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billymorph


Hey all, I'm billymorph, a semi-professional writer, self-published author and full-time pony fan. If you enjoy my work, please support me on Patreon!

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With only a broken wagon, seventeen bits, and a shattered reputation to her name it seemed that the world could not grind The Great and Powerful Trixie down any further. When an old friend offered Trixie the opportunity to start again, with a heavy bag of bits to help her back on her hooves, she grudgingly accepted. All that was required was a little magical assistance; no schemes, no cursed amulets, no risk of getting banished to the moon.

They never told her the ritual was to summon the Nightmare back to Equestria. Now, as the Nightmare’s new host, all that stands between Equestria and eternal darkness is the determination of Trixie Lulamoon, a mare who already lost everything for the sake of power. In her quest to maybe save the world, and certainly save herself, Trixie will explore the depth to which power can corrupt and the lengths ponies will go to possess it. It’s that, or break on life’s wheel.


With thanks to my pre-readers Luna-tic Scientist, Lord of Dorkness and JCatt. And special thanks to viwrastupr for the awesome cover.


This story is supported by Patreon, if you enjoyed reading Broken on the Wheel, please consider donating.

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 53 )

For the record, I'm still extremely impressed with how you handled Trixie's hubris.

The whole story could have been avoided if she'd just thrown that audition or ignored that old 'friend' of hers, but Trixie is so starved for recognition that neither even occurs to her.

And the best bit? She's not outright wrong that shes been wronged, either.

She tried to measure up against the protege of a sun goddess, a mare that later went on to ascend herself, and Trixie lost everything for it. Her efforts barely even recognized long enough for her to get an official spanking from Celesia, and the 'mercy' of going back to her near ruined life.

Being bitter and messed up after that? Its outright understandable why Trixie thinks she deserves better, and it makes her very sympathetic even when she screws up so epically as in this chapter.

From this. from :01 to 1:00

Haven't you pressed me enough.
Just keep your hooves at your side,and dazzle some other razzle.
For life's ground me to nothings.

A diarchy's mean machine, destroyed who I have been.
Took my life and my virtues, and left me sitting before you.

I was dev-as-sta-ted..

And I'm trying though I'm starting to sweat.
And I don't know how much more till I break.

What a life now!
Mocked, scorned and hated!
This is all I can take!
This is how trixie breaks!
No real choice now
No place else to go
Hope the shadows deep enough.
This is how Trixie breaks!

Part 2!

Haven't you been gone for a spell?
Away from old Niegh orleans?
Crime so thick it chokes flies.
Now could you please be more careful?

I remember when you dared to defy, stealing from me looking, right at your eye.
Wont you try and keep your hooves clean for me?
Desk doesn't suit me...

There's not sorry, and nothing to mistake.
You've been running since my embrace...

You'll see scepter soon.
Be respectful now.
Mind your tongue as well.
Or it will be your last mistake.

A little test see, prove that veracity.
Show me that trixie is, able to a feat partake.

This is how Trixie breaks!

You just sought me out as another mark
You're gonna pay! Trixie won't take this, insult lying down!

You sold me long before I was here.
Gonna crush! You will break! For daring insult my grand majesty!

The only thing same is your con.
I didn't mean.. Are you going? Just leave trixie a...

Well, this is it now.
No sounds of a death knell.
Am I lucid or wide awake?
In the dark, my mind shakes.
The ritual is ready now
Wall of void coming down.
The calls of power partake
The magics of our race awake!

What a life now!
Mocked, scorned and hated!
This is all I can take!
This is how trixie breaks!
No real choice now
No place else to go
Know the void is deep enough.
This is how Trixie breaks!

This is the shadow waked!

This is how the void quakes!

Oh light take me.
Oh lights kill me..
Can't take it no more...

Is what a nightmare is?
Is this how a nightmare lives?
Is this one of life's mistakes?
For its how trixie breaks...

