The Shaper is a smith of unparalleled skill, her creations the most sought after in the fallen world. When a pony named Lyra comes to her with a unique commission she has to put all her skill to the test to craft a weapon of great power. For Lyra's goal is not an easy one, and it is not just any weapon that can kill a Dragon.
6w, 4dSeptember 6th updates8 comments · 173 views
9w, 5dStatus update10 comments · 196 views
Hey, everyone. It's been a while since I've given any sort of update, so I thought I'd do that now.
As you can see, there has been no new chapters or stories. I am writing them. I have not abandoned or forgotten any of my projects here but it's been very slow going. My apologies for that.
Back in June I thought I'd be able to get more done, and that at the very least I'd have time to get things moving in July. As it turned out, however, things did not go the way I had predicted. Extended work contracts, depression, exhaustion and hunting for a new apartment all drained me pretty badly. Are still draining me.
I can't predict what will happen next, but I'm hoping (fingers crossed and everything) that it will all sort itself out in the next few weeks and I can get back to doing what I enjoy somewhere in September.
Thanks for being patient with me,
21w, 3dRuminations8 comments · 327 views
It's been a while since I've updated anything, and for that I apologize. To get the important stuff out of the way: Harmony Theory is not going to be updating this month. Earliest the next chapter can come out is mid-june. All other projects are... also delayed. I know I just released a chapter of LUS, but don't expect the next one until late june / mid-july. Other long-promised projects are, at earliest, late july or august.
I'm not really big on explaining what's happening in my life online. I tend to want this space devoted strictly to things that pertain to the stories I am writing or have written. It's mostly because I just don't think I have much to say that people would care to hear. I spin a good yarn, but my analysis of life is anything but deep or insightful.
However, sometimes things happen in my life that affect my writing, and I get the niggling feeling that you all deserve some kind of explanation. Short version: this last year has been really, really tough. I'm not going to go into detail because it involves others, suffice it to say that things will be getting better, but I can't say how quickly. As it is, I've been struggling with motivation and time issues. I just haven't been able to do as much writing as I want to, and when I do get the time, I'm too exhausted to work effectively.
The result is the delays in publishing new material. Be assured that I haven't abandoned anything, but I'm working kind of slowly. It's quite frustrating.
On to other things! I titled this post 'ruminations' so I'm gonna ruminate.
I enjoyed Season 4. Not all of it, but most of it. I enjoyed the finale, despite the fact that I think the rainbow-power designs are dumb. I know that toys have to be sold to little girls, so I'm not really gonna care. Tirek as the bad guy made me grin, I had avoided spoilers pretty well, but I still somehow knew he was coming. He was a fairly decent bad guy, all things considered. I liked that the Princesses knew he was a threat, but they didn't give their power to Twilight because of him, they gave up their power because of Discord, who could take them all down and they knew it.
Let's talk about Discord. He's my favourite villain of the series, and he's getting more Trickster as it goes on. His turn to the good side in KCAFO was abrupt and clearly insincere –"Most of the time"–, but it seems like he's sticking to the spirit of his 'reformation' if not the letter. In the season 4 opener he lets slip that he's not really friends with Fluttershy (getting her name wrong, for one) and claims the whole thing there is not his fault when we later learn that, well, yes it is. Then there's his trolling of Twilight and Cadance, ostensibly to see how 'genuine' her friendship is, but may really have been so that they come even closer together. Finally, there's the season finale, where he just flat-out manipulates everyone.
Let's roll through it here: He shows up out of nowhere, makes it clear he's been spying on everyone, and has been messing with their collective journal. Messing how? By indexing all the information they would need to open the box of plot-device. He knew what they needed to do to get it open, and he knew that Twilight hadn't gotten her key yet. What does he do? He engineers a situation where she gets that key. Not just any situation, though, one where he ends the day more in our hero's good graces than ever, while still getting to cause as much havoc and chaos as possible.
He's too smart a villain not to know Tirek was playing him. The whole "we can rule together! wait - I lied!" thing is old-hat to the spirit of Disharmony. He knew it would end with him getting magic-drained, but he went along with it because he needed something from Tirek, a symbol of friendship. One that Tirek would betray, but Discord could leverage. When he handed that necklace to Twilight he wasn't being genuine –he's never genuine– but it wasn't about him, it was about Twilight's revelation. About her seeing how she could extend the power of friendship to others in ways she hadn't thought possible. Discord wasn't learning anything new, he was trying to make her learn something new.
Also, he was able to utterly wreck Equestria again, and got away with it scot-free. Textbook Karma-Houdini. That's Trickster stuff. That's mythological in nature. That's the MLP that I adore.
