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GrassAndClouds2

Joined May 2012
367 followers

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Stories (28)

  • Scootaling
    Scootaloo's a changeling. How will her friends react?

    12,695 words · 14,261 views · 1,691 likes · 34 dislikes
  • Musicians and Dreamers
    Lunaverse. Octavia tries to recruit Lyra; Trixie doesn't trust her. Who will Lyra believe?
    20,745 words · 2,854 views · 223 likes · 3 dislikes
  • A Present for Octavia
    Luna works with a castle page to find the perfect birthday present for Octavia
    4,825 words · 990 views · 156 likes · 2 dislikes
  • Symphony for Moon and Sun
    Lyra must help Octavia play a piece of forbidden music. Both will be ruined if she fails.
    44,097 words · 2,325 views · 246 likes · 6 dislikes
  • Luna's Night Off
    4,289 words · 1,281 views · 159 likes · 3 dislikes
  • The Music of Ponyville
    72,534 words · 2,925 views · 185 likes · 5 dislikes
  • Greengrass's Night
    12,468 words · 1,760 views · 126 likes · 3 dislikes
  • A Canterlot Morning
    7,649 words · 1,991 views · 143 likes · 4 dislikes
  • Foaling Around
    9,628 words · 2,062 views · 162 likes · 5 dislikes
  • Carrot Top Season
    47,854 words · 3,058 views · 247 likes · 10 dislikes

Blog Posts (170)


Silver Sculptress, an artist, can only marvel at the radical change in her life. Several months ago, she was living in a squalid apartment, working a job she hated, and keeping a secret she could never tell anypony. Yet now she lives the kind of life she always wanted. Follow her and her friends through a single day, and see why their lives are so perfect... and what secrets they bear.

First Published
3rd Feb 2013
Last Modified
3rd Feb 2013

Comments ( 51 )

#1 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

Hope you liked it!

There were a few things that got cut:

1. There was going to be a song -- 'One Short Day,' from Wicked. But I couldn't find a good place for it.

2. The vault was originally just named Vault (or 'Zoo'), but I didn't want things to get too Fallout-y. Right now, it has no name. (It's in the village of Treasure City, a town built around a bunch of vaults and treasuries where Puissance keeps her stuff, but that's not the name of the vault itself).

3. Originally, the parasprites were frozen when Silver sprayed them with the pony version of Shellac. I decided that was a bit over the top, so I had her use vaguely-defined magic dust instead. This way, the parasprites can be just in stasis and not, like, dead.

4. There was originally a running joke with Tim insisting on being referred to as TIM, since acronyms are supposed to be capitalized. But the joke only really works if stuff is written down, since Tim and TIM sound pretty similar.

5. Iceheart's Mom died originally, but I later decided to keep her around. So she went into the hospital for long-term intensive care, and by the time she got out, her douchebag relatives had kicked Iceheart out months prior. She's probably still out there somewhere, looking for Iceheart, but since she can't get into the vault (and doesn't even know it exists) and Iceheart won't leave it (and doesn't know his mother recovered and is looking for him), she's not going to have much luck.

6. I debated having someone mention that there were no pegasus-earth pony hybrids in the Vault and that Puissance really wanted one, as discussed on the boards, but it didn't really fit.

7. There was a reference or two early on where Silver mentioned writing letters to family members, and getting responses that mostly annoyed her and made her not want to leave and talk to them. The implication was that Puissance was not delivering the mail as promised but was just having fake letters written to keep the ponies from wanting to leave. I cut that, since that's kind of a Greengrass-thing. It's more like Puissance to just not have mail anyway; having to give up contact with the outside world is one of the prices you pay for living in a vault (or a 'zoo') where your every material want is taken care of.

8. Just as Puissance is the anti-Ditzy, Solar Flare was conceived of as the anti-Dinky. There was some indication of this originally, but it also didn't fit.

#2 · 86w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

I didn't read any of the forum stuff where (I'm assuming from your comment) the idea for this was brainstormed, so I'm trying to figure out if this valley is supposed to come across in a positive or negative light. Personally it sounds great, but I also never saw anything wrong with Brave New World and would in a heartbeat exchange our current civilization for one that Huxley thought was horrible. Going by usual story conventions, this sounds like the first act of a Utopian tragedy... or I'm just paranoid.

Either way, I like it:twilightsmile:

#3 · 86w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

....huh. Puissances little collection....

Considering how rich she is, I could see her having something like this.

#4 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

good story , but i personally belive half-wendigos are too much

#5 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2055138: But they're so cute! :-)

Glad you liked it!

>>2054504: Happy to hear you enjoyed it. As for whether the valley is a good or bad place to live, I'll leave that to the reader to decide. On the one hand, one has no privacy with respect to Puissance, even to the point where one can't have a child without her permission. And you can't contact anyone on the outside world. On the other? Every material want taken care of, and total freedom to indulge your talent to its fullest, in a community of like-minded artisans who understand and support that urge to create. Could go either way.

#6 · 86w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Interesting, and vaguely sinister. My hackles rose, so to speak, once it was revealed that everyone is being kept sterile.

#7 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

In concept I really like this story, that said some of the residents sit poorly with me.

The Sombra descendant seems out of sorts.  According to Celestia it was herself and Luna that turned him into shadow before sealing him away in ice in the maneverse, so I don't think that was any kind of natural ability that would be passed onto descendants.  I'm potentially willing to believe that some kind of shadow pony could exist, as magic makes all sorts of crazy things possible, but I don't think this specific origin works.

According to Fizzy, who I talked at great length with on the subject before adapting it to my own needs, a Discordian wouldn't usually have such casual control over their abilities.  They aren't really supposed to shapeshifters by default, and for example Zizanie's impersonation skills are the result of her normal unicorn magic.  They do however each possess some reality warping abilities, though most are quite limited in range and duration; again to use Zizanie as an example, she's supposed to have a limitation of about 10 ft. and no more than 5 seconds at a time, plus most can only perform a limited variety of tricks.  More importantly, each time a Discordian taps into that spark of chaos it corrupts them a little in body and/or mind, which is why Zizanie has been shown struggling to maintain her pony form.  Even in my own fic, where the Discordian I introduced has the advantage of special training developed over generations, she has to be careful how much power she exerts at once.

