• Member Since 22nd Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen Last Thursday

duvagr007


Part time writer, full time insurance salesman, streamer extraordinaire.

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Long before Twilight and her friends met one another and began reforming villains, equestria had to deal with them much more harshly. To do this, Celestia and Luna once again relied on heroes to solve problems.

Steele Breaker, a young unicorn living with his uncle in a small village, is nothing more than a simple merchant. His talent, however, is swordsmanship. He practices when he can, using a sword left to him by his parents, but he rarely has the free time.

If only he knew just how much that sword was going to come in handy.

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 32 )

Thus far you're off to a very promising start. The pacing and level of description feels damn near perfect, at least for the first chapter. I'll reserve final judgement for a bit later, but as-is, excellent. Keep doing what you're doing, because you're doing it right. :3

7955857 Hey thanks a ton! I was hoping I was getting all of that right, and it's part of the reason I started this. Wanted to be more descriptive and in depth with everything. Will try my best to keep it coming!

i will be following this story. please write more

7971615 Will do bud! Thanks for the follow!

Great story and an update that wasn't a month or more apart. Keep this up and I might follow you home. ;)

7978806 Well there's no need to be shy about it, just let me know what you've got in mind, lol. But seriously, thanks again for the feedback, and the whole 'less than a month' is a HUGE milestone for me. Check my other stuff and you'll see why, lol. Expect the next chapter no more than two weeks out.

If anyone is wanting an idea for what the larger Changeling looked like, look up the mimics from Edge of Tomorrow. I'd link a photo, but I'm currently at work. I'll do so tonight when I get home if I remember.

comicvine.gamespot.com/api/image/scale_medium/5047272-edge_of_tomorrow_web_hero.jpg

Mm... finally. Dammit, this story needs more attention.

8045379 Yeah, so many video games at once and a ton of different anime binges... I'll get four up a lot faster hopefully.

8045495 M'gonna try to start promoting it via my own stories/AN's. People need to see this. S'too good not to.

8046573 Wow... I really appreciate that. Thank you so much! I'll come give your stuff a read in return.

8047257 No need to do that or even for thanks. Can't stand good and underappreicated stories. :3

8047388 I am on the case! :P

Cliches aren't bad when done well; was damn enjoyable. :3

Mm... looking forward to this blowing up in Chrysalis face, assuming she is the queen in question. She is tagged but for some reason I feel like this queen, unnamed as she is, might be Chrysalis's predecessor. I look forward to finding out, one way or another. :3

disliking because this just is not my kind of story, your writing is pretty good though.

Nnnphhhh.

Steele and Ember's banter tickles me and I can't wait to see how Steele takes to the military life. Also can't wait to see how Ember/Steele's relationship plays out. There's no romance tag but I sorta get that vibe from it... hm... in any case, I look forward to what comes next. :3

Sidebar: This is my new(ish) account. Old one got turned into a collaboration profile. Notice me Duvagr-senpai!

8209126 *notices you*

And no Rom tag for a reason. Remember, I've got four books to drag this out along. Plus there's some... hmm, shall we say 'curve balls' headed in our direction. Glad you're still liking it so far. Feel like I'm writing this for you and Wing, and pretty much nobody else, lol. But hey, it's cool. Happy to keep you entertained for 45 minutes or so every month.

8209405 S'actually got me really bummed that this story hasn't taken off more. :\ I need to poke around and add it in some groups or something because it really needs more love.

Chapter 1

In which we meet the hero of our tale.

Well, here we go. You asked for it, and I'll do my best to deliver.

Nestled in the foothills of Canterlot Mountain, there lay a small village by the name of Dale. Dale was not an important village, nor was it famous for any one thing or another. In fact, as pony settlements went, it was highly unremarkable. Nonetheless, it is where our story begins. On the outskirts of Dale, near a stream, sat a solitary home and forge. This was the home of Dale's resident blacksmith, an old earth pony stallion by the name of Iron Gauntlet. Iron Gauntlet was, as most earth ponies are, very hard working. The blacksmith was quite a gruff stallion, both in appearance, and manner. His tough and scarred hide was a very unassuming dull gray, which was complimented by a coal-black mane. He liked it this way. It drew very little attention to him, and he was content to be the background. His nephew however, was quite the opposite.

In a world, where almost every town, city, and country was named something relating to ponies, one small town decided to take a stand.

I have a feeling Dale isn't going to be around for much longer. Just something about the starry-eyed lad from an unknown village, embarking on a grand and epic quest. Or Iron Gauntlet, for that matter.

The small home's other resident, a young unicorn stallion by the name Steele Breaker, couldn't be more unlike his uncle. A clean, near reflective silver coat with a jet black mane, Steele longed for adventure, and a chance to see the world outside of Dale. Unfortunately, his uncle had need of his aide with the forge. So, that's what Steele did. His uncle would craft tools and other things for the town, and Steele would sell them in the village's small market. They turned a decent profit, and it kept food on the table and fire in the hearth. Occasionally, Gauntlet would get an order in from one of the nearby settlements, and would go deliver it himself, often being gone for several days. On these occasions, Steele would go out into the yard with a sword left to him by his parents, and practice on a dummy he had put together from whatever he could find. Currently, it possessed a broken iron chest piece for a body, a wooden bucket for a head, and rotted wooden tool handles made up the frame.

