• 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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In The Space Of a Moment

I was dead. There wasn't really another thought to it, my final moments, freeing Luna, and fading away. I couldn't feel anything, move anything, or see anything. As far as I was aware, this was oblivion. So why could I think? The sensation felt alien. I could think, clearly, without issue albeit, slightly in a haze. My throat didn't burn, and as I tried to take a breathe in, I did so, but didn't feel the passing of air, or the lack of air passing through me. I couldn't move my arms, or legs, but it was like they didn't exist, rather than being restrained, or failing to hit anything. What else could I describe it but being dead?

I could think... However. That would mean something remained of my mind, but with every religious nut I've ever heard in their grand tales of mythology and religion, the soul was a separate thing from the mind. But then again, I hadn't heard much in depth of religions aside from the main stream ones. That being Christianity, Ancient Greece, the iterations of Dantes inferno, and the various manga versions of afterlives that I had read through. I knew Tartarus existed in the Equis I had been in, but this didn't feel like Tireks prison or a hell scape... Hell (pun intended), I didn't know if I was actually seeing anything. Was my soul and mind blind? I thought about it... Well more concentrated on it, really. The eyes were the windows into the soul, so people had said... I would like to believe that meant that the soul could see, if the idiom made any sense, which it didn't, because I had zero clue if I was even a soul, or just put in some weird sensory deprivation chamber.

I tried biting my tongue, and nothing. Which ruled that out at least.

My thoughts continued down the line of trying to see, and to my surprise, the inky void started to change... With it my other senses started to return as I thought about them too with my discovery. I had no body, but I could sense? That ruled me out of somehow surviving the suffocation and just being a blind idiot in some weird magic. I still felt like an idiot, as what had occurred fully hit me. I had beaten the Elements of Harmony... Shit. Now that I was dead, some bad things must of started happening. How would Twilight and the gang handle all the shit they were supposed to use the elements on? I thought about it, but dismissed it. Knowing my luck, the elements flooded right back into the mane six after I kicked the bucket, maybe even took an upgrade with the magic I had accrued. Those damned things seemed to have a will of their own, after all.

"Not at all, they are in a very large amount of danger at the moment, thanks to both themselves, and you." A Kindly sounding older voice spoke to me. I couldn't place the accent, but it was... warm?

Startled, I tried to get a proper gauge of my surroundings as they slowly came into existence. I was in some sort of shop. Oddly reminding me of the one Discord had first met me in, but far larger and more filled with props of various games and movies than Discords had been. It was like someone had fused a warehouse with a old fashion blacksmith forge, and I felt oddly warm just being here. That didn't explain the voice, however.

"Over here," the warm voice, aged with years directed me, and I found the counter to this store, more befitting of a bar than a warehouse or a forge, but welcoming none the less, behind it was something bright, but my senses had to take a moment to comprehend it... A man, old and wise in appearance, looking like he just stepped out of a forge, for a second job as a merchant. Wearing clothes that would be more fitting to some medieval market street, or perhaps a comicon convention than this immense store.

"Come, sit down a while." He beckoned me over, and I tried to reply, but found that I couldn't, and he softly smiled, "and find your voice. I've been expecting you."

It took me a few moments to figure out how to move, as I had neither legs nor arms. It wasn't until I just gave up and tried forcing it that I did, and I felt out of body more than ever when I did it, settling myself above the seat more than in it. "Seems you're getting the hang of it," the old man encouraged, "Keep at it, the same thing goes for your voice and other actions."

He busied himself with pouring a drink, one for me then himself, as I wondered what the point of it was. As he chuckled, "Spirits for spirits, ah I like the joke, but someone like you looks like they need a good drink after what they just went through."

"I'm... Dead?" I spoke unsteadily, neither with air in lungs that no longer existed, or any other method I could figure out... Like moving, I just did.

"A spot between, luckily." He acknowledged, as he helped me take a drink, the sensation doing nothing for me, as he took a drink himself.

"Are... you God?" I asked.

"With the capital G? No, he and I don't get along." He grinned... or grimaced? Before taking another swig from his glass, "As for the littler g's, counting myself under their number has far different connotations that I dislike. I'm not the sort to be worshipped, you know?"

"I... No?"

"That's the spirit, spirit, though I know what you meant by it." He was all smiles, but I couldn't see under the shadow of his hood, I noted. Just his beard and smile.

This all felt unreal, off balanced, I tried to put some more logic and reasoning into my mind, as I asked, "Then... who are you?"

"Big question that is, most people don't know the philosophical answer to that, but to respond how you meant, people call me a salesman, a vendor, or even The Merchant went they are referring to me with their associates. You may address me like that as well."

