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As day comes to a close and night starts to fall, two sisters decide to play a game.

First Published
22nd Jun 2012
Last Modified
22nd Jun 2012
#1 · 130w, 19h ago · · ·

dis is sum gud fic

But seriously, I already made my feelings clear x) This is great. Some absolutely cracking lines, and it doesn't bludgeon you with either the character development or the metaphor. One of your best.

5/5 WUD REED AGAEN

#2 · 130w, 19h ago · · ·

This is as good as I expected it to be, Obs. And I expected it to be magnificent.

Well done, sir. :rainbowdetermined2:

Gak
#3 · 130w, 19h ago · · ·

I love the ending especially, leaves room open for imagination...and maybe a sequel?

#4 · 130w, 19h ago · · ·

This... Wow.

Chess is always good metaphor bait, being an incredibly symbolic war simulator and all, but this was above and beyond. A fantastic bit of sororital dynamics and the return of hope to a heart that had forgotten it for more than a millennium. Thank you for writing this.

#5 · 130w, 19h ago · · ·

Submit this to EQD right now. It's fucking epic.:rainbowwild:

#6 · 130w, 18h ago · 1 · ·

This is definitely well written, sure. But there's something about it... I just find it boring.

Guess this fic just wasn't for me! Good job on the writing, though!

#7 · 130w, 18h ago · · ·

I can do little but praise this fic effusively. It subverts futility and inverts loss, a beautiful thing for anything to do.

#8 · 130w, 17h ago · · ·

Yes. This: yes. Fine work.

#9 · 130w, 17h ago · · ·

Flawless Victory! :pinkiehappy:

#10 · 130w, 17h ago · · ·

Luna, such a strange yet important character in the show, and this fic proves just how crucial she is in the show.

#11 · 130w, 16h ago · · ·

Well, my good author, you have done it again.

#12 · 130w, 16h ago · · ·

eqd. NOW!:flutterrage:

#13 · 130w, 15h ago · · ·

This deserves nothing but praise and likes.  Good show!

#14 · 130w, 12h ago · 1 · ·

Beautiful absolutely BEAUTIFUL granted, Luna is my favorite of the ponies (why there are no emoticon ponies of her I'll never know) so naturally I love this fic, but still it's wonderful.

#15 · 130w, 12h ago · · ·

Now that... Is philosphy right there. Such a talented mind of the author.

#16 · 130w, 11h ago · · ·

Hahaha, I've gotta read this. I'm getting a huge Homestuck vibe off the title and description, but I get that from brushing my teeth.:pinkiehappy:

#17 · 130w, 7h ago · · ·

>>795170 Anything chess related alludes to Homestuck for me now, too. :twilightsmile:

I felt that the chess metaphor felt a little heavy-handed at times. But ultimately it works out - especially in the second-to-last paragraph, referencing the very beginning of the whole exchange.

Great fiction!

#18 · 129w, 6d ago · · ·

I think I rather liked the air of discomfort that accompanied much of this piece, something in the (albeit stated outright eventually) subtext of the game. That along with the discomfort of powerful beings seeming to lift a game to greater heights is really what made this.

Perhaps it petered out a bit towards the end (I found the shout of “Thank you, Princess!” to be a bit... on the nose), but there was a very solid core here.

Nice fic, Obs.

~Lammy

#19 · 129w, 6d ago · · ·

That was quite charming. I very much enjoyed it and found the interaction between the two sisters very believable. The ending was cute as well - always a plus.

#20 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Deep.

Profound.

Touching.

And yet, so typical and expected for this kind of story...

Nevertheless, a masterpiece.

#21 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

This could've been better, had it not spelled out everything for the reader.

Still, a decent read. I adore chess-based metaphors.

#22 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Even as someone who's just an amateur at chess, I still cringe a bit at how weird it is to hear the phrase "in the interest of simplification"  instead of "in the interest of simplifying the game".  And that's such a basic concept to how to play that it's hard to imagine that it's at all new.  

Maybe you know more chess history / terminology than I do?  I get that there are newer, riskier gambits out there, but it didn't sound like that's what you were talking about.  

But the story itself is great.  The setup, playing a game, breaking the ice, the back and forth and guilt.  The dialogue.  It's all perfect Luna and Celestia.  And it's meaningful.  If I beat on the phrasing a bit much, I mean that the story sets that standard.  

"most ponies simply didn’t see how majestic the night truly was"

is something that seems...  odd.  Most people think the night is pretty majestic.  *shrug*

"Surely nopony would ever want to lose on purpose. What fool would wish for the humiliation of losing—of losing anything? "  seems like spelling things out a little too much.  Also, removes some subtlety from Luna's character.  

"Perhaps the game was not yet over."  But is the game already lost?  Thinking about it for a moment, there's also the point made that even yet it's some small victory to play.  There's something to that, but wouldn't the point mean that the conclusion isn't foregone, if she believes that there's hope for her?  Maybe something like her not being sure there was any hope for her.  "Indeed, much of her heart still doubted and knew what was to come.  But still...  Perhaps the game was not yet over."  Not suggesting that is used, but something to that feel.  

