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Webcomic / The Night the Magic Died

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Friendship Is Magic: The Night the Magic Died is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan comic by ArofaTamahn.

Set after the events of Season 2, a wizard from the Gryphon Kingdom named Garret crashes in front of Princesses Celestia and Luna, claiming he is being hunted by an evil wolf demon he himself had brought into their world. The Element bearers are more than willing to protect him from any vile beast that hunts him—but when they meet the wolf, Arofa Nahmat, she claims that Garret is the true monster, named Gralo. Tensions rise and misunderstandings pile up as both sides show they may not be what the other says they are.

It was completed on August 15, 2014, and can be read here.

Tropes present in this comic include:

  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The climactic battle at the end takes place in an absolutely breathtaking one, starting here (spoilers). It takes place in space as Gralo is devouring the magic of cosmos.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Gralo is an otherworldly magic-eating creature resembling a giant parrot. Notably, he and others of his species are drawn in a more realistic style than the ponies and Nahmat's species, making them feel all the more bizarre and out of place by comparison.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: Nahmat becomes more bipedal during her "The Reason You Suck" Speech against Celestia.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Celestia and Luna blast Gralo's leg off to rescue Nahmat after freeing his stolen magic.
  • And I Must Scream: Gralo's fate when banished to the Void Between the Worlds, where he will suffer for all eternity. It's nothing more than what he deserved, but the description alone is horrifying.
    Krassau Elder Chief: Time will cease for you, space will simultaneously tear you apart and crush you. But you will be kept alive... preserved in perfect status for the rest of eternity.
  • Apocalypse How: The threat against Equestria is Class X-4. Gralo intends to consume all of the magic in the universe.
  • Aura Vision: The Magic of Insight allows its users to sense others' magic. It's as basic a technique in Nahmat's world as unicorn magic is in Equestria, whereas in Equestria it's thought to be beyond even Celestia's level.
  • Author Tract: Happens a few times when the author makes Nahamat their mouth piece for their frustrations at the actual show. This is also the entire the universe outside of Equestria is dead plot point. It serves no purpose other than to be a manifestation of the author's beliefs about a geocentric orbit making no sense and to make the Darkest Hour more dark.
  • Big Bad: Gralo.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Shining Armor's primary concern when Gralo finally reveals himself is to see if Twilight is all right.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Delivered by Nahmat after Celestia declares her to be a threat against her subjects and orders her to be taken to the dungeon.
  • Bounty Hunter: Nahmat's actually this, and lied about being an officer of the law.
  • Break Them by Talking: What Nahmat does to Celestia after the princess overrules her defense in favor of Garret.
  • The Cameo: Ditzy Doo, aka Derpy, gets one to give Cadance the tell-all message from the king of Eagleland.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nahmat insists that Garret is actually an evil krassau named Gralo, yet no one believes her. Justified because she assumes ponies have the same level of Insight to see him as she does, and that Garret had done nothing wrong while she attacked him without hard evidence. Nahmat herself even lampshades this when Twilight accuses her of using her physic abilities on Shining Armor and Cadance; she points out that she can't prove she's telling the truth, since they could easily dismiss any evidence she gives as a result of her powers.
  • Character Filibuster: Nahmat is the author's mouthpiece for his anger at Twilight getting ignored by her friends and family at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1".
  • Cooldown Hug: Shining Armor gives one to Twilight before she can tear Nahmat a new one when she thinks Nahmat is trying to hurt him.
  • Crash-Into Hello: While Shining Armor and Cadance are galloping to get a good look at Gralo/Garret, who else should crash into the princess than Ditzy Doo (aka Derpy) to deliver her a letter.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Gralo dishes these out quite a bit, due to being able to devour any magic used against him. However, when Celestia and Luna gain Insight, altering their magic so it can hurt him, they proceed to return the favor. After having all the magic stolen from Equestria returned, Celestia, Luna, and Nahmat effortlessly subdue and arrest him to face judgment by his people.
