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  • E A Cup of Joe

    Our Pony Joe runs his doughnut shop, chats with his regulars...and lives in the shadow of a memory.
    17,431 words · 6,408 views  ·  783  ·  8
  • T Certain Advantages

    When Dash makes Spike bet on this year's Sisterhooves Social, she's sure she can't lose... right?
    12,054 words · 15,930 views  ·  1,766  ·  24
  • T The Railway Ponies: Highball

    Steel doesn’t worry about a colt’s well-being. Railroad cars don’t have much concern for the bodies of ponies. But, despite the dangers, I wanted to be a railway pony. I wanted to be like Highball.
    24,440 words · 851 views  ·  183  ·  0
  • E The Living is Easy

    As she prepares to lift the sun during the Summer Sun Celebration Celestia has a happy vision...
    5,904 words · 2,513 views  ·  180  ·  0
  • E The Song of Syhlex

    Last sung ages ago was the Song of Syhlex, of the dragon lord and the mare who rose to stop him...
    6,439 words · 12,975 views  ·  788  ·  9
  • T A Sweet Taste of Cake

    As they make a gingerbread house the Cakes reflect on their struggles, their lives, and their love.
    108,789 words · 3,525 views  ·  317  ·  2 · sex
  • T Shine

    Why was this filly, this Rainbow Dash, wasting her Celestia-given gifts? Would the letters tell me?
    8,113 words · 11,949 views  ·  847  ·  12
  • T The Father of My Children

    Cup Cake knows what the pegasus mare is doing. She can see the mare swaying, hear the flirty tones in the perfect voice as the mare sings her siren song to Carrot...
    13,429 words · 6,863 views  ·  679  ·  9 · sex

Blog Posts112

  • 1w, 4d
    I Don't Know What to Thank People for Anymore!

    Dear Loyal Watchers, Interested Visitors, and Confused Passersby,

    Most of you know of my obsessive need to thank folks for Faving my stories, or for Watching me, or to reply to comments and the like... but now I have a real problem. To whit to whim: Do I thank people for placing my stories in their bookshelves?!

    I had forty-three replies when I logged in tonight, and all but three of them were from people adding my stuff to their newfangled bookshelves! The problem is that I know that some of them are people who already Faved my stories, but others I don't know about and even though I really like the creative titles people are giving their bookshelves it gets hard for me to decide who is a new person who is using the bookshelves as a Faving system and who are people who are my old readers who are just trying to keep things neat and who is kinda in the middle and that makes it hard for me to thank people for investing in my works which is something that I really like to do and now I'm all confused and it's late and I feel like I haven't accomplished anything in the fandom today and I'm confused, scared, and a little gassy and I really, really, really, really, really, just want a little direction from you all because you know your opinion is important to me and I feel valdiated by it and I crave human interaction and a pony and for your input because you all know i love ou but not like that and I just need to go to slep and everything is turnning blue and oh gawd I can't breathe now what arg

    75 comments · 522 views
  • 5w, 4d
    Very Much Appreciated

    37 comments · 512 views
  • 7w, 4d
    Security Blanket

    Dear Loyal Watchers, Interested Visitors, and Confused Passersby:


    Midnight Rambler has posted a blog in which he makes a metaphor of my body of work. It is, in fact, the first time that I can recall that anyone in this fandom has done a retrospective on my whole body of work and attempted to make a larger statement about it. He certainly has my thanks for taking the time to put his feelings on my portfolio into such a concise—even enjoyable—allegory.

    Everything being equal, which nothing truly is, he draws a conclusion which was apt, well developed, and not entirely complimentary.

    I'm very interested in seeing what you all feel about his observations. If you have some free time, please click the link above and peruse Ramb's blog. I'd especially like to know if his conclusion has any bearing on the lack of success of my last few works.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be huddled under my blanket.


    Stay Awesome,

    -T.D.

    84 comments · 797 views
  • 23w, 2d
    "Ticks" Me Off

    Dear Loyal Watchers, Interested Visitors, and Confused Passersby:


    It's not quite four in the morning here on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, but I've been up for about three hours and don't see myself getting back to sleep any time soon. The reason for that is because of a series of night terrors that forced me screaming from my bed as I kept dreaming about tiny, horrific creatures crawling the length of my body–making their way across, and under, my skin. This undoubtedly stems from some childhood trauma.

    That, undoubtedly, requires some explanation. Whereas you are much cheaper than a professional psychologist, you have all been designated to hear me out. Sorry about that (but not really).

    I usually check-in with my fan sites once a day, but I was absent over the last two because I spent the first night flailing like a ninny and screaming as I ran around in tight circles in my bathroom. The reason for that was because I had begun to mow my lawn for the first time this year on Thursday night. The first mowing is always a laborious process because it involves me stopping every five feet to pick up sticks, garbage, rocks, and wayward Christmas decorations that have spread themselves across my yard during the winter months.

    My house is too big for my needs. I have an acre of land, and between work and my social responsibilities I don't take care of it nearly as well as I should. It's too much for one single guy to take care of. My fence is collapsing and if I was my neighbor I would have sued me long ago. It's not getting any easier as what was once a country road gentrifies and huge houses spring up around me, leaving me feeling as inadequate as a homeowner as my last girlfriend made me feel as a lover.

    Wow, this blog is going all over the place. Did I mention it is four in the morning?

    Anywho, the reason I mention my yard is because during this first mowing —which I accomplish with a push mower because I can't afford a riding one—I somehow managed to get a passenger. Yes, at some point I must have brushed up against long grasses, the ample leaf litter in my yard, or a tree branch. At that moment an arachnid decided that I was "dinner."

    I got a deer tick.

    Cue me getting ready for bed only to go running around my bathroom screaming like a ninny upon the discovery of said tick. It had burrowed its way into my leg, and I wasn't exactly thrilled to say the least. Now, what I was supposed to do was take a breath, get out the tweezers that were less than a foot away in the medicine cabinet, and carefully remove him from my body by grasping him at his head.

    What I did was scream like a ninny (as previously reported) and scrape the tick out with my fingers while cursing him in all of the languages of man, God, and science fiction.