"But your na-..." I got the distinct feeling that it was futile to ask, so I stuttered into a silence. For some reason the name felt familiar, but my mind was foggy... Something to do with a friend. This out of body experience was surreal, and it felt like someone had put a haze over my expanded ability to concentrate. I went with the flow of my mind, instead, "Why am I here... where is here?"

"A Merchant must have a shop, after all, and this is where I store my wares when I'm not out selling them." He explained away, and I felt the concern of just what the shop was fly away as well, "As for why you're here, is quite the predicament."

"Why... Is... That?" Why did I feel so sluggish? Like an alert sparrow trapped in a cage of thick goo.

"Because you were supposed to have met me, but instead met a different meddler instead." He snorted, as if offended.

I tried my best, "I'm... Sorry?"

"Not your fault, but that pesky child messing in events he barely understands." His grimace disappeared before smiling again, "But that means you get a chance that many people don't often get, even those who shop with me."

He took my silence as a go ahead, as he gestured to the props behind him, "The option for a brand new start, again. Pick one, and your life will change to how it would of gone had you met me proper. A Brand new world."

My mind thought to the scene of me dying again. Luna... Yoko... Cass... Amber... All those chains... I had to ask, "What about the other world? What will happen to it?"

His grin faded, a bit, "Well. You could choose to go back, but it would be fairly painful, for your immediate future, with the possibility of staying that way in quite the high regards."

"I... Why?" I stuttered, alarm filtering into my voice, even if I had no body to show it.

"Well... your meddler, decided the best course of action for saving your universe from your King of the Wendiegos taking over your currently stateless body, was to break the power into fragments, using you. If you go back, you're facing having your mind fractured until they can get enough of the parts together to reforge your mind back to when it was intact. If they can do it, mind. Even then, there's the problem of your old body as well."

"The... Wendiego... King?" I asked, "But..."

"You absorbed him, aye, thanks to Skargor, another meddler, but it wasn't a full absorption, or did you never wonder why your arm went full white, when all the other sources barely made a stripe of color?"

"Pardon... Language... But... Fuckkkkkkk...." I let out the word and he held back a laugh at my cursing.

"So, I'll tell you what, I don't normally do this... But..." He poured himself another glass, and took a drink from it, "You have a human friend there, Yoko, right? I'll pull her and her universes friends with you, along to the new world if you choose that, so that you don't leave her in that mess and wipe it off the scale. It'll be like it never happened."

I failed to comprehend that. A universe, gone, just like that? All those lives? Gone?

His smile was completely gone, "Ah, you decided against it? Good. Its written all over you that was unacceptable, so tell you what, pick one and when you get yourself together, if, you can get it."

I stared past him now, and I felt like I was everywhere at once, like anything I could think of could be found here...


"No. You couldn't handle that." He interrupted me.

"What?" I asked, somewhat confused.

"You were going to ask a series of questions regarding entities considered gods." He took a sip, quite casually, "Q is beyond your comprehension much as it was for his iterations on Star Trek. The same goes for the fifteen other multiverse threats you're thinking about, though good on you for trying to think of the Watcher from the Green Lantern corps as a work around."

Even more confused, I shook my... being? Head? I had a head? Thinking about it made it not so, and that threw me off, as much as his comment did. He picked up my train of thought for me, "Skargor is someone who worked to where he is to take over other universes, as much as I dislike him for it. He turned the power of the Ork warfare mentality into his own tool, and as such he'd probably beat you up quite easily if you tried to take him on with someone who is preloaded with that strength anyway."

"Can I have a moment?" I asked, and he nodded in turn.

"Take all the time you need, time travels different here, like it flows different in each universe you come across."

I took my time, considering options. Thousands and thousands of props passing me by, but after being a prop builder myself, and building so many of them, I didn't really find any of them to be a good fit. What was it that I wanted, that I didn't have? It took me longer to consider that, before I came out with the result.


He looked over to me, as if no time had passed at all, what must of been hours, a moment for him.

"What sort?" He asked.

"All of it. Cultivation, spell circles, game, media, alchemy, job based; all of it."

He laughed, "I like you. But how will you pay for that? That's a mighty tall order you're asking for."

I paused, as I tried and failed to look at myself, but now I was at least starting to get a hold of it, as I looked towards his blacksmith area.

"I will build you something, in return." I spoke, more meaning it to myself than him.

"Oh? What will you build me?" Even in the shadow of his hood, I could hear a small spark of interest in him, "Something that will entertain me for a moment of eternity?"

"Yes." I said... and it was like a great weight had settled on me.

"You will have, the rest of your moment to build it then. I shall give you what I deem is equivalent to my entertainment that I will enjoy of it." He told me, "This way."

