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  • 32w, 4d
    My Little Vacation

    Finally out here after a long day of flying and driving at old Lake Tahoe for a couple days of skiing and maybe a gamble or two at the casinos nearby...

    As a few know, this means no weekend updates of Platinum Crown, so just FYI

    But I should be back on track the next week, I think.

    It'd be a neat coincidence if any of you guys happened to be out here, if not on the slopes with me.

    Ya never know when you'll run into people sometimes.

    I won't be totally incommunicado, obviously, but my net time will be much more limited, as you can understand and imagine. For example, I made sure to log on today, not just to post this, but as always to make spelling or other technical corrections to chapters ASAP.

    4 comments · 381 views
  • 39w, 1d
    Fanfiction Musings: Twilight and Star Light talk about MAGIC

    Twilight Sparkle waved towards the approaching class, first spotting the bobbing pink curls of Miss Cheerilee’s mane as she led her class up the wide stone steps. The colts and fillies followed a moment later, never straying far from her or ahead of her, but always in a rather disorganized band. It was more than just Cheerilee’s normal classroom with her; little ponies a year younger and a year older had also come along on the little field trip not far outside town. Twilight knew there to be about twenty four of the children, at least if everything followed the well-planned itinerary she had laid out. She had exactly twenty-four lunches for them, plus two for Miss Cheerilee and herself, and one for Spike, and one to spare.

    The class soon started running around the construction site. It was a good thing anything dangerous had already been stored away. Mostly it seemed to be the colts who wanted to get their hooves on any unattended power tools, or to start playing with the cranes, but Twilight noticed Apple Bloom also studying the worksite with interest, especially the four monolithic pillars that surrounded where Twilight stood, waiting.

    “Class! Come on!” Cheerilee said, after a quick exchange of greetings. She spent the new minute or so rounding up the three grades. “There’ll be time to look around after Miss Sparkle’s lecture.”

    Twilight waited, smiling patiently. A flash of purple and green revealed that Spike had already found a nice spot near one of the big pillars where he sat down and leaned back to take a nap. She wouldn’t be saying anything here today that he didn’t already know, besides which he needed to save some energy for spending time with his dragon friends. While the class slowly took their spots, sitting down on the cool stone foundations according to their groups of friends, one filly felt the need to get in the first question of the day.

    “Heya, Twilight!” Apple Bloom was one of the few she knew already, hence the use of her name rather than just Miss Sparkle. Which made her feel a little old, now that she thought about it.

    “What is it, Apple Bloom?” Twilight asked, as things calmed down for her lecture.

    “Ah’m guessin’ mosta this tower’s gonna be stone, right? It makes sense they’d need some tall supports, just like when we put up a barn, but what’re those things?” She pointed with a little yellow hoof towards the towering rectangular beam that struck straight out of the ground behind the librarian. It was one of four.

    “While more mage towers look circular on the outside, usually the interior is an octagon – meaning it has eight sides – and every tower needs four iron grounding pillars to conduct stray magic back into the ground,” Twilight explained, and already a few of the fillies and colts were listening in, expecting this was the actual start of her talk rather than just a brief diversion. She pointed to the pillars, then to the ground. “Think of it as being like magical wiring. This one here is aligned towards magnetic north and the others are set at perpendicular angles to…”

    “I guess that’s getting a little too complex,” Twilight admitted, grinning to cover her embarrassment. It was hard, sometimes, to remember the age and experience of her audience. “They’re magical supports, Apple Bloom, not structural supports.”

    “Ah think ah get it,” Apple Bloom said, after a few seconds of thought. She didn’t sound too sure, though.

    “Oh!” Sweetie Belle suddenly exclaimed, stamping a hoof for emphasis. “Like static electricity! Sometimes, when my sister uses lots of magic to make dresses, my mane gets all frizzy and if I touch something it goes zap!”

    Twilight nodded. “That’s exactly what the iron pillars are there to prevent from happening, especially if a pony is way up near the top of the tower.”

    “Why iron though?” Apple Bloom asked.

    “Iron is the most… one of the most magically conductive elements known to ponykind. There are actually a few metals that are even better, like platinum or gold, but they’re obviously too scarce to build anything with.”

    “Okay, class,” Miss Cheerilee said, taking her place next to twilight in front of the little ponies. “Everypony, your attention, please. For those who don’t know her, Twilight Sparkle here is not just the town librarian. She is also an apprentice of Princess Celestia and the Element of Magic. So let’s all listen and give her the attention she deserves. After she tells us a little about unicorn magic, we’ll have a quick lunch and then get a tour of the area to see what Ponyville’s new mage tower will look like when it’s finished.”

    “Thank you, Miss Cherilee.” Twilight shifted a little, looking across the small crowd of faces.  Her horn lit up, projecting images into the air, the very first being an otherwise blank slide with the words: INTRO to UNICORN MAGIC. “To begin with…”

    The slide flipped around to reveal a picture with the silhouettes of the three pony races: an unassuming earth pony silhouette, a pegasus with her wings unfurled behind her, and a unicorn with her horn held high. To those who could recognize it, they looked rather suspiciously like Applejack, Rarity and Rainbow Dash.

    “I’d like to start with an overview of the different pony tribes and their magic. Not included is the alicorn… which is simply an amalgam of the three pony types. Now, all pony magic is fundamentally the same, whether used by an earth pony, a pegasus pony, or a unicorn. All ponies possess a natural level of magic. What differs is the means by which that magic is used by their body.”

    The slide flipped around again, and this time each of the silhouettes was enlarged and had highlights added to it. The earth pony’s hooves and skeleton were highlighted in yellow, the pegasus had her wings highlighted in blue and the unicorn had her horn highlighted in red.

    “Earth ponies conduct magic along a very robust, de-centralized pathway all throughout their bodies, with four notable clusters or nodes in the hooves. Pegasus ponies have a more centralized magic system than earth ponies, concentrating magic primarily into two nodes instead of four: their wings. Unicorns have the most centralized magic system of all, where the body concentrates magic into a single node: their horn. These physiological differences mean that each tribe of ponies not only developed different types of magic, but that they have physical adaptations to magic as well. The best example of this may be the ability of pegasus ponies to interact with clouds. Anypony is capable of replicating this effect, but it comes naturally to pegasus ponies because their bodies have adapted the spell and made it intrinsic to their being. Similarly, telekinesis is something every unicorn is capable of.”

    “Now that we're gone over the basic physiological basis for magic use, and as it is the focus of this lecture, we will go on to look at the unicorn horn itself.” Twilight flipped her illusionary slide and this time it displayed a textbook copy of the anatomy of a horn and part of the skull. “A unicorn’s horn is a uniquely well evolved instrument for the channeling of magical energy. More than ninety percent of the magic in a unicorn’s body flows into and through the horn. As you can see, the horn is not just a piece of the skull… it is actually a combination of keratin covering a core of live bone.”

    Seeing more than a few confused looks among the fillies and colts, Twilight decided to add a little bit to her lecture to explain. She should’ve known that part of this would’ve gone over their heads without more details.

    “What is keratin?” Twilight asked herself. “Think of it as the same stuff that makes up your mane or tail. Hair, basically. Except it is bundled together very, very tightly. As you can see…” The next slide showed a horn growing longer as a filly grew into a mare. “The horn continues to grow all throughout a pony’s lifetime, though most of that growth takes place as she matures and slows after about twenty to thirty years. The adult length is different for everypony and is believed to be affected by a number of genetic and environmental factors. Basically, it grows for a while, but the size doesn’t have a meaningful impact on how much magic a pony can use. A unicorn with a small horn can channel just as much magic as a unicorn with a large horn. Mostly, the difference is caused by diet and levels of calcium intake. Male unicorns have longer, more thickly built horns than mares, leading many to conclude that differences in horn size are related to competition among proto-unicorns as a result of physical combat.”

    The slide flipped again, to ask the question WHAT IS MAGIC?

    “What is magic?” Twilight asked, repeating the slide’s question. “This is actually a very difficult question to answer, and one ponies have debated about for thousands of years. The modern ‘unified field theory’ of magic that developed out of the works of Clover the Clever, and refined over the last thousand years, tells us that magic is simply the means by which we interact with the universe. In this way, simply picking something up with your hoof is magic, though a very mundane sort. Most of the magic we think of as magical is the non-corporal form of interaction. Meaning: the way we influence the world without touch.”

    The slide flipped, changing to a globe. That globe was surrounded by stars, including a large one labeled the sun, and a small one labeled the moon. Arrows pointed outwards from the stars in random directions, but not the moon or the globe that was Equestria (to most ponies at least, Equestria was both the world and the nation).