    I've never been good with ticks. In fact, I'm horrified of them. This stems from having a good friend of mine get bitten by one when I was in the Boy Scouts. This was back when Lyme Disease wasn't well-known yet and was just starting to become a media sensation. He developed the "bullseye rash," and within three months had developed a facial palsy. His family actually moved away to be near a hospital in Boston that specialized in such things. Sad to say, I never saw him again. That was pretty traumatizing.

    My fear of ticks has been pretty much a part of my life ever since. The first time I ever got bit by one was when I was in Gettysburg. It was during one of my vacation weeks where I spent the week in the village between two living history demonstrations for the park service. The discovery of a wood tick (a massive bastard compared to deer ticks) sent me running from my hotel clear across the village to the hospital. There I was prescribed antibiotics. Being as I am an idiot I didn't read the directions. I drove down to Manassas, Virginia the next day to visit Bull Run Battlefield. I spent the day walking in the sun... which was exactly what I was'nt supposed to do.

    On my way back to Gettysburg I found giant red welts starting to appear on my body, each of which felt as hot and broiling as Satan's spit. I nearly set a land-speed record in my Subaru as I raced through Gettysburg Battlefield. Unfortunately, a park policeman took exception, leading to what must be the greatest excuse ever given to a officer who had pulled someone over for speeding: "I'm sorry officer, but I'm on drugs and I think I'm on fire."

    All of this could have been avoided, as in my research afterwards I discovered that most doctors consider the antibiotics given after a tick bite to be "essentially useless."

    Wonderful.

    So, here I am, three years later, and my fear of ticks still plays a part in my life. Last summer I was in Gettysburg again for the 150th anniversary of the battle when I stupidly decided to walk across the fields near the Bushman Farm where the I represent unit fought in an effort to get down there to speak to the people who had gathered. The end result was getting covered with a dozen of the tiny bastards and my speech to the crowd going something like "AAAgggHHHhhhHHH! Get them off me! Get them off me! Aggaaahhh! God, please! Agggahh!"

    Noted fandom author and my personal friend Zaptiftun can verify that it plays a pertinent, and annoying, part of my outdoor life. The personalized tour of Gettysburg that I gave him pretty much went along these lines: "This is where General Reynolds was shot at about 10:15a.m. Check yourself for ticks. This is The Railway Cut where Confederates were caught in a horrible crossfire. Check yourself for ticks. This is Little Round Top where the 20th Maine fought. Check yourself for ticks. This is The Avenue Restaurant with good, cheap food. Check yourself for ticks."

    So far in my life, ticks had been something foreign, encountered only when I was out Civil War Re-enacting, hiking in the mountains, or exploring historic sites. Thursday, that changed. Now my own oversized yard has been invaded. My fence line harbors horrors. My maple trees are hiding assassins. I think that this, more than anything, is what lead to the nightmares that woke me this morning. I went to my local clinic Friday when I got out of work, and they essentially repeated that I could get $300 worth of drugs, but it would largely be useless. All I can really do is wait and see if I get sick and go from there.

    That's where the nightmares came from, the feeling of helpless waiting. The arachnids that crawled across, and under, my skin in my nightmare are a response to my own sense of unease and unknowing. Like the dream I had earlier this year after I put my cat down... the one where giant purple berries were erupting from my skin, body-horror imagery tells me that my mind is working through things over which I have no control.

    And, more frequently, I feel like I have less and less control. Especially over ticks.

    So, it's nearly four in the morning now. I'm sure that this blog is full of horrific grammar, but I hope you'll excuse that. All I have left to do now is wait and see if I get sick, if I get the "bullseye rash", or if I have pain in my joints, especially the neck. The waiting is the hardest part. I hate it.

    Anywho, it is Saturday, my volunteering day. I have to be awake again in four hours so I can get to my volunteer position. As you are all watching the season finale I'll be leading my church kids in cleaning the yards of shut-ins. Yup, going back out into the tall grasses and weeds...

    ... I bet you can imagine how much I'm looking forward to that.


    Stay Awesome,

    -T.D.

    101 comments · 938 views
  • 27w, 1d
    Bookplayer's Head Canon/Personal Fanon Questionnaire Report Inventory Thingy

    Dear Loyal Watchers, Interested Visitors, and Confused Passersby:


    So, Bookplayer is obviously a very clever individual. Rather than dive into a long, exasperating blog post where the readers are subjected to one author’s interpretation of their “personal fanons,” Bookplayer has done something very smart. Namely, the blog in question asked people to talk about the one thing that everyone loves doing–talking about themselves.

    Clever, very clever.

    Bookplayer asked the following fifty questions of the fandom at large and us authors in particular. The questions themselves circulate and swirl about some of the most pressing questions that we’ve had to ask ourselves about the show, and many take quite a bit of thought.

    Being as we are fans of–and are writing for–an evolving canon, we can see all of our thoughts go up in smoke in an instant. As the poets said: “All we are is dust in the wind.”

    Yes, I consider the lyrics of Kansas songs to be poetry. Sue me.

    So, then, here we are a fandom in the third-and-a-half year of our age, still pondering these inconsequentialities.

    And what is your dear T.D. if not inconsequential?

    With fandom luminaries like Bradel Bound, stalwart pillars of our fandom like RBDash47, and old friends like Lurks-no-More all taking swings at the questions, I figured “Hey, why not?” Here then are my answers to Bookplayer’s inquiry. Everything in the following should be proceeded by the metaphorical preface of “In My Humble Opinion.” It happens frequently that people say that the glimpses they get of the head canon in my stories either add to the work or make it so confusing as to draw them out of it. My personal fanon is very detailed, but like anything so specialized it is not rugged, and the show frequently makes me discard or rework my ideas. I’ve had to cut large chunks of it off like a gangrenous limb. Still, a lot of it survives, and I hope that my thoughts give you some ideas to ponder…

    …or ammunition to use against me. Either way, enjoy.