He guided me out of his store, into the void of oblivion, and into another doorway where nothing else existed as well, "The materials you need will come with your thoughts. Your tools are your mind and will... Once you start it will become a lot simpler to understand."

"How do I start?" I asked, turning towards him as he went to leave, but he was already gone...

Leaving me... and the void...


It took, some period of time...

To figure out what he meant, by then, I had hands, once again, and after trial and error... I had gotten started. A moment had to pass before I was done, but time traveled differently here. What a moment was, was relative to ones perception of time, and if a moment of time, as we discussed was for him, or for my Equis, I didn't know. What felt like years of isolation rolled by, decades, or centuries, before I started my first swing- cut -carving, itteration of what I was to build. Decades gone by, before I had even figured out fully what to build to entertain the merchant...

I had started with a fragile material, and was punished for it, having gone back and found my work destroyed by time as I had first built it, Cardstock and other wooden products had a life expectancy that was far too short, for what I was building. I had to redesign and rethink, figure out how to manipulate the space around what I was building to prevent it from aging on me, and later him. It took me hundreds of years to figure out that I could change the dimensional space itself, and how to change it as well to my settings. Then, I took what must of been several dozen years to master the craft of blacksmithing and metal working, without a teacher or guide to hold my hand, and neither masterful enough to just forge it by sheer will, I got to work. Keeping the dimension they were stored in devoid of things that would corrode the metals I worked with, was a pain of itself, and eventually I had enough of what I was building that I had to build a way to shuffle, hold, and distribute it.

What seemed like a cycle of problems started to occur within the first five thousand years of the project. I needed to power the machine, and the theoretical machine known as a Dyson sphere was made to account for all of the energy that was being taken up. A solar charger that consumed a sun for a energy. The fact that I had removed the suns ability to degrade, had caused a paradoxical series of errors, and I had to regulate a dimensional creation/deletion function into a strange program that was more thought than scientifically explained. I lost another thousand years just trying to understand it all, and make it possible, before continuing my project. Eventually, a super computer began to keep track of everything I had made, the billions upon billions of iterations of metal cards that I had built, all for this specific purpose...

I wasn't one to give up, when given the opportunity, and the merchant hadn't come by to say a moment had passed. So when faced with giving my all, I gave my all, the idea simple, in form, but complex in format. As my skills improved, I had to go through at the five hundred million year mark and replace all the rough draft iterations of cards I had made with those of a far higher quality. The cards were done, but I wanted them to be uniform as a set rather than mismatched. But at the end of it all, approaching what must of been a billion years, I was left with designing the outer shell that would hold this... universe sized machine, made to shuffle and distribute cards at one location.

A card case, I decided in the end, with some controls to shuffle and play cards. That was a hell of a lot bigger on the inside, than it was the outside. All in all, as I came out of my... trance. A moment of eternity had passed. I staggered out of the place I had been, aware, far more readily of my legs, and arms than I had been expecting, my body restored from the act of familiarity, than truth of life. The merchant was sitting behind his counter, pouring himself another drink, and I took mine, taking the moments to find my words, and downed it. A strong spirit indeed, I could taste, as I placed it on the table.

He eyed it for a moment, "A Card case?"

"A Taro set for telling stories." I confirmed.

"How many cards?" He asked.

"Computer I used to keep track of it, said somewhere around two point eight five, times ten to the thirteenth, give or take a few billion."

He whistled, "In a standard taro format... that would be..."

I nodded, "A lot of combinations, in just the three card standard array, let alone other arrays."

"Consider yourself overpaid. I'll throw in some extra stuff for a beauty like this. Don't worry about the mess, I'll clean it up." He gingerly picked up the effort of a moment well spent, and peered down the hole where the cards came from, "Well, hell of a science project you got going down there as well, just some minor tweaking, but you've come a long way in that small span of time, hmm?"

"My friends mean a lot to me. Even the ponies." I responded in turn... Not entirely feeling real, either. What must of been a few... billion years, had just flown by like it was nothing. All that experience and isolation just laying in my head like it was nothing but a moments time, "Hey... um... when you said only a moments time will have passed for them, did you mean?"

"Like a snap of the fingers," He confirmed, easing my suspicions and heart, "You won't remember this, nor get your gift until your mind is reunited fully, once you go back. Are you sure you want to go back, rather than start anew?"

"Yes." I said.

He nodded to me, and gestured to the door, "Then, within just a moment of leaving, you shall be there."

I nodded back to him, "Thanks."

"Keep this work ethic up, and you may just make a big splash when you hit the multiverse community properly," He gave me one last grin, as I turned away from him, "I look forward to seeing you again in the future."

I nodded with it, as I opened the door, and just like that...

A moment had passed.

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