    “This is a very simplified model of where magic is believed to come from, though there is still much debate on exactly how it gets from one point to another. You may recall from history that ancient ponies, especially ancient unicorns, worshiped the sun and the stars. They were great astronomers, and in fact, the first mage towers were really observatories. This is true today as well, as every tower always has some means of observing the heavenly bodies. The study of the stars and the study of magic were long seen as the one and the same. While modern unicorns and modern Equestrians separate the religious aspects of star worship from the academic study of magic, we do know that there was a grain of truth to the old legends. As you can see, raw magic is created in stars, just like Celestia’s sun, through an unknown process. The magic is radiated out through space and into the aether, like ripples in a pool of water. It eventually ends up here, though some also bounces off the moon first.”

    Twilight’s next slide altered the first, so there were only a few arrows. One went from the sun to the world, another from the sun, to the moon, and then off the moon to the world. Others came from smaller stars to Equus.

    “The magic we all use comes from these stars, which saturate our world with their magic, just like a hot fire can make a room warm. In turn, the world fills us with magic as well.”

    “Oh!” Sweetie Belle’s hoof shot up.

    “Yes?” Twilight asked, pointing to her.

    “Does this mean you can get magic just by sitting outside in the sun?” Sweetie asked, sounding hopeful.

    “Sorry,” Twilight replied with a titter, “but no. Unless you’re a plant, it doesn’t work that way. But you do get magic by eating your vegetables and exercising right.”

    “Then how come some ponies have more magic than others?” Sweetie asked, more insightful than she knew. “You’re really magical, right? You must east eat a lot!

    Twilight’s pout was probably a little less than dignified.

    “I do not eat a lot!” Twilight protested, stomping a hoof. She did notice one stout unicorn colt in Cheerilee’s class looking very hopeful, though. “Diet is a factor, there are others, too, most of them outside a pony’s control. My family for example. Mares with high magical potential tend to have foals with high magical potential as well. But a good diet is essential to developing your full potential. Now…!”

    The next slide just said: RAW MAGIC – AETHER

    “Let’s talk about what we know about raw magic. ‘Aether’ is the most raw or pure form of magic known to ponykind, since we have been unable to isolate magic in a vacuum. A very diffuse form of it exists in the space far above even the highest clouds. When we create it here in Equestria, it is in a much purer form. I have a very special treat for everypony! I actually brought a small amount of aether for you to see for yourselves.”

    Twilight paused her presentation and reached into the bag by her hooves. She retrieved a thick glass sphere, within which a tiny black point of light swirled and churned. She held it up before giving it to Miss Cheerilee to then pass around to the class.

    “This is a tiny amount of aether, donated to the Ponyville library by the Canterlot Academy of Magical Sciences. The glass is unbreakable, but you should still be careful when it comes around to you and show it the respect it deserves. Aether is very volatile and reacts violently when exposed to impure magic, of the sort that exists almost everywhere in Equestria. Even though aether has been known to ponykind for at least two thousand years, we still know very little about it, especially as it occurs in nature.”

    “Are you sure this is safe?” Cheerilee asked, worriedly staring into the tiny black abyss that swirled in the glass. Staring into it, she could almost swear that something stared back…

    “Perfectly safe! … As long as the glass doesn’t break,” Twilight assured her. “And even the cutie mark crusaders couldn’t break the seals on that container!” The librarian laughed for a second, only to quickly sober and turn towards the class, and three fillies in particular. “Which isn’t to say you should try and prove me wrong!”

    “Aww.” “Nuts.” “Dang.”

    “Now,” Twilight continued, projecting the next slide in her presentation. “From raw aether and raw magic, we get into more nebulous territory: the magical schools and the various attempts over the centuries to classify what magic belongs to what discipline. I could go on for hours about the many attempts over history to define the schools of magic, from Brayto’s study on the Essential Base Elements to Starswirl’s controversial treatises on Recomposition and Simplification of Disciplines to White Light’s Prism Theory of Magic to Boltaire’s philosophy and the later New System of magic that had over a hundred different sub-disciplines…”

    She all but felt the collective shudder from her audience as they prepared for a particularly long and dry, ten-part seminar.

    ”But…!” Twilight mentally scrapped a few of her slides. “Let’s just keep it simple, shall we?”

    The next slide had arrows branching from the RAW MAGIC and AETHER. The first was three branches. Then a second copy had five branches instead of three, and a third had seven branches.

    “Typically, ponies observe either a base-three, base-five or base-seven magic system. Meaning that there are either three or five or seven different schools of magic. All agree that the lines between the types of magic are basically pretty blurred.”

    A hoof went up, and Twilight paused in her lecture, not having expected a question.

    “Yes, Silver Spoon?”

    “Why are there so many?” she asked. “Haven’t ponies had a… a really super long time to figure this out?” She adjusted her glasses and sniffed, disdainfully. “What’s so confusing about it?”

    “And what do you mean blurred?” Diamond Tiara also asked, without raising her hoof.

    “It may be easier to give you an example than to explain it,” Twilight replied, and pointed to two of the colts in the front row. She remembered them from the mess with Trixie. More important for the demonstration, they were both unicorns. “Um. What are your names again?”

    Seeing where she was pointing the two colts stood up.

    “Snips!” the short one said. “And I’m Snails,” the tall one drawled.

    “Would you please come up here?” Twilight asked, and once they stood in front of her, she reached down to cover their faces with her front hooves. “One, two, three!” her horn glowed, and she removed her hooves.

    On the upper lips of both colts, they sported bristly handlebar mustaches.

    “Now,” Twilight announced. “Who can tell me what is the difference between the two forms of magic I used just now?”

    The classes muttered and murmured amongst themselves and Twilight waited, sitting behind the amused Snips and Snails. It wasn’t long before one of them figured to investigate the problem with more than just her eyes.

    “Oh! Oh!” Sweetie Belle waved her hoof in the air. “Miss Twilight!”

    “Yes?”

    “Can I ask Snips and Snails to do something?” She didn’t wait for a reply. “Can you touch your mustaches?”

    Both boys looked back at her, and Twilight nodded. At the same time, they reached up to their faces. Snips’ hoof passed right through his mustache. Snails’ hoof didn’t.

    “One of ‘em is an illusion!” Scootaloo called out.

    “That’s right,” Twilight agreed. “One is an illusion spell and one is an alteration spell. The differences seem obvious, but think about it: how is it you are seeing the illusionary mustache? Your eyes and your minds are being fooled into thinking something is there when it really isn’t. Is an illusion different than alteration, or is altering your perception also alteration?”

    At this, the fillies and colts again began to mutter, not sure what sort of answer they were expected to give. It wasn’t a question with an answer, really. Not unless somepony here was actually a reincarnated Starswirl.

    Twilight held up her hoof for silence. “I’m not asking for an answer. The study of magic is, in many ways, a search for the right question to ask. Ponies have been trying to figure it out for longer than even Princess Celestia has been around. If you ask some ponies, they will tell you there are one hundred and one schools of magic. Others will say thirty seven, or eleven, or seven, or five, or three. Some will insist that there is only one, and that there are no schools of magic at all. You can both sit down now, thank you, Snips, Snails.”

    The colts quickly scurried back to where they had been sitting before, the mustaches dissolving off their faces.

    “For simplicity’s sake, I will just explain the three most common systems,” Twilight told them, and brought up the respective slides. “The conventional seven-school system classifies magic as Illusion, Alteration, Conjuration, Evocation, Transmutation, Divination or Enchantment.” She pointed up to her illusionary projection. “Here, you can see a few example spells of each school, like creating fireworks as an illusion, creating barriers with evocation, or causing a mustache to grow with alteration. Miss Cheerilee had told me that Lady Antimony, one of my distant cousins, already gave you some examples of enchantment. Transmutation involves rearranging elements or magic, either releasing energy or drawing it in. Conjuration is mostly commonly different forms of summoning magic, but it also includes things like the creation of magical mirrors and gateways. Most aether, like in the glass, is either produced in a laboratory or summoned using conjuration.”

    Next, she pointed to the slide with five-branches. “The five-school system is archaic, but some ponies still prefer it for one reason of another. I recently ran into a mare who used this system and it prompted me to re-examine it myself. In this system, there are five schools: sorcery, wizardry, alchemy, thaumaturgy and electricity. In a broad sense, it can be seen as a simplification of the seven school system, where magic is sorted not according to effect but by cause.”