    The Princesses:

    1. How old are Celestia and Luna?

    Tia and Luna are a few thousand years old. Maybe 4-5K. As far as I’m concerned, when the three basic races came over the mountains they strayed into a land of immortals, already inhabited by alicorns, witches, draconequi, and all sorts of mythological beings. The realm that today is called Equestria is older than the unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies. Children grew up there, including two who have seen millennia fly across it.

    2. How old is Cadance?

    No more than ten or so years older than Twilight. She was her foalsitter, not her nanny or matron. She had other things going on in her life, and becoming a princess requires more than just the wings and horn, just as Twilight found out.


    3. Were Celestia and Luna always alicorns, or did they ascend?

    Tia and Loo were always alicorns.


    4. Are Cadance and Twilight immortal?

    Not at the moment. I’d like to think that there would be a tipping-point moment where they would have to choose. Realistically, in a cartoon designed for nine-year-old girls, I don’t think we’ll see it. If it did, though, I’d like to see Cadance choose a mortal life to stay with Shining and join him in the Well of Souls. I’d Twilight like to see choose immortality.

    Some might remember that I originally had Cadance as a self-reincarnating embodiment of all the forms of love, endlessly going through cycles where she was experiencing familial, romantic, and motherly love over and over by “finding” Shining again and again. Duplex Fields was the first to suggest that, and I ran with it. I don’t think I can shoehorn that in anymore, but it’s nice to think about.


    5. Have there been other alicorns in the past?

    Yes. Celestia and Luna were the only two naturally born alicorn foals of their mother and father. So that their children would not be alone, their parents summoned the help of the draconequi and the witches to create other alicorns. These were seven, but all since have gone into the Heart of the Mountain to buy Tia and Luna time…

    Celestia and Luna are the survivors, not the victors.


    6. How much authority do Celestia and Luna have in Equestria?

    Celestia has as much authority as she chooses to wield. But, as of late (the last few centuries or so) she has been trying to put more and more power into the hooves of her little ponies. As far as I’m concerned, Fancypants is prime minister. He’s the most important unicorn in Canterlot, and Canterlot is the high capital of the pony realms… so, yeah.

    Luna is having difficulty adapting after her return. She agreed with Tia that her re-integration would take time, and as such she has slowly been taking on duties. I think Luna isn’t as confident as she presents herself to be, hence why she spends so much time looking in on the crusaders… she feels safe helping them with their little concerns before she moves on to the “big stuff” again.


    7. Does Shining Armor rule The Crystal Empire along side of Cadance?

    Maybe he exercises some authority over the Crystal Guard on his merits, but he’s no princess. Just like any prince consort, his job at the moment is to get Cadance knocked up. I know that sounds really bleak, but at least they have the advantage of genuinely loving one another and of having had a long, caring relationship before this began. Not sold? Think of it this way… the Princess Skyla toy has to be somepony’s foal, and if she isn’t Cadance and Shining’s then she’s going to be Twilight and Flash Sentry’s.

    Pick your poison.


    8. Other than Twilight, Luna, and Cadance, what relationships have been important to Celestia in her lifetime (students, close friends, lovers, family)?

    Celestia has watched the great tides of life that we call generations wash up and down the shores of her existence over and over and over. To her, they are all children, and a wizened old pony is no different than the foal that he was when she last blinked her eyes. Oh, she rejoices in them as they grown and gain their marks, and many, many, many have been her friends…

    … but she never gets to keep any of them. She lives in a world of rain and sugar. They are all children who grow too fast. And, if she sees them all as children, her children, her little ponies, then what kind of mother would bed one of her own sons and daughters?

    No, Celestia has had no biological children of her own, and has never had a pony as a lover.

    Emphasis on pony.


    Ponies and Equestrian Culture:

    9. Are there still cultural differences between earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns, or is the culture homogeneous by the time shown in canon? Are there cultural stereotypes (positive or negative)?

    There are still cultural differences, but they are as mutually conglomerated as in the United States. Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, after all. The fact that the unicorns and pegasi participate in Winter Wrap-Up lends this thought some credence.

    No, bigotry and racism are as dead in the minds of ponies as the belief in the miasmic theory of disease. Momentary fear brought on by unfamiliarity, perhaps, but nothing endemic.


    10. Are there foods or items native to Cloudsdale that are uncommon on the ground? Are there foods or items on the ground that are uncommon in Cloudsdale?

    Cloudsdale has an entirely import-based consumer market. It has the ultimate high ground in trade, though, as you kind of need rain for anything to grow.


    11. Can all unicorns learn all spells, given the time and effort spent practicing them, or is magical talent usually limited in some way?

    To use a role-playing analogy, it’s easier to take levels inside your class than outside it. With time and effort, perhaps they could pick up other spells, but they are naturally inclined towards those that suit their mark.


    12. Earth pony magic: Does it exist? What is it?

    Most certainly! Unlike the unicorns who wrap themselves in the currents of their magic, or the pegasi who channel it into nature, the earth ponies have a quiet, inner magic that roots them to the world and to their mark. I go over this a lot in Tangled Up in Blues and A Sweet Taste of Cake.


    13. Some pony families we’ve seen seem to have naming conventions (the Apples, Twilight’s family) and others don’t appear to (Rarity’s family, Pinkie’s family), which is more common? Are there reasons for one or the other?

    Have we seen any of Twilight’s biological family get canon names apart from Shining Armor? Did I miss that? Anywho, I think that some families spend more time connected to certain aspects of their marks than others, so similar names come with that. I think it’s more common for earth ponies than other races. It all comes down to how families learn what their foals mark is going to be, and nobody seems to have an answer for that, canon or not.


    14. How much formal schooling is an average, middle class pony expected to complete?

    This is where the fandom and I go in very, very separate ways. I don’t see Equestria as working in our contemporary education system at all. As my occupation is one of the many cogs in that system, I can’t see a 1:1 comparison. Just think about where they go to school: a stereotypical little red schoolhouse. In the 19th century where those were common, most kids didn’t complete ninth grade before going out into the world.

    Furthermore, we only know that Twilight attended Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. The whole Canterlot University thing is fanon, unless I’m mistaken. Pinkie Pie is an apprentice, and Rarity very well may have been too.

