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  • T Lavender Unicorn Syndrome

    A lavender unicorn has a terrible day when every lavender unicorn starts turning into copies of her best friend, the lavender unicorn!
    27,339 words · 7,500 views  ·  944  ·  14
  • T Harmony Theory

    Rainbow Dash awakens in a strange land and must discover why, and how to return home.
    366,739 words · 8,044 views  ·  883  ·  19
  • T The Heart Thief

    In the City of Gardens and Cages, a thief must brave the wrath of the Tyrant to win a chance at love. A Fallen World story.
    16,249 words · 2,323 views  ·  219  ·  3

Blog Posts30

  • 7w, 10h
    September 6th updates

    After a long summer absence, I have posted a new chapter of Harmony Theory. Once again, much thanks go to Pilate and Coandco for their pre-reading assistance. And a mighty thanks to everyone who reads my work for being patient.

    As always, I hope you enjoy what I've written!

    -Sharaloth

    8 comments · 176 views
  • 10w, 12h
    Status update

    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,

    -Sharaloth

    10 comments · 196 views
  • 21w, 6d
    Ruminations

    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.

    -Sharaloth

    8 comments · 327 views
  • 27w, 4d
    April 15th Update

    Well, the newest chapter of Harmony Theory is live. Much thanks to Pilate and Coandco.

    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!

    -Sharaloth

    6 comments · 262 views
  • 30w, 6d
    Supplementary materials: The Solar Kingdom

    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.

    -Sharaloth

    22 comments · 502 views
  • ...
 128
 7,438
Source

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.

A story inspired by this and this image, as well as this challenge by CDRW (whose fic A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits is quite good).

First Published
5th Oct 2012
Last Modified
5th Oct 2012
#1 · 107w, 1d ago · 5 · ·

I printed this off to read last night before bed. There were some typos, mostly places where you needed a comma and didn't have one, and some places that I would have liked to see developed more.

That's my criticism. Now for the other side.

I couldn't get to sleep for four hours after I went to bed last night.

#2 · 107w, 1d ago · · ·

Really cool. I'd like to see more of their adventures.

#3 · 107w, 1d ago · 2 · ·

Please write more. This is fantastic.

Your descriptions are crisp and evocative, your characters are developed fairly well with a minimum of dialogue, and the whole world you've created is awesome. There are a couple rough points, but I think those could be easily ironed out if you decided to turn this into some sort of series or multi-part, which I highly hope you do.

#4 · 107w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1391818

Have you been reading Sharaloth's other story, Harmony Theory? It's equally fantastic.

EDIT: Hey! Congrats on the EqD post!

#5 · 107w, 1d ago · · ·

I wanna know more! This is amazing and I really, really wanna know more about this world they're in. What happened? How did they get there? Who are these enigmatic people with their titles? (Would I be right in suspecting that they're the Mane 6?) Is the Shaper Applebloom?

#6 · 107w, 1d ago · 1 · 2 ·

You bastard, this was awesome. Two complaints, though:

*The initial part of Lyra's fight with the dragon... drags on for too long. This is the written medium, not animation, and it feels a bit gratuitous.

*It seems implausible that a tyrant such as the Sorceress would not keep very tight tabs on a weapons-making blacksmith, especially if she starts to behave in a strange way, closing her shop, asking for strange minerals... I honestly expected you tu pull off a surprise guard inspection on them at any time.

Now, time for joking: These TERRORISTS! Can't they see that this is the Sorceress's home, now? Such a spiteful bunch, can't they just accept when they're beat?

#7 · 107w, 1d ago · · ·

Damned good story.

#8 · 107w, 8h ago · · ·

I am incredibly saddened by how few views this has. I don't think it even got into the featured box.:ajsleepy:

#9 · 107w, 6h ago · · ·

>>1391880

Actually, it may very well make sense that it would be Apple Bloom. There lots of hints of how her talent had something to do with construction or building things. That and her physical appearance does seem to match that of AB. She even said that she was a filly around the time, so it stands to reason if the events back then were anywhere close to the original series timeline then it is more than likely it is Apple Bloom.

Also, AJ has for sure met Lyra.

EDIT: The color of hair being darker probably has to do with being in the forge for a prolonged period of time...If anyone was wondering.

