• Member Since 17th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Sep 3rd, 2016


I'm just someone who looks at pony-related things on the internet.


The alicorns have been struck by a fatal illness, and Twilight and her friends must find the cure: a panacea hidden in the deepest reaches of Tartarus. But Tartarus is unnavigable to those who cannot withstand the chaos in its depths, and the spirits of harmony are no exception. To obtain this cure, Twilight and company will need to find ponies who can traverse Tartarus, a task that will take them to the edge of the world and back. Supposedly, these ponies have two things in common: they've all crossed paths with the mane six, and none of them ever learn from their mistakes.

Inspired by, but not quite based on, Braid.

AU tag for deviation from Season 3 canon.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 104 )

Pretty interesting concept. I'm intrigued.

Spelling and grammar all seemed very clean so no problems there. I also like how Blueblood is actually somewhat sympathetic and I felt for him when he was being teased. Though his outburst at Luna later on kinda killed it for me.

I'm also glad that Trixie isn't a destitute. She's rebuilt and has made a living. I don't see that too often. Her infiltration in the library was also kinda funny.

Keep it up!

Inspired by Braid: check.
Keeps most characters in character and improves those with little characterisation: check.
Decent grasp of grammar, varied sentence structure and some truly beautiful descriptions: check.
Intriguing plot with a slow build up and the promise of later awesomeness: check.
Over 10,000 words for a first chapter and includes OCs I don't want to punch: check.
Truly amusing moments, but the story isn't sacrificed for the sake of comedy: check.
Integration of seasons one and two rather than just parts of them: check.
Alicorns as completely unremarkable and not 'OMG, Wings and a horn!?!?!' types? Oh god, I love you: check.

The stars are aligning: all eight of them, including that annoying one you have to waste an hour on waiting for the cloud to show up. I am more than impressed (whatever that means).

About the only criticism I can muster - and it is minor - is that there does feel like a slight amount of author favouritism on certain characters: Blueblood in particular. Though I did feel sympathy for him during the court/meeting scene, at the same time it felt a bit OTT. It kinda felt like I was being forced to root for a character and... well, it worked, but I'm uncomfortable with it at the same time.

I'm also mildly amused by the fact you seem to have all the princesses - bar one - in one castle.


Thanks for the critique! It's always good to know I didn't miss anything during the proofreading. And that I conveyed the emotions I wanted to get across. :derpytongue2:

I'll have more to come by the weekend's end.


Yeah, I'll admit that there's a degree of favoritism with Blueblood. I'll try to keep that in check during later chapters. Thanks for the feedback!

11,000 WORDS AND THERE IS MORE!?! WHOO!:moustache:

I really enjoyed the first chapter so far and I look forward to see where this is going. The only thing I felt that it was missing was more of description of what is actually happening to all of the alicorns but I'm guessing that is something that could very well pop up on the trip to Tartarus.

The only other thing that i can say is:


Oh, you fave Blueblood! Me too! I love him =3 Write more please)

Interesting... Caught my atention there at the end... Thus my feelings = NEED MORE!:raritystarry:

Congratulations author :)


Congratulations recieved and highly appreciated. Thanks for helping me make this story good. :pinkiehappy:

Huh, that was unexpectedly good. Keep it up!:pinkiehappy:

Wait didn't I read this story before except it had Discord in it?

Inspired by Braid? Do I read it forwards or backwards? :twilightoops:

Hmmmm... Well finished and faved. Can't wait to see where this goes.

Just a note. at one point, you've written that someonewas "pouringoer" something. The word you want is "poring". Trust me on this.

Description implies that Flim, Flam, and Gilda are also going to get roped into this. *Ponders* Is it wrong of me to want them to bring Diamond Tiara along, and just leave her there?


Tracking for now.

So the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the selfish, the uncaring, and the cynical?
Prepare to see the quickest save-the-world quest in history, no dicking around with anything but the mission, no helping lost orphans save their sick kittens or whatever.
Just get in, get the shiny, get out.
Assholes of the world, UNITE!

If that is the case, that is only five, one more spot left. I personally hope it's Iron Will.