    So, to answer the question, as much as they need.


    15. What’s the average lifespan for a pony? At what age is a pony expected to be independent of their parents?

    I’m jubilant that As the Sweetie Belle Toils showed us that the ponies actually get to have childhoods. The idea that they actually aged like horses was horribly depressing. Only one birthday party, only one Hearth’s Warming, before being thrown into the harsh adult world? You’d better hope that it isn’t raining or snowing on your Nightmare Night or you’re screwed. Have your first foal at three, dead at thirty-two. No thank you. Comparable aging to contemporary humans, please.


    16. Are there roughly an equal number of male and female ponies?

    Yes. While the series started off with most crowd scenes being female, this was just because little girls would presumably respond more to pretty ponies. The series has been better and better at showing an equitable number of male ponies. Don’t forget, there are a roughly equal number of stallions to females in wild horses, too. It’s just that only the biggest and strongest stallions that get to form “breeding herds” while the rest spend their time in pathetic “bachelor herds.” I’m not a fan of such concepts making their way into stories.

    In my mind, the absence of an equal ration is explained by a large percentage of the eligible male population being off serving in the Equestrian armed forces. This is explains why it is mostly older stallions and… well, “unfit for service” stallions that we see in the show. There’s a price to pay for having an idyllic peace in Equestria, and most young stallions serve to make sure that it stays that way.


    17. How informed are most ponies about things that happen in other parts of Equestria? What about other parts of the world?

    There are ample resources such as newspapers and other mediums for the spread of information. I put it at an early 20th century level of communications, kind of like before television. That being said, despite having the whole of Equestria and the world at their hooves, most only concern themselves with local rumors and celebrity scuttlebutt. This is, depressingly, very much like our own society.


    The Main Characters:

    18. How old are the Mane Six? Spike? The CMC?

    The biggest difference between the way that I see the series and the way that 98.75% of the rest of the fandom sees the series can be found right here. I find it hilarious how, when the series started, most Bronies were in college or late high school, and the fandom consensus for their ages was at that level. Now, four years later, you guys are all out in The Real World and you’ve taken your waifus along with you. I’ve observed the “fanon creep” of their ages go steadily upwards so that most now seem to think they are in their mid twenties.

    While most Bronies are moving along with their lives, I am forever trapped in the world of pre-teens and adolescents. My employment and volunteer positions have long left me dealing with the ephemera and impedimenta of teenagers, and I see far, far, far too much of that world reflected in the principal pony cast to ever see them as fully grown adults. The way they act, the way they move, the word choices that they make… yeah, I can’t see them as that old.

    Their occupations don’t change my opinion on that, either. Rarity and Pinkie are either at the end of or have completed their apprenticeships. A.J. works on a farm, which is the reason summer vacations came about, after all. I don’t even know if Fluttershy has a job. Dash won the Best Young Fliers Competition. Twilight’s being a student helped my case, and her becoming a princess doesn’t hurt it. Victoria became queen when she was eighteen, after all.

    So, that’s why I don’t read many shipping stories and write even less with the mane pony cast. I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years in this fandom adrift in waves of shipping stories that all unknowingly and unintentionally stink of ephebophilia.

    Spike’s age is something that I struggle with, too. Miss Faust said she designed him to be eight, but that simply doesn’t work at all. I’ve spent my life working with kids, and I can see Spike being deep into Piaget’s “concrete constructive” level of childhood development, especially with how he had developed his own moral code and is seeking the approval of others rather than assuming it.

    The best guess I have is that Twilight was trying to get into magical kindergarten at Celestia’s school when she hatched him, so it’s whatever the difference was. She looked older then five-year-olds we saw, but younger than the C.M.C. at that scene, so… yeah. I put Spike at late pre-teen, a boy of about twelve or so. Whatever his chronological age, he shows a maturity above and beyond it at times, as well as crushing lows where he seems to need a cuddle like a hatchling would.

    I’d always thought that the C.M.C. were a little younger than Spike chronologically, but the comic shows them as foals when he’s an egg. I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t like how they go from being bigger than him to smaller in the show, sometimes within a few scenes. Mentally and emotionally, they are younger, so until I’m told otherwise by canon they are chronologically younger in my personal fanon as well; they’re late childhood to early pre-teen at best.

    So, basically, the series doesn't fix their ages, and I don't either, but I do see the older ones as younger than most fans do.


    19. Did Fluttershy remain on the ground after getting her cutie mark? Were she and Rainbow Dash friends all along, or did they drift apart for a while?

    I’ll admit that I haven’t given this question that much thought, therefore I don’t have a personal fanon explanation for it. My best guess would be that she was like Thoreau when he was at Walden Pond. He spent the week there, but he went home on weekends.  


    20. Rarity and Applejack both seem to have grown up in Ponyville. What were their interactions like before the show?

    Scarce and but cordial.


    21. What do Twilight and Spike consider their relationship to be?

    Oh God.

    If you don’t know my opinion about the only thing about the show that I really care about anymore, the relationship between these two, then you haven’t been paying attention to my inane ramblings over the last four years at all.

    Rather than write eighteen pages, I’ll just truck out "T.D.’s Mantra":

    Sister and brother? Mother and son? Best friends? Boss and assistant? None of these easy terms fully define them. All fall short, and none feel perfect. In the end, whatever they are to one another, it is based on love, trust, devotion, and shared experiences over the course of their lives together. Whatever they are to one another, she’s his big one, and he’s her little one.


    22. When did Pinkie move in with the Cakes? Is she a worker who rents a room, an apprentice, or is there some other relationship?

    This was the crux of the final two acts of A Sweet Taste of Cake. Pinkie is an apprentice, and she came to work with the Cakes because her father needed to find some way for her to explore her mark. Through a series of interpersonal connections, she found her way to Sugar Cube Corner.

    She came at the right time, as the childless Cakes had a lot of love to share and the patience to deal with the ball of energy they had indentured. They love her and worry about her, and she’s practically family to the Baby Cakes.


    23. Who among the Mane Six had the best parents growing up? The worst parents?

    Heh, Twilight’s parents seemed to have done something right, didn’t they?

