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Fanfic / Background Pony

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The most forgettable pony ever.

My name is Lyra Heartstrings, and you will not remember me. You won't even remember this conversation. Just like with everypony else I've ever met, everything I do or say will be forgotten...

Background Pony is a fanfic based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, by shortskirtsandexplosions.

Lyra isn't a normal pony. She went to Ponyville to celebrate the Summer Sun Celebration with her foal-hood friend, but instead found herself living a cursed life. Upon her arrival, Nightmare Moon did.... something to the unicorn. Everypony forgets about her within minutes of meeting her. Nopony can read her writing. Any evidence of her existence disappears or is dismissed. Any attempts to leave town cause her to collapse underneath the most painful cold imaginable...

Now trapped in a world where she has as much presence as a half-remembered melody, Lyra must find a way to undo her curse. Her only clue is a series of enchanted songs that keep running through her head....

Now in the process of being adapted into comic form.


Background Pony contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate Universe Fic: The royal wedding and the Changeling invasion happens during the last chapter, but Lyra's canonical involvement in those events as one of Cadance's bridesmaids is ignored for the sake of the Downer Ending.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Inverted – Lyra cannot be remembered by anypony she encounters.
    • Played straight in Chapter XVI after Discord's defeat - she now has to play Twilight's Requiem constantly just to remember anything.
    • And again in Chapter XX. After Princess Aria takes away her love of music, Lyra gradually loses all of her memories.
  • Barrier Warrior: Lyra's shield spell comes in handy when she protects Morning Dew and Rumble from an imploding building and fires the shield into said building, splitting it in two.
    • And then later for intimidating Straight Edge when she breaks into his house.
  • Beta Couple: Caramel and Wind Whistler now happily married
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lyra dies without ever removing her curse, but she chooses not to let her defeat of Discord and everything else she's done be erased.
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  • Bold Inflation: Everything The Third Alicorn says or writes appears in bold, purple font.
  • Breather Episode: Chapter X - which comes right after one chapter with some of the saddest and scariest moments in the story, and precedes another with a lengthy and heartbreaking Info Dump from Dr. Comethoof's diary - is pretty much Lyra hanging out with Pinkie Pie for about 70 pages, and is about as random and funny as that suggests.
  • Break Them by Talking: Discord attempts to do this to Lyra in Chapter XVI
  • Childhood Friends: Twilight, Lyra and Moondancer
  • Cold Equation: Lyra must choose between being forgotten forever and being responsible for the deaths of three ponies, the possible destruction of the world, and the nonexistence of a marriage.
  • Cosmic Retcon: It seems that trying to make an alicorn as powerful as Luna aware of the curse will cause her to instinctively rewrite reality so that she can forget it...
  • Crapsaccharine World: Ponyville for Lyra, it’s the same friendly pleasant town from the show, but Lyra's curse prevents her from leaving or she will freeze to death and no one can remember her for longer than a conversation, leaving her alone and homeless with no one to help.
  • Curse: A nameless one is the driving force of the plot, it has two parts: one being Unpersoned, second being it is impossible to travel far from the town hall, as it becomes colder the further she gets from it.
    • Among musicians there is a belief in The Curse of the Ninth, a force that prevents performers and composers from having more than nine epic movements or number one hits in their career.
  • Day in the Limelight: Alabaster Comethoof in Chapter XI
  • Deflector Shield: Lyra learns a shield spell from Twilight so that she can protect herself from the effects of Threnody of Night.
  • Determinator: Lyra
  • Despair Event Horizon: Lyra came close to it in the back-story, but managed to recover Chapter IX has her come close again, but her experience with Bon Bon manages to pull her back from it.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lyra does this to Discord several times. For starters, she blasts him with a party cannon and beats him over the head with a folding chair. If that wasn't enough...after challenging him to a philosophical duel, Lyra proceeds to MIND RAPE him with Twilight's Requiem:
