• Member Since 5th May, 2013
  • offline last seen September 1st

JoeShogun


T

Sometimes it's fun to play the damsel in distress. Princess Celestia knows this better than most. Usually it works out fine. Really, she could have escaped at any time, but Twilight and her friends have been so effective in the past that this time, Celestia may have let things get out of hoof. It was all fun and games until she got unceremoniously tossed into Tartarus. Even then, it wouldn't have been so bad; she's a goddess, after all. But alas, Tartarus is not Equestria, and Celestia is not all she could be when trapped there. Even worse, it appears that she didn't get thrown into The Pit alone.
Now, a mostly-mortal Celestia and her faithful student must traverse the wilds of Tartarus, the fabled prison of all the things that were deemed too monstrous, too disturbing, too outright dangerous for world they know. Surely an exit will present itself...

Totally rockin' cover art by Cold in Gardez.

Chapters (29)
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Comments ( 372 )

I like where this is going so far. Just skimmed through it at first but planning to re-read it. It's odd how the series portrays Celesita as weak and helpless half the time when she's the embodiment of the sun. What is she like when she doesn't have her powers? How will she survive Tartarus? What's more, how will Twilight?

6374952
Everything about " the embodiment of the sun", or "a goddess", and stuff like that, is created by the fans. The show has never stated or implied her to be more than just a powerful pony who is good at moving the sun around (and given that it's obviously not like our sun, we don't even know how impressive that is).

Damn! That was intense!

I love the world building here. Little annoyed you used Earth instead of Equus, but that's my only complaint. Still, I wonder...

Can't wait for more!

6374952 I'm not a Celestia fan, but she is not weak. It's just that in every fight she is in a villain, that villain had to be completely over powered.The changeling queen and teirk, were sponge for magic and could dish out what she had hit them with. Discord, lord of chaos, good luck beating him.

6375033
Thanks! Hopefully it'll get written in something approaching a reasonable amount of time.
Do they call the world Equus? I guess I just assumed it was Earth, what with the earth ponies. Could be I made that up...

Celestia’s thought process is great, especially the "fake it until you can make it" bit.

Oh Twilight, I know you just want to help but you kinda messed it up this time.
Part of the blame goes to Celestia though, if she didn't act the part so well so often she probably would have been able to prevent herself from getting banished.

Celestia: "Do not worry Twilight, for I will protect you!" *Is the first thing to almost kill her student.* "Opps, my bad."

The rules of gun safety apply to magic as well, always be sure you know what is behind your target. And never point your horn at something you don't intend to use it on.

aback, as she Celestia

Need to lose that "she" from this sentence.

Everyone loves a good horror story.
But only when you're not one of the protagonists.

Being weirded out be being looked at like a side of beef by a slab of beef is indeed the correct response Twilight.

And yep, something tried to eat them before they could get something to eat themselves.

Alao, this chapter doesn't seem to match up with the previous one. But I'm guessing there was something messing with Twilight's perception in the previous chapter. The danger of switching point of view without it being clear from the start that is what is happening.

6377605 Equus is the accepted named of the planet the ponies live on. Equestria is one of its nations.

6377841 I've seen 'Earth' used a lot too. Occasionally 'Avalon'.

Very nicely done so far! My only complaint is Useless Twilight. I realize she's out of her element here, and faced with inexplicable behavior from Celestia, but at some point it stretches. We've seen her in combat with Tatzlwurm, Bugbear, hundreds of changelings, and more (especially if you read the comics), we've seen her deal with overwhelming threats without violence (Ursa Minor), and she's faced world-ending eldritch abominations more times than she has hooves to count them on. She's even had spiders crawling all over her *. She doesn't have to be Xena but she'd have been mincemeat in S1E01 if she didn't have at least a little spine in her. She lowered her horn against a charging Cretes but teleported away and hid in terror from the gorewolves. Then again, she's regressed back into Obey Celestia mode, and Celestia told her to run, so I suppose it's justified. But Celestia told her to run and hide from Tirek too, and that didn't turn out so well. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse of Slightly More Resolute Twilight in coming chapters.