And the half windego... sorry, but I'm with greenwar1991 here.  The actual existence of such a hybrid I could maybe believe (again, magic makes a lot of crazy things possible), but the circumstances of his conception, not so much.  According to the Hearth Carol, windegoes are spirits that literally feed on hatred and strife, the idea of one saving and then falling in love or something with a pony, that just doesn't seem very viable.

... ... ...

Really, overall I would probably prefer the idea of this valley if it was more about uniquely talented artists than just physical freaks of nature (after all it seems weird that so many seem to be both), or at least if they are all freaks, I'd prefer to see stuff that is a bit more believably subtle; like ponies of exception height/build, or with cosmetically pleasing deformities like a pegasus with two sets of wings.  Possibly a few unusual crossbreeds, but of a more mundane variety than ice-spirit, like a zebra with a unicorn horn, or maybe even a pony that was half-dragon (or for that matter just a full-blooded dragon, though one of those might be more likely to be the live in-guard of one of Puissance's treasure vaults).

#8 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2056544:

Really, overall I would probably prefer the idea of this valley if it was more about uniquely talented artists than just physical freaks of nature (after all it seems weird that so many seem to be both)

I guess the way I see it is, unlike humans, all ponies have at least one designated thing that they're supposed to be good at and love to do. In an environment like Puissance's vault, where she takes care of all necessities and comfort (and isolates them from any external connections), I would guess that a lot of ponies would wind up going down the artisan route -- with no other pressing concerns, they have all the time and resources in the world to devote to chasing their talents, and thus they can become really good at whatever it is they love to do. Hence why, even though Puissance is selecting based on other factors, a lot of the ponies in the vault choose to devote themselves to a talent and become really good at it -- they all have such a talent, they have nothing else they need to do (mindless hedonism probably gets old after a while), and they're in an environment where that kind of focus is celebrated by one's neighbors. So I didn't find it as weird that they're all cultivating their own talents -- sculpting, writing, magic-science, baking, doctoring -- and becoming really good at them. (The exception, perhaps, being Stream, who seems content to splash about all day and not make anything permanent -- but I imagine some ponies would be like that too).

This doesn't mean a pony inside Puissance's vault can always beat a pony outside it. She doesn't have any musicians better than Tavi, or magicians better than Trixie or Twilight, and Bounty would probably lose in a bake-off to Pinkie Pie. But it does mean they tend to do well at what they love, often better than the outside ponies, who also have a talent but also have to hold down jobs, pay bills, take care of children/spouses/parents, participate in civic activities/etc. and so have less time to cultivate their skills.

Similarly, because everypony has a talent they could become awesome at, Puissance probably doesn't find it as satisfying to collect ponies whose only special feature is that they're really good at X (unless X is weird or very rare.) Everypony's good at an X. Puissance mostly likes rare stuff, so she goes for things not everypony has -- royal lineages, famous ancestry, biological quirks.

I'd prefer to see stuff that is a bit more believably subtle; like ponies of exception height/build, or with cosmetically pleasing deformities like a pegasus with two sets of wings.

Argh. I really wish I'd thought of the 4 wings, or the zebra with a pony horn. (Although keeping them all ponies does make the 'everypony/anypony/nopony' language easier.). The 4-wings one would have been especially awesome.

Solar Flare is the 'looks exactly like a shorter Corona' pony that was talked about on the boards, and TIM has a pure-black coat, which I don't think we've seen on the show except in Sombra. I debated having more ponies with odd manes/coats/physiques., but none of the other ideas I had really seemed to work.

And the half windego... sorry, but I'm with greenwar1991 here.  The actual existence of such a hybrid I could maybe believe (again, magic makes a lot of crazy things possible), but the circumstances of his conception, not so much.  According to the Hearth Carol, windegoes are spirits that literally feed on hatred and strife, the idea of one saving and then falling in love or something with a pony, that just doesn't seem very viable.

On one hand, it's probable that the story Iceheart's Mom told him about his conception does not entirely correspond with his actual conception, and that when he was older (if she could find him) she would tell him the truth, completely different from her first story. I wouldn't object to that being the case.

On the other, I guess I'm just a softy for a love story like this. I love the idea of a windigo reluctantly impressed by a pony who was able to venture so far into his domain, through the frozen ruins and wastelands, maybe even actually reaching the top of the world, that his heart is moved ever so slightly such that -- when she collapses at last -- he finds himself unable to resist rescuing her. Like how the death god Gelus's heart was touched by Misa Amane, to the point where he used his Death Note in a forbidden way to save her from a mugger and... okay, that's off topic. But kind of like that. :-) I totally get if that particular backstory can't be canon, but it still makes me smile.

Besides, in canon, Discord's heart was touched. Compared to that, Nameless Windigo #5's probably a total softy. :-D

The Sombra descendant seems out of sorts.  According to Celestia it was herself and Luna that turned him into shadow before sealing him away in ice in the maneverse, so I don't think that was any kind of natural ability that would be passed onto descendants.  I'm potentially willing to believe that some kind of shadow pony could exist, as magic makes all sorts of crazy things possible, but I don't think this specific origin works.

Sombra always seemed to me to have an affinity with shadow. We haven't seen anyone else get turned to shadow (and the alicorns have fought Discord, Chrysalis, maybe one or two others I've forgetting), so I interpreted that as the alicorns reverting Sombra back to his shadow state, rather than them casting 'Turn To Shadow' for the only time.

Besides, I just love the idea of a descendant of that dude being a gothy writer who only scares ponies when he's trying to prank them. :-)

Not much to say about the Discordian. I had thought that, since both Discordians we've met so far have been able to do body transformation (Zizanie stole Trixie's horn, Lemon Hearts does her... thing), and the 'corruption' also seems to involve body transformation, that it was a fundamental part of the Discordian powers.

That said, if the character is unworkable... I'll probably just give him the 4 wings. I think that would fit the 'inaudible dance' thing he had going on well, moving as gracefully as a ballet dancer as he works his kitchen.