There's the family heirloom, right on schedule. Everyone has one: Rand Al'Thor had his father's crane sword, Luke Skywalker had his father's blue, glow-in-the-dark sword, Frodo Baggins got his uncle's Gold Ring of Peerless Sneaking, and Steele has a magic sword left by his parents. What's the deal with kids inheriting their parents' tools of war? Why do these inextricably-powerful artifacts always end up in ho dunk villages?

Next you're going to tell me Steele recruits the aid of a jaded, weathered, possibly drunk ex-warrior, adventurer, or guardspony, and that said pony will take Steele under his wing, and teach Steele the ways of the sword. They'll encounter Steele's first arch-rival together - most likely somepony Steele knows, or is related to - and the jaded pony will sacrifice himself to save Steele. It was his time to go, and he wanted to die with some honor; or he's already taught Steele all he could; or he's buying Steele time to recover the Macguffin, and to escape.

Steele was currently beating this dummy senseless, as Gauntlet was off making a delivery to the newest settlement of Manehattan. He had no idea if he was any good or not, as he had nothing to compare his skill to, but the very same sword he held in his magic also adorned his flank, so he couldn't be that bad. He did however, need to work on his awareness. As he stood practicing, Steel's one and only friend trotted up to him. A red unicorn mare by the name of Ember Blaze. Her mane was black, as much from natural color as the constant singing it received from her pyromancing, and streaked with a deep, smoke gray. She was quite the gifted fire mage, and her skill would only improve as time went on. Currently however, she was in need of a good conversation.

You used "currently" in two sentences back-to-back. It was only something I noticed after I looked, but yeah...

Doesn't it seem a bit redundant to introduce Ember Blaze, the pyromancer, and then explain that she was a gifted fire mage? Since I'm going on about names, Steele Breaker? That's just "Steel" with an "e" slapped on the end.

"Hey Steele, how have you been?" Ember waited for a response from her friend, but none came. "Steele?" Silence. In the zone it seemed... oh well, best leave him be and come back later right? Hardly. Ember was not so forgiving. "HEY STEELE!!"

I don't see many published books using SENTENCES WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS to indicate that a character is yelling. Or two exclamation points - henceforth called a "double-bang", because why not? - for any purpose.

"Gah!" Steele lost his concentration mid up-swing, sending his sword flying up into the air. A moment later it fell back down, burying itself in the ground a few hooves away almost up to the cross-guard. "Sheesh Ember, you could get somepony hurt doing that!" He trotted over to his hilted sword, and grabbed the opal-encrusted hilt in his magic. He wrenched it free from the soft earth, and cleaned the blade of mud. Ember was chuckling all the while.

I don't see why "up-swing" doesn't automatically imply that the sword will fly up. Moreover, I don't think it's entirely necessary for the reader to know which way the sword flew when he lost his grip on it, especially since you clarify where it ends up anyway. "Steele lost his concentration mid-swing, sending his sword careening into the air."

"Fell" is kind-of a boring word, isn't it? If there's nothing important going on, then "fell" is fine; but this is important enough to start its own paragraph break. "Tumbled" might work better.

Also, that's a damn heavy sword to almost bury itself using nothing but gravity-induced acceleration. Or, maybe Steele just threw it really high up when he got distracted?

"Well," she began, still fighting giggles. "I wouldn't do it if it didn't work so well all the time. Seriously, you need to loosen up. You're always so tense, acting like we could be attacked any moment or something." She moved back a bit and sat down as Steele started back up with his sword.

It almost feels like there's an interaction missing here; like Ember lightly slugging Steele's shoulder or something, or Steele scoffing at her as he stalked over to his buried sword.

"We could, hyah! You never know Ember. Hah! I mean, we're right on the frontier! That's why, hyah! That's why I train all the time! If you can call it that anyways." He stabbed his steel blade through the chest plate, leaving it there as he turned to go and sit with Ember.

How far is Manehattan from Canterlot, exactly? Is it further from Canterlot than Dale? You clarified that Dale was nestled in the foothills of the same mountain that Canterlot perches on; how big is that mountain, and how is a city that's a stone's throw from the capital on the frontier?

"Seriously Steele? Equestria has been at peace for close to one-hundred years now. It will likely stay that way for one-hundred more. Take it easy."

It sounds like there's another missing saidism. But, that could just be me looking through it as an editor. As a writer or a reader, I don't tend to notice "saidisms", so take this with a grain of salt.

"Take it easy? Is that what you call what you do all day?" He motioned to her singed mane, to drive the point home about her constant research into fire magic.

So Ember Blaze, the gifted fire magician and pyromancer, studies fire magic? No way! Have Steele flick a bit of her hair with a hoof or something, causing soot to fly out of it. Or, just stop re-establishing that Ember Blaze, the fire wizard, does pyromancy. :raritywink:

"Oh please, you know that what I do is completely different! It's no easy task getting into Starswirl's school. I have to have every basic and intermediate spell in my field down, as well as create a new one. I'd like to see YOU do that mister hack-n-slash!" She poked him playfully in the shoulder, smirking.

Change "I do" to "I'm doing"; what she does is pyromancy, and what she's doing when she does it is (probably) making big fireballs. Or maybe I'm wrong. There's a difference between "I go to university" and "I'm going to university". Na, that's a shit analogy.

