the older era rituals used during the induction of the threstral guards may of held a clue, since back then blood bindings and mixing of blood was a popular custom, and all of her own guards had taken a mixed drop of some of her Alicorn blood in the oath of service. Which, was, in a way similar to a blood pact young boys might do, by pricking their fingers and pressing them together. While oddly cute, this was debunked by Starswirl saying that it would not of been enough, and that maybe my presence as an agent of Discord could of been a determining factor. This argument went on for the first three nights without going as far as I could tell, anywhere. Even I didn't know how my props exactly worked, since they seemed to violate several casual laws of the reality and eventually we just decided to blame Discord and stop after we made one of the threstrals pass out.

Moving back into topic, the total count at the end of my five day recruiting period before training began proper was fifty unicorns, ten earth ponies, forty pegasai and ten earth ponies alongside the forty threstrals. While their training would defer massively from one another, the first two weeks and last two weeks of training would be joint, with about a month of race. A bit air heavy, but I had no use for what amounted to a cannon fodder soldier. Which lead me to the pressing issue we found ourselves later on the day.

"You want me to smelt armor that isn't made of gold? Have you lost your mind? Let alone the schematics you're putting in front of me indicate you want to make these suits of armor out of scraps?!" yet another smith from Canterlots own Guild of Smiths, asked incredulously.

"For the last time, its a proven type of design, if you'll just listen to what-"

"The cost alone would be astronomical, how do you plan on getting so much metal?!" The goldsmith(As I was starting to expect was the only thing these smiths worked with) named, ironically enough, Coal Venture exclaimed, "You are out of your mind, get out of my smithy!" Without waiting for a response on my end he all but pushed me out the door and locked it. Given that was the third smith today, numbering twelve total, I was starting to get frustrated.

Celestia had assigned me with an escort to oversee recruitment matters on all things, so I couldn't have just busted down the door and go full villain monologue on the dolt, but the lack of success was starting to get irritating. Even in disguise with the Aku mask imitating the last time I did a shopping trick, the looks being cast my way was starting to get irksome. I needed some manner of convincing these smiths to give me some aid, as I wasn't about to go diving nose deep into proper blacksmithing blind. As we called it a day again, I instead focused on more designs for making the team I was putting together work to the best of its abilities.

Weapons were being redesigned from the ground up, after discussing at length the spells Starswirl himself could teach, the sheer volume of fuel, or mana, he had to work with was unusual. To most of the Unicorns in the group save three, at most he could teach them a few basic combat spells, which while could work, would rapidly drain away resources as they were cast. The Manifesting school of magic was a particularly costly branch of magic, save being a Draconequus or Alicorn as unicorns were more wired to directly manipulating things that already existed as a variable than creating new variables like Discord or I did. While that was a worrying tidbit to my own biology. What it did mean was that spells that altered an existing object, like telekinesis lifting an object, or a combat laser being a spell by heating up air, were far more easier to cast on a unicorn than drawing out fire from an 'extraplanar world of fire' to hurl it at people or making an arcane construct out of light to stab someone with. While basic in premise, it did let me theory craft into the night with the foremost combative magical expert of over a thousand years save Celestia, and in the end we did draw up another design together for Unicorns and talked the basics of enchanting to an elaborate degree as well.

Enchanting was a different creature altogether, originally discovered by Diamond Dogs in conjunction with Zebras, the act of bestowing an enchantment was also in the same art as bestowing a ward with permanence. The main difference between Wards and Enchantments were that the manners for Wards were external, and usually locked in place by the requirements to craft them, as such a one had been used to seal away Grogars Bell when Starswirl explained, Enchantments were internal magical effects that could be transported on a creatures person. However, while enchantments were portable, wards could carry far more power, at a cost of waste, known as 'The Stars Due'.

The Stars Due was an effect where magic became concentrated to such a degree in one spot or effect that it would begin to bleed out of the enchantment in a harmful way as magical waste turned malicious onto whatever it was being contained on. The Alicorn Amulet, while a powerful artifact that bolstered a unicorns magical powers considerably, was affected by the Stars Due by the curse it afflicted with egomaniac tendencies of the wearer becoming far more prominent. Another Example would be the Book Of Wealth, as Starswirl called it, a sealed away ancient book detailing a spell that could give the user the ability to create whatever they desired, but similarly, the power corrupted the user to gradual insanity unless they were released from its hold. While such items were powerful, they always came at a high mental, and sometimes, physical cost. It was the reason the current guard armor didn't negate the weight entirely, or bolster them into unstoppable super soldiers even if the gem would get burned out after a few minutes.