#9 · 86w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2056674

I guess the way I see it is, unlike humans, all ponies have at least one designated thing that they're supposed to be good at and love to do.
Personally I don't see ponies as being all that different form humans in that regard, save the advantage that they get a magic butt tattoo when they discover their special talent, whereas humans are left to vaguely speculate on such matters for their entire lives never sure if the path they chose was really the right one.

Regardless of that however, even if every pony has a special talent at which the excel, only a select few would do so to a masterful degree.  As you mentioned yourself, even though many ponies have a talent for music, virtuosos like Octavia would be exceedingly rare, and so seemingly something I would think Puissance would find desirable.

Oh, and on a further note, do the residents really NEVER leave the valley?  Puissance always struck me as the type who isn't just satisfied owning rare things, but who would want to show them off as well.  For that matter I find it hard to believe Puissance would allow one of her Pegacorn hybrids to neglect their wings, and I'd think Silver would have some sort of therapeutic trainer working with her regularly to restore her flight.


Argh. I really wish I'd thought of the 4 wings, or the zebra with a pony horn. (Although keeping them all ponies does make the 'everypony/anypony/nopony' language easier.). The 4-wings one would have been especially awesome.
It's worth noting that even Cranky Doodle the donkey used ad responded to that linguistic quirk, presumably it's just common place in Equestria.

Anyway though feel free to take either of those two suggestions, should you decide to revise this story.  I might also highly recommend just going over to the brainstorming threads and making an open request to come up with other unusual characters; this one topic where more voices you get tossing out ideas the better.


Like how the death god Gelus's heart was touched by Misa Amane, to the point where he used his Death Note in a forbidden way to save her from a mugger and... okay, that's off topic. But kind of like that. :-)
I could maybe buy that, especially if like in Death Note falling in love killed the "father", seeing as love (at least of the friendship variety) is what Clover the Clever, Smartcookie, and Private Pansey used to ward off and seemingly vanquish the Windegoes that assailed them, so it would seemingly be a toxic emotion to the ice-spirits.


We haven't seen anyone else get turned to shadow (and the alicorns have fought Discord, Chrysalis, maybe one or two others I've forgetting), so I interpreted that as the alicorns reverting Sombra back to his shadow state, rather than them casting 'Turn To Shadow' for the only time.
I suppose, but even at that, it seems more like something in relation to his dark magics, which is presumably a learned ability, not a familial biological characteristic (as both Celestia and Twilight could also perform basic shadow spells).  Also, seems like something to be prone to a corrupting influence, and not the kind of thing that could be used for casual pranks or mundane multitasking.

More so I interpreted Luna & Celestia as destroying his physical body, but that his spirit lingering as a wraith made of pure malice, which is also why he behaved in a more animalistic fashion, completely incongruous with the seemingly cunning mind that designed some very effective traps to guard the Crystal Heart.


Not much to say about the Discordian. I had thought that, since both Discordians we've met so far have been able to do body transformation (Zizanie stole Trixie's horn, Lemon Hearts does her... thing), and the 'corruption' also seems to involve body transformation, that it was a fundamental part of the Discordian powers.
Well, it is worth noting that every Discordian is different -- chaos being unpredictable and all that -- so it's conceivably possible that one might express their powers primarily though shape shifting.  However, regardless of how any individual Discordian manifests their chaotic abilities, there is supposed to be a courpting effect, so the more often they use those powers the more unstable they become.

Really though, you should probably talk with Fizzy more about.

#10 · 86w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Well, I like TIM. He's over the top, hammier than Miss Piggy and maybe Sombra just pulled a Zeus on some mare back in the day. Overall, this is great. Creepier than all-out, but still great. Awesome basis for later on with Puissance, too.

#11 · 86w, 4d ago · · ·

>>2056809:

Oh, and on a further note, do the residents really NEVER leave the valley?  Puissance always struck me as the type who isn't just satisfied owning rare things, but who would want to show them off as well.

She does love to show off all her things, but it's a little different when the 'things' are sentient beings. The problem is, if they leave the valley -- especially in the context of presenting awesome artwork to adoring fans, or even just in the company of a Vicereine of the Night Court -- they might meet folks that don't react with revulsion, grow to not dislike the outside world so much, and become reluctant to come back. Many of the current residents are there because they were scorned/shunned by the outside world and have no real connection to it anymore; she doesn't want them reforming that connection. Puissance wants 'her' ponies to want to be hers; she doesn't just want to possess their physical bodies, but also their 'souls' to the extent that they won't leave even if nothing physical is stopping them.

That's setting aside that she wants to avoid both the 'you have a collection of monsters! Aieee!' crowd and the 'You're keeping sentient beings prisoner! You monster!' crowd.

For that matter I find it hard to believe Puissance would allow one of her Pegacorn hybrids to neglect their wings, and I'd think Silver would have some sort of therapeutic trainer working with her regularly to restore her flight.

Silver's certainly aware that it's an option, though having been flightless for so long, she's grown somewhat used to it and doesn't have a burning desire to fly anymore. Puissance is probably subtly manipulating her (through Solar Flare) to take her up on having a trainer, though. I'd guess that she'd use Iceheart's upcoming training as a sort of motivator to get Silver back into it.

Regardless of that however, even if every pony has a special talent at which the excel, only a select few would do so to a masterful degree.  As you mentioned yourself, even though many ponies have a talent for music, virtuosos like Octavia would be exceedingly rare, and so seemingly something I would think Puissance would find desirable.

She probably would. However, someone who becomes one of the best in the world at something on the outside world probably has enough of a support network/connections that 'do you want to go live in a valley and leave your entire life behind' isn't as attractive a proposition, so she can't 'get' or 'keep' them as effectively. In other words, Octavia and those like her would never take Puissance up on this deal, not for all the money in her vaults.

There's also the risk that another pony will surpass them later (if only from the original pony aging), in which case Puissance wouldn't have 'the best at X' anymore and would lose interest in them.