(this took me about four freaking hours to get right, rugh, that refrain is a jerk to do right at this speed. But you sparked my muse, the first time anyone had in about a year to create. So thank ya.)

I assume Celestia is ignorant of the side effects of the Alicorn Amulet because letting Trixie wander around with unstable magic and reduced emotional control is really irresponsible.

Although while she may not know the Alicorn Amulet specifically she has to had some serious experience with other dark magic artifacts in the past. Enough experience that anypony exposed to one getting a thorough medical and magical diagnostic work up would logically be standard operating procedure. Maybe Trixie never got angry enough during the tests for anything to register but you would also think testing a subject under different mental and emotional states would be a no-brainer.

Yay, it's Empress Moon!

I must say, though, that this is an absolutely excellent story. It has excellent characters, plot, and overall writing, and it's just soooooo goooooooood; write lots more chapters, please. This is the kind of story the fires of my soul run off of.

As a side note, I like how you gave Trixie her due; the fact that she's still stained by the Amulet, but has gained a measure of extra power from it, adds a delicious dimension to her (admittedly already pretty complex) character.

Enjoying this greatly !

what could possibly go wrong?

Also: "I have pulling"
been pulling

I said nothing. Did it say something about my friends that my enemies had been happier to hear of my success?

This line is simply fantastic. I am loving your take on Neigh Orleans, the cast of characters do a great job of making the setting shine.

By Celestia I want more of this, the writing simply flows, the words slip by, dancing with my imagination. This is seamless storytelling. Thank you.

P.S. The recurring wheel imagery is perhaps my favorite bit, best use of a throwaway show gag I've seen in ages.

P.P.S: Just glanced at the character tags, now I'm really excited

Oh wow, this is going to all hell already. Very strong start you've got there. I hope you won't leave us hanging with that cliffhanger for too long, that's the kind of scene that really needs its momentum.

And then Luna smacked them for being annoying.

If thou dost not see fit to continue this story soon, thou shalt discover that thou are not the only with a ritual to summon Nightmare Moon. So, proceed, unless thou wishes to suffer from THE PLOT BUNNY THAT NEVER ENDS.

PS: Yes, it is a terrible joke. My point stands.

Wow, Scepter is really stupid.

I'm still having some trouble seeing Nightmare as menacing rather than corny, but I suppose it's at least getting in that direction.

6546445 I think we may have found our story's Admiral Ozzel.

6546445
6546691

Sufficient ambition and arrogance is often the most potent blinders a mind may have. 'I am the best, of course I shall prevail!'

Pride goes before fall. Trite, but true.

Not that Trixie has been a paragon of wisdom herself so far. It takes a special, almost strangely inspiring level of casual arrogance to scream out that you're nobody's pawn at the cult meeting of the local goddess of darkness and nightmares. The same one you basically ritually swore yourself to the night before. :facehoof:

Speaking of, I do think this song sums up the chapter better. IMO so far, at least.

I'll freely admit my interpretation of why it fits might be off, though. We'll just have to wait and see. :derpytongue2:

6546713 Maybe normally, but Specter doesn't seem like an idiot. I mean look at what he's done so far, and set all this up.

Yet he thinks harming Trixie, who the Nightmare willingly chose to be her host, aka Attacking the Nightmare Itself too, is going to make the Nightmare choose him as a host, or not do something far worse than killing him. People on the good side, I can understand them thinking Death is the end, because for them it usually is. But those in the dark and shadows like Specter? They should know intimately that there are worse things than Death. And a goddess, even behind many layers of Chains and Binds, can punish very very harshly.

Oddly enough, no song i can consider fits this one. Not even the more unique classics. A shame, and something about this one sits askew. Like a panel misaligned.

6546445 6546691 6546713 6547262

Wow, Scepter is really stupid.

You guys might also want to consider that Nightmare has done quite a good job at driving Scepter into a frenzy. And while Trixie may be incapeable of keeping her mouth shut, Nightmare is far more measured and deliberate with her provocations. There's a lot she could have done to force Scepter to back down or at least keep him in check but she didn't, if anything she just made Blade even more suspicous.