Also, I added this to a few more groups in hopes of getting it some more exposure.

And you're teasing my Twilestia-shipping heart with Twilight calling Celestia's fire-form beautiful, admiring her legs, and lines like Cretes':

“Ah, I get it. You and junior here got a thing goin’ on,” he said with a note of bitterness.

Let's hope that makes a reappearance too!

* The Star Spiders from Castle Mane-ia. Speaking of which, Dreamspinners are nice, but why reinvent the wheel when we already had a large friendly-but-scary-looking spider species in the show? Even the colors are close. Maybe at least drop a reference to how similar Screamers look to Star Spiders?

6377841 6377605
Equus is a common fanon name of the planet, though not canon AFAIK. "Earth" is fine but can sound a little jarring when it's mixed with pony-fied names. Of course, Tartarus is an Earth name used unmodified in the show, so in this story's case it fits.

I concur with spellbinder. Celestia almost killed the one pony she was trying to protect. I think Twilight should be more afraid of her than anything else in Tartarus.

Hell is a living world.

And I'm caught up. Celestia is far cooler here (metaphorically speaking) than she is showed to be in the series. I like how she jus plays the damsel in order to throw her enemies off. Then again, if you were immortal and nigh indestructible, feigning weakness just to get kicks might be a good way to pass the time.

I think Twilight can do more. She's not as helpless as she seems and would like to see her put those princess powers to work. I wonder how the other ponies would react to her situation? If the strongest member of the Mane 6 can't take on Tartarus, they'd have been gorehound meat a long time ago. Speaking of which, I really like that name: gorehound.

6385529
You don't say...

Cretes is actually based on on something else, but I am literally reading that right now. It is amazing. Do you think he'll show up again later?

6381389
I'm concerned about Twilight too. Give your girl a little time. And thanks for the group adds, I appreciate that.

oh celestia you are fucked the white girl is always the first to go if there are no male leads in horror storys

Ooh, nice opening! I've been re-binging on Iain M. Banks' Culture books, and Celestia here is weirdly reminiscent of one of the Minds in them. Especially the part where she's ultimately backed-up by the Sun and State, so even if she perishes in Tartarus, she will be brought back.

Welp, seeing Celestia demolish those gorehounds is probably the most traumatizing thing in Twilight's life. She's had her share of adventures and danger, but not this kind of ruthless, vicious, to-the-death fighting with magic and melee.

We don't NEARLY get enough Celestia adventure stories. It is so nice to see her getting to strut her stuff for once, without having to be constrained! Excellent work.

Oh dear, I think Twilight might have gone A Bit Funny. Despite all she's done, you get the impression she's never really seen how bad things (and creatures) can get. Which speaks volumes for the world Celestia has managed to create...

I love the way this started out.I just got one question, can Celestia do all her spells without the sun?

6377799
"Being weirded out by being looked at like a side of beef by a slab of beef is indeed the correct response Twilight."
Hah! Nice!

Anyway, some of these chapters were written at different times, so I'll take a look and rejigger thing s to make sure they work together.

6381389
Also, You're right. I forgot about the star spiders. Edits shall occur soon.

6401959
Good questions. All of them.

6410798
Heh heh heh. Glad to see someone else knows that one.

6416359

Anyway, some of these chapters were written at different times, so I'll take a look and rejigger thing s to make sure they work together.

Ah, yes, I've been there as well. You have this great idea for Chapter Six, but Four and Five haven't been written yet. So you still do Six anyways thinking "The story can't change that much in two chapters, right?" and then, well, Five changes the game and Six doesn't work out as well as it would have before so you need to redo it... .

6410798 6416383
If that was one of the rules then I don't think Celestia would have even mentioned finding something for them to eat. Considering she's being super paranoid about everything and all.
Let's just hope that when they do finally get to the exit Celestia doesn't look back to make sure Twilight is behind her... .

The rivers of Tartarus are extremely powerful and not to be trifiled with. Glad to see Twilight found a non-lethal way to deal with the snake. It's not what I, or any other human I know would do, but she isn't a human. She's a sweet pony princess who's brilliant.

