• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)


This story is a sequel to Triptych

Her first prison was underground, and it took a lifetime before she recognized its nature. The newest cell has hallways and windows. Her mentor takes her outside, but she always comes back to marble floors and ponies who don't know how to look at her for more than a few minutes. She's too slow when responding to her own name, she can barely reconcile having one, and...

A prison with a lock. A prison with a door.

She's trying to figure out what the difference is. Or whether there's any difference at all.

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group. New members and trope edits welcome.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

This story is a direct sequel to Triptych. Do not read it unless you've finished the original.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 66 )

Added to The Triptych Continuum Rebooted, the Year 4 folder.

You absolutely feel for Tish here. I hope she can find her acceptance and when that day comes I hope the Element Bearers will be right beside her.

Now this just wants me to give her father the same treatment that The Joker gave Jason Todd even more.

Wow. This is beautiful and a little bit scary all in one. Nice to see that Tish is slowly beginning to rebuild her soul, and very exciting in a rather horrible way to get a few more details on what happened with the Nightmare.

Her recollections (because 'memories' still feels embarrassing') of the conference are somewhat hazy. She recalls the bulk of events, but... a mind which had trained itself to remember the exact details of every new face (because she would see each such pony only one, once until the day the Great Work was complete) had been somewhat drugged at the time. Her father had given her the most powerful painkillers he'd been able to find, because to attempt a speed change without them would have been to increase her agony to the point where her body's only escape would have been the final one. Or worse, to remain alive, with just enough thought left within the inner lava to spend a personal eternity wishing for death.

Feels were had.
Enjoyed greatly, thanks.

It really says something that boldface, the formatting associated with Discord and all he's wrought, gets applied to true history.

(The visits are now much shorter.)

You are far too good at sending chills down my spine with a vague sentence or two. Kudos.

While this is a wonderfully wrenching emotional journey, part of me can't help but wonder if that coat regrowing potion will work on the sisters. On the one hand, their rate of aging is effectively zero. On the other, their coats do presumably grow. Just more biological oddities of the non-senescent...

Still... there's been some freedom to explore. Just not to leave.

She'd probably make Cerea's stay in the palace easier, and vice versa.
... Well, maybe. No telling what Tirek would do to Triptych.

The children of chaos need to support each other, and she is the oldest sibling of that ever-growing family.

She is her father's daughter, and so much better than him in every respect.

Okay, given her particular talents, that is a perfect name for the brindled pegasus filly. :rainbowlaugh:

Oh, right. I'd forgotten that Fancypants had made a school for extraordinary youngsters. And he didn't even have to go bald!

Brilliant stuff, especially the conversation with Luna. Some fascinating further insight into alicorns, the Nightmare, the deeper parts of history... and of course, Tish herself. Thank you for an incredible moment in a most unusual life.

And best of luck with what comes next. :pinkiehappy:

So we learn a bit more. About Nightmare, Discord and Cadence. Long thoughts in this story, long and deep. Makes me wonder where Tish is in Cerea's story.

Tich is learning so many things. There is so much to learn about the character that I hope we get another story like this one someday. Or that Triptych become active player in one of your other major stories.

Discord as a teacher is all kind of interesting. Fancypants is now the Headmaster of the pony equivalent of the Xavier Institute For Gifted Youngsters. I hope both situations will meet each other. Probably in a crash but it would still be interesting. So much potential that place...

I so hope the two meet one day. Both are under the sisters care after all and both are isolated from the rest of the castle inhabitants because of what they are.

Perhaps Tich is at Fancypants school with her new family while Fancypants is passing that much time hunting for Chaos gems. Or perhaps she is helping him. Somehow, I think she would faire better than most in Chaos saturated zones...

Yeah we get to see Tish again I was wondering what was happening with her. And more about Luna even better!


I'll provide the crowbar.

"...looked at from my current perspective -- a rather elaborate, fairly slow form of suicide."

I KNEW IT! I called it!

If she was a writer instead of an artist, she might be the pony answer to Kafka.

