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More Stories27

  • E Scootaling

    Scootaloo's a changeling. How will her friends react?
    12,695 words · 14,592 views  ·  1,700  ·  34
  • E Musicians and Dreamers

    Lunaverse. Octavia tries to recruit Lyra; Trixie doesn't trust her. Who will Lyra believe?
    20,745 words · 2,974 views  ·  227  ·  3
  • E A Present for Octavia

    Luna works with a castle page to find the perfect birthday present for Octavia
    4,825 words · 1,013 views  ·  158  ·  2
  • E Symphony for Moon and Sun

    Lyra must help Octavia play a piece of forbidden music. Both will be ruined if she fails.
    44,097 words · 2,414 views  ·  248  ·  6
  • E Luna's Night Off

    Luna takes a vacation and plays some hoofball
    4,289 words · 1,301 views  ·  159  ·  3
  • E Greengrass's Night

    Duke Greengrass schemes to force a vote the way he wants it
    12,468 words · 1,824 views  ·  127  ·  3
  • E The Music of Ponyville

    Octavia Philharmonica and her friends must obtain the Elements of Harmony to defeat an ancient evil
    72,534 words · 3,084 views  ·  188  ·  6
  • E Foaling Around

    The foals go to Canterlot. Chaos ensues.
    9,628 words · 2,146 views  ·  164  ·  5

Blog Posts174

  • Monday
    Rainbow Rocks

    4 comments · 60 views
  • 1w, 5d
    Antifantasy

    I try to keep a pretty open mind when I'm reading, and I do like to read a lot--at the last sci-fi convention I went to I wound up with over 30 new books--but there's one subset of the fantasy genre that consistently fails to work for me.

    I call it antifantasy, although I'm sure it has a more technical name somewhere. It's the fantasy equivalent of cyberpunk, except it lost a lot of the heart that cyberpunk had. Antifantasy stories are stories about how fantasy sucks. How magic is just a cheap shortcut that can't compare to building with your own hands. How superpowers can't help you solve any of the real problems in the world, like famine, bigotry, or the destruction of the world's ecosystems. How the dwarves are drunkards and the elves are vain and the vampires and werewolves are just pathetic sad-sacks begging to be put out of their misery.

    I don't understand these stories. If I'm picking up a fantasy story, I think it can be assumed that I like fantasy tropes. Why would I want to read 300 pages about how much fantasy is just cheap escapism for folks who can't handle the real world? Who, exactly, is the audience?

    The thing that brought this to mind was I stumbled across another review of "The Magicians", by Lev Grossman. Now, I've seen a lot of reviews for this book, and they're almost unanimously positive. And they all have pretty much the same summary: "The Magicians is about a guy who feels that his life lacks meaning, so he goes to magic school. And at first he's happy thinking that he'll become a great wizard who performs amazing heroics and saves the world. But then he realizes that wanting to be a great wizard is a pathetic, childish fantasy, and that the right thing to do is to give up on his dreams of being a hero and get used to dragging himself to a boring job he hates for the rest of his life. In the end, he learns that a real 'hero' is a happy, content cog in the machine. Only the vainglorious and the immature dream of anything more." And so the result is that every positive, glowing review of this book that I read makes me increasingly less inclined to read it.

    I mean, why would I? I like a lot of tropes associated with magic schools. I like reading about how ordinary people adapt to obtaining new powers, how they learn to use them, what setbacks they have, how they resist temptations to misuse them (or don't). I like reading about people who were once weak gaining powers and becoming more capable of defending themselves and those they care about. I like seeing the nerdy characters geek out at learning magical spell theory, and the athletic characters screaming in exhilaration as they learn to ride broomsticks. Ultimately, I like reading about the nascent heroes who become folks like Gandalf, Harry Dresden, and Harry Potter. If I didn't like those things, I wouldn't read books set in those environments. So why would I pick up a book about how Gandalf and the Harries are just immature tossers, and so am I, for daring to be entertained by them? Why would I want a book which says that the real hero of Harry Potter was Vernon Dursley, because while everyone else was gallivanting about and waving wands at each other, he dutifully attended to his job and didn't dare let himself feel even a hint of wonder or imagination?