Can't help but wonder how sentient Tartarus is here. In many of the stories, Tartarus is like a giant organism. Being inside it is like being inside a human. The human knows vaguely where you are, and will try to exterminate or expel you. You can't beat it, but maybe you can hurt it.

Love the chapter!

6532876
Glad you liked it! And thanks for reminding me to put up the very short chapter that comes before it. Not sure how I forgot...

I'm personally taking credit for this. :D

Things aren't looking too good for Twilight. Tartarus seems like an especially bad place for someone as prone to fretting and second thoughts as her. And if I've understood the metaphysics here correctly, if something happens to Celestia while they're separated, she will reform in Equestria with no memory of what happened during her time in Tartarus, leaving Twilight in an even worse bind...

For a moment, I thought the little piles of dust were the "essential salts" of poor souls trapped there before, and the appearance of the snake didn't entirely dismiss that idea!

A few fixes: there are a couple of sentences, "she pondered" and "Twilight thought" that are mistakenly italicized in the middle of Twi's thoughts, and the italics are broken at "hissed furiously, as though she'd".

6533057
This is what happens when you get into italics kids. So take my advice. Stay the Hell away from italics! Wait...shit!
Also, thanks. I need a friggin' editor.

A few errors here and there, but I'll overlook them. I was kind of concerned when Twilight drank from that stream. If the living consume anything from the land of the dead then they are forever tied to it, or so the legend goes. Persephone, for example, ate three seeds which is why of three months of the year she had to remain in Hades. Twilight may be forever screwing herself with that one mistake.

Hell is the ultimate dungeon.

Glad to see Twilight's keeping her wits about her. I was worried she'd be the one who'd need rescuing.

Oh! Twilight meets the plant Yothga draining a changeling queen, or something vaguely like that. Good thing she failed to pull it from the ground. To quote Pelias, "Yothga's roots are set in hell."

And the singing thing... something like a gelatinous cube comes to mind, only nastier.

And finally, now we know why Zecora is unconcerned with manticores!

6534621
Nice! I mean, yeah, I'd like to pretend Yothga was my idea, but it's pretty cool to see that someone else caught that reference. As to the "changeling queen"...well, we'll see what happens there.
And thanks for reading, by the way.

Yothga huh? Cool. This story is getting me more and more interested in Greek mythology. Almost as much as the Percy Jackson series.

For my two bits, the two twisted horns remind me of a certain fluffy ponies sister. An abomination born of black crystal... And any further knowledge will have to come from the Dead Space wiki. Never played myself. Making me hope for a pink cameo though!

The singer, it's obviously a successful carnivorous plant. I'm going to try to figure out what it is for a while. Hope poor Twilight doesn't get stuck in that stream! Paralyzed, and stuck in one of the four rivers... Well death is one of the more pleasant things Tartarus has to offer.

BTW, You put that Twilight's arms had started to sting near the end. I didn't know ponies HAD arms!

I too thought the piles of dust were former people, no real telling.
Let's see how far she can get before Tartarus really starts messing with her.

Twilight running a hoof through the dust-pile on the bed, Twilight discovered a simple jug.

This sentence is grammatically akward, with "Twlight" being used twice like it us. I'd say remove the first instance.

My first thought when the "pony" under the plant was described was "sucubus" instead of "changeling". Curious as to who and what she really is.

Twilight really needs to work on her hero complex, if she knows horror stories she should know better than that. Maybe this flesh beast will help drive that lesson home.
Being polite is a good idea, but she really should just leave things well enough alone until she meets back up with Celestia.

The words rang hollow as the creature talked forward.

"stalked"

They scared of things that rhyme!

"They're"

obscure trivia will help you rhyme your past a big, scary manticore.

"your way past"
So, is this why Zecora always speaks in rhyme?

Its twisted grin suddenly filled seemed full of malice.

Remove the "filled".

6556256
Argleblargle! I have got to find an editor.
Thanks.
6541240
It turns out the forelegs are called arms, regardless of species, but thanks. :twilightsmile:
As to the various rivers, yeah....Those are worth worrying about.