"Well," Steele retorted. "I'm not exactly super skilled in magic transformation, just in control. Hence the sword on my flank. Not sure why you have a fireball though, you're pretty terrible with those spells of yours." Ember gawked at him in mock offense, holding a hoof crossed over her chest.

T'accuse!

"How dare you! I'll have you know I'm the best fire mage in all the town of Dale!"

"That's because you're the only fire mage in Dale, silly." Ember harrumphed at this, only to begin laughing after a few moments. Such was their friendship.

Finally, something! There should be a comma before "silly", since "silly" is something of an indicator of whom the comment is addressed to. "That's a nice story you have there, duvagr" is more correct than "That's a nice story you have there duvagr".

"Yeah yeah, say what you like Steele, but who do they have light the pyre for Hearth's Warming every year? Eh?" Steele began laughing along with his friend, always happy to have her company. He kept telling himself that one of these days he'd bring her some flowers or something. Whatever ponies considered acceptable courtship rituals. He could never find the time though, and by time he meant courage. He thought about saying something then and there. Just looking at her as she stared off over the fields, a light wind blowing her mane about. Little singed bits actually broke off every now and then, and he gave a soft chuckle at this. His favorite part though were her eyes. Bright, pure orange irises that danced in the afternoon light, like they were made of the very flame she was so proficient with. She was beautiful.

Put a comma between the "yeah"s. "Yeah, yeah, whatever."

What about her comment is funny? I know people laugh when they're amused or to stave off awkwardness; is this awkward laughing?

Also, I know you're not a huge fan of small paragraphs, but definitely separate Steele's musings from Ember's funny joke. Just slap a break between "company" and "He", and that'll do it. If it looks more awkward that way, it's an easy fix. Easier than re-writing dialogue.

"You know Steele," she spoke, breaking his concentration. "If you're so in love with your swordplay, why not join the guard? You'd probably do very well for yourself. And they could use a stallion like you." Steele hummed in agreement.

Nothing to really add here, except Steele is really good at slipping into (and being broken out of) a concentrated state.

Oh, and maybe add a comma before "Steele" and after "know". Or, if she's said Steele a lot of times already, write a few out, and leave this one in. The conversation takes a more sober turn here, and it'd make sense if she "re-grounded" him in the conversation, so to speak.

"I've considered it many times thought about it," he mused," ," he said. "But I always ended up telling tell myself that my uncle needs me more. I honestly don't know what he'd do how he'd get along without me my help." He chuckled Steele grinned a bit at the thought: his uncle never had been good at taking care of really being able to do anything for himself. He was great with a hammer and anvil. A stove, however, not so much.
Insert break.
Back when Steele first started living with his uncle, he'd only just turned five years old, and around five, his aunt was still alive as well. He only ever knew her as 'Aunt Holly', but sweet Celestia, that mare could cook. She taught him quite a bit as he grew up, but she passed away a few years ago, so now it was up to him to keep his uncle from starving to death, among other things. His gaze shifted downward. So many of his family gone... it was only him and Gauntlet now. His parents had passed many years ago, or so he'd been told.

Now we're cookin' with grease!

Is Steele the kind of stallion to use "consider" in casual conversation with a close friend? I didn't think so - if he is, I didn't get that impression from what I've heard so far - so I replaced that bit with something a little more rough-n-tumble-like. Still a grade or two above "he dindu nuffin'", so y'all still good. Reworded some more of his dialogue. Just throwing shit at the wall, and seeing what sticks; keep what you like, change what you don't.

That paragraph really needed a break in it. The first was an explanation for why Steele didn't join the guard, and the second was an introduction to Aunt Holly.

Also, do we need to know Steele's age when he started living with Uncle Owen Iron Gauntlet? Why not something relative: about ten years ago, or five years ago. It's easier to work in ("I came to live with Uncle Gauntlet when I was five" VS "I came to live with Uncle Gauntlet about ten years ago, now").

Also, it was already established that Steele's parents had died. Or, it's safe to assume they already did: they left him their sword, after all. Dead or missing, they're still gone.
They really need to add a pony shrug emoji.

When he started living with Gauntlet and Aunt Holly, it was because his father and mother had to leave the country for a few months, and couldn't bring him along. His father, a diplomat by the name of Silver Tongue, had to travel to the Gryphon Clans to work out some trade deals. His mother, Opal Heart, was a respected noble in the Canterlot Elite. Her voice held a lot of weight in the clans, something to do with her saving a gryphon hatchling, who happened to be the son of a Clan's head.
Insert break.
He knew that they had made it. His mother had written several letters to him, nearly one every other day, telling him what the gryphons were like, the places they visited during their stay, the things they had eaten?. She told him about the grand Holds the gryphons had constructed, huge cities surrounded by massive stone walls. Each one flying a different flag. That was Silver's mission you see: to unite the Clans as one, strengthening not only the gryphons themselves, but their diplomatic ties with Equestria as well. It would have been quite the game changer in politics, if Steele understood correctly. But, one day, the letters stopped. A week later, they had heard about a great Civil War that had broken out among the Clans. Each clan battling to gain supremacy over the others. As far as Steele knew, those wars still raged. He never heard from his parents again hadn't heard from his parents ever since.

The first paragraph is fine, if a little stiff. It'd be harder to fix than just slapping in one or two commas, or writing a couple phrases differently to make them flow better.