    (Disclaimer: in case it's not obvious from the above paragraph, I have not read The Magicians. I'm just talking about the reviews of it that I read, since those reviews convinced me to never, ever get anywhere near this book. I suppose it's possible that all the reviews could be wrong. That said, unless someone I trust actually reads the book and tells me otherwise, I'm not going to pick it up. After all, there's loads of books out there with premises I don't dislike on principle).

    There's other examples too, and by some otherwise really good authors. I'm usually a huge fan of Carrie Vaughn, for instance. Her Kitty Norville series is spectacular, as are her YA works "Steel" and "Voices of Dragons." She's even one of two authors for whom I get up early on the day her books come out so I can buy them before I go into work and read them over lunch. (The other is Jim Butcher, if anyone cares). But she wrote an antifantasy duology set in a superhero universe, and--in my opinion--it was almost unreadable. The first book is called "After the Golden Age", and the title's an apt description. The protagonist is the daughter of the world's two greatest superheroes, but the only tangible result of that is that she's taken hostage a lot. She's estranged from her family, because all the superpowers in the world can't mend real issues like familial rifts. Yes, in this story, the golden age is indeed over, superheroes have lost their luster, and our protagonist just tries to muddle through her days without dealing with any superheroes, villains, or powers of any kind. (Suffice to say I haven't picked up the sequel.)

    "Hero", by Perry Moore, is another good example. The protagonist is the son of Batman (with a slightly different name to avoid copyright). But Batman was disgraced, because a mission went wrong and people died, and now he's a lowly factory worker who can only reminisce about the glory days and maim the occasional burglar. Meanwhile, the son also develops powers, but they won't help him deal with bigotry (he's gay), or redeem his family name, or anything else he really cares about. I got about 1/5 of the way into this one before giving up. Again, if I'm reading about superpowers, I want to read about superpowers being used for something, not about how superpowers are useless for anything that really matters. (I'm aware that this story was critically acclaimed and even won a Lambda award, but I just could not get into it.)

    And, for a more recent example, Sofia Somatar's "Selkie Stories are for Losers." It's a story about selkies, which means that it's calling the reader a loser right in the title. Smooth. And the story is pretty much just about how awful selkies are, how they leave broken families and shattered lives behind them, and how anyone who would ever want to hear about selkies must be out of their mind. Just what I want to hear when I sit down to read a story about selkies.

    (For those not up on your mythology: selkies are creatures that can change shape between a human and a seal body. They change shape by taking off or putting on their sealskin. Selkie stories usually feature a human stealing the skin and trapping the selkie in human form; the selkie then marries the human and raises a family with them, until one day they recover their skin. They then flee into the ocean, leaving the family behind. So yeah, out of the box they're pretty depressing, but interesting things can be done with them. They're not just for losers.)

    If I had to describe antifantasy in one word, it would be 'tired.' Because these stories always feel that way. They are stories that seem weary and beaten down, laden with cynicism, bitterly contemptuous of the idea that magic and whimsey could possibly affect anything real. They're stories that laugh at the reader for daring to seek enjoyment from them. They laugh, and then they lean in close to the reader and murmur that, while elves and werewolves and Kryptonians are all fine fantasies for a child, the reader is now an adult and should know that real problems can't be solved with a magical wand. They chide the reader for trying to enjoy genre fiction, ignoring that they themselves are genre fiction, and sigh that all the innumerable fantasy stories are just petty escapism, useless for anything except as diversions for fools who don't care to deal with reality.

    And, just speaking for myself, but when I go to read a genre story, I'd rather read one that doesn't insult me for it.

    That's about all I've got. Has anyone read books like this? Anyone know if there's a real term for it besides antifantasy? Any ideas as to why someone might like these?

    4 comments · 72 views
  • 7w, 22h
    You Can Call Me...

    Dr. GrassAndClouds2.

    I.e., the PhD thesis defense went well. :-)

    18 comments · 80 views
  • 8w, 5h
    Rejected Video Game Titles

    Five Nights with Fluttershy

    Rainbow Dash Six

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sparkle Princess

    Amnesia: A Machine for Pinkies

    Pacmare

    Luna: The Blue-ish Star

    Derpyronpa

    Dragon: The Bruce Cheerilee Story

    1 comments · 61 views
  • 17w, 4d
    Afterlife With Archie

    ...continues to be awesome.

