Due to being a more realistic kind of world compared to canon, Codex Equus can sometimes get into tragic places.
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General (lore, nations, etc.)
- Life has not been kind to Ardent. Between being slowly corrupted by a plague she healed ponies from to accidentally beating her own husband to death in a fit of rage (and hallucinating him as Star-Swirl) to spending what felt like an eternity in a dungeon with mocking hallucinations of the alicorn sisters for company, one would think she would get a break when The Storm King's forces discovered her. Nope, her healing abilities have been corrupted to bestow the plague on those she tried to heal and she found out that it was her destiny to be destroyed by the elements in order to wipe out the plague for good. Is it any wonder why she snapped and became the vengeful demon that wishes to plunge Equus into darkness.
Belyolen, the Radiant One
Despite being a pure, compassionate, and radiant stag, his life wasn't as easy as people would think...
- Belyolen's life had been pure Adult Fear even before he was born. He was the unexpected result of High King Irminsul's attempt to purge his then-unborn son's inner evil so he would become a pure and benevolent god, only for it to backfire when his wife, Arvan, gave birth to divine twins instead - one radiant and pure, and the other dark and tainted. From childhood, Belyolen was praised and loved by his family and peers for what he embodied, but he also had to watch those same people emotionally abuse his brother, Temnobog, for being born "evil" despite not having done anything to warrant it. Every time Belyolen tried reaching out to his dark brother and/or protecting him, he would always be blocked by his family, who feared that Temnobog's presence would corrupt him. This caused the utterly miserable fawn to believe that even Belyolen hated him, and began attacking and sabotaging him out of spite. Even worse, it's noted that his family was delighted to see Belyolen attacking his brother and even encouraged it, since they assumed the radiant stag was finally seeing Temnobog as a dark abomination that must be opposed for the good of Deerkind.
- The kicker that caused him to leave the Elternteil pantheon was overhearing his parents (and some of his siblings) arguing over if they should kill Temnobog or not. This made Belyolen so upset that, after receiving encouragement from the Alicorn goddess of Self-Love, Amour-De-Soi, he confronted his family during a meeting over what to do with Deerkind's future and called out everyone for their abusive hypocrisy, stating that they claimed to be benevolent yet they became no different than the evils they opposed by abusing Temnobog. What made more heartbreaking that Belyolen genuinely believed that even he was at fault for Temnobog's misery, going far as to shame himself for his supposed inaction (even though his family was responsible) and letting everyone influence his opinion on what is Good and Evil. His speech made his brothers and sisters regret their actions against Temnobog, and in the end they sided with Belyolen over their parents.
- And even after all that, Temnobog still hated his brother and decided to go as far to try usurping Belyolen as leader of the newly-formed Bogolenya pantheon, because his family took great lengths to make him believe that he was unwanted. It took lots of terrible battles between each other, as well as a crisis that was threatening the entire Bogolenya pantheon, to make them learn that they were actually two halves of a whole and divine equals, because they were taught all their lives that what they embodied made them "superior/inferior" to each other. After that, Belyolen confessed everything to Temnobog and broke down crying in front of him, revealing years of stress, guilt, and trauma.
- And despite successfully creating a healthy environment for everyone in the Bogolenya pantheon, including the non-Deer members and the hybrid children that sprung up from interracial romances, Belyolen worried that the Elternteil pantheon might drop a visit and ostracize them for both intermingling with divine Deer and merely existing. Even though he still loved his parents to some degree, he had to make it clear to his parents that their harmful attitudes are not welcome around the Bogolenya pantheon, and as long as they continued being hypocritical and treating Temnobog like garbage, they would be not allowed to visit their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The Black Heron Corpse Investigation Team (BHCIT)
- Their Perpetual Poverty. Unlike the source material, which mostly plays it for hilarity, here the Reality Ensues aspect of the trope is played very seriously. Being in a floundering corpse-related business, combined with their constantly poor financial situation in general, has forced the team to take up various odd jobs just to get by, even with the help of friends. Naturally, this led to them developing an opportunistic greed that motivates them to do anything to earn some cash, including accepting yen as gifts from their followers post-Ascension... but it also gets them in trouble with some of the Shinseina deities, who are appalled and disapproving of their behavior.