#23 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

My name is GhostOfHeraclitus and I approve of this fic. :twilightsmile:

It's a lovely story. I've found the chess metaphor to be just a touch strained in places, but the central theme is interesting. Luna needs more love. And an emoticon.  

It needs a sequel I should think. A game of Go? :rainbowlaugh:

#24 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Did you have any specific famous games in mind when creating the chess positions?

"There were only four pieces left on the board: the two kings, and a pawn on each side. Luna’s pawn was much closer to the other end of the board."

made me think of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9ti_endgame_study

#25 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Absolutely wonderful. The ending did give me a few chills as was expected. Luna's and Celestia's dialogue sometimes seemed a bit...off, but nonetheless realistic.

#26 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Luna obviously doesn't play chess.

Incidentally, the moral Celestia was attempting to convey might have been more clear if instead of losing she had forced a stalemate. In that way, by persevering, while she would not have won...she wouldn't have lost either. Take a look at the board positioning depicted on the wiki page. It's exactly the scenario you have in the story: king+queen vs king alone.

That would more clearly parallel the point she's trying to convey to Luna: if you give up now, you have definitely lost. If you keep trying, whether or not you succeed you can still make things better.

#27 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Beautiful story! Your characterization of Luna is interesting and well done!

Hm... it's been too long since I played chess.

#28 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

I love it ! Sweet and short story, I tend to love those more and more :pinkiehappy:. Thank you !

#29 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

I suppose I should comment, as a token of appreciation, but my comment is meaningless compared to the fiction you made, as it is what it is: a mere comment, but I suppose with time they will add up and return the author the effort it took them to write this, so here goes nothing: Good job.

#30 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

That was fantastic!!! I almost cried at the end....well maybe not cried...but they were sweaty.

Great fic!!! Thank you for that.....I give you 5 mustaches:

:moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

you know what....have a 6th :moustache:

#31 · 129w, 5d ago · · ·

Masterfully done.

The resolve that comes with finding hope in darkness is always special

+1 x like, + 1 x fav, + 1 x mantear.

#32 · 129w, 4d ago · · ·

I know next to nothing about chess, but I know a good story when I read it. Nicely done.

#33 · 129w, 4d ago · · ·

Not bad

#34 · 129w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Celestia sounds like a good chess player, ready to sacrifice even her most precious pieces if it might lead to her ultimate victory.

It's enough to make you worry for the Mane 6. :trollestia:

#35 · 129w, 4d ago · · ·

Well done.

#37 · 129w, 2d ago · · ·

I thought the "how you play the game line was a bit cringe-worthy, but it's unique in that aspect, and it isn't the ending note.  I'm really interested in Luna interacting with the populace.  Sure we got an episode of that in Ponyville, but wouldn't it make sense that she would start in Canterlot?  Please do a follow up!  This leaves me wanting to see more of your prose.

#38 · 129w, 1d ago · · ·

Bits and pieces I particularly liked, establishing that the chess game is a metaphor:

She pushed a pawn within range of Luna’s own, daring her to take the bait.

But Luna did not bite.

and

Celestia sighed again. It had been worth a try, at any rate.

Right before Luna sidesteps Celestia's question of her.

It was always important, when playing chess, to know the right time to press forward and the right time to fall back.

Indeed, Celestia. Indeed.

Every piece taken and every piece lost was part of a much bigger plan.

Celestia, the chess master. In all the meanings of the phrase.

“I’d just prefer to see the game through,” said Celestia. “That’s all.”

Celestia, ever hopeful, even if it's a dim, weak hope. Hanging on to the end. I admire her for this, I have to say, given all she's surely seen and lived through during her life.

I do think the ending was a bit more heavy-handed on the "telling" versus "showing" than the story that precedes it, and I too think it could perhaps have done without the "Thank you, Princess!" line.  But that's a fairly minor critique. All in all, I think this is a wonderful and thoughtful story, and it has one of my now-favorite characterizations of Celestia--wise but not infallible, tricksy but deeply loving.

Other parts I liked:

“I’m sure it’s nothing so serious as that,” said Celestia, trying her best to sound wise without yawning.

It's nice seeing Celestia as fallible, as someone who struggles to keep her game face on when she's feeling sleepy. It humanizes ("humanizes") her in a way that doesn't knock her OOC.

“It’s not always about taking pieces,” said Celestia sleepily. Her exhaustion was starting to haunt her again. “Nor is it always about winning. We play games simply because we enjoy them.” The board made another ringing clack as a white bishop sallied forth. “At least, I think we do. Don’t we?”

Oh, Celestia. That's a lovely moment. I think this might be my favorite characterization of the Sun Princess.

“I—” Luna’s eyes widened as she saw the cracks she had made in the board close up. “I... am calm. I am in control. It is but a game.” She took a deep breath and steadied herself. “I am calm. I am in control. It is but a game.”

And now I am having Feels for Luna. This is a short but insightful glimpse into the current state of Luna's mind as well as Luna's relationship with Celestia.

