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Nightmare Fuel / Codex Equus

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The world of Codex Equus isn't really a Sugar Bowl as one would think - while the setting is fundamentally optimistic, there are many things that could kill someone, both mortal and divine, and the world of Equestria and beyond is shaping up to be far more horrific than is depicted in canon.


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    General (lore, nations, etc.) 
  • "Calling the Terrors". In Deer society, it means that a place had fallen so deep into corruption and greed that even the gods had forsaken it, so they call in the four children of Temnobog to clean it up. Once all the good-hearted citizens are evacuated to safety, Temnobog would mark the sinful kingdom and its inhabitants with his "Black Sigil", allowing the Four Terrors to do their work. What happens is that they put up walls of black fire that prevent all attempts of escape and incinerates those who try, then they start torturing, devouring, killing, and destroying everything in sight. The souls of the condemned are dragged down to Temnobog's domain to be eternally punished, leaving behind absolutely nothing. And the land stays that way for several generations, as a warning for what happens when mortals fall into sin. There's a reason why the Bogolenya pantheon treats the Four Terrors as an absolute last resort against corruption...
  • When a group of Roedinian Clovenists went on a mining operation, they sent down a microphone down an oil well they drilled, intending to look for resources. Instead, they found they Dug Too Deep when they ended up recording the tortured wails of the damned that came from one of Temnobog's hell-realms. It was understandable that they tried denying everything after that.
  • The fate of Temnobog's "Forgotten Children". While not confirmed in-universe, it's implied that of the eight children he had with Ispita, four of them were severely punished - two of them sided with Ispita after she became an evil Fallen Goddess, and were devoured whole from Temnobog, since their betrayal meant they are unworthy of being his kids. The other two committed evils that were so heinous that they were stripped of their powers and identities and turned into eternal playthings for their siblings, the Four Terrors. While the punishments have good reason behind them, they're still quite harsh even by divine standards.
  • In the Codexverse, the Changelings of the Summer and Winter Courts lives up to the legends of the Unseelie and remind readers in- and out-universe just why people feared The Fair Folk.
    • The malevolent Summer Court are described as the dark and twisted reflection of the benevolent Spring Court. Imagine if you will that an entire civilization of subversive, militant conquerors exists hidden from the rest of the world, with all its hives and swarms ruled by a clan of ruthless, calculating and ambitious tyrants the Changeling Kings, who are the demigod sons and grandsons of their ever scheming, deceitful and manipulative patriarch the Changeling Emperor. Imagine since time immemorial most of them had been secretly expanding their power and influence all over the world through subversion and conquest from the shadows, using whole civilizations and even gods as pawns in their inscrutable schemes and agendas, who think nothing of committing atrocities against non-Changelings or even each other in their unfettered pursuit of power. Now imagine that they are also pragmatic and Genre Savvy enough that they usually don't make the same mistakes as other Evil Overlords, and plan and execute their plots meticulously, making it absurdly difficult for your average heroes to try and stop them - and they usually succeeds, or at least gets away with it. Now imagine their tendency to mete out Fate Worse than Death or thoroughly erase those who oppose them, or just being in their way, or even ''know'' their existence. You Can Panic Now.
      • And just to give you an idea of how dangerous and horrible these guys are, in revenge for the 'Burning of Amorea', these guys tried to wipe out Dragonkind - ALL of Dragonkind - in the 'Time of Broken Scales', and they nearly did the job. They came closer than any other race in recent history to bringing the ENTIRE RACE to their knees, where most heroes or realms can only hope to killing or even fighting just ONE average dragon and live to tell the tale. The fact that they used methods that horrified even the most die-hard Dragon-hating racists comes off as trivial in comparison.
    • And if the Summer Court is bad, the Winter Court somehow manages to be even WORSE. While smallest of the Four Changeling Courts and made up of condemned outcasts of their race, they are considered so vile and cruel that even the Summer Court are thoroughly disgusted with them.
  • Meridia, which is basically Australia of the Codexverse, is shaping up to be the 'Deathland' to crown them all. The entry starts with this cheery line from someone who had been there:
    Crazed Sole Survivor (Of an expedition): "It's death! IT'S DEATH!! IT'S DEAAAATH - !!!"
    • According to addendum information with the quote, half the fleet was sunk just getting there, going through the 'Worm Seas', the 'Great Toxic Reef' and 'Predator's Coast' before making landfall. The remainder were wiped out in less than a week by a combination of extremely hostile weather, hyper-lethal wildlife, territorial indigenous inhabitants, highly virulent diseases and gods-knows what else. Who knows how THAT guy survived at all.