"What is the difference between a prison with a lock and one with a door?"

"The name of the person who decides when you leave."

Now here is a thing of wisdom.

Each of us can, as we choose, make of this world either a palace or a prison.

Nice to finally get an insight into Tryptch's head. Such interesting character, and one with so many potential tales. I look forward to the next part of her tale (and encourage you to take your time, I'm a patient pony)

Also, random plot bunny. Ratchet gives a speech at Fancypant's school

Tempi can Ctrl+Z actual paintings. Handy.

"I'm fine."

The simplest of lies, and one which has a thousand ways of being interpreted, all incorrectly.

The Belle Époque or La Belle Époque is the term often given to a period of French history, usually dated to between 1880 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

For the ponies' sake, I hope that title isn't foreshadowing.

He addresses her by name, and it takes a moment to remember she has one.

I was wondering when we were going to see her again.

"The triad!" he gasps. "We'll come for you! We can counter whatever the alicorns cast to make you work with them, bring you back to yourself! Once we have you back, you can free the Doctor! Know that we've been looking! Know that we will come --"

Oh good, a proper cult. That's just what the world needed.

The deepest secret. Something her father had never been able to find the slightest hint of: the origin of the alicorn who had ascended without the Elements, a singular path which led through snow and swirling cold

Estee, you tease, you.

Triptych can ctrl-Z paintings. Tempi Fugit can ctrl-Z the sky.

A really lovely and thoughtful continuation of the core story, and a follow-up I didn’t know that I needed as much as I did! I especially liked the looks in on both searches going on... for more conspirators and more Hybrid births. And of course getting to hear Luna open up was a rare treat.

10453055 10453083 10453106
Considering that the Princesses have such concern over certain Bearers meeting Cerea after what Tirek did to Discord, I suspect that they might find introducing her to Triptych, with her own trauma and control issues (let alone her own potential personal experiences with Tirek), to be an intimidating gamble.

Another gut-wrenching masterpiece. Thanks for reminding me why Gentle Arrival deserves a special place in hell, right next to Baron Bartels and Count Varley.

" The triad! " he gasps. "We'll come for you! We can counter whatever the alicorns cast to make you work with them, bring you back to yourself! Once we have you back, you can free the Doctor! Know that we've been looking! Know that we will come --"

Nope nope nopenopenope FYAY THE HYAY NOPE.

Yay, more Triptych! Great to see this continue.

Also, Cadence origin hints :O

Hmm, I have to wonder if Starlight Glimmer will get involved. Mark magic does seem to be her speciality.


"However long you would live," Vanilla tells her, "baring illness, wounds, or catastrophe -- that's how long you'll live. Naturally."


Another fine entry in the Triptych saga. Bravo!

"Her father will not talk,"

Now where's Starlight Glimmer and her mind control spells when you need them? :pinkiecrazy:

(And yes, I'm aware that she won't be showing up chronologically for some time yet. But I do find it a bit of a stretch that they have no non-destructive methods for magically picking Dr. Gentle's brain.)

It could be a matter of ethics.

If ever there was a title that screamed "Impending Doom"..!

With that, I'm sure the next epic adventure will be a lighthearted, glimmering beacon of insouciance. C'est reparti comme en 14.

Awsome additional corner piece to the puzzle that is this continued universe; we get a real look at some answers here.

Tempi Fugit is a great new character and a perfectly awsome name.

It's hard to pick out what bit of forshadowing I want to get at first. Celestia's upcoming talk with Twilight has so much bound up with it I can't wait.

Also, I really want to see what Estee makes of Glimmys special blend of brokeness and existential threat.

It's always funny to see that the gravitas of Discord's focus is proportionate to how much his eyeballs stay in their sockets.

"and she knows that whatever the test might, they've"
Whatever the test might what?

"your form are permanent: those made to"
"your form are permanent, those made to"?