- A private conversation between Guiding Light and Empress Izanami-no-kami reveals that the BHCIT team was so blinded by their desire to earn money and get themselves out of poverty, that they didn't realize how divine realms worked in general, including the fact that a divine occupant can use Primordial Quintessence to create and shape their own home free of charge. Izanami points out that their greed is making them act foolish and if they don't watch themselves, they could end up leaving their mortal followers destitute and homeless, which she confirms with two simple questions. The first one (about losing his first apartment because he failed to pay rent) catches Guiding Light rather off-guard. But it is the second question (about assuming that the Shinseina deities were landlords who charged rent fees for anyone living in their divine realm) that momentarily causes him to break from his usual Brutal Honesty by shouting "NO!", before quickly backpedaling to say "yes".
Bolezn, the Master of Pestilence
- Crystal Prism was once a unicorn colt named "Page Wheel", who worked as a newspaper delivery boy in his hometown. Yet deep down, he wanted to become a stallion so he could care for his gravely ill mother. When he teased his neighbor, Midnight Bell, for being clumsy, he inadvertently set off his Trauma Conga Line - after Midnight lied about him and his magical capability, he was kidnapped and experimented on by two wanted criminals in an attempt to turn him into an Alicorn, yet he ended up devolving into a dangerous magic-eating monster that went on a rampage across the Grittish Isles. Then he was killed by Luminiferous and the Equestrian Princesses in order to stop him from attacking anyone else, despite being only a child (though to be fair, they didn't know who or what the monster was until it was too late). Luckily, Page Wheel survived when the leftover magic revived/Ascended him in a cocoon, but when he finally came out of it several days later, he was dazed, confused, and terrified. His trauma was so bad that it took lots of therapy sessions with Mentálne just to recover from the worst parts of his PTSD.
- To make it worse, it's revealed that the unicorn trio Decepticolt, Zappityhoof, and Goldencap, played a direct role in Crystal Prism's monstrous transformation and Ascension, helping Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker in their well-meaning yet cruel attempts to mass-produce Alicorns. Instead of being rightly horrified and sympathetic to what had been done to him, the unicorn trio resented Crystal for becoming an Alicorn, even having the gall to accuse him of being an entitled person who wanted to keep the secrets of becoming an Alicorn to himself. Small wonder Crystal went into a "terrifying rage" after his Trauma Button was pushed...
- It's later revealed that the two criminals who experimented on him, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker, experimented on him because they wanted to create an Alicorn that embodied Rebirth and Change so they could serve as a symbol for a "new age" for Ponykind. And even after they were exposed, arrested, and punished for their crimes, Crystal Prism bitterly notes that they still got what they wanted in the end. And since he managed to Ascend, he has an obligation to fulfill the destiny they imposed on him, as his old life as Page Wheel is irrevocably ruined. Fortunately, Golden Scepter would assure him that it doesn't have to be.
Crystal Prism: Well, I guess she still got what she wanted, in the end... I Ascended and became the Alicorn of Rebirth and Change, heralding a 'new age' and all that. I suppose it's my only destiny now... right?
Emperor Golden Scepter: No... no, my little pony. It is not the only destiny you have... far from it, actually.
Crystal Prism: What makes you say that, Emperor?
Emperor Golden Scepter: I have the power to see the future of every pony on this planet. And yet, an old friend of mine taught me that 'nothing is truly set in stone'. Every person, divine and mortal, has the power to change and determine their fate, including you.
Crystal Prism: But... how can I do that if... if...?
Emperor Golden Scepter: You embody Change, do you not?"
Crystal Prism: Er... yes?
Emperor Golden Scepter: Then you have your answer. What that old mare and her crony did to you was wrong. However, you have more roads open to you now. What you will do with your life and your new divinity from this point on, is entirely up to you.
