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RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

To which I previously alluded.

RK's rough outline on the story:

Okay...

1. Puissance finds out she's dying, and all her wealth, all her objects can't help her.
2. During a session of the Night Court she asks for a private audience with Luna and reveals her disease. Luna offers sympathy, but says she can't stop death. Puissance offers all her wealth, but Luna says she can't do anything. Puissance gets... angry, loses it and storms out, muttering something along the lines of, "If you won't help me willingly, there are alternatives!"
3. Back home she rants, raves and generally makes a mess of things until she sees the Golden Horseshoe she has an idea. She also spies her Alicorn Armor and decides to do some research into them. One of her aides, an undercover Shadowbolt, figures this is not a good thing. He goes to her private telegraph office to send out a message, but is caught and in the struggle, killed. He does, though, manage to send out a partial message.
4. Puissance has read enough of the Horseshoes to figure on a general location and set out, hiring Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer as mercs. She also has an amulet that can let her use a Horseshoe even if she's not a direct descendant of Mimic.
5. Back at Canterlot, Luna reads the message and figures out what Puissance is trying to do. She calls in the Luna Six and gives them as quick a 411 as she can while pressed for time. All the stuff like only Mimic,an Aliocrn or direct descendant can use all four Horseshoes, their powers, and that she's not sure if Puissance is or not, but there are workarounds. She has a Horseshoe that can lead them to the others, but Puissance has a head-start. She sends Shining Armor and a platoon of Royal Guard with them.
6. Cue montage of the two groups converging on... probably Dream Castle from G1. Some G1 injokes sprinkled throughout, too. Maybe Trixie and Lyra see a portrait and stare in shock but we're not told who it's of.
7. At Dream Castle the two groups meet and there's a can of firefight opened, along with finding the Horseshoes. There's a battle, Puissance getting all four and basically becoming all-powerful compared to the others and begins toying with them, dragging Trixie right up to her. Trixie, in desperation, pours all her magic into one final blast that hits the amulet and damages it.
8. Puissance thinks she doesn't need it. By now she's pretty unhinged and hopped up on her power, declaring she'll overthrow Luna and rule Equestria. Turns out she's NOT a descendant of Mimic and cue chunky salsa.
9. LD, SS and the rest are arrested, the Horseshoes and Armor recovered and locked up.

Like i said, pretty damned rough.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3583794

Puissance gets... angry, loses it and storms out, muttering something along the lines of, "If you won't help me willingly, there are alternatives!"

3. Back home she rants, raves and generally makes a mess of things

Unless one of the symptoms of her illness is severe mental decline, this all seems like an overly drastic departure from established character for her.

One of her aides, an undercover Shadowbolt, figures this is not a good thing.

She's a vicereine, one of Luna's most trusted advisors and confidants. Why would there be an undercover Shadowbolt planted in her staff? A secret service bodyguard maybe? Still, would his first recourse really be to go whistle blowing the whole thing. Even if she's throwing a reckless grief driven fit, it seems an unusual leap of logic for him to presume she's going to do anything that'd be a threat to nation security.

He goes to her private telegraph office to send out a message, but is caught and in the struggle, killed.

Killed by who exactly, and is it an accident or intentional? For that matter, why is he in such a hurry that he'd be doing anything to risk blowing his cover?

5. Back at Canterlot, Luna reads the message and figures out what Puissance is trying to do. She calls in the Luna Six

Why? What is it Puissance is trying to do that's such an immediate threat? Maybe if Luna's concern was sending the L6 to save Puissance before she hurts herself.

has a Horseshoe that can lead them to the others,

If Luna already has one of the horseshoes, then what's the problem? Why send anyone out after Puissance when she'd eventually have to come to them to complete the set? One alicorn (if not two assuming post-Celestia's reform, or three if they also call for Cadence), not to mention Shining's city shield spell, should all be quite enough to prevent her from being any threat with only an incomplete set.

LD, SS and the rest are arrested,

That's generally something we're trying to avoid with LD and SS. They are supposed to be reckless troublemakers, not career criminals.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

I have a feeling I'm coming across as the Bad Guy, so I'm going to try and stay out of this discussion for the moment. Suffice to say that the outline does nothing to help my opinion of it.

RK_Striker_JK_5
Group Contributor

3583831

Unless one of the symptoms of her illness is severe mental decline, this all seems like an overly drastic departure from established character for her.

I'm fairly sure, "You're going to die and none of your wealth/philosophy of life can help you," is a pretty big game-changer when it comes to personalities.

She's a vicereine, one of Luna's most trusted advisors and confidants. Why would there be an undercover Shadowbolt planted in her staff? A secret service bodyguard maybe? Still, would his first recourse really be to go whistle blowing the whole thing. Even if she's throwing a reckless grief driven fit, it seems an unusual leap of logic for him to presume she's going to do anything that'd be a threat to nation security.

Okay, I can change it to bodyguard. But considering she's now plotting open treason... yeah. That'd be a good reason to tell someone. But I can move it to 'overhear her later on' or something like that.

Killed by who exactly, and is it an accident or intentional? For that matter, why is he in such a hurry that he'd be doing anything to risk blowing his cover?

Accident, by Puissance, who figures now there's no real going back.

Why? What is it Puissance is trying to do that's such an immediate threat? Maybe if Luna's concern was sending the L6 to save Puissance before she hurts herself.

Okay, I can add that. But she also wants to stop Puissance from getting those other Horseshoes and try to save her from herself.

If Luna already has one of the horseshoes, then what's the problem? Why send anyone out after Puissance when she'd eventually have to come to them to complete the set? One alicorn (if not two assuming post-Celestia's reform, or three if they also call for Cadence), not to mention Shining's city shield spell, should all be quite enough to prevent her from being any threat with only an incomplete set.

Because even with 'only' three Horseshoes and the Alicorn Armor she's still of the 'wreck large swaths of land and kill many, many ponies' level. And you know, be proactive and make sure she doesn't get away.

That's generally something we're trying to avoid with LD and SS. They are supposed to be reckless troublemakers, not career criminals.

No one had any problems with me using them before. Would it be better if they got away?

3583917 :ajsleepy::unsuresweetie: I see.

Talon and Thorn
Group Contributor

7. At Dream Castle the two groups meet and there's a can of firefight opened, along with finding the Horseshoes. There's a battle, Puissance getting all four and basically becoming all-powerful compared to the others and begins toying with them, dragging Trixie right up to her. Trixie, in desperation, pours all her magic into one final blast that hits the amulet and damages it.

Would she pick on Trixie more than the others? Cheerilee dissed her at the Gala and Carrot Top and Ditzy are more her opposites, doesn't make a difference for the amulet getting smashed but you might want to play up some of the antagonisms.

She also has an amulet that can let her use a Horseshoe even if she's not a direct descendant of Mimic.

I'm guessing the horseshoe's and Mimic are G1 things I don't know about?

She has a Horseshoe that can lead them to the others

Got to agree that it would seem to make more sense to lock away Luna's horseshoe and wait for Puscience to come to them. Maybe she thinks she had it but finds it's been nabbed but can use its residue to find the others?

For a major change to the plot, how keeping Puscience being the head villain as a secret? She fakes the mercs stealing her own shoe and tells Luna they are going after all of then, then she effectively gets two teams her own mercs and the L6 to get the rest, whoever gets them, she wins! Maybe she could even persuade Luna to let her store the last shoe in her own extra secure vault, Luna hands it over and Bwaaa! Ha! Ha! she has all of them!

I'll also PM you a few things about Mountain which might link into your story as Puscience will be making an few appearances in the next few chapters.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3583972

I'm fairly sure, "You're going to die and none of your wealth/philosophy of life can help you," is a pretty big game-changer when it comes to personalities.

Yes, but most people don't go into full blown psychotic breaks either.

