• 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

There are those who say that a mark is a portion of the soul made visible to the world. That the mark is destiny, and so cannot be denied. Equestria has existed under the influence of marks for all of its recorded history, allowing the ever-changing tide of icons to guide the way.

But it could also be said that every system contains the seed of its own destruction.

There is one who believes destiny is nothing more than a trap. And there is nothing she will not do to make the world free.

(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 (27)
Comments ( 1066 )

I am changing this to a new folder
Triptych Continuum Rebooted
Year 5 folder


Sees notification. Squees like little girl :pinkiehappy:

The scientific method can be rather hard on the method-ee.

Before I read a word of this, let me just say:



The sequel link at the very top of the description pushed the 'Part of the...' section below the More button.

This is official.

For better or a whole lot of incoming predictions of 'worse', we're under way.

According to Wikipedia

A boma is a livestock enclosure, community enclosure, stockade, corral, small fort or a district government office and community used in many parts of the African Great Lakes region, as well as Central and Southern Africa. It is particularly associated with community decision making. It is incorporated into many African languages, as well as colonial varieties of English, French and German.

As a livestock enclosure, a boma is the equivalent of kraal. The former term is used in areas influenced by the Swahili language, and the latter is employed in areas influenced by Afrikaans.

In the form of fortified villages or camps, bomas were commonplace in Central Africa in the 18th and 19th century. They were commonplace throughout Africa, including in areas affected by the slave trade, tribal wars and colonial conquest, and were built and used by both sides.

IMO, some tribes use one term, others use the other.

I am strapped in, I am eager, and I am excited. Let's do this, Estee.


I asked Estee about Ms Shimmer back in 2016, when her spell could have come in very handy back in Mark of Appeal

Dear DP,

Starlight, should she exist in-'verse, will be an abomination, and would be treated accordingly.

Put it this way: friendship is option #2. Option #1 is nuking from orbit.

I have been anticipating a fic of this nature since. It's gonna be Horrifying


OMG Glimmer is here!!!!!!!!:pinkiehappy:I didn’t think we would make but but it’s here!!!!

Well it would appear that Equis or whatever this planet is called is about to bear witness to the true torment of the scientific method done with a utter lack of empathy or restraint.

I do believe that the Jurassic park quote is going to be relevant at some point though where I cannot say.

As for expected punishments for whom I shall henceforth refer to as ether The Nag or The Dead Mare Walking (TDMW), well I'll let this image speak for itself

On the one hand, hype! On the other... uh, those are some heavy tags for me. Here's hoping I can make it through this one.


Edit: just finished reading and Jesus freaking Christ


Put bluntly: I knew how it opened. Given the events of the first chapter, if I hadn't put the redtags in, there would have been comments, and there might have been a few of them. There may have also been the option for screams. (There are still people insisting that Triptych needs the Dark label.) I know there's a tag tax to pay here: that first downvote may even represent the beginning of the payment -- or one of my Unlovelies who was awake at the right time.


But I'd rather have people know what they were up against going in. And this time around, the Dark tag is present.

In the name of fuzzy ducklings, what is wrong with you, Glimmer?

Well, this was a nice dose of horror to finish my day with. Exquisite writing, as always. You managed to completely get across the "feeling" of having a part of your soul ripped out. And that just puts into stark relief the absolute wrongness of what Starlight does to her victims, especially in your 'verse, with all its importance on marks.

This is going to be an absolute nightmare for our poor heroes, isn't it?

Eagerly followed and thumb-upped.

Starlight Glimmer
The Equestrian answer to Dr. Mengele?

Oh, f(YAY!)king joy. Rapture. Bliss.

Starlight Gilmmer, here, is going to be that pony-the one that has gone so far into a particular madness that there might not be a way out for her.

(The scary thing? She might not have fallen into her mark. In that respect, she may be terribly, horribly sane.)

But, there's going to be something else here-worldbuilding. Especially if that gets into the issue of marks and how their magic works...

Holy shit this Starlight is going to be a monster to deal with. A body trail miles long over the years and no remorse. Only data. All around the world, experimenting on isolated prey, studying other mark-less species and see how their society works. She is a sociopath isn't she?

