• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.



North of Canterlot, in the far marches of Equestria near the border with the Griffon tribes, there is a mountain that flies.

West of Canterlot, beyond the Galloping Mountains and a desert painted in the pastel hues of a faded rainbow, a tower sits at the edge of the world.

South of Canterlot, past the Everfree forest and the desolate badlands, a city of gardens waits to be born.

The Lost Cities Challenge! Awesome authors who have taken it upon themselves to explore other abandoned places:

- The Land of Glass and Stone, by RazgrizS57
- The City that Breathes, by Pearple Prose
- Aletheia, by Foehn
- Far Kobresia, by Baal Bunny
- Keskiyönnon, by Bradel
- Unknown Architecture, by Not_A_Hat
- The Gentle People, by Bad Horse
- The Seal of Wax and Glass, by DuncanR

Dramatic Reading by Illya Leonov: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4.

Royal Canterlot Library interview for Lost Cities.

Chapters (7)
Comments ( 343 )

I'll have to watch this story. Good job on the first chapter, even if it is a little short.

It's a writing exercise? Very well-done, but you might oughta warn people that it isn't a story. (Or, you know, turn it into a story... :pinkiehappy:)

Oh yeah, that's what I was hoping for after the recent Shorts chapter. Sweet world building.

A very interesting and thought provoking one-shot. Could make for an interesting story of it's own if anyone was so inclined. Thanks for sharing with us.

Nice to see some flavor to that new piece you put in Shorts. The descriptions of the mystery and majesty of the place made me think of a Skyrim dungeon I wanted to explore... maybe it would make an excellent dungeon in The Wind Thief. Too bad unicorns can't access it easily.

Interesting. I especially like how I can interpret Celestia's visit in several ways, each of which fits with the story wonderfully.

It can even be read as a pun. :twilightsmile:

That's the beauty[1] of good writing -- it even supports irreverent smart-alecky interpretations.

[1] Well. One of them, obviously.

I'm not sure it isn't a story. I mean, there's no plot, sure, but there is I feel a theme to it.

It would be interesting to try to form a narrative of some description by merely writing a dozen of factual/lyrical descriptions of this nature and lining 'em up. Write a plot, of sorts, using the empty spaces in between. I read a book, once, that tried much the same.

Isn't it marked as "Complete?"


I apologize. I meant the above comment about it maybe being a story after all for Bad Horse. Don't know how I came to address it poorly.

I've always liked the idea of expanding on the nature of cloud architecture and construction.

This reminds me of two things at the moment. First is Stewart Cowley's TTA books, specifically Spacewreck. I can picture a suite of Peter Elson's paintings, wrapped with the story of lost Derecho. Second is Lovecraft, and here I had in mind his more detached and descriptive short pieces such as Doom that Came to Sarnath. I get that same feeling of matter-of-fact at-arms's-length description here, bristling with story hooks and history yet casually swept aside into some dusty history text which may never be opened again. Good show!

True, it is not a story of the "Once upon a time, something, something, They Lived Happily Ever After" type, but it brings a mental picture floating into view of a haunted and ancient ruin of a type we have never seen before, and causes the mind to explore the hidden recesses and nooks of this briefly-exposed ancient wonder.

(with apologies to Percy Bysshe Shelly)
My name is Hurricane, Ruler of the Sky:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level clouds stretch far away

This a beautiful one-shot, the descriptions and the little snippets of history pack a lot of depth and flavor into very few words. In an odd way, it almost reminds me of a game I'm currently running over on SB, one of my personal favorite options for the capitol city (and the one I was most excited about) would've been a cloud fortress-city much like this one, I can't help but imagine it and go "what if"...

I usually can't stand to read exposition past two or three paragraphs. That you kept my attention for an entire 1.2K words with only two rushing jerks of the eyes towards the bottom of the page on my part is a definite good thing. Consider your exercise successful.

Would it be okay for authors to use this mystical relic of Equestria's past in their own stories?


One of the great forts of the pegasi, so important that it created its own city out of light clouds. It reminds me of keeps during the Middle Ages, and their popular recreations with towns around the walls.

It was a nice and short read. The history for the city must be fantastic.

2538548 Now you have me wanting to write something composed entirely of swaths of pure narration like this. Why are there so many ideas!! :raritycry::twilightoops::raritydespair:

I must admit, I don't see the pun. I'm not a massive punner myself, but I'm still curious what it could possibly be.


Would it be okay for authors to use this mystical relic of Equestria's past in their own stories?


2539048 Ya know, just because the show likes to horseshoehorn pony puns into their locales doesn't mean we're obligated to do the same.

I'd paraliptically say that the commas are numerously misplaced and that there's too much narrative-delivered exposition, but that would be mean.

As it is, however, the story's bones are quite solid, even if I might be misinterpreting them, and -

As noted earlier, the pegasi were not known as bookkeepers.

I think I just came.


I have trouble with the whole independent/dependent clause thing. At some point in my misspent youth I mislearned the appropriate usage of commas to join clauses, and it persists to this day.

Ah well. Live and learn.

Perhaps 'pun' isn't the best word for it, but Celestia, at her lowest point, goes to a place that's known as 'Eclipse.' Fitting.

Author Interviewer

Fascinating. I disagree with whoever said this isn't a story, for there is most certainly a story here, and its fascination stems from its total lack of characters to be hung upon. Minus a few repetitions (not the one about bookkeeping, mind), I'd say you rose very neatly to that challenge. :)

2539131 Oh, it has nothing to do with the name of the place. Ghost was remarking on Celestia's visiting the place.

2539299 Ah. I see what you did there. Fitting indeed.

I believe I would have called that "word-play", of which punning is a form. I think the distinction is that puns are seen as having some humor value, even if that value is "groan, really?" Close enough, I suppose.

