• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen 14 hours ago

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


The mirror appeared one morning in Rarity's home. It was covered in the dust of ages. Traced in the dust, with the tip of somepony's hoof, was a message and a plea.


Slightly expanded from an entry in GaPJaxie's My Little Speed Writing Competition, which gives you 60 minutes to write a story based on a prompt chosen by the masses. Join us in the Discord if you're interested in improving your writing skills!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 27 )

Think of it as a conversation piece.
:duck: "I personally feel that eldritch gibbering scarcely counts as a conversation."
Well, that's your opinion.

In any case, wonderful bit of understated creepiness. Thank you for it. And there's really no shame in it, Rarity. Half of the students at CSGU graduate with blemishes on their souls.

Oof, that "How indeed?" really touched a nerve.

Rarity is kinda getting boned here, but I suppose there's not much to be done about the mirror in the end. Unless launching it into the sun is somehow on the table. Still, cool and creepy fic.

Well, dark magic often is the fastest means to an end, even if there may be... side effects.

For me this story was the definite highlight of the contest, thanks for writing! :twilightsmile:

Same for me.

If there's one thing I've really enjoyed from Gardez's past two contest entries, it's the character monologues that are filled with raw emotion (Rarity's "I've used it once" and Starlight's "I did hurt ponies") -- those brief moments are what has kept both stories memorable.

If my memory is correct, the expansion increased the word count by about 1.5-fold, and I can see why -- loose ends were tied up nicely and the ending feels much more like an ending. The original had it's own kind of charm, too; I enjoyed reading between the lines and coming up with my own inferences.

I absolutely love reading about dark magic and I absolutely enjoyed this fic. Thanks for writing it! And it still should've won! :twilightsheepish:

As always a treat and a pleasure.

I enjoyed this quite a bit! Atmospheric and haunting, as a spooky mirror should be, and that there is no solution but to live with it makes for a nice moral and yet a bit of nightmare as well.

Although if something horrible would happen should I ever break something as fragile as a mirror, I’d probably keep it protected in bubble wrap or blankets or boarded up or something.

...if it let me.


But then how would you look at it?

You write some of the best eerie magic-themed pony stories on this site, CiG.

And now I'm imagining Rarity fretting over Sweetie Belle interacting with the mirror... :raritydespair: :unsuresweetie: :facehoof:

She walked out the door, still wearing her towel, and went to fetch Twilight Sparkle.

Darling, I know an idiot ball when one rolls up to me, and I'm most certainly not going to pick it up, thank you very much.

The tips of her needle-sharp teeth stood out like little stars against her dark lips.

Why, Princess. What a pleasant smile you have.

Rarity was a smart pony. She’d had more than one close-call with dark artifacts in the past. She knew exactly what to do.

She walked out the door, still wearing her towel, and went to fetch Twilight Sparkle.

Good instincts. 'tis distressing how few people have them.

Ha... I was 100% with her when she refused to see if the writing had changed. I just need confirmation that demonic entities can be waiting in mirrors to never look in one again.

I guess it's dark enough for the dark shelf? Maybe? It's on there, anyway. It's a pity there's no way to find out what's inside so they can make an educated guess as to whether freeing it is a good idea or not; as likely to be a Captain of the Royal Guard as some flesh-eating demon from Tartarus, I reckon. Might even be some foal who kicked their ball through a sorcerer's window one day. But I guess if they just have a look at whatever's reflected in it underneath the dirt, they won't be able to trust it even if it did look like a foal who'd kicked their ball through a window. Flesh-eating demons from Tartarus tend to be tricksy things.

Is it bad that if I was in Rarity's place I might break or otherwise use the mirror out of sheer curiosity? What is this artefact's story?

oh man.

while not the optimal ending, that part when twi held her breath and thought of the chance for "research" made my stomach clench.

I can see the commercial now.

Dark Magic, an easy way to fix all your problems!

Do other ponies tell you that it's not a good idea? What would they know? They've never tried dark magic, the close-minded fools!

Do you fear for your own safety? Well, jist use dark magic to make yourself immortal!

Do you want revenge on that one guy that humiliated you all that time ago even though you were the bad one so selfishly? Use dark magic to gain the power needed!