I could maybe buy that, especially if like in Death Note falling in love killed the "father", seeing as love (at least of the friendship variety) is what Clover the Clever, Smartcookie, and Private Pansey used to ward off and seemingly vanquish the Windegoes that assailed them, so it would seemingly be a toxic emotion to the ice-spirits.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it would kill him, but I could certainly buy that loving/saving a pony is somehow very harmful for a windigo, and couldn't be sustained for long at all. A rescue, and then the windigo must leave before crumbling to ice, or somesuch. And the kid happens through... magic. :-D

   Also, seems like something to be prone to a corrupting influence, and not the kind of thing that could be used for casual pranks or mundane multitasking.

I like practically-applied magic, and I just love the image. :-) Besides, as a writer, the idea of being able to make a whole bunch of hands to work a whole bunch of keyboards at once appeals to me. :-D

>>2057604: Glad you like TIM. He's probably my favorite of the 6. I like a good hammy character, who has Evil Powers and uses them for, like, practical jokes.

I think he'd get along well with Rainbow Dash, at least until Dash mistook him for a storm cloud and kicked him to get it to rain.

#12 · 86w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>2058877

Puissance wants 'her' ponies to want to be hers; she doesn't just want to possess their physical bodies, but also their 'souls' to the extent that they won't leave even if nothing physical is stopping them.
That is intensely disturbing... I like it. :scootangel:

In other words, Octavia and those like her would never take Puissance up on this deal, not for all the money in her vaults.
I suppose that makes sense, but only in the structure of this enforced isolation.  I still think it might be more sensible to tone down the freakshow aspect, emphasize the idea that it is a place for those possessed of unique/exceptional talents (including of the physically rare variety) and open the community up a little so that the residents are less prisoners and more so just not interested in leaving all that often.  I don't think it's necessary for all the residents to have been hated and scorned by the outside world, just focus in on the idea of how the valley is in many ways an artisans dream community; a place where all their needs/wants are provided for without question or delay, with nothing to distract them from perfecting their skills, and only surrounded by other likeminded souls.

#13 · 86w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

This was a really interesting story. It takes the classic Lotus eater dilema of being happy vs being free and instead trying to shove the expected message down our throats, you took the approach of playing devil's advocate and left it to the reader to decide. NIcely done.

I also thought it was clever to not have Pruissance actually appear in this and just focus on the ponies (Is that the right term for them?) that live in this world she has created for them. It makes me as a reader question not whether what Pruissance is doing is right or wrong but instead whether stopping her would be right or wrong. That to me is a more powerful question.

It was also a clever way of how she keeps them in, create a world so wonderful that the ponies there wouldn't want to risk it for what 'might' exist out in the real world.

In terms of the characters you used. While some of them fit better in the greater Lunaverse than others, I felt they all fit well enough into the story you were trying to tell. I do think Emeral made a valid about not having the whole collection be purely a freakshow but also expand on the artisans aspect you introduced. That said, part of the effectiveness of this world Pruissance created is the fact that it's subjects don't believe they could have a better life outside of the valley so I still think it works either way..

Though I do wonder, Pruissance likes creatures that are rare or unique in her collection but would she also be interested in Ponies like Twilight, Rainbow Dash or Big Mac? Ponies who, while technically regular Unicorns, Earthponies and Pegasi, exist at the Apex of what their races are capable of.

(Yes I know none of those three would want to stay but its more a question of the principle)

Frankly, reading this I do feel that there is a bigger story here that is worth telling. Is it a story that should incorporate the L6 and the main Lunaverse? I don't know, there are a lot of valid points for either side and I don't want to start that fight again here. What I just mean is that there are some aspects that I personally would be interested in seeing explored, like the methods in Pruissance accuires additions to her collections (both living and otherwise) and seeing her interact with said collection. Now there is a lot of ways these could be explored but I personally like the idea of a series of Vignettes (like this one) each one exploring a different aspect (perhapes even with different viewpoints).

But as it stands I feel this was a nice story and I'm glad I read it. Well done :pinkiehappy:

#14 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2061637: Really glad you like it!

All of the characters currently are ponies, except for the dog mentioned at the end.

As for the others... Big Mac doesn't seem that exceptional; aren't all EPs supposed to be that strong? RD she might want since RD can rainboom, but RD wouldn't want to stay there. She needs an audience to appreciate how awesome she is, and there's no Wonderbolts there. (That we know of).

As for Twilight? Hmm. A quiet life where she could study and study and have every book provided to her? I could see her liking that idea.

I'd want to explore those ideas too, although given the climate on the boards, it seems we're in the minority.

#15 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Yay, you published it! Well, you've got one more who think it'd be neat to see more of these folks.

#16 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · 1 ·

...Oh God, you're gonna hate me for this...

The general story itself is fine. The way Puissance's gilded cage is set up, the ponies who inhabit it, and the horrid unease it builds makes for a fine story. I will agree that the half-Windigo was kind of pushing it, but for the most part, the cast works fine. And there is a part of me that would like to see this come up again.

My problem, though, is that the whole story gives me the same uneasy feeling "Fishing in the Dark" did. It's probably just paranoia, but...well, I've learned to approach anything related to the Night Court, even tangentially, with a sense of dread.

#17 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2064696: I don't hate you. I'm happy you like it.

What would you be interested in seeing done with this in the future?

#18 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

This is just......  I mean this is just insanity, especially with this mare in a position of power.  This kind of obsession does not imply any sort of mental stability.  Frankly, I'm surprised that any ponies where she lives and runs are living and safe, unless she somehow keeps this behavior under wraps, which also wouldn't impress me on the sanity front.  Because you'd think they'd all be trying to find ways to make themselves, or their foals special and get the rich lady to take care of them.  She clearly seems to be a pony who thinks what's hers is hers and what's your's is her's too.  I have no doubts that any pony that refused her would be ruined.

Over all, after reading this I think the Puissance is a worse pony than Greengrass.  maybe not more dangerous, but as a person, definitely worse.

Plus I'm sure there's some sort of tension between her and other provinces since I'm sure that there would be all sorts of kidnapping theories about her, or that she plans to weaponize this unique stuff she collects.  

#19 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>2064916

The hard part is that it really has nothing to do with the rest of the Lunaverse, outside of showing Puissance's idea of a collection. As Puissance's arc comes into prominence (if it does, anyway), we could occasionally flash back here to show how things out there are affecting the village, such as certain supplies becoming harder to obtain as her power base crumbles, culminating in what ultimately happens to everypony when Puissance finally falls.