But considering she's now plotting open treason... yeah.

Why does she need to be plotting any kind of treason though? Couldn't she just want the horseshoes as her sole endgame, thinking their power alone will be enough to make her immortal? Why should she have any "evil" plans at this early juncture of events?

Accident, by Puissance, who figures now there's no real going back.

Since when is she the physically violent type?

Because even with 'only' three Horseshoes and the Alicorn Armor she's still of the 'wreck large swaths of land and kill many, many ponies' level. And you know,

What would make Luna even think Puissance would ever do anything like that. For that matter, why is she calling the L6 to go after Puissance instead of doing it herself. They've been colleagues together for decades after all.

No one had any problems with me using them before. Would it be better if they got away?

You can use them just fine, just pull back on anything that would get them jail time. I mean outside of the murder that started this whole thing off (before they were hired), nothing Puissance is doing in this fic seems illegal, so I don't think her hired help would need to be arrested for just doing their job. That said, under these circumstances why would Puissance be hiring them anyway? Surely she has trusted retainers of her own to accompany her instead. The only reason to higher outside help would be if she was trying to hide her own involvement, which doesn't seem to be the case in your current draft.


3583973

She fakes the mercs stealing her own shoe and tells Luna they are going after all of then, then she effectively gets two teams her own mercs and the L6 to get the rest, whoever gets them, she wins!

I like this version. In fact, last time RK posted a draft I made pretty much the exact same suggestion. It works better with her being manipulatively sneaky rather than a raving criminal nut case.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3583972

1. Puissance finds out she's dying, and all her wealth, all her objects can't help her.

Sounds like a solid beginning. Although I would clarify that I think 'she's dying' should mean 'within a couple of years' as opposed to 'next week.' Maybe she finds that her body is finally starting to wear down as she can't do something she used to--or can't use one of her artifacts or trinkets that requires some physical strength/stamina to use. I think that would drive it home, without making it look like she has TV Cancer and is going to melt in thirty minutes unless she gets More Power Now.

2. During a session of the Night Court she asks for a private audience with Luna and reveals her disease. Luna offers sympathy, but says she can't stop death. Puissance offers all her wealth, but Luna says she can't do anything.

She wouldn't offer all her wealth. Puissance is very calculating and wouldn't want to extend her life for a few years at a cost of all the things that (she thinks) make it worth living.

What she might offer instead is some of Celestia's things. This is in S3, right? So Celestia's been redeemed. Puissance, in her zeal to collect the rare and valuable, has probably built up a collection of some of Celestia's stuff from second-hand stores, antique sales, private sellers, and so forth. (Wouldn't she be just thrilled to get a dress worn by Celestia, or one of her carriages, or even some silverware used by her, knowing that she owned something that was created for an almighty alicorn princess?). Her armor might even be from that collection (Maybe it was looted from Celestia's quarters after Luna banished her, then abandoned the government and the castle). Puissance could offer to return all those things to Celestia in exchange for a cure. Of course, Luna can't de-age her anymore... and besides, Celestia isn't as thing-focused as Puissance.

Puissance gets... angry, loses it and storms out, muttering something along the lines of, "If you won't help me willingly, there are alternatives!"

I'm inclined to agree with Emeral that she likely wouldn't storm out like this. She would probably instead try to play the 'I've done so much for you' card, maybe with the 'Wouldn't it be a shame if I died and couldn't loyally serve you anymore?' gambit. (Also, fun fact: I imagine she sometimes refers to herself in the third person, 'Your Vicereine', when talking with Luna. As in, "Your Vicereine beseeches you, Princess, to [do something]." It goes with her possession-based nature--she thinks that calling herself 'something of Luna's' will flatter Luna, when of course that's not quite how that works.) She might eventually leave furious, but she would control her temper in front of Luna.

3. Back home she rants, raves and generally makes a mess of things until she sees the Golden Horseshoe she has an idea. She also spies her Alicorn Armor and decides to do some research into them. One of her aides, an undercover Shadowbolt, figures this is not a good thing. He goes to her private telegraph office to send out a message, but is caught and in the struggle, killed. He does, though, manage to send out a partial message.

I don't feel that this really works. I can buy that Luna has a Shadowbolt in the personal staff of her highest nobles, at least ever since she learned how corrupt her government is. But nothing Puissance has done thus far is illegal, so there's nothing for the Shadowbolt to report on. Furthermore, even if Puissance did want to detain a Shadowbolt, she wouldn't kill him. she probably has a small army of security to protect her things. They would be well trained to catch him nonlethally. And, in the worst case, if he died... Puissance has plenty of options besides 'seize all power.' She could just argue self defense or find someone else to pin it on. She has the kind of resources where she can find some thug and say, "I'll pay off your parent's house, pay for your sister's medical care, and stop that loan shark from going after your cousin if you cop to this one crime."

However... let's keep Puissance's endgame in mind. It's not enough for her just to be young; she's greedy and she wants it all. It would be meaningless to recover her youth if she were then incarcerated for murder. Puissance would do everything possible to get the horseshoes legally, without incuring Luna's ire. So anything that would trigger a Shadowbolt would be right out.

4. Puissance has read enough of the Horseshoes to figure on a general location and set out, hiring Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer as mercs. She also has an amulet that can let her use a Horseshoe even if she's not a direct descendant of Mimic.

* I feel that the Alicorn Armor should be the thing that lets her use the Horseshoes, not some other amulet. Three separate artifacts (horseshoes, armor, amulet) is too much.
* Not sure LD and SS work well in this case. We wanted them to avoid becoming explicit criminals. Also, I still say they need an earth pony to complete the trio.
* Why did Puissance never do this before? She would have wanted the Horseshoes anyway, even before she was dying. It's weird that she waited so long for no reason.

I think a better approach might be this: Puissance approaches Luna and says she wants to go out on a high note and leave a great legacy for future generations, and as part of that she wants to recover a lost treasure--the full set of 4 Horseshoes--which could be an inestimable boon to the nation. Her real plan is to do this and either use the Horseshoes to make her young again (if she has reason to think that will work), or to trade the full set to Luna for a youth cure (if she thinks Luna is still holding out on her). Physically threatening Luna shouldn't come into it. Luna agrees and gets Trixie and a few other skilled mages to work on the problem, and they're able to use the Horseshoes the government and Puissance already have to find the fourth. Puissance then wants to go get it, and Luna sends the L6 along with her 'in case she needs help.' And they take the horseshoes with them because they're needed for the location spell to keep working.

That way, everything is legal. It fits Puissance's character better. And now the L6 can go with Puissance and we can get delightfully snarky banter.

5. Back at Canterlot, Luna reads the message and figures out what Puissance is trying to do. She calls in the Luna Six and gives them as quick a 411 as she can while pressed for time. All the stuff like only Mimic,an Aliocrn or direct descendant can use all four Horseshoes, their powers, and that she's not sure if Puissance is or not, but there are workarounds. She has a Horseshoe that can lead them to the others, but Puissance has a head-start. She sends Shining Armor and a platoon of Royal Guard with them.

Why are the Royal Guards involved? Again, Puissance wouldn't want to do anything that would trigger them. Furthermore, Luna is Puissance's friend (insofar as Puissance even has friends), and they've worked together for likely sixty years or so. Even if Luna thought Puissance would do something bad, she would contact the Vicereine directly to talk her down. No need to send the army.

7. At Dream Castle the two groups meet and there's a can of firefight opened, along with finding the Horseshoes. There's a battle, Puissance getting all four and basically becoming all-powerful compared to the others and begins toying with them, dragging Trixie right up to her. Trixie, in desperation, pours all her magic into one final blast that hits the amulet and damages it.