    That is all.

    (Oh, and really looking forward to the forthcoming "Betty: RIP" arc!)

    0 comments · 114 views
  • ...
 55
 2,056
Source

It's a beautiful morning in Canterlot, but Octavia Philharmonica is having trouble practicing. After her previous betrayal of one of her best and closest friends, she has been unable to move on, and her resulting emotional turmoil is disrupting her music. A mysterious friend drops by to help her redeem herself, but Octavia is unwilling to even consider that she could change. Will Octavia's friend be able to get through to her? And just who is she, anyway? Lunaverse story.

First Published
17th Jul 2012
Last Modified
17th Jul 2012

Gee, what's that mare doing on the wall like that?

Octavia doesn't forgive herself easily, does she? On one hand, that can be useful in a musician. On the other, it can spiral into self-loathing, which is where Octavia seems to have wound up. Hope this mysterious intruder will set her straight!

(So, because I'm going for feedback here, particularly relating to conceptions of the Lunaverse, I'll spoil it now -- the mysterious mare is Fleur de Lis. This is building off of some of the ideas we've had for her on the thread, including her being a former cat burglar. I just love the idea of Fleur climbing towers by day, and pretending to be your average high society idiot by night. But if this gets vetoed by other LVerse authors, I can edit the story, of course).

I wannasee where this is going. And honestly, I think Octy needs a friend to talk things out withinstead of  eing cooped up with her music.

I personally like the idea of Fleur being Catpony to Fancy's Batcolt.

Oooh I'm liking this a lot. Your Octavia is fantastic and you describe music incredibly well. I like Fleur like this :pinkiesmile:

>>914029: Yes, Greengrass did select her in part because -- perhaps a bit like Twilight -- she's very isolated and has few friends.She spends so much time practicing that she doesn't have much left to socialize, and of course there are very few ponies that can meet her extremely high standards. As a result, there's nopony to reign her in when she winds up in these depressive 'I'm terrible' spirals.

>>914057: I love the idea of Fleur climbing the tower, and then her being all "Hi! What's up?" to a stupified Octavia.

>>914395: Thanks!

I'm liking this so far. It's good to see Octavia still being in the picture. Frankly I felt her character was just too good to just let it die after one story.

I also like (ex) cat burglar Fleur de Lis do I could just  picture breakfast at her place.

Fancy Pants: Dear could you please come down from the ceilling. The food's getting cold.

Fleur: In a minute.

>>916312: I can see Fleur as being the type to find it relaxing hanging out on the walls or ceiling.

Fancy Pants: "Dear, we have a perfectly fine couch. Why do you keep reading hanging from the rafters?"

(And then Fleur giggles and goes invisible)

Absolutely love the musical part, you still do a wonderful job of weaving text to the point that I can almost hear the notes.  Also, it is so sad to see just how hard Octy is on herself.  I really do hope she and Lyra eventually patch things up.

On another note (hehe), now that we've actually gotten to know him, I do wonder just how badly Greengrass would have actually punished Octavia's failure even without the L6's final ruse.  Surely if word got back that she had openly admitted everything to Trixie, then yes he'd have to take drastic action to make sure she couldn't let anything more slip, but otherwise the failure to recruit seems like something he might have forgiven.  After all, that assignment was really more a matter of her having a convenient pre-existing relationship with Lyra, and something he had to realize was outside Octavia's proper talents.

Anyway, bugler Fleur is mostly fine with me, though maybe not quite so casually skilled at it, but everyone else seems to love it so who am I to say it's wrong.

even, giving her ideas for hew next compositions
"her", also I think you can lose the comma.

she could a pony head looking at her
Think maybe you're missing a "see".

>>916420

I smell a tumblr...

Q: So what was it like when you first met Princess Luna?

Fancy: And this is my...*pause, realizes nopony's beside him. Sighs, points upwards* and that is my lovely wife, Fleur de Lis.

Fleur: [upside down on cieling] Hi!

Luna: That looks fun.

Fleur: It is!