There's no problem that can't be fixed with dark magic! Try it now, and we'll guarantee that you have 100% satisfaction.

Disclaimer: The use of Dark Magic may result in punishment by law, lapses of judgement, loss of morals and conscience, permanent warping of personality, corruption of self, megalomania, desire to conquer the world, insanity, death, and fates worse than death.

Um, these:

“Safest just to leave it.”

And so long as you don’t give into the urge to destroy it, or listen to it, it can never harm you.

Seem to be contradicted by:

“Anyway, it’s here because whatever’s inside isn’t really trapped anymore. It’s like… imagine you have a monster in a cage. When the cage was new all the bars were solid, but over the years they’ve rusted and fallen apart, and now it’s able to reach between them. That’s how these mirrors get. Whatever’s inside is looking for a way out, and given your history, it was probably attracted to you.”

How are Twilight, Starlight, and Luna so confident that the "bars," won't just fall the rest of the way apart on their own given enough time?

I give it a week until Dash, Derpy or Pinkie accidentally break it.

A nice bit of spookery, and I am amused by the implication that Twilight is a recovering Dark Magic addict :twilightoops: (There was a story a few years back where Twilight got literally addicted to being magically "powered up" after the Tirek incident: anyone recall what it was called?).

One problem I did have was that Luna, Twilight, and Starlight are all incapable of keeping the mirror under control. For a Scary Magical Artifact story to work, the McGuffin has to be something of an out of context problem for the characters, something there are no easy solutions for or no known or knowable answers at all. For, say, the SCP series stories, it works because the whole universe runs on WTF horror rules, and reality is very thin and patchy most of the time. Artifacts may be the creations of unknown mad science, evil god-like beings, originate in other universes, or just are. And nobody really understands how most of these things work: the SCP foundation doesn't have any on-staff wizards, with the possible exception of Dr. Bright.

Equestria, OTOH, has magic as a fairly organized, understandable thing, and the mirror is supposed to have been created by Pony wizards during Luna's absence. The notion that these crazy but not history-influencing wizards could either create a magical artifact to utterly baffle the Evening-Night Trio or contain within it an entity powerful enough to baffle them even while it stays stuck in the mirror just strains my suspension of belief. I'd be OK if it were an artifact of unknown origin or pre-Princess origins, but it's hard to believe they were more knowledgeable than Luna, or more talented than Twilight or Starlight - Celestia, after all, made it through those years without being overthrown or turned into a horrible half-Pony, half-teacup.:trixieshiftright:

It's an interesting story to read, but I can't help but believe that the correct answer is to get the alicorns (and Starlight) together, invite Discord to watch, and then kick whatever is in that mirror in the head until it cries for mercy.

Sealed Evil in a Can always gets out eventually, so you may as well let it out on your schedule and not its.

This would make a fine Halloween story. But I really enjoyed how both Luna and Starlight both know there Dark deeds and know they cannot forget, Twilight knows and accepts them. And Rarity is in denial for her one small act of dipping her hoof into dark magic.

Makes you wonder if she was ever Nightmare Rarity in this universe.


Yep, that's the one! Good catch,

Rarity knew this without truly knowing it. That is, she couldn’t have told you out of the blue how many mirrors were in her home, but if she thought about it for a little while – if she closed her eyes and walked through through her memories of the boutique, making a tally as she went – she would eventually have found each mirror and enumerated them, one by one. There was nothing special about them.

You might wanna look into revising that section, possibly to through with or through using or possibly a comma so its through, through her


Actually, that's just an erroneous double word. Thanks!

I just assume based on the ending she fully embraces it, and uses dark magic to do "mundane" things like drawing or scooping ice cream.

There's something about this story that's very, very dark.

Something, no one knows what, came to Rarity asking for help. No one even considered helping it.

Something is being left in, presumably, solitary confinement in perpetuity. No one cares what it did or did not do to warrant this punishment.

Something is presumed evil in spite of there being zero evidence, no one challenges this presumption.

The ponies of Equestria will be safe if things remain as they are, so no pony cares whether things are good or bad, just or unjust, kind or cruel.

Something came to ponies for help. Perhaps it should have come to a different species.

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