#10 · 107w, 6h ago · 9 · ·

>>1397140 You spoke my basic thoughts, but there's more to it. The Grove of Truth, and the Druid - if my suspicions are right, these named beings, the Druid, the Sorceress, et cetera... are the Mane 6, but something happened to them, part of what brought about the fallen world. The Druid, with Truth, strikes me very strongly as a possible fallen Element of Honesty, aka Applejack. If that's so, then the Shaper's reference to "my sister" would be to the Druid, without judging possible meetings from before the fallen world.

#11 · 106w, 5d ago · · ·

That was a great read! :rainbowkiss:

With your descriptions you achieved something often pursuived but rarely attained, credibility.

The world and the characters were believable, I could lose myself in the story !

I have no choice but to read your other work now. :raritycry:

#12 · 106w, 4d ago · · ·

"If you're not a telekinetic Talent then you won't have the power to use it."

Hm. Now that sounds like... Hm. *starts digging through your favorites*

Yeah, there it is. Heh. It's funny to spot references like that.

So! Excellent story. Air Pirate pretty much outlined all the issues I spotted with this when I read it, and so I'll skip that. The tease at the end is great, but if you decide to continue your forays into this adventure world, I don't know that you'd do well to draw out the mystery beyond this story.

And I do hope that you'll continue. You did a great job on hinting at worldbuilding without belaboring the point, giving us just enough to know that the world is big without needing to turn this into a slog.

I'm not personally a fan of how many passive descriptors you use, as I feel like your language could be stronger, tighter, but all in all, this story was a very enjoyable way to spend 12K words. Well done, and I hope to see more of your work soon.

#13 · 106w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

What Drakmire said, and additionally, I greatly enjoyed this story. The hints as to the identity of the Sorceress, Druid, and Tempest make for intriguing world-building and a clever idea. Are the two who are "even worse" the Glamour and the Jester? Anyway, I found the strongest part of the story was the dialogue, which was straightforward and yet designed to lead the reader toward an understanding of the characters and their world that could only be found between the lines. An exciting, gripping, and to-the-point tale. Fabulous. :raritywink:

#14 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

*sigh* And once again, I'm struck with a desire to go wallow in my inferiority.:raritycry: That up there is how descriptions are supposed to be written. Quite unlike the trainwrecks that I seem to produce. Such a long way to go yet.

Good job, pony! Good job indeed.:twilightsmile:

#15 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

This is one of the best stories I've read in a while. My body needs more of this setting; this works on every single freaking level.

#16 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

Congratulations on getting on EQD!

Pi
#17 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

I feel so proud of myself for suspecting the twist at the end in advance. :moustache:

Very well-written indeed! The pacing was excellent and the descriptive sections, especially the first few paragraphs, were perfectly worded!

#18 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

Fitting not only great Charaters, but also a highly interesting world they live in into just 10000 words while still giving a meaningful and entertaining story. I raise my hat to you sir. I really just did that, I even got my hat beforehand.

#19 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

This easily makes my top five. It's a full story in its own right with a perfect model for delivering a sense of progression. The hints about the state of the world and the identities of its new rulers were a great touch (I wonder if we've seen that gem Lyra shows to the dragon before), and the action was pretty solid. I liked the knee slide and the tail ride.

Good writing, too. It's hard to take a mundane task such as smithing and make it so interesting, but you do it well by making the Shaper really love her craft and by conveying that love through your use of language.

It also helps that you slew a dragon. That's sort of a favorite of mine.

#20 · 106w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

>>1424134

>It's hard to take a mundane task such as smithing and make it so interesting,

People love to read about crafting. I think it's because it's so far removed from what we do day to day that it has a sort of exotic, magical quality in itself, and it lends itself well to sensory descriptions that make it easy to feel the heat of the forge, the ringing of the hammer, the smell of the flux.

I keep thinking back to Perrin Aybara, but I forget which book it was that devoted a healthy amount of time to him smithing.

#21 · 106w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

I'll admit, I liked this story, and I even gave it a thumbs up, but the story is dragged down by its own world-building. Which surprises me, because I usually love world-building.

But in this case, the story mentions so many other things (Druid, Tempest, Grove, other lands, the history) that are, in the end, a tad bit superfluous and distract from the main conflict that I can see: killing the Dragon. And yet, not far into the story, we're told the Dragon isn't even really the  main antagonist. He's just an enforcer, a tool used by Lyra to get back at this mysterious Sorceress who is the actual problem. It's like being told that while there is an actual story in the works, we're just going to read about this other thing that Lyra does first that, in the grand scheme of things, amounts to little more than "doing something." And then the story ends!