This is going to be awesome, I just know it :)


You have some very ambitious plans for this but if you can complete this story, it will be something impressive. I'll be watching and hoping you can pull things off. This is a good first chapter; it gets across what needs to get across, especially as it should be clear that more of the "antagonist allies" will be revealed in time rather than all at once. I suspect you'll be well over 150k words by the time you're done, though, and so I hope you're ready for the long haul that comes with epic fic writing.

Man, Iron Will didn't do anything wrong. It was Fluttershy who took his teachings too far, and he was after payment since his teachings worked. Fluttershy however, then insisted that while it worked, she wasn't satisfied, thus no payment.



This is a comment I am leaving just so that you know that this story was awesome. And Zoidberg is right.


It means a lot to hear that from the writer of one of my favorite fics. Thanks. :pinkiesad2:

And, while I have the entire story completely outlined, I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I'm getting into, especially considering the fact that school starts in like a week. :trollestia:


Thanks for catching that. Until now, I didn't even know that distinction existed.

I never heard of "Braid", what's the url for "Braid" anyway and where's it at?

I doubt it will be Iron Will. He DID learn from his mistakes, or at least he looked like he would eventually.

Two of them are almost certainly Flim and Flam.

Gilda, Trixie, Blueblood, Flim, Flam. That leaves...two spots? Maybe Garble, or one of the other teenage dragons?

And there was Twilight Sparkle, just thumbing through a stack of scripts

Er, what?

Braid can be found here.

What mistakes did Iron Will make?


Hmm...maybe going the wrong way about his business? I'm not sure.

But that's even more proof that Iron Will won't be part of this.

Hmm... intriguing, but forgive me if i point out a few issues.

Issue number one leaps at me like a rabid cougar. I cannot for one second believe you can have what, 12 characters in a fiction and handle it well. The more characters you have the more progressively difficult it is to give them time to develop. And yet from the sounds of it, this fiction will be character-development focused. Youve done well so far - i do not deny - i especially enjoyed Bluebloods chat with Luna. However, once all 12 or so are wandering through this tartarus place... it seems like it will devolve into generic adventure.

And thats not good. So far the adventure portion has been lacking. The illness was sprung on us suddenly, seemingly caused by a single argument. And frankly it was sprung rather poorly, especially with Celestia and Luna very dramatically going 'you know what this means!' 'our fear is true!' duhn duhn duhn. The letter from celestia was equally badly sprung. Twilight is suspicious at first, but is won over by the apparent complexity of the letter in question. Except the letter is not complex whatsoever and offers nothing in the way of proof for her. You would have been far better off not bothering with the suspicion at all. We woudnt have noticed it then you see. But by drawing attention to the fact it could be a forgery, and then basically ignoring it you've made it awkward. You could have even just said that no other pony can send letters via dragon and leave it at that. or whatever it might have been. But nope, this is pretty awkward.

Tartarus too jumps out at us. A fiction in which nothing is ever alluded to until it is literally sent flying at our faces is a hard one to read.

Theres a few other issues i have, but theyre mostly minor. I think my biggest problem though is the... patheticness of the requirements to get into Tartarus. All the pony apparently needs is the inability to learn from their mistakes. This seems... stupid. You could have made it anything. You could have said that the problem is that only creatures with conflict in their heart or sorrow, or self-loathing so deep it needs spelunking equipment - can get in and walk around properly. All would be valid. You could have implied that the very ability to wander Tartarus is some sort of sick joke, that they can wander the world of Chaos freely (which makes little sense either actually - Tartarus isnt a chaotic place in myth, its just a deep dark unpleasant depressing pit. more suited to quiet hatred of the self than anything else - but now im just nitpicking) because only they could ever find a place where conflict and pain rule and feel okay there, because a hell where everyone despises you is exactly what they expect out of the real world and pretty much what theyve gotten thusfar.

But no. Youve just made it so they cant learn from their mistakes. Which among other things is silly especially for both trixie and blueblood, whos professions are going to require a great deal of trial and error in all things (scholarship of magic and aristocratic manipulation respectively do not lend themselves to an inability to learn) and frankly could probably include Pinkie Pie for her inability to think things through and Applejack/Dash for their chronic stubborness. Underwhelming, no?

