• 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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Testing The Ropes

"What?" I asked, my stare was quizzical to the griffin, "I just told you to bug off... Not stick around."

"No can do oh so powerful Puppet Master," she replied in turn, crossing her arms and tilting her head away as though I hadn't just spared her life, "You have my contract, and until it's been paid off your stuck with me."

My quizzical expression became complete deadpan, "And let me guess, if you break contract you lose honor due to some unsaid oath that all mercenaries need a reputation of completing their contracts, and that's something you can't lose?"

She rose an eyebrow, "How did you-"

I resisted the urge to snark, instead internally sighing. This situation was like the most cliche case for a bounty hunter to join a hero in both novels, movies, and games back home. Only this time it was for a villain, who coincidentally happened to be me. So instead, I opted for the mysterious, if only to keep her off balance, "I've seen this happen before, in a place far far away from here, countless times." Technically not a lie, after all another universe was as far as you can be, and I didn't want to bother to remember the whole villain face-heel-turn list of people swapping sides.

"Alright then..." she dragged the two words out, as if not sure what to say to that, "So you visited the kingdom of griffins?"

"Nope. Farther than you will probably ever know." I responded, continuing to set up my workstation, "And further than I wish to explain to someone who just tried to kill me."

"Ah." was that disappointment? I checked in her direction and yep, definitely a frown on her beak.

I dragged a solid gold table out of the dragons hoard that was present in the cave, vaguely wondering where he had acquired such a thing before setting it up as an impromptu crafting space around my other supplies in the cave. The first thing I set up was the generator, and power cords, while digging out a small supply of gems from the ever present mass of treasure. I'd also managed to drag out a few fancy chairs which must of belonged to some sort of unfortunate lord who was now missing a majority of his furniture. Joining the chairs was another pair of tables, some bookshelves, and a heavy metal treasure chest which promptly had its contents emptied so that it could be used as a storage container. It was also hilarious since the key belonging to said chest was still in the lock. It left me the impression of either the dragon somehow having turned said tiny key with his big claws, or having stolen it right after someone had open the chest.

Of course, that was assuming that adult dragons were still like the show, if they were like the anthropomorphic ponies, well. I' wouldn't hate to see a giant thirty to fifty foot tall girl. Even if she was scaley or something. Of course, unless she was angry, in which case I'd have to hope any mask on hand would be able to beat a monster of that size. Shaking my head I resumed setting up my gear, the griffin having dug out a mostly intact rug to lay around her own section of the cave while I manipulated and organized my workstation so that all the tools and supplies were neatly organized on or below the gold table.

However, there was something I didn't recognize within my wooden backpack. For one, it was shaped like a laptop. And on its back was a stylized version of Discord's face, simplified to show each individually colored body part of his head, being the head itself, each horn, his tooth, and his beard. The rest of the face and body was nowhere to be seen and as I opened it, I could spot that it was indeed a laptop. Albeit without any power.So I shoved a diamond into the magical generator and plugged it in, marveling how the gem began to whirl and glow while allowing the laptop to charge for a few seconds before turning it on.

I was met first by the same logo that was on the back of the laptop followed by large words underneath the symbol written in several variants of font barely organized into a legible line reading, "A.O.K. Operating System." which then elaborated with a sudden scrolling system, "Agent Of Knowledge."

I sat down, bringing the laptop closer to me and waited until a login screen presented itself, showing the options of trying to log in as either the system administrator which was the draconequus himself, or as an agent. I clicked on that, and it asked me my name and date of activation. Once inputted it, for the lack of a better word, welcomed me with a loud chime which was followed up by several rapid fire chimes as a program I didn't recognize gained five numbers in rapid succession. This drew the attention of the Griffin, but I ignored her for now, instead removing my mask so that Aku's towering frame wasn't forcing me to huddle to see the screen and clicking on the offending beeping program.

A.O.K. Quest System: Where powers are gained for completing objectives!

Congratulations Puppet Master, you have acquired (5) new Achievements! Keep the good work up! Be sure to check your A.O.K. Computer regularly for regular updates as your journey progresses!

Quest Completed: First Steps: Introduce yourself to the Elements of Harmony.
Rewards: Ability to mask your puppets


Quest Completed: Puppet Discovery: You Discovered that your marionette doll has, well you know.
Rewards: +1 Maximum puppets per Marionette doll controller.


Quest Completed: First Masks: You've used and broken your first mask, Maybe this will help.
Reward: 20% increase in mask power.


Quest Completed: Out With The Old: If it's not great the first time, remake it! You've rebuilt a mask as a better quality, which means it was stronger than the first time.
Reward: Props can now be built!


Quest Completed: Power Play: You've acquired power for the rest of your tools.
Reward: Puppet tutorial unlocked in Programs menu.


I pressed accept on each one and they faded away from the screen, and before my eyes the marionette doll split into three upon the same rack, and a slight glow momentarily overcame my tool kit as something happened to it. I didn't question it much, after all. This was Discord we were talking about. Though how the computer was able to interact with the rest of my kit, was another matter. Closing it out, I noticed there was a few new programs on the desktop, these being the puppet tutorial, and a search bar for quickly finding something.