  • Dark World: Once you take away the magic—in this case, Celestia and Luna's magic—it's revealed that outside of Equestria, there is nothing. Their universe is literally dead.
  • Darkest Hour: Gralo robs the world of its magic; Celestia has chased off Nahmat, their best potential ally, out of prejudice; the Element bearers are left empty shells, bereft of magic; Shining Armor and Cadance, the only ones left to stop Gralo, are forced to their breaking point; and Celestia and Luna are utterly powerless to stop Gralo as he tries to steal what's left of their magic. Then Nahmat decides to come back.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Discussed, and later subverted. Nahmat thinks this is the only logical explanation for Gralo's disguise as Garret when Celestia proves the griffin is not an identity Gralo fabricated as Nahmat first believes. It later turns out Gralo is an entirely separate entity who has possessed Garret without anyone else the wiser, and used his mind magic to make her think he was only in disguise.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Hanging around Cadance and Shining Armor gradually softens Nahmat up. She softens up a bit more later on when she decides to return, admitting that Celestia had a reason to act how she did and that if she'd been allowed to act unchecked, Gralo's host would've paid the price.
  • Demonic Possession: How Gralo passes himself off as Garret.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Gralo seemingly assumes the form of Garret, yet only Nahmat can see his true form because of her heightened Insight that the ponies lack. Cadance and Shining Armor see him too once they achieve this power.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Gralo tries to eat Celestia and Luna's magic during the final confrontation... but unknown to him, Nahmat has given them Insight, allowing them to alter their magic as Shining and Cadance have. They promptly send a spell of their own back down the same channel and reawaken the hearts he's stolen, causing them to escape in mass.
  • Dirty Coward: Gralo has a habit of running when overpowered, which is how he escaped to Equestria in the first place. Nahmat anticipates this during the Final Battle and blocks off all his escape routes. Even then, after losing all his stolen power, Gralo still tries to run until Celestia, Luna, and Nahmat subdue him.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Gralo's ultimate fate has shades of this. His people's elder chief banishes him to the Void Between the Worlds for eternity as punishment for his crimes, which causes a portal to open up, with black shadowy limbs reaching out and pulling him into the Void.
  • Dumb Struck: Everypony's reaction immediately after Nahmat finishes her rant against Celestia and leaves Equestria. Ironically, Fluttershy is the first to speak up.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Gralo once he reveals himself and absorbs Equestria's magic.
  • Emotion Eater: Gralo eats not only magic, but things like joy and liveliness.
  • Empty Shell: The fate that befalls Garret and the Element bearers once Gralo drains their magic - or more specifically, everything that's "magical", such as joy and liveliness - leaving them unable to feel or care about anyone and anything going on around them. It takes all of Twilight's willpower just to think of her friends and B.B.B.F.F. as such, and even then, it doesn't last long. After that, Gralo moves on to attempt this on a global scale. However, in the end, Celestia and Luna turn his attempt to do this to them against him to release all his stolen magic.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: How Nahmat reacts when Shining Armor and Cadance doubt she was telling the truth about Garret after building up so much trust with them.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Shining Armor and Cadance wonder whether or not Nahmat was trying to trick them into taking her side by showing them what she wants them to see via some made-up power of "insight". Then, once Nahmat is long gone, they realize they still have that power.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: As Nahmat points out, Gralo may have stolen Equestria's magic, but ultimately didn't understand what made it special and thus why it escaped him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Gralo is this to Nahmat. both are Oustide Context Problems who behave very self righteously and abuses their power on those who lack it or any defense against it, and lie about who they are. But while Nahmat helps save the day by owning up to her mistakes, Gralo refuses even when offed a last second chance.
  • Facial Horror: The attack that Celestia and Luna use to free Gralo's stolen magic and the hearts of Equestria and said magic and hearts escaping burns half his head off, leaving a big white wound with his exposed eye just floating in it. Not as gory as it could be, but it's still pretty disturbing. Not to say he didn't deserve it, though.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Nahmat to a degree: she lied about being a keeper of the law: she's just a rookie Bounty Hunter hired to hunt down Gralo who got lucky enough to find his weakness.