Additionnally, it doesnt even sound as if this is a personality problem. The letter makes it sound like this 'ability' to wander Tartarus has actually caused them to be psychologically incapable of learning from mistakes. When what it should be is that Tartarus only opens its doors to people who are already pretty screwed up. Youve made a psychologically focused fiction and then gone and downplayed the psychologically messed up nature of your subjects!

So yeah. Theres that.

Now dont think for even a second because i wrote all that im not interested, because i very clearly am. I dont waste my time with anything and i sense true greatness could be on its way. But perhaps you need to think ahead a little more. Learn to do something else than suddenly drop a surprising event in our laps - because that just doesnt work after a while. It feels unrealistic. Im still looking forward to reading more, and perhaps itll get neater as time goes on (though id still recommend a heavy revision of this chapter in places to make it read as a better story).

But ultimately your writing is at least technically sound and youve got an interesting if slightly awkward plot coming to us, so i suppose i should just shut up and sit back and enjoy.

(Again - apologies for seemingly harsh criticism, but a good critical analysis is what i always looked for when i was doing writing. it was far more useful than 'yay! more chapterz!' though that admittedly felt a lot more motivating)


You're right; it'll be pretty challenging to have steady, consistent character-development with such a large cast. Still, I've got this story fully planned and outlined, and I think I've managed to have everyone grow equally and visibly. At the risk of sounding pretentious, this isn't a typical adventure story.

As for the letter... Yeah, I see where you're coming from. Still, I don't think it's really the complexity of the letter that convinced Twilight, so much as the detail. If the letter was a prank, it would be a really ridiculous one.

And if I were to address the rest of your points, I'd wind up spoiling a great deal of the story. :trollestia:

Most excellent. I have been waiting. for this. Blueblood's speech was quite excellent and I like how the alicorn's control only affects Equestria and not the rest of the world, so them dying isn't world ending.

What I took away from this part is the promise of character interactions that I've never seen. Cranky talking to Trixie? Blueblood arguing with Applejack instead of with Rarity? Neato!

Trixie also keeps the prize of silliest pony in this story so far. She just couldn't give up that script, could she?

That ending with Twilight breaking down and realizing all the stuff she won't be sending to Celestia... Too many feels.

Also, it was made obvious that Blueblood knows more than he's telling, but I wonder... What does Luna know? She's the one that got this going after Celestia prodded her to. Luna wrote the letter and was very vague about things. It's got me thinking that she's pulling strings on all the characters and may have plans of her own that will be sprung when least expected.

Or I could be totally off my rocker! :applejackconfused:

Nice to see this continue! Looking forward to more!

Spotted fine literature:
The Stranger
Brave New World

Did I miss any?


I'm glad somebody recognized those. There'll be a few more in the future.

1270754 :yay: yay. I am (on another account) working on a fic that has made references to a Christmas Carrol, Lord of the Rings, and Tangled, so i know to look for the ones that i may recognize.

Okay, so we've got six of these 'spirits of chaos'; who's the seventh one? (Is it Ditzy? I bet it's Ditzy.:derpyderp2:)

Chapter 2's up? Woo!

Seeing as I'm terrible at providing compliments whilst I'm reviewing/proofreading/reviewing/whatever-the-hell-it-is-I-do, have some now:

1) Your characterisations are superb, both in that they're easily traceable to the ones from the show and yet you also manage to expand on them, taking them in new directions. Your handling of them is spot on, too. It's all too easy to make the mistake of lumping Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie, Dash and Fluttershy into a group called Twilight's Friends, and then changing the story to being about just the group and Applejack having adventures. You don't do that: each character feels like they have their own motivations and thoughts on something rather than just deciding as a group.

That being said, Flim & Flam do have a bit of that feel to them. I didn't bring it up in the doc because they've only just been introduced, and the show tended to treat them the same way, but... Well, in future, it'd be nice to get to know Flim and Flam, rather than the single entity with two bodies called Flim & Flam.

2) You take your time over things, or, in other words, you do excellent showing rather than telling. Rather than just having Cranky accepted immediately, Twi starts off by rejecting him. Rather than starting off with Trixie noticing the chase and then going from there, we have her in a cafe. It's little details like this that help to either set the scene or give the world a believable edge without - and this bit's the important bit - being boring or entirely irrelevant. Too many people try to get the former two in and end up inserting the latter; you don't, and it's an enviable skill to have.

