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Not a changeling.

More Blog Posts306

Jul
16th
2019

2 · 4:49pm Jul 16th, 2019

2

Time Enough For Love will begin Thursday morning, July 18! Until then, I'll be posting little teasers once per day.

Let's talk about the most important character who we never actually see in Time Enough For Love: Star Swirl. His influence can be felt throughout the story, tampering with history behind the scenes. He's the one who utters the prophecy Clover struggles against, and creates a magical necklace which later proves key to Clover and Celestia's relationship.

He's also a heck of an asshole.

For example, a hundred years ago, he sent his adopted daughters on a globe-spanning, century-long wild goose chase:

"Oh, we were tempted, all the time," Celestia said. "But … you know? He was basically our father. And nopony was gonna search for him if we didn't. By ten years in, it was pretty likely he was dead, but we weren't gonna give up till we knew." Clover wasn't quite sure what to make of her detached tone. "At some point, though — after we'd wrecked the face of yet another ancient sealed horror — Luna did the math. We'd been chasing Star Swirl so long that, even if we did somehow find him, he would have been the oldest unicorn alive. And every place we chased him into had crazier traps and fangier monsters than the last."

"So you did give up?"

"We tried! We trotted out to the Sword Coast to head home. Except we ran into a ship captain who swore up and down that a pony looking just like Star Swirl had bought passage on his ship for the trip into town, and then wandered off toward the way we'd come from."

"Which should have been impossible," Clover said drily. "In a manner I find all too familiar."

Celestia chuckled humorlessly. "Yeah. But it was enough to get us back out there, and we always kept hearing just enough to keep us looking. Like chasing a damn ghost. Right up until … almost two years ago, now."

"The Tribal Accords."

"A few days before. We were six hours' flight from a remote Llamalayan village. And the old geezer walks up to our campfire out of nowhere."

Clover laughed in sympathy. "I see we've got that in common, too."

Celestia propped herself up on a foreknee, not returning his laughter. "Yeah. And get this. The first thing he says is: 'Your search is no longer necessary.' Can you believe that?"

Clover's smile turned into a wince. "Unfortunately, yes."

"I'm standing there sputtering, and Luna's bursting into tears and stammering out 'where've you been', and all he says is he's proud of our diligence, and we've each earned one future boon in recompense, do we understand, and he has to leave again but he assures us he'll be there the next time his presence is truly needed."

Next to him, even a certain phoenix looks like a saint:

On their way west from Lambyang, they stopped on a small ledge high in the Llamalayas, where stark, snowy slopes overlooked an impossibly lush and verdant jungle valley. Birdsong carried through the frigid mountain air, and flocks of large red birds wheeled and dove through the trees. A few peeled off toward them, the air shimmering with heat around their wings; Celestia inclined her head and made a show of tucking her wings and sitting down, and the birds let out piercing aquiline cries and wheeled back away.

"This is as close as we get, Frumpy," she said. "I know you'd rather be down there where they keep it warm, but they get cranky about their territory." Celestia shrugged. "Still, it's on the way, and it's worth seeing."

"It is," Clover said. "It's indeed gorgeous." He smiled and rested his head to her shoulder. "Although I find it hard to believe you fight off packs of marauding dragons, yet keep your distance from a mere flock of birds."

She barked out a laugh. "Trust me, I'm not making that mistake again. Phoenixes hold grudges forever, and one even managed to track me from here to Canter Peak. I lost three whole casks of dragonfire ale to him before we finally called a truce."

Fun fact: Originally, I had a scene in the epilogue where Star Swirl showed back up and reconciled with Clover. My prereaders unanimously HATED IT. Not "this needs to be fixed" disliked. "This is making me dislike the rest of the story" hated. So I rewrote the epilogue from scratch, and history's greatest asshole stays in the background where he belongs.

Comments ( 11 )

Well, I didn’t read the original epilogue until after the newer one was in place. But, being honest, the original felt extremely forced and out of nowhere. Starswirl was a background character with less than ten paragraphs dedicated to his onscreen actions over the course of the whole story, and then suddenly he was the major focus. It was like suddenly reading a different story entirely, switching from the original dynamic to one where these two intellectual powerhouses are trying to outguess each other. It was jarring.

PS: the new epilogue is awesome. :rainbowkiss:

Still super hyped. :pinkiehappy:

He's also a heck of an asshole.

Who, 2? Yes, he is.

at least the furries will understand

Celestia had to learn to troll from somepony, after all...

The Sword Coast, huh? I see what you did there.

"I'm standing there sputtering, and Luna's bursting into tears and stammering out 'where've you been', and all he says is he's proud of our diligence, and we've each earned one future boon in recompense, do we understand, and he has to leave again but he assures us he'll be there the next time his presence is truly needed."

That's wizards for ya!

Yeah, keeping Star Swirl as an asinine presence in the background seems advisable. Especially given all the level grinding he made the sisters do. If they could actually get their hooves on him...

5089581 True, he wouldn't even queue with them so they could do heroic dungeons or raids to get some epics to replace those old items.

5089568
In this thread: 3 furries. :raritywink:

5089581 5089585
"First you complain that I made you grind way too much, then you complain that you haven't been grinding enough for top tier equipment? Which is it?"

5089807
JOIN US

Er, no, wait. I meant:

JAUNDICE

5089813
You say that like I'm not one of the three. :raritywink:

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