    Dash’s dad was a great guy. Her mom? Not so much.


    24. Why didn’t the CMC hang out more/know each other before Call of the Cutie?

    Before the episode they didn’t know about their mutual worries about their lack of cutie marks. Once they had a common issue to share, the rest of their friendships fell into place.


    25. Is Scootaloo an orphan? Will she ever be able to fly?

    No. Yes.


    26. Will Apple Bloom’s cutie mark involve an apple in some way, even if it’s unrelated to farming or baking?

    Most likely. It doesn’t affect my understanding of her as a character, so I haven’t thought about it much.


    27. How is Sweetie Belle’s relationship with their parents different than Rarity’s was?

    Typical younger child syndrome, especially since there’s a massive age difference between them. She’s adored and pampered. Rarity is embarrassed by her parents–though she does love them–and distanced herself from them at a young age.


    Side and Background Characters:

    28. Is Mr. Cake the father of the Cake twins or not?

    Yes. Entirely. Absolutely. I become violently ill every time it is suggested otherwise.

    “Biomagical Conception” is a concept I advanced in A Sweet Taste of Cake. Like humans, ponies are equal parts physical, mental, and spiritual. They also have another dimension–the magical. It’s a part of each pony, and they wear their magic as their mark. Magic needs to be allowed to find its own way.

    The magic knew when the time was right. Two earth ponies needed to be tested first, and they needed to face challenges. The world needed a little unicorn and a little pegasus who grew up in the love of those two earth ponies. It made them wait, and the results were unusual, but their conceptions were entirely in keeping with the sacred bonding of their parents’ physical love and intimacy.


    29. Are Big Mac and Cheerilee an item, romantically?

    No, but they aren’t opposed to the idea, either.


    30. How did Prince Blueblood get his title?

    He is the current inheritor of the House of Unicorn, the royalty of the unicorns.

    As the races intermingled after arriving in Equestria, their social structures began to merge. The military took on pegasus traditions, and the shires, towns, counties, and pastures took on earth pony administrational constructs. Not wanting to completely lose their individual identities, the leadership of the individual races adopted unicorn-styled limited monarchies. Over time, these disappeared into the responsibilities of Celestia and Luna, leaving them in name only, existing as ceremonial titles with some limited powers, like that of Great Britain.

    This also explains why he’s Celestia’s “nephew.” The alicorns guided the races after they arrived, and she began to look on all ponies as her children. Only those she trusted to protect them became “nieces” and “nephews.”


    31. Is Silver Spoon equally as bad as Diamond Tiara?

    Yes, but unlike Diamond, Silver has redemptive moments.


    32. Is Zecora’s magic common among zebras?

    It’s about as common among zebras as it is to unicorns among ponies.


    33. Why does Daring Do publish her stories as fiction?

    In case she ever wants to write one about something that she could have done, wished to do, and wish she hadn’t done. That way, she’s not lying if she never claimed it was true in the first place.


    34. Do you have a strong headcanon for any non-speaking or one line background ponies that you want to share?

    Yes. They’re called A Cup of Joe, Tangled Up in Blues, A Sweet Taste of Cake, and The Father of My Children. Please read them at your earliest convenience.


    Other Species:

    35. Does Equestria differentiate between speaking and non-speaking species, in terms of respect, rights and legal responsibilities? Is there some other line or scale used? (For example, how are cows classified? Diamond Dogs? A chimera?)

    If it speaks, it votes.


    36. Do other speaking species form their own nations, or are all nations largely integrated, with some having larger populations of a species than others?

    Equestria is almost certainly only one country in a larger world. Beyond its borders there are many nations, most of which are based around sole-species homogeny. Some are more open about integration than others, and some are more closed.


    37. Are minotaurs related to cows at all?

    Umm… I have no idea. No?


    38. Do all zebras rhyme?

    Lurks-no-More began calling zebras with Zecora’s lifestyle “The Sent” at one point, but I don’t recall him following up on why. To me, Zecora is an earth priestess, and her rhyming meter is the mark of her status. It makes her think about her words, making sure she is not too hasty and chooses her words carefully.


    39. Do zebra cutie marks work the same way as pony cutie marks?

    Yes, but if you need to know zebra symbology to understand them. Think about it this way: If you’d never seen a balloon before, would you know what Pinkie’s mark stands for? It just takes a little research, and before long we’ll all realize that her mark is for preventing the attacks of ancient demons, that’s all!


    40. Do any species have types of magic, other than ponies and zebras?

    Yes–most definitely yes. The draconequi for one, of course. There are some species with powers even greater than that.

    41. Is the lack of buffalo presence in Equestria cultural, or simply because most pony towns aren’t built to accommodate a full grown buffalo?

    Forgive me for being a downer here, but it seems that Equestria came to the buffalo tribes, not the other way around. Appleloosa was built on buffalo tribal ritual ground and was only a year old at the time of the episode. This is depressingly like our own history. I’m not saying it was planned that way. There’s no smallpox blankets being given away by the ponies here; their douchebaggery was purely unintentional. The buffalo nations are happy living as they are, and have no need or want to move into Equestrian cities.


    Headcanon and You:

    42. Do you consider official sources other than the show (comics, card game text, movies, novels, etc.) to be canon?

    I consider them guideposts, but anything that happens in the show that contradicts the “secondary canon” takes precedence.


    43. Do you have one head canon that you always use, or do you switch depending on projects?

    The overwhelming majority of my stories take place firmly rooted in my own personal fanon, one that I try to keep compatible with canon as much as possible. The only story that does not belong to my over-arching fanon is Immature. I am lucky that I’ve worked with people whose fanons easily fit with mine, like with Lysok on Zenith. If I were to work with someone else on one of their projects I’d happily use their fanon. They’d have to keep me abridged of it, though!


    44. Can you easily accept the headcanons of different writers? Do you prefer when stories match your headcanon?

    Since nobody else has a head canon that is very much like mine I pretty much have to accept others. I swallow some people’s interpretation better than I do some that I've read, but I’d like to think I give everyone a fair shake.