3) This one'll echo some of the points brought up in 1), because it's mainly just the same thing applied to the world. This is one of the most curious mixes I've seen between the infant world of MLP and the adult views of it's unexpected demographic. There are parts in here that feel like they've stepped straight out of the show: Blueblood's reaction to getting covered in cake again is one of them, as is Pinkie's song composition and Rainbow's self-important 'we beat the changelings' moment. And yet, at the same time, there's this gloriously dark undercurrent flowing through it all that occasionally rears its head before sinking back into a tugging reminder. It's a story I'd count as 'Equestria +', in that it's an example of what might happen if MLP stopped being a children's show and started growing up.

Not that I want it to stop, of course. It's just that fanfiction should be exploring the places a show isn't going to go, and this is one that does that. It heads off into the dark places without forgetting where it came from, and that's a more than admirable juggling act.

There. I think I'm done clogging up your comment section with one huge-ass set of drivel. Hopefully this should give me some brownie points to lose when I'm being my usual picky, mean self. dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Scootaloo_lolface.png

Why can't I write like this?! :pinkiesad2:

Well, it's kinda amazing... Why does it have such few likes then? You should submit to EQD (if you haven't done already). Before I read the next chapter I gotta buy some supplies...so many words...

Hmm. Colour me intrigued.

So far characters seem to be working well enough. That said, a few of them did seem to be swept to the side somewhat sometimes, but thats to be expected i suppose. I recommend perhaps splitting them into smaller groups in the future? Not now, but later it could help. Especially since that way the group dynamics will change. If Twilight isnt always in charge for example another character fulfills the leader roll and has a better place in the story.

Not without my little niggles however, and i wouldnt be me if i didnt state them. I was going to say i was disappointed you kept with the 'unable to learn from mistakes' thing instead of choosing something more interesting. Except i sort of cant because its implied now that its only one of many signs... and i suppose thats okay? Im not sure yet. The way id prefer it is - again - that something else a little more.... meaningful is allowing them access to tartarus. As of yet, im not sure if thats the case. Blueblood seems to imply the ability to withstand Tartarus is something more than this personality trait. That its some other personality trait but the whole mistakes thing is tied to it.

Problem with that is that people keep mentioning the 'unable to learn from mistakes thing' though. If that ISNT whats letting them in then it seems an unusual amount of attention is being paid to what could just be one aspect of the chaos-ness

The thing is though... so far it just doesnt fit in any way. Even in the show itself in fact it doesnt fit. None of the antagonists are shown to have any problems learning from mistakes. For the most part we only see them once, so how could they be shown? It just doesnt work for me. in fact, in very few cases do the chaos characters make any sort of mistakes at all. In-canon, Blueblood didnt make any mistakes. Hes just obsessed with class. Thats not a mistake, its an opinion. It doesnt make him wrong except possibly morally. it makes him a jerk perhaps, but not wrong. What was gilda's mistake? she just has a massive anger problem that she suppressed around Rainbow Dash because she liked her - but didnt care about anyone else. What was Trixie's mistake? Shes an unpleasant narcisstic ass with few redeemable qualities, but thats a personality. not a mistake. Her problems didnt come about because of something she did wrong, her house was destroyed by random bear attack at best tangentially related to her lying. But i cant describe her doing that as a mistake, not really. A mistake isnt really a mistake if the consequence is something completely freaking irrelevant. Its like saying ' it was a mistake to go to the dentists today' because the dentist's chair went haywire and ripped your spine out. Yes, you'd regret doing it, but thats not the same.

And thats just the show! In your fiction plenty of these characters seem quite reasonable too. Though really id like a better definition of mistake because im not sure which your using. What is perceived as a mistake is for the most part subjective. You might claim Trixie (im using her because shes easiest) made a mistake in lying about the Ursa. But you could counter argue that she knew exactly what she was doing lying, and did it for a very simple reason (to shut up her detractors) and that it suceeded in that. If she doesnt care about the fact she lied you cant tell her its a mistake to do so, and while you could claim that thats 'failure to learn from mistakes' that in itself basically defies free will because your telling someone what to believe and what is right or wrong with no real grounds for doing so.