What did the letters contain? I elaborated as best I could, but what did they 'have' that was included in a letter?

Civil wars typically are all about two or more factions struggling against each-other to assert their dominance, secure territory, or whatever. Cut out what's redundant.

Also, saying Steele never heard from his parents again implies that he never will, either. That, even by the end of his journey, he still wouldn't hear from his parents. Which sounds like kind-of a weird thing to say, since his journey hasn't even begun, and you're already making final proclamations. I re-worded it to not only allow for you to re-introduce them later if you so choose, but to also avoid that sense of finality that comes with "and he never saw them again (the end)".

"Yeah, I suppose you do have a point there," Ember lamented, "I mean, you're Uncle is a great blacksmith, but Sisters forbid he has to provide his own meals. I've had his cooking before. Couldn't get the taste out for a whole week!" Steele and Ember both erupted into laughter again, remembering old times.
Insert break.
They did this for hours, nearly every other day. Just sitting and talking about nothing. It was a great way to wind down their days, both constantly busy in one way or another. Eventually, Celestia's Sun began to fall behind the tree line of the Everfree Forest. To the North, one could just make out Luna's moon peeking from behind Canterlot Mountain. There was rumor that The Sisters were planning to build a new palace upon the face of Equestria's most magnificent landmark, but it was only hearsay. Ember decided she had best get home before night was fully upon them. Though it may be the seat of the Royal Castle, The Everfree was dangerous at night, and wise travellers wouldn't dare try travelers were wise not to traverse it alone.

You already explained not just that both ponies were kept busy, but also how both ponies were kept busy: Ember Blaze, the fire wizard / pyromancer who studies fire magic, studies fire magic; and Steele Breaker either helps his uncle in the smithy, cooks his uncle's meals, or stabs at a mannequin with a pointy, metal stick.

Ah, so Canterlot isn't an established city, yet. That makes more sense. That's also something that wasn't really laid out earlier; maybe have Steele make an off-handed comment about how "it's a long way from here to Everfree Palace" or something, when he mentions how they're on the frontier.

"Well Ember, I suppose it's goodbye and goodnight for today." Steele grunted lightly as he shoved himself up off the ground. He turned and offered Ember a hoof, but found she'd already stood up without his aide. He let his hoof drop. "Same time tomorrow?" Ember looked at Steele from where she stood, and nodded.

It needed something, I felt. When people interact, they don't normally stand stock-still and recite lines at each-other. They tend to gesticulate. If there's anything that needs improvement, it's this. Don't be afraid to break up two sentences with three sentences of movement; so long as people can still pick up where they left off, and in a timely manner, everything will be perfectly fine.

Also, you'll see why I struck off the last sentence.

"Of course," Ember nodded, as a slight smile crept across her face, "see you tomorrow Steele. Now, I better hurry home before the timberwolves come out night life kicks off. G'night!" She trotted away, her horn lighting up in order to provide her with some light as she walked the path back to town. It wasn't far - only a few hundred pony-lengths to the town proper - but it was never good always best not to linger for too long in Everfree...

Alright, hold up. I need to get a sense of scale. The palace is in the Everfree right now, Canterlot Mountain is on the Equestrian frontier, and Manehattan is established. Manehattan is on the eastern coast. But it's still presumably not a far way from Dale, since Uncle Owen might be gone only two or three days delivering stuff to Manehattan. Dale is both in the foothills of Canterlot Mountain, and in the Everfree Forest. Not on the outskirts: in the Everfree.

Just how big or small is this area? You're on the frontier, but in the Everfree forest, and in the foothills of Canterlot Mountain. This is confusing as heck.

Also, she's a fire mage. Instead of just using the light of her horn to see, why not conjure some kind of tiny fireball? Or even just a disembodied light - like the Candlelight spell in Skyrim - to see by?

Instead of calling it the "night life", why not reference some beast by name? Timberwolf was just an example, but this gives the reader a more tangible threat than just "stuff what comes out only at night".

Steele sat and watched as she left, her light disappearing into the dense foliage of the forest. He stared out to the north, watching Luna's Moon slowly rise up as the orange sky began to fade to deep purple. He always liked to watch the moon rise. It felt relaxing for some reason, as if all of his worries were being lifted from him.

The wording is a bit boring - he sat and watched; he stared; he liked. There's nothing wrong with it, I guess. I prefer good scotch to shitty wine, any day.

Steele stood, and after wresting his sword from the target dummy, turned to head inside his uncle's home. Wresting his sword from the target dummy, He began slowly marching back to the safety of the hearth. As he walked, however, he heard something a rustling in a nearby bush.
Insert break.
He turned his head, lighting his horn so he could see better. Sword at the ready, he crept toward the noise. Rustling again, slight left. He focused his light, making it brighter, and shining it exactly on the bush the noise was coming from. He took another tentative step forward, swallowing hard. There could be anything in that bush. Was it a Timber wolf? A cockatrice? Perhaps some kind form of large snake? Steele shuddered at the thought. He really hated snakes. He sent his sword out, and prodded the shrub. In doing so, he coaxed the bush's occupant out of hiding. Out hopped a small brown rabbit, nose twitching and ears raised.