If we're told why exactly the Dragon, who is not presented as particularly threatening other than the fact that he's a Dragon, must die, or why the Sorceress is so evil that it's worth killing her second in command just to make her angry, it would've worked better for me. The first parts of this story, the preparation and whatnot, were what I enjoyed the most.

But don't let that take away from your writing: the descriptiveness was beautiful, and I got a very good sense of a rather cold, lonely world that they inhabit where everything is stark and gritty. If and when you come back to this, I certainly hope all of this world is expanded on more, as it doesn't quite reach full potential when read as a one-shot.

Keep up the great work!

#22 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

The Sorceress... Twilight Sparkle?  Luna/NM?

The dragon is a red one... so unless Spike was transformed quite a bit, it wasn't him.

Grove of Truth certainly implicates Discord as the primary causative force behind this.  

I wonder how many ponies are dead.  :fluttershyouch:

#23 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

This looks interesting. I'll have to read it later!

#24 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

The stakes in this really aren't high enough. Lyra only seems to want to kill the dragon because... killing dragons is cool. She doesn't even seem to care if she fails. And if the main character doesn't care, why should the readers?

Still, the world they live in seems interesting. And I'm curious to whether Lyra and The Shaper will become more than just friends if you ever decide to continue this.

#25 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1424562 Did we even read the same story?

#26 · 106w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

This was a brilliant story, one I would compare to device heretic and Chromosome. It's slowly unfolding world building leads it to beg for a sequel or prequel. On a related note, I honestly cannot figure out who the Druid is when using the Mane Six hypothesis. Her name implies :fluttershysad:, but the mentions of truth, and the ending also implies :ajbemused:.

#27 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1424872

Okay, then. What would've happened if Lyra had chickened out on the way to the dragon and decided not to fight him?

#28 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1424971 Nothing, but that's a completely different question.

A good chunk of the story was devoted to Lyra explaining her motives, mostly revenge and good old "fuck all this shit." And they hooked up halfway through the story.

#29 · 106w, 2d ago · 9 · ·

I've been debating whether to just out and explain the world I built to contain this story, but I decided that the speculation was too much fun and just telling everything would ruin it.

To add some background information, though: There are five rulers of what was once Equestria. The Sorceress rules the heartland (where Canterlot was), the Druid rules the south, the Tyrant rules the east, the Tempest rules the west, and the Madmare rules the north. They are indeed the Mane 6, and the Druid is Applejack. There are two clues to the identity of the Sorceress in the story, but they're near the end and pretty easy to miss.

There are no strict borders to these lands, but within their realms the rulers are absolute and unassailable. The Sorceress, the Tyrant and the Tempest have set up governments, while the Druid and the Madmare have not.

It's probably going to be a while before I write another story in this world, but when I do it will explain a lot more of what's happened to make it this way.

#30 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1393278

That or the Sorceress didn't give two wings (see what I did there?) about anything. Pride comes before the fall, and I bet the Sorceress thought she was all that in a bag of chips. Her reaction would be priceless to see...

#31 · 106w, 2d ago · · 1 ·

I'm afraid this comes up rather empty for me. The descriptions at the start, as others have noted, are really great, but it just didn't do anything for me. I found it very hard to concentrate during the action, and the dialogue was rather lacklustre. You only have two characters, yet upwards of 80% of the lines have direct attribution, and almost all the rest use a beat. It makes it a bit heavy to read (which always feels like such a horrid thing to say when I was twice as bad just a few months ago, but I guess I have Air Pirate to thank for that).

The real kicker for me, is that the whole thing just feels so detached. The writing is very good, but feels clinical (bar the start, as stated). The progression felt formulaic, although I think that was more to do with giving far too much away than any fundamental writing limitations. There's no investment in the characters for me, so I just didn't get any feeing of victory at the end. It was just some fairly predictable stuff that happened.

All of that aside, I would agree that it's an excellent example of word building. The scenes were clear, and the things not shown felt every bit as clear as the things that were shown. Almost an ironic reversal of show versus tell, because you didn't show any of it, but you told us exactly the right amount to let our minds fill in all the blanks. For my money, that a much bigger plus than any of the negatives I have mentioned. It makes me think of that annoying assumption so many people seem to make that I like Tolkien because of the kinds of stories I like. I dislike Tolkien because he has spectacularly failed to do what you have done here. And I mean that as directly and honestly as it can be taken.