It took a while, but eventually we agreed on a new set of augments, by comparing the weight of the orkish metal to that of gold by mass to weight ratios, we could conclude that while far lighter(like most fantasy metals are for some reason) than even steel, the current guard armor enchantments would be replaced from hard weight reduction to light weight reduction, and tailored augments for the race wearing the armor sets. While Unicorns would get mildly bolstered magical efficiency and power, alongside mild weight reduction and increased carrying capacity to what we had planned, the fliers would maintain about half instead of a quarter of the current jewels weight reduction for faster flying, and get some augments to strength and drag reduction to augment the fighting idea we had placed up in place of the magical bonuses.

Weather manipulation was negated as a combat option, as I had inquired with Wildfire to the use of weather as a combat tactic and learned it required too much to already be present in the field in the form of constantly cloudy skies to be effectively used, unless I wanted to have a structure swamped in water by moving personal thunderclouds everywhere on every patrol. Instead the weapon I had in mind for the Pegasai was probably something that wouldn't of been possible without both my knowledge of video gaming, and Starswirls potential genius. But that wouldn't come to anything without a damned smith willing to do their job.

After all our planning, we also made a uniform for the Earth ponies, mainly stamina and mind sharpening enchantments, as well as a light restoration effect to ease aches and pains of non-stop writing for several hours. Given the fact that their uniform was an altering either office military fatigue hybrid, or a straight up business suit, the stylized military clasp didn't really require a weight reduction spell at all. While the clasp was refitted to not being such a shoddy piece of artwork that let me pry the jewel free, the jewel was pumped up to be an office workers dream.

After I retired that night spent yet again with Luna, as was now becoming part of my schedule, I was awoken before the noon bell by something entirely unexpected. The sound of trumpets, the flapping of wings breaking apart the cloud layer and the beat of drums, as my puppets caught and transferred sound from the court yard. Groggily, I awoke, dragging myself out of the lush bed and in yet another set of freshly made pajamas a few sizes too large for me. One of my puppets fetched tea for me as I returned my stuff once again from the void of the cards, and as the procession of noise approached, I got my curious eyes on the source of the noise.


Many and flocked, organized like a parade army, bedecked in jealously inducing steel half plate armor, crossbows on their back and scimitars of steel blades embroidered with gold on their hips, a pair of viking esque bone horns blew an ancient siren call of viking warfare. A subtle reminder, that, yes, they were a carnivorous species in a world that most herbivores were sentient. Their armor and helmets looked borrowed, from the brief era of when Medieval period of the Danelaw. Cloaks of complex woven fabric with the furs of small game woven into the hem further emphasized their culture alongside the complex looking wooden board shields that somehow carried a crossbow embedded into its underside at two different points around the wrist.

Similar to my mercenary companion Amber, they carried mounted hand crossbows between their lower back and sides within the cloak, bringing their total up to five projectiles before needing a reload, attached behind their scimitars in a manner that would make it difficult to lean back in a seat, Barely noticeable due to the cloak that kept itself between their wings. On each of their greaves they carried a flapped quarrel of crossbow bolts, with another secure quiver on their right shoulder which was built into their only shoulder pad, as the other was reserved entirely for the cloaks clasp which I immediately identified as the Griffons version of an enchantment jewel. It held together the picture that these were essentially the primarily skirmisher of the Griffon force landing in the plaza, whoever they were escorting in descending by a small air transport equivalent of a fancy carriage fused with airship.

It held a number of interesting implications, considering by this standard, the Griffons were a primarily air force with ranged projectiles, any ground based race would be effectively doomed when fighting them. But their tactics were likely made with the Pegasus in mind, considering their war with Commander Hurricane must have had one hell of an impact on their military formative years. But as the air-carriage, as I was deeming it, landed. A small griffon boy dressed like some bastard child between a squire and a Karl- Was that Gallus? It was! The blue boy looked extremely out of place between these griffons, whom I recognized upon closer inspection were all at least between the ages of forty to sixty as far as I could tell. He held up a scroll as shakily as a kid giving their first presentation as the carriage doors open and announced to the openning throne room doors, "The Kingdom Of Griffonstone is proud to announce the arrival of her Highness..." I took a sip of tea, which I would sorely regret as the taste would go into my nose in just a second later as Gallus announced,

"Her Highness, Princess Amber Von Gestochen Scharf of House Feathershaker, Taker of the Old Crown, Boltmaster, and Conqueror Of The Abysmal Abyss!"

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