Of course, now I had to give the griffin a glare, as she was eavesdropping and reading over my shoulder, and a bit taken aback at my normal masked face as it glared, what I imagined, was death flames at her, "You're a very nosy birdy aren't you?" I asked.

She shrugged, "The noise got my attention, can't read it anyway, those aren't any runes I recognize anyway, not equestrian that's for sure."

Huh, but I was pretty sure that they were the same language, I mean, the few instances I've seen the language at work they were in the same one. Did that mean there was an enchantment on this thing so that only the operator could read it or something? That's completely okay with me, that just meant if Twilight got her mitts on it, she'd have a hard time getting anything out of it.

I tapped through to the puppet tutorial program, "What's your name anyway?"

"Who me?" She asked, looking over my tools with the curiosity of a cat in a mouse convention.

I gave her a quizzical glance, "Is there anyone else in the cave?"

She chuckled, "Good point, the name's Amber, Amber Feathershaker"

"Feathershaker?" I smirked, "Sound's like you know how to ruffle some-"

Her death glare shut me up as she replied tensely, "Finish that pun and I'll murder you in your sleep."

I shrugged, "Alright, alright. No need to be tense, no doubt you alright know me as the Puppet Master, or Pm for short."

I reserved the giving of my usual first name to friends, and she was more of an acquaintance at the very most. Her response of, "Whatever Boss." however, also worked.

I dedicated the next few hours of the day to reading up on how my marionette dolls worked. Overall there were about forty pages on the finer details of how the physics worked, and those I would be reviewing over and over across the next few days, What was important however, was that now what I had found on accident when I was fighting against Shining Armor was about to become a lot more... Useful. Of course, I had to check the limits of these at my own time as well. But first, it was time to make the second mask to my collection. That and the first prop. Luckily, however, I knew just the two I had time to make before night fell yet again.

The mask, was going to be a product of need similar to that of Aku in the case that he had been able to shape-shift and absorb a good portion of damage thus far. It only made sense to start working on the next utility that I would need in order to progress with actually having a base, at least within full operational capacity. It might not be perfect but- the idea struck me on who would be the best candidate and it was followed by a wide grin.

I threw a gem into the foam generator and eyed its progress as the machine began to warm up. A few seconds later it began to dispense a large amount of expanding foam onto the table which I began to manipulate the machine into making a rather large semi circular lump in the center of the table. I could spot Amber watching still, wondering what I was doing but I didn't care overly much. Once the machine had done its fill I was left with a rather massive pile of expanding foam, albeitly slightly off color due to the source of its production. Something I attributed to magic over industrial science. The first step was clear, using a larger knife I cut out a large portion of foam in the general shape of my desired mental image's head. The large semi circular sphere losing a lot of its excess bulk that could later be used as material from a prop.

The next step was simple, I began to remove excess mass with an exacto knife, removing more and more excess mass until it began to take shape. I've heard once that the wood carvers desire upon the wood he carved helped it take shape as he worked with it, so too was it that way with foam. Each stroke I could see it coming to life a bit more, each cut and each take away. Before I knew it an hour had passed and it had only felt like seconds, the once blob of foam having been carved down to a rough similarity of the queen of inhumane science experiments. Now was where the power tools came into play. More specifically my Dremel, which came into play in order to smooth out the rougher cuts and give it a smoother texture and more pristine look to the colorless off-white foam. Next came the details which took a combination of both tools and minute details.

My favorite part came next, the painting. Beginning with a white coat, followed by a slight spray of metallic silver spray paint on the majority of the frame. With a dark grey, almost black for the details around the metal looking shell that was given a slightly aged look to it with a metal brush once it dried. The entire thing was almost perfect. The only thing missing, was the eye itself.

"Hey." I spoke up, rousing Amber from her slumber, she had fallen asleep some point during the painting process, and now that she was awake, it was time to ask, "Think you can search out a fist wide circular amber to fit this hole?"

"Yeah, why?" She mumbled, shaking off her nap and stretching lazily.

"Need one to finish this thing,"I told her. Ordinarily I'd use a type of light for this, but I thought the gem would look better for the sake of ascetics, the rest of the eye had been formed out of a small cut portion of EVA foam, heat gunned until it maintained a pipe like shape that fit just right into the helmet.

She nodded and flew off, and I left the project to the side to finish drying off after adding some minute details. With the rest of the foam, I considered the sun and thought about what sort of prop I wanted to make from it. Couldn't be large, and there was no way I'd just make a gun, at least not the traditional kind anyway. After all, I wasn't planning on killing anyone, just wounding.