    “Sorcery includes the schools of illusion and evocation, because both schools use magic of a similar… let’s call it ‘wavelength.’ Or color,” she added, seeing that most of the little ponies here wouldn’t know what a wavelength was. “Wizardry includes magic like conjuration and alteration. Alchemy is mostly transmutation, Thaumaturgy is mostly enchantment and natural internal magic, and Electricity is weather and external magic. This system is… convoluted, as it isn’t strictly sorted by what the magic does, instead it is sorted by how the magic takes shape…”

    She coughed into her hoof. “Imagine you have a big bowl of gumballs,” Twilight tried to explain in a way the little fillies and colts would understand. “The green gumballs are apple flavored, the orange ones are… well, orange… and the red ones are cherry. But not all of these candies are the same shape. Most of the green apple-flavored ones are round, but a few are triangles and a few are squares. Most of the cherry flavored ones are triangles, but a few are round and a few are squares. Most of the orange ones are squares. Most magic systems would sort them by their color and flavor. All the apple flavored ones go in the apple category, no matter what shape. The five-magic system sorts them by shape instead of flavor, so your ‘round’ category has a mix of candies, most of which are apple-flavored, but a few are also cherry and a few orange. This system is much more confusing for most ponies to understand, but it is also more versatile, as it includes magic that unicorns don’t normally cast, like earth pony magic – Thaumaturgy – and pegasus magic – Electricity.”

    Twilight paused at the end of her explanation to see if the story and her allegory made any sense. A few of the little ponies seemed sort of lost, or just plain confused, but a few also seemed to be trying to piece it together. The story about the candies helped, she thought, even if it was a last minute thing she had added in. Explaining Lady Twinkling Star Light’s preference in magical systems wasn’t easy.

    “Lastly, we have the three-magic system,” Twilight said, moving on to the last of the slides on this subject. “This divides magic into one of three types: earth, heaven or sky. ‘Earth’ includes transmutation, enchantment and earth pony magic, ‘Sky’ is weather magic, pegasus magic, and elemental magic, and ‘Heaven’ is unicorn magic… illusion, evocation, conjuration and alteration.”

    Discussing the differences between the schools one last time, she decided to open the floor to some questions. It was way ahead of time compared to her planned outline for the lecture, but it looked like a lot of ponies had questions. The first few were easy. Then she got one covering a topic she had planned to touch on later anyway.

    “Alliteration,” Twilight said, nodding sagely. “Most unicorn spells are alliterative. Why is this?”

    She created a new slide that read:

    Berkelium's Blinding Blistering Beam

    “Berkelium's Beam is a fairly common unicorn spell. You might have seen it before. It basically looks like a blast of magical energy.” Twilight turned around to point at each one of the words. “Each alliteration in the spell indicates a level of complexity. A pony has to learn them iteratively… one after another. First, she learns the Beam, which is actually the last word in this case.”

    Twilight turned around and lit up her horn, producing a conical magenta flashlight.

    “This is a Beam,” she told the class. “Very basic. Most unicorns learn something like this, if not this exact same spell, even before their first apprenticeship. It is actually just the last word in an entire phrase of power. This phrase is an invocation: a verbal phrase or set of phrases that help to focus the magic. Using an invocation is usually only necessary when you first learn a spell or when you’re first trying to understand the principles behind it. After that, a pony usually doesn’t bother, because an invocation always creates the spell at full strength.”

    “For example, the invocation for a basic Beam is simply: Light from Mind. Awareness! Form! Beam!”

    As the last word left her mouth, her horn surged with power, and the flashlight turned into a lighthouse. Burning magenta crackled as Twilight turned her horn upwards to avoid blinding anypony. The searchlight projected directly up into the sky, visible almost until it hit the clouds overhead. Twilight exhaled slowly, and the light faded again.

    “Magic in general is much easier to control when it comes entirely from your horn and not from a verbal component or chant,” she explained.

    “Light from Mind. Awareness! Form! Beam!” a filly repeated, furrowing her brow. It was a little gray unicorn; Amethyst Star’s sister, if Twilight remembered correctly. Dinky-something. “Beam!” she yelled again, and gave a groan of disappointment. “It isn’t working!”

    “The words themselves only unlock the power, they don’t give you power,” Twilight informed her, and the rest of the class, before they all started trying to repeat the phrases. “Think of it like math. You need to understand variables before the equation makes sense. Um… you… probably aren’t up to that kind of math yet, though…”

    Twilight scratched her head, trying to think up a better way to explain it. “Oh! Think of it like a story! You need to know who the characters are for a scene with them to make sense! You need to understand ‘Light from Mind’ and ‘Awareness’ and ‘Form’ and only after you do can you use the ‘Beam.’ See? Now, back to Alliteration,” she continued. “Each alliteration has a set of power words that it represents. Berkelium is next, after beam, even though it comes out first when you use it. So Beam becomes ‘Berkelium's Beam.’”

    “Is Berk-burr-berkkleum a pony’s name?” Sweetie Belle asked, calling out with her hoof in the air.

    Twilight nodded and smiled at the question. “Berkelium was a pony from the migration period, and she invented this variant of the Beam spell and many others. Unlike most of the ancient ponies who invented or improved on spells, we actually know a great deal about her! She was a white mare with a golden mane who moved to Equestria with her family from the Old Kingdom when she was a little filly, just like you!”

    “Cutie mark,” Apple Bloom demanded. “What was her cutie mark and how did she get it?”

    Twilight fidgeted at the question and coughed into her hoof. “I don’t know if I… uhm… that is to say… Applejack isn’t going to like me telling you this, but, well, she sort of got her cutie mark by…” The studious unicorn shuffled uneasily on her hooves. “She blasted some things. With beams. Until they left her village alone.” Twilight laughed, suddenly. “Yes! That’s all! She definitely didn’t destroy anything!”

    Too late. Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were already huddled together writing something down on a piece of paper. Twilight made a mental note to stay away from Sweetie Apple Acres for a few days.

    “Yes, umm,” she tried to resume where she had left off. “After Berkelium's Beam, the next level is Berkelium's Blinding Beam, and then finally Berkelium's Blinding Blistering Beam. Though there are other variants, like the Bouncing Beam and the Bounding Beam and the Binding Beam and the Blaster Beam. Each alliteration becomes progressively harder to cast and control. The highest most ponies can go is four alliterations of any given spell.”

    “Why only four?” a unicorn colt in the back asked.

    “Nopony really knows,” Twilight answered. “In the past, very high level unicorns and… others… could use five-alliteration spells. These were often called ‘megaspells’ because their effects could be wide ranging or destructive. It is believed, for example, that the spell the Princesses use to move the sun and moon is a five-alliteration spell, though nopony knows for sure.” She hesitated a moment, before saying just a little more on that subject. “According to some ponies, the limit is four-alliterations because after the fourth alliteration, the use of normal invocations breaks down,” Twilight said, and stopped herself then and there. “The limit is four alliterations. That’s just how it is for the time being.”

    “But that isn’t all there is to spell theory,” she went on, and draw up a new magical slide. “In addition to alliterations, there are also subsidiary castings. Here’s an example.”

    Berkelium's Beam: Blue

    “This is a very simple adjustment to the normal beam, changing the color. Much like the even simpler Beam: Blue!” Twilight’s horn lit up, producing another flashlight-like cone, but this time the light was bright neon blue. “A subsidiary casting is much easier than adding a new alliteration. You aren’t dramatically changing the spell, but you are adding a layer of complexity to it. And, yes, subsidiary castings can also alliterate.”

    Berkelium's Beam: Rainbow Rain

    Twilight tilted her horn up and away from the fillies and colts, and powered up the spell, though keeping it on low. The cone of light she created was intense, more intense than the flashlight Beam, but more importantly it also coruscated with every color of the rainbow. The dazzling lightshow even attracted a few curious pegasus onlookers. One weatherpony in particular took offense.

    “Ohhh! So it’s a Rainbow-Off you want, huh?” Dash yelled from on high, still wearing her weatherpony outfit. She pumped her hoof in challenge. “You think you can take me?!”

    Twilight angled her horn, blasting the flyer with all the colors of the rainbow.

    “Bw-ahagffh!” Dash sputtered, knocked off her cloud. “Hey!”

    “Oops,” Twilight called out, clearly not meaning it, a smile on her face.

    “Watch where you point that crazy thing!” Dash yelled back, also smiling. Then she blasted downwards, leaving a rainbow colored trail behind her as she circled the beam, and then the unicorn who produced it. A second later and she blasted off and back to work. Twilight chuckled and ended her spell, the cone of light turning to sparkles.

    “Theoretically,” she told the class. “A pony can cast a four-alliteration spell with a four-alliteration subsidiary. I should say that that is the real limit. And that’s basic spell structure in a nutshell!”

    “Miss Twilight,” Diamond Tiara imperiously spoke up, not feeling the need to raise her hoof before speaking. “Can only unicorns cast these spells? What about earth ponies? You said that all magic is basically the same thing, right? Just that earth ponies don’t have horns?”

    Twilight licked her lips, thinking about how to respond.

    The image came to her, unbidden, of a dark earth pony mare with a scarred face, inequine eyes smoldering like dying pits of fire, deep and monstrous as Tartarus itself. Eyes that burned with the same magic as a unicorn’s horn, wreathed in poison. No longer belonging to a pony any more than they belonged to the gorgon they had first been stolen from. There were ways, Twilight knew. Not that she had any intention of ever telling anypony here about that.

