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Captain Cloudhammer has served the Equestrian Royal Guard for as long as anypony can remember. He has seen more threats to Equestria come and go than most should, from Nightmare Moon's return to Discord's revival. But when a threat unlike any other arises to threaten the very nature of Equestria itself, and forces the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony to travel to a strange and unknown land, Cloudhammer volunteers without hesitation to escort them. But the journey will test him in ways he never thought possible, and teach him lessons in friendship not soon forgotten.

Author's Note: All canon characters are (c) to their respective owners. All original characters are (c) to myself

Artwork commissioned from CrunchNugget on DeviantArt: http://crunchnugget.deviantart.com/

First Published
17th Dec 2011
Last Modified
24th Feb 2012

Well well well, what do we have here?  I've seen you around this site, mate, and i'm pleased you put something up.  This has the promise to become an excellent story.  If this is your first submission, i congratulate you, good sir.  A job well done, indeed. Five starred. I will be following this work with interest.

>>72677 Thanks a lot, I've had this idea for a while, just wanted to make sure that I'd gotten the characterization of actual canon characters down pat. I also spent a lot of time working on Cloudhammer's character background, is a habit from roleplaying, in that when I'm making a new character I actually start out from their birth or early childhood, and get a general idea for how they grew and developed into the character they are in the 'pesent'

Thorough character development is a good thing.  Pulling a half-assed job on an OC runs the risk of self-insertion.  Then again, self-inserion isnt necessarily bad, provided your psyche is interesting enough when schlepped onto your character.

If ya need any help, throw me shout-out.  I released my own first story not a four days ago, so I guess I could say we may be in the same boat.    

My apologies if any section seems rough, I got tired of waiting for my proofer and decided to turn it loose as it stands now heh :facehoof:

Hehehe, so, you got your ass handed to you by 'ole moony, eh?

I like where this is heading, great work mate.

Excellently written chapter.  

What a way to introduce a problem, too!

Good things are coming your way should you keep pumping out words like this.

Alright, first really long chapter... had a lot of stuff to explain here, expect the other chapters to hover between 3500 to 5000 words, though a few might get longer depending on what needs to be said

Captain is the most BAMF I've ever read about.  Nopony beats pinkie pie in a staring contest except this guy.

>>80853 Well, it was technically a draw, and if Pinkie had gone full Pinkamina, the Captain would be lucky to walk away from it haha

Hmmmmm.... Another spectacular chapter!  The captain's depth thickens once again.  I can only assume the row he had with his son will be explained in later chapters, as well as Zecora's reluctance to venture back to her ancestral homeland...  

My stars. Take them all.

Sorry for the double publish, realized that for some reason my space formatting was gone, so wanted to fix that first haha. This chapter's still undergoing some revision, but i think it's pretty much done. Many thanks go to Buckshot for his help with proofreading despite working on Far From the Tree (totally recommend reading it btw) :twilightsmile:

This chapter... It's so SHINY!

Good work, mate!

Nice job dude. There's nothing like ending on a slight cliff-hanger.

excellent, excellent, make sure to keep up that watch at night and keep a look out because you're being tracked

My apologies if anything seems rough or unfinished, feel free to point it out in the comments or message me :twilightsmile:

Aside from a couple typos that seem to be the norm for every story, great job! It's good to see that there's a softer side to this bloke.

I'm also going to say it here, just because I can't say it enough. Sweet Celestia writing for Zecora is hard :rainbowlaugh:

>>104921

I know right?  It takes a silver tongue to get all those rhymes flowing smoothly.

GJ, another excellent chapter!

All I can say is tracked

Hmm.., I wonder what would happen if an en route piece of Spike-mail hit one of those dead zones. Would the cancellation of the magic make it pop into the air right there, dropping the note at some random point along the way, or would it cease to be entirely? And what if one hits Discord's statue?

this was an amazing read im so glad that i found a good fic about a guard :D

cloud hammer is a badass and a half :rainbowdetermined2:

chuck norris would be proud  ^^   :moustache:

>>108363 All excellent questions. Who knows, maybe some will be answered in the future, maybe some won't, you'll just have to pay attention :rainbowlaugh:

"Anypony who gets my blood on their hooves can call me by my name."

and the badassery ensues! I'm liking this so far. Keep up the good work. :pinkiehappy:

The seat I am sitting on. I am only using the edge, my stars. Take them, take them all.