  • Fatal Flaw: Nahmat's own self righteous pride is a large part of why she ends up aiding Gralo more than hinder him with her actions early in the story.
  • Feathered Fiend: Gralo is an evil being that resembles a huge parrot.
  • Fix Fic: It doesn't show until halfway through, but Word of God admits the story was mainly written to make the main characters, Princess Celestia especially, answer for their hypocritical behavior at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1" regarding the lesson in "Lesson Zero".
  • Foreshadowing: Nahmat, Shining Armor, and Cadance all connected by talking about the similarities and differences between their worlds. Turns out there's a reason for the worlds being so different: one of the worlds is dead.
  • From Bad to Worse: HOO BOY. SPOILERS ahoy, so click at your own risk!
  • Forced into Evil: While hiding in his body, Gralo forces Garret to turn the ponies against Nahmat with misleading information and keep his beak shut.
  • Glass Cannon: Gralo turns out to be this. While extremely powerful, once his Mana Drain is canceled out, one shot from the Princesses is all it takes to blow his leg off and they easily curbstomp him.
  • Glowing Eyes: Shining Armor and Cadance sport these while using Insight; their eyes glow the same color as their horn magic.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In her world, Nahmat is a noble agent of the law trying to bring a mass-murdering criminal to justice. In Equestria, she's considered an evil enchantress who's not above harming a seemingly innocent griffon and anyone who gets in her way. It doesn't help that her first impression involved Mind Rape of a national heroine. It turns out that she's actually a rookie Bounty Hunter and the above was a fabrication on her part.
  • Heroic BSoD: Celestia gets dished with a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech courtesy of Nahmat that quickly turns the regal, dignified alicorn into a quivering, crying wreck too shaken to even stand.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Nahmat for most of the first and second acts. She does want to stop Gralo, but the manner in which she does so does little to actually disprove his story she's the villain due using mind magic and Mind Rape with little to no provocation, and ultimately shoot her own evidence to her being right in the foot.
  • Hope Spot: By giving Shining Armor and Princess Cadance the power of Insight to act as eyewitnesses, Nahmat thinks she's in the clear. But her defense crumbles when Twilight points out that Nahmat might have brainwashed them into seeing her side of things, and still has no hard evidence supporting her case, whereas Garret does.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Nahmat's abuse of her psychic powers makes any evidence she can present by giving Shining and Cadance Insight not be trusted because she could've just brainwashed them.
    • Gralo tries to steal Celestia and Luna's magic, but they now have Insight and altered their magic as Shining and Cadance did so he can't absorb it. Instead, they fire it back down the stream into his stolen magic where they reawaken the hearts he'd taken, which promptly escape in mass.
  • Hypocrite: Nahamat Mind Rapes Fluttershy out of anger for her using something like the Stare...despite her own abuse of her psychic abilities throughout the story that ultimate bites her in the tail in the end.
  • I Am a Monster: Fluttershy feels this way after Nahmat forces her to experience firsthand the effects of her own Stare, as well as every time she was ever a jerk to anyone.
  • Idiot Ball: The ponies never think to ask Garret if he wants to have his magic scanned, which would have easily put the entire case to rest, instead opting not to out of respect for his privacy. It later turns out this is a direct result of Gralo using his magic to dull everyone's wits, as Twilight quickly deduces once she overcomes his spell.
  • It's All About Me: Gralo, when brought before his people's elder chief to face judgment for his crimes, responds to the charges by saying he did nothing wrong and that because his kind are superior to lower beings, it's his right to be a genocidal monster.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As uncalled for as her behavior is, Nahmat makes some valid arguments in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech against Celestia, including: imprisoning Luna in the moon for a thousand years instead of freeing her from Nightmare Moonnote ; shunning Twilight after she accused the fake Cadance of being evil; leaving it to others to fix both messes; and never apologizing for either event.