Well, this wasn't a story I was expecting, but I enjoyed it as, once I saw it, I did expect. Thank you for writing. :)

The Princesses should get Spike and Tish to be penpals. I feel like... that'd be good for her. The Protector could tell her a lot about what it's like to be the bizarre weirdo who doesn't really understand or fit in to pony society, and after growing up with his big sister he'd know a lot about trying to help a recluse come out of her shell. And it'd do Spike a world of good to have another friend, something good he can tie back to the events of Trotter's Falls.



When Discord is bored, he likes to look at things from a new angle.

But can't be bothered to move his head.


Don't you mean Tish? Tempi does it for weather?


Some parallels between Cerea and Tish! Then again, there sorta must be, as they're both in the palace, etc.


Nice answer to the prison question!


Ah. Emery and Discord sorta have the same idea of training? See the limit, then try and tone things down from there?

Oh wow. Thank you for the answer unasked on Celestia’s earth pony side.

This is going to take a reread to soak everything in but thank you for letting us know how She was doing.


I reread it, and yeah, Tish.

Another amazing, terrifying and beautiful plunge into the dark waters of self. I was so looking forward to your return to the life of Tish, and you didn’t disappoint!

And as usual, your writing astounds me. It’s brilliant how by placing Tish in Canterlot Castle she becomes a window giving us a heart-breaking glimpse into the mind of Luna (man, that scene was simply awesome!) I hope you’ll follow up on these ideas with more stories exploring both Tish’s life, and using it as a lens into the minds and lives of the Princesses.

damn... you consistently manage to cram more raw emotion into your stories that anyone else ive read yet. thank you for this story

Indeed. I honestly don't know how he hasn't had a psychotic break or something after everything he has to put up with. At his age, his primary concerns should be homework and cookies instead of having to be the wrangler for a bunch of nutty adults who hurl themselves into danger and sometimes drag him along for the ride.


Heck, where's Sunset Shimmer and a geode?

Although seeing the monster that clearly might break a gentler soil. Or drive it to murdering.


Well, he's a dragon. Different sort of emotional balance than Ponies, lacking in herd-think, and while Spike is definitely concerned about his sibling and knows her warning signs, I get the feeling he's a touch dense when it comes to empathy towards other ponies - remember Party of One? Where Pinky bribes him with a jewel to tell her her friends have abandoned her, and he fails to notice anything squirrely about this?. (Of course, this is an AU and canon Spike quirks may not be duplicated)

So, just how far does Tempi's talent extend? Can she "roll back the clock" for living things, as well?

Her ears try to work with the resulting sound. After a while, they decide to describe it as !MOOB

reminds me of a comic book where a Bizzaro-Batman fired a gun that went "malb malb"!


Spike's a lot more mature in the Triptych Continuum, yeah. He has his moments, sure, but to see exactly this in context you've only got to look at The Small Hours to see how Trotter's Falls is still affecting him. None of the Bearers have recovered, exactly, but Luna even specifically notes that Spike is suffering at least as bad as any of them, if not worse, and nopony's really been keeping an eye on him because they expect him to be taking care of them.

Letting him connect with Tish... I just feel like it'd give the little guy one good thing that came out of that nightmare, a new friend, someone he could connect with. And an opportunity to feel needed and important. It'd do him a load of good, almost as much as it would for Tish.

a line from a different story: "Discord rolled his eyes. they came up seven."

Well this was excellent. I had been looking forward to seeing more of the fallout and once again it did not disappoint. Tish struggling with the new name is one of the things I like about this character, her life is just so different from others that every experience has this unique tilt to it.

Once again the cultist's witness earthpony magic and once again the very concept doesn't even cross their mind. I really look forward to the eventual ending of the secret and I really hope it happens within this cults lifetime so they all can suddenly grasp just how wrong they are (not that many of them will).

The final cherry on top was the whole discussion with Luna about how and why the nightmare happened. Now we finally know what the deal was and what lead to it being accepted. Moments like this make the idea of a story about the first bearers so tempting, and after Glimmer is done I hope my Patreon pledges get to eventually go towards reading that story, assuming your willing to write it.