I dug into my mind, thinking over it. What gear was common of someone who was often taken for a villain? Something that gave them a delicious ironic standing while simultaneously putting fear into the hearts of mortal men? I thought back to my childhood, during the scant months of summer that usually followed between one school year and the next. My parents had often moved, and as a ten year old this was just a few months after their third time moving around, this time in a heavy urban city. I had made a few new friends, though I knew that I'd probably be gone come the new year, but it was mainly because of an interest in a rather popular roleplay that had started up a few years back.

The session had been from the makers of the Warhammer franchise and had been labeled "Dark Heresy." We had all rolled characters back then during school between assignments and studying for two weeks and we had finally come together for our first Inquisitorial session of the summer. Through straws, we had been given the role of dungeon master to Yuko. She was a transfer student of slender build and raven black hair who's father owned a hobby shop and we had all acquired a small figurine or two from our meek allowances. However, through luck, I'd been assigned the role of Inquisitor for the group as the party leader to mix things up a bit.

The first session, I recalled was a rather fun mission of investigating the rumors of orks on planet 'Bob' (Rather uncreative name, but hey we were ten year old children, not grand space architects). Ork's were a problem,because they were green skinned brutish figures who repopulated faster than bunnies and had the rage of beserkers all the time, and once they started spreading, war and decimation soon followed. But the locals were rather tight lipped until the Inquisition arrived and dealt with the situation. Their universal hallmark badge of office granting them access to information and at the same time. It was called a Rosarius, and since we were active roleplayers, meaning that we acted out our roles, the usual badge of the Inquisition had changed frequently among us when we played. Sometimes it was a poker-chip, other times a playing card, and since I was the new player among the group, it was going to be my turn to provide the prop.

I smiled to myself as I remembered what I had done, taking some spare bits of cardboard and foam from my junior crafting kit and having made a crude skull upon a nearly flat shield. Having also used a gummy worm in place of piping to lead from one part of the skull to another and a bit too much black and white paint. It had been one of my favorite nights ever, and my other friends had been suitably impressed. From that point onward it became our badge of the Inquisition to join our fantastic little space marines and imperial guards on their adventures.

Even when I left, I had given the badge to Yuko and she had promised to use it whenever they played the game. To my knowledge she still played to this day, having turned the hobby into a job and almost having taken over her fathers shop. I used to write her letters, and if I ever was in the same city I'd visit her and the guys and another session would often start and last long into the night. She was also my number one customer whenever props were involved.

A slowly growing frown decorated my face as I realized that I would also never see her, or any other members of my friends and family, a cost for having been transported to another dimension. I shook my head, deciding not to dwell on it. What was in the past was in the past, I needed to focus on the present. Now it was time for the more technical aspects of the Rosarie.

The Rosarie itself was an almost miraculous device in that universe to protect its wearer from ranged damage, and an Inquisitor would rarely be caught dead without one. Each one was unique to the Inquisitor who had it, and for them to give their underlings their Rosarie, showed a great deal of trust in the Inquisitor that they had in their servant, as each badge gave access to a massive amount of resources within the Imperium, and the shield generator it boasted was no small wonder either. Able to block a shocking twelve wounds at the same time before overloading, but completely useless in melee combat. At least that's how I knew it.

My hands worked as I thought about it, slowly carving out a similar shield shape out of Foam but leaving most of the other side intact. I'd mount it as a necklace, and since I wanted it to be in one Piece, that meant a foam chain as well. By the time I had worked out a small necklace from the foam, Amber had returned with the jewel I had wanted.

"Thank you, now please put it on the table for now." I said to her, and she did.

"What's that?" she asked, gesturing to my prop as I carved a few final links out of the foam still attached to it, freeing it from the remainder of the mass, and allowing them to shake freely like another light weight chain.

I sighed, as I began to work on carving out the skull, adding far more elaborate details then the one from oh so long ago, "Short answer, protection and memory. Long answer, none of your business."

She sighed, "Eesh. Don't have to be so serious all the time..." My deadpan in her direction made her roll her eyes, "Yes, yes I know. I just tried to kill you, but aren't most people social creatures?"

Now it was my turn to roll my eyes, "Right..." I continued to work, every detail mattered after all. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right, or not at all.

Author's Note:

As of note, the A.O.K. system will be representing only some growth on part of the Puppet Master, how he uses his new found powers on the other hand, is a mystery. Also, they will more than likely be checked on whenever a chapter ends with our Puppet Master having completed something of note and he has actual access to his laptop. As for the next chapter, we have some base building and development between the new minion and probably the time share to the episode directly after Discords defeat. No guarantees that our Puppet Master will be a part of it, however. After all, Twilight pretty much wanted a friendship problem, right?

Also to those who keep suggesting villains, keep in mind, what lessons could said villains teach? And what makes them 'Tragic'. For Example, take Zuko from avatar, hes a banished prince hunting down the avatar in order to gain his honor back. While he may be a great recommendation for his strengths in fire bending, there isn't really any lessons that can be taught to one of the mane six that is relevant to the present. If you can provide an interesting and logical point, I might consider villains you recommend though. Though each villain I introduce into the story will eventually share their portions with a corresponding character that I've determined before hand.

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