We could also incorporate the Lunaverse 6, perhaps having Puissance attempt to recruit a friend or family member of one of them and everypony trying to sneak into the village to save him/her. Or as a webisode, she tries to get Twilight to join, but after her development she ultimately declines. There are a couple of different ways you could incorporate this down the line.

#20 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2065112: The vault is secret; her citizens don't know about it, nor do those in other provinces. As I said above to Emeral, while she usually loves to show off all her rare and pretty treasures, she recognizes that showing off these ones could cause problems.

And yes, she's able to keep it under wraps. She's Vicerine Puissance, the oldest mortal pony in the Court, who has spent a lifetime building and cultivating her power. She can go out and about without... I dunno, snatching folks off the street.

Her ponies are probably generally well off. Puissance is very... possessive... but she knows that Luna would boot her if she let that extend to actual misrule.

I think she'd need to be developed a bit more to see if she's better or worse than the Duke.

>>2065132: The 'recruiting a family/friend' could be interesting.

One idea RK and I were kicking around (for much later in the L-verse) is that, as Puissance was conceived of as sort of an anti-Ditzy, it could be interesting to have the two come into conflict. I could see Ditzy becoming genuinely concerned about the emotional manipulation and trying to break in/'save' the ponies inside. Or maybe even pretending to want to join up ("I'm an Element and I have wacky eyes! I'm special enough, right?") and then trying to encourage a rebellion from the inside.

(Puissance... doesn't like it when other ponies take 'her' stuff, though, so I think it's safe to say she wouldn't like Ditzy much if she succeeded).

#21 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>2063211

Well, I'll always back you G&C, least until you get forcibly evicted and I totally turn tail on you in your time of need, but until then, we cool! :twilightblush:

Anyway, the walled garden, too keep the outside out and inside in, populated by the freaks and savants and supplied by a ludicrously wealthy madmare. Sounds like a Doctor Who plot to be honest, and I'm not sure if that's what you're aiming for, but if you're going to lay down some pipe, I'll can keep an eye out for it.

#22 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2065132

You mean Twilight's character development?  Or just in that past, her growing up?  Cause Twilight wouldn't join because if she did she's be dependent on someone else for her research and education.  

#23 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2065444: I could see her at least being tempted by the offer of any research material from any library or nation that she wants, without needing to wander all over Equestria. And the providing of all material needs so she can spend literally every non-sleeping minute on research.

Then again, I see her being anti-tempted by the 'not supposed to leave to say hi to family' bit.

#24 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2065467

maybe I'm just placing to much importance on her self-reliance.  Would she be more confident in her ability not to miss anything, or the ponies providing for her.  Would she believe they'd forward EVERY piece of new magic research and not just decide this or that piece is unimportant.

To me, Twilight wants to know EVERYTHING, and she wants to know she knows everything, not take other ponies' words for it.

#25 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2065444

I meant Twilight's projected character development in "Crisis."

#26 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

Well I want to murder Puissance. Good job there.

#27 · 86w, 3d ago · · ·

these ponies have a mountain of Stockholm syndrome.:twilightangry2:

#28 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Well that's just creepy.

Well done Grass, well done.

#29 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>2066055: Thanks! Exactly what I was going for. :-)

>>2065828: Aww, but she's an old, elderly mare. Surely you wouldn't hurt a little old lady. :-D

>>2066041: Indeed.

#30 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Oh, goody. The biggest freak of all is the one they're praising for saving them. I'm getting a serious "The Prisoner" vibe from this.

#31 · 86w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>2063211

Well no, Big Mac has been established as exceptionally strong , even by EP standards, and surprisingly fast so while he's not as flashy as a Unicorn/Pegasus hybrid he's not a dime a dozen either. Those three were more examples of what you could call "best in breed" than examples of ponies that would actually take Puissance up on her offer.

>>2065222

I personally think that the key thing about developing Puissance's character is to keep the Ambiguoty of her actions. Duke GreenGrass was shown right from the start to be a manipulator who used ponies up and then disposed of them when they stopped being useful. That was the character that was established right from the start and even when he would discuss things like "order" and "perfection", he was a bad guy and you didn't forget that.

Puissance on the other hand, whilst obessed with collecting all the pretty things in the world, still gave these ponies a world far better than where they had been beforehand. Yes she is using the fear of losing this "paradise" as a means of manipulating them into staying but it still makes for a more interesting character than if she had a bunch of cages and spent her time doing her best Gollum impression

Prescioussssss

Though, while it does raise some ethical issues, I have a hard time believing that Luna would have absolutely no idea that this was happening. I'm not saying she'd have a complete picture but for Puissance to do something on this scale and have Luna completely in the dark undermines Luna's credibility a bit (and this is coming from the guy who suggested the Network).

"Why would Luna allow this?" because Puissance convinced Luna that what she is doing is offering sancuary to ponies that the system isn't protecting. That way instead of being fully blind its more a case of Luna not investigating something a thoroughly as she should have.

But that's just my thoughts.

#32 · 86w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2065764

well, considering I think it would be OOC before her character development, I think it would be more so afterwards.

#33 · 86w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2066943

The only ambiguity I feel is this: is she sane and evil, or is she some form of crazy?

And let's not forget, Luna has some for of dream walking powers, so there's a chance she'd know about them because she ran into them in dreams

#34 · 86w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2066066 Yeah sure. And Hitler was just a scrawny failed artist with a love of classical culture and a mono-ball.

#35 · 86w, 2d ago · · ·

Sorry if this seems like me being a nuisance, especially now that this fic is fully published.  Whatever further critiques I make here I'd like to reiterate one of my earliest statements, that I still really like the concept of Puissance's hidden village of unique ponies, even if some of the specific character choices and other details in the execution of the story bother me.

>>2058877

Glad you like TIM. He's probably my favorite of the 6. I like a good hammy character, who has Evil Powers and uses them for, like, practical jokes.
From a pure quirky humor standpoint I agree, but I do think tone and thematic implications across the wider setting are important considerations, because while such characters can be amusing subversions, they're existence can devalue and make it more difficult to take actual villains with similar powers seriously.

