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Cloud Wander


Be kind. For everyone you meet, life is a hard battle.


T
Source

Blythe Hyacinth Pie, Blinks to her family, makes her annual pilgrimage to Tartarus to see her grandparents and hopes for their redemption.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 99 )

I wrote this for Equestria Daily's "Father's Day" event. There aren't a lot of "dads" in MLP:FIM, understandably, since the focus of the series is about young mares doing interesting things. I was tempted to write a story about Carrot Cake and his love for the Twins, but that seemed too obvious and too easy. I decided, instead, to take a chance on the more "problematic" fathers: Clydesdale Pie and Typhon (whose existence is implied by the presence of Tartarus just over the hill from Ponyville).

Clyde is a good guy, I think. He is quiet, but he shows his love for his family through his diligent work.

Typhon is more troubling. He's the abusive husband and father who is struggling to become decent. I equivocated about his presentation: he is, at turns, monstrous and thoughtful. I don't think he's ready, yet, to join the Lands Above.

Echidna, as I've imagined her here, is like the worst sort of villain from the G1 series: selfish, gloating and intimidating. The bushwoolies are creatures of the G1 series, but here they have a little power: Echidna secretly hopes for them to survive and thrive.

I always thought it was odd that the gate to the underworld was apparently within walking distance of Ponyville, yet no one seems particularly troubled by this. Even worse, Cerberus, the guardian of Hell, who keeps all those monsters and horrors from escaping, occasionally goes on a bit of a wander and has to be lured back to his duties.

Anyway, lovely story, as always. It's particularly interesting to the MLP world through a Greek-inspired lens.

:rainbowderp:
Well, this is a nice twist.

This is a very interesting piece. it has a lot of world building and implications for the Pie family. It makes you really want to know the secrets of the mother and what it means for Pinkie. I would love to see some more chapters of this.

2761124
As a fanfic writer, I was stunned by the appearance of Cerberus and the mention of Tartarus. For love of Celestia and Luna, how does this fit into my world view? Equestria is a mysterious land of which we have only had narrow glimpses. We forget this at our peril.

A few notes:

"Emma" is a tiny joke. In Buddhist mythology, "Emna" is the judge of the dead.

Blythe's and Mooch's "old formula" is from Dante's Inferno.

The Caucasian Eagle was the tormentor of Prometheus, tearing out his liver every day. I thought it appropriate that the Eagle be paid in kind.

The Teumessian vixen vs the hunter, Lelaps, seems like a Warner Brothers cartoon waiting to happen.

Love your worldbuilding as per usual, and the whimsical, breezy way you glide over a story like this with so few words.

Greek mythology geeks! Represent! :twilightsmile:
Very nice story. I smiled at the mention of the bushwoolies.

Darn, and I thought my kids had a hard time figuring out what to get me for Fathers Day.

2761152
Equestria is like the love child of Greek mythology and D&D Monster Manual. All dressed up in pastel-colored magic ponies!

Comment posted by Litho deleted Nov 17th, 2016

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2761152

The first episode:

Of the show that I saw in real time rather than on YouTube was "Feeling Pinkie Keen," and if I hadn't been a fan before, the moment when that hydra came rising up out of the bog would've cemented it.

Very fine story here. Very fine.

Mike

2761483
Thank you. Whew, it's hard to keep these names straight! (Update: OMG! There's another one! Spellchecker save me!)

Ahhhh, so good as always. Forget Sunny Skies, I'll take Cloudy any day!


Plus, I adore mythology.

Benman
Site Blogger

Nicely done. I really enjoyed the bit with Mooch and Cerberus, in particular.

Nitpick: I don't think the first three paragraphs are doing anything useful. Partly this is because of the old "show, don't tell" thing. The opening is telling us what the rest of the first section is showing us. Having both is a bit redundant, and the latter is far more powerful. Mostly, though, it's the ghostpig principle. Which of these seems like a stronger opening:

Clydesdale Pie was an ordinary Earth Pony. Common as clay, said everypony that knew him. He was quiet. Humorless, some said. Hardly a smile or a good word to share with anypony.

Clydesdale’s wife’s name was Emma. Well, to be honest, her true name was unknown to him, and he counted his every day with her a blessing, because she was a miracle.

The first says "this story is well-written, but probably nothing you haven't seen before." The second says "put down everything you're doing and read this." Seriously, I read the first couple of paragraphs, then got distracted by irc and did other stuff for half an hour. When I came back and got to the hook, I ignored my family to finish the rest in one sitting.

Bah, I've been hooked! Now I want to know what's really up with the necklace... but I suppose that mystery, that trust, is part of the story. Very interesting. Love the mythology references... and I was so confused when bushwoolies came up because I'd never heard of them xD I had to google them. Ancient mythological creatures mixed with slightly less ancient (G1 Pony) creatures.

Great story. You approached Father's Day in a way I would've never thought of, and I love it. :pinkiesmile:

2761495

So, Pinkie and her friends were being threatened by her uncle? (Aunt?)