    • "His face contorted, like a soul giving birth, giving birth to himself and dying all at once, a glorious collapse of an omnipotent accident that didn't realize that it was still fractured until that very second. “Stop it!” He clutched his antlers and bent over, curling into himself like a convulsing serpent. “No! I don't want to hear it!” he yelled, sending thunder and lighting branching across the penultimate graveyard of the firmaments. “Stop!...I don't want to hear it!” He was screaming, shouting, pleading, transforming.I don't want to remember!”” Lyra doesn't just "punch out" Discord...SHE RIPS OUT HIS WILL TO LIVE.
  • Domestic Abuse: Snips' father Straight Edge, to the point of telekinetically strangling his children.
    • In the back story Moondancer also suffered from an abusive father.
  • Dream Team: Octavia, Vinyl, Melodia Braids and J.R. Bard the only four living musicians to have beaten the Curse of the Ninth.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted; in a flashback it's shown that Lyra was driven insane by her curse and planned to jump off the top of Town Hall. Thankfully she was talked out of it.
  • Dying as Yourself: Played with. Though Lyra's memory has been stripped to nothing and her love of music has been wiped completely from her mind in order to cover up the existence of the Unsung Realm, her final recorded words in her old age were "I almost wish I could write a song."
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Octavia.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Third Alicorn, Aria the Alicorn of Twilight.
  • Eldritch Location: The Unsung realm.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The end result of what happens to any poor soul that becomes Unsung.
    • Discord considers his own existence in Equestria to be this, as he cannot forget what he lost when he came into the world.
  • The Fatalist Princess Aria believes there is no possibility, or at least nothing good can come from challenging fate
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Dr. Comethoof's journal
  • Forced to Watch: Since the Nightbringer prevents Discord from directly affecting Lyra, he resorts to this.
  • Foreshadowing: The meaning of the flower Morning Dew gives to Lyra was hopeless love.
    • During chapter XVI the author makes it apparent that this meaning was entirely unintentional.
    • Used in Chapter IV when Lyra is leaving her house in Canterlot to depart for Ponyville. Somewhat inverted in that it's foreshadowing something that has yet to happen chronologically but has already occurred in the story.
      Lyra: Daaaaaad... I'll only be there for a few days! Heehee! You won't even know I left!
  • Good Samaritan: Bon Bon, to the point that she continues taking care of a freezing cold Lyra even after forgetting that she had brought her inside.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Chapter VI, Lyra rescuing of Scootaloo from a teleporting accident.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lyra is eventually offered a chance to return to the remembered world, but it would cause all that she'd done as an Unsung to be erased- including saving abused foals, rescuing Scootaloo, giving Dinky her instrument and stopping Discord. So she doesn't.
    • As part of this deal, she also gives up her love of music.
  • Iconic Outfit: Lyra almost never seen without her "swell hoodie".
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Lyra falls in love with another pony who reciprocates her feelings, but eventually lets her crush go and sets him up with another pony, since she knows they can't be together.
  • Ill Girl: Melodia Braids
  • Immortality Inducer: Not quite its intended usage, but the power from the Nightbringer allows Comethoof to live for almost a thousand years in the Unsung realm.
  • Invented Individual: The Parasprites, who actually are also surprisingly Good All Along
  • It Gets Easier: It’s hard to react emotionally to a scene you've seen repeatedly.
  • Knight Templar: Princess Aria, in her realm everything must be held in perfect order, any being that learns of the unsung must be killed and buried in her realm.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Sooner or later (and almost always, it'll be sooner), every pony will forget they met Lyra ( or any of the other Unsung), even if they're still mid-conversation with her. Its possible that something they discussed will stick with them, though they won't know the source of the thing they're thinking about.
    • Its also heavily implied that Lyra and Celestia have met every time she's visited Ponyville, but the curse caused them both to forget.
  • Madness Mantra: Sing my song and become nothing. Sing my song and become nothing. Sing my song...
  • Magic Music: Luna's elegies have powerful magic effects from instilling paranoia or joy, causing blindness and freezing cold, and seem to be the only key to unlocking Lyra's curse.
    • Twilight also implies that music from the Cosmic Matriarch is what built the world in the first place.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter IX
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Rarity
  • The Philosopher: Lyra
  • Puppy Love: Sweetie Belle and Rumble
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Lyra finally snaps and starts screaming at the Third Alicorn after her dozenth failed attempt to get her to play Desolation's Duet with her.