Nothing much wrong there, except that a hearth isn't a house. You'd move towards a house first, and once you've entered, you can then more towards the hearth, provided the house has one. Maybe have him turn around as he's about to nudge the door open. Maybe have him think about how he'll have to light the hearth on his own, and wonder if he might've asked Ember to do it for him real quick before she'd left. He's probably hungry after a long day of sitting and talking; what was he going to do for supper?

You were probably going to get to a few of those things, but at least one of them would've contrasted with the eminent danger of something in the bushes, and would've made the conflict just a little bit more threatening.

Dang it Steele, he chided himself. The rabbit simply stared up at him, head cocked slightly to the side. Way to overreact. Mentally face-hoofing himself for getting worked up over a rabbit After indignantly slamming his sword into its scabbard, Steele stormed into the tiny cottage finished his trek to the small home. As the door slammed shut, a green flash erupted from that small, unassuming rabbit. It was engulfed in green flame, revealing the form of a creature most sinister. It's wings buzzed, and it flew off into the night.

I'm not sure Steele has a scabbard for his sword, but that's kind-of what I meant by gesticulation. Here was big, bad Steele, getting spooked by a bunny. Yeah, well... humph!

Overreact is one word.

__________

"Dots..."

No time to establish our next setting; that'd be too hand-holdy, anyway. :unsuresweetie:

Steele floated his sword of over to a weapon rack hanging on a nearby wall, and gazed around the small wooden home that housed him and his uncle. Just beyond inside the front door was their living and dining area. In it sat an old, round wooden table, with four chairs snug up against it at regular intervals. To the left was the kitchen, and the rest of the home beyond that. A wash basin sat on the right wall of the kitchen, with a stone fireplace on the left. Several cabinets lined the walls, along with hooks holding various pots, pans, and food sacks.
Insert break.
Steele pulled down one of the larger pots, filled it with water, and set it in the fireplace, lighting a match as he did so. Tossing the lit match into the logs sitting in the hearth, he began to pull several vegetables out of their sacks, placing them on a counter. Steele began chopping away as the water began to boil in the pot, adding a bit of cooking oil and some seasoning, he moved the chopped vegetables into the pot, and began to stir. Soup was a staple of his and Gauntlet's diet, mostly because it was all Gauntlet ever wanted to eat. He said it reminded him of his mother.

The wording is pretty flat. Don't worry; your prose will purple over time, and then everyone will be in trouble. :raritywink:

The cooking scene is emphasizing all the wrong details. What's going into the soup? What seasonings?

It takes a really long time for large pots of water to start boiling; longer than it takes to cut up a few mystery veggies. Maybe Steele could do a little cleaning while he waits for the pot to boil. Maybe that could be when he gives the audience the house tour - will we need to remember any of that, by the way? If my hunch is correct, this house will probably get burned down before too long.

Also, matches are a thing? We didn't have matches until the discovery of phosphorus in 1669; alchemy was still around at that point, but it's far later, relatively-speaking, than what you've depicted so far.

After a while, the soup was nearly ready, so Steele pulled two bowls from one of the cabinets. Testing his creation and deeming it ready, Steele filled one bowl, then the other, and moved the pot off of the fire. He knew Gauntlet could be home at any moment, and he'd want to eat almost immediately. In fact, Steele could hear the creaking of wagon wheels coming from the north. He went to the door and saw Gauntlet down the road, hauling an empty cart behind him. He rushed out to assist his uncle with putting their wagon away.

Nothing really wrong here. Either I'm tired and not seeing it, or you've written something with no glaring issues. A lot of the more general objections I had still apply here - wording is a little flat (applies to verbs, too) - but it's nothing gratuitous.

"Ah, Steele, give your old uncle a hoof with this here cart, would ya boy?" Gauntlet's gruff voice called out as Steele cantered over. Using his magic to pull the cart off of his uncle and onto himself, Steele fell in stride next to the old stallion.

Again, nothing new to say. I could re-write it, maybe, to try and make it flow a little better; I don't really want to, though.

"Good evening uncle. How was your trip?" His uncle merely snorted in response. "Wow... that bad huh? What happened?"

"Merely" is so overused - same with "just" in the same context - that even if used appropriately, it still sounds hackneyed and trite. I don't really have a suggestion here. Sorry. I've failed you. :raritycry:

"Those settler ponies," he started, shaking his head, "I swear to Celestia, you'd have thought they were trying to rob me! I arrive at their 'humble' little village, tired from a long journey, cart loaded with tools and weapons for them, and they try to haggle me down from our pre-agreed upon price!" The cart rattled violently as it hit a rough patch in the road. It held, but neither Iron Gauntlet nor Steele were awfully fond of the sound it made. "Better patch that up sometime soon," Iron Gauntlet mumbled to himself, "Don't want to lose a wheel. Anyway, they said my work was shoddy and the tools were dull and not worth the trouble. Pah!" he stamped the ground so hard, even Steele could feel a slight tremor. "They wouldn't know good craftponyship if it reared up and bit 'em on the flank! Took me nearly an hour to get a fair deal. We finally decided to go fifteen bits per item and a free night at the town inn. Cheap bastards, the lot of 'em." Steele cocked an eyebrow, surprised at the price.

I tried again. I know I just said I didn't want to put that much effort into it, but I can't help it. If it's someone else's work, I feel like I make it better. If it's my own, I write absolute garbage.