6546466 Give her time, she's only killed three ponies so far, she's still warming up. :trollestia:

6547307 Aw that's a shame, don't worry, there's pleanty more story still to go.

6550033
I think it's the talking, honestly. A villain who talks has something to prove. A devil talks to tempt, but Nightmare Moon doesn't even tempt - she just talks to assert her dominance. That implies he doesn't have it already or at least isn't sure of it, which just makes her... less, I suppose. What you see is what you get, not something that you can only guess at. It makes her more human, I suppose, for lack of a better word, and certainly more relatable - but also not quite larger than life anymore in the sense that, say, Sauron is. Dark Gods are above petty concerns like compensating for a sense of insecurity.

6550033 the closest to inspiration was Black Unicorn by heather alexander, but it just didn't fit. Same for Enter the Haggis's The Apothecary. Just not quite, it needs a harsh mix of rock or metal/mithril, and a softer tone as well.

6550099 Yoy raise a good point, Nightmare is far more of a talking villain than a force of nature though I'd argue she isn't just strutting. She's cruel and capricious, but has defintely started on her long term plan which is not going to be as simple as just getting Trixie to sign up to team Eternal Darkness. We've got another chapter until everything is on the table, so Nightmare's goals are a little hazy at this point, but she should become quite a bit more sinsiter as her influence over Trixie grows and her aims become clearer.

6550155 Have you tried any Nightwish? I've been using that a lot to get me in the right frame for writing this.

6550168
I don't doubt it. I'm really just thinking out loud here, so please don't feel bothered if it doesn't seem relevant or applicable to you - it's just my perspective on the kind of villain she is. The thing about Nightmare Moon, and really most of the villains in this show, is that they always seemed very personally relatable to me. They have motivations that I can not only understand, but see the underlying reason for. Some stories play Nightmare Moon as simply insane, but she really isn't. I've met people who genuinely lost all contact with reality, and she isn't that. Cruelty and caprice are neither hard nor particularly rare - I might say as much about myself sometimes. Lord of Dorkness would probably kick me for this, but I also like to read Discord in particular as something more like a Buddha of Nonsense. He always feels more like he's trying to teach, in a way, rather than really harm.

There are only very few exceptions to this. Sombra basically has no personality and can't even really be talked about, for example. On the whole, though, it results in what I think is the reason there are so many "redemption" or "reformation" fics on this site, though: is is hard to think of them as anything but people. A person can be scary, terrifying even, but they can't stop being a person. Once that basic sense of equality between perspectives is there, it's there to stay. How could you take a person who talks like Nightmare Moon seriously, after all? I mean, really. Ted Bundy could walk up to you while on fire, but giving you that Eternal Night monologue you would still die of laughter before anything else.

And that is really the weakness of it. A villain who isn't relatable, doesn't have humanizing impulses, it appeals to the primal part of us that still sees thunder gods in any lightning storm - something greater than yourself, with grand and possibly unknowable powers over you. They're not subject to change or appeasement. You can resist or you can submit, but there is no third option. It gives it an intensity that dealing with people just can't have, even in a life-or-death situation. It's why human (or even just talking) villains are so rare in horror fiction, I think. Putting even a metaphorical face on something makes it less frightening, even when you know you really should be.

6550259 There's a long tradition of Gods being "Mortals but bigger." Zeus and the rest of the Greek pantheon spring to mind.

Also Gods of Evil who started out as just pure evil are quite rare in most mythologies. Lucifer was God's right hand man until he was overcome by pride and ambition. Loki's mischief taught valuable lessons and he was a vital ally of the Asgardians until his jealousy of Balder caused him to go too far.

There's a good chance that the Nightmare once had a vital purpose before she fell. I got the impression that she chose Trixie because she felt some kind of kinship with her. Though how Trixie's circumstances relate to the Nightmare's fall from grace remains to be seen.