[next panel has Fleur and Luna both upside down and grinning at Fancy Pants, who is facehoofing]

>>916609: I also hope they patch things up. And Lyra, I think, would at least be somewhat willing. Loyalty, after all, and I'm sure by now Trixie has told her how hard Greengrass is to resist.

The reason for the ruse was that, if Lyra hadn't known about Greengrass, she almost certainly would have taken the opportunity and gone to Canterlot to perform in the concerty cycle -- it would be one of the biggest opportunities she could possibly have as a young musician -- and Greengrass knew it. Therefore, if she didn't go and didn't have an obvious other reason (illness or the like), the logical implication would be that Lyra somehow knew the Court was involved, which would imply that Octavia told her (Greengrass doesn't think Trixie is smart enough to figure it out on her own). The reason for the ruse was to make another viable reason -- Trixie's crazy jealousy. Without the ruse, Greengrass may have held off on punishing Octy until he could verify whether or not she actually told Lyra everything, but he'd be very suspicious of her, and in general it would probably not have gone well for her.

Fixed the grammar issues, thanks.

>>917111: Now I have that mental image in my head, and I am smiling helplessly. :-) I can even see Fleur maybe taking Luna with her on a dawn-ish tour of the city rooftops.

Ah, my. We start to see what Fleur really is: Lady Margot to Fancy's Count Fenring. Greengrass won't know what hit him.

I foresee substantial teasing from Fleur about Octavia not being able to penetrate her disguise, but being able to hear through Fancy Pants's without trouble. Poor Fancy.

Looks like a seed has been planted, but Octavia is... not receptive yet. Still, maybe things will improve for our favorite cellist in the next chapter.

I find it amusing that even though Octavia can identify ponies by hoofsteps, and Octavia knows who Fleur is outside of disguise, yet INSIDE the disguise, Octavia can't tell.

Fleur is smart enough to fully encompass her disguise. She's smart enough to fool super hearing.

>>917423: Yes, it would seem like Fleur was able to do a better disguise spell than Fancy. (What exactly she's doing will be explained next chapter). Also, unlike Fancy, she knew she'd be dealing with Octy, so maybe she prepared a bit.

You can do it Octavia! This is really great work there, I love it :pinkiehappy: Octavia really is too good a character not to see again.

>>917447: Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it!

>>917242

Well, I guess Tavia did sort of blow it even before the full confession by specifying Greengrass would be providing accommodations and such, though really that was far too honestly casual a detail to truly hold against her.  And of course while Trixie wasn't quite smart enough to actually figure things out, she was paranoid enough to assume something fishy afoot anyway, even with very little to back up her suspicions.  Even if the full details of Octavia's later full confession to Trixie made it back to him, it would only prove her incompetent in that particular field.  It might have been the end of her days performing for the court, but Greengrass strikes as having too much appreciation for the arts, a field in which Octavia's talent is beyond question, to see her completely blacklisted out of mere petty spite.

Really the whole mock trial was an incident born, less out of necessity and ore out of neither side truly understanding the other.  For her part, Trixie shows that her lack of understanding that Greengrass's tendency to punish failure isn't nearly so automatic and all consuming, but is at least motivated out of her belief he doesn't think her smart enough to figure it all out.  To his credit, Greegrass is sort of correct that Trixie couldn't really figure it all out; what he is apparently clueless about though is that she's smart at least enough to realize that failing in herself and so compensates with a bit of excessive paranoia.

Not really trying to say that the story was in error; everything that happened was properly motivated by the character's understanding, or lack thereof.  More so, I'm trying to see if I've got an accurate handle on Greengrass.  I don't have any specific plans to use him myself just yet, but I at least want do something with him eventually, and so would like to ensure my own understanding is as accurate as possible.

Anyway, onto chapter 2 now.  I still sorta hate that publishing speed of your.

Hmm... assuming that Octavia has actually met Fleur (the story never specifies that Octavia is any more than familiar with her by reputation), you have just made it fact that Miss de Lis is very talented indeed to have altered not only her voice but even her hoof beats so as to render herself unidentifiable to the cellist.  Most impressive, still not my personal favorite idea on the matter, but like I said last chapter I'm hardly of the inclination to oppose it either.

