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Sequels1

  • E Old Habits

    It's Nova's first official day off, and he's decided to spend it in one place he knows he can relax: the Canterlot Bazaar. But when he has an unexpected encounter with a face from his past, can he face the pony he once was?  · Viking ZX
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This story is a sequel to Carry On

When a monk has learned all he can learn, he is sent forth on a pilgrimage. A search for knowledge, guided only by a single question, never to return home unless they find an answer. Sabra has been searching for three years, and at long last, he may have found his answer.

It may just not be the answer he expects.

Updated Saturdays

Second of the Side Stories to The Dusk Guard: Rise. Familiarity with Rise is not required per se, but recommended.

Side Stories so far:

Carry On

The Definition of Strength

Old Habits

Emoticon

Remembrance

Trust

The Saga has a TV Tropes page!

"This is 100% Approved by Twilight's Library!"

Added to Twilight's Library 1/21/2014

Featured on Canterlot's Finest

Special Thanks to Sonorus, Jorlem, Sinister Voice, Templar22, Bronze Aegis and JinShu for their help pre-reading, editing and getting a summary together.

Art by dpjohnson22

First Published
4th Jan 2014
Last Modified
25th Jan 2014
#1 · 49w, 5d ago · 1 · · Part 1 ·

Haven't read the other stories just yet, but enjoyed the first chapter of this regardless.

It gives an oriental feel to the main character, as well as a decent bit of back-story.

Also, nice title pic :twilightsmile:

#2 · 49w, 5d ago · 1 · · Part 1 ·

And I haven't read this story yet, but I'm adding it to my Kindle to read just as soon as I'm done rereading Sanderson's The Way of Kings—gotta get ready for the next book in the series this March, after all.  (...I'll probably reread it again once or twice before then, too, I'm embarrassed to admit.)

Expect a happy gold star and a green thumb in the next day or two as soon as I do read it, though.  I'm entirely too neurotic to just pass them out pell-mell and without due diligence, but at this point I'm fairly certain most any story you post will get them out of me, anyway.  

#3 · 48w, 5d ago · 1 · · Part 2 ·

Just had the chance to sit down and read the latest chapter.  This is coming along splendidly, no complaints. I am curious with how this will all play out for Sabra, normally I'd have  a prediction or two by now, but currently everything is up in the air for me no idea on how this will play out. Going just of of the two side stories, and not Rise, I like how you made each story have views from a different character, and how they all seem to fit together.

Keep up the good work! ^^

[Edit]: Also, sorry if I sound weird when you read this, it's 4:19 in the morning here, and my mind is mush XD

#4 · 48w, 4d ago · · · Part 2 ·

>>3732148

I had a lot of fun worldcrafting the country that Sabra hails from, and one of the reasons I looked forward to this story so much was being able to finally show a bit more of it. The Plainslands are a definite part of his character, and I enjoy every chance I get to offer a bit more of them.

Since you liked the art, don't forget to check out the page of DJohnson22, who made it for me!

>>3732428

Oh man, I need to reread The Way of Kings before then myself!

>>3774406

I'm glad that Sabra's musings are keeping you in the air on what's going to occur! Also, it's good to hear that you find his viewpoint so distinct. I worked pretty hard at giving him his own voice and making his own experiences different from Sky Bolt's and the other members, and it's good to hear that all that work and revision has paid off!

#5 · 47w, 4d ago · 1 · · Part 3 ·

Just wanted to say, this was great.

#7 · 47w, 2d ago · · · Part 3 ·

>>3821798

Yahoo! Thank you!

>>3812284

Thanks!

#8 · 46w, 2d ago · · · Part 1 ·

An error I found:

I promise the next model will do a big better and letting out heat and—”

Should probably be:

" I promise the next model will do a bit better at letting out heat and—”

A super-powered Sabra? Interesting...

Intriguing story so far; I look forward to more.

--Storyteller27

#9 · 46w, 2d ago · · · Finale ·

>>3860257

Thanks for spotting that, glad I could fix it. :twilightblush:

And I'm glad you enjoyed the story. There's a lot coming with the Dusk Guard, so keep an eye out! There are still four side stories to come before the next chapter in the series rolls out in earnest!