    • The place has an official nickname, befitting its infamous status: The 'Nightmare Down Under'. Outside of heavily defended and quarantined safe-zones, the survival rate for a non-local, unprepared individual stands at no more than 20%, per day. That's right, you are liable to being killed in a horrible fashion every 5 seconds. Even growing up to adulthood WITHIN the dubious safety of the safe-zones is considered 'an achievement'.
      • Some places are so lethal, survival rate is not measured in percentage, but in time - meaning you are almost certainly guaranteed to die horribly. And that's often in minutes, if not seconds, unless you get out or get rescued, and even that's more by luck than any effort on your or the rescuers' part.
    • Particularly nasty Meridian lifeforms are described as 'Hyper-Aggressive' and 'Hyper-Lethal' on multiple occasions, and not without good reason.
      • It is stated that a vast majority of the plants, animals, fungi, microbes and such are poisonous, which is bad enough (60 out of the 100 most deadly mushroom on Equus, including 7 of the top 10, are from Meridia, and that's just the fungi), it is then clarified that poisonous or not, virtually all Meridian lifeforms are considered dangerous in one way or another, virtually inedible and more often then not out to eat you.
      • The Gutbuster Weed, for example, contains a toxin which starts a biochemical reaction inside the consumer's digestive tract within minutes of ingestion. Said reaction kills by dissolving the innards of the creature from the inside out.
      • Remember the Great Barrier Reef? In Meridia, you have the Great Toxic Reef. Virtually all the coral there are toxic, making the whole region one giant underwater death-zone, and species like the Poisonous Kelp and the Razor Coral stood out precisely because the latter is one of the few species of coral that isn't toxic (it's hard and sharp enough to cut through metal instead), while the former is one of the few non-coral lifeforms that could even survive there, and toxic enough to kill a sea-dragon in seconds.
      • The Bonemelter Fungus is named such because it specializes in growing on skeletal remains of bone-plated animals. It does this by secreting a toxin which melts through bones, and those who ingested it are vividly described as end up being reduced to little more than hapless blobs of flesh and organs as their skeleton is melted to nothing.
      • The normal Dingo is apparently extinct since the Third Age. Instead, they have the Ripdingo, which is best described as 'a mouth with legs shaped like some mockery of a dog'. They're best summarized as agile, ravenous land piranhas with bites that could chew through steel and comes in packs that could ambush and reduce even large predators like the Banezard, which are basically giant monster lizards, to porch-marked bones.
      • The Worm Seas are named as such because of the huge swarms of saltwater Boring Worms that live there. These meat-loving carnivorous worms could bore their way through ship hulls and then into the flesh of those within. Whole crews and passengers die horribly as they are swarmed and devoured/infested by thousands, if not millions of worms even as their ships sink with sea-water pouring through thousands if not millions of tiny holes.
      • Valley Murder Spiders are spiders big as a Pony's head, hunts Birds-Of-Prey with giant hanging webs, and they have a poison which could start melting the flesh off your bones within seconds, though its primary way of killing you is by attacking your nervous system and cause such horrific full-body agony your heart eventually gives out. There's no cure - no one ever lived long enough to try one.
  • If you live in Abyssinia pre-Coup, then prepare to live a hellish life. When they were leaders of the Abyssinian Pantheon, Zinabi and his consort, Fik'iri were really terrible people who made even worse leaders.
    • Zinabi had an extreme Hair-Trigger Temper that would provoke him into smiting his worshipers for even small offenses. Once, while he was sleeping, his worshipers held a festival to honor their pantheon, which woke him up. Instead of being pleased with this devotion or just telling his worshipers to stop the noise, he created a flash flood that killed thousands of people in his rage. His worshipers have to constantly bend themselves over backwards to please him, and if they pray to him for his services, they make an additional prayer for forgiveness in hopes that he wouldn't suddenly decide to smite them.
    • Fik'iri was much worse - she's a fickle and selfish Love Goddess who abused her power to have sex with any mortal she deemed attractive enough, and made loving couples break apart and fall in love with others out of spite, boredom, and/or amusement. When she tires of her lovers, she abandons them to a horrible fate, but god help you if you refuse her advances, as she believes that her divinity makes her entitled to anything she wants. Because of this, her worshipers have to cover their faces with veils so she wouldn't immediately be overcome with lust. She's also very spiteful and jealous towards those who earn more worshipers through their benevolence, and subjects them to horrible fates, such as verbal and physical abuse (Wibeti) and being betrayed to more malign forces (Tikuri). Her jealousy is such that she convinced Zinabi to abandon Abyssinia to the Storm King because she wanted to punish her people for not worshiping her enough.