I can't see any situation in which Puissance starts a firefight with the Equestrian army or the Elements. Even if she wins, she'd have to fight Luna and Celestia--and she shouldn't be that crazy at this point. And even if she somehow beat them, not only is Equestria shattered, but her self and her forces would probably be devastated. This is a no-win situation for her, and she would know it.

Also, instead of the amulet, I still think it'd work best if Trixie instead somehow disabled her armor. Again, just to cut down on the number of artifacts.

(And also also... the Elements don't have the Elements at this point, right? In that case, I'm not sure if they could beat a superpowered Puissance with all those magical abilities anyways. She'll have telepathy, speed, strength, and a few other super powers from the horseshoes, plus alicorn-level flight powers from the armor, right?)

Rather, I think the fight could be set up like this: Puissance and the L6 go to the ruins together and dungeon-crawl their way through. Puissance scrupulously follows her responsibilities and contributes to keeping them all alive through the dungeon, though her actual concern of course is the last horseshoe. When they reach the final room, a trap triggers, the L6 need Puissance to save them, but finally--after a long lifetime of barely restrained greed, greed tempered just enough to avoid her breaking any laws--the Vicereine can't resist and gives in at last to her dark desires. She goes for the horseshoe and abandons the L6. They survive anyway and confront Puissance (who now has all four horseshoes). Puissance first tries to laugh it off, then offers ludicrously huge bribes if they swear not to tell Luna, but they refuse. Puissance--thinking that Luna will incarcerate her or at the very least strip her of her title and power if she learns that Puissance left Trixie to die--begins to panic. (Additionally, I'll bet some of Puissance's p\property is technically part of the province or the government, for tax or other reasons. Like how some people declare their homes to be business-related, and thus eligible for a tax write-off. If Puissance got fired from being a noble, she could lose that stuff.) When the L6 then demand the horseshoes (which she allegedly was collecting to donate to Luna anyway), she sees her last opportunity to stay alive, with all her precious things, vanishing--replaced by life in a jail cell, or a life stripped of her title and goods, forced to live out another sixty years without her treasures--and she snaps and attacks.

8. Puissance thinks she doesn't need it. By now she's pretty unhinged and hopped up on her power, declaring she'll overthrow Luna and rule Equestria. Turns out she's NOT a descendant of Mimic and cue chunky salsa.

Making Puissance go crazy from the horseshoes makes her death look less justified, though. If she's only doing bad things because the artifacts literally drove her insane, it's not her fault.

I'm fine with her getting killed, but I'm not sure it's set up the best way.

9. LD, SS and the rest are arrested, the Horseshoes and Armor recovered and locked up.

Still don't think those two should have done anything illegal in the fic. If we want them, maybe they act as dungeon crawling experts (Puissance: "Don't worry, I hired some experienced adventurers to help guide us.") and help out the L6 in the boss fight at the end?

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

((Double post all the way across the sky))

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

I think I've figured out what about this fic bothers me so much.

It exists for no reason other than to kill a character.

Whether the character "deserves it" or not is the kind of thing we can debate into infinity, because different people find different things to be "evil" or "irredeemable". It's clear that to RK, from his point of view, Puissiance is a horrible pony to the point that there is no solution to her character other than death. That, in and of itself would be fine. I understand what it's like to be in a position where a character enrages me beyond all reason to the point where I'd want to dip them in a vat of acid as a form of literary catharsis. I don't agree that Puissiance falls into this category, but I can appreciate being in the position.

The problem is that this fic exists for no other reason than to be a means to kill this character for personal catharsis. For a non-canon side fic, fine, revenge porn it up. But for a canon fic you need A LOT more justification for the fic's status as canon than just not liking a character and wanting to punish them in your own special way.

So instead of convincing people that Puissance has to die, which is a pointless thing to talk about as its all purely subjective... convince people that there's more to this story than Puissance dying. Do the L6 have an important role in the story that helps them grow as people? Do they have any worthwhile interactions or developments as a result of this story? Does the story advances the world or builds it in some way that's interesting? Does the story has a purpose that makes it worth reading other than the subjective pleasure of watching a character descend into madness and die?

That's basically what I think is most important here.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584183

Sounds like a solid beginning. Although I would clarify that I think 'she's dying' should mean 'within a couple of years' as opposed to 'next week.'

I think if she still had multiple years, she'd be able to take some time to come up with a better overall plan. I think she needs to be down to no more than six months or so to push this into immediate action mode.

Or instead maybe she's doesn't need to be dying. As you mention if she already had any method to find the horseshoes she'd likely have already done so long ago. So maybe instead the event that kicks the story off is her acquiring a map, magic compass, or maybe even the first of the four horse shoes at some kind of antics auction or from buying out some other pony's collection. Then decided she wants all four, not out of any bid for power, but just to add to her collection. The madness can all come later on at the end.

Also, instead of the amulet, I still think it'd work best if Trixie instead somehow disabled her armor. Again, just to cut down on the number of artifacts.

Agreed, Trixie or whoever can just crack a focusing crystal or something on the armor's chest plate. Or conversely, the armor is starting to feel a bit extraneous to the scenario when we already have four magic granting horseshoes macguffins. Maybe we should instead drop the armor and just give Puissance the focusing amulet. Or even drop the amulet and have Puissance mistakenly assume herself a descendant, turns out she's wrong and she loses control of their combined power without anyone else needing to intervene.

I'm fine with her getting killed, but I'm not sure it's set up the best way.

I'm not sure there is a "best" setup. I think this works well enough as an Icarus scenario, reach for the sun and your bound to get burned. Having said that, I'd rather her not go all chunky salsa. I think it's enough for her to just be badly injured and rendered bed ridden for whatever little time she has left. Not as a cruel punishment, just well, she's already old (if not dying) and that much magical feed back would be a strain on even a young body.

Plus we could then maybe use that bed ridden time to do follow up story more along the lines Christmas-ghosts scenario RDD wants wherein she can find some measure of piece and dignity before passing on. I've actually got at least some ideas for how to play out the "future" part of such a fic, but that's probably a discussion for another time.


3584258
I agree that RK's version feels needlessly mean spirited, but to be fair, I love Puissance as a character and yet I still want to kill her off as well. If RK's fic failed to make the canon cut, I might even try writing my own in it's place. If not with some grandiose epic adventure than just by having her fall ill and then writing her perspective as she comes to terms with just how empty her legacy is.

Talon and Thorn
Group Contributor

3584258

Ok, Pusciences actions are motivated by a fear of death.

How about one of the Mane 6 has a similar thing going on, not about herself but maybe her Parent / grand parent / etc has begun to show their age, injured themselves in some way and she's worrying about what the future might bring, it might also link into Pusciences extended family?

Also Puscience begs Luna to help her given she's immortal and hugely powerful its probably a relatively common thing for old / dying ponies to ask for aid. We know that Carrot Top's grandmother is dead, maybe when she was dying CT felt similarly, that the princess all the way up there in Canterlot could have helped her grand mother but didn't, it would allow some empathy to Pusciences plight.

For a third possibility Ditzy might feel some empathy if Puscience angles her plight as wanting to be there to protect her family for longer.

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3584352
Like I said, the merits/flaws of the desire to kill Puissance could be debated literally forever. I'm mostly concerned with whether the fic has any value as a story beyond that. As it stands the story itself feels too... hate based to be really worth it.

3584370
Those aren't bad ideas. I certainly would prefer it if this story actually focused on the L6 and their own personal struggles with the situation rather than be about how Puissance is oh so evil and aren't all glad she's dead now? :unsuresweetie:

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584370

Also Puscience begs Luna to help her given she's immortal and hugely powerful its probably a relatively common thing for old / dying ponies to ask for aid.

I'm not sure I like the idea of it being in any way "common" request. That brings in unsettling echoes of the same kind of deplorable fanon that paints Celestia on the show as a monster for supposedly having the power to make anyone an alicorn, and that in not doing so she's cruelly condemning them all to a slow death.