#10 · 40w, 9h ago · 2 · · Finale ·

I know that OC stories get less readers than others, and I know this is the second side story after a trilogy, further weeding out possible viewers. But this truly deserves a much higher rating than it has. You pulled off the deep introspection wonderfully, and I very much like that you didn't take the easy out of having him find his answer. I especially enjoyed your rendition of the princesses, and your choice of their answers. I like this one as much as Rises, and maybe even a little more.

I also REALLY like that you have the Elements of Harmony as aspects of Magic. Having them be emotions might be stretching the definition slightly, but I always did feel like if the Elements were so powerful, they shouldn't just be limited to the ponies that embody them. Kudos for working that into your lore.

#11 · 40w, 9h ago · · · Finale ·

>>4079032 :twilightblush: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, and I'm really glad all the time and effort I put into Sabra and the Princesses paid off. I've had such a journey writing the Dusk Guard from the humble start to where it is now, and I'm glad that all that work is paying off with a story that others are enjoying so much. I look forward to keeping this journey rolling (between pumping out my published stuff) and one day, we'll see the end. Where it's all heading, I won't say, but I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the ride. :pinkiesmile:

#12 · 39w, 1d ago · · · Part 1 ·

Definitely a different tone than in Bolt's story.  I like it.

I liked 'Tia's answer, and I'm guessing we'll hear Lulu's later. As good as it might be, sometimes life is a burden. It will be hard at times, but make it through and you be stronger because of it. Some would say life is a curse, where everything goes wrong time after time. For these, friends are a definite must. They can help a person get through where one might stumble and fall alone.

Helmets not currently covering the ears? Will definitely need some help with circuitry here. And a superZebra? Nice.

#13 · 39w, 1d ago · · · Part 2 ·

And here's Lulu's turn. Wow. I mean, having artception is a bit mindblowing, and all of this parallels the night sky.

Also... DERPY!!!!!!!!! *squee*

"difficult trial"     Tell me what it is, please? You can't just leave it at that.

Ahahaha. My comment on how life can be a burder definitely ties into what Luna's saying here. To be truly defeated is to give up and stop trying.

Took him a couple of tries, but he's finally getting it down. Wonder what other enchants Bolt's got in mind.

And more shipping.

#14 · 39w, 1d ago · · · Part 3 ·

LY is apparently going to be a major element for the team. Wonder if any of the others will be focused on.

The note on Nova entering the captain's room is hilarious.  

Sabra is redefining where home is. Now to shipping the two.

#15 · 39w, 1d ago · · · Finale ·

Master Sage eh? I bet Zecora's one too, except Mythical status as opposed to Legendary.

Tron lines sound cool, but might want to find a way to make it appear only on a HUD if you want to indicate usage. Otherwise it might be detrimental for stealth.

Wibbly-Wobbly... Doctor!

I actually like OC storys, long as they're written well. Allows more creative freedom with the characters without people saying "That's not how X or Y behaves". Those kind of stories also can be well written, but established characters usually have guidelines on how to write them.

#16 · 38w, 2d ago · · · Finale ·

>>4104303

Naw, she's a shaman, like the one that Sky and Sabra met at the diplomatic dinner. Or the one that was in on Sabra's council. Different societal area.

#17 · 33w, 3d ago · · · Finale ·

>>4134156

So far all three shamens have been female and all sage masters have been male is this purposeful?

A separation similar nuns and priests or just a coincidence

#18 · 33w, 3d ago · · · Finale ·

>>4305166

Ooh, good question! Actually, all shamans must be female, but a master sage can be male or female.  Sages are students of the monastery, while a shaman is a specific "job" that traditionally has been held only by mares. It's a position that is a bit like a matriarch. There's usually one for a village or collection of villages, more in a city, and trained by apprenticeship.

Which doesn't mean that a stallion can't have the same training. A stallion can train under a shaman as an apprentice, and will be trained in the art of potions-making, but can't ever be known as a "shaman." Instead, they're a doctor, or an herbalist, or whatever career they choose to take their skills to. But the title "shaman" is specifically held for mares who take the respected office among the zebra.