No, in the final analysis, I'm afraid that I did not find it terribly interesting. But I can still marvel at your imagination.

Love and respect,

-Scott 'Inquisitor' Mence

#32 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1424200

Fairly certain Sanderson said it was book four.

Edit: actually book three. My bad.

Given that the process of making something comes with a natural sense of progression (something that fantasy can have trouble with, if you ask me) and as you stated feels fantastic as well as immersive, I guess it's just a really good card to play. Sharaloth certainly used it well here.

#33 · 106w, 2d ago · 4 · ·

It's weird.  I saw Background Pony as being perfect as a oneshot, and that's several hundred thousand words long now.  Meanwhile, this story absolutely could (and would, if I ran the world) be an immensely long epic tale, and yet I reach the end of it only to find the word "fin" staring out at me.

Such is life, I guess.  I can't deny a few of the criticisms Drakmire brought up--namely, the few places where the language could've been stronger or more evocative--but your characters are just as vibrant as the world they inhabit, and entire stories written around a solid, consistent central metaphor are far too rare on this site.  I might just come back and read this again one of these days.  Especially if you start teasing me with more chapters.

#34 · 106w, 2d ago · · ·

Ok, this was a really epic story. The fight with Ferriotrax was very captivating and well written, and the rest of the story flowed very nicely. It definitely did a good job of conveying hope as well.

#35 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

I had a lot of trouble reading it. The prose is extremely forceful; not a bad thing in itself, but there's just too much strength in this tale to take in in one single reading session. And I got very distracted during the fight and had a lot of trouble concentrating... I find that, in written media, it pays to make fights short, and decisive, rather than complex and involving lots of movement. Though I appreciated the back and forth and the uncertainty of victory; given the grim tone, defeat seemed like a definite possibility.

#36 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

I expected the last arrow to go up his mouth :heart: but that won't kill him :ajbemused:

I enjoyed this tale :twilightsmile:and hope you would do sequels in the other kingdoms of the mane6 but its all up to you :twilightsheepish:

I thought the druid would be fluttershy but guess shes the tyrant:flutterrage:

Edit:  WHO THE HELL DISLIKED THIS :flutterrage::flutterrage::flutterrage:

#37 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1427567

Well, there are five rulers and six of the Mane six, so one of them is either not a ruler, or dead/otherwise absent. I'm assuming that the Madmare is Pinkie (because, well, y'know) and in my head "Tempest" sounds too much like Rainbow Dash to be anyone else, but that's just speculation. And if one of the Mane 6 were to not go crazy evil, Fluttershy is probably who I'd put my money on. If Sorceress is Twilight (which most people seem to think she is) then that leaves the Druid (confirmed as AJ) and the Tyrant. So, if my random guesses are correct, Tyrant is either Rarity or Fluttershy and, at least in my head-canon, the title fits an evil Rarity more.

Now enter Sharaloth's next fic in this world which proves me completely wrong DX

On another note, I totally loved this too. I agree the fight scene started out a bit overly cinematic, but it's honestly a minor thing. The Shaper feels like a very real person, and you've crafted the relationship between her and Lyra extremely well. Two thumbs up!

#38 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1427686

Oh no, the Tyrant is definitely Fluttershy.

>"You're going to love me!" :flutterrage: towards the end of Best Night Ever.

>Discorded Fluttershy

>Putting Your Hoof Down

Rarity would be the Thief or something.

#39 · 106w, 1d ago · 5 · ·

ok i *finally* registered so I could comment, which doesn't sound fair on all the other stuff from here I've been downloading, reading and loving anonymously for a while now...

Count me among those that loved it. I want more. Although I'm not sure if it might be best left as a one-shot. I thought that way about Background Pony too, after reading the (then marked-complete) chapter 1.

I think I spotted the clue to the identity of the Sorceress though: blue light from the windows is *Rarity's* horn-magic colour. Fluttershy would make a convincing Tyrant in her "you're going to LOVE ME!" mode. The others are obvious.

So actually Twilight is the *missing* one of the mane 6; the one not accounted for. So yeah, there's a story to tell there. What happened to Twilight?