I know the context is different, but it still raises a similar can of worms by implying that the average pony in any way resents Luna's immortality. I'd much prefer to think that most ponies never even consider asking the princess for such a favor, never even considering it a possibility in the first place. Yes, Luna is immortal, but most ponies just accept that as an inherent quality of her nature as an alicorn.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3584258 : Going through the dungeon itself could be a challenge for the L6. I don't think they've really done any dungeon crawling yet, and if the place is heavily trapped (as in 'Tomb of Horrors heavily trapped') it could be a tough gig. It could be an opportunity for them to really push themselves to the max and show off their skills. Especially since they won't have the Elements to fall back on.

It could also be a good chance to show them working as a team, with actual tactics and stuff. We haven't really seen too much of that.

3584352 : Six months is workable for the story, though that does have the problem that she would likely die during S3, and I'm not sure there's a way we could really write that out that wouldn't cause issues. But for the story itself, six months is fine with me.

Or instead maybe she's doesn't need to be dying. As you mention if she already had any method to find the horseshoes she'd likely have already done so long ago. So maybe instead the event that kicks the story off is her acquiring a map, magic compass, or maybe even the first of the four horse shoes at some kind of antics auction or from buying out some other pony's collection. Then decided she wants all four, not out of any bid for power, but just to add to her collection. The madness can all come later on at the end.

I think the sudden notion of her mortality could help answer the reason for why she's acting now and hasn't before. And I do think it'd be interesting to hear her thoughts on death as the fic progresses.

Agreed, Trixie or whoever can just crack a focusing crystal or something on the armor's chest plate. Or conversely, the armor is starting to feel a bit extraneous to the scenario when we already have four magic granting horseshoes macguffins. Maybe we should instead drop the armor and just give Puissance the focusing amulet. Or even drop the amulet and have Puissance mistakenly assume herself a descendant, turns out she's wrong and she loses control of their combined power without anyone else needing to intervene.

That would be anticlimactic. The Elements should need to actually defeat Puissance at the end, else their presence in the story will seem superfluous, as things would have turned out identically if they'd stayed at home drinking bourbon. (Or worse, it could look like they inadvertently caused her death if they helped her reach the artifact that melted her as soon as she put it on.)

Plus, Puissance attacking the Elements would be a clearly villainous act, which makes her subsequent loss and/or death more palatable. If she just melts from putting on four horseshoes, that feels a bit cheap.

3584370 : While those would be interesting mediations, I'm not sure how they tie in to the plot of the story (with the Elements pursuing the horseshoe). Ideally, if we went your route they would tie together somehow.

Maybe one of the Elements hopes to use the horseshoes to help someone else out (family member or close friend) in a non-lethal way? Like, I dunno, using the telepathy horseshoe to try going into the mind of someone who's in a coma and helping to restore them? That could tie into similar themes, but also have some direct relevance.

3584395 : One option discussed before is that de-aging magic does work... but only to a certain point. The magic energy required increases exponentially with each year. So maybe Puissance was able to hire some power mages to de-age by a couple years... then she had to hire some true elites... then she went to Luna, asking a special favor for 'her Vicereine'... and now, having gotten maybe eight or ten extra years that way, she's at the limits of Luna's power. But she doesn't believe Luna's power has limits (or she doesn't think she's reached them), and so comes to beg for more youth. And doesn't believe the 'no' that she gets.

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3584443
This is going to be a Season 3 fic though. By that point the L6 would've had plenty of screen time showing their teamwork and going through tough situations. That's not really enough to carry a story on its own, especially as little more than an excuse to kill a character the writer doesn't like. I'm kind of hoping to see something more here to provide an interesting read. So far I'm not seeing it. :applejackunsure:

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584443

That would be anticlimactic. The Elements should need to actually defeat Puissance at the end,

I wasn't trying to sugest there be no fight, just a difrent kind of fight. Puissance would still be imposing even with only three horse shoes, while the L6 basicly play a high stakes game of keep away with the fourth.

But she doesn't believe Luna's power has limits (or she doesn't think she's reached them), and so comes to beg for more youth. And doesn't believe the 'no' that she gets.

I think Puissance is smarter than that. She's worked along side Luna for decades, she should already know that for all her power the princess is not a god.

Also I'm inclined to think that if we bring age magic into the equation this should be the first time she's asked Luna. I'm inclined to think that Luna wouldn't play favorates and so would have never agreed to cast such a spell for Puissance in the first place.

GreyGuardPony
Group Contributor

Oy, this whole story idea seems like one giant can of worms.

I'll admit to being really torn on it. On one hand, I think that Puissance's collecting of ponies really is on the twisted side. If she was making them do work, it would be slavery. And I don't see her controlling nature just letting them walk away either.

But on the other hand, writing a fic for the express purpose of killing a character off seems like a bad place to start from. It very much becomes a....revenge fic I guess? It seems to me that the focus of the story should be the L!Six, in which Puissance happens to be the antagonist and die, rather than the goal being for her to die.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3584505

I wasn't trying to sugest there be no fight, just a difrent kind of fight. Puissance would still be imposing even with only three horse shoes, while the L6 basicly play a high stakes game of keep away with the fourth.

But since she gets the fourth in the end, the Elements are destined to lose that fight, so its still a shaggy dog story. The outcome would have been the same if the Elements had stayed home.

I'd rather have them have to fight Puissance to get her armor off once she gets all four shoes. Then it's the Elements who actually defeat her, as opposed to them doing nothing, or just failing to save her from herself.

I think Puissance is smarter than that. She's worked along side Luna for decades, she should already know that for all her power the princess is not a god.

She might still not believe that Luna's really at her limit yet, though.

Also I'm inclined to think that if we bring age magic into the equation this should be the first time she's asked Luna. I'm inclined to think that Luna wouldn't play favorates and so would have never agreed to cast such a spell for Puissance in the first place.

She's a Vicereine. I think that if Puissance asked that as a personal favor, Luna would agree if she could.

RK_Striker_JK_5
Group Contributor

3583973
3584394
3584395
3584443 For the record, I'm getting offline in a few minutes for the night. I will... consider some of these suggestions, because some of them are actually good. But a few things:

1. Puissance is keeping the Armor to up her threat index, and so Trixie can be The Hero. And Trixie will be The Hero. She's shining.

2. I don't like Puissance. A lot of what she does is skeevy, immoral and evil, but there are other nobles I hate FAR more than her. She's the one who seems best to set this trinket hunt into motion.

3. For the record, the Horseshoes aren't being 'lost' at the end of this fic. I loathe that trope almost as much as protagonist-centered morality or there are no therapists.

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3584645
I'll reserve judgement I suppose until I see this story in action and how you handle the characters. In theory I'm not on board with this, but in practice you might win me over. If nothing else I can at least admire your passion for this. :twilightblush:

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

((You know what happened here, move along))

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584641

But since she gets the fourth in the end, the Elements are destined to lose that fight, so its still a shaggy dog story.

Sometimes the heroes fail, but that doesn't make there efforts a waste as the fact that they tried in the first place still speaks volumes in regards to the qualities that make them heroes.

Then again, they don't have to fail while still leading to similar results. Instead of getting all four horseshoes and overloading. Maybe Puissance using only three does something to destabilize the whatever ancient location they are fighting in causing it to collapse on top of her. That way the L6 succeed in keeping her from getting all four, but she's still mortally injured anyway. Not saying that's the best way of doing it, just that options abound for other ways to stage the climax and that it's at least worth considering the alternatives instead of dismissing them outright.

She's a Vicereine. I think that if Puissance asked that as a personal favor, Luna would agree if she could.