#39 · 128w, 6d ago · · ·

Interesting concept

#40 · 128w, 4d ago · · ·

As someone who enjoys both chess and pony fiction, I found this story to be a very agreeable blend of the two.  The way the game and life intertwined was hardly subtle, but I found it less anvilicious than most chess-themed stories, and I really like the interpretation of Luna.

I have to say though, considering how fluid the rules of chess have historically been (I believe the most recent rule change was in the 70's, though that was just to eliminate the possibility of castling forward by underpromoting the king's pawn to a rook), I found it an odd candidate for the game that "hadn’t changed since Luna’s imprisonment."  Checkers or Parcheesi, maybe?

#41 · 128w, 2d ago · · ·

This is so incredible written! :pinkiegasp:

#42 · 128w, 19h ago · 1 · ·

Celestia moved her knight, "Knight to E7."

Luna sighed, "You sank my battleship..."

Celestia blinked, "Luna, the rules of chess have changed a bit in a thousand years."

trolololo  :trollestia:

#43 · 128w, 10m ago · · ·

I really liked this.  As others have said, it got pretty heavy-handed towards the end, but much of the preceding story was very enjoyable.

#44 · 127w, 5d ago · · ·

Rather enjoyable, though I did read it a bit later than most. Still loved it though, Obs. :twilightsmile:

#45 · 118w, 5d ago · · ·

Ah, chess. The game of the wise, that seems almost designed to give writers and movie directors a background for a serious conversation. Because, let's face it, the story would lose nearly all of its appeal if the conversation happened while sharing a sisterly bath, or during a visit to the spa, or while going shopping. :rainbowlaugh:

What I'm trying to say is it was a great read! :pinkiehappy:

#46 · 110w, 5d ago · · ·

I'd say your quickly earning a spot as one of my favorite authors on this site. Keep up the good work :scootangel:

Bok
#47 · 109w, 5d ago · 3 · ·

If they had played Monopoly, if would have been the Moon Crisis all over again.

#48 · 84w, 3d ago · · ·

This is probably my favorite of the three stories. There's just something about chess, you know? It was sort of jarring to me to see Luna this bitter, frustrated and unhappy--but you really sold the character to me. Your grasp of character voice is a-maz-ing.

That being said, there were a couple of moments where she felt "off", not because she was out of character but because of lack of context. Firstly, Luna "grows tired of Celestia's constant sacrifices" despite the fact that Celestia has only lost two pieces in the text and Luna has lost one. All of the pieces in question are pawns, with the piece in comment being a knight. You have also indicated that the bishops are out and the queen is too, so obviously we are well into the game and while Celestia has indeed put a piece up for bait maybe once more. There is really no signal to the reader that Celestia is playing it particularly loose this game. Looking at it it by numbers, yes it is reasonable to say that this may be more sacrifices than Luna is used to, but the audience does not feel it. This applies double to Luna's escalated outburst later--you mention a few more exchanges but they're compressed and stacked up. It would seem more motivated if we got a bit more play-by-play of this section of the story. Luna at this point is quite obviously throwing a tantrum--And that's fine, because this chess game has become everything she doesn't understand about her life--but you want us to sympathize with Luna here, so you should make it as clear as possible how meaningless this all is to her.

Which brings me to my other point, Celestia is being a saint here. Like, not even that she's generally positive and supportive and stuff--even though we are inside her head she is literally nothing but supportive and calm and caring the ENTIRE FIC. (Okay there was a line or two of wistful regret, but you know what I mean.) It didn't feel very realistic to me. I really wanted to stir up the mud (I'm making a lot of geology metaphors today.) and give her a less serene side.   Like, I don't mean make her mad at Luna or anything, just... frustrated.

I'm trying to get at of this thing where, maybe you've felt it before, you're talking to some one who you think is really talented or awesome or a really nice person and all they can do is bash themselves. Like, the whole time you're talking they're nothing but self deprecation and slowly you realize that they mean it. That they are giving up on themselves. And you try to tell them that they're wrong that they've just had bad luck and that they need to keep at it because they're wonderful and you know, you just know that they're going to succeed if they just keep at it. And they brush you off. It makes you really frustrated because they just can't see themselves clearly and you want to show them but you can't. It's just one-hundred-percent frustrating, but with love--frustraffection if you will. I feel like Celestia could have really used some Frustraffection in this story to come off as a little less one-note. Because even though this story is mostly about Luna, Celestia is our view point character for most of it, and so it is her story too.

Sorry if I rambled on a bit long there... I really REALLY liked this story and I like talking about it and I guess I just wanted it to be perfect, you know? This probably has the best sibling dynamic of the three I read. (Mare at the End of Forever, Love, in All its Forms and This) And, excepting the comments on Celestia above,  exactly the sort of thing I'd like to see more of. :twilightsmile:

Liked and Fav'd.

#49 · 69w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Half way through I was thinking of writing that this was fantastic.

But now, with the rain, I'm going to say that it was beautiful.

#50 · 67w, 1d ago · · ·

I always found chess to be a fun game.

A game that makes you actually think.

And you went and tied a therapy session into it.  With, I might add, considerable ease.

~Skeeter The Lurker

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