The Shaper's coat being described at the very start as "dark orange" made me resist concluding it was Applebloom but eventually there was just no-one else it could be. Presumably the colour description comes from the picture that inspires you.

#40 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

I'm wondering if Shaper is Applebloom...

>>1427513

I can relate. Action is perceived as quick and sudden, although I believe detail was off the essence here.

Now if it had been short: (too lazy to reword below because I wrote it wrong originally)

All the details in building up to a massive climax, only to be undone by a possible <1,000 word fight scene. Kinda anti-climatic, wouldn't you think? Overall, I think it's more of a "reader's opinion" situation, and how patient and awake you are. Reading it with less than 50 minutes of sleep like me? Catastrophic, to say the least.

#41 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

Me at the end:

...*reading*..."...OH, COME ON!":flutterrage:

#42 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

Great piece. Great descriptions, and Great characters. The fight seen dragged on just a bit, but other than that, a flawless story, one I do hope gets expanded upon.

#43 · 106w, 1d ago · · ·

I agree with pretty much everything everyone else has said, I thought this was a fantastic fic, the world building in particular. I got a very Dark Souls vibe from the world you created, which is a very good thing, in my opinion. Please, please write more in this universe, I want to know what happened to Equestria... Or, y'know, keep writing Harmony Theory, which is also fantastic. I'm good either way ;D

#44 · 106w, 19h ago · · ·

>>1428745

Missed that bit about the blue magic, but that does make an interesting point. Thinking in a slightly too meta way, Twilight is fairly likely to be the one to not go evil, being the central character.

#45 · 106w, 14h ago · 4 · ·

>>1425068

The amount of potential in this world you built probably lies around halfway between Fallout Equestria and any other fic you could name. The untapped potential is certainly right up there with Fallout Equestria. Keep this as a oneshot, but you could easily make a separate epic with all the back story, along with 2-4 more oneshots in this universe.

Don't fuck this up.

#46 · 106w, 11h ago · · ·

I once forged a knife out of an old file. It was like beating the iron into submission with brute strength; clearely I'm no shaper.

I noticed you forgot the process of tempering in your description of smithing. Quenched und untempered steel is brittle like glass.

Other than that great story! I have the feeling there is more where this came from. :raritywink:

#47 · 106w, 10h ago · · ·

Added to my reading list. All the stories with Lyra in it that I have read have so far been excellent so I hope this won't be any different :D

#48 · 106w, 9h ago · 2 · ·

>>1428745 :twilightsmile: Glad to see that I'm not the only one that thinks Twilight isn't one of the 5 rulers. :twilightsmile:

Anyways though... I really would love to see some more work from this world. It looks like something that I'd LOVE to read more about, and I'd say you've built up a really cool and interesting world! I'll be watching for more of your work! :twilightsmile::twilightsmile:

#49 · 106w, 4h ago · · ·

I really liked this fanfic... So I made some fanart. http://fizzyflatsoda.deviantart.com/art/The-Shaper-and-the-Tough-customer-332277204?ga_submit=10%3A1350181537

Thank you for this awesomeness!

#50 · 105w, 6d ago · 3 · ·

Well, time to replace my placeholder comment with something more substantive.

First off, I'm going to echo some of the other commenters above me when I say that this could very well be the first entry of a profitable series of short stories. Confronted with the Mane 6 ruling different parts of a sundered Equestria, I'm rather curious as to how this arrangement came to light. And I'm going to congratulate you on your challenging of fanon regarding the name of the Druid (and her sister, apparently), since I was certainly misled hard enough by my own prejudices to miss the obvious clues. You've also opened yourself up to a world of different songs beyond those of metal and trees, and if you were to continue this line of stories, I'm curious as to what other tunes the Archer and the Smith will encounter along their travels.

I can recall one time when I thought your language was getting away from you, since near the beginning you repeated the point that the Shaper waited for her spearhead to sing her where to begin hammering. There was certainly a marked contrast between this style of mythic narration and the dialogue sections, which tended to be a little more terse--whether or not you believe this distinction is a productive one I'll leave up to you; I certainly don't have an answer for it.

Other than that, this was an enjoyable read. Lyra's exuberance really carried the fic all the way through, and I didn't have any problems with her reasons for going dragonslaying -- that whole "hope and spite" dichotomy is fertile ground for thematic exploitation.

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