    • Nahmat later admits, despite her perception of Celestia and Luna, that they were right and had they let her just do as she wanted, Garret would have paid the price instead of Gralo and they stopped her from harming an innocent.
  • List of Transgressions: When arresting Gralo along with Celestia and Luna, Nahmat lists Gralo's crimes: 61 counts of mayhem, 38 counts of murder, and attempted destruction of all life in a parallel universe.
  • Meaningful Name: The title is a literal one. Not only does Gralo steal the Mane Six's magic, but he also steals Celestia and Luna's... and reveals that the entire universe beyond of Equestria is dead, and that the Princesses have had been using illusions of the sun, the moon, and the stars to keep it a secret. Ultimately, though, Gralo has his stolen magic released, restoring everything.
  • Mind Rape: When Fluttershy uses the Stare on Nahmat, Nahmat is so angry the wielder of the Element of Kindness would do something so cruel that she forces Fluttershy to witness all the times she used the Stare or yelled at somepony.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Despite Nahmat's anger that others don't trust her, she ultimately did little to actually warrant anyone's trust to begin with. She gets better.
    • Gralo will rip the hearts out of an entire world for power without an ounce of remorse, but gets furious when the Princesses dare to release his stolen magic.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nahmat shows remorse for the aforementioned Mind Rape of Fluttershy.
    • Celestia's silent, horrified expression tells all when Nahmat makes her relive her memories of how she neglected Luna and Twilight in "Friendship Is Magic" and "A Canterlot Wedding", respectively.
    • Nahmat also shows remorse for her actions being partly responsible for the whole mess in the first place when she comes back.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted for the most part (hell, it's in the title), but the ambiguity of how she survived Celestia's punch is enhanced by this exchange:
    Fluttershy: I...I thought she was really—
    Princess Cadance: She was. For just a moment, she was.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As soon as Celestia gets documents disproving Nahmat's claims that "Garret" is a made-up persona for Gralo, the ponies think that's enough to prove that Nahmat is a liar. Nahmat doesn't take too kindly to that and, after pointing out how stupid Celestia is being and leaving her pride in tatters, leaves Equestria for the ponies to deal with Gralo without her. And just to rub salt on the wound, the ponies later receive a letter that not only proves Garret and Nahmat are telling the truth, but also suggests they cooperate with the latter to apprehend Gralo. Considering how bad things have gotten, they really should have listened to Nahmat, who later admits she was also to blame for what's happened, and that had Celestia not done as she'd done, Garret would have paid the price instead of Gralo, something Gralo pointed out earlier.
    • Nahmat is also largely responsible for Gralo getting as far as he did, as she did very little to disprove his lies about her, doing far more to enforce them.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Nahmat probably would have been more trusted had she not done things like use psychic powers to make the guard stand down and Mind Rape Fluttershy, which simply reinforces what Garret was saying about her.
  • Not So Stoic: Gralo is generally composed and happy to dish out Breaking Lectures. But when the Princesses free his stolen magic he got absolutely furious.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nahmat is confused as to how both the ponies and her own insight can be right as to Garret's identity... then realizes with horror that Garret must have been Gralo's first victim. Fluttershy gets another one when she realizes that Celestia hit Nahmat so hard, Nahmat actually died for a moment.
  • One-Winged Angel: Gralo becomes a colossal version of himself with a Celestial Body after absorbing Celestia and Luna's magic, becoming larger and larger as he consumes more. After being beaten by Celestia and Luna, he's reduced to his true size, which is considerably smaller than Nahmat.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Pretty much the entire conflict stems from Nahmat acting without explaining herself because she badly misjudges the ponies' abilities compared to her own, as well as poorly timed mail service from Eagleland, where investigators are able to understand the whole situation from the place it started. It all goes downhill from there.
  • The Power of Friendship: What kept the mane six and Garret alive after Gralo stole their magic, and what ultimately does Gralo in.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The Princesses get two in a row during the final fight with Gralo, one from each.
