• Member Since 8th Dec, 2011
  • offline last seen 10 hours ago

Dafaddah


Stories about families, friends, the past, the present, the future, the science of magic and the magic of science.

E

"I stood before the doors to Princess Celestia’s private chambers, just as I had so many times before, and waited. I’ve always been a nervous mare before our meetings, wondering if what I had done measured up to her expectations. But I had never before entered those rooms with the blood of another being on my hooves. I swallowed, dreading what I would discover behind those doors."

Twilight faces more than she bargained for when a resort island turns out very different from her expectations, and she must make a decision that will forever change how she sees herself.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 70 )

... Note too self direwasps=death


Great story tho!

Haunting. I like the compassion and depth of heart Twilight has here: I feel it's the sort of dark that feels true to the show.

I wonder why I have a thing for princesses and pince-nez

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I have you to thank for bringing me here. And I'm so happy that you did. I can't even describe how much I love this story...:heart:

So. Beautiful. :twilightsmile: is there a sequel? :derpytongue2:

Love the setting [super justified and imaginative island intrigue mystery resort thing]! 8D ...That ending destroyed my hive with direwhats.

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Thanks! Think of it as my personal contribution to changelings' lib.

3437065

Wow! You just stated exactly what I was going for with this story. It actually took three takes before I thought I got it right. And it really feels good to have a reader say it outright!

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Celestia with glasses steams up my glasses every time! And thanks for pointing 3439028 to this story!

3439028

Thanks for the kind words! Nothing makes this author wannabe happier!

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I planned this as a one-shot. However, it basically reflects my own internal view of Twilight, so I'll be writing more related stories in the future. You might also want to check out my other Twilight story Filial. :twilightblush:

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And I'm sure the cameos didn't hurt!

Hey everypony, keep in mind that it's Movember! :moustache::moustache::moustache:

oh wow, you've done a good one here, this story has earned a place on the board.

This was a fantastic story, and I loved you're take on both the changelings and Twilight's personality. This whole story had an air of authenticity to it, and had fantastic emotion. Thank you very much for writing such a great story, Daf. :ajsmug:

it was well written, regimenting and overall a very good read. well done.

Brilliant story, through and through. I loved the way Twilight acts in this story and how much her compassion was shown. Your take on changelings was awesome as well. This story was very emotional, too. :fluttercry:

It was pretty good. The mystery aspect was handled very well, and I liked that sense of creeping wrongness. Although I don't think I am convinced that Twilight is at the stage where she could consider them friends, I think you did a reasonably good job of allowing her to empathize with the plight of the Changelings. Btw, was the parasite monster based on the ichneumon wasp that lay eggs in caterpillar and which uses chemical concoction to mind control the caterpillar into protecting the larvas once the larvas have eaten their way out of the caterpillar? It is a pretty cool concept.

Very well done. The pacing seemed spot on, and the overall concept of the hive's tactic was great! The only issue I had was the multiple "out of frame" moments with the wasp. Common in movies, but in written word doesn't always work as well. It started to feel forced the second and third times Twilight almost-but-not-quite sees it. The brilliant characterization and plot completely overshadow that minor quibble though. I really enjoyed the read from start to finish. :pinkiehappy:

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I'm glad you liked it!

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I wanted to take the idea of the changelings and create something that Twilight would resonate with, if not outright admire. Her emotional trip here is what makes this story special for me, and I'm so glad you like it.

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I know, hiding the monster until the last scene is typical horror visual stuff, but I was going for horror, so there it is. :twilightblush:

Dafaddah

Great story!
If I had to find something to criticize I'd say that the cover-image gave away a bit of the story.

Edit:
And then I notice that you have tagged the story "Changelings". Well DUH! :derpytongue2:
But I felt quite clever for working it out before.

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Changelings is a misdirection anyway! It's what I want everyone to think before the real monster is revealed. And I kinda telegraphed it anyway, even though it's an obvious conclusion to make.