- A canonized Codexverse drabble reveals that Crystal Prism also suffered from self-esteem issues, believing that since he's an Alicorn now, his parents wouldn't recognize or love him as their son anymore. After confiding in his mother, Ink Wheel, he learns that not only did his parents try so hard to have a foal many times in the past, they also had to deal with social stigma from their neighbors for their failure to have children, until Page Wheel was born. Then Ink Wheel fell sick, which she blamed herself for, and prayed every day for a cure so she would see her son grow up. Her prayers were finally answered when Page Wheel came home as Crystal Prism and healed her with his "cocoon-healing" ability, curing her sickness for good. As a result, his parents see him as a divine miracle, even though he doesn't look the same anymore.
Ink Wheel: In our eyes, you were our miracle baby, in more ways than one.
Golden Scepter, the Radiant Emperor of Ponykind
Being based on the the Emperor of Mankind
gave Golden Scepter a backstory that explained certain personality traits
that the Emperor himself displayed... and most of it isn't pretty
- Before Known History, during a time when the Alicorns reigned supreme, Golden Scepter was a very beloved ruler and judge of his own empire, and his empire was regarded as one of the most advanced and successful empires even by the Alicorns' standards. Then Morning Star Fell and betrayed his people, kickstarting the "Twilight of the Alicorns" conflict. The wars took ten Ages before Morning Star was finally killed by his own "son", Luminiferous, but it was implied that it was so brutal that it left Equus devastated, with Golden Scepter, one of the survivors who personally fought Morning Star and rescued the innocent from his faction, having lost many loved ones, friends, and neighbors to the violence and depravity.
- Golden Scepter would eventually found the Imperium of Ponykind, but his experiences gave him massive PTSD and other unresolved issues - notably, he was so traumatized by what Morning Star had done to his people that he would have nightmares and hallucinate images of his Arch-Enemy, even though Morning Star was long dead by this point. He became extremely protective of Ponykind in general and kickstarted military campaigns that were little more than xenophobic genocides, and even then he wasn't above manipulating his own allies, subordinates, and pony subjects because being the only god among mortals had left him feeling rather isolated, which slowly created a distrust that caused him to believe that only he knew better for his people. His entry also notes that he still wanted to raise his mortal subjects to greatness... but he only cared about the potential for greatness his subjects had as a collective force and didn't give a damn about them individually, implying that his trauma was so great that he even stopped caring for the people he once loved and protected. Essentially, he behaved similarly to the Emperor of Mankind because a long life of death and destruction had left him a severely Shell-Shocked Veteran, whose untreated traumas and flaws would ultimately led to the downfall of his Imperium, starting with the "Aurum Apostasy" when one of his generals led a coup against what he believed was a divine tyrant. Golden Scepter would kill Aurum, but not before sustaining grave wounds that required him to be put in magical stasis. Except everyone gradually forgot about him, as without its leader, the Imperium would become a Wretched Hive that would use Golden Scepter as justification for their heinous actions and as an excuse to commit atrocities in his name, which warranted its destruction at the hands of more benevolent forces of that Age.
- Then after he was unearthed, revived, and healed by Luminiferous and Dazzleglow in the Second Age, Golden Scepter was severely frightened, hostile, and distrustful of everything and everyone, especially Luminiferous, who looked exactly like Morning Star, his old enemy. However, once he was taken to the ruins of his Imperium, he remembered the last thing that happened before he was put in stasis and fell into despair, realizing that he became Not So Different than Morning Star, or his people who let their successes influence them into becoming arrogant and complacent. Fortunately, Luminiferous would motivate him to redeem himself, which he successfully does by the time the Fourth Age began.
- Golden Scepter's entry includes a conversation with Temnobog that took place during the former's temporary stay in the Bogolenya Deer pantheon. In it, Golden Scepter reveals that he knew the Alicorns were slowly becoming stagnant and complacent from their victories and achievements, but no matter how hard he tried to fight it, even he was ignorant of just how far the corruption went until Morning Star's Fall and betrayal happened. The heartbreaking part about it is his admission that the fall of the Alicorn Civilization, no matter how much trauma it inflicted upon him, turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him and his people.
Temnobog: A divine utopia of complete benevolence and fairness, with nothing but success to truly motivate them? No wonder your people fell. They've been sitting on their laurels for so long that they eventually became blind to their own corruption... until one of them snapped, that is.