    Princess Celestia: You get away from our friend.
    Princess Luna: *Cuts off Gralo's escape* We do not permit you to flee.
  • Precision F-Strike: After Nahmat leaves following a long and angry tirade against Princess Celestia, Fluttershy calls Nahmat a "nasty bitch." Word of God says she did it in the non-vulgar sense (meaning "female dog"), but the effect is the same.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Nahmat puts up with a lot of anger and doubt from other ponies upon coming to Equestria - and rightly so, considering her dubious and violent methods of trying to apprehend Gralo - but the last straw comes when Princess Celestia orders her to be locked away before she can have a better chance to explain herself in light of evidence "proving" her wrong.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Celestia deems Nahmat's defense invalid and orders her to be locked away for the monster she thinks she is, Nahmat completely snaps and delivers a long, scornful and, in her mind, well-deserved rant pointing out all the times her negligence had catastrophically spiraled beyond her control.
    • Nahmat gives another one to Gralo after the Princesses liberate his stolen magic and are in the process of defeating him.
    • Gralo receives another one from his people's elder chief, who tears apart his excuse for what he did by pointing out that even though their kind are ascended beings, that just makes him worse because the powerful should help those weaker than them.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted. Princess Celestia at first agrees to give Nahmat the benefit of a doubt on the condition the wolf be monitored at all times, yet she wastes no time ordering Nahmat locked away once her case is seemingly disproven. Ironically, King Matthew of Eagleland fully expected Celestia to play this trope straight with Nahmat once it became clear to him the "monster" is on their side.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Nahmat leaves Equestria to let the ponies handle Gralo by themselves once she's convinced Celestia is too full of herself to acknowledge the threat. She comes back later and does admit she's partly responsible for what's happened.
    • Gralo tries to run for it after being defeated by Celestia and Luna, but is quickly subdued by the Princesses and Nahmat.
  • Scrubbing Off the Trauma: Implied as it happens behind closed doors, but according to Word of God, Celestia frantically tries in vain to wash the blood stain from her hoof after cracking Nahmat's skull.
    Princess Celestia: It won't wash off... WHY WON'T IT WASH OFF!?
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Gralo is imprisoned in the Void Between the Worlds after his defeat. This isn't because he was too strong to be killed, he could have been executed, but his people felt death would be too good for him and sentenced him to an And I Must Scream fate instead.
  • Self-Destructive Charge:After the Princesses free Gralo's stolen magic and blow his leg off, the villain is so furious he charges at them head on, despite him not only being weakened, but the Princesses now easily capable of damaging him due to altering their magic with Insight so he can't absorb it. The Princesses respond by making him taste the rainbow.
  • Shout-Out: When Twilight thinks Shining Armor and Cadance are in danger around Nahmat:
  • Take Up My Sword: Nahmat uses a large amount of her power to cut off Gralo's escape routes so he can't flee if he's in danger of actually losing like he did before, but this leaves her unable to defeat Gralo herself (which she admits she'd have difficulty doing with how powerful he is now). She then gives Celestia and Luna the power of insight to enable Celestia and Luna to take on Gralo, admitting they're the last hope of stopping him now.
  • Talk to the Fist: Celestia cracks her hoof down on Nahmat's skull towards the end of her long-winded "slander" against her. It nearly kills Nahmat, to Celestia's later distress.
  • Tears of Remorse: Cadance breaks down crying for saying nothing when Nahmat is seemingly proven guilty, and for yelling at Celestia while her aunt is still reeling from Nahmat's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Later on, when faced with the destruction of the world at Gralo's talons, Celestia finally owes up for her mistakes and tearfully apologizes.