6550420
I count these under the same "scary, but relatable" category, personally. It's easy to read the Titans as the misunderstood heroes of the story even throughout many of the original Greek epics. If we ever find an actual surviving copy of the Titanomachia, I'm sure it'll overthrow our entire understanding of how the Greeks thought of them. I wouldn't think of debating the fact that it has tradition, though. It just also makes for a different (and, in a sense, less threatening) kind of villain to me .

6550438 If the nightmare was a force of nature archetype, would this alleviate the views you have expressed here?

6550994
It's not really a judgment about the story itself or what the character is in terms of the story, just about the way it interacts with the other characters in it so far. Don't worry, though, I'm not about to stick to that for any longer than I think the story makes the character actually work that way. I just enjoy giving verbose (and probably mostly not that useful) feedback on writing as a general thing.

6551028 I really wish at times fimficition would let me know about the replies far earlier and not in email. But ah well.

As for feedback, the why it doesn't click is feedback that may be right on the money. No matter the nature of perspective that plays into it. From our stance as the reader, and of the authors as the writer too.

6550259

Lord of Dorkness would probably kick me for this, but I also like to read Discord in particular as something more like a Buddha of Nonsense. He always feels more like he's trying to teach, in a way, rather than really harm.

Eh, I can sorta see that interpretation... but I have to admit I need to squint and tilt my head to do so.

To me, Discord's first appearance was simply too sadistic for me to really buy that he's redeemable, and to me at least it just reeks of the fan favorite getting special treatment—but to the writer's credit Discord's wasn't just *poomfed* good but has outright struggled with this 'friendship thing-y.' I'll freely grant that at least.

My interpretation is rather plain, that he's simply a bully. Discord got seven's across the board on throwing the genetic dice as far as magic goes, and he used that power about as well as that one kid from The Twilight Zone. Just with chocolate milk instead of cornfields.

For the record, though, I don't hate Discord. I'd even go so far as call him a decent villain. (:pinkiegasp:)

I just don't see what people see in him beyond John de Lancie's excellent voice work. That and an original, non-standard design is literally the only outright good things about Discord in my eyes, while the rest is just... average. I don't even find him that funny most of the time.

Whenever Discord comes up in discussion around here, I have to admit its like sitting in a group where a large majority thinks Walter Peck was their favorite character in all of Ghostbusters.

I just... don't get the appeal. :unsuresweetie:

Damn.

I wish I could say more, but I can't. Morally ambiguous characters, a truly dark spirit, and a terrifying crime syndicate.

Gotta wonder. You obviously didn't have the way Trixie's failing go as it did in the show. Too simple to trick off her necklace and send her scampering back into the woods. I'm wondering... How did that go in THIS universe?

Loved the interaction between The Nightmare and Trixie. I can't figure out her character, but I can see how it's clashing against the Nightmare. I can feel her struggling, against herself and her demons. Maybe she isn't the strongest, but a willingness to get up and keep fighting when all seems lost is what separates the winners and losers. Even a God can be defeated if you never stop. But this one... It ain't gonna be that easy. >:)

For now, we're still establishing the playing field. The cult of Nightmare, the insane Crime Lord, and the terrified ponies wondering how the hell they got caught up in this. (By far the best) But not all the pieces are in play, and before long, the battle lines will start moving. Within the darkness, and in the light.

Keep writing man. I wish I could write like this.

6552415
I'm really not so convinced on the "bully" part of this. He's a dick, no doubt, but even in the show, at least a few of the characters appreciated his "pranks" for the (admittedly not great) humor of them. I admit, though, it's less the actual execution of it at times than what could be done with the character. It's an easy one to just say that he got lucky and ended up with random super-duperpowers for no good reason, but personally, I like to imagine what connection there could be between absurdly potent chaotic powers and a world-view that gives him a reason to use them in an appropriate, but ultimately also ineffectual way.