This probably isn't quite as big a deal with the Sombra-esque shadow pony as there are currently no intentions to actually use King Sombra himself as a villain in the Lunaverse (though I'm still highly disinclined to believe that his shadow form was any kind of familial genetic trait).  I do think, however, it might be a touch more concerning with the Discordian chef.  Even if Fizzy and I weren't trying to portray such powers as corrupting/unstable, there is also still intent to use Discord himself as an eventual villain in the Lunaverse.  Given that the chef only really seems to play the shapeshifting angle, making no use of any other reality warping tricks, it might be better to tie him to any number of other morphic mythological/fantasy creatures.

...

Oh, and one more thing, I have no idea when you started brainstorming up all these characters, but TIM's backstory of coming from a family breading a pure bloodline to conquer the world is eerily similar to what I laid out for Lemon Hearts, so he kind of comes across as something of a farcical parody.  I'm not offended or anything, and it might actually make a pretty funny joke, if it weren't for me still being in the middle of that fic and this sort of undercutting the dramatic tension.  Not that you really owe me any considerations on that front, since if I hadn't been taking to long to finish that fic what little problem there is would be even less relevant.

...

Still another thing, in some ways I think characters like the shadow pony, the Discordian, and half-windego are maybe all too exotic, and in so bieng they start to reduce the impact of things like the more mundane seapony and even the pony tribal hybrids.  After all, the latter might be uncommon and rare respectively, but the former three all effectively have super powers, even if they only ever put those extraordinary abilities to rather trivial uses.

...

5. Iceheart's Mom died originally, but I later decided to keep her around. So she went into the hospital for long-term intensive care, and by the time she got out, her douchebag relatives had kicked Iceheart out months prior. She's probably still out there somewhere, looking for Iceheart, but since she can't get into the vault (and doesn't even know it exists) and Iceheart won't leave it (and doesn't know his mother recovered and is looking for him), she's not going to have much luck.

Was this intended to make things less dark or more so?  Personally, I think I'd prefer it if the mother was dead, because the current setup seems far more cruel than just killing her off, as now it leaves us with a distraught mother out somewhere in the world searching in futility for her lost son.  Plus it makes his other relatives even bigger douchebags since they only had temporary care of the kid.

...

3. Originally, the parasprites were frozen when Silver sprayed them with the pony version of Shellac. I decided that was a bit over the top, so I had her use vaguely-defined magic dust instead. This way, the parasprites can be just in stasis and not, like, dead.

Again, this seems like an ill-conceived way to make the fic less dark, as being alive but forever frozen and unable to move until they all presumably starve to death, seems a far more horrific fate.  Seems like it would be better to just get rid of the idea of using parasprites all together; I'm not sure it really makes much sense in the first place how countless balls of fuzz would produce any kind off visually appealing facsimile of a pony's coat anyway.  Maybe have her use some kind of magical moss instead.

#36 · 86w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2065764: Heh. I don't plan to write it at the moment, but Solar Flare or Puissance trying to recruit Twilight for the vault might be funny.

>>2066409: Never watched Prisoner (that's the "I am Number 6" show, right? With the magic exercise ball that ate escapees? )

I suppose Puissance can be considered kind of freakish. :-) Freakishly old, anyway. And freakishly possessive. She's a bit of a 'never mess with granny' kind of pony.

>>2066943: I dunno... we've seen BM do awesome stuff, but that was mostly when he was love-crazed. Besides that, have we really seen proof that he's stronger than... I dunno, Carrot Top or the other earth ponies of his age wandering around Ponyville?

As for what Luna knows, I would imagine she's not totally ignorant, even if she doesn't know everything that's going on. If for no other reason than the dream-walking mentioned in >>2067273.

I dunno... maybe a scene of them chatting about it at some point could be interesting.

>>2067273: Maybe evil, maybe not, but I don't see her as crazy. Luna probably wouldn't let her be Vicereine if she was genuinely nuts. Puissance is still quite sane.

>>2071479: I will get to this... tomorrow, when I have had sleep. :-D I'm not mad or anything, though, and I appreciate your comments.

#37 · 86w, 8h ago · · ·

>>2071479:

From a pure quirky humor standpoint I agree, but I do think tone and thematic implications across the wider setting are important considerations, because while such characters can be amusing subversions, they're existence can devalue and make it more difficult to take actual villains with similar powers seriously.

I don't think I agree with the last bit there. If a villain needs to rely on his powers being inherently evil to seem serious or evil, then I think that's a problem. Zizanie and Lemon Heart are bad not because they have Discordian magic, but because they've done bad things; similarly, that random foal in the beginning of Chap. 6 of your story probably isn't pure evil even though he has (or had) Discordian powers. So I don't think including a good (or neutral) guy with power X risks screwing up villains with power X, because the villains should be known to be villainous for more than just having that power.

I do think, however, it might be a touch more concerning with the Discordian chef.  Even if Fizzy and I weren't trying to portray such powers as corrupting/unstable, there is also still intent to use Discord himself as an eventual villain in the Lunaverse.  Given that the chef only really seems to play the shapeshifting angle, making no use of any other reality warping tricks, it might be better to tie him to any number of other morphic mythological/fantasy creatures.

>>2066055, should probably get your thoughts here as well.

I don't really object to changing Bounty -- I think the 4-wing idea could work well for him, for instance -- but I'm not sure this is a good reason to do it. If anything, the existence of a Discordian who isn't Chaotic Evil would make Discord look more villainous, since he wouldn't have the excuse "oh, well, that's just how chaos is, I'm but a helpless passenger along for the ride."

As for an in-story reason, I can think of a few that might work. I would see Baker as the oldest of the Vault 6, so maybe he's simply got the experience/sense to know how much he can use his magic without getting corrupted and 'pace himself', as it were. He's also able to spend as much time as needed to learn to control it, as opposed to Zizanie, who doesn't have the luxury of what is essentially an all-expenses paid retirement in which he can do whatever he wants. Alternately, Puissance could be getting him some sort of training (meditation, to restore his 'order' after using 'chaos' power), or a magic artifact to help him control it. As a collector of the rare, if there was anything that could help control or mitigate the effects of Discordian powers, she could plausibly have obtained it.