  • The Unapologetic: Nahmat accuses Celestia of being this.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It's heavily implied that Celestia kills Nahmat for just an instant by cracking the wolf's skull. The only explanation we have for how she gets back up is that Nahmat held on just long enough to pull herself back together.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Gralo's Mana Drain power is extremely overpowered...but he's also incredibly reliant on it. While his stolen power and the size he gains can give him an advantage against weaker opponents, against anyone stronger who can also bypass his Mana Drain, he performs horribly. After becoming immune to his powers, he's more or less defenseless against Celestia and Luna. Not helping is the fact he's a Glass Cannon.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Gralo did this when Nahmat first countered his Mana Drain abilities, fleeing to Equestria. He attempts this again after the Princesses, now with the same ability, curbstomp him and take back his stolen magic. They and Nahmat stop him this time and capture him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gralo loses it after Celestia and Luna release all his stolen magic back to where it belongs. He's so enraged, he charges the Princesses head on, despite now being weakened from losing his stolen magic and they having just proven capable of easily hurting him by blowing his leg off.
    Gralo: What. Was. THAT?! WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!
    • After being sentenced to his fate, Gralo spends his last moments free vainly trying to turn the Princesses on Nahmat as he's Dragged Off to Hell.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Gralo has next to no issue blending in in Equestria, even when he's doing the talking rather than censoring his host's words. Compare to Nahamat, who due to a mixture of her self-righteous attitude and having next to no idea how Equestrian magic works, ultimately ends up making herself look untrustworthy and causes the Princesses to take her side.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Gralo's ultimate fate is to be banished to this, as his crimes are so horrible that he no longer deserves to be in any world. Nahmat's reaction and the description given implies it's a Fate Worse than Death. No more than what he deserves though.
  • Voodoo Shark:
    • The Reveal that the universe outside of Equestria is dead, the moon and stars being illusions, was to explain the geocentric orbit which the writer found an illogical concept. This raises more questions than it answered regarding the series premiere. How/where was Nightmare Moon banished to the moon if there was no moon? How did the stars aid in her escape if there were no stars?
    • The explanation how Gralo was immune to and able to absorb the Elements of Harmony. Unlike Nightmare Moon who was corrupted and Discord who's the personification of disharmony, Gralo is 'at Harmony with himself' and the Mane Six 'wanted to destroy him'. First Gralo had absolutely none of the virtues the Elements need to operate and define harmony by. Second, the author state Lord Tirek would still be defeated as in canon despite having the same personality, motives, and magic draining power.
  • Wham Line: While mulling over whether Garret or Nahmat was telling the truth, Shining Armor and Cadance receive a letter from King Matthew II of Eagleland that clarifies the whole mystery:
    King Matthew II: [Garret's] spell was answered not by one, but two entities.
    Princess Cadance: They... They were both telling the truth...
    • Page 95 is choke-full of Wham Lines.
      Gralo (to Cadance): What I've done is take away the magic your aunts have been using to hide the reality of your universe. There is no sun, there is no moon, there are no stars. They all died long ago.
    • When the Darkest Hour rears its ugly head:
      Princess Celestia: Everypony—no, everyone...before it's too late, I want you all to know...I'm sorry. I'm so. Sorry.
      Nahmat: I'm sorry too.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Though not without sympathy for Nahmat, Cadance is disgusted when she hears how she Mind Raped Fluttershy for using "The Stare" on her. Nahmat admits she was wrong in doing so.
    • Later, Nahmat chews out Celestia in a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech for completely turning a blind eye to Gralo's threat just because one side has hard evidence to the contrary, comparing her behavior to the incidents with Nightmare Moon and Queen Chrysalis. When Celestia responds by cracking her skull with her hoof, Cadance tells her aunt she should know better than to respond that way to anyone who's hurting inside.
  • World-Healing Wave: The Princesses freeing Gralo's stolen magic triggers one, restoring life to Equestria and reviving all his victims.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Twilight finally achieves Insight, Gralo figures there's no use hiding in Garret any longer and "disposes" of Garret, leaving him on the brink of death.
  • You Monster!: The general reaction the Mane Six and Princess Celestia have towards anything immoral Nahmat does.