I don't think Luna would really consider that to be favor that actually helps Puissance. All it would be do would be delaying the inevitable. The really favor would be to council Puissance on accepting the limitations of mortality and encouraging her to put the last of her affairs in order.


3584645

I will... consider some of these suggestions, because some of them are actually good.

I'm glad to hear that. I really did mean it when I said I wanted this story to workout, and I hope that with an open mind it will.

1. Puissance is keeping the Armor to up her threat index, and so Trixie can be The Hero. And Trixie will be The Hero. She's shining.

I entirely respect you desire to have Trixie be the hero, just don't forget that this is still supposed to be Friendship is Magic, and that as such Trixie isn't supposed to be a hero in isolation. We've all scene the show occasionally place too much emphasis on Twilight, lets not make that same mistake ourselves with Trixie.

Though as for the armor, just how much power does Puissance really need to be up the "threat index". This story already has the four horseshoes themselves, do we really need a fifth artifact of power cluttering up the narrative. What abilities does the armor really grant her that we couldn't just assign to the horse shoes instead. I'm not asking you to cut the armor, just to consider what purpose it's actually serving and if the story might not be simpler and more straight forward without it.

2. I don't like Puissance. A lot of what she does is skeevy, immoral and evil, but there are other nobles I hate FAR more than her. She's the one who seems best to set this trinket hunt into motion.

I agree 100% that she's the best of our antagonistic nobles to use for this story. That said, fanfiction should always be about celebrating the things we love, not wallowing in the things we hate. If you really want to use Puissance I would highly recommend you find something to like about her first. Please note, I am NOT telling you to like the things she does, you can still hate her actions. What I'm saying is that you should try to find some reason to want to use her beyond just killing her off. If she's going to be a prominent character in your story you should enjoy the time you spend writing her scenes, because that joy will carry through to your audience so that they enjoy reading it as well.

3. For the record, the Horseshoes aren't being 'lost' at the end of this fic. I loathe that trope almost as much as protagonist-centered morality or there are no therapists.

Never hate a trope, for they are only but tools. To willfully ignore any trope is only to deny yourself access to the full scope of tools available to you, thus needlessly crippling your authorial endeavors. A handy man who refused to use a hammer, or a screwdriver, or any other tool would be poor at his job, and the same is no less true of an author.

I'm not telling you which tropes to use or not use. Only you can make those choices, but never ignore a trope just because you hate. Study the trope in all it's. One must learn to play by the rules first before they can learn when and how it's okay to break those rules. Likewise one needs to learn how to play a trope straight before they can really pull off a skillful subversion. Otherwise you're just cutting things out without finding anything of value to replace them with.

Besides, I find it a little ironic that you claim to hate the No Therapists trope, when a good therapists seems to be exactly what Puissance could use most and would prevent things from getting so out of hand in the first place. Which is not to say you should scrap the story, I'm only trying to further point out how tropes are never in and of themselves a bad thing, since in this case a good therapist would mean no story worth telling, and then we'd have nothing to read. :scootangel:

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3584782

I agree 100% that she's the best of our antagonistic nobles to use for this story. That said, fanfiction should always be about celebrating the things we love, not wallowing in the things we hate. If you really want to use Puissance I would highly recommend you find something to like about her first. Please note, I am NOT telling you to like the things she does, you can still hate her actions. What I'm saying is that you should try to find some reason to want to use her beyond just killing her off. If she's going to be a prominent character in your story you should enjoy the time you spend writing her scenes, because that joy will carry through to your audience so that they enjoy reading it as well.

This. All of this.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3584651
You know you can delete your own posts, right? Even without moderator power. Then again we'd miss out on wonderful filler (the "double post all across the sky" made me giggle like a schoolgirl for some reason), so...your choice.

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3584898
Huh, so that's what that trash bin is for. Neato. Don't even know why I'm double posting so much. Its like my mouse is over caffeinated and just has to treat every click like three clicks.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3584898 : That screws up the indexing on the boards, though. That's why sometimes when you click on the 'last page' of the thread you get the second-to-last page, because the deleted posts are tricking the system.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584898
Personally speaking, I hate deleting posts, since it always leaves behind an ugly scar on the thread. Also I think it might messes up the page linking and is why certain long threads don't always go to the most recent page when clicking on them.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

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Fair enough, I'll keep that in mind.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3584930 : Btw, now that most people have chimed in, I'm curious to here your thoughts on the horseshoes story.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584912
Out of my own curiosity, are you just making the same guess I am about deleted posts messing up the index, or have you read some official statement confirming such from the site admins? Not that it makes much difference either way.

Though it overall sort of makes me wish they'd never changed the system. I liked the way things worked better back when deleted posts were just erased entirely as if they'd never existed in the first place.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3584970 : I've observed it over time. Let's say there are 50 posts in a thread. Ordinarily, the next post would put it on page two. But let's say one such post is deleted. Then, I've observed, the next post still goes on page 2... but the link to the 'last page of the thread' remains on page one, because it thinks, 'well, there's fifty posts that weren't deleted here, and fifty to a page, so the last post must be on page 1.' Only when a second new post is made (52 total, 51 that are not deleted) does the 'last page' link go to the last page. If a second post is deleted, increment everything by one, and so forth.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3584984
Yeah, that's been my observation as well, and I think it's because of the "scar". The deleted post tag still takes up space on the page, pushing other posts forward, but the index doesn't register that fact and so page links get screwed up.

That's why I'd always rather edit my own posts, even if only to blank it out, rather than delete.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3584942
...if I must...

Okay, let's break down the original post to start.

1. Puissance finds out she's dying, and all her wealth, all her objects can't help her.
2. During a session of the Night Court she asks for a private audience with Luna and reveals her disease. Luna offers sympathy, but says she can't stop death. Puissance offers all her wealth, but Luna says she can't do anything. Puissance gets... angry, loses it and storms out, muttering something along the lines of, "If you won't help me willingly, there are alternatives!"

As I mentioned in the Brainstorming thread, the impression I get from having written Puissance in Gala was that she's more the kind to have spent a small nation's fortune on a funeral and mausoleum. This is not to say that she's accepted death, but rather that if she has to die, she's going to go out with both dignity and style. If anything, her sole concern should be with finding a legacy, something to make sure that she endures.

This partially ties into a problem I had with some of the stuff you had Notary say in Old Friends, Grass. Luna has been ruling as a monarch for a thousand years and as a diarch for two or three thousand years before that. She's a known quantity to ponies, including he rough limits, or at least the fact that she has them, that she can't do everything or even nearly everything - and she would be embarrassed by and actively discourage any attempt to portray her otherwise. Simply put, I see no reason for Puissance to believe that there is the slightest thing that Luna could do to stave off her death, as Puissance, for all her arrogance, is also supposedly incredibly intelligent and fully cognizant of the fact that Luna has liked many ponies throughout history far more than she likes Puissance herself, and yet none of them got eternal life or even an extended one.

In short, if Puissance must be seeking extended/eternal life, I don't think she'd ever consider Luna an option.

3. Back home she rants, raves and generally makes a mess of things until she sees the Golden Horseshoe she has an idea. She also spies her Alicorn Armor and decides to do some research into them. One of her aides, an undercover Shadowbolt, figures this is not a good thing. He goes to her private telegraph office to send out a message, but is caught and in the struggle, killed. He does, though, manage to send out a partial message.