    “An earth pony or pegasus pony can use unicorn magic by mastering the verbal components of a spell,” she explained, “and substituting their wings or hooves for a horn. But… doing so… is very difficult. I don’t think I can describe how difficult, since I can’t really imagine it myself. But no… pony in modern Equestria has more than a passing skill in it. It was most common in the pre-migration and pre-classical period, when unicorns were captured by other tribes and forced to teach them spellcraft. When the tribes learned to live together in peace and cooperate rather than fight… the need for it died out.”

    “Alright, class,” Miss Cheerilee began to say, “why don’t we--”

    “Twilight!” Apple Bloom called out. “Can a pony other than the Princess really learn to move the sun?”

    Cheerilee paused, glancing over her way. It seemed she wanted the question answered, too. Twilight nodded. “Theoretically, yes.”

    “Do they have to be an alicorn?” another filly asked.

    Twilight shook her head, not entirely liking this line of questioning. “No. That has nothing to do with it…”

    “So what’s the point’ah bein’ an alicorn, then?” Apple Bloom asked.

    “From what I understand, being an alicorn is no different than being any other type of pony. You are what you make of yourself,” she said, putting her hoof down on the subject. “I know today’s lecture dealt almost entirely with unicorn magic, but unicorn magic is still pony magic. Don’t forget that it was an earth pony, the mythical Promaretheus, who stole the secrets of magic from the gods to save ponykind. Magic is a gift and a blessing for ALL ponykind.”

    “What about the magic of friendship?” The question actually came from Spike, who still lounged by one of the iron pillars. “What kind of magic is that?” he asked. “Funny, I never even thought about it until now.”

    “I… I, uh…” Twilight stammered and bit her lip as she same to realize she didn’t really have an answer for her assistant, or the rest of the class for that matter. “I – I don’t… I’m not sure…” Now chewing her lower lip in embarrassment, she had to admit, “I don’t really know.”

    “Okay, class,” Cheerilee jumped in again, this time to rescue the poor librarian. “Why don’t we have lunch? You can ask Twilight Sparkle any more questions you have and relax for a while and then we’ll continue our tour of the area. And remember, if you’re interested in magic, don’t forget to sign up for an apprenticeship. Once the mage tower has been built, Lady Rarity has generously agreed to pay for the first twenty scholarships, but you won’t be eligible unless you enter your name.”

    The ending could’ve gone better, but Twilight’s heart swelled to see many of the unicorn colts and fillies in Ponyville, despite being a rather stark minority, looking with interest at the prospect of an apprenticeship. Soon, thanks to Rarity, young unicorns in Ponyville wouldn’t have to move out of the town just to further their education. Friendship was Magic, she had learned that by coming here, but Learning was a Magic all its own, too. And who knew? Maybe the next Starswirl would grow up in Ponyville.

    Or the next Arsenic.

    Only time would tell. Still… Spike’s question continued to plague her, even as everypony focused on their packed lunches. Where did the Magic of Friendship fit in? It did look like a rainbow, but it wasn’t normal pegasus rainbow magic, or normal unicorn magic OR earth pony magic. Why did all the Elements of Harmony need to be active for it to function? Either it worked at full power or not at all. Who or what had first defined the Elements themselves? There was still so much they didn’t know, that they didn’t understand.

    Which was frustrating, but not necessarily a bad thing: it meant there was always something more and something new to learn.

    - - -

    “Adjusting magical transmission!”

    An upside down alabaster-white unicorn mare appears amid the static, half her face hidden behind a pair of blocky gold clockwork goggles. Despite being upside down, her red and pink mane seems undisturbed, and flows upwards in defiance of gravity. She reaches up, flicks one from red to blue, and crosses her forelegs, nodding to herself.

    “Yes. Yes. Excellent. Transmission stable. Switching to third-pony present for real time interaction. Adjust the gain fuchsia!” The screen flickers for a second, before the picture turns clear. “Excellent. Greetings, otherworldly guests! I, Twinkling Star Light, have taken it upon myself to appear to answer those inquiries of yours that Twilight Sparkle herself would not be able to! She is a brilliant mare, but certain secrets have been kept from her, once that may be shared with you.”

    “First, I received a transmission asking about the torcs! The Star Keys!” Star Light rubs her hooves together and chuckles. “Such fascinating artifices! I simply had to re-assemble them to continue certain avenues of my research! So, the question was asked: ‘I'm curious about the torcs and their connection to the constellations. There are only three torcs existing at this time (if I remember correctly), but theoretically is there a torc for every horoscope sign?’”

    “Who says there are only three?” Star Light asked, laughing and flicking her head to the side to cause another lens to drop down in front of her face with a click. “My son managed to make off with three functional keys, but he only has those three because nopony save myself knows how to reconstruct them. As least I think I’m the only one… oh, but there are others. Here and there. More there than here. But as you may know, they are a means of communion with the entities that inhabit the Empyrean Vault.”

    “Some of the connections are obvious to all: Chalice has been bound to Sagittarius, Miss Heartstrings to the Lyre, Miss Twinkleshine to the Triangle, I believe. It makes sense that you would think that each constellation has its own torc, but already there are not enough torcs to go around! If we assume that my son only has the three torcs, one of which was broken until Twilight Sparkle fixed it, that leaves two torcs for clearly more than two ponies and more than two constellations! How to reconcile this? The answer is this: individual star keys are not restricted to the one who uses them, or the entity they have been used to contact. After all, if I use a key to break into your home and steal something… a blood sample perhaps, because I really would like a human blood sample - I don’t need the key anymore, do I?” Twinkling Star Light chuckles darkly, adjusting her goggles with her hoof. “Though, it may be better to think of it as a skeleton key, rather than a house key. I also would not advise stealing blood or hair or anomalous matter samples from sleeping demi-gods. This one time, Cruccie got so upset with the constant pan-dimensional interruptions during our personal time that he…”

    “We’re losing the signal!” Pinkie’s voice announces, as Star Light’s audio fades in and out. She continues anyway, gesturing wildly with her hooves.

    “…so after the ‘sample’ escaped and tried to make a run for it, I had to…”

    “Let’s just not hear that, shall we?”

    Star Light glared madly at the screen as her audio returned. “…Thank the Princess that the bones were still intact! But the entire thirteenth floor was covered in…”

    “Er, gross.” Pinkie’s voice cut in as the static returned.

    “…and that was our third honeymoon in a nutshell,” Star Light finished, nodding to herself. “As a bonus, we also got the number for one of our alternate selves. Since Canterlot is being invaded in a few days, I’ve thought about hiring some enterprising individuals to steal – errr – purloin? No, that means steal, too. ‘Borrow indefinitely’ one of the mirrors in the castle. For safe-keeping. That’s it. We don't want it falling into changeling hooves, now do we? Anypony interested?”

    “Yeah… I don’t think that’s wise,” Pinkie warns, shaking the camera a bit. “Oh! What about this question: ‘Does all that insanity out there have some connection with unicorn magic? Is normal unicorn magic filtered down from Out There by Equestria, into something more like what we see, or some such? And what does all that alien strangeness mean in relation to the Sisters?

    “Twilight Sparkle already answered some of this, but I will endeavor to clarify,” Twinkling Star Light says, contemplatively tapping her chin. “Aether, as you may have heard about from various sources, is very volatile and dangerous. In the broader universal sense, it is the medium that stores and transmits magical energy from the stars to Equestria. So, yes, it is connected to unicorn magic and all forms of magic. If there was no aether, there would be no magic, but where there is aether, life as we know it is impossible. But Twilight Sparkle already said as much before.”

    She exhales softly.

    “All magic is, as you speculated, a filtered down form of what naturally bombards our planet. It collects in certain things more than others: plants and gems being the big two. Certain trees continue to soak magical… radiation… for their entire lifetimes. This magic can also grant near-immortality to these plants, meaning that they can accumulate magic for thousands or even millions of years. I believe Yggdrasil to be the best example of this. When I was younger, I visited the tree with my husbu - I needed somepony to distract the dragons and other guardians - and acquired a cutting from it and attempted to clone the tree. My efforts succeeded, in time, as a plant is still just a plant… though it did require draining the small amounts of magic from several hundred volunteers over the course of a year.”

    “Uh, that sounds kind of ominous…”

    “Pish-posh! There was no lasting harm. I contributed my magic as well to the experiment,” Star Light continues, otherwise ignoring the interruption from her unpaid intern and helper. “The sapling only grew to about three times the height of a pony, but it did give me enough to theorize that the current Yggdrasil is at least four million years old. Among other things, I also discovered that while the primary tree is consecutively monoecious, the sapling was not, which explains why there are not whole forests of giant world trees covering the planet from pole to pole. It also gave me enough evidence to prove that sufficient levels of raw magic cause progressive physiological mutations… which may be obvious to those of you who are genre savvy, but nonetheless, I enjoyed having proof to support my theory.”