Seems like she hasn't found a way to emprison the stolen marks into something yet. Or perhaps there are early attempts, various devices to see what works... more bodies for the tally.

You write good monster Estee.

Starlight glimmers famous Achilles Heel: obviously the world works this one way, so I can't possibly be wrong. She's like Shadow Weaver but with a personality beyond 'evil.'

I admit, I squeed a bit when I saw this posted. I wasn't expecting this so quickly! Yay!

But jeez, right off the bat we can see that Starlight will be a completely different monster than what Gentle was. At the beginning of Triptych, it was quite cagey with what his deal was. But even when his madness was revealed, he still had a kill count in the negative hundreds in his favour. We've just had a murder right out the gate here and things will only get worse.

Oh. This is going to be fascinating.

"We've just had a murder right out the gate here and things will only get worse."

This was murder number 6. Murder number 7 is currently being lined up.

Starlight Glimmer is somewhere in the vicinity of Tirek in terms of Triptych evil it seems.

I second that squee.

She would never see Moon freed of its scars, hear those tales of the Return which reached her kraal in a form which had already been distorted beyond all hope of truth.

Oh goodness, there's a thought. Just how bad did the global telephone game distort that bit of news?

But the mare was tired. There was another, constant effort being made.

If anyone's going to be in constant denial of her mark, it'll be Starlight.

The fabric of the left one bulged. Pushed out from within, as if something had just shifted within the stationary balance. Then it abruptly domed, surged to one side with such force as to distort away from the lid --

Oh. Or holding onto whatever marks she's already extracted. Also a possibility.

"Why are Sun and Moon?"

Why Starlight is so dangerous in a nutshell. She asks the questions no one else thinks to. And she demands answers.

Flame and hollowing... I feel like this is going to be the Dark Souls of the Triptych Continuum.

Even as the only truly sane pony in the world.

Protip: If you can sincerely think "I'm not crazy, they're all crazy!" then you're probably wrong.
The thing is, in this particular case, by a certain definition... she might not be.

In any case, once again, we begin with a murder. But where Tish's was an accident performed in self-defense, this is a monster stalking its latest victim. A scientifically minded monster who offers career advice after the initial bite, but a monster all the same. Looking forward to the rampage. This will surely be one to remember.

Well. Those Tags sure are accurate. :rainbowderp: :fluttercry:

I really hope this is the only time that Suicide / Self-Harm applies so directly here. But I dunno. Great scenes! Terrible events!

Maybe a target with less deadly means at hand, would lead to a survivor?? :rainbowderp: ... *Chills*.


Starlight is Prepared. Got tons of devices, and can remake them, for one thing...

Then there's the sleepy stuff...

And however she's doing this...

Well, it's like Kalziver's Severance, but even further. And the Severance is a Triple Corona Spell. ... But hmm. Devices could probably help with that?

OH. Maybe it's a mix of Kalziver's and Starswirl's Unfinished. Take it in full by binding it to an unfitting target... A.k.a Herself... Which is more fitting a mark so it's just that bit easier...

... Hmm... Sun and Moon magic... A.k.a the Old Unicorn Sun Raising Spell or whatever. Which is so public knowledge that a magic researcher looking into it isn't treated as suspicious...

And looking into that is something any one wanting to take out Celestia would need to keep the world going... ... And it's a Sun Raising Spell. What about the Moon??


And that title image is the Inequality symbol, where Starlight's fake one is the Equality symbol...

And Starlight seems to have a mark? Maybe? Huh.

Maybe that was what the pony's icon was for. But the image made the zebra think of smoke. Something which rose away...

Or did she Sever it from herself or something? ... Or the "Everyone else first, then me" idea?


Binary... Like Black and White like a Zebra's stripes? Black and White viewpoint of Glimmer? ... Other meanings I'm not seeing...


EDIT: Hmm. Is Glimmer's Mark Timing fitting the Mane Six's Rainbow connection? At least 7+ years before Luna's return...

Repeat isolation conditions with #7 to check for/verify additional duplicate results.

Scientists never give their test subjects names. If they already have names, they are never added to the documentation. This is to avoid emotional attachment.

What was her name, Estee? And the names of the five test subjects victims before her? (I’m betting that even if Starlight Glimmer doesn’t record them, just like Fluttershy you’ll keep the list in your heart.)