However, considering what an exceptional degree of ability that would require I would think that at some point it should get tied back to her cutie mark based special talent (assuming of Couse that what she wears publicly is her actual mark).  While it is true that ponies can have many skills beyond the purvey of their cutie mark, such exceptional skills should be in someway related.

“Because I do not forgive myself any error—“
Optional, but I feel like that word should be italicized or underlined for emphasis.

#19 · 123w, 3d ago · · · Epilogue ·

So that's how Fleur did it. Fancy Pants taught her how to fit in high society with speech, motions, even walking style (like in Shaw's Pygmalion), but she never forgot her roots. Most ponies, when they try to disguise their gait (well, the few who think to) can't mask it very well -- it'd be like trying to disguise your speech; your native vocabulary, accent, and idioms would probably slip in here and there. But Fleur isn't trying to distort her base gait, she actually has two, both of which she's very used to using and which are quite distinct. She just used the one Octy didn't know. (My, Octy will be embarrassed if she ever finds out.)

Boy, Fancy and Fleur really don't like Greengrass, do they? Corruption on the court is one thing, but Greengrass is dragging in innocent civilians. Fleur in particular hates that. (In my personal canon, I like to think that Fleur became a burglar in the first place because of some previous Night Court shenanigan that hurt her and/or her family such that burglary was the only way to make ends meet. And that Fleur's first target was the Noble behind that shenanigan, who suffered a very hard fall).

And hey, Octy might have learned something!

#20 · 123w, 3d ago · · · Epilogue ·

It'll take a while but two things will happen: Octy will forgive herself (as well assee through the lies Greengrass used to manipulate her) and Greengrass will find himself in a dungeon wondering how he got there and what Luna meant about honor, decency and self-sacrifice (none of which he can understand).  

#21 · 123w, 3d ago · · · Epilogue ·

good one , it made me remember leliana from dragon age

#22 · 123w, 3d ago · · · Epilogue ·

Overall impressive.  Nothing exciting, but a satisfactory wrap-up

There is something, I don't know what, but something bugging me about the interaction between Fancy and Fleur.  I really wish I could pin it down.  Unfortunately, it's probably going to be another of those things we're I convince myself everything is fine until something or another throws everything into sharp contrast; hope not though as I really hate going off like that.  So, a slight word of warning that if you keep writing these two I may end up going off on another little tirade or such, though since I caught the warning signs I'll try to be more observant and vent out what ever it is before it builds to that kind of breaking point.

Still, that's mostly my problem not yours.  You just keep writing in whatever way feels best and most natural to you.

>>916420

Fancy: Well, if you're not going to come down here, I guess I'll just have to come up there.

>>917111

A panel or so after that has Fancy bringing up the tea set to join them. :raritywink:

>>917402

I'm going to have to locate the work you speak of. It sounds most intriguing.

#25 · 123w, 2d ago · · · Epilogue ·

>>920656

Not a bad backstory on Fleur. I'm going to try a hand at expanding it in the Fancy Pants thread I made. Please tell me what you think!

#26 · 123w, 2d ago · · · Epilogue ·

Minor point - Trixie didn't know Lyra for years. She may have been peripherally aware of her, and vice-versa, but for all intents and purposes they probably met only a day or two before going to Ponyville.

#27 · 123w, 2d ago · · · Epilogue ·

Wasn't quite expecting this to go live so suddenly like that.

Oh, and nice choice for the cover, though I probably would have cropped it to remove the tombstone

#28 · 123w, 2d ago · · · Epilogue ·

>>924248: Fixed. Thanks for the correction.

>>917111 Curse my lack of artistic... anything! :flutterrage:

Anyway, as stated, the musical part was most superb. All of it was, actually. Lovely take on Octavia, there.

>>917405 Well, seeds take time to take root, after all.

#31 · 122w, 6d ago · · · Epilogue ·

Admittedly... I want Greengrass' 'final' story to be him to realize just how bucking stupid it is to try and split up the Elements. And nice little Fancy and Fleur, there.

Honestly after reading this chapter I'm not sure whether to be impressed with how well Greengrass figured out to get Octavia under his hoof or be saddened by the sheer degree of mental flagilation Octavia subjects herself to. It makes sense for the character and it does translate into how she has become such a great muscian because frankly most of (if not all of) the greats became greats because they held themselves to such ungodly standards.