1) I don't like killing characters haphazardly. I realize this sounds hypocritical of me given that I had Grogar murder ten thousand Tamberlaan in order to prove how evil he was, but those Tamberlaan would have been thousands of years dead anyway, and the guy I had kill them I'd spent literally more than a year building up as a complete monster by name-dropping him alongside beings like the Smooze and Tirek, and to which I had given absolutely no redeeming traits whatsoever. And even then I still feel a little bad about it.
2) I really don't feel that a quest for extended/eternal life is something that you can just decide to do during the last six-ish months of said life. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. If Puissance must be seeking eternal life, then this story should represent the final stages of a plan years in the making, not something she decided to do on a whim.
3) Why is the Shadowbolt figure researching eternal life is not a good thing? Unless Puissance starts visibly calculating how many foals she'll have to sacrifice to Lord Tirek, this at worst looks like the insane ramblings of an increasingly - and pathetically - desperate old mare. While probably something worth notifying Luna about, it's also not really something that requires an immediate update rather than waiting for whenever his next scheduled drop is.

4. Puissance has read enough of the Horseshoes to figure on a general location and set out, hiring Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer as mercs. She also has an amulet that can let her use a Horseshoe even if she's not a direct descendant of Mimic.

Too many artifacts, no real reason why Puissance wouldn't have done this years ago, and I don't see a reason for her to bring in Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer, for the reasons mentioned by others upthread.

5. Back at Canterlot, Luna reads the message and figures out what Puissance is trying to do. She calls in the Luna Six and gives them as quick a 411 as she can while pressed for time. All the stuff like only Mimic,an Aliocrn or direct descendant can use all four Horseshoes, their powers, and that she's not sure if Puissance is or not, but there are workarounds. She has a Horseshoe that can lead them to the others, but Puissance has a head-start. She sends Shining Armor and a platoon of Royal Guard with them.
7. At Dream Castle the two groups meet and there's a can of firefight opened, along with finding the Horseshoes. There's a battle, Puissance getting all four and basically becoming all-powerful compared to the others and begins toying with them, dragging Trixie right up to her. Trixie, in desperation, pours all her magic into one final blast that hits the amulet and damages it.

As mentioned upthread, there is no reason for Luna to not intervene directly here. The L6 have their own lives to lead and really only need to be summoned by the Crown when it concerns a direct threat to Equestria's citizenry. This doesn't, and highlights another problem I have with this story.

The entire premise basically boils down to an old mare realizing how old she really is and becoming terrified at the prospect of dying. But she chooses to basically pursue the Holy Grail to achieve that immortality. Do the horseshoes require her to steal others' souls? Bathe in the blood of the innocent? Commit increasingly depraved acts to keep her soul from Slaanesh? No. She just has to find all four and put them on. She at no point needs to harm anyone to accomplish her goal. So why, then, is she being murdered for pursing it?

More to the point, the fact that this entire thing kicks off because Puissance is afraid of dying makes her - forgive the phrasing - human, far too human for me to condone killing her. With Grogar, I went out of my way to establish that he was a bastard long before revealing that everything he did boiled down to a fear of death. But with Puissance? Sure, we've seen her be a conniving bitch. But we've seen her make quips and interact with others amicably, too, and hinted that she was once a decent enough mare who's simply become old and set in her ways.

Sure, she has a twisted way of looking at things, but she's not evil by any means, and the fact that what she's doing is born out of a very recognizable and human fear of the end of her life, makes me completely unable to get aboard with killing her off simply because she had the audacity to be afraid of dying, especially since her solution doesn't have involve hurting anyone at any point excepting that RK is forcing her to.

6. Cue montage of the two groups converging on... probably Dream Castle from G1. Some G1 injokes sprinkled throughout, too. Maybe Trixie and Lyra see a portrait and stare in shock but we're not told who it's of.

I have no problem with this.

8. Puissance thinks she doesn't need it. By now she's pretty unhinged and hopped up on her power, declaring she'll overthrow Luna and rule Equestria. Turns out she's NOT a descendant of Mimic and cue chunky salsa.

Four words: Shoot the Shaggy Dog.

9. LD, SS and the rest are arrested, the Horseshoes and Armor recovered and locked up.

Leaving aside that I don't think there's any reason for Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer to be involved in the first place, having involved them in what should not have to be an illegal operation, once Puissance flips her shit, there is no reason for Lightning or Sunset to remain on her side. They're not evil. They don't want to take over the world or sacrifice foals to Tirek or kick puppies. They just want to have some fun. And an increasingly senile old mare who gains the powers of a god and starts ranting about taking over the world? Not fun.

Anyway. That's my opinion on the original premise. I'll cover some of the later suggestions in a separate post.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3585047

As I mentioned in the Brainstorming thread, the impression I get from having written Puissance in Gala was that she's more the kind to have spent a small nation's fortune on a funeral and mausoleum. This is not to say that she's accepted death, but rather that if she has to die, she's going to go out with both dignity and style. If anything, her sole concern should be with finding a legacy, something to make sure that she endures.

While I think she'd definitely want this--and I think Emeral mentioned something along those lines too in the last chapter of EoI, with Puissance thinking about how her orphanages will give her a grand legacy of being the pony responsible for the education and upbringing of innumerable lost youth--she'd also want to stay alive as long as she could too (without sacrificing quality of life). I don't think the two are exclusive.

This partially ties into a problem I had with some of the stuff you had Notary say in Old Friends. Luna has been ruling as a monarch for a thousand years and as a diarch for two or three thousand years before that. She's a known quantity to ponies, including he rough limits, or at least the fact that she has them, that she can't do everything or even nearly everything - and she would be embarrassed by and actively discourage any attempt to portray her otherwise.

Without getting too deeply into theology, many people in the real world believe in a God that could do absolutely anything, completely omnipotent in every way, but chooses not to for a variety of reasons ("free will" and "Divine plan" among them). I don't think it's unreasonable for Notary to think that Luna, similarly, could do anything she wants, but chooses not to (due to free will/alicorn plan/whatever). After all, Luna moves the sun--that gigantic ball of fire that has enough energy to grow the plants that all one hundred million ponies in Equestria eat, plus all the other species. If she can do that, what can't she do? (Notary wonders).

Simply put, I see no reason for Puissance to believe that there is the slightest thing that Luna could do to stave off her death, as Puissance, for all her arrogance, is also supposedly incredibly intelligent and fully cognizant of the fact that Luna has liked many ponies throughout history far more than she likes Puissance herself, and yet none of them got eternal life or even an extended one.

Puissance: Well, sure, that's what the history books say. I mean, if they didn't say that, then hordes of smelly, common riffraff would storm her castle every day demanding that she keep them alive! But when you look at her ministers, some of them lived impressively long lives, yes? Why, the Archduke of such-and-such reached one hundred and five! And a few of those perhaps were even remarked to be remarkably lively in their old age, almost as if they were years younger than their birthdays indicated. Now, Luna might protest that those ministers were just naturally healthy, the same way a few ninety year old people are just naturally spritely, but surely there's no need for such secrets between a princess and her loyal Vicereine...

1) I don't like killing characters haphazardly. I realize this sounds hypocritical of me given that I had Grogar murder ten thousand Tamberlaan in order to prove how evil he was, but those Tamberlaan would have been thousands of years dead anyway, and the guy I had kill them I'd spent literally more than a year building up as a complete monster by name-dropping him alongside beings like the Smooze and Tirek, and to which I had given absolutely no redeeming traits whatsoever. And even then I still feel a little bad about it.

I'm not as squeamish as you about this, but I do agree with you that this particular death doesn't really work for me.

2) I really don't feel that a quest for extended/eternal life is something that you can just decide to do during the last six-ish months of said life. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. If Puissance must be seeking eternal life, then this story should represent the final stages of a plan years in the making, not something she decided to do on a whim.

A sudden failure of health could do that to her, though. Granted, I don't think she'd go psycho right off the bat, but Scepter said in Gala that Puissance had just checked out as being perfectly healthy, so she doesn't seem to have had much reason to think that her body would fail her soon. But if something suddenly goes wrong--she's flying when she gets dizzy and crashes, she has a mild stroke and the doctor says more might come, she tries to use some artifact that requires physical endurance but instead blacks out--she might suddenly realize that, yes, the reaper is coming. He's coming fast.

