• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen 15 minutes ago

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


Daring Do has never turned away from a challenge. But when she finds herself trapped beneath an ancient temple with a haunted artifact, she may end up wishing she'd stayed home instead.

First place story in the Equestria Daily 2013 Nightmare Night Contest!

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 69 )


That ending...

This was incredible...

~Skeeter The Lurker

Ehhhh... this was alright, but I never really got grabbed by the story, and while Skeeter liked the ending, I didn't really find it anything that amazing. I didn't really feel any visceral threat from the spirits, and I didn't ever really... care that much I guess? Those five deadly words, I suppose.

Author Interviewer

This was a good one. Maybe not as spoopy as can be, but an excellent story.

I... honestly don't know what to say. I don't really like open endings like this and, while it was heart warming, it just didn't feel complete.

While it really was creepy most of the times (it was worst/best before the spectres started reaching out for them) it just didn't quite have that horror-feel in the end.

Have you seen 1408? It's a horror movie that does and open ending well. The protagonist escaped the horror, but a tiny, tiny bit of it followed him. Not enough to haunt him, but enough to make the viewer go "Oh... shit."

Had you done something similar, let them both escape but have the lantern, I dunno, be watched by one of those spectres from a distance after they escaped (provided they take it with them) then it would have been better, I think.

Now, don't get me wrong. This was good, but it could have been better.

Ohhh hell. I really really don't like saying that this...didn't really do it for me. Sorry Cold! :fluttercry:

It just seemed like there was too much left too unexplained. The Lantern is left ambiguous, as well as the spectres and Cinnabar himself. And while the ending was interesting, it didn't really feel appropriate in a horror setting. It seemed more fitting for a more dramatic slife of life type fic. Now, don't get me wrong, from a technical standpoint this is fantastic. Very nice character interaction, wonderful description of the setting and all that. But, as a horror fic? Or even just dark, it... sort of falls flat.



I like this a lot, actually.

I couldn't help but think of Death's lantern while reading this. I feel it added to the experience.

(ending spoilers spoilered)

I feel — or at least I hope — like there's some missing piece of the puzzle here, and once that clicks into place, the ending is going to hit me between the eyes. Right now, though, I'm trying and failing to find a link between the titular lantern and the significance of Daring returning to the underworld for Doctor Professor Dad.

Is something existential going on like they are the ones who are actually dead? What makes me guess that is that we have conflicting information from two light sources. One is the lantern, and one is Dr. Prof. Dad's horn; with tidbits like the writing DP Dad can't read, I feel like there are hints that it's actually the latter which is faulty. One big piece of evidence influencing that, though, is the bandage torch. Since that agrees with DPD-vision, if that's faulty, then we also have an unreliable narrator, and that turns the story on its head in a way that I can't parse.

It's a little frustrating, because to build up so much mythology around the lantern and then jump to an ending moral about family togetherness just … doesn't make sense, unless the ending does double duty in a way I missed.

Or is the family bit even supposed to be a spoiler? The first time it's explicitly mentioned that DPD is her father is the last section, but there are a few hints leading up to it. Is Fossil prominent in some sort of fanon I haven't read?


I only had about 24 hours to write this one, so it may not feel as complete as my other stories might. I do believe, however, that it has a complete ending. The unresolved items -- the nature of the lantern, the spirits, Daring and Fossil's fates -- are ultimately not very important. What matters is what Daring does.

I won’t give this a serious critique as such... Overall I thought this was a fun read, but while you built up the tension nicely in some areas, it honestly didn’t spook me as much as I’d hoped. But as a spooky adventure tale with some fun dialog and excellent descriptive writing along the way, it was enjoyable.

One thing I noticed at the end:

At last she reached the top of the chimney, a hole barely wide enough for her to slip through. She stuck her leg through it, ready to pull herself out, when a chance turn of her body set her gaze back down the rocks, to the circle of moonlight far below.

While it’s dramatic, she was mostly blocking the hole that the moonlight would have shined down through...

Other things that caught my eye:
- Lith again! A legendary (fictional) city from Lost Cities, used in a meta-fictional story of a pulp fictional character.

- Interesting that Cinnabar was a unicorn, and Lith was an earth pony city...

- With a name like Cinnabar, he was destined to be mad...

- observe, orient, decide, act – I finally remembered that you’d used the OODA loop in Salvation. Nice inclusion.

A couple of (possible) errata for you:

“A young mare’s game, says the old man.”

Man? Was this deliberate for the use of the phrase?

A thousand icy hooks stabbed stabbed into her




Grrr! Fixed, thanks.