Very nice, like the mythology and the background story for Pinkie's family: although I now wonder what sort of creature "Emma" really is...and it's always nice to see an interpretation of Typhon, the monster so bad-ass that the Greek Gods fled to Egypt when they saw him coming, and which Zeus only beat in the second round.

(Also, for what crime did the Bushwoolies end up in Tartarus? Egregious cuteseyness? ) :pinkiehappy:

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I think the bushwoolies were just there when the monsters moved in. Or, to wax speculative, bushwoolies of Tartarus may have somehow strayed from their place in the Realm Undying (the multiverse of My Little Pony). Actually, considering some of the menaces that regularly thundered around Dream Valley, Tartarus may seem like Paradise to them.

2762136
I've thought a lot about this. One of Equestria Daily's pre-readers made the same point: I tend to bury the lede in my stories. While other writers like to "shoot the sheriff on the first page" or have "two guys with guns come busting in the door," this is not the way I usually think of Ponyville. But this is a defect in me, not the reader, so I should correct it.

In my defense, in this specific case, I thought it made sense. I wanted to establish Clyde and his world as ordinary, before introducing the extra-ordinary. To make a grandiose comparison: like having a scene at the Green Dragon before racing away to avoid the Black Riders of Mordor. Blythe's "Well, I'm back," at the end of the story, is not an accident.

I'll keep this in mind, going forward. One of my favorite writers is Rudyard Kipling, whose tales hook you in the first paragraph and drag you along to the end. I'm no Kipling, but I, like Blythe, have hope.

Benman
Site Blogger

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To be fair, if you're thinking of Boneyard, then that prereader was me. Don't double-count my opinion. (Even though I'm right. :twilightsmile:)

Also I'll point out that LotR doesn't start at the Green Dragon. It starts with Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party, where he starts talking crazy and disappears into thin air. Only then does it go into the pastoral stuff. I like that approach in general: first the hook, then establishing the ordinary, then contrasting against that as it escalates. (When it comes to that last, you're easily the best author in the fandom. The final line in this story is perfect.)

I absolutely adore your use of Greek myth to expand the mlp-verse. The premise for this short is that wonderful combination of totally unexpected in foresight and obviously plausible in hindsight that all 'verse expansions strive for. Love it and I'm looking forward to your next effort. :moustache:

That was fascinating. The Greek influence in FiM is one of my favorite parts of the show, and I just love a story that uses it well.

I noticed that "Well, I'm back," and wondered if it was an intentional reference. Very nice.

2773757
I think you may have helped me focus on the error in my thinking, with that "ghostpig" thing (a rant that should be read by an aspiring writer). I have only written short stories, but I keep approaching them like they are longer forms, novellas or short novels; I think I have a paragraph or page to muddle around, expecting the reader to be patient, when I really don't. I need to go back to my Rudyard Kipling, Robert Bloch and John Collier, and remind myself of the economy intrinsic in the shorter forms.

I will keep this firmly in mind, as I approach my next story. Thanks!

This is bloody fine, and reminds me that I need to get my hands back on some mythology. First rate stuff.

I hope you'll forgive me if I forgo my usual eloquence (or at least, verbosity) here. I love folk stories, I love the juxtaposition of duty and morality, I love your writing, and I love the way this story combines all of it. This was wonderfully tragic, and the hope it offered as it went on was all the sweeter for remaining a dream for the future. The comparison between Clyde's stoic love for his wife and his family despite their "eccentricities," and Typhon's redemptive-destructive love for his, worked wonderfully. I usually try to suggest something or offer a criticism when I comment, but I can't think of any such thing to say this time.

Thank you for sharing this; I really do mean it.

2862528
Thank you for your comment. It is important to me.

The one thing that I would change in this story is Blythe's journey through the hidden paths of Arima. I wrote this for a challenge, and so I tried to keep the story short and to the point, but I really wanted to include a bit of business with Blythe encountering the Vixen and her arch-foe, Laelaps. The Vixen, as you recall, is the fox that can never be caught. The dog, Laelaps, is the hunter that no prey can escape. And so they are trapped in eternal struggle, like Bugs and Yosemite Sam, or the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.

I saw this as a weird, cartoonish moment, presented as comedy but with a frisson of despair or, maybe, camaraderie. I imagined the Vixen looking back at her nemesis and saying, "It's just you and me, 'Laps. You ready to go on?" "Yep, yep, yep! Let's go!" And so they run through the Lands Below, the worst of enemies and the best of friends.

Well, that was the germ of my idea.

I was drawn here by Chris recommending this on his blog, and boy am I glad he did. The story was marvelous, with its folktale feel and thought-provoking themes. A short story really is the ideal medium for this story; not a word feels wasted and everything contributes to the world-building or the exploration of these characters (who show a startling amount of depth for a story that's so short). Thank you for sharing!