3) Why is the Shadowbolt figure researching eternal life is not a good thing? Unless Puissance starts visibly calculating how many foals she'll have to sacrifice to Lord Tirek, this at worst looks like the insane ramblings of an increasingly - and pathetically - desperate old mare. While probably something worth notifying Luna about, it's also not really something that requires an immediate update rather than waiting for whenever his next scheduled drop is.

I'm inclined to agree with you on this.

As mentioned upthread, there is no reason for Luna to not intervene directly here. The L6 have their own lives to lead and really only need to be summoned by the Crown when it concerns a direct threat to Equestria's citizenry.

Sure... but if they were asked by Luna to volunteer to go along as Puissance's aides (and to help if something bad happened to her, as Luna might suspect would happen), I think they would. Trixie would want to look good in front of Puissance, and I'm sure the rest could be tempted by the mixture of adventure, dungeon crawling, and potential treasure.

Leaving aside that I don't think there's any reason for Lightning Dust and Sunset Shimmer to be involved in the first place, having involved them in what should not have to be an illegal operation, once Puissance flips her shit, there is no reason for Lightning or Sunset to remain on her side. They're not evil. They don't want to take over the world or sacrifice foals to Tirek or kick puppies. They just want to have some fun. And an increasingly senile old mare who gains the powers of a god and starts ranting about taking over the world? Not fun.

Agreed on this too, and I think it'd be awesome if they teamed up with the L6 to help deal with Puissance once she loses it at the end.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585132

Without getting too deeply into theology, many people in the real world believe in a God that could do absolutely anything, completely omnipotent in every way, but chooses not to for a variety of reasons ("free will" and "Divine plan" among them). I don't think it's unreasonable for Notary to think that Luna, similarly, could do anything she wants, but chooses not to (due to free will/alicorn plan/whatever).

I think it's a very different thing for ponies because Luna isn't just some hypothetical being they can believe in only through faith. She's entirely tangible and sitting on the throne in Canterlot. She's Superman, not God.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3585162
Exactly. Perhaps there is a God and perhaps he can do anything, but if he is real, he does not make it a habit to come down to Earth and converse with people. Hence you get atheists and agnostics like me. Whereas with ponies, Luna is right there in Canterlot. Ponies have seen her breathing, eating, talking, etc. Some have even seen her bleed, cry, laugh, or get a door slammed in her face. And she is certainly not believed to be anything closely resembling infallible.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

Sure... but if they were asked by Luna to volunteer to go along as Puissance's aides (and to help if something bad happened to her, as Luna might suspect would happen), I think they would. Trixie would want to look good in front of Puissance, and I'm sure the rest could be tempted by the mixture of adventure, dungeon crawling, and potential treasure.

I'm going to float an idea here. Do the rest of the L6 even need to be there at all?

Focusing the story on Trixie might not be a bad idea. If this is Season 3, then we'll be gearing up towards her being eventually appointed as a viscountess at some point in the near future (or maybe just a baroness, but the point is: ennobling). A good framework to get Trixie and Puissance together might be Luna knowing that Puissance doesn't have a lot of time left, but for all that she's miserly and kind of a bitch, she's also very crafty, competent, thorough, and all-in-all an excellent politician save for, y'know, the corruption aspects. Obviously Luna doesn't outright say that that is the reason, but it's a possibility.

If this plot were re-skinned as Puissance seeking out the last of the horseshoes for her own purposes but disguising that purpose as being for the good of Equestria (or, heck, maybe even being up-front about wanting immortality out of the deal, since, again, that is not innately an evil goal and there's no real reason for Puissance to hide that she thinks she can achieve that via horseshoes) so as to get some Royal aid (maybe Puissance only has two, Luna has the third, and Luna agrees to give Puissance the third if she takes Trixie with her to get the fourth), then the story can be as much about Trixie learning from Puissance and learning how to avoid some of the pitfalls that Puissance fell into over her decades of service.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585232

and agnostics like me.

Myself too... though as an author who "plays" god by weaving stories, I kind of like to fancy the possibility that I myself could equally be a character in some story being told. In that respect it wouldn't even really matter whether or not there is an afterlife in the particular story that is our world. Just like our own fictional characters never really cease to exist, even if we kill them, because there can always be other stories to tell.

thatguyvex
Group Contributor

3585265
Hmm, I kind of like this idea. Normally I'd say its best to at least have a number of the L6 in any given story so the mares can interact and grow together as friends, but there's nothing inherently wrong with solo stories that just focus on one of them. And focusing on the dynamic between Puissance and Trixie can certainly lead to some interesting character interactions and Trixie learning a lot on what not to do as a noble.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3585232 : But she's not right there, not really. She's separated from her ponies by the thick walls of her castle and the imposing stature of her throne. 99% of ponies probably go their whole lives without seeing Luna more than once or twice. She's not like Clark Kent, who frequently drops into town to help save the day (and then gets smacked around by Lobo or something).

And even for the ones who do see her more often, like Notary, they're not close enough to her to know exactly what she's capable of. Notary sees Luna raising sun and moon without effort, and is probably familiar with her other prodigious magical feats. Sure, Luna says she's not omnipotent, but that's just what she says, and Notary doesn't know her well enough to trust her on that matter. She very well could be nigh-omnipotent, and just holding back because Free Will or something. After all, she can raise sun and moon. What can't she do? (notary wonders).


3585265 : Emeral has said before he doesn't like stories with only one L6 member. And I do think Ditzy should be there, since Puissance is supposed to be her evil opposite, at least in terms of love, kindness, motherly-ness, and so forth... but I do like the idea of that being why Trixie is sent to tag along. (Although I'm still not keen on making her a noble).

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585278 3585265

Emeral has said before he doesn't like stories with only one L6 member

I prefer ensembles, but I'm not strictly opposed to solo-spotlights where appropriate. In this case I guess it depends on how we want to frame Luna's desire to ennoble Trixie.

If I may digress and speak of the show... twice now we have seen Celestia, for whatever motive, instruct Twilight NOT to include her friends, to stand apart on her own accomplishments (S3-premier and S4-finale). In both cases this clearly turned out to be bad advice as Twilight ultimately achieves victory not alone, but with the help of her friends. Now I don't want to get into any debate over whether or not the writers have been assassinating Celestia as a character, so for now lets just take these events at face value.

So the question then is, would we want Luna be making the same mistakes with Trixie? Obviously the Lunaverse is meant to be every bit as much Friendship is Magic as the show, so just like Princess Twilight's palace of friendship has thrones for all her friends, I think invariably Viscountess Trixie should still have her friends to play some similar role in supporting her (especially if the mystery box is going to appear in our setting too and eventually give Trixie some equally fancy new place to live). In the interim though since Luna is meant to be at least as fallible as Celestia, I see it as entirely possible for her to make the mistake of segregating Trixie from her Ponyville friends, especially in S3 with the elements returned to the Tree of Harmony.