    45. Is there a part of your headcanon that you wish was more popular among writers?

    My personal fanon is too over-reaching to even hope that others understand it, let alone use it. I’m very lucky to have interested as many people in it as I have, and I hope I don’t disappoint them.


    46. Is there a popular piece of headcanon that other writers use that you dislike?

    I’ve never been a fan of the Alternate Celestia Character Interpretations.

    I’m not a fan of anything that suggests infidelity on the part of Misses Cake.

    I guess I don’t understand why people try to make these characters into animals. They don’t act like animals in the series. They don’t eat, sleep, or interact or have family structures like real horses. They don’t even look like real horses, really. So, I guess I’ve always seen that as a square peg trying to be forced into a round hole situation.

    A subset of that is the “Ponies in Heat” trope that I abhor. Oh God, I hate it. I hate it so much.


    47. Have you ever written a story or blog post just to explain some part of your head canon (other than this one)?

    Yes. I’m sorry to all of you who suffered through reading them.


    48. Does your head canon influence things like your favorite pony, ship, or episode?

    My head canon and my adoration of Spike and Twilight’s relationship feed off of one another.


    49. Would it bother you if the show proved part of your head canon wrong? Any specific piece that would really bother you to lose?

    Every episode has shattered some small shard of my head canon, but opens it up in other ways. It’s a long, hard trek through a land of small victories and crushing defeats.

    If Twilight did anything that made me believe that she had stopped loving Spike, I’d quit the fandom.


    50. Is there something that wasn't asked about here, but you feel like you need to explain to everyone?

    In the words of Duplex Fields, the pegasi have a “Trial by Ordeal” once a decade to determine who their commander will be. It is purely symbolic these days, but it is a tradition they keep. Any winged pony can fight in the trial, and all you need do is enter the ring and begin fighting. Every decade, seemingly forever, a white-coated mare with a pink mane, no bigger than any other pegasus, has entered the fray.

    Every decade, for as long as anyone can remember, she had left it victorious, even if splattered in her own blood and the blood of others.

    She limps off alone to some safe, distant spot. She sits there shaking, and after a few moments her magic sinks back into the mare.

    Celestia returns to her alicorn form, and then makes her way back to Canterlot.


    Stay Awesome,

    -T.D.

    54 comments · 891 views
  • ...
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September 17th, 1862 became the single bloodiest day in American history when a battle was fought along the Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Yesterday, Fluttershy hummed happily as she watered her garden.

The two events are not unrelated.

First Published
12th Sep 2012
Last Modified
12th Sep 2012
#1 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 1 ·

The contrast between Equestria's peacefulness, even including Fluttershy's disturbed sleep, and the build-up to the battle at Antietam, is really powerful.

I can say, after just the first chapter, that this is a good story; but not a story it's easy to read. Must not have been easy to write, either. :fluttercry:

#2 · 109w, 4d ago · 5 · · Chapter 4 ·

Goddamn TD, I'm Australian, know barely anything about the American Civil War other than the homework you set us, and this story still made me tear up. Beautiful writing.

Are you particularly a Civil War enthusiast, or did you just pick a war at random? This story could work with almost any war ever, and I expect different people would get different emotional impacts depending on their nationality and which war you picked - I would pay good money to see a version/sequel to this for the Battle of Culloden.

Great job as usual, mate.

#3 · 109w, 4d ago · 3 · · Chapter 4 ·

Just like aljada

I'm an Aussie and have hardly anything about the civil war either.

BUT

This still pulled at my heartstrings :fluttercry:

#4 · 109w, 4d ago · 3 · · Chapter 4 ·

Oh god sir.

This made me cry.

Seriously.

I fucking love you.

This was great.

You are wonderful.

Oh god I'm crying.

This was beautiful and you should be proud.

This deserves to be forever remembered.

Thank you for this masterpiece, sire.

Love,

-Cortex Repository

P.S. Oh god I'm crying.

#5 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1263186

I'm glad that the contrast stood out for you, Lurk. No, it wasn't easy to write... I'm a student of the Civil War, and I feel a real connection to the stories it presents. I'm going to be at Antietam this weekend, and I expect it shall be emotional for me.

>>1263191

Glad I could get some emotion out of you!

I have a huge interest in the American Civil War. I am in fact a Civil War Re-enactor, and I shall be participating in the reenactment of this battle, Antietam, this weekend.

>>1263329

I'm very glad that there was emotion in this story for you. Thanks for reading and commenting!

>>1263357

Forgive me, but I'm deleting this comment. This is a story about an actual boy, an actual soldier, who actually was killed in a real battle. This story was meant as a tribute to him, so I do not find advertising to be appropriate here.

>>1263394

I am indeed proud, and I take the emotional response you are having as a high compliment. You do the memory of the youth well with your tears.

#6 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

I really wish he hadn't died... ugh. That would have been great, if he had been able to live in Equestria... darn it.

#7 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

TD, I like the added content that you incorporated into the story.  I found those maps of the battles quite interesting and to actually see the graves of some of those that you mentioned really made your story more realistic.  I also liked that you went with a soldier who ended up MIA at the end of the battle.  

>>1263650  Concerning the re-enactment, do you know what side you will be on and what general you are supposed to be under the command of?  All the same, it sounds like an enjoyable time.  Do die honorably if you get hit.  Also how did you get into that re-enactment stuff?  How could some join something like that?  

#8 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 1 ·

"Angle could see her simply trying to make some sense of the visions that had clouded her sleep."

Just a spelling error I caught, can't seem to find anymore.  From the first chapter, I can tell that this is shaping up to be a good story.  I haven't studied the battle of Antietam, or really the entire war that much,(I'm more into World War 2 history) but this has inspired me to look into it.

#9 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>posted new story

Ah yea, cool, gonna be like a prologue or something

>18k words, 4 chapters

I love you man. I love you.

#10 · 109w, 4d ago · 6 · · Chapter 3 ·

Oh man, that whole scene before his death, where he thought Fluttershy was an angel and such, made me so sad.

And then him singing "Amazing Grace" just did it in for me. Manly tears, man. Manly tears.