[SPOILERS AND REALLY LONG CONJECTURE!!]

Hmm, not bad... yet it suffers from a few rationality flaws which are almost universal in similar stories or similar subplots in longer tales.

First, the creatures/people that know about their natural enemy for many years and yet have developed no defenses in all that time.

It's one thing to be helpless in the face of an unknown adversary, or one that is difficult to avoid; but a large creature you already know about no longer has the sole advantage of surprise.

We merely need look at humans to see how intelligence and the capacity for forethought drastically shift the dynamics.

It's why the changelings were acceptable as a foe to me in the show. The ponies didn't know about them, thus there is no way they could be reasonably expected to be prepared to watch out for them.

Secondly, I am also a bit nonplussed over the excuse for not trying to escape or ask for help when the ONLY other outcome was to be wiped out. That has always irked me in other stories with similar situations. If they were all going to die anyway, why not grasp the only chance they had? At least Twilight might have had mercy. The real monster certainly wouldn't. Those wasps were a danger to their entire species. Getting the word to somepony that at the very least would kill the wasps for their own self-defense could only be a benefit.

Being able to get off a shot in the dark is better than being left completely unarmed and helplessly dragged to the slaughter.

Even some animals know that when they face certain death, stumbling toward a human that may or may not help them is a chance worth taking. I have two cats who, as wild kittens at the brink of starvation and hypothermia, came to me crying pitifully. For all they knew, I could have been some evil bastard and stomped on them. But that last-ditch effort ended up saving their lives. It's a final instinctive impulse, a make-or-break act of desperation that at least some of the time will save the creature's life, versus certain death if they do nothing.

But beyond those two incongruities it's a fairly solid story. The characterization feels strong, though Twilight is slightly more naive about the history of Equestria than I think she should be. I'm certain she's studied the books about pony wars. She's dug deeply into the hidden past even in the show. After all, she was the one who found the obscure book of prophecy about NMM's return.

I actually guessed what the real monster was, thanks to my being a biologist and having seen many such examples in nature.

It needs a few revisions to shore up the weak points. Perhaps have the monster be something only recently known, the cause of sudden mysterious hive destruction which went unknown due to hives tending to be solitary (competition over 'food'... being ponies' love) and since every member was killed no one would be left to warn the others. The changelings would have only anecdote and hearsay from scouts of hives with all living things wiped out, and some foreboding remains that suggest something in hunting and devouring them. But it'd be too little, and too late once they realized the danger. This hive could be one that thought itself safe by hiding on a remote island.

Yes, that would completely solidify the concept and remove any implausibility from an in-world standpoint.

And on Twilight's end, if her hesitance and self-loathing originated not of ignorance of history, but of simple disgust and horror at having to take such an action when in all her other battles a less drastic solution based on Harmony was found. The mental torment would be intense indeed if it was the last Hive and the Dire-wasp the last of its kind. She'd be indirectly responsible for the extermination of one form of life, and directly causing the extinction of the other. Even knowledge of Equestria's darker past couldn't prepare her for that, since none of the wars resulted in xenocide, not even Discord had wiped out entire species... or maybe he did (seaponies, Flutterponies.. two species, just like the wasps and changelings...) which would make her like him... which wouldn't exactly bring comfort to her mind! She could easily lead herself into the belief that she must be the most horrible being that ever lived. Hmm, if she were of a purely pacifist mindset, of the belief that as a Bearer she was a 'better' pony than that... given her personality... yes, her inner turmoil would then be very genuine in every regard.

I like to apply logic and reason to everything. Life makes sense when I do that. :twilightsmile:

3442200 Given that the changelings are predators, it'd be more akin to the wasps that lay eggs on spiders.

Even spookier are the fungi that take over the minds of ants.

And I have a story in the works about that... it's hard for me to write because it's hopelessly grimdark. Legitimately hopeless. I've been trying to find some way to save somepony without it being hamfisted and ruining the dramatic climax, but I can't.