Liked it. A quite fun, well written piece of world building.

2539379 Ahhhh, I see now.

I am ashamed that that didn't click during the reading...

Yeah, this is going to find its way to a pony based RPG.
Thanks for the great location!

Your experience as a military journalist is showing in the voice of this narrative. The face-valueness of it makes it, on the whole, a bit difficult to become fully immersed like your other stories, but there's nothing stopping this from expanding as a documentary-esque story way past what you've already set up. With your mind, it's only a matter of time.

Chilling to imagine. An entire battlestation, abandoned to the winds centuries ago and still housing the ghosts of its past? It reminds me of a Warhammer 40K space hulk, only with more promises of adventure and spooky abandoned architecture than threats of Tyranid infestation.
I could see this being a springboard for stories concerning the pegasi's militant past. (I hope it's used as such, its story must be told!)
Is Derecho somehow derived from Jericho?

Derecho and everything to do with it are a very cool bit of worldbuilding, and this moody little piece gives it an atmosphere (hah!) of age and desolation. It's interesting to imagine an ancient ruin made of clouds!

The ancient fortress-capital of the pegasi, crumbling to wisp yet still a construction of such power.

The largest library ever built by pegasi, containing over a thousand volumes...


As noted earlier, the pegasi were not known as bookkeepers.

Ooh. Heh.

For someone lacking practice with the bones of this story, it came out amazingly well. There was just a slight bit of repetition in the middle, but I don't quite think I could put my finger on it to point it out. Also, I agree that this would make wonderful exposition for any number of story directions!

For some reason, the title "Thunder Queen" tickles my fancy in inexplicably delicious ways. It's a really tiny, brief detail in the story, but it really stood out to me.

Exercise in writing? That was awesome.

Earth ponies called it "Eclipse," huh? I seem to remember seeing that word in some art related to The Wind Thief's sequel. Color me intrigued. :trixieshiftright:

2539814 Don't tell anyone in the chat, randomguy

but you forgot

Didn't you?

The name of Derecho. But ah Cyne never forgets. You even mentioned it would find it's way into a pony RPG! Hehehe.

I'm bad with names... Also, I realized it once I actually had some sleep in me. And I'll keep this to myself.

As I was reading this awesome exercise in writing, I cannot have been the only one to notice similarities between Detecho and a certain incarnation of Jonathan Swift's "The Whore" (translated).
I love world building.

An incredible piece of worldbuilding. Loved it!

I'm having Dark Tower flashbacks.


Judging by how the unicorns perceived the earth ponies in their sculpted images, I can only imagine what that altar was meant for.

My guess: they (the unicorn rulers) sacrificed ponies or something, and Celestia and Luna smote them for it. A pretty disastrous blow too from the sounds of it.

The Moral of the Story : Don't (censor) with Celestia and Luna's ponies.

Damn, this is impressive. You're getting much better with these "experiments" of yours. I eagerly await the next installment.

For the first time, a scent other than dirt and stone fills the air. It drifts in from the opening.
It is ash.

As I reached this line, For The New Lunar Republic started playing. :rainbowderp:
This is even more chilling than the last one. The stories you aren't telling us are as intriguing as what you do.

Pegasi: Massive cloud fortress. :rainbowdetermined2:
Unicorns: Enormous spire palace, still powered by ancient magicks. :raritystarry:
The Earth ponies' massive abandoned structure must be... Earth itself! :pinkiegasp:

Addendum: Oh wow, this first showed up in Ponemurdered? I was surprised when this showed up there!

Definitely a different feel to this one. This comes a little bit closer than the first chapter to actually telling a story. There is clearly an implied set of events here, whereas it was left a bit more vague as to what happened to Derecho.

But both chapters are extremely effective at showcasing a specific culture, displaying their priorities and their attitudes. It's interesting to note that both the pegasus and unicorn cultures displayed here were highly insular and self-centered, but in dramatically different ways. All the opulence and splendor, all the hubris. The bit about the wall-carvings steadily de-humanizing (de-ponifying?) the earth ponies was especially chilling.

Now, in the first chapter, the only modern ponies whose view of the fortress was referenced were earth ponies. And in this chapter, the only modern ponies mentioned are pegasi. I wonder if that's just a coincidence of convenience, or if you're going to complete the cycle in the next chapter by making whatever bastion the earth ponies had only visited by unicorns?

So very nice:

I love reading pieces like this aloud in a hushed John Hurt sort of voice.

One brief typo: "Hundreds of small outbuilding surround a central castle," it says at one point. Unless "outbuilding" is wunna them pesky collective nouns...


Again, beautiful writing. The description of the Heartspire is full of haunting grandeur. It gave me the idea that the White Queens were the traditional movers of the Sun and the Moon, before Celestia and Luna came onto the scene... and that they continued the sacrifices, out of tradition and vanity, until the Princesses visited them. Once.

Chilling! Tower of Babel anyone? Or the (most probably false) tales about the Egyptian pyramids, where the pharaohs had the workers buried to keep their secrets?
I like this chapter even better then the first one. And I loved that one already!

Nicely drawn. These would make excellent settings for a hypothetical pony-related RPG. Cant wait to see the conclusion of the triptych; unless, that is, you have a fourth in mind beyond that for the alicorns.

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