The idea of Spike and Tish being pen pals is too good. One grew up too fast, the other too slow. Both had parental figures that treated them like things, even if one's now trying to be better. Seems like these two would be good support for each other.


The Continuum goes on! And Tish is such a treasure. These time manipulation talents are interesting. Wonder if Tish can undo the colour-pony's talent (Orange is the New Blue)?

Really beautiful and haunting. I relate to her struggle with identity.

The newest sister has an amazing power. Really cool and appropriate name, too. I loved the deep conversation with Luna and the smaller moment when Celestia sang for Tish. Kind of disappointed we didn't get to see their conversation about faith, but it could always come up in the future. I'm curious how religion operates in the Continuum, actually, if there are any practices not connected to death cults.

Loved getting to hear from Luna and see some of what she and Celestia went through in their history. It's sad but understandable that Tish would still be traumatized from everything and have difficulties adjusting to more 'normal' existence. Her perspective is fascinating to experience. You can pack so much raw emotion into your writing, it's almost overwhelming to read sometimes. I had forgotten about her having transitional stages between the forms, that's way darker than simple binary transformations at will. The little details like the kitchen staff being barely able to look at her as her body changes or her needing to wear a cape all the time to hide her mark that really build this world make it feel so dimensional.

I love that change is a constant part of her and that she has to confront that reality more than most. It's such an interesting theme.

Enjoyed this thoroughly. I'm very grateful we got to experience it. Thank you for finding the time and strength to bring it to life for us. I hope you can get some respite from your stress soon.

I'm looking forward to the day Spike meets Cerea in Estee's other current fic.
She sees that he's under way too much pressure for someone that young and BAM, she recognizes just how poorly her mother was treating her.

She only met a child after coming to the palace. She has been meeting more, and those meetings are crucial to the continent's future.

:rainbowhuh: I am confused, intrigued and concerned all at once ....

10453435 Ethics and the Sisters have a very shaky relationship ....

10455025 I have my doubts that Cera would recognize her mother's faults, but I agree she would see "similarities" with Spike and probably try to "big sister" him like she did with Papi and Suu back in Tokyo.


She only met a child after coming to the palace. She has been meeting more, and those meetings are crucial to the continent's future.

:rainbowhuh: I am confused, intrigued and concerned all at once ....

I'm pretty sure it refers to her meeting the other potential Hybrid Children to see how they react to her Mark, which is currently the quickest and easiest way they've got to identify the Hybrids.

Wonder how the children of hybrids will react to Tish's mark.

I had the idea that while most ponies are repulsed by it and the hybrids think it's beautiful, any child of a hybrid will react with mild interest to indifference to the mark.

I wonder how other species react to it? Has a minotaur looked at Tish's mark?

Oh, good. Faith.


I really hope it happens within this cults lifetime so they all can suddenly grasp just how wrong they are (not that many of them will).

More likely they'll disparage the Secret parts as "Just glowless telekinesis" just as Canterlot Unicorns Negating Traditional Swears disparage Pegasus Weather Magic as "Well, Unicorns will figure it out eventually."

The non-C.U.N.E.T.S will probably still fail to appreciate the scope of two-thirds of the population having a unique sense; Pegasus Ponies get heat/humidity/ionization-vision, Earth Ponies hear the whispers of the planet itself... and Unicorns got the scattershot leftovers, leaving them deaf and blind.


Spike frowned, as if he wasn't sure what the others were reacting to, and kept his gaze steady -- but with a sort of disinterested confusion laced in.

I'd expect Spike's reaction to be representative of all the unmarked species. Zebras would probably react similarly to ponies, given what Monster Girl told us about their marks. That's not actually canon, but Estee's conservation of setting detail says it applies until stated otherwise.

And now I'm wondering what would happen if "Dr." Gentle got his field on a problematic zebra birth. Maybe he's too much of a bigot to try that experiment.

And of course seaponies don't exist and totally aren't hydrokinetic.

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