Maybe I should just write it with humans. Then I won't care! :pinkiecrazy:

(NOTE: SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!)

3443956

Very good comments and suggestions!

First, the creatures/people that know about their natural enemy for many years and yet have developed no defenses in all that time.

Twilight was explicit that she didn't know much about the Dire-wasps, and she is excessively well educated! In my idea, the little that is know about them is from when a few went berserk after laying their eggs. As stated, they lose most of their sentience in that process. Also, even though I didn't elaborate (because the story was already getting too long!) the changelings know more about them than Equestrians do, but an isolated changeling hive, like this one, is pretty much defenseless because the Dire-wasp actually takes over the minds of the hive - first itsqueen, and then all the members. Then it's like Picard when he was with the Borg! He was conscious of what he was being made to do, but was completely powerless to stop it.

Secondly, I am also a bit nonplussed over the excuse for not trying to escape or ask for help when the ONLY other outcome was to be wiped out.

This is for the same reason as the one above. The changelings cannot leave. The Dire-wasp's influence in their minds doesn't allow them to leave, or enact any action that could be detrimental to the objectives of the Dire-wasp. Certain stronger willed changelings can periodically influence the actions of their own bodies as long as these actions don't contradict the will of the Dire-wasp. That's why they could put their pony guests into cocoons, it simply didn't matter to the Dire-wasp. But leave the island? Tell a pony about the DW? No way it would allow that.

One last point. Queen Theda was only able tell Twilight specifics once she was encocooned herself and dying from the DW's neurotoxin. BTW - that's why she partially encocooned Twilight - she couldn't warn her directly or otherwise go against the will of the DW, and she needed Twilight to survive a bit longer, until the DW's lost enough brainpower so that Twilight had a fighting chance.

The characterization feels strong, though Twilight is slightly more naive about the history of Equestria than I think she should be.

Thanks! She was quite naive about what Celestia, her idol, might have done personally. The same for her BBBFF. Her anxiety was in having fallen off the path of Harmony and Friendship. But you're right, the additions you mentioned would certainly have added to her angst.

Thanks for the great comments, and best of luck with your story!

3444231 I dun wanna write my story... so many dead ponies...

But the brain fungus compells me... :derpyderp2:

I loved this! A bit confusing on some parts, but I got it together eventually. Overall, it was a great story.
You sir, have a talent! :raritywink:

An interesting story; once again, I've spent time on fimfiction when I should have been doing something more productive :twilightsmile:.

One nit-pick: I realize it's supposed to be central to the theme, but it's very odd that Twilight would be in denial about the princesses and the military having to kill people. It's the sort of things history books would cover, if nothing else, and that's pretty much what a military is _for_.

Reluctance to personally kill someone I can understand, but I'd expect her to have at least thought about the possibility of being put in such a situation before. After all, she and the rest of the elements of harmony are effectively one of Celestia's Special Forces teams, and have been for quite some time.

Still a nifty read; thanks for writing it!

3444969

Think about this for a moment: Twilight's been taught by Princess Celestia to use the magic of friendship to solve problems, not weapons, not violence and certainly not killing. She certainly must have known Equestria's history including its martial history. That's quite different from having to face and make such choices herself. Also, the EoH don't solve problems by killing but by turning enemies into friends, or into statues if the first option is not available. The EoH are not a SWAT team, they're a reset button! As to killing in defense of others, Twilight has NOT been prepared to face such a choice, as Celestia herself admits in their meeting in her quarters.

As to Celestia having been involved in actual killing, there's a big difference between ordering troops into battle and leading them Into battle, especially in the medieval type of battle implied by the show's armaments and martial costumes. But in Twilight's time, Celestia puts a lot of effort in the show into avoiding the use of force - again, setting the expectation in Twilight to avoid resolving problems that way. That is why Twilight was so sure she had betrayed Celestia's teachings (not that she doesn't already suffer from performance anxiety when it comes to her teacher!)