But yeah; monologues aren't good. Try and keep one person from talking too long, either by having someone else interject, or by interrupting their rant with something like the rough patch. It keeps the story moving, for want of a better explanation. Walls of text, while not as big as what I added, feel longer to read than they do to write.

"Only fifteen?" Steele pursued, "Didn't they promise nearly thirty? I'm surprised you lowered the price went for that much, Uncle. You're usually too stubborn to bargain with," Iron Gauntlet snorted at the accusation, sending little tendrils of steam into the chilly, night air more adamant. "You're not losing your touch, edge are you?" His uncle shot gave him a sideways glare, and Steele bit back a bit of laughter.

Steele is quite a giggle machine, isn't he? It seems like anything that's remotely funny sends him into full ROFL mode. That's something I used to do, when I first started writing. Any time I didn't quite know how a character should react, they just laughed, and the scene moved on. No time to stop or slow down: words are on the move, and if I don't make way, they'll trample themselves flat!

"Not on your life, Boy. Normally, I would have been sterner. But I was tired, hungry, and just plumb sick or arguing with them," he explained, "And once I saw the prices at that inn, I just figured that'd be an easy, quick way to get back what I would've lost in trade.it would have been nearly a clean swap either way. Still, we made some good coin." With a slight wink, he pulled out a rather hefty-looking back, and jingled it in the air for effect. "Four-hundred and fifty bits is a mighty decent haul. Minus fifty or so for travel expenses." Gauntlet sniffed the air as they neared the forge and shed. "You make supper already?"

Help, I can't quit. Somepony call an ambulance. I'm in dire need of medical attention.

Also, don't use numbers in dialogue. The only exception I'll allow is if the number is part of a serial code - C3PO - and it'd get really tiring really quickly if you had to type "See three pee oh" over and over again. That, and you'd make things more confusing typing it out, rather than just using the serial code.

"That I did, Uncle. Soup, the usual stuff." Steele lifted the cart off his back, and set the harness gently on the ground. His uncle placed a couple boards behind the wheels, to keep it from rolling back down the hill. They both turned and headed for the house, with Steele closing the shed doors behind them.

"Atta boy. Steele. You know just how to get me unwound at the end of a long journey." Suddenly, his uncle's expression turned unusually grim. "Just like your Aunt did," he muttered, almost under his breath. "Sisters rest her soul."
Insert break.
As Steele and Gauntlet sat at the dining room table and ate their meal, Gauntlet went going into a bit more detail about his trip to Manehatten. Apparently, the settlement was doing rather well for itself. He'd been there once before, three years earlier, when the colonists were only just starting to get their hooves dirty. The town had doubled in size since then; enough to warrant the inn he'd stayed for free at, he gloated. with the population steadily growing. In fact, as Gauntlet was hitching himself up to leave, on his way out of the area he came across a fellow blacksmith who was moving to the new town. While it meant there wasn't much chance of more work out there (Iron Gauntlet sighed about that), it was a good sign for the ponies out there. They would likely thrive, if what Gauntlet said was true especially the way Gauntlet described the area. Lots of fertile land, the coast practically on their doorstep. While it would be rough their first few years - as it always went with frontier towns - Steele expected it'd grow to be one of Equestria's largest cities. If it was allowed to by her neighbors.

Show, don't tell. When you boil that phrase down to its core message, it's just saying to elaborate when you can, and cut back when you can't.

After they had finished their meal, Gauntlet bid Steele a good night, then turned in. The old stallion rounded the corner into his room, shutting the door behind him. Steele let out a slow sigh, placing the two bowls into the wash basin. He looked over at the now empty pot, deciding to deal with it tomorrow before he went to the market in the morning. It was going to be another long day tomorrow, as it always was when Gauntlet was in town. He wasn't complaining by any means, but the monotony got boring. Still, it was a decent and honest living, and it was nice to talk to ponies in the market.

I'm running out of things to say that I haven't already said. In fact, I think I'm out of fresh criticism. Everything I could say about this, I've already said somewhere else. Descriptions are always nice, when you give them. You don't have to undress the room, character, or situation; just a few extra bits here and there.

Steele moved down the hall, past his uncle's room, to his own. Much like everything else, it wasn't very special. A small bed on the left wall, a dresser on the right, and a single window on the back wall, facing south into the forest. On his dresser, there sat two things: a painting of him and his parents, and a necklace his mother had given him before they left. It was a silver chain with a single opal at the bottom, it was oval in shape, and only a half inch wide. He floated the necklace over, gazing at it in his magic. Slipping it over his head, the small jewel fit rather snugly against his breast, fitting just between his two collar bones.
Insert break.
He lay on his bed, reaching out with his magic again, he grabbed the painting and floated it in front of his face. He stared up at his younger self, sitting calmly in-between his parents. The artist had done a good job, capturing quite well the likeness of the three ponies. Steele actually remembered that day, having to sit still for nearly an hour while the artist painted them. As soon as the mare had finished, he made a beeline for the nearest colt's room. He chuckled, nearly having wet himself on the way over. He would give anything to go back to those days. Everything was so much happier then. Sighing, Steele set the portrait aside and fell into a dreamless sleep.

Bathrooms, now? I'm very confused about what technology exists at this point.

__________

You can type "hr" in brackets for a really fancy horizontal rule.


It'll keep you from making ones using lines and "center". If that's what you want.