    “What’s with this tangent, you may be asking?” Star Light clops her hooves and conjures up a tiny black sphere, or at least the image of one. “Aether and raw magic in general is much more destructive… corrupting, is probably the word you are thinking of, though the term is also a value judgment I try to avoid in the interests of an unbiased experiment… than the filtered magics most forms of life use, including unicorn magic. Which brings us to the Princesses.”

    The black light vanishes, and Star Light holds up her hooves, conjuring up a picture of Luna in one hoof and Celestia in the other.

    “These two have been exposed to aether-magic for more than a thousand years due to their connection to the Sun and Moon… mostly the sun, as the moon itself has been proven not to generate magic as true stars do. Who knows what affects it has had on them? Is this the mechanism behind Princess Celestia’s size relative to her sister and normal ponies? Regrettably, the Princess continues to refuse my polite requests to take a few harmless samples of her, and the last time she caught me impersonating her physician, I ended up in a rather dark place for a few days. I don’t think it was the Moon, but…”

    “It was probably the moon,” Pinkie noted.

    “Nonsense! She can’t send things to the moon without the elements of harmony.” Star Light dismisses the possibility with a wave of her hoof. “I will conclude by saying that it is best to be wary of undue or unrestricted exposure to… those entities who exist outside our world. My daughters have learned this first-hoof, and ironically, they know more than I do the details of what transpires after the torc enables contact with an extra-Equestrian being. Our local sun… may be different, however. The constellations one gains power from all have different personalities, if you can call it that, and treat those bound to them differently. It is entirely possible that Celestia and Luna have found the one stellar object in the universe entirely amenable to being tethered to a mortal being.”

    The Celestia and Luna images in Star Light’s hooves glow softly. “Call this the ‘gift’ scenario.”

    “It is also possible that they exist in uneasy tug-of-war and the moment something disrupts that, they will be dragged into a fiery oblivion beyond mortal comprehension.” The Celestia and Luna in her hooves suddenly erupted in flame and disintegrated. “Call this the ‘burden’ scenario. I leave it to you to speculate as to which is most likely.”

    “Well, that’s depressing.”

    “It is?”

    “Of course it is!”

    “Then I should lighten the mood with a joke,” Lady Star Light decides, clapping her hooves together and extinguishing the fires. “After a long day of work, Helium floats into a bar. The bartender objects. ‘We don’t serve noble gasses in here, lady!’ Helium doesn’t react.”

    “…”

    “PFFFFFFHAHAHAHA!!” The noble Duchess breaks out into a peal of laughter.

    “Ha ha ha?” Pinkie laughs. Truly. What a funny joke… ??

    “Here’s another!” Star Light insists, despite muttered insistence from Pinkie that she really doesn’t have to. “I went to the bar with my lab assistant the other day. The bartender asks what I’d like, and I say, ‘I’ll have H2O.’ My assistant says, ‘I’ll have H2O too.’ And he DIES!! PFFFHAHAHAHA!!”

    “Chemistry humor hurts my brain. Please stop.”

    “That’s what you said about all those Far Side comics I keep around the lab. You’ll learn to love them.”

    “Yeah… probably I won’t. So, do you have any PG-13 adventures you can describe instead?” Pinkie asks.

    “Oh.” Star Light mulls over that for a second. “Truth be told, ‘adventure’ is just another word to describe when things go wrong. Contrary to what you might think, I try and take every safety precaution when doing any research off-Equestria. I even kept on-world for almost the entirety of my first pregnancy. It was horrible! Ughh!”

    Star Light shakes her head violently.

    “An irony is that I may have traveled more off-world than around our own world,” Star Light muses. “My last ‘adventure,’ if you had to call it that, brought me to the lab of a scientist in the griffin lands. I had been asked to consult, you see, and I was so lost it was embarrassing! I didn’t know anything about the local cuisine or customs! Oh, but Doctor Terrorwing had just the loveliest view from his mountain fortress. You could see all the way out to this frozen mountain lake where he was testing his freeze ray, and the ice crystals sparkled when they caught the morning light. In between work, he even taught me to skii. Such a gentle-griffin. I felt like a young mare again! Don’t tell my husband, but I think he had a little crush on me!”

    She pauses, leans forward, and pauses again.

    “Oh, you can’t see my eyes, can you? I’m winking. That was a wink. Wait. Here’s a wink. Did you see it? No. Just take my word for it. Hmm? What’s that? Why did I help him build a freeze ray? Surely you understand that there are many peaceful civilian applications for a weapons grade freeze ray!!”

    “Not really,” Pinkie notes while holding the camera.

    Star Light’s snout crunches up and she sticks out her tongue. “Anyway, it was a wonderful time once I got used to all the griffins. But, wouldn’t you know it: I’m just minding my own business throwing failed experiments into the lava pool outside my private quarters when suddenly there’s this tremendous explosion! All the nice griffins start to run and fly around like chickens with their heads cut off. It turns out some young troublemaker had been captured and, against all odds, managed to escape. He soon got his hooves on a prototype pony-and-griffin portable freeze ray and started going wild.”

    Twinkling Star Light shook her head in dismay.

    “Well, I was up on the second to the last floor, so I figured it would all die down after a while. After a quick snack, I was on my way down when I bumped into this pony. Why, I could barely believe what I was seeing. Not only had he stolen the prototype freeze ray, but the ice-armor and the crystal-adhesive boots that allow you to walk on the ice, too. He even had the blue passkey, which meant he must’ve beaten up poor Colonel Coldheart. Just a few days before her birthday, too!”

    “I saw him and told him, ‘I hope you aren’t using that freeze ray to bypass any traps without filling out the proper laboratory testing forms. And you really must be careful when using the boots to scale walls you’ve frozen over to get around obstacles; you could break your neck. I then felt compelled to show him how to slide using the boots and armor.’ Next thing I know, he says he’s going to rescue me, and I end up being dragged behind him, opening panels and doors and the like.”

    “Umm… it sounds like he had the adventure and you were an NPC…”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Star Light shrugged. “An hour or so later and poor Doctor Terrorwing ended up ironically freezing himself and shattering into a million pieces. I barely had time to steal… er… ‘borrow indefinitely’ his research before skiing down the side of the mountain as it collapsed. Such a shame. Cruccie would’ve loved the ice bar.”

    A pink hoof points towards her. “That was a video game! You were in a video game!”

    “I don’t know what you mean,” Star Light protested. “For me, it was a Tuesday.”

    End Transmission

    ----

    Haha, wow, this ended up pretty damn long! 8000 words? lol. This is longer than a lot of actual fanfics. Oh well. One night of binge writing can do that.

    Consider it a TPC one-shot.

    Sorry I couldn't fit in Twilight and Sand Dune bickering over who gets to teach Sweetie magic. Because clearly Blueblood gets to!

    Blueblood: (sipping his drink)

    Sweetie: "This is gonna be fun!"

    Blueblood: (still drinking)

    Rarity: "Give me that!" (takes away his liquor)

    Blueblood: "My drink... why did you leave me? Was it something I said? Okay, fine, magic time. Lesson the first: distracting your sister." (projects an illusion of a half dozen stallions with various flowers, chocolates and gifts)

    Rarity: "Ohhhh dear..." (fans herself)

    Sweetie: "Yes, yes, I see..."

    Blueblood: "And then, while she's distracted..." (carefully retrieves his drink) "And that's how it's done."

    Sweetie: "And this can be applied to get candy and cookies?"

    Blueblood (conjured illusionary Big Mac) "Eyup."

    Sweetie: (evil laughter; so much evil laughter)

    1 hour later edit:

    If you guys want, feel free to ask any other magicy or random questions to either Twilight (who will give you straight answers) or Star Light (who ramble on) about whatever comes to mind. Twilight won't be able to give you potential spoilers, but Star Light may hint at a few inbetween her randomness.

    43 comments · 1,495 views
  • 39w, 3d
    Fanfiction Musings: TPC and The Alpha Mare

    Hey there, to those following me!

    I’ve been quite some time without updates, so I thought rather than just suddenly drop chapters out of the blue (I’m still waiting for a certain commission to finish), I thought I’d try my hand as making a few blog posts that aren’t just dry status updates. I was mulling over that, and over parts of Platinum Crown, when I remembered a commenter’s suggestion that I should shade some of my worldbuilding musings and other “fluff” (as I usually call it) on a blog. Well, I have one here I rarely use, on a site dedicated to fanfiction, so I figure maybe I’ll give it a try.

    My thoughts for the moment are on “Alpha Mares.”