#19 · 32w, 6d ago · 2 · · Part 3 ·

This whole story of the Dusk guard is all excellent, but I think Sabra's story in particular is truly exceptional in how complexly philosophical it is, not just his search for the meaning of life, but all the ways he comes to view things like home and belonging.

#20 · 31w, 3d ago · 1 · · Part 1 ·

It's amazing seeing what the world looks like behind Sabra's eyes. It's a good reminder, too, that even someone who looks whole and collected from the outside can still be confused and trying to make sense of the world from within.

I also liked the contrast between Sabra's living conditions and Sky Bolt's, and look forward to seeing how that sort of thing influences their interactions.

#21 · 31w, 3d ago · 1 · · Part 2 ·

Luna's speech on the meaning of life was beautiful. And how you wove it into the rest of the chapter was great, particularly when you had Sky Bolt echo part of it.

Another achievement of yours: Whenever these characters smile, I'm smiling along with them.

#22 · 31w, 2d ago · 1 · · Finale ·

*Applause*

Wait, so you're telling me you aren't usually this deep and introspective? That's almost as hard to believe as your saying you don't actually fight magical killer robots for a living!

#23 · 31w, 8h ago · · · Finale ·

I'm glad Sabra got his chance to shine a little brighter. He's a real great character, and its great to see that in evidence here. The little touches like his homesickness and his struggle with the finer points of Equestrian/English/Basic helped show that he's more than just a "butt-whoopin' Zebra warrior."

Though he is that. :raritywink:

I liked the more philosophical tone of this story. I've realized fairly recently that an emotional conflict can be just as interesting and fun to read as a physical conflict. This story had weight and, even if it's been partially resolved, that weight's going to continue to be a big part of Sabra. It's gonna be awesome. :pinkiehappy:

Also, I've given in and finally decided to root for Sabra and Sky Bolt's relationship. They're too cute. I've held off on actually investing my emotions into them because I know that something terrible is going to happen. This slow build up is most certainly building up to something. :unsuresweetie:

#24 · 31w, 7h ago · · · Finale ·

>>4328054

You have no idea how much of a relief that was to hear. Writing Sabra was probably the toughest challenge I've had writing the Dusk Guard so far, and probably will stay that way.

I loved every minute of it, thought. And I'm glad you did to. He's quickly become a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons past "I'm awesome and cool about it."

>>4384024

It's amazing seeing what the world looks like behind Sabra's eyes. It's a good reminder, too, that even someone who looks whole and collected from the outside can still be confused and trying to make sense of the world from within.

Still waters run deep.

Luna's speech on the meaning of life was beautiful. And how you wove it into the rest of the chapter was great, particularly when you had Sky Bolt echo part of it.

Another achievement of yours: Whenever these characters smile, I'm smiling along with them.

I believe that good writing shouldn't just be good, it should inspire as well (yeah, there's totally a blog post coming on that).

And if I'm leaving smiles behind, so much the better! :pinkiehappy:

>>4396763

I'm glad Sabra got his chance to shine a little brighter. He's a real great character, and its great to see that in evidence here. The little touches like his homesickness and his struggle with the finer points of Equestrian/English/Basic helped show that he's more than just a "butt-whoopin' Zebra warrior."

I threw a lot of work into this piece partially because I'd given him such a short stick in "Rise." I knew how complex his character was, but readers didn't. That and I hadn't scratched the surface of his personality yet. It was actually one of the reasons I set out to write the side stories: I wanted to give them each their moments, so that everyone could reach the level of attention that Steel and Nova got (that, and I didn't want to go cold while I wrote a few more books before the sequel). Honestly, I love the entire team, but Sabra's always going to be a little unique thanks to his position, and his challenges (like that question).

Also, I've given in and finally decided to root for Sabra and Sky Bolt's relationship. They're too cute. I've held off on actually investing my emotions into them because I know that something terrible is going to happen. This slow build up is most certainly building up to something.

Hey, I root for them too! As far as what the future holds, you'll just have to keep reading. :raritywink:

#25 · 30w, 6d ago · 1 · · Finale ·

>>4396933

I threw a lot of work into this piece partially because I'd given him such a short stick in "Rise." I knew how complex his character was, but readers didn't. That and I hadn't scratched the surface of his personality yet.