Characters

    Ardent Cadenza/Leastweasel 
  • Ardent is probably one of the most dangerous villains in the Codexverse as well as the most tragic. She was once a kind and benevolent healer who, in spite of being jealous of the princesses, truly wanted what was best for Equestria. But after becoming slowly corrupted by the very disease she expunged from ponies, along with some personal tragedies and finding out about her fate, she snapped and became a vengeful demonic force that seeks to start a war with Equestria and whatever faction she seemingly serves and then kill Twilight and her friends to spite the princesses and then encase the world in darkness and despair as payback for all of her suffering.
  • Her condition, along with the other victims of the plague, are quite disturbing in of itself. Some of the victims have been described as turning into something that barely looked pony and, when Ardent tried healing some of The Storm King's forces for him, she accidentally infects them with that very plague, turning them into beasts that were weaponized in desperation due to the Storm Empire losing the war. Now that she snapped and lost all semblance of a moral compass, what's stopping her from infecting others with her plague?
  • The Tree of Harmony telling her that it was her destiny to be destroyed by the Elements of Harmony. To say Ardent didn't take the revelation that she will be killed by Princess Celestia's protégé lightly would be an understatement.
    Ardent: So I'm not the saviour of Ponykind, but its sacrificial lamb. Born only to die by the hoof of the heir apparent of some-pony who had everything handed to her. That is the fate the gods have CHOSEN to bestow upon me?!

    Crystal Prism 

    Golden Scepter, the Radiant Emperor of Ponykind 
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    Grey Hoof 

    High King Irminsul 
  • Mixed with Tear Jerker, High King Irminsul shows that even good deities can become horrible people given the right circumstances and environment. While ultimately well-meaning, he was extremely biased against anything he considered "evil", and hated himself for not being able to get rid of his own flaws. When he tried purging the then-unborn Belyolen of his flaws, he was horrified to discover he ended up creating Temnobog instead and emotionally abused him for being born, believing his younger son was evil incarnate. He didn't know (or care) that Temnobog had never done anything evil to him or anyone else, and only became an evil god for a time because of his family treating him as evil.

    Midnight Bell 

    Mitta, the Light of Everfree 

    Noble Grace 
  • Noble Grace shows through her actions and behavior just how dangerous a Villain with Good Publicity can be in the Codexverse. She's a very affable, kind, and maternal teacher who genuinely believed in both her students and Ponykind's inner potential for greatness, to the point where she saw nothing wrong with joining the Alicorn Ascendancy and performing unethical experiments on young foals and teenagers who showed great promise and talent in order to discover the secrets of divine Ascension. Despite being known for testing her students and encouraging them to rise above their current capabilities, she is ultimately nothing more than a manipulative and insidious hypocrite who uses her lovable demeanor to persuade those same students into participating in her experiments for the greater good, making them believe that whatever she's doing to them would come out good in the end, even though it's likely they wouldn't survive in the process. Noble Grace also believes so strongly in convictions that when called out on her actions and hypocrisy, her personality does a complete 180 and she becomes snippy and condescending, even angry. She was so highly regarded in public that no one, not even the families of her students she experimented on, realized the mental and moral bankruptcy of her character until one filly, Scarlet Bell, noticed that something was off and decided to confront her. Alone. Is it any wonder that Scarlet Bell came out scarred and traumatized afterwards?
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    Poena, the Mistress of Punishment 