Lets see how many questions this story answers, and how many more it raises.

well that was utterly horrifying. i cant wait for more! i truly hope this ends in redemption somehow but... in this universe that doesn't seem likely

Well I have one thing to say here. Starlight is a bonafide Sociopath at this point.


Interesting little terminology variation.

"Why are marks?"

Like Triptych, we start with a foal question. But this one isn't hiding in plain sight like "where do alicorns come from?"

"Why are Sun and Moon?"

Two foal questions.

there was also a sort of vacuum

Similar wording was used to describe the effect of viewing Tish's mark on ordinary marked ponies.


Monster Girl, which isn't canon, is the only explicit statement that it's the name of the planet. But the Treaty of Menagerie has been mentioned a half dozen times in canon stories. Since Estee practices conservation of setting detail, it's safe to assume that name applies until there's something that says otherwise.

...I am honestly terrified to click and see what sort of horror story you’ve turned Glim Glam into with how marks work in Triptych. I think I’ll get to this soon, but definitely not before bed.

“Monster” is certainly one appropriate term. This sociopathic perversion of the scientific method makes me sick. And I’m autistic, so that’s no small feat. Starlight’s methodology would benefit greatly from more direct observation and in-person follow-ups, not to mention this fun little component of sapient-centric research called CONSENT.

This isn't a unicorn.

It's a soul-destroying serial killer with a horn, desecrating reality one life at a time.

Oooh boy. This is gonna be rough. And damn she’s literally a psychopath. Not just cause of what she’s done, 6 times now, and how she’s being. Nonono. That’s further proof, but not it.

It was the part.
The smile.

We have seen one example of someone who perverts their mark.

Starlight may have been called to something akin to the show's CMC- she did help Starburst get his mark, after all.

Oh wow, this has now begun !

I was thinking about this the other day and I wasn't sure if you had decided upon GLIMMER or SIX.

I had hoped for the former* - it felt like the more natural progression - however dark it may get.

Oh derp...

I don't know my former from my latter.

Sorry Estee.
I really meant to say former.
I had hoped for Glimmer.

So it begins. I wonder if or how our author will handle the fall and if redemption would even be possible.

"It would be so simple," the unicorn said, "if it was the same answer..."

Oh boy - what does she know; or perhaps more importantly, what does she not know - because we know what she'll do to find the answers.

To be fair, sometimes it’s to avoid identifying the subjects to whoever sees the paper/case study/text book. They anonymize the data as much as possible, if they care.

Unlike certain infamous doctors, where we can identify their victims by picture & case study, even if names are left out. Just like anyone from that kraal (or surrounds) would be able to identify their charcoal maker from Glimmer’s notes. 😒


What about the Moon??

"I'm workin' on it."

Binary... Like Black and White like a Zebra's stripes? Black and White viewpoint of Glimmer? ... Other meanings I'm not seeing...

Having a mark or not? If that's the case, there've been some bits flipped...

Finally got around to reading the full opening chapter...whew boy 👀💦

That poor zebra didn't deserve this :fluttercry:

Hooray for wanting more, while feeling horrible for doing so! I'll be looking forward to the installments to this as they come out, this is gonna be one heck of a ride.

Hoo boy. I can tell this is going to be one of those stories that will leave me emotionally bleeding. And I'll keep coming back for every new cut.

Oh boy. Glimglam is a full right horror show when treated seriously like this.

This is gonna be a ride and no mistake. Looking forward to it, Estee.

Whew! An Estee story tagged with suicide and self-harm? Maybe it'll take a couple chapters to get to it--
*reads chapter* --nope, never mind! Boy! No half-measures with the Triptych Continuum.

Dark, intense start. Awesome work Estee!

The mark is a manifestation of the soul, which is why the severance spell doesn't last.
You're wrestling a soul into submission.
Starlight found the most efficient and horrifying way around that which nopony else would ever think to do.
Cut a chunk out of a soul.

Oh, Starlight...

Progress is born of change. Change is born of understanding. Understanding is born of reason. When reason is replaced instead with rationalization, you begin to see nails everywhere.

God of Thunder you are not, but your hammer is far more terrible.

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