6565453

I have got to find an editor.

As long as the chapter sizes stay around the same as they have been so far I could probably pre-read them for you the day you have them ready to be pre-read, maybe a day or so lead time before posting.

I just love how intense this is. Keep it up!

There's many types of horror stories with many types of antagonists but one of my favorite and least done is when the the victim doesn't fight for there survival but there very soul or mind. (Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) An with the ending this chapter the Twilight that went into Tartarus might never make it out even if she does survive.

Yep. This is Tartarus.

I concur with Colton and spellbinder.

Is it weird that I feel for poor Bait: the runt of the clan, sent out from the wights' lair as, well, bait? (I like the wights' design, or at least how I see it in my mind's eye.) The rest of them? Not so much.

Also, poor Twi. This is going to be rather traumatic, even though she has excellent reason to fight and kill, here. Truly, Tartarus is a nasty place.

“I didn’t meant to scare you!”

mean

And then they charged soft, fleshy things before them.

charged the soft, fleshy things

It occurred belatedly to Twilight that she maybe shouldn’t just be telling ponies about that.

Well it's a good thing you're not telling a pony then, you're telling a wight.
Stop being speciesist Twilight! Geeze!

A moment of sublime terror flew through Twilight as she realized she might have just killed him.

Twilight, honey, I'm going to tell you something a very friendly and helpful flower once told me.
"Down here, it's kill or be killed!" - Flowey

Both hit home and it hurt.

I'm sure Celestia has used her wings in combat more often and probably magically strengthens them. And I really hope you didn't break your wings, because it seems flight is one of your strengths down here. At least until you go up against the giant killer bats.

Was this what they meant when they talked about one’s life flashing before her eyes?

Twilight threw herself mercilessly back into reality, where everything was pain and misery. She was dying, her senses giving way one by one, but her magic was still there for her. She reached out, desperately seeking something, anything she could use.

This repeats twice.

I have to kill him, she realized. I have to! If I don’t… she staggered bonelessly away. He’ll come for me. They all will. They’ll wait till I’m asleep! They’ll trick me into trusting them again.

They’re monsters! I have to! She grabbed an appropriately heavy stone in what was left of her magic. She turned back to the centaur.

It’s not my fault! I tried! I have to kill them!

I have to

Yes Twilight, give into rationalized homicide. Let the anger and fear flow through you, form it into a weapon to strike at all who would dare hurt you. Those who would dare pretend to be your friend only to lure you into a trap. Don't worry, the first kill is always the hardest one, it'll get easier in time. So much easier... .
It is at this point she'd go from "self defense" to "murder". Killing someone in retaliation for them trying to kill you is "justifiable force", but as soon as they pose no danger to you it is no longer self defense.

Eyes wide and breath short, Twilight raised the stone into the air, and…

Part of me wants you to make Twilight into a killer, as that'll make her chances of survival easier. Her pulling her punches and worrying about killing things is going to cause her a lot of physical suffering in this place.
I can understand this with things like the wights which are demonstrably sapient but for the "shrimp" who, while they can obviously communicate with each other, showed no signs of being more than beasts it's not really worth it. I also understand a "sanctity of all life" sort of idealism but there is a time for ideals and there is a time for practicality and this time isn't the former.

Another part of me wants her to just drop the rock off the the side, not from magical exhaustion and not from passing out but because once she calms down she realizes that she's better than everything else down here. That she can be better and doesn't have to lower herself to their level. It'll make her physically suffer more in the end I'm sure, but she won't suffer as badly morally.

What I don't want to happen is someone else take that choice away from her. All too often you see a character in this type of situation and one of their friends speaks up and that is what reminds them they don't have to kill or before they can really make the choice they pass out from exhaustion. Let her make her choice, either to become a killer or to not, then have someone else say something or she pass out.
If any of the wights die that's secondary, collateral of fighting for your own life. There is killing someone in self defense, which undoubtedly will still mentally and emotionally and morally scare someone, but the act of willfully choosing to kill someone whom is helpless to stop you has a much bigger one. Even if they tried to kill you before it's a choice and once made can never be undone.

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