I certainly think it would be more realistic to have a 'weapon' as powerful as the EoH trained for in martial disciplines, if only to protect themselves from foreign attempts at neutralizing them. But then this is a show for little girls, and so that's not how the EoH are portrayed in canon.

3445279

She'd certainly be unprepared to make such a choice, but to expect that justifiable use of lethal force would be a betrayal of Celestia's expectations is taking things a bit far - especially since, given military history, Twilight would know that Celestia's at minimum sanctioned such things in the past and at worst directly participated (she went horn to horn with Chrysalis, after all, suggesting that she doesn't always lead from behind).

Regarding the element artifacts themselves being nonlethal weapons, that's true, but the element _bearers_ have been placed in situations where lethal conflict might occur. They're expected to use non-lethal force if at all possible, and to look for peaceful solutions if at all possible, but they're expected to _survive_ if situations turn ugly. This implies being a _party_ to a lethal battle, even if they're expected to withdraw rather than fight one.

To have any of them (besides Fluttershy) be shocked by the _concept_ of lethal force is very odd (just as a medic in a war-zone would expect others to be killing each other even if they themselves are ostensibly a non-combatant).

Long story short, I feel that Twilight's reaction is overblown even given her obsessive tendencies. Tweaking the prose could probably remedy that without altering the plot or theme of the piece.

3443979
Oh yes, the cordyceps. They are pretty awesome. They mind control the ant into climbing up a tree, biting down on a leaf, and then they die while the fruiting body of fungi grows out of their head. There is a videogame The Last of Us in which the zombie apocalypse happens because they infect humans.

3446050 Yes, and it infects changelings... first. :raritydespair:

That was a magnificent story. Thank you.

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All ego boosting feedback will be cheerfully accepted. :twilightblush:

Just... wow. I am seriously in awe. This was one of the best Adventure fics I've ever read – and definitely scores high in best-stories-I've-ever-read, period. This story covered all angles of an Adventure story – the build-up, the mystery, the action, the death, and the happy ending – and it excelled in each masterfully.

There were a few places where I feel like the pacing could have been a little more drawn out to build the atmosphere (and there were also a few missing or out-of-place words here and there, but that's no big deal), namely a lack of setting-description that sometimes led certain scene to feeling a little vague and hard-to-follow. The most noticeable of these was the climax scene in the shed: When one pictures a shed, one does, I think, normally imagine a building large enough to house hundreds of large cocoons.

I greatly enjoyed taking this journey with Twilight. I've always been a fan of mystery, and the build-up to the revelation panned out quite smoothly, in spite of my previous complaint about pacing. The characterization of Twi was absolutely spot-on, and you definitely made me feel for and with her and the changelings. It's like Twilight said herself: I don't hate the changelings, nor do I really hold much against them at all. They're merely adhering to their nature, and doing so in a non-harmful way. There are certainly some moral implications to be mentally hashed out, but for now, we can plainly see that the changelings treated their pony guests well, and even left said guests off better than before in the process; And earns my respect, doubtlessly.

All in all, an absolutely stellar story, and one I would most definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys intelligent reads. Thanks a lot for the experience, Dafaddah! These kinds of stories are honestly why I read fanfiction.

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Thanks for your kind wor... CRACK!

Hey! My blush just broke. I think I'll go lie down until it recovers. :twilightsheepish:

... and thanks!

Daf

so dark and so chrysalicious...

never thought that she would be dead

3574914

so chrysalicious...

Thanks! And I'm gonna use that expression myself! :trixieshiftright:

Best one-shot on Fimfiction, hands down.

I need to say, for sure its hard to write story about something like that, but damn that was well done.

That was amazing. The hook was wonderful, and you did a great job of building up the dark atmosphere. And in the end, you really made me care for all the characters. Except that... thing. Yuck. Anyway, this was dark, tragic, and a little bit heartwarming. So, bravo.