Steele awoke slowly, his room still dark. Strange, he thought, I don't usually wake up until sunrise. After he gained full control of his functions though, he knew why his body had woke him up. Smoke. Maybe Gauntlet had woken up early and tried to cook himself something? Steele laughed aloud at that thought. Standing, he walked out of his room and called down the hall.

There, the laughter is appropriate. Having Steele chuckle at every remotely-funny thing just gets grating after a time.

"Uncle? Not trying to cook again are you?" Steele heard sarcastic laughter coming from his uncle's room.

See, even Uncle Owen gets to laugh.

"Very funny boy. No, I'm not trying to cook, the damn town's on fire." he pointed out the window. Sure enough, he wasn't joking; by the Sisters, it looked like the whole town fell victim to one of Ember's flops. "So, if you're done cracking jokes, we need to get over there and do what we can to help." Instantly Steele's expression changed. He hurried down the hall, rounding the corner into the kitchen just as his uncle came out of his room. Steele looked back at the old stallion, and quirked an eyebrow at what he was wearing.

It's nearly over, so I'll save closing comments for the end. At least your first chapter fared better than Chibi Devi's; I could finish it.

"Er... Gauntlet? What's with the get-up?" His uncle stared looked at him through the eye slats in a helmet. It was a simple thing, made of the same iron his uncle was named for from his uncle's namesake. The stallion also wore a breastplate, and greaves on his front hooves. They looked weighted, as if they were designed just as much for offense attack as they were for defense.

Wait a tic. If ponies don't have hands, how do they know what a gauntlet is?

"Saw something flying around the town from my window. Lot's of green flame. The town isn't just on fire, Boy. It's under attack." As they moved to the front door, Steele's thoughts immediately turned to Ember.

If the town's under attack, then... oh, by the Sisters!

"Hey, Steele." He turned. Gauntlet had his sword gripped by the hilt. With a light flick of his head, he tossed it to Steele. "Ye might be wanting that after a while. There'll be fightin' ahead. Grab your sword boy. We're in for a fight." Steele gulped. He'd practiced with the sword a lot, but... this wasn't play-fighting in the backyard, anymore. Whatever was out there, it could probably hit him just as hard as he could hit it. All his doubts vanished in a torrent of flame, as he watched a distant house collapse, its weakened supports finally giving out. He could faintly hear the roar of the flames - and the screams of innocents - carried to him on the wind.

Ember... Whatever was out there, he had to face it. His uncle had started up the road, but stopped when he noticed Steele was no longer behind him. He beckoned for Steele to follow him. Shaking his head, Steele trotted up, and joined his uncle on the road.

"Hope you know how t' use that thing," Gauntlet murmured.

"I've been practicing." Not against living, breathing things. Still, the sword felt cool in his magic grasp. Solid. He could do this. He had to. "Time to see what I'm made of." Gauntlet nodded grimly.

Whatever happened next, this was going to be a long day. He figured he was good with his sword, but he'd never used it in any real fights. Time to see what he was made of he guessed. He grabbed his sword and ran out the front door and to the right, Iron Gauntlet right behind him. Whatever happened, this was going to be a long day.

You had a chapter to establish your characters, their relationships, their personalities, and it all just kind-of seemed... meh. I get that it's your first chapter, but let me ask you this: if you read the Harry Potter books, did you get a good feel for Snape's character when he was first introduced? What about Malfoy, or Ron? You knew Snape was condescending, Malfoy was a prick, and Ron was awkward the moment they were first introduced to you.

Your characters say a lot about what's around them, but they don't really say much about themselves. And I don't mean that each and every character needs to describe themselves when you meet them: everyone can have some secrets. No, what I mean is that they don't really have much of a personality. They're talking name tags, with nothing behind them. I'm sure you fill it out more as you go, but that doesn't mean you can half-ass the first chapter in your story. If I'd started the Wheel of Time series, and it had characters this poorly-defined, I don't think I ever would've finished the first book. I ended up reading all fourteen. Sans the fourth one, which was checked out when I'd reached it, but I apparently didn't miss too much.

Aside from that, you have problems breaking down chapters into more manageable bits, and your prose could be a little purpler. Both of those things should improve with time and practice, though, so I'm not too worried about it. A good habit to get into is this: if you can't get an editor to look at your stuff before you hit the publish button, wait a day or two, then look over your chapter with editor's glasses. Look and see what makes sense, what doesn't, where you can fit in more details, where you need to cut back, et cetera. It worked wonders for me.

All-in-all, the story has potential. I know that's the most trite and cliché thing I could say, and it might be premature since it's only the first chapter, but I've got a good feeling about this one. You've clearly got a plan in mind, which is more than can be said about some writers (though some of them do pull off aimless adventuring fairly well). I think you're overlooking the smaller details, in favor of trying to paint the bigger picture. You're painting triangles, rectangles, and ovals, and trying to pass them off as trees, roads, and lakes. Those details matter, but it's also an editor's job to help you fill in those blanks, and connect those larger shapes together in a meaningful way.

So, yeah... I guess I did it, huh? I cut back on the snark, since there was really nothing to be snarky about.

Ta-da! Chapter 1 of books one of that series I've been on about for who knows how long. really looking forward to this one. Going for that epic style like Echo the Diamond Dog and stories similar. Please, let me know what you think of this in the comments, and by hitting that like or dislike button. Don't be shy, you won't hurt my feelings. Just try and keep it constructive yeah?