Then again, Luna knows the deeper pain of what it feels like to be isolated, so perhaps she should make the opposite mistake instead.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3585341
Well, I'm not saying that Luna should tell Trixie not to include her friends. Much as I don't see a reason why Puissance couldn't be up-front with the horseshoes, I don't really see a reason why Luna couldn't be mostly up-front with Trixie:

Luna: "Trixie, you've basically got the paperwork thing down pat in Ponyville at this point...largely thanks to Pokey Pierce."
Trixie: "Hey, I do a lot!"
Luna: "Calm down, Trixie, I was only teasing. I have noticed that far, far more of the paperwork from Ponyville has your own specific flair to it."
Trixie: *beams*
Luna: "Though admittedly that may simply mean that Mr. Pierce has learned to copy that flair."
Trixie: *glares*
Luna: "Teasing again. My point is that a certain opportunity has come up...Vicereine Puissance is going on a, let's call it an excursion, to the Skyshaper Peaks, in a few weeks, in order to oversee an archaeological dig she has invested time in. In exchange for some help I've provided her with this dig, she has agreed to take you with her."
Trixie: "Um...doesn't she, uh...hate me?"
Luna: "Most probably, but a pony doesn't gain her influence and power in the Night Court without being able to set that aside. I think that taking a few weeks to learn some of the finer aspects of politics from her examples might be good for you...as well as learning to avoid some of its pitfalls. After all, she is one of the longest-serving viceroys in centuries, and possesses a very keen mind even in her old age."
Trixie: "And if while I'm there she tries to shove me into some hole?"
Luna: "She'll have dug one for herself back here in Canterlot."
Trixie: "Which still leaves me trapped in some hole until someone comes and rescues me."
Luna: "Assuming anypony did - a prospective noble should be resourceful, after all."
Trixie: *glare*
Luna: "More teasing, Trixie."

Trixie's friends can then just opt out of their own accord; after all, they'd have spent quite a bit of the past year away from Ponyville for one reason or another, and so might just like to just stay at home.

Having it be a basically-above-the-board dig would also allow Scepter to be brought in.

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585394

Trixie's friends can then just opt out of their own accord; after all, they'd have spent quite a bit of the past year away from Ponyville for one reason or another, and so might just like an excuse to stay at home.

Maybe... though I might expect at least one of them to come with her -- just in case.

Then again, maybe there could be other ways of framing this. Perhaps Puissance wants Twilight's assistances at the archeology dig for some reason or another, and Trixie is just sort of along for the ride as her parole escort (though Luna might still have agreed to permit the excursion so Trixie would also get to spend time with Puissance). I have after all wanted to see some kind of chained heat story at some point, and this might make for a good backdrop to it. Though of course that's entirely up to what kind of story RK wants to tell.

Having it be a basically-above-the-board dig would also allow Scepter to be brought in.

As I'd still like to see Puissance killed off in this fic I'd rather not involve him, not directly at least. Though if I could convince RK to do me the favor of only mortally wounding Puissance, I'd like to write a webisode follow up where he visits her on her deathbed.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3585442

As I'd still like to see Puissance killed off in this fic I'd rather not involve him, not directly at least.

Well, there, we're at an impasse. Fortunately for RK the Quorum exists these days so I can be overruled.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3585442

Maybe... though I might expect at least one of them to come with her -- just in case.

I would again vote for Ditzy in that respect, since they mirror each other so nicely.


3585442
3585461

Though if I could convince RK to do me the favor of only mortally wounding Puissance, I'd like to write a webisode follow up where he visits her on her deathbed.

Puissance: "It seems this is goodbye, Scepter. Tell me... why were you the only one to visit? Is the family busy preparing my funeral?"
Scepter: "Uh..."
(Flashback to a gigantic party with ponies dancing and having a blast. "She's finally dying!" somepony yells. "The old nag is dying!")
Scepter: "...yes. Yes, that's where they are."

As to this fic though, I'm not quite sure what Scepter would do (besides be adorable) on the dig. Wouldn't Puissance want him in school?

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585461
I'd prefer to reach some mutual compromise and not have to overrule you. As I've often said before, I in part predicate my own happiness with the Lunaverse on yours, and I'd hate to in anyway contribute to you being less happy with the setting you gifted unto all of us.


3585496

(Flashback to a gigantic party with ponies dancing and having a blast. "She's finally dying!" somepony yells. "The old nag is dying!")

Well, I wasn't planning to be quite that blunt. :scootangel:

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3585498
One of my founding principles for the Lunaverse is that we're a shared universe. Part of that means that we'll sometimes go in directions that I don't want, but from day one of the Lunaverse's founding more than two years ago, I've been basically okay with that.

More relevantly, I don't think it's possible for me to ever be okay with killing off Puissance. If that's the direction the Quorum goes, though, then I'll deal.

3585496

As to this fic though, I'm not quite sure what Scepter would do (besides be adorable) on the dig. Wouldn't Puissance want him in school?

I don't really know when this is going to take place; it could be during some winter break or something.

As for Scepter's reason for being there - one way or another Puissance isn't going to be vicereine forever, either because she dies of old age or because she puts on some horseshoes and goes mad with power and planning on replacing the Princess and getting herself killed just to satisfied an author's demand for her blood.

In either case Scepter sort-of represents her last hope for trying to create a scion that she thinks is actually worthy of inheriting Optibieurs-Golo. In my head, she'd have been spending a lot of time with Scepter, ostensibly trying to mend bridges with her estranged daughter and grandson but really with the goal of trying to impart some "wisdom" to Scepter, which is sort-of beginning to take, but with his own foalish view on things. Scepter could also serve as a character that would allow us - by which I mean Trixie - to see the positive side of Puissance, or at least the positive side of some of the things she does, with Trixie's big lesson here being that she should learn to look at the Big Picture the way that Puissance has always had a talent for doing - but she should learn to do it without forgetting the little ponies along the way.

Also, when Puissance has all four horseshoes and puts them on and starts going mad with power, Scepter and Trixie could both talk her down. Or she could collide with a wall and Scepter could dance on her remains just to show how much better the world is without her and that nopony will miss her at all, she truly was that horrible and deserved it.

Either way, really.

I am really not on board with killing her.

GrassAndClouds2
Group Admin

3585498

Well, I wasn't planning to be quite that blunt. :scootangel:

A moderately sized party, then? :twilightblush:

Emeral Bookwise
Group Admin

3585514
I prefer not to think of it as "killing-her-off", and more so just "letting-her-die". A technicality perhaps since we as authors have control over the events of the setting, but I think it's still a distinction worth making.

Besides, I trusted you with AtGGG, and for all my criticism of the early chapters, I think you really did make the best of a bad situation. I'd like to think you could maybe extend some of that same trust in kind. If it helps, while the context would be entirely different from A Christmas Carol, I'd like to think I'd be framing Scepter as her "ghost" of Christmas Future, and that through his genuine affection as perhaps the only member of her family she hasn't estranged, he gets her to finally open up her heart, even if only shortly before the end.

RainbowDoubleDash
Group Admin

3585569
And if it were about Puissance dying of natural causes, I could be more on board with it. Heck, the horseshoes could even still feature as a McGuffin that simply doesn't pay off for one reason or another (they aren't really magical, they can't actually extend life, the fourth horseshoe is already damaged and the set won't work, whatever), and so Puissance actually has face her fear of dying and come to grips with it in a natural way. There's a great story to be told hidden in here about life, dying, and death, how to face these things, and how to leave something worthwhile behind you for after you're gone. For me it would be far more meaningful for the fic to end with Puissance coming to grips with the fact that this year is almost certainly going to be her last and being comforted about that by Scepter in some way (and, sure, Trixie too, they both serve great narrative roles as the youngest scion of her family and one of the youngest members of the Night Court and a member of its next generation), and then we simply have a later fic or even an epilogue mention that she died at some point and, in sharp contrast to the massive extravagance that was her life (and the known plans that she did have), her funeral was a quiet affair attended only by her family at her own last request.

But no, she either has to die by colliding headfirst into a wall after going mad with power, or die from injuries sustained from having collided headfirst into a wall after going mad with power. She can't die a natural death with even the smallest amount of real dignity, no, it has to be self-inflicted by her own stupidity because she's a horrible pony that deserves it. Apparently.

AtGGG was making the best of a bad situation, yes. Or at least I was making something out of a bad situation. But RK doesn't really have that here. No one has been demanding that Puissance die for the past year and a half except him, and he has all the narrative room he could want to write Puissance's death as something that actually means something and accomplishes something besides simply killing her off and making Trixie look good in the process.

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