Alright, apologies if this seems rough, feel free to constructively criticize as usual.

Predator tactics. They work every time.

>>120744 Excellent, I feel better about including the reference :rainbowlaugh:

quite nice, quite nice indeed

If I were allergic to awesomeness, I would be dead now.

Many thanks go to Sir Buck Apple, who lent a hoof with proofreading :twilightsmile:

Shazam!  

Thank you, thank you.

No, really, you can stop clapping now.  I insist!

So... as I promised, reading through your story now. I understand that things change as you continue to write, and a lot of what I have to say now may not be relevant to the latest chapter; I'll check that out when I get there. But I figure I should leave my thoughts here while they're still in my head.

A lot of what I'm thinking about are largely aesthetic things, so pardon me if I seem needlessly nitpicky.

If the action of a sentence continues past the dialogue, do not end the dialogue with a period, but rather with a comma. "'Yes,' said Flare" as opposed to "'Yes.' said Flare." Putting periods there interrupts the flow of the story; it necessitates a longer pause and interrupts the flow of dialogue -> speaker. Furthermore, if you're using exclamation points or question marks, do not capitalize the rest of the sentence ("Is this a question?" asked Flare).

Captain is not a terribly high rank in the military; I point this out only because it seems odd to me that a Captain would be in charge of recruits. This may simply be my inexperience speaking: I am not a soldier and don't know how these things play out in the actual armed forces. I understand the appeal of consonance, but wordplay does not a realistic story make. Maybe I'm wrong, though; just putting that out there.

Beware the info dump: it is extremely jarring for a story to suddenly stop the action to deliver a huge amount of backstory all in one go. A good story should not have to do that; things should be explained as they go, as they become relevant, or even simply as they run across the mind of the narrator; but stepping back to reveal even a paragraph or two's worth of information interrupts the story terribly and it's sometimes hard to find one's place again.

My last real nitpick is that you tend to have very very large paragraphs. Now there's nothing necessarily wrong with this; they aren't big enough to consistently be a bother (although beware of making paragraphs too big because people tend to skip past things that look huge--the tl;dr phenomenon, so to speak); remember that paragraphs exist to separate ideas.  Just because you have a long period of Cloudhammer thinking does not mean it has to be shunted into a single paragraph; it is good to separate trains of thought, or to jump to a new paragraph when Cloudhammer reaches a conclusion or moves to a different subject altogether.

Other than that... well, this story's intrigued me so far. I'll be keeping an eye on it, and I'll keep reading and pointing things out if they come to my attention.

>>132797 Thanks a lot for the reply, will try to address some of what you mentioned, and fix some of the things that could use improving

I've always been a fan of having descriptions of environments down to as much detail as possible. This is due in part ot me being obssessive over it, but also that I want the reader to be able to 'see' the world that the characters move through, as if they were standing there themselves.

As for the insertions of backstory, that's also due to me being a little obssessive, since I really dislike it when I read about a character doing a thing, and then not understand the why behind their action. So I want to try to explain their motivation, and it ends up being a show rather than tell, for instance, since I could easily just say, "Cloudhammer remembered the time that Flare saved them from a griffon assassination plot." but I find it much more engaging to take a trip down memory lane and involve the reader in the memory as if they were reliving it themselves.

And i agree about the paragraphs, I try to keep them short-ish, but my writing style sometimes gets the better of me (I like to just write sentences, paragraphs, chapters and stories until I feel they're done, rather than try to lock down every aspect of it before I write the first word)

That chapter was about as long as I'm expecting my oneshot to be...damn

>>139770 Yea, I didn't intend for it to be that long, but I just couldn't make myself stop until I felt that I'd hit a good stop point :rainbowlaugh:

>>140084

I know that feeling. It's a good feeling

Apologies if the ending is a little rough, I really had nothing planned for the interval between them leaving Appleloosa and reaching the edge of the savannah, so decided not to bore you with a thousand words worth of small talk that didn't advance the plot

Alright, here's the current list of zebra words for the curious.