    In Platinum Crown, I noticed, I write a disproportionate number of characters as alpha mares, mostly because it creates further conflict (a story where everyone is reasonable and fair isn’t usually a fun story, haha). It got me thinking about the whole “alpha mare” phenomenon in the fic, and just what it is that makes them this way.

    What do I mean?

    Rarity would have to be the first one I mention, because she is also the one who outright describes what specifically draws out what I oversimplify as the alpha mare state. And that is her love life. Very early in TPC, she talks to her friends about why she can’t find common ground with Antimony, and it boils down to her not wanting to share the this one most-important object of her affection: the Prince we see she had dreamed about since she was a little filly without even a cutie mark. She states that this is her one unfailing bit of selfishness, the thing she can’t bear to be made to share. Her generosity up to a point.

    In part, it isn’t meant to be taken literally – I think that is also clear in the scene. Rarity isn’t compelled to share everything she has, but generosity and compromise and understanding is in her nature. If this were more widely known, I don’t think we could fault Antimony for thinking Rarity could be talked into backing down and being First Mistress instead of a Duchess or a Princess. Rarity isn’t the sort to hoard things out of spite or love of power. For Rarity, her romantic dream, and in TPC her notion of just what her “dream” is, is a matter of internal debate that changes as she learns more and grows.

    I don’t really like using terms like “Beta” and “Alpha” to describe people (the whole Alpha Male myth) but it works here as a recognizable and simplistic term. Her views on romance elevate Rarity from a beta to an alpha, because she won’t compromise her view of what is right in a situation simply because it is impractical or because it causes conflict.

    Contrast this, with all the other so called alpha mares in TPC, and there are a lot!

    Antimony is the very first we run into in the story. She wants to fulfill a political marriage; fully expecting it to be loveless and miserable, because of her unflinching dedication to her family and to what she believes is the “right” way for her to act in society. Antimony is probably the quintessential alpha mare in TPC: she is amiable and pleasant almost all the time, except when she runs into an obstacle, which she crushes without pity or remorse. She can even try to be diplomatic about it, like with Rarity, but she is always unflinching in preferring confrontation to compromise. Even when Luna – a Princess she idolizes as a ‘perfect being’ – suggests a way out of the fight between her and Rarity, Antimony still rejects it, because the she-as-she-sees-herself cannot survive deviating from her path. Even in the face of death, this would be true.

    Soon after the end of the duel between Antimony and Rarity, Yumi and Ritterkreuz are introduced. Both are, again, confrontational alpha mares, but they begin to deviate from Antimony’s (and Rarity’s) formula. Yumi, we learn, is driven by a sense of proving herself by aiming as high as she can – to become the first earth pony Duchess of Canterlot and Princess of Unicorns – she is naturally skilled, tutored and told she is the greatest earth pony mare alive, and thus assured of her destiny. But unlike Antimony, she is willing to make compromises, deals and schemes to get to where she feels she needs to be. She is ironically less ruthless, but more prone to espouse the ends justifying the means. The common thread is always that line she can never cross, and that she will fight before being pushed over: her naive ambition, ultimately betrayed and used against her.

    Ritterkreuz is a stark contrast. She has no ambitions or grand designs. She doesn’t even think most things through, unless they involve fighting or flying. She hardly even thinks of herself as a pony at all, bitterly embracing the role of outcast to her own detriment and self-destruction. This is no mare wishing to be Duchess and Princess, like Antimony or Yumi. Her initial interests are just in screwing over the other mares who have such designs, and once she confronts Blueblood and finds out that he isn’t being coerced or manipulated and that he doesn’t need her to protect him, she quickly gets distracted by her greater objective: an endless fight against a parade of opponents that she imagines may not end until Celestia herself incinerates her. Yet she is also as much an alpha mare as any of the ponies she scorns, unwilling to bend or change who she is to better fit into society.

    What is the commonality that drives so much of the fighting in Platinum Crown among these mares?

    The heart of it, I think, is that they are all outliers in society.

    Much later in TPC, we meet Lady Sand Dune of Bitaly. She is a potential rival, again, of both Antimony and (we expect) of Rarity. She is cunning, powerful and ambitious, but we soon see she is rather willing to compromise and make deals that still benefit her, even if they aren’t exactly what she wants. Together with Fleur (in Chapter Zero) Sand Dune may be the first example of what a normal upper-level noblemare is really like in TPC. They can be vicious and cutthroat, saving lives and threatening to end them in the same sentence, but they are not willing to draw resolute lines in the sand.

    Sand Dune would not say: “I love him; I won’t share him with you, not for politics, not for any gain or at any risk. It is irrational, but that is exactly why it is also so important to me.” She would not say: “My life is the pursuit of a goal, an adherence to what I believe to be truth. Kill me before you take away my reason for living.” She wouldn’t say: “I can do what nopony else like me has ever done, therefore, it is my destiny to do this thing no matter the cost.”

    Neither would Fleur say these things (though she would fight mightily to avoid doing anything that isn’t ‘graceful’), nor the majority of mares. Some may be “alphas” in political standing (as with Sand Dune) but less so in mentality. I won’t go into much when it comes to the clearly subservient social climbers and nobles, many of which we see in FIM’s canon episodes, and who are in TPC. Like Upper Crust (from Sweet and Elite) and Patent Pending (Tiara’s mother).

    .

    This matter is more than just idle thought, though, because it is the inevitable clash between “alphas” that creates so much of the conflict in Platinum Crown. Rarity deals with Fleur rather easily in Chapter Zero (earning a new friend in the process) and much later also deals with Sand Dune without a fight. We see shades of this also, even in the past, when Celestia has to deal with Arsenic, and even when it comes to Chrysalis and her mother the previous Queen (who she disdains for her lack of ambition).

    An interesting final thought is with respect to Twilight Sparkle in TPC. Blueblood himself believes she is more alpha mare than beta, despite her conciliatory and generally unobtrusive nature. Twilight is an interesting contrast compared to, say, Sand Dune, a ‘soft-alpha.’ She might be called a ‘hard-beta’ and we see some of this when she is finally pushed up to the lines in the sand she doesn’t take pains to point out or make clear. When her family is threatened, when she confronts Cruciger and Star Light, we see hints of the Princess we think she might become, and it isn’t a pony to be trifled with.

    .

    As I write this, alpha mares are on my mind in TPC, because the finale is a literal storm of them. Chrysalis leading her invasion, and in the process, planning to cement her new vision of the changelings as dominant predators rather than societal parasites; Cadance enduring the un-endurable abuse and indignities of captivity as part of a larger plan; Twilight still reluctant to wield power but unable to remain on the sidelines; Rarity finding herself leading a group of mares who would otherwise be at each-other’s throats by force of personality and the few glowing embers of trust and friendship, Antimony working with Twilight while working against Brass, despite Twilight working with Brass; and Euporie and Eunomie on top of it all, with their own plans to destroy the changelings and apparently Canterlot too.

    Sometimes I do look back at it all, and think about the reviewers who lament the dark tone of the story. I’ve never seen it (or planned for it) to be dark. But it is meant to be very confrontational, because unlike most of Equestria’s population, the movers and shakers in TPC are the outliers. They are the mares who not only won’t compromise on ‘this one thing’ – they are the tiny minority who will stick to their guns, no matter the social or personal costs, and often end up dragging their friends (or armies or retainers) along with them for the ride. And unlike in a perfect world, they find themselves at odds with one another, again and again and again.

    As an aside...

    If you guys find these posts interesting, I might make the next one about TPC's crazy magic system. Oh, hey, I could even have it as like a mini-story where Twilight explains it. That might be fun! Or, if people don't like me using the blog for just random thoughts (less blogging, man, and more updating!!) feel free to tell me that, too!

    35 comments · 517 views
  • 61w, 1d
    Side Stories for Ponycraft

    A while back I mentioned that I had grown too disenchanted with WoW and Bliz to write a sequel to World of Ponycraft.

    It occurs to me that I should have mentioned that there are more stories in the WoP version of Equestria/Azeroth, and one that could really use a bit more love and attention. I'm hoping that by drawing a few eyes to it that I can spread the love a bit.

    The story is "A day at the quest hub"

    http://www.fimfiction.net/story/77999/a-day-at-the-quest-hub

    I really do think that those who enjoyed World of Ponycraft will enjoy Quest Hub as well. The author retains a lot of the all important humor and in-jokes that were very much the heart of what I tried to do with WoP. Give it a try!

    (also, for those checking out the blog for non-WoP news... updates are coming for TPC's final arc within the hour)

    3 comments · 377 views
  • 63w, 6d
    Bronycon - Attending it

    So, you guys have had to endure a few of my random rants in stuff you probably don't find that interesting, and that's not really what this blog is for. It is for announcements and such.

    Let me make an announcement then, which I probably should have a month or so ago.