Buddhism, for example, has the concept of "Maya." It means both "illusion" and "magic," in a way, and it refers to the visible, phenomenal world that we live in. It's not quite not real, but it's also somewhat less than actually permanent, solid or true. Insight and understanding of this non-reality is believed to give certain magical-seeming powers to the most enlightened of monks and saints, but it's also a kind of insight that can seem detached or outright insane to someone who isn't possessed of it. It is taught in a way that is self-contradictory and almost intentionally nonsensical at times.

Personally, I think there's just so much more that could be done with the character than the one-dimensional villain or cheap plot device that most stories use him for.

6556201

A really interesting concept, but I honestly can't see it for Discord. Not when he's so childish he'll do stuff like pretend to be sick for attention, think that one friend is completely equal to the nice new centaur in the unmarked van, or ruin a party just because the one girl that likes him has another friend.

I just can't see a 'Buddha of chaos' in that. He's power is great, yeah, but the things he keep using that power for are just too consistently small and petty.

6556318
Well, you know, therefore the concept of it more than the actual execution. Still, though, one very famous Zen koan goes like this:

"Master, what is the true Buddha-nature?"
"A dried shit-stick."

Petty and childish is not all too terribly far removed from that.

I can definitely see why a mare who spends her life pulling a wagon around Equestria could grow to intensely dislike wheels.

Trixie needs to stay the hell away from that ritual, but we all know she has a habit of poor life choices.

Yay, more words in a deliciously long chapter!

Once again, truly excellent writing in every regard. As was pointed out, Nightmare could have caused Scepter to back down... so what devious plan does she have that needs Frenzied Scepter?
I need the next chapter to find out - looking forward to it.

As an aside... so, uh, Trixie and Nightmare are triumphant at the end, right? Riiiight?

Well, this should be good.

Sometimes I think I'm not that good a person, just because I personally enjoy seeing Trixie suffer and suffer bad, with the foreknowledge that she'll come out of it either a big damn hero or a lot better for it in any case, the underdog heroine triumphing despite the efforts of the show writers to throw a Canon Sue and broken Aesop at her. Especially when she feels, with some good justification, that she's being trampled on by power (Celestia) for something Trixie certainly is at fault for, but was a direct result of the actions of others who felt little desire to own up for them,

Also, wheels. All this talk about Wheels almost tempts me to write a one-shot Trixie crossover into the Wheel of Time universe just so she can scream about a literal Wheel controlling her fate.

Man, the more I read about this, the more I think everything is Celestia's fault.

Neigh Orleans is under her rule, and she basically doesn't appear to have made any efforts to shape it up. No appointed governor, no crack team of guardsponies, no funding to lift the poorer ponies up from their poverty. In this cesspool Trixie Lulamoon was born and became a conmare before attempting to go straight, but the sins of the past don't wash away easily.

Indirectly through her student she causes Trixie's attempt to be a showpony to go astray, wrecking her one wagon, tarnishing her name and humiliating her. There's a lot of issues with Boast Busters, but one of the problems I have is with Twilight at the end hoping Trixie has learned her lesson. What lesson? That if you brag about beating a big bear, two ponies might go and actually bring a freaking mammoth to wreck your cart, and that you'll get absolutely no credit for attempting to stop the bear, even as nopony else except for Twilight tried either? Twilight doesn't even realise that what she's saying is pretty flat-out wrong. Sunset has her arrogance, but Twilight has extremely questionable judgement at times in the first few seasons.

Then Celestia basically puts a pox on Trixie's name after her debacle with the Alicorn Amulet. It's said she had Trixie arrested in this chapter, but apparently no attempts were made for psychological treatment, or even a debriefing or go-over to make certain there weren't any lasting effects. Then she basically lets an incredibly desperate pony go. Meanwhile, it looks like Celestia hasn't been very good at tracking down dark artifacts, considering Scepter has a whole roomful of them.

Well, reading in between the lines it looks like Celestia did try to decontaminate Trixie, but obviously didn't do a very good job of it or handling releasing her either. Hell, Trixie's loathing of Twilight Sparkle even above what was shown in Magic Duel might be a result of whatever happened during those three months, too.