Tangentially some people have asked about the canon of Harmony Theory. Harmony Theory started being written after the season 2 finale, and I built a backstory for it from that point in time that is pretty much set in stone. Alicorn Twilight was one of the things that I had planned on, as was Discord's release. Because of that, season 3 is mostly canon to Harmony Theory. There are differences in the background, such as Twilight's advanced studies instead being her early work at understanding the Elements. Season 4 started with our heroes giving up the Elements, which was not in the HT backstory, so it didn't happen in HT, or at least not as the show depicts it. Most of season 4 still happens as you see it, though. However, by the time of the Celestia Nova incident (approximately 16 years after season 5) Twilight has abdicated her throne and her big-tree-castle-thingy is gone. The Library was either never destroyed by Tirek or regrown sometime after.
Incidentally, the Fallen World stories diverged from canon during Friendship is Magic part 2 (the pilot), going full-on AU from that point (though things didn't get really bad until the events around The Return of Harmony). Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is set in the nebulous time between Equestria Girls and the start of Season 4.
I don't know what else to say. I was thinking on perhaps talking about other stories that I've read. Like a review, of sorts. I don't know. I'll consider it.
For now, I hope you enjoy what I've written. I'll be working on more.
27w, 1dApril 15th Update6 comments · 261 views
EqD has decided to actually feature Harmony Theory! which is, you know, something I've wanted to have happen since I first started writing this story. I'm super-happy about it, though a little sad that I won't be able to make jokes about how they'll feature anything BUT HT anymore. Thank you to everyone who said I should go for it and try to get it featured again. I'm glad I did.
My other stories update: No change on Sword and Song. It's going to be a focus for a bit, but I'm having real trouble making it, you know, good. Lavender Unicorn Syndrome has similar problems with being not funny. Both of them should be receiving some love soon, which (fingers crossed) will help see them in a state fit to be read.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy what I've written!
22 comments · 500 views
So, Equestria Daily has changed their fanfiction submitting rules. What does everyone think? Should I try again to get Harmony Theory featured?
Also, here are some rough notes on the Solar Kingdom. Not required reading, but if you're interested in this sort of thing, it might expand the world of Harmony Theory for you.
A brief history of the Solar Kingdom:
When Equestria was divided during the Schism, every civilization on the continent (and most of them around the world) fell into chaos. Ponies were left without the magic they had relied upon to sustain them, the weather became wild and uncontrollable and the very shape of the continent had been violently changed. Everything that had been built up was brought down.
As ponies do in such circumstances, they gathered into herds for protection. These herds were quickly brought under the control of those ponies whose Talents allowed them to dominate the others, either physically or mentally. The herds then competed for resources, fighting bloody wars over sources of potable water or useable shelter. The warlords of the victorious herds then codified their rule and set about both securing their own slices of Equestria against their fellow dictators.
Among these early warlords were the last remnants of the pre-Schism nobility. Specifically the descendents of the ruling family of the Crystal Empire. These winged unicorns were usually powerful enough to hold their own when their leadership was contested, and often claimed a special insight granted by their divine heritage. They were also able to gain the loyalty of the Griffin clans, as the magic of the winged unicorns was the only thing that could prevent the extinction of the warrior race. While they set up several fiefdoms, they remained tied closely to each other by their inability to have children with any but another winged unicorn, making alliances of marriage a necessity.
About a hundred years after the Schism, when the new kingdoms were finally managing to recover from the cataclysm, a visionary leader arose among the winged unicorns. She had a plan to unite the continent once more under one banner, and her charisma and eloquence saw many of her fellow leaders join with her cause. She was crowned Queen Shining Beacon of the Solar Kingdom by the united herds of her followers, and led them in the first unification war.
Shining Beacon was mostly interested in bringing all the separate herds into one, leaving most of the organization of the new kingdom to her advisors and trusted confidants. They created the system of governance still used today. They also made the decision to place a heavy emphasis on religion, a move that was not popular at the time as many ponies felt that they had been abandoned by the Alicorns.
By the time the first unification war was played out, a full third of the sunlands was under the control of the Solar Kingdom. Many smaller fiefdoms, fearing the Kingdom’s reach, banded together into nations of their own, presenting a united front against the threat. The Kingdom did not continue its attack immediately, instead consolidating its gains and ironing out the wrinkles in its new government. Shining Beacon died without seeing her vision come true, but content in the knowledge that it would one day be realized by her descendants.
Over the course of the next several hundred years the Solar Kingdom slowly absorbed more and more of the sunlands. There were some setbacks, including the disastrous reign of King Overspear, but for the most part things proceeded smoothly. It wasn’t until the third unification war that the major opposition to the Kingdom was subdued, but by that point its eventual victory was a foregone conclusion.
Having secured the sunlands, the Kingdom looked outward to the rest of the world, only to find that the Republics were well ahead of them technologically, militarily and diplomatically. The Kingdom has managed to keep up by exploiting their vast crystal resources in the north, but the rivalry between the two nations is now a driving force in Kingdom politics.