I've never read Echo the Diamond Dog. I've heard of Echo the Dolphin, though. *shivers*

I hope this is constructive enough for you. If it isn't, then... I must question what I'm doing with my time. I think this took four or five hours to go through, with a fine-tooth comb. I still missed stuff, but I think I could do this professionally.

Anyways, you should probably expect one of these to go up every couple weeks or so. At least initially. I've already got most of the first half of this book planned out. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next chapter!

mkbai.

-Duvagr007

That's a weird way to spell "Twilight is best pony". :twilightblush:

Since I took the time to look this over, could I ask for a less in-depth look at a story I'm working on? I'll PM you when I publish the first chapter, if that's alright.

8406199
Boy oh BOY did you deliver. After going through all that, it really dawns on me how much more work I have to do to get really good at this stuff. In order to thank you I will most definitely go about reading and putting my two cents in on your story. I'll probably go through this and put in a few of those changes, but I won't do them all. Not because I disagree with them, but I like to mark my progress. I write, publish, and leave it. It's just a thing I do. I'm sorry if this makes you feel as though you wasted your time, but I can promise you all of these things will be taken into consideration as I move on. One thing I'd like to say on the setting, and I could have definitely done a better job of it in the story: this is set a LONG time ago. It's meant to be a possible canon history type deal. Starswirl is alive, Luna hasn't been banished, a certain crystal obsessed fellow is in charge of the Crystal Empire. Things like that. As such, the Everfree is MUCH larger than in the show. Like, two to three times. I just couldn't think of a way to convey that sense of scale except for right now as I'm writing this because I'm an idiot. All I would have needed to do was say something along the lines of 'the everfree takes up the entire base of C Mt. and stretches outward for miles'. Stupid brain. Anyways, I can't possibly thank you enough for all of your input, and once again I'll take what you've said to heart and do my best to apply it from here on in. Also did not know about that fancy break, and I'll for sure take that editing advice on waiting a couple days to actually publish. You are fantastic my good sir/madame.

-Duvagr007

P.S. Twilight is most DEFINITELY the best pony. Of the mane six. Why in the hell is there no Luna emoji?

8406450
"I'll probably go through this and put in a few of those changes, but I won't do them all."

That's perfectly fine. If a building's foundation gets screwed up during construction, I don't expect the workers to tear the building down just to fix it.

"One thing I'd like to say on the setting, and I could have definitely done a better job of it in the story: this is set a LONG time ago. It's meant to be a possible canon history type deal. Starswirl is alive, Luna hasn't been banished, a certain crystal obsessed fellow is in charge of the Crystal Empire."

The reference to Starswirl's academy was a tip-off that maybe the world's a bit older than I thought.

"As such, the Everfree is MUCH larger than in the show. Like, two to three times. I just couldn't think of a way to convey that sense of scale except for right now as I'm writing this because I'm an idiot. All I would have needed to do was say something along the lines of 'the everfree takes up the entire base of C Mt. and stretches outward for miles'. Stupid brain."

I don't see there being much of a causal link between "the kingdom is really new" and "the Everfree is really big". Unless the canon explanation is that the Everfree somehow is an abstract representation of how tame the continent is, and that it expands/contracts as things get more or less stable? It's a magic woods, so I guess that'd make some sense, but it feels almost post-hoc.

And it's fine. All that's really necessary to establish at the moment is that the Everfree is as big as you're writing it; the odd comment about how it's "not good to linger too long in the Everfree" gives the audience some indication, but I couldn't possibly think of a more natural explanation that doesn't sound like a setting dump.

"Also did not know about that fancy break, and I'll for sure take that editing advice on waiting a couple days to actually publish. You are fantastic my good sir/madame. "

:twilightblush:

Even though I'm probably not going to do reviews like this for every chapter, I'm still going to read it, now. So now you're writing for five-ish people, instead of four-ish.

8407041
SWEET. And I've no expectation of you to go through each chapter with a fine tooth comb. That would be unreasonable of me, especially since I wouldn't know how to compensate you. No, a few simple words to express yourself will suffice. If there's anything that glaring, then let me know should you see fit. I went through the next couple chapters myself already, and I've noticed quite a few screw ups already. So don't work yourself up over it. Just read and enjoy best you can.

Decanus

Ave, true to Luna.

Steele watched in horror as the monster brought its massive hoof down, crushing Iron Gauntlet into nothing but paste.

Uncle Owen! No!

8410394
The fact that you call him Uncle Owen is just brilliant to me. Because honestly you're not wrong and it never even occurred to me until you mentioned it.

"Three hundred and seven," the sounds of fighting were beginning o sound farther away now, still they pressed on.

to*

The group head one of the behemoths roar out into the night, and suddenly all the flames detonated for lack of a better word.

heard*

I also wonder why, if there were only two civilians left after the attack, the legion didn't retreat to a more defensible position. Especially after someone figured out that the changelings don't like to come out during the day.

Unph. Glad to see this update; my favorites have been distinctly slow in doing so lately.

Really glad to see Steele coming into his own as a leader. Also had a huge grin when Ember made her case for coming with him; as a huge sucker for romance it ticked more than a few flags.

Is it just me, or does Steele Breaker sound like a mare's name?

8630086
Yeah, sorry about the massive delay. Like I said in the AN, this one was a pain to get right.

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