That work shows! I'm hoping we get to see inside his head some more in the future. Maybe he'll have more plot-relevant thoughts in the next book? :scootangel:

Hey, I root for them too! As far as what the future holds, you'll just have to keep reading. :raritywink:

What I'm reading at the moment is that you took the trouble to keep my bold emphasis on "terrible" in the quote. This does not bode well for the zebra or the pegasus. :trollestia:

#26 · 30w, 1d ago · 1 · · Finale ·

hmm it sure has been interesting to see inside Sabra. your narration around tgis character has been always quite original, but his inner scape is an step forward

But I still want to see more avout him and his romance :)

#27 · 29w, 4d ago · 1 · · Finale ·

Why are we here, what's life all about?

Is God really real, or is there some doubt?

Well tonight we're going to sort it all out

For tonight it's the meaning of life

What's the point of all this hoax?

Is it the chicken and the egg time, are we just yolks?

Or perhaps we're just one of God's little jokes

Well ca c'est the meaning of life

Is life just a game where we make up the rules

While we're searching for something to say

Or are we just simply spiralling coils

Of self-replicating DNA?

In this life, what is our fate?

Is there Heaven and Hell? Do we reincarnate?

Is mankind evolving or is it too late?

Well tonight here's the meaning of life

For millions this life is a sad vale of tears

Sitting round with real nothing to say

While scientists say, "We're just simply spiralling coils

Of self-replicating DNA"

So just why, why are we here?

And just what, what, what, what do we fear?

Well ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear

For this is the meaning of life

C'est le sens de la vie

This is the meaning of life

#28 · 26w, 3d ago · · · Finale ·

>>4400678

What I'm reading at the moment is that you took the trouble to keep my bold emphasis on "terrible" in the quote. This does not bode well for the zebra or the pegasus.

Keep guessing! :pinkiehappy:

>>4425916

But I still want to see more avout him and his romance :)

We will. :pinkiesmile:

>>4448162

Will he ever find it? He's gotten some dang good answers already, what could he be looking for?

#29 · 20w, 12h ago · 1 · · Finale ·

I'm not even going to second guess this: The Definition of Strength was one of the most difficult things to write that I've written in the last year. Perhaps ever

Well you did a masterful job with it all here. A great look into Sabra. I have to admit as well the philosophy student in me let out more than a couple loud squees at different points. I really enjoyed the answers you put together from the two princesses especially.  Not only were they spectacular answers and great deliveries, but each of their answers also payed very well into their characters and past experiences.

Also just like you did in Rise I really like the way you are weaving the emotional components not only into the magic, but also into the character's experience of that magic. I also think the choice of Loyalty being the driving emotion of the strength enchantment is an inspired choice. It is an emotion that can drive so many actions, and also drive one to abilities possibly far beyond what they could achieve otherwise.  

The story with Sabra's quest, the armor, and his relationship with Sky Bolt were also very neatly woven together. I also really liked the looks into Sabra's homeland and past and really look forward to more.

#30 · 18w, 1d ago · · · Finale ·

so sabra is the element of loyalty. well, at least an equivalent of it. :rainbowdetermined2: sabra is my fav pony/zebra so this was even more interesting than usual. i like how the tone of the saga completely changes based on which character's viewpoint we're looking at. i also like how sabra has minor problems expressing himself in equestrian sometimes. both the princesses' answers were very well thought out. i applaud u for that. sabra's realization about where his home was is very nice, too. giving us a look at sabra's background was really nice as well.

so therefore my rating is :yay: :rainbowkiss: :rainbowkiss: :rainbowkiss: :twilightsmile: :moustache: :moustache: 8.7/10 man, my ratings are high for this saga. oh well, it deserves it. :ajsmug:

#31 · 16w, 1d ago · 1 · · Finale ·

Man, I can't even imagine how hard it was to write from Sabra's POV.  Between the foreign culture, language barrier, adorable crush, and what would already have been a pretty turbulent mess of figuring out his place in the world even given none of those...I mean that's pretty ambitious, but damn if it didn't work.

#32 · 7w, 21h ago · · · Part 3 ·

I loved Nova's entry and also Steel's response.

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