    I'll be 99% likely (unless an emergency comes up) to be attending the Bronycon at Baltimore coming up. I've booked my hotel room and my car's ready and ofc I got the tickets. Why bring this up?

    This is also likely the only 'con I'll be going to (I figure) and I'll hopefully get to meet a lot of my author friends as well there. But I'd also be happy and honored to meet any of my readers who may also be attending! Drop a line if you are, and maybe we'll meet up there at one of the panels or the like!

    15 comments · 334 views
  • ...
 135
 4,972

Worgen? Try Ponies as the new Alliance race instead! Deathwing's Cataclysm breaks open the seals separating Equestria from the rest of Azeroth, allowing in the insanity that is World of Warcraft and WoW players.

I also recently got a spin off! Check it out!

"A Day at the Quest Hub" by Braininthejar

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/77999/a-day-at-the-quest-hub

WoP TV tropes page here:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/WorldOfPonycraft

First Published
30th Mar 2012
Last Modified
30th Mar 2012
#1 · 133w, 2d ago · 1 · · Chapter Twelve ·

Dude! Welcome to fimfiction.net!

This was the very first Friendship is Magic fanfiction that I ever read and it's gotten me so deep into the fandom that I'll never claw my way out! Not that I want to.

I just want to say again how much I loved this story and how influential it has been for me. Just about everything you write, I love!

Looking forward to future stories that you write! I'm watching you!:trollestia:

#2 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

YES! This looks like a great fanfic! I'm going to start reading this as soon as I'm done my next chapter in my own WoW crossover. :pinkiehappy:

#3 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Chryssalid? Have you seen X-COM?

#4 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

YES!

#5 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Mother of God...

Preparing Leeroy Jenkins jokes in

3...

2....

1....

#6 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

I want this to happen it wow right now! But... I don't play wow anymore... :fluttershysad:

#7 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

looks nice haven't read it yet tho hope its good

#9 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Two ·

PARTY!

Celestia's Socks, this fic makes me wanna play WOW again!

#10 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Welcome to Fimfiction Capn.  Good to finally see you again.

#11 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Gahh, i loved this Fic so much, it actually got me to renew my WoW account for the first time in almost a year :heart:

Sad to see the Fic and so soon though :fluttercry:

#12 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Six ·

Lastly. DESTROY THIS LETTER WHEN YOU FINISH READING IT. I can not repeat this enough. No one destroys these things. They just leave them for idiots to read when they die. How hard is it to toss it in a fire or throw it off a cliff or, I don't know, just crumple it up and eat it or something. Do not just tuck it into a pocket and forget about it! I don't want any damned mercenary types finding this and thinking: "Oh, hey, I think we should go kill this Voidhorn pony, I bet he had lots of gold and loot." That is about the last thing I need right now.

Ahahahahahaha!

I'm not fond of meta stuff normally, but you does it so well that it becomes hilarious!

#13 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

This was definitely among the first fanfics I read when I got into the brony community. Highly recommended if you're a WoW fan, naturally, but I stayed for the excellently thought-out action and the intriguing OC--*ahem*--NPCs the Capn cooked up. Hope this makes it to the featured box; it truly deserves to be there.

#14 · 133w, 2d ago · 6 · 1 · Chapter One ·

The Brony in me likes the strory

The Horde in me wants to KILL THE FILTHY ALLIANCE SCUM

The brony in me is also sad that i now have to kill ponies

#15 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Oh dear... I can tell this is going to be one crazy read...

#16 · 133w, 2d ago · 1 · · Chapter One ·

>>385673 The Brony in me thinks this is too bad ass.

The Horde in me wants to agree with you.

The Alliance in me want to say "Love and Tolerate" to you.

I don't follow either and let my Brony side say "I LOVE AND I DON'T EVEN NEED TO TOLERATE THE SHIT OUT OF THIS FIC!"

#17 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Awesome, it's finally here on FiMfiction!

He said he'd write more about the Great and Powerful Warlock (Trixie), but I haven't seen anything yet.  Also, the class choices are very well-thought-out.  Pinkie Pie as a Shaman fits surprisingly well, as does Rarity the Priest (best pony is best class :raritywink:)

#18 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter One ·

This fic, so much win. Only problem is the Alliance part.

Glad to see the one thing I cared about right away, Death Knight ponies ftw.

#19 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

*insta-complete!*

#20 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

I, for one, have always been happy that the ponies were Alliance in this story... simply because that's what I mainly play. Plus I bet their female model wouldn't have turned out nearly as bad as the worgen's.

Though I appreciate This Platinum Crown, I do hope you make good on some of the continuation ideas you posted at the end, Cap'n. The Warcraft adventures of the Mane Six must continue!

#21 · 133w, 2d ago · 1 · · Chapter Twelve ·

>>385442

Not sure if you know, but this is actually a reference to a letter that exists in-game. Near the enterance to the Blackrock Spire (level 58 dungeon, also where the famous LEEEEEEEEROY took place way back in vanillia), there's a named guard who carries a letter that basically says "Idiot, destroy this letter, blah blah blah, I trusted this powerful artifact to someone actually trustworthy (who I will name for some reason), unlike you who I don't even trust to destroy a letter without me telling you to. And you probably still won't."

As you may guess, the guy is the target of a quest, and the letter starts another which leads to the other guy mentioned in the letter. As you may guess, the guy was standing right next to a torch yet the letter was still in his pocket, not being destroyed in any way.

#22 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter One ·

FANTASTIC! :rainbowdetermined2:

#23 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Two ·

Yes, Dash is a paladin!

#24 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Well, nice to see this on FiMFiction, although I've already read it on FanFiction. In fact, it was...like the second story I ever favorited on FF.net. Found it completely by accident and I just recently found out you're somewhat of a major author with lots of popular fics besides this one. Huh, shows what I know.

I could go on and on about what classes I expected everypony to be, or how this and this contradicts something in actual WoW lore, or how respawning works, or how dungeons and raids reset, and how phasing would play a part in this fanfic, ect.

Example: There is NO possible way that the Mane 6 are the first to ever get to and complete the Castle Everfree instance. People have flying mounts, and the Twilight's Hammer had to get there somehow as well. They also met Horde there... Horde who probably were just random adventurers, and not part of the instance. Thusly, dungeons and raids have to reset in some way. Perhaps some kind of time spell is on them that rewinds time after you leave, that way you can fight there again and get more experience, allowing you to MUCH more quickly move on to more challenging stuff. (I say MUCH because questing is very slow and only gets exciting at the end of a LONG chain.)

Oh, look at that. I kinda did go on. Not on and on, but still.

#25 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Five ·

Great story here. Love Applejack's tale of how she became a warrior. And by a Thunderbrew! :pinkiehappy:

#26 · 133w, 2d ago · 1 · · Chapter Four ·

Some proved their commitment by undergoing voluntary gelding.

Okay, over the top, unnecessary, and too unsettling to not raise objections. REALLY, people. You're not in a contest to see who can raise the most horrific implications.(And as if Celestia or Luna would want a bunch of EUNUCHS around themselves...)

Those who desired advancement traditionally forsook family and friends

Which flies right in the face of what is supposed to be the founding principle of Equestria--- the Magic of Friendship, remember? Elements of Harmony, Hearth Warming Day, any of that ringing a bell?

#27 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Seven ·

I.....see.....everything.~ C'thun

#28 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

>>387054

No, I didn't know that; my WoW experience is rather limited - maybe five years old and I remained at ridiculously low levels. :) Thanks for telling me!

#29 · 133w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH :rainbowkiss::rainbowkiss::rainbowkiss: SEQUEL PLEASE

#30 · 133w, 1d ago · · · Chapter Eight ·

YOu can't bubble-hearth anymore....  hearthstone takes 10 seconds to cast. Divine shield lasts 8.

And I would hardly call it silly or "Cowardly"--- if your pally's overwhelmed by a mob, you'd be stupid not to do it. Cowardly is attacking a lone paladin en masse.

#31 · 133w, 1d ago · · 2 · Chapter Nine ·

The Curse of Flesh had seen to that, and as Celestia herself succumbed to the weaknesses of the curse,

So you're implying the ponies were once rock statues? Ecch. Leave that sort of thing to the dwarves and gnomes, I say. It takes a diseased mind to regard being a living, flesh and blood creature as a "curse."

#32 · 133w, 1d ago · 1 · · Chapter Eleven ·

Mind controlled the Blood Elf right out the building via window...classic!:rainbowlaugh:

And kudos for Pinkie Pie for pulling the ol Joker gag "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would you?":fluttershysad:

#33 · 133w, 1d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

    "I've covered in plate barding!" Rainbow Dash replied, pinning the kitty-Fluttershy to the ground. Her wings flapped excitedly. "What can she possibly do? Bite me? Ha!"