Though what I like about Octavia is that not only did you take the time to explore the character, you also took the time to show how having your special talent be based on music can be awesome in the right setting. :pinkiehappy:

#33 · 122w, 5d ago · · · Epilogue ·

I liked this chapter. It was hopeful and left the reader the reader with possiblities but it didn't have Octavia do a sudden 180 after one pep talk with Fleur. In other words, it was believable. The bit about Fleur having two gaits is also a good way to get around Octavia's abilities.

Also nice to see a bit of Fleur/Fancy Pants. They do honestly make a cute couple. Also nice to see nobles who are actually both good and compitent. Can't wait to see more of them.

#34 · 122w, 5d ago · · · Epilogue ·

>>946043: Why not be both? :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

>>946102: Yes, it's nice to see that there's nobles in the Lunaverse that aren't corrupted, greedy schemers. Fancy Pants just wants what's best for everypony. (And that might be, say, Greengrass getting bucked off the court.) (Actually, Fleur might also want him bucked off the tower, but she'll settle for the former.) :-)

#35 · 122w, 2h ago · · · Epilogue ·

I like this version of Fleur.  She is so often portrayed as vapid, so it's a nice change to see her otherwise. :ajsmug:

#36 · 118w, 1d ago · 1 · · Epilogue ·

Lunaverse Fleur is best Fleur. Nicely done.

You write music very well.

Octavia needs a hug. :pinkiesad2:

Wait, what? Floating head pony?

The ninja pony is cool. Now the question is, who is she? :rainbowhuh: I guess I'll find out in part three.

I particularly like her psychoanalysis of Octavia here, just through her music.

#39 · 113w, 19h ago · · · Epilogue ·

Wait, it was Fleur? ...That actually makes a lot of sense.

Oh, wait, then in Everypony's Night she was Walls... and then she does save Octavia.

FFFUUUUUU SPOILERS

This is why I wanted to keep up with this in the first place. :twilightangry2: I'm getting way too worked up about this, but jlhvddndsjfbkdkafdssdfklnjdafnlodfklzbfkldsb

#40 · 113w, 19h ago · · · Epilogue ·

Finished reading. A good story. :pinkiesmile:

>>1136016 This.

Damn, there are more awesome ponies in the Lunaverse. Either that, or the show doesn't show THEIR many awesome ponies.

#42 · 110w, 5d ago · 2 · · Epilogue ·

Damn, I hate politics. It's an extremely difficult battle of wits.

#43 · 109w, 1d ago · 3 · · Epilogue ·

If Fleur de Lis is Catmare...

Does that mean Fancy Pants is Batmane?

#44 · 106w, 5d ago · 3 · · Epilogue ·

I love it! Fancypants and Fleur as Batpony and Catmare, that's wonderful. I love reading interpretations of Fleur along these lines.

The music was well written too.

#45 · 96w, 4d ago · 1 · · Epilogue ·

Heh, you got me! I was sure the mysterious mare was Luna until the moment of reveal. :twilightsmile:

#46 · 81w, 5d ago · · · Epilogue ·

You manage to make written music seem engaging, which is a feat all by itself.

I enjoyed the characterization of Fleur and FancyPants here, a pair of lights in the dark world of the Night Court.

#47 · 79w, 2d ago · · · Epilogue ·

So Fancy Pants is Luna's Royal Internal Affairs Spymaster and Fleur de Les is a (mostly) reformed cat burglar...

Awesome:rainbowdetermined2:

#48 · 75w, 5d ago · · · Epilogue ·

Lots of things to like here. nice to see that the Night Court probably isn't going to be a Planet of Hats is made up universally of a bunch of stuck up, manipulative, evil jerks. I like the Fluer and Fancy Pants here. It was interesting to see the music interwoven into the story, and its something I haven't really seen before. Lots of interesting plot hook have been laid out that I hope to be explored later on.

some pasesrby pony

1. Passerby.

with no hitns as to who owned it

No.Lyra has more to

1. Hints.

2. Supposed to be a comma and a spacing.

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