  • Rainbow Speak: Certain words are colored in the story. Lyra seems to notice them even if they're spoken.
    • Lyra Heartstring's first and last names are colored green.
    • Doctor Alabaster Comethoof's first and last names are colored blue, as well as his song, Penumbra's Echo.
    • Purple text doesn't appear very often before Chapter IX, and what does appear in purple doesn't seem to have any logical connection until about halfway through Chapter XI.
  • Recurring Extra: A core theme, as the title indicates. The fic asks the question of "what if some characters weren't background characters just for the viewers, but in-universe as well?"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Moondancer and Twilight Deconstructed, as their friendship self-destructs quickly once they're around each other without Lyra to mediate between them.
  • Repressed Memories: Discord can't remember anything about Aria due to his ten-thousand year imprisonment.
  • Self-Deprecation: “Jeez! Just listen to the lime-green fuzzhead!” Rainbow Dash whispered, gesturing wildly. “Have you ever heard a pony say so little with so many stupid words?!”
    • Any attempt to break the fourth wall runs into this trope fast
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Of a kind against Discord. They don’t have to physically shape-shift, just describe what they are and challenge the other to think of something to best them. Considering they “become” such abstract things such as “the field of medicine”, “honor” and “the future”, its probably for the best.
  • Shout-Out: Chapter X is loaded with references to pretty much every other popular fanfic staring Lyra and The End of Ponies. Chapter XVI as well.
    • The aforementioned Shapeshifter Showdown is one to quite possibly the most powerful scene in Neil Gaiman's Sandman while avoiding ripping it off completely.
    • In Chapter XVI, Lyra gets the nickname "Harpo". On the surface, it's a mockery of her name and Cutie Mark. But it's also fairly appropriate reference to Harpo Marx, who was both a mime onstage (considering Lyra is an Unperson) and a harp virtuoso besides.
    • Discord makes a crack at Lyra about hands in a presumed reference to Anthropology, also in Chapter XVI.]]
  • Sleepy Head: Morning Dew has narcoleptic episodes
  • Something Only They Would Say: Played with. Every time Spike has "met" Lyra, he says, "Dig the swell hoodie." Until Chapter XVI, because it's really Discord in disguise. She doesn't realize it until it's too late.
  • Sound Stone: The songs playing in Lyra's head, the Nightbringer, and Penubra's Echo. There are items called sound stones in-universe, but they don't actually play any music and are more like Plot Coupons for how they're used.
  • Take a Third Option: Lyra is allowed to either undo her curse but also undo everything she’s learned or accomplished while under the curse, or become part of the Unsung choir, forget her suffering and be at peace. She chooses to continue living as an outcast, with some memories removed so she won’t try to break her curse again.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: On the first day of her cursed life, Lyra goes to the forth story ledge of town hall to jump off, convinced that her life isn't worth living anymore. A passing stallion convinces her not to jump, saying that she's too precious to leave so soon even though he didn't know who she was.
    • This stallion is Caramel, to whom Lyra was telling her story to in Chapter II.
  • Un-person: Lyra’s curse has rendered her existence invisible to all other ponies, no one can remember her, and all attempts at communication beyond verbal are invisible.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter XI and Chapter XVI
  • Wham Line: “Her beloved wakes! Her beloved wakes! Her beloved wakes!”
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: When Lyra plays Threnody of Night for the first time in her cellar, she blacks out and wakes up in the middle of the woods outside her home with her coat soaked.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In Chapter XV, Lyra repeatedly attempts to bring to light the abusive household Snips, his sister and his mother are living in. Attempts to involve Cheerilee, the police and Twilight, Applejack and Rainbow Dash all fail thanks to the curse, and Lyra eventually resorts to ambushing Straight Edge in a darkened alley, telekinetically breaking his legs with a two-by-four. However, despite knowing that she would get away with it, she ultimately cannot bring herself to break his horn, and ends up taking him to the hospital once his memory is erased of the attack.
    • Also applies to her climactic Heroic Sacrifice, as it is made clear that no one, Lyra included, would know she was responsible had she chosen to undo the events following her curse and risk the safety of Equestria.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Everything in the story bends Lyra right back to the curse. Every attempt she makes to undo it either fails or makes everything else worse.