#11 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1263689

I had thought of what it would have meant if the youth had lived, but in the end the story would have lost a lot of its emotion if he had survived the wound. I hope that the way that the story went didn't destroy the story for you.

>>1263963

Here's a great narrative by Stetson's father about how he went to recover his son's body, and laid it out in the grave. He met a dying Roosa there, and there's pictures of both if you'd like to do some reading.

I chose Allorian Bassett specifically to be the youth because he went missing, and because he was so young.

As for reenacting, I've died horrible, tragic deaths upon dozens of battlefields, so that's not new and I shall do my best!:twilightsmile:

I got into reenacting about six years ago, mostly because of my love of the Civil War. You can only read about it so many times before you feel the need to try to understand what they went through. It's an expensive hobby, but many units will let you borrow equipment until you begin buying your own.

At little events, my unit commands itself (like when we're doing talks at national parks). At big events like the Antietam reenactment I'm about to do a national organization with elected officials takes over command an organization.

Joining a Civil War Reenacting unit is as easy as finding one that fits your needs and personality, what type of unit you want to represent, and your commitment. You've just given me an idea for a blog post, so I'll go about it there!:raritywink:

>>1263994

Oh! Thanks for the catch, man! I'm glad that I've inspired you to look into the A.C.W! f you have any questions about it, let me know!

>>1264017

Aww! Thanks! I love me too!:twilightblush:

#12 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264193

Just manly tears? I was bawling aloud when I wrote it!:twilightblush:

#13 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Just...wow. That was such a powerful story.

I don't know how you do it. Can you share some of that story-writing awesomeness with some of us? Shouldn't be fair to hog it all to yourself. :P

#14 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264215

I sell it for $5 in a six-ounce can, Van.:raritywink:

#15 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264260

And I'm sure that 5 dollars worth of awesomeness works for...what, only one paragraph? One Page? :derpytongue2:

But it'll be the BEST PARAGRAPH/PAGE EVER WRITTEN. XD

#16 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Well, made me cry. :fluttercry:

As has been mentioned, him interpreting Fluttershy as an angel and then dying after singing Amazing Grace was very powerful.

#17 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264292

Depends upon how thick ya' spread it!:twilightsmile:

>>1264337

I'm glad it was very powerful for ya', DJ... gee, I've got to make some comedies here again soon, huh?:twilightblush:

#18 · 109w, 4d ago · 2 · · Chapter 3 ·

This chapter was painful to read. In the good sense, absolutely, but still painful. Powerful writing, TD. :fluttercry:

#19 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

All in all, I'm glad you wrote this, and glad that I read it. But, pardon me when I say that I doubt I will re-read this story.

#20 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264410>>1264429

I'm certainly glad that you gave it a go the first time, Lurk. Painful indeed...

#21 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

The feature box was cloying me during the last few weeks with all the "romance" titles...

You came just at the right moment. Thanks for giving my fill :raritywink:

As for the story itself... This is my way of showing I shed a tear:

#22 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Good God... I expected something of a high standard from you, but this, this story surpassed all my expectations. The two timelines fit together seamlessly, and the idea of Equestria seeming like heaven to poor Bassett is just inspired. When he was dying and started singing  'Amazing Grace', that was when the tears were properly streaming down my face.

You said that you set out to put a different spin on the Human in Equestria genre. You succeeded with flying colours, if you ask me.

#23 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Reading this and listening to Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier by James Taylor sure brought tears into my eyes.

A beautiful story.

#24 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Beautifully done.  As always my friend, as always.  

The Civil War is one of the few things that genuinely strikes a chord with me.  It's far too easy to relate too.  I grew up outside of Richmond, sandwiched right in the middle of all Hanover Counties battlefields.  It surrounded me.  I can see the Cold Harbor memorial park from my grandmothers, and I drove past the garthright house to get to my wifes while we were still dating.  The civil war is still a real thing in these places, where you can still see earthworks preserved.  They're so common, kids in my neighhborhood used to melt down old lead balls to make sinkers for fishing.  When it gets expounded upon it's very jolting, being reminded of how violent something you've always been around used to be.  

#25 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

that was just so butiful (forgive my spelling)

#26 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

:fluttercry:

that last picture blew my mind :rainbowderp:.

I cant even make words, too many feels:raritycry:.

:rainbowlaugh: dat elephant.

#27 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Damn...  There aren't many fics out there that make me cry like this.:fluttercry:  Real powerful stuff here.

#28 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264575

I'm glad I was able to give you something to peruse! I'm also glad that it struck an emotional chord. Nice song!:twilightsmile:

>>1264858

I consider that high praise, Nos! Thanks so much!:twilightsheepish:

>>1265068

I'm very glad that I could supply you with something emotionally powerful. Thanks for reading and commenting!:pinkiesmile:

>>1265575

I can see that it still has a presence for you too, and I'm glad that I was bale to bring some life back into it for you. Thanks, as always, for reading!

>>1265801

You are forgiven... and thanks so much!:twilightsheepish:

>>1265892

Oh, yes... everyone in this story was a real person, taken directly from the muster rolls of the 59th New York and the 31st Virginia. I'm glad it had such a powerful effect.

>>1265927

I'm glad that I was able to provide you with a way to feel that emotion.

#29 · 109w, 4d ago · 4 · · Chapter 3 ·

Oh man, that was tragic.  I was holding back tears for the entire chapter, but when he started to sing Amazing Grace, I was unable to hold back.:fluttercry:

#30 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Wow.  Just, wow.  First off, this is an extremely moving story.  Tears were shed.  Second, this is probably the best HiE I've ever read.  That last picture there just blew my freaking mind, and seeing how Fluttershy kept his locket, do I, by any chance, smell a sequel?  I've enjoyed reading this immensely, and I look forward to your next story!:twilightsmile:

#31 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

How tragic.

#32 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Very sad but good story. Barely held back the tears at the singing of Amazing Grace.

But I must ask, why did you choose Private Bassett?

#33 · 109w, 4d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Dude.

Just... Wow.