Emperor Golden Scepter: ...I suppose you are right, Dark One. Even I was blind to it, as hard as I tried... Perhaps... perhaps Morning Star's betrayal and the destruction of my home were the best things that ever happened to the Alicorns, and me as well.
- While Golden Scepter grossing out his sons with his stories of the Alicorn Civilization's Free-Love Future and his own sex life was hilarious, Written Word's Codex entry would throw in a Cerebus Retcon - Golden Scepter saw later how he badly he affected his sons with the information when a traumatized Written Word privately approached him, and apologized for it. Then he would confirm to Written Word that he really did sleep with both mares and stallions in the past, but despite his attempts to keep himself "honest" and give all of his romantic partners the love and respect they deserved, he couldn't stop himself from participating in the Alicorns' increasing hubris and hedonism. He deeply regrets this even to this day, and it's implied that what he saw and did ultimately influenced him to settle down with only a mortal pegasus mare, Blessed Skies, and stayed faithful to his wife long after her death.
Emperor Golden Scepter: (to his son, Written Word) Sometimes I would think about what happened, and I would wonder where we had all gone wrong.
- Midnight Bell is the bastard daughter of a unicorn mare and a "common" stallion, secretly shipped off to the Grittish Isles by her mother, Diamond Bell, to protect her from being abused by her pro-unicorn tribalist relatives for being an Earth pony. But while her great-aunt Scarlet Bell loved her like a daughter, being an Earth pony in a mostly unicorn town created an inferiority complex that led to Midnight overcompensating for it by helping her neighbors, to no avail. Page Wheel laughing at her for being clumsy motivated Midnight to wish upon a shooting star to become a unicorn, even for a day, and her subsequent attempts to use unicorn magic led to her town suffering extensive damage. When she was sent to a magic school to receive proper training, she was hailed as a prodigy, causing Midnight to lie to keep up appearances until she broke and admitted the truth. This caused people to contemptuously refer to Midnight as an "imposter unicorn", and when Midnight lied about Page Wheel being the real prodigy to save her own skin, two disgraced teachers, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker, kidnapped the colt for their experiments, but ended up turning him into a monster. Then Midnight had to distract her monstrous neighbor so he could be stopped, despite knowing she'll be killed in her attempt, but likely didn't know that Luminiferous and the Equestrian Princesses arrived to fight Page Wheel with the intent to kill him. Midnight was so traumatized that she blamed herself for everything, including ruining Page Wheel's life.
Phykti, the Baroness of Torment
Pokhot, the Damsel of Desire
Prince Crimson Star, the Red Scholar
Prince Fanged Paw, the Savage Wolf
Prince Vladimir Polaris Blueblood
- Blueblood's childhood was terrible. His parents were emotionally abusive, forcing him to live up to their standards of an ideal unicorn as a blood descendant of Princess Platinum, and forbade him from playing with other non-unicorn noble children, even trying making him develop tribalism towards non-unicorns in general. And when he got his compass rose Cutie Mark, his parents quickly tried stifling his "foalish" dreams of being a navigator, seeing it as unbecoming for a Scion of House Platinum. This resulted in Blueblood feeling so miserable that Princess Celestia took notice of him during a day in her court, and a personal session of talking and cookies caused Blueblood to bawl in front of Celestia, having never experienced such parental love before. Then it turns to Awesome and Heartwarming when Celestia quickly adopted Blueblood and declared House Platinum Persona Non Grata in her court, making it clear that she will not tolerate foal abuse under her roof, and even had Blueblood's parents escorted out by her Day guards.
- Blueblood's reasons for his canon characterization in "The Best Night Ever" is this, too. He was once a very idealistic and compassionate stallion who wanted to help Equestria. But no matter what he did or how hard he tried, he would always be hindered and blocked by corrupt, reactionary, incompetent, and arrogant nobles who saw him as a threat to their status quo. Not only that, the few romantic relationships he got into ended horribly because the mares who dated him turned out to be gold-digging, ambitious socialites who only wanted his titles and wealth, only to dump him and leave him to clean up their messes when they found he wasn't exactly the stallion they wanted. The sheer heartbreak and frustration he would experience eventually influenced Blueblood into putting up facades and pretend to act like Canterlot's genuinely useless nobles so he'll be able to get around them and pass his reforms without raising too much suspicion, and keep mares away from him so they wouldn't break his heart again. Unfortunately, this came at the cost of his subjects lumping him with the nobles he hated based on what they saw, and his attempts to turn Rarity away during the Grand Galloping Gala backfired because he assumed she was another gold-digging mare and didn't realize her affections were genuine until much later.