Strangely enough, Greek mythology and ponies work together in a very strange way, and are able to give rise to stories with very interesting themes.

I wish I could anything more, but John Perry below said everything else I could about the story. Amazing work!

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Oh, yes. I've touched on Greek history and mythology in a number of my stories. Captain Bucephalus ("Tonight I Shall Be Laughter") is named after Alexander the Great's horse. Commander Hurricane ("Hearth's Warming Eve: A Princess Promenade") is, in my telling, the grandchild of the mighty Pegasus champion Bellerophon. And even Roquefort Cheese ("The Rummy Business of Old Blooey") is a member of the Augean Society (cleaning the Augean stables was one of the Twelve Labors of Heracles).

Perhaps ponies work well in Greek myth because, under all the gods and goddesses, the Greeks retained a body of folklore about great beasts and magical animals, Aesop's fables being the most obvious examples. Were he alive today, I'm sure Aesop would be a brony.

Cloud Wander,

I had to go remind myself of why I remembered your name: The Boneyard and Tonight There Shall be Laughter. I can certainly see how this plays on a lot of the same strings as The Boneyard, but it just couldn't light a spark of interest in me. I suppose it just felt like mythology for the sake of it, not to actually tell any kind of story. That kind of world building has never interested me, so I don't hold it against you. I get there is is a story there, of sorts, but not one I can have any empathy with, which is generally my minimum requirement to really enjoy something.

-Scott

P.S. Blame Chris.

2874478
I appreciate your input. I think I need to spend more time with my stories after I "finish" them. I think the urge to publish sometimes leads me to put a story out there before it's really done. I'll try to slow down a bit.

The pie sisters have an icon now (or maybe they each have their own, I can't remember), so you know.

Seattle's Angels directed me here. This story is masterful, and it doesn't even follow the "rules" of storytelling. You really got me at

Stupid things. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

I thought it was interesting characterization, but probably just a throwaway. But you did that deliberately; it was part of the story.

3293929
Thanks for the heads-up. I've added the Pie Sister's icon to the story.

Well now, that was something else. I've been fascinated with greek mythology for a long time, but my knowledge is shallow. To see a writer such as yourself wield such depths of myth and weave them into such a tale is, lets say, pleasing. The style was appropriate and well-handled as well: It felt like I was reading a particularly good translation of an actual greek fable - if ever there were such a thing about little talking horses, that is. :twilightsheepish:

2761526
Actually, the original spelling can be translated as Ekidna, but consistency is more important than accuracy in fiction.

I like it. Plus, it makes sense, to a degree: What mortal lineage could spawn something so absurd as Pinkamena?
Plus, bonus points for including Typhon. I had been wanting to read/write something with him in it for a while now, so this landed in at just the right time.

Liked and faved, if to show my support.

Absolutely delish!

I love what you did with Greek mythology here, and fathers as well!

Regards,

Dafaddah

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I wish I had known that when I was writing the story. I had to keep reminding myself that, no, Echidna is not a spiny anteater.

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Her namesake is, though.

This has been willed where what is willed must be,

OK, not only do I recognize where that's from, I recognize the translator (John Ciardi, in case anyone's keeping score) :twilightsmile:

The Diamond Dogs dwelt in darkness and so were fascinated with light. Creatures of the depths, their observatories looked not up to the stars, but down into the mysteries of minerals and the souls of crystals. They saw worlds in grains of sand.

As opposed to, say, Alicorns, who see the heavens in wildflowers?:raritywink:

So Pinky has two sisters, Blythe and Inconnabula who go by Blinky and OH NOW WAIT A MINUTE... :pinkiegasp:

Nicely done!

(The frightening thing, to me, is that this is turning out to be one of the wittiest and most erudite sites I've encountered on the Internet. And that includes my visits to Wittipedia and Something Erudite).

The part of fireworks was hilarious, which may not have been what you were going for.

Acolytes of the big boom

:rainbowlaugh:

3315484
Actually, that was exactly what I was going for. I thought Echinda would delight in explosives.

3315508

Names mostly went over my head, but it was interesting nevertheless.

Huh, turns out ponies and Greek mythos go together like wine and cheese.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

You know what I really love about this story? (Well, everything, but this one point sticks out to me.) In here, Clyde is NOT a bloody idiot who goes against the requests of a supernatural being for no reason other than stupidity or temper, like you have with pretty much every myth and legend with a fairy-wife.

3378196
Thank you. I based Clyde's romance on a old Japanese tale of a wife that came to her husband in the snow, on condition that he never ask her name. Of course, eventually, in a thoughtless moment, the husband breaks his bargain and terror ensues.

Clydesdale Pie, in my imagining, is smart enough to know when he has a good thing and doesn't mess with it.

3378687 It ain't just Japanese tales; like, every culture I've read their myths, they have something like that. Of course, if nobody ever did something stupid, the story wouldn't have a plot, but meh.
Feel like writing sensible!Clyde into any other fairy tales?

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