That all said, if you two (Emeral & Fizzy) think it should be changed, I can just make him 4-winged instead. I think that goes well with the dance-like, controlled nature of his baking -- it gives him more grace and poise.

Oh, and one more thing, I have no idea when you started brainstorming up all these characters, but TIM's backstory of coming from a family breading a pure bloodline to conquer the world is eerily similar to what I laid out for Lemon Hearts, so he kind of comes across as something of a farcical parody.  I'm not offended or anything, and it might actually make a pretty funny joke, if it weren't for me still being in the middle of that fic and this sort of undercutting the dramatic tension.  Not that you really owe me any considerations on that front, since if I hadn't been taking to long to finish that fic what little problem there is would be even less relevant.

You sent me a draft of that chapter to beta several months ago, so I'd read it, but I honestly wasn't thinking of it at the time. I came up with the characters just a day or two before posting the story; it was very much an 'inspiration' thing.

Still another thing, in some ways I think characters like the shadow pony, the Discordian, and half-windego are maybe all too exotic, and in so bieng they start to reduce the impact of things like the more mundane seapony and even the pony tribal hybrids.  After all, the latter might be uncommon and rare respectively, but the former three all effectively have super powers, even if they only ever put those extraordinary abilities to rather trivial uses.

Hmm. If anything, the hybrids should be rarer than the Discordians, though.

It's been a while since we talked about it on the boards, but my understanding of the numbers we came up with on the boards is:

There are about 5 of each type of hybrid.

Puissance has between 2-4 pegacorns (definitely has Solar Flare and Silver Sculptress, definitely does not have Alula, may have the others. We had talked about her having all the pegacorns but Alula {as part of a 'she wants to complete the set' plot}, but that got dropped because no one, me included, really wanted to go there, and also because we're dialing back on Court stuff).

She has at least 1 earthicorn, Orangerie, and possibly a couple more.

She has no pegearthers, as those are extremely hard to detect, let alone 'collect.'

Whereas, we know of at least one entire family of Discordians, plus Zizanie and any relatives of hers.

As for super-powers, I guess I see their powers as more like spells they know particularly well. Turning to smoke or shadow is a great parlor trick, but he'd still probably lose a fight against almost any of the L6 (or a vacuum cleaner). I'm not sure I'd call them full super-powers, except maybe for Bones, since immunity to magic is probably a big dealer in MLP-land.

Was this intended to make things less dark or more so?  Personally, I think I'd prefer it if the mother was dead, because the current setup seems far more cruel than just killing her off, as now it leaves us with a distraught mother out somewhere in the world searching in futility for her lost son.  Plus it makes his other relatives even bigger douchebags since they only had temporary care of the kid.

I think I just wanted to leave it open in case we ever wanted to revisit it.

#38 · 86w, 6h ago · · ·

>>2081877 Well I'd rather not have a Discordian be all casual about their powers, but this feels more like a dark fic from a Lunaverse brony than a proper canon story (especially considering what I'm developing with Seaponies). Zizanie doesn't even like her chaos powers and doesn't put them to use in her "job". She's not all that evil either. I don't mind one of them BEING a Discordian, I just oppose to the idea of it being all casual about using Chaos magic like that, but, just like Zizanie has a front hoof that turns into a tiger claw when she uses her power, maybe this guy could have abused it in the past and he has like, a dragon's leg or some other mismatched body part. But in the end if this story stays at the fanfiction status then I have no problem with it.

#39 · 86w, 6h ago · · ·

>>2082438: Hmmm... fair enough.

I'll probably just swap him with the 4-winged idea Emeral had after I wake up tomorrow. I think that will work better with what you and Em. designed, then.

#40 · 86w, 6h ago · · ·

>>2081877

Well it looks like Fizzy chimed in while I was typing this all out, and if you're changing the chef now, some of this becomes irrelevant.  Still, if you don't mind, these are my humble thoughts on the matter, but if you think any of this as "making trouble" just give the word and I'll see about cutting it down.


So I don't think including a good (or neutral) guy with power X risks screwing up villains with power X, because the villains should be known to be villainous for more than just having that power.
There is a measure of truth in these words, but at the same time I might compare it to say Tom Bombadil, whose immunity to the corrupting influence of the One Ring somewhat belies the threat of that artifact.  The only reason he sort of gets away with it is because the story presents him as something even more ancient and unknowable, but the characters in your story don't have that benefit.

As both Fizzy and I have attempted to portray it, those who tap into Discord's power are essentially playing with fire, and as such risk getting burned.  It's something that Zizannie, for example, really only uses as a last resort, because each time she does it's harder to hold onto herself.  It's not that using the power turns one evil, but it is supposed to have a tendency to twist users in body and/or mind.  Even a perverse soul like Lemon Harts tries not to over exert herself, lest she risk irreversible madness.  As such to see Bounty using the power with almost casual disregard and seemingly know ill-effects belittles those other characters that have to struggle beneath such burdens.

Now if he was presented as more clearly off his rocker -- not evil, just unhinged -- that would be different.  He wouldn't have to be so far gone as to, for example, only speak in completely random non-sequiturs, but if he is to be a Discordian that makes frequent use of his abilities it would probably help if he came across as some variety of Cloudcuckoolander.  There should also be greater sense of weirdness that pervades whenever he uses his powers, not just, oh look that pony has claws or a stretchy tail, but things that are fundamentally surreal.  When chaos is involved the results shouldn't just be unusual, but seemingly impossible and in a ways that defy all logical explanation.

If anything, the existence of a Discordian who isn't Chaotic Evil would make Discord look more villainous, since he wouldn't have the excuse "oh, well, that's just how chaos is, I'm but a helpless passenger along for the ride."
It's a little different with Discord; he's more or less a god, but such power is overwhelming when channeled by a mortal being.  Plus again, it's not supposed to be that the power makes the user evil, and more so the power can drive them insane, but as Pinkie Pie shows, even the crazies can be good people.

Besides even a character that is only evil because they are Drunk On The Dark Side doesn't have any excuse if they are the ones who chose to give into such power in the first place, just like a drunk driver is still responsible in the event of vehicular homicide.