This took me by surprise. Even with checking out the homework videos setting the tone and giving the background info I was totally unprepared for all the feels. I didn't cry but I was moved past tears into speechlessness and I'm typing this up nearly 12 hours after reading so as to properly collect my thoughts. As it is I can't really think of anything to say other than you really weren't kidding when you said this would be a different kind of HiE.

I think what got me the most was that Allie was from Kingston NY, which is only 15-20 minutes from where I live, so all the flashbacks and memories of the Hudson and Catskills really struck a chord. Excellent choice. And T.J makes a great foil to him as well. And... just so much more. This story should be taught in schools and dissected in the same way as all the classics; Milton, Kafka, Chaucer etc, because it's just THAT good.

#34 · 109w, 3d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

A new story from the descendant?! MUST READ ASAP! :flutterrage:

#35 · 109w, 3d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

This just gets to me cos its so.... Real, y'know?

(second read through)

#36 · 109w, 3d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1264206

I know it would have killed some of the emotional stuff, but it just sucks that he died anyway.

#37 · 109w, 3d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1267211>>1267321

I hoped that have Allorian's entry from the muster book as the last image would have an impact, and I'm glad that I made the choice to include illustrations. Thanks!

I honestly have no plans for a sequel at this moment, but anything is possible. The next story I'm working on is Lysok's commission, but don't be surprised if there's a fe side-tracks!:raritywink:

>>1267608

Indeed. Thanks for reading and commenting!

>>1267887

I chose Allorian for a few reasons.

1.) I searched the order of battle for a regiment at Antietam that had an interesting story to tell. I didn't want a "famous" regiment or a "elite" one, just a very normal regiment that got into a bad spot. The 59th NYVI fit the bill.

2.) In that regiment I went searching for a soldier who was young, and who went missing. Allorian J. Bassett fit the bill as well.

3.) I needed someone whose background I could reconstruct. Seeing as he was from Kingston, N.Y., I imagined him a job on the Hudson River. The rest just fell into place!

>>1268344

High praise from you as always, sir, and I am most grateful.

You should search your local cemetery and see if there are any soldiers from the 59th NYVI, as the regiments formed by counties back then, so there may be some near you. Roosa was from Ulster, N.Y. if you're on that side of the river and that close to the Catskills!:twilightsmile:

>>1268618

I hope you enjoyed it!:pinkiesmile:

>>1268647

Indeed, very real indeed. All of the people are actual figures I took from regimental rosters...

>>1271486

Agreed, agreed indeed.

#38 · 109w, 3d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1271881

I'm in New Paltz so Ulster is just a hop skip and a jump away. I may end up checking out some graveyards soon. Tis the season and all, what with Nightmare Nigh- I mean Halloween around the corner. :raritywink:

#39 · 109w, 2d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1271881

Makes sense, I was thinking you might have been related to him or was in a unit that would have been close to your hometown

>>1273604

What a coincidence I live near their. Well closer to Middletown though

#40 · 109w, 2d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Damn, that's powerfully moving

Private Macintosh salutes you sir :eeyup:

#42 · 109w, 2d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

That last chapter with Rainyday. Jezzums.

Never before have I found a more fitting story for this picture.

#43 · 109w, 1d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

I came across this, ironically, after seeing Pins and Needles show up in the feature bix and going "Descendant; I know he's written some good stuff before, but I can't remember what it was - okay, check profile" and saw your blog post.

I generally shy away from HiE stories, but seeing the historical context, and the significance, of this, as something of lay military historian myself, I felt obliged to have a read, as my own quiet salute to the fallen.

Being English, my knowledge of the Amercian Civil War is limited to what I have osmosed, and a few of the moments that have shown up in my own reading of military history; much of it has come from came from Geoffry Regan's excellent books on military blunders, which show the bitter and tragic cost of the darker side of generalship throughout the world and the ages. Antietam recieved a mention in passing once or twice, though not in detail. (One is forced to reflect on the grim fact that this, the bloodiest battle was not, unusually, perhaps, the worst-lead in the war.)

This first person look was excellently done, nay even inspired, and powerfully written. That was a superlative memorial piece, and I think you hit the tone just right. Your goal - in ensuring that a few more people will remember the dead; those we know about, and the likely more that we don't - has been accomplished admirably.

#44 · 109w, 1d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1277801

Thanks for reading and commenting!:twilightsmile:

>>1277873

Indeed...

>>1277941

Glad that it moved you. Thanks for reading!:twilightsmile:

>>1278481

On Pins and Needles was in the Featured Box? I'm sorry that I missed that... but not really, as I was at the Antietam reenactment when it did.

I'm glad that you took the time to write me such an excellent note. I'm especially glad that you feel that the story completed it's primary purpose, the commemorating of a life. That makes me feel like I've truly done something worthwhile. Thank you so much!:pinkiesmile:

#45 · 109w, 1d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1278547 No, no, no, thank YOU for writing such a beautiful and sad piece. :pinkiesad2:

#46 · 109w, 1d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1277273

Not to hijack the thread, but cool stuff sir. If you're ever in town, stop by Gourmet Pizza where I work most nights and we can nerd out over ponies and things.

DF
#47 · 109w, 14h ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

Thank you for writing this.

It's pieces like this that hammer home how much war sucks. It makes it more personal than a news report or even an interview could. The scene where they're walking among the dead and dying... it's chilling.

The contrast between the scenes from the war and the scenes that take place in Equestria creates a mood whiplash that unbalances you, and the ending gives you a shove that sends you plummeting from your emotional equilibrium into an abyss of sadness.

Damnit, you made me cry.

Thank you.

Salud y paz.

#48 · 109w, 9h ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1273604

Well, I wasn't thinking anything spooky or like that. Civil War graves are easy to identify, you se, because the government provided them free to veterans. They are straight sided and have a curved top. They always have the soldier's name, company, and regiment. Following any flags, or Grand Army of the Republic markers, is usually a good way to find them too.

#49 · 109w, 9h ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

>>1286337

I'm very happy that you found those scenes poignant. I'm especially glad that the contrast between the two worlds stood out. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!:twilightsmile:

#50 · 108w, 6d ago · · · Chapter 4 ·

made me cry not bad :fluttercry:

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