If i seem to be over focusing on this one aspect im sorry, but thusfar it seems to be the unsteady lynchpin holding the story together and thus tugs at me constantly when there are so many better more interesting, far more freeing and yet far less vague alternatives that could have been used. After all, people have to make their own way in the world. You can declare a person is hateful or self-obsessed or narcisstic or whatever, but declaring them as one long string of mistakes strikes as more of an opinion than anything. And once again, if theres a celestial committee declaring certain ponies are this kind of creature it defies the basic concept of free will because it implies there is always a 'right' way of doing things.

To put it in as short a way as possible. I still think 'ponies who cant learn from their mistakes' is a really really reeeeeeeeally stupid plot point. but now it seems too late to change it and now its going to hang over the whole fiction.

You claim them incapable of learning from mistakes - but if that was literally true they likely wouldnt be alive or functioning. But if you really mean something else, something other than the incredibly literally, then there are a thousand better ways to put it than something so vague and yet confusingly restrictive as 'mistake'..

Okay i think im done. Next!

I kind of want that night guard pony to fuck off. He wasnt so bad earlier, but i didnt realise hed me made into a proper character and i got bored of him a while back. Sadly i cant really think of any way to shake him. In the meantime i must certainly say hes using too much magic. Remember how rare unicorns with real magical talent are. in all Spikes time in Canterlot he has never seen any other pony at all with a magical based cutie mark but Twilight, and those without those marks are only capable of a few extremely basic spells (Bluebloods was fine for example). I get that showing off magic is cool. but frankly youve already sort of flooded the magic based economy and made it a little boring. He certainly shoudlnt be capable of anything that Twilight - or for that matter Trixie really - would find impressive or in any way daunting. Any spells he can cast should be quite easily shaken off by a pony with an actual talent in magic.
For some reason I thought the majority of his magic came from enchanted armour, and i was fine with that. but he seems to be doing it of his own ability now, and that makes me sorta shrug and ask why.

Magic is implied to be something so difficult and hard to master that to seriously try it you have to work so hard you become a social recluse. its all but stated that twilight is only as good as she is because she completely ignored friendship for a decade or so. and i sort of assumed trixie was the same (except twilight turned to apathy in the face of other ponies while her jerkassness turned to actively despising them). If this bat pony is a good soldier and a good guard - he should be automatically a poor mage for the simple reason of not having that many character points to spread around.

Hes just another character to have to work into the story, and he seems alarmingly competent for a non-main-character. itd be like if luke skywalker was upstaged by a random pilot fighting the death star. A pilot who could use the force and was called Mary Skystrider. Not that im declaring him a particularly bad OC or anything - but at the very best hes extremely unneccessary to the story.

Right - i had more to say i think but i wrote enough aleady i feel. Enjoy reading all this rambling nonsense!


The mistakes-thing doesn't fit with the characters? Did you truly read my story, darling, or did you just breeze through it? :raritydespair:

The guides to Tartarus all have character flaws that cause them to make the same bad choices over and over again:

Trixie refuses to come out of the shell that is her stage persona, which keeps her from making friends.

Blueblood becomes very hostile when people question his behavior and motivations, leaving him unable to form non-professional relationships.

Cranky's devotion to and reliance on Matilda keeps him from enjoying other aspects of his life.

Flim and Flam: "Next town, brother?" "Next town." So, there's your in-show example.

These characters are crawling with not-learning-from-mistakes-ness. If you're not seeing that, I think you're looking in the wrong places.

Now, moving onto the guardpony. So far, he's used four spells: invisibility, muting, telekinesis, and anti-magic. He knows a total of six, three of which he only knows thanks to some pretty rigorous royal guard training. I imagine just about every guard was taught how to dispell changeling illusions shortly after the events of A Canterlot Wedding, and telekinesis seems to be a pretty common ability. Besides, it can't be too hard to believe that a royal guard would be able to cast more spells than the average unicorn.

Also, he is important to the story. But I can't tell you how or why, because spoilers.

See, that's the thing. I could show you a plot outline, and you'd probably retract just about all of the criticisms you've made so far. But I can't do that, so I guess you'll just have to trust the author. :rainbowdetermined2:

Also, just to let you know, this isn't constructive criticism. You're not giving me stylistic or technical feedback that I can use to improve my storytelling skills, you're just nitpicking immutable plotpoints. If these comments were being posted after I'd finished the story, I'd give them some credence, but they aren't, so I won't. I appreciate your interest in my story, but don't expect me to make any of the changes you're suggesting.