I also loved the scene with Twilight, Spike, and her parents. That sort of characterization really makes this feel complete. When I see what a special relationship she has with her family and with Spike, then I'm ready to appreciate her going into a dangerous situation. It means I like her enough to keep reading, and I also understand what it is she stands to lose if she dies there.

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Thank you all for your comments! I can't begin to say how much it means to me for readers to tell me what they think of my stories.

Daf

Like others commenting before, the only thing I can't really get behind is how much Twilight freaked out at having to kill an unintelligent, predatorial being. In the series Fluttershy is seen giving fish to some of her critters, after all, so the concept of killing unintelligent beings out of necessity is likely something ponies comprehend, even if many would rather not do that. Transferring most of her guilty feeling from the need to kill to her despair at not being able to save everyone would, IMHO, make the story better, her characterization a bit less forced.

Apart from that, a really great story, and quite well written.

A really fun story... Loved the horror-mystery stylings of it, and the truth of the resort was a really clever idea. I also thought you paced Twilight's own realizations perfectly... By having her note her suspicions while saving what those suspicions were until the changeling reveal, it keeps her from lagging behind the readers in regards to figuring things out. Likewise, she quickly came to the mirrored resort idea... Nicely done!

I thought you also made the changelings sympathetic enough, but I can't say that they should be so quickly absolved for their actions by Twilight... Considering the multiple suggestions of ponies finding some privacy for a bit of fun, they were apparently sexually assaulting couples without their knowledge for centuries. I can't imagine that Mrs. Cake wouldn't feel violated to know that wasn't her husband doing those things to her, for instance. I can buy that from a Changeling point of view they didn't harm the ponies at all, but from a pony (or human) society point of view, those were serious crimes.

As for the issue of Twilight and killing discussed below, I think it works when taken in comparison with the show itself, although obviously plenty of fanfics make the thought of killing less of a shockingly extreme act. It's a bit of an odd thing to push a story into such territory and yet keep the more innocent nature of the show, so I can understand the slight disconnect it causes.

Regardless, I very much enjoyed reading this one, and look forward to more from you!

3761382
Thanks for the detailed comments. It took three tries for me to get this story to a stage where i thought it was baked enough to be posted. I wanted to have Twilight experience some really major moral quandries and face up to her own innocence. And of course the only way this could happen is if she was alone, and couldn't rely on cues from her friends. Also the moral scenario was purposefully challenging, for Twi and for the reader.

Overall, I'm glad you liked it!

Wow. All I have to say is that this is an amazing story.

Incredible story. I can only wish I had writing talent on your level.

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Thanks for the feedback. I joined FIMfiction to learn writing by getting comments from readers and engaging with other aspiring and more accomplished authors. I guess some of the advice stuck.
:twilightblush:

This was a great story completely worth the favorite. There aren't many stories that truly make you feel something.

I never believed I could feel so bad for a bunch of changelings so just for that you deserve a cupcake

fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/241/f/7/pinkie_pie___cupcakes_by_muzza299-d48am4v.png

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Nom, nom, nom.

Those were great cupcakes! :twilightblush:

:fluttercry: this was the first fanfic ive read in a long while and I am glad it was this one.

This was a really great story. The narration captured Twilight's voice very well, the mystery aspects were well executed, and it dealt with some very heavy issues but still managed to keep some of the feeling of MLP. I liked how the changelings trying to threaten Twilight to leave initially set them up to be the bad guys, but later the reader realizes that they may have been trying to save her from the wasp.

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Thanks for the feedback. After this story was featured on Equestria Daily, Amacita decided to interview me about the story including my motivations, objectives and thought process. You can catch the interview here!

3832788 they should! This was a great story. I'll be taking notes, might help me out with writing a good fanfic.

Pretty good. I really think you captured Twilight's voice and personality, and that the island was explored interestingly. I thought Twilight's reaction to finding out her mentor has been saying one thing and doing another for so long was a bit oddly calm, though. I'm not big on the friendly monsters trope, either, but that's not an issue with the story as such.

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