- Fedja – lit. ‘disgrace’ or ‘shame’. Used as epithet to describe those who flee their tribe and then return. Stress is placed heavily on the second syllable

- Shuganaji – warriors and guards of the zebra tribes. They patrol their lands, escort caravans and protect settlements.

- M’kazai – settlement or city. The largest of these rival Canterlot or Manehatten in sprawl if not height.

- Kita’mola – lit. ‘war god’. The term given to a warlord or king

Curse you for playing off my expectations!:flutterrage:

"'Well, not like things can get any worse.'”

Uh oh, here we go...

"Rainbow Dash was dying, she knew it."

:twilightoops:

" All this walking, no proper pegasus would endure this kind of torture…"

:facehoof:

Wait when did this update oh god I'm so behind. Must read and put off chapter 6 or whatever I'm on to read.

I still enjoyed it Cloud so keep up the good work.

Crocs are everywhere man. And now their in the equivalent  of South Africa. Thing ain't going to end well./

track this i shall

im really liking this fic so far

>>179692 Glad to hear it :twilightsmile: Hoping that Chapter 3's length wasn't intimidating, didn't intend for it to be 7000+ words long, it just ended up that way :rainbowlaugh:

yay the updates even though I'm late but still a well written chapter Cloud please continue since you have left us all on a cliff hanger and I would like to see what is going to happen in this city. I'm going that there will be a dragon or racism... or bacon strips.

Awwwwww yeah!  Great chapter, mate!  

Aaaaaaaaawwww... That was great but you left it on a cliff hanger. I sudgest you write done more... Please.

You really made me believe you had killed off Cloudhammer there, damn. Well played. You also had me going 'not the eye, not the eye!'

Teneca was such an asshat. Holy hell. But Okoro and K’rik were pretty cool. I also really liked the way you wrote Zecora, that must have just been a pain. Chapter 13. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Plus wow.

I liked that Dash finally came to mutual respect with Cloudhammer, that worked for me very well.

I am not sure how I felt about Pinkie Pie, though. In some ways I feel she was kind of wasted, to tell the truth. Then again, I'm not sure what I would suggest have been done with her. She's a tough character for a story of conflict and war. That said, I am really tired of her only wanting to throw everypony a party.

I liked the way the battles played out, and the weaponry was interesting. Helmet blades just seem so perfectly right, also.

The effort you made to create culture was not lost on me, I always admire attentive worldbuilding.

There is one thing I would like to say - there is something about this story that reminds me of the way the Oz books by Baum were constructed, and I wonder if those treasures of literature in any way inspired you. I do not mean that your story in any way resembles the plot of an Oz book, rather that there is an Ozian feel about it, and I assure you this is a high compliment indeed.

The ending was intriguing, and I wonder if you will take the implications further, or leave them where they are.

>>253872 I agree with you on Pinkie Pie, I really wanted to write her better, but sweet Celestia she is hard to write for. I'll make her better in the next story, I promise :twilightsmile:

I also think maybe having the entire mane six + Spike along was a little much for my first try, but I couldn't really come up with a logical reason why Celestia would only send one or two of them, not to mention that all of them contributed their different talents. Except for Pinkie... My original idea had her participating in the battle, but ended up having events in Chapter 14 play out as they did to make it less giant sweeping battle and more of a one on one between Cloudhammer and Teneca (since they were built to be polar opposites of each other, though both started with the same goals)

I will admit that I've not read any of the Oz books, so I am pleased that I was able to invoke, at least in part, something akin to the feeling those books gave :twilightsmile:.

And as for the ending, how can I let something like that sit there? The wheels are already in motion, and expect to have Chapters 1 and maybe 2 written soon, just need to consult my advisors a little bit more :trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:

My good chum, this was quite possibly the steepest cliff I have ever been left hanging from.  And trust me on this one, I've hung from some steep cliffs.  Living in the Rockies for a while presents that situation from time to time.

Anyway - Capt.'s supposed "death".  Brilliant.  Sheer, bloody brilliance.  I actually got up from my seat and fist-pumped wildly when he got out of the wagon.  Sadly, it was in the middle of class.  My psychology professor now thinks I've got some kind of condition.

GOOD CLOPPIN' STORY!!!

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