    Prince Fanged Paw, the Savage Wolf 
While he's undoubtedly a heroic and benevolent individual who's much nicer than his character inspiration, Primarch Leman Russ, Prince Fanged Paw proves that he can still be terrifying in his own way.
  • It's mentioned in Fanged Paw's entry that his animal-controlling abilities make him an absolute nightmare on the battlefield, especially in forested areas - with empathy, he can calm and tame even the most dangerous monsters, and with Telepathy, he can communicate with any animal and "possess" them by forging Psychic Links with them, allowing him to see and hear things from their view. This essentially means that he can be anywhere, listening to every word you say and watching every action you make, even if he's not physically there. Nowhere is safe.
    • In addition, his entry notes that Fanged Paw is very good at psychological warfare. His modus operandi consists of him using in-depth knowledge of the terrain and his animal-controlling abilities mentioned above to stalk his enemies like a predator, gradually unnerving his enemies as they start feeling like they're being followed. However, his enemies don't even know that he's the one following them, because Fanged Paw can use his voice to mimic various beasts and other wildlife - essentially using Paranoia Fuel to break down his enemies' sanity. Once his enemies have been pushed to their absolute breaking point, Fanged Paw will suddenly emerge and utterly decimate them, causing the survivors to retreat in such a broken and disorderly fashion that they are left easy pickings for his allies and brothers. It's a good thing that Fanged Paw is a benevolent Warrior Prince and on the heroes' side...

    Prince Steel Barricade, the Unbreakable Architect 

    Princess Luna 

    Ruby Heart, the Confessor/Redeemer 

    Scarlet Bell, the Whistleblower 
  • Mixed with Tear Jerker, Scarlet Bell's life has been a living hell since foalhood.

    Surtr Muspelheim, the Swarthy One 
Unlike his mythical portrayal in real life, the Codexverse portrayal of Surtr Muspelheim is far, far worse. Namely, what happens if the mythical Surtr's characterization as a Card-Carrying Villain, and took it to its most extremely horrific conclusion.

Events

    The Storm King Crisis 

    The Revenge of Apertus 

    Dr. Toxikon Crisis 

    Final Ragnarok 
  • All of the Shadowed Ones are shadow-shrouded horrors who are so terrifying in appearance and demeanor that a few mortals who saw them literally died from shock and horror when they were exposed for all to behold.
  • Surtr, one of the Shadowed Ones' most powerful and dreaded allies, is such a juggernaut of an opponent that the battle-group - composed of some of the most powerful Giant/non-Giant gods, demigods and champions around Equus - sent to hold him off and defeat him, despite having numbers, preparations and surprise on their side, was nearly wiped out on several occasions in horrific fashions. The sheer durability of his body and armour No-Sell powerful attacks from Giant deities which could level kingdoms, while he tore into them with sword, flames and destructive powers that one-shot multiple gods and demigods. Let that sink in - in a world where it is explicitly stated gods are incredibly hard to kill even by each other, he was slaughtering them with ease. There is a reason why he was The Dreaded to rival Ragnarøkkr himself.
    • Surtr had singled out Astrid Titanna, designated leader of the battle-group, for his own brand of 'tender-mercies'. He gloated in the exchange just before the battle that he hadn't 'tasted one of his peers' in 'more ways than one' for quite a while - all but hinting what he intend to do with her if he have her in his non-existent mercy. After Astrid enraged him by calling him a coward and the battle began, he added Cold-Blooded Torture on his list, cutting into her shoulder with his great sword while standing over and pinning her down after savagely-wounding her. All this reminds us just what sort of depraved and sadistic monster Surtr is.
    Surtr: [Cutting into her shoulder and hissing in her ears] "Come on then, little frost doe, squeal for me…"

    Temptation Unbound 

    The Giant Wars 

    Wrath of the Dragon 

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