        CHOMP

        "AAAAAA!! SHE BIT ME!!!"


ROTFL:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

#34 · 133w, 1d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

okay. Celestia was carrying the idiot ball throughout this.

Sister is fighting a war and is begging for help? ....catch the slow boat and get there too late.

Traumatized sister is wallowing in darkness and solitude, mourning her dead friends?....leave her in isolation, and erase her friends from history.

Loyal student uncovers centuries-old truth behind legend of Mare in the Moon, shortly before your plan comes to fruition? ....don't bother archiving it for the few years left-- just send a brute squad to burn all her work while she watches and destroy her career.

All of the above past sins on your slate? ...who cares, use, deceive and manipulate your current loyal student too.

Celestia was so busy covering her screw-ups with lies, I'm amazed the Element of Honesty didn't spontaneously cram itself down her throat and kill her.

#35 · 133w, 1d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

>>390120

Celestia did make a lot of mistakes in this fic, to be sure. She didn't think it was necessary to intervene in the War of the Shifting Sands and she waffled on risking ponies lives to fight in far off Uldum when they had the Sunwall protecting them. She didn't understand that her sister wasn't just lost in grief over the deaths of her Night Guard, she was being actively corrupted by C'thun and Deathwing. She came down hard on Night Sky when she posed a risk to her plan to save Luna and she manipulated her student to boot to be in the "right place, at the right time, with the right friends." All true. But then she's carrying the same idiot ball that the dragon aspects were kicking around when it comes to actually confronting the kind of cosmic evils that are a genuine threat in Warcraft.

She's definitely not as benevolent in this fic as she is in, say, TBNE or TPC. But the World of Warcraft is also a much nastier place, so it's sort of bred a more ruthless Celestia to compensate and keep Equestria safe. Even with all that, I still think she's basically better than any other leader in this verse by a long mile.

A few other asides:

- I only remembered later that bubble-hearth is no longer viable. But the tactic is classic WoW. It had to make it into the fic in some way.

- This was my first MLP fic, and I never did use a proofer for it. I still find little errors in it. Much to my annoyance.

- Ponies were once stone before the curse of flesh. This is just kind of a necessary consequence of giving them a Titan Background.

- Lars, of course this is WoW the MMO. Were the mane six the first to do this instance? Why ask? A hundred groups do it every day! In the magic of MMOs they all did it. Somehow.

- Finally, the Alliance vs Horde thing. Alliance was easier to fit into the story. I really never thought it mattered much. The entire story takes place in the neighborhood of Equestria and Everfree. Besides, more "pretty races" in the Horde? The Blood Elves will just get jealous.

#36 · 133w, 14h ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

As a long time WoW player, I found this story to be just fantastic. I really loved how you mixed WoW lore in with FiM lore and expanded upon the story of Luna's fall.  

Btw, last I heard, bubble-hearthing is coming back in MoP with a minor glyph. :rainbowdetermined2:

#37 · 133w, 10h ago · · · Chapter Five ·

>>387668

And who BUT a Thunderbrew would randomly decide to teach a pony how to be a protection warrior?  AJ is basically very lucky to have met a clan known for insane drunken decisions-- and the willingness to act on them. :ajbemused:

#38 · 133w, 1h ago · 1 · · Chapter Twelve ·

Fun story with a lot of potential.

Does have some notable demerits, though...

First thing, off the cuff: You over-dwell on the gameplay mechanics. I would put less focus on painstakingly describing the nuts and bolts of WoW gameplay and focus more on the storytelling-- especially in the combat sections; that REEEALLLY made them DRAG. Exercise a little artistic license there! (also: lose the abbreviations. WoW noobs aren't the only ones annoyed by it.)

Second, you seemed inclined to bounce back and forth between serious (most of the story-- rather bleak and grimdark even) and light parody (the opening riff with Deathwing and Luna, the bit with the Lich King and Derpy Hooves.) More of the latter, less of the former.

You went a little excessive with your efforts to make MLP fit into WoW. As I noted before, a lot of OOC behavior, especially by the Princesses, just to make it all "fit."  To this I say:

Don't.

Half the appeal of mashups like this is how they DON'T fit together. coming up with an over-complex backstory to make Celestia and Luna fit into the WoW mythology only ended up diminishing MLP and taking away a lot of its charm. When in doubt, leave it vague, and be willing to be a little silly.

Third, I think you missed an opportunity with Twilight Sparkle. Her typical role as "only sane woman" as well as "Wow noob" had a lot of potential for comedy, but it was largely missed. For example, the "learning method" for WoW spellcasters should have driven her BONKERS right from the start. Can you imagine how outraged she should have been to discover--- after spending literal YEARS studying in the School for Gifted Unicorns--- that WoW spellcasters just walk up to their teacher, go "hey I'm ready to learn some new stuff," the teacher goes "pull my finger" and they DOWNLOAD IT right into their BRAINS? She shoulda had a FIT. (also, a little inconsistency there: you had Twilight go through the "instant download" but had Applejack go through weeks of training, and implied the others. I can see a training montage, but it should have been preceded by a "whoa, I know Kung Fu" moment...just to keep it consistent.) In general she should have been tearing her mane out half the time at how WoW magic worked... or how it didn't...

I think the big thing is that you opened up with the characters getting ready to explore a whole new world--- and then halfway you got bogged down with getting them through one solitary quest. In their own back yard, no less. Once again, to the Everfree Forest.

I DO hope you plan on a sequel, because you seem to have completely dropped several plot threads halfway through.... The Cutie Mark Crusaders guild (hey, kids, start charging 1g a cuddle, you'll be rolling in money before you know it), the rivalry between Twilight and Trixie (Trixie, a warlock? Really? also, she TOTALLY has to be putting on a show at the Darkmoon Fair....ahem. Sorry. Geek moment.) But truly.... much potential left here. Just don't drag out the nuts and bolts combat so much, focus more on the story, and be willing to 'whiff' on backstory where it gets too ponderous.

#39 · 132w, 5d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

This was me the entire time I read this.

Too much awesomeness made me deaf and blind.

But thanks for giving me great hair!

#40 · 132w, 1d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Very, very entertaining.  And well-woven.  :twilightsmile:

#41 · 130w, 5d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

>Ponies as new race in WoW

>They're alliance

>mfw

#42 · 128w, 2d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Wtf, This crossover shouldn't work, but it does.

Someone broke the universe....

#43 · 126w, 6d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

Loved this. Hope you decide to do some of those side stories.

#44 · 125w, 2h ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

>>390870 Damn bro I wanted to make a world of ponycraft story but I don't wanna take your idea would u be mad if I wrote a world of ponycraft story mines different then yours prob doing it with ashbringer lore pvp and then killing bosses etc

#45 · 123w, 3d ago · · · Chapter Five ·

"I was just sending some stuff to my alt!"

Although I know nothing of Warcraft other than I've learned from this fic so far, I am thoroughly enjoying your writing as always, Cap'n.

#46 · 121w, 6d ago · · · Chapter Six ·

Not a brony, my daughter is, but I play WoW and I love this story so far, thank you for writing it!

Now, on to the next chapter :)

#47 · 121w, 13h ago · · · Chapter One ·

Worgen or pony? Damn, tough decison.:trixieshiftleft:

#48 · 121w, 9h ago · · · Chapter Two ·

:twilightoops:Twilight- Arcane Mage

:rainbowdetermined2:Dash- Paladin

:yay:Fluttershy- Restoration Druid

What are the rest?:duck::applejackunsure::pinkiesmile:

#49 · 121w, 8h ago · 1 · · Chapter Three ·

Okay so:

:pinkiehappy:Pinkie- shaman

:yay:- Restoration Druid

:rainbowdetermined2:Dash- retribution paladin

:twilightoops:Twilight- arcane Mage

:duck:Rarity-?

:applejackunsure:AJ-?

Fill in the blanks and correct anything wrong please.

#50 · 120w, 6d ago · · · Chapter Twelve ·

>>805559

A bit more complicated, since (most of them) dual spec.

So:

:yay: Resto Druid and :flutterrage: Feral Druid

:pinkiehappy: Elemental and Enhancement (Pinkie never struck me as much of a riptide healbot)

:rainbowwild: LOLRet Pally and, if need be, :rainbowkiss: Prot Pally

:twilightsheepish: Arcane Mage (she's not ready for a second spec yet)

:raritydespair: Shadow Priest and :raritywink: Discipline Priest Heals

:ajbemused: Prot Warrior and :applejackconfused: there are other viable warriors? Last I played, arms and fury were kind of a joke. Besides, Big Mac is clearly the FURY warrior in the family.

also:

:trixieshiftright: Warlock. Totally not power mad either.

:trollestia: Canterlot Raid Boss

This was the first ponyfic I wrote. I gotta say, it is fun revisiting it from time to time!

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