Personally, I think most of the trouble comes from how the story was presented. Both the story description and the blog post gave the sense, at least to me, that this would be primarily a horror story. Therefore, as the story approached the end, I was expecting some sort of horror-y twist.

But really, this was less a horror story and more of an adventure story with spooky flavor. Looking at the tale in that light, and with the (for me) new info that it was written in twenty-four hours, the story seems perfectly fine.

Thumbs up.

Heh, OODA loop.

Hmmm, looks like you got featured. :yay:

About the lantern, I believe this quote from HP Lovecraft's "From Beyond" is appropriate:
"Don't move [...] for in these rays we are able to be seen as well as to see." :twistnerd:

I can understand that it may not feel complete when you only had 24 hours, and while I agree that what Daring does is important, I disagree on the point that the rest is unimportant.

Written well, but was a bit misleading. 3371640 has got it right.

That was heart-warming. Almost made me cry...I would have :twilightblush: If you'd killed Fossil. But you didn't so all is good. Great story! :twilightsmile:



Wasn't actually expecting a coda.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Honestly glad that you brought a bit of closure to it.

Though... Am I to assume that they survived? It's a little unclear as some of it seems almost like a... memorial. Judging by what was written on that note, I'd say they got home alive but I cannot help but be a little unsure.

I didn't really need the closure – adventurers never die in their own Adventure stories, or it would be a Tragedy, instead – but it's a sweet sentiment.


I reclaimed it, and I brought it home

The existence of the note itself, written by her after the fact, is a pretty solid indication of the answer you're looking for...

That's what I thought as well, but when it is explained what it looks like... It almost feels like it's a memorial.

3374215 I agree, it does have a little bit of that feel to it, but the question of that is really "Is she dead now?" and not "Did she die trying to save her 'greatest treasure'".

I hope it's that she is still alive, and not a fast forward 'till when her days have passed :derpytongue2:

Author Interviewer

Surprisingly, it doesn't undermine the story. :) Nicely done.

a small glass hummingbird


Awww, for a period in the middle I thought I was going to read something from the SCP Foundation (087, to be exact). Still an amazing story :twilightsmile:

Wow. Just wow. While I personally preferred the original ending, I guess the coda is nice for those who wanted a more concrete ending. FANTASTIC work on this story overall. The level of detail was incredible, but without becoming bogged down or overly prosaic. God I love this story!

And the whole thing with the lantern revealing things was pretty awesome. (Reminded me of the water monster sequence from Amnesia: The Dark Descent.) But it makes me wonder, if the lantern isn't lit, are the apparitions still there and merely invisible? Or do they cease to be as soon as the light goes out?

The world may never know.

Clap,Clap,Clap this was awesome you need too make more stories like this:pinkiehappy::fluttercry:

This was amazing to read at 12pm now I can sleep knowing I read a really good fic:twilightsmile:

I'm sorry but I got a little lost at the very last lines:
Did Daring walk back into the darkness with the ghosty-goos to die with her dad? Or did Daring become the hulk and carry Fossil out of there?
It's just if when I read the ending, I could interpret it either way

I think the story benefitted much more from this ending. Great story.

Your killing me. You made a Daring Do story. No, you made one of the best Daring Do stories out there. The picture it crafted in the minds eye was nothing short of spectacular. Everything else has already been said by others, so great work, hope to see more of your work soon.

This was overall a pretty good story! Not quite amazing, but better than average, at least. I personally didn't feel quite as drawn into it as I feel like I should have, and at no point in the story can I say my heart was set racing in fear or disturbance for our characters; and even the unsolved mystery of the catacombs and Cinnabar the Mad doesn't really leave me itching for answers.

In spite of that, though, this was still an enjoyable from start to finish, and I liked the twist of Fossil being Daring's father. Like JohnPerry said in his comment, I didn't make even the slightest connection until it was hinted it after the sequence in the big, dark hall. Well done in that respect. And as a fellow sucker for happy endings, I greatly appreciate you putting in this epilogue for closure's sake!

All in all, nicely done!

Woah, I love it.

And the coda made it even better, at least for me.

This was an amazingly done work of fiction, but I can't shake the feeling that this could have been done slightly better by leaving an air of mystery to it, but it's your story, not mine. You write what you want and how you want, and I will enjoy it either way.

I assume I'm supposed to read Fossil in the voice of Sean Connery.

It wasn't scary, per se, but it was meaningful.

I always really like your stuff. Thanks for writing this!