I suppose we'll have to wait a chapter or two for the Nightmare to rear its head and become more than an idle bystander in things. Given it didn't speak up when Scepter was pretty much threatening Trixie at the end there, I suppose she doesn't ultimately care about Trixie's fate, implying that breaking out of her prison was the far more important first step. If Trixie dies, then too bad, Nightmare can still jump to another host instead of automatically getting sent back to her prison. Or something.

Congratulations on your EqD feature! You have a couple of instances of using "it's" when you mean "its," so watch out for that. Still, this is a great setup, and I look forward to reading more of the story!

This reminds me a little of the Maleus Darkblade series of novels

“Before you stands a GOD! The last true god.

My my, she and Discord are going to come to blows over that arrogant little claim. After all, she couldn't even manage to slow down 6 completely amateur young mares who hadn't yet even been bonded to the Elements.

I would simply have killed them had my intent been to rid myself of them. None of them were impervious to, say, a sharpened stick flung at them via telekinesis from the bushes at the side of the path in the Everfree.

Given the Nightmare's demonstrated failure over such pathetic opposition, I can scarcely take her this seriously.

Had she even once utilized a tiny fraction of the power she claims to possess in this story, the Mane 6 would have been dust in '10 seconds flat', as the meme states.

“Indeed,” Blade said, turning back to me. “Offerings to the Nightmare go back millennia, to before the time of Discord, some say to before the land was even called Equestria. Ponies have always feared the dark, Trixie, and the monsters both within and without. Once they laid offerings of blood and treasure at our Mistress’ hooves, now it is candy, but both rituals are to allay the spirit of our Mistress. To beg for another day of pitiful life.”

Ugh, sniveling blather like this just makes me want to kill them all even more.

The dark is nothing more than the absence of light. Children and animals fear the dark merely because of what might be lurking in it unseen. Those of us who pierce the darkness with our vision cast fear upon the lurkers, for they cannot hide from us.

For I am Saitama... and one punch is all I need.

wordofthenerdonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/saitama.png

In all honesty, though, this is clearly a different Equestria's Nightmare. The canon one is no god, and likely came from Luna herself. Also, it wasn't that powerful. A direct hit TRYING to kill could only stun Celestia for a few moments. At best, bonded to another alicorn, the original Nightmare Moon only equaled Celestia... who was beaten by Chrysalis.

Frankly, from any proper analysis of powers and abilities, Discord kicked everypony's flanks until that lame powergamer version of Tirek showed up.

Found this on Equestria Daily, going to give this a chance!

I have pulling a very heavy cart down some very poor roads
of the village for it's next meal
It seemed it's usual magenta

1. I have been pulling a very heavy cart.
2. Its.
3. Its.

It must be twenty miles yet!
Neight Orleans didn’t really begin
a chunk of the city that was a slum before the first leavy went in
and I whirled, losing my spell towards yet another thestral
Astral and his cousins lead me through the
I did not look to closely
I released the spell and grumbling, “go away Raz.”

1. Hmm... I thought the saying was: It hasn't even been?
2. Neigh.
3. Levy.
4. Loosing.
5. Led.
6. Too.
7. Forgot to capitalise.

My ears flicked up. “Tome?” I echoed. “What Tome?”
Well, Trixies thinks you have mistaken her
I had the alicorn amulet in my grasp

1. Question; Is this entire sentence supposed to be bolded on purpose?
2. Trixie.
3. Forgot to capitalise.

I took way too long to catch up with this. By way of a recommendation: Thirty-five weeks passed between reading the last chapter and this one... But I fell into the rhythm of this story again from the first sentence. Please tell me it's not dead.

Are you getting back to this at some point? This is one of those stories I keep hoping you'll pick back up because I like he concept just that much, but you don't really seem to be working on it anymore.

Can't wait for moar :pinkiesmile:

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