Prince Written Word, the Messenger of Faith
Queen Hylia, the Wise
- According to legend, Hylia fell in love with a mortal, Gleaming Shield, who originally became her knight, then evolved to being her lover. What turned them into Star-Crossed Lovers is when Gleaming Shield died at the hands of demons during a war with them, causing a grief-stricken Hylia to pray that they'll always find each other no matter what form they took before she died. It's also implied that when she was alive, Hylia was known as "The Wise", and falling in love with a mortal was seen by her fellow Alicorns as the one mistake she made in her lifetime.
- There's also the fact that Hylia's mortal reincarnation, the first Radiant Primrose, horribly misconstrued the Alicorn Queen's actions with the assumption that she was actually a Manipulative Bastard who used the original Gleaming Shield as her Unwitting Pawn, and had both him and herself reincarnated as part of a complicated plot to defeat the demons. It was so bad that Radiant Primrose even saw herself as guilty for being Hylia's "descendant", making her childhood friend, the second Gleaming Shield, comfort and assure her that how she acted as a person is different than how Hylia acted.
Scarlet Bell, the Whistleblower
- Mixed with Nightmare Fuel, Scarlet Bell's life had been pure Adult Fear since she was a filly.
- In her school days, she noticed that several classmates of hers kept disappearing one by one, and after no one did anything, she decided to go investigate herself. She made the horrific discovery that two of her teachers, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker, were not only responsible for the disappearances, they did so because their goals of replicating the Ascension process and bringing a "new age" for Ponykind required experimenting on those with great potential and talent, which meant their own students. Scarlet Bell ended up opposing the two ponies she trusted despite her own fears of getting killed or crippled, and when a misfired spell caused a great fire, she would narrowly succeed in getting herself and her missing classmates out, at the cost of horribly burning and scarring herself in the process. The public would laud her as a hero for her actions, but this made Scarlet Bell fear the possibility of Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker retaliating against her for her interference. As soon as she was able, she quietly moved from Pferdia to the Grittish Isles, where she lived in hiding and settled down to a simple life in Hornbridge, a mostly unicorn town.
- It's also mentioned by her entry that because of her foalhood experiences, she was traumatized, frightened, and rather distrusting of adults, and suffered nightmares for a while. Furthermore, she wondered if adults can be trusted when sometimes all they do is exploit and betray those who trusted them. Fortunately, she would get better thanks to those who loved her.
Temnobog, the Dark One
Temnobog shows that even "evil" people can be decent individuals, only becoming the villains they are through the people around them and circumstances beyond their control.
- Temnobog wasn't supposed to be born, because Irminsul wanted to get rid of the inner evil that his then-unborn son had with a divine ritual. However, the evil created another baby in the womb, causing Temnobog's mother, High Queen Arvan, to give birth to divine twins, one bright and pure, the other dark and tainted. Temnobog being born the living embodiment of Evil and Suffering was enough for the Elternteil deities, who grow so complacent and arrogant from being praised as "benevolent" and "wise" that they saw fit to emotionally abuse him for being born, fearing that his mere presence would taint the pantheon, when Temnobog didn't even do anything to truly warrant it. Meanwhile, his radiant brother, Belyolen, received the love and praise Temnobog craved just for being born radiant and pure. Understandably, Temnobog eventually snapped from the mistreatment and targeted his compassionate twin out of hatred and resentment, sabotaging every good deed Belyolen had done for Deerkind by raining curses and suffering on his brother's worshipers.
Yarost, the Prince of Murder
The Revenge of Apertus
Dr. Toxikon Crisis
The Storm King Crisis