I loved this and the ending was incredible, Daring maybe able to do what it takes to get the treasure but not at the expense of somepony's life. Very admirable and loyal in my books and in certain cyan Pegasus ones as well :rainbowdetermined2:. This story was a good read I could feel the fear that Daring was feeling when the spirits started to come after her and Fossil as well as the desperation when Daring was trying to get them both to safety at near the end. .

Damnit CIG! I want to be mad that this wasn't a Salvation update, but it was just too damn beautiful!

Seriously, though, I absolutely love your writing. I have thoroughly enjoyed every story of yours that I've had the pleasure of reading, and this one was no exception. Another thing I love about your writing is your stories aren't predictable (at least not to me), which is a really good thing. I can predict how too many stories end, both on this site and actual published, non-pony related stuff. But not you, man. I love it!

Very good. I mean, very good. There were plenty of depictions that made cold shivers run down my spine, like the one that described Daring's reaction to the possibility of being blind. "She shoved that thought into the back of her head and stomped on it until it was quiet." I mean... That's just perfect, in my opinion. If I had a hat, you would have it for that sentence alone.

Three things make the story so compelling to read: The natural and witty dynamic between the two ponies, the depictions that trail slightly off from the plot (like the part where Daring refrains from stepping on another pony's blood), and the way how small details bring tons of credibility to the story. Daring's cursing is just a one example of this elaborate detailing. Also, the way how you make Daring's pain in the end simply come alive... It is intoxicating.

I really don't have anything but praise in reseve for this fic, praise and a humble wish that your work will continue in the future.

I loved this fic!
...Except for that ending. Man, seriously that ending.

You say the nature of the lantern, the spirits, and the fates of Fossil and Daring are unimportant. I agree with the first two. We know all that we need to know about them. The lantern reveals stuff, the spirits are a threat, and the two are connected somehow.

Their fates though, I find that quite important. What glued me to this story was the question "How are they going to make it out of there?" And that went unanswered! Their adventure clearly does not end at that chimney. I feel like I, the reader, was the one left there to die while they continued on without me. I didn't consent to that! And just saying "They made it out" (in 420 words) isn't enough. It's not the destination, it's the journey or, as you said, what Daring does. From there. Because clearly there's still much more to do.

I suppose what bugs me the most though is that final line. "Into the light."
You say you are not explaining the fates of Fossil and Daring, but that line appears to me as a failed attempt to do exactly that. It raises too many questions. Where's this light coming from? Did it appear gradually or suddenly? What's it going to do for them?
On top of that it just gave me some major cognitive dissonance after reading the line before it. "Toward the Darkness... Into the light." That image just doesn't work. With no implied time gap or anything, that just leaves me confused.

So yeah, I think it would be awesome if that last line was omitted. I still probably wouldn't like the ending, but I'd feel much better about it.

This story is amazing! :pinkiesmile: It scared me but it's sweet. :fluttershysad::yay: How do you do that? Great work.

I read "Reading Room #36" and your story now and yours is not so scary like that one.
The ghosts are a threat, definitely, but they only appear or get decoyed when the lantern is lit and so, it's clear that they only try to protect the lantern, not harm anyone that get's into this catacombs.
Like an additional trap.
Also, it seems that they are slow and that you can avoid them easily.
If we look at that, the bigger threat in this catacombs is more the simple fact that they are trapped there, without food, without anything to drink (or maybe they have some proviant, but probably not enough for a long time) and injured, without a clue where the exit is and if there is an exit.
That makes the story more adventurous, than horrific.
That doesn't mean the story in general is bad.
It's a good adventure story, it's just not a good horror story, like it should be for that contest.
But it has still scary elements of course, and the design of the ghosts is outstanding.
They are something between a classical ghost, that is just a white nebula in the air, and Slendermane.
That is a mixture that works perfect, giving you two different moments of fright, when they appear for the first and when they appear, better described, for the second time.
Also, the ending of this story, letting the coda aside, is genius!
"Into the light" can be read in two ways.
I don't want to spoil the meaning, and left that open for everypony that wants to figure it out for itself, but, this has two different meanings and gives the end a touch of horror.
The coda here destroys this a bit, I would love the story more without it, but it still has something compelling.
It has a memorial feeling like Daring Do died a long time ago, when this is set, and that the treasures she found are kept in this university, to keep her memory alive.
Good touch of feelings at the end!

realy liked this one CiG :)
while i agree whit most people here on the coments, i take it your aim was the characterization of both daring and fosil, insted of the whole spooky thing.
by the by, the mechanics of the lantern ticled my fancy, i would like to read something like that again :trollestia:

and i saw what you did there whit the "glass hummingbird" lol

and also, thanks for sharing your stories man!

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