Ah. It seems ive been taking it too literally - i do this sometimes. I was looking for... actual real mistakes. Of all the examples you gave... perhaps Flim and Flam are genuine examples. Perhaps. A mistake is defined as an error (be it in action, judgement etc) caused by incorrect reasoning, a lack of knowledge or incompetence. All along ive been confusedly looking for any sign of those things in your chaos ponies.
Im seeing character flaws - but thats it. All good characters have flaws. if having character flaws is whats allowing them access to tartarus then why isnt say... Twilight getting in? She doesnt learn from certain 'mistakes'. She takes studying too seriously and hugely overstates the importance of pleasing the Princess at the expense of social growth. Shes gotten better, but its never stopped and thats no less a 'mistake' than any of the things youve pointed out. Or perhaps - just perhaps - that isnt a mistake in her eyes. Perhaps she sees studying seriously because she has different priorities to some ponies.

If tartarus requires such messed up chaotic bizarre ponies to enter - it seems bizarre that the creatures youve selected seem to be perfectly ordinary peoplewith the same bumps and grazes on their psyche as anyone has.

To choose Flim and Flam. They simply declare 'next town'. What that says about them isnt that they are somehow incapable of learning from their mistakes. After all, all signs point to the idea that this has been incredibly successful previously and presumably will be again. All it says is that they now what theyre doing is vaguely wrong, dont care about the fact and are now willing to move on to try it again. It would be refusing to learn from their mistakes if in the new town they did the whole no-quality-control thing, but ironically i truly doubt they will do that. because theres a mistake i daresay they will learn from.

And please dont say i wasnt reading correctly. For several of your examples its flat out impossible for me to have gotten the impression i was apparently meant to. Blueblood for example. In order to know that his phobia to psychoanalysis causes him to have issues forming personal relationship i would have had to have actually had this shown to me. Not vaguely implied. And even then id hardly call that a 'mistake'.

Basically - youre getting ponies with different priorities and moralities to you mixed up with ponies who are mistaken in their lives. Because they really arent the same thing. Ive been utterly confused all this time because a mistake is something you do wrong because you either have wrong information or you did it by accident. But very few of the things these creatures are doing are mistakes by the dictionary definition (which i was following - and thus confusing myself with), theyre doing them intentionally with all the information available at the time.

Even more basically - i was confused by the wording.

As for the guard pony, i was certainly a bit harsh on him. It was sort of the invisibility that did it as it immediately flags in my mind as a high level spell. Frankly i was surprised when Trixie used it, let alone him. Of course, magic is completely undefined in MLP. perhaps invisibility is an easy spell. Im just not used to it being so.
Theres the problem with magic in MLP. You really dont know where you stand. I tend to assume only ponies like Twilight and to a far lesser extent Trixie can do much of anything, and that everyone else is stuck with maybe one or two low level spells. Seeing a pony wander around doing all sorts of magical stuff is disorientating without some more explanations on how magic works in your specific fiction. An upper level and a lower level of skill would be helpful for example, showing me whats the norm.

My apologies if im not giving you the right sort of criticism. However i can only give out what occurs to me. Right now the biggest problem is the plot, especially the way certain things tend to jump out at you with no previous explanations. However ive already mentioned that previously, so i saw no point restating. Ill try to me less niggling in the future and more concentrated on bigger things then.


I think you've solved your own problem in that first paragraph. Twilight tries to improve as a person, but the guides to Tartarus don't.

See, in MLP, all protagonists learn what they were doing wrong at the end of the episode, and subsequently vow never to make those mistakes again. Antagonists don't. The guides to Tartarus are either unaware of their problems, or unwilling to do anything about them, and they allow themselves to make bad decisions repeatedly because of this. Trixie keeps putting up a front, Blueblood keeps being a jerk, Flim & Flam keep trying to swindle people, and Cranky keeps avoiding opportunities to get out of the house. That's partially how I define the word "mistake;" a bad choice. It's a lot broader than the letter might have implied, I'll admit, but it's certainly there.

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