I can just make him 4-winged instead. I think that goes well with the dance-like, controlled nature of his baking -- it gives him more grace and poise.
That one word right there is the basic problem as I see it.  To in anyway shape or form define the application of the primordial forces of chaos as "controlled" would seem to miss the point...  or if there is any measure of control it should likely still be graceful only in the sense that the otherwise seemingly random motions all flow together in a way that defies comprehension, but somehow still works; organized chaos perhaps, but always still chaos.


Hmm. If anything, the hybrids should be rarer than the Discordians,
It's not really a matter of what is more rare in this case.  Such numbers might have meaning to Puissance within the setting, but outside the setting the readers have a different measure of observance.  Things like a pegacorn's ability to both fly and cast spells just aren't as impressive because there's nothing they can do that a more common unicorn or pegasus can't, were as pony partly made of shadow or ice is something not easily replicateable by anyone else without that specific heritage.

Turning to smoke or shadow is a great parlor trick, but he'd still probably lose a fight against almost any of the L6 (or a vacuum cleaner).
Just because the residents in the valley only uses such extraordinary abilities for trivial ends doesn't make it any less of a super power.  Maybe TIM couldn't take the L6 in a fight, but someone else with the same powers who actually trained to use them offensively would likely be far more dangerous, with King Sombra himself being perhaps the chief example (though I must reiterate, the idea that his abilities are something hereditary still bothers me).


I think I just wanted to leave it open in case we ever wanted to revisit it.
Leaving things open ended is not always a good thing.  In this case I think it would be better to work under the presumption that the mother is dead rather than leaving such an unpleasant circumstance hanging in the air without resolution.  After all, if she's dead then maybe this valley really is the best place for the kid to grow up, but if she's alive and presumably looking for him, then every minute apart is a moment she suffers the pain of loss and of not knowing if her child is even still alive.  While even if the kid doesn't know it, the readers knowledge would make it less possible to appreciate any story about him being happy in his new home.

If someone really wanted to write a story that said differently it would be easy enough to say the kid's relatives lied to him about that fact, but since this fic seems to have mostly been setup as a one-shot I think it would be better to give the characters closure for now.

#41 · 85w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

My goodness. Until Vicereine Puissance was mentioned, this honestly felt like one of Princess CelestAI's Equestrian shards, where everypony's values are satisfied through friendship and ponies. So creepy.

I'm glad I finally got a chance to read this - I've been snowed under with work and stress lately. The setting of the Valley is really beautifully written, and I like all of the characters - they're all very special snowflakes, but that's kind of the point. I agree with other commenters that this is a pretty sure sign of how crazy Puissance is. Let's hope she never gets her hooves on Alula.

#42 · 85w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2082438>>2082564

Story has been edited so that Bounty is a 4-winged pegasus, not a Discordian, and so that Iceheart's mom is said to have died. Thanks for the feedback!

#43 · 84w, 4d ago · · ·

wow talk about paradise.:rainbowderp:

#44 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

It is not right to collect ponies like toys from My Little Pony.  Still, Puissance does a more good than evil here by giving these outcasts sanctuary.  Still, that rule about never being able to return if they leave turns this into a wallless prison.  The thing is that this rule is not even necessary:

Given that these unusual ponies are feared in the outside world, they would not want to move in the outside world.  They would not want to leave the Valley anyway.  All this paranoid rule accomplishes is make it impossible for these ponies to visit the outside world incognito.  Puissance is unnecessarily possessive.

#45 · 84w, 1d ago · · ·

I just realized that no foaling might be a bad rule because not all residents are sterile hybrids.

#46 · 81w, 5h ago · · ·

It just occurred to me that we might know a hybrid of Earth and Pegasus:

EarthPonies, in addition to being able to help plants grow, a lesser known ability of EarthPonies is animal-husbandry.  I heard rumors about an apparent PegasusMare with the ability for 2-way communication with nonsentient animals.  Rumor has it that this mare can control animals with a stare.  This is the rumor:

The rumor is that the elusive Fluttering Posy has these strange abilities.  The rumor is that she lives under a pseudonym outside of Ponyville.  The rumor is that not only does she have these abilities, but that she also prefers to live a life like an EarthPony on the ground.  Vicerine Puissance might want to add her to this collection.

#47 · 81w, 5h ago · 1 · ·

>>2259165: I don't see Duchess Posey taking that well, and I don't think Puissance is foolish enough to offend her.

Also, I think that Fluttershy by this point wouldn't want to go anyway. Perhaps before she might have, when she had no friends in Ponyville and would really love the idea of getting a nice quiet hut where no one ever comes by and anything you want (cute pets!) just magically appears by your doorstep, but I doubt she would do it now.

Lastly, with all her magical trinkets and artifacts, I have to believe Puissance has some way to verify hybrid-ness or not. Orangerie seemed 100% certain of what she was, indicating to me that there is some kind of test the Vicereine can run.

#48 · 79w, 8h ago · · ·

>>2259219

Maybe, Fluttershy was their until Vicerine Puissance discovered that she is a Posey at which point, for avoiding trouble with Dutches Fragrance Posey, Vicerine Puissance lied to FlutterShy by saying that she is a regular pegasus and sent her back to her cottage.    Perhaps she is a hybrid of Earth and Pegasus.  In that case, in the CelestiaVerse, FlutterShy will be the next to become an AliCorn:

In the CelestiaVerse, Starswirl The Bearded evidently wanted to create artificial AliCorns.  Thousands of years later, Twilight Sparkle succeeded.  This raises questions:

¿Are artificial AliCorns fertile or are they sterile, like natural AliCorns?

If artificial AliCorns are fertile, ¿would their foals be AliCorns too?

If artificial AliCorns can have AliCornFoals, ¿can some of these AliCornFoals be AliCornColts? or ¿must all AliCornFoals be AliCornFillies like natural AliCorns?

In a few years, the LunaVerse can have artificial AliCorns too.

#49 · 66w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

I would love to see this continue.

#50 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

>>2747420: There are plans for the Vault ponies to show up in a Season 2 Lunaverse episode.

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