A few short notes on the Solar economy:
Currency: The Kingdom uses a fiat currency called the Solar Bit. There are no major banks in the Solar Kingdom, and loans based on interest and repayment are seen as usurious and illegal. Instead a pony can apply for a grant from the Royal Treasury for a specific project. If the application is accepted the Treasury will mint and distribute the money as-needed. Applications are carefully considered for the feasibility of the project as well as the impact on the economy. Any free subject of the Crown can make such an application, but the business ventures of the nobility usually receive greater consideration. Currency is exchanged for goods and services as you’d expect, and prices do fluctuate, but all (non-counterfeit) bits in circulation start out from one of these project grants.
Taxation: The Crown does not collect taxes in currency, but nobles have the right to tax the commoners living or working on their land.
Crown Ownership: A central principle in the Kingdom economy is the concept of Crown Ownership. All land, currency and materials in the Solar Kingdom are technically the property of the Crown. All beings living within the Kingdom owe their ultimate fealty directly to the Crown. The nobles are stewards of the Crown land, and commoners do not even have that recognition. In practice this does not affect the workings of property and exchange, but it is often used as a point of anti-Kingdom propaganda in the nightlands. If the Crown declares a patch of land to be property of a certain pony, then there is no recourse for the previous owner, it is just so. This is often how the Crown raises a worthy unicorn to the nobility, granting them land and title at the same time.
Agriculture: Most of the Kingdom’s food is grown by serfs working the land of their noble landlord. A portion of every harvest goes to the Crown and the military, and the rest is disposed as the landlord sees fit. Most nobles allow their serfs to sell their harvest themselves, and take a cut from the proceeds as taxes. Free farmers own their crops, though they still must pay rent to their landlord.
Natural Resources: Like agriculture, most natural resource harvesting (mining, logging, drilling, etc) is done by indentured workers for the nobility. The nobles then sell the resources to the business sector. The Crown takes a certain percentage of all resources harvested, depending on their needs. There are no ‘free miners’ though some who work in this sector are free ponies working for a wage.
Manufacturing and Business: Most of the industrial manufacturing capabilities of the Solar Kingdom are concentrated in its cities. Often businesses are owned and operated by free ponies, though almost always with the backing of one or more noble families. The introduction of a Republics-style free-market has been resisted by the Crown, who does not want their iron control of the economy challenged, so monopolies and low wages are common.
Indenture: A significant portion of the Solar workforce comes in the form of indentured ponies. The Indenture system is similar to slavery, but not the same. For one, it is mostly voluntary. A pony essentially sells their labor for a period, and is treated as chattel from that point until their contract ends. They do not get paid, nor do they have a say in what work they do or where they must do it. Once their contract ends they are free to leave or sign another contract of service.
Indenture contracts are sold in five-year lots, but there is no limit to how many of those lots a pony can sell. They can, essentially, sell their entire lives into servitude. Indenture is also a fairly cheap option for the buyers, as the price of a contract is always far, far lower than paying a wage for the same amount of time would be. Once sold, a contract cannot be ‘bought back’ by the indentured pony (who does not technically own any property during this time, including any money they may be given), but they can be released early, a process known as manumission.
An owner has certain obligations to their indentured servants, including food, shelter and good health. For this reason it is often seen as a way to escape the ravages of poverty, the guarantee of two square meals a day and an actual bed to sleep in is extremely tempting during tough times. However, while a servant is protected by law from facing physical harm from their owners, they have no recourse if they are sent to work in an undesirable location or dangerous position. Runaway servants are treated harshly and can face any number of humiliating or painful punishments.
The system is also quite often abused. Many have been forced to sell themselves due to nobles and businessponies cutting wages or jobs, something that occurred to the point where the Crown had to step in and put a stop to it. Indentured servants were also often forced to break up their families at a whim from their owner, which would also cause additional hardship for that family if they were living in servant’s quarters. This was stopped recently when the Crown declared that a marriage, consecrated before Celestia, was of higher priority than the wishes of the contract holders, and thus a servant that was married could not be forced to move away from their family. While this has stopped one form of abuse, it also created a new one where servants would marry simply to avoid having to move to work where their owner needed them.
In what is possibly the worst abuse of the system, a quirk of the law allows parents to sell the contracts of their young children. While this is rightly seen as the worst sort of behaviour, it is also widely known as a good way to get one’s children out of impoverished situations. The Crown, by tradition, buys all contracts on those under the age of majority. It then educates the children and sets them to work either as domestic servants for the Royals and their closest advisors, or in the Kingdom Military.
The abuses of the indenture system have long been a point of contention within the Kingdom, with supporters fighting political battles with abolitionists over its morality and usefulness. Recently the abolition movement has been gaining clout, led by the efforts of Queen Aqua Regia, though a feasible replacement has yet to be agreed upon.