• Member Since 11th Oct, 2013
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alarajrogers


Okay, I admit it, I'm probably not your mom. But odds are I'm old enough to be. Now with Patreon account (under alarajrogers) and short stories on Amazon (under Alara Rogers).

Sequels1

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This story is a sequel to Vines


Zecora comes to Discord with an offer for peace, or at least detente, from the Tree of Harmony. She also has some advice. Too bad he's not going to take it. A post-"Princess Twilight Sparkle" fic that also serves as a prequel to "Elements of Opposition" and its related fics.

There is now a series page: Princess Twilight Sparkle Endcaps

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 13 )

What is the weakness of a chaos mage regarding breeding? Uncontrollable promiscuity? Or the production of randomly variable offspring?

Is this why Pinkie Pie avoids, as far as I've seen so far, anything resembling romantic involvement with anypony, preferring to remain psychologically an overgrown filly?

In my fanon she has another reason, but it applies more to her mission than her core personality.

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Chaos mages tend to be hedonists and really, really distractible. And chaos magic doesn't last. The kind of magic that most unicorns use, you could cast a spell that basically says "Don't get pregnant/get anyone else pregnant until I cast the counterspell". But you can't do that with chaos magic. And chaos magic interferes with harmonic magic, so you can't go get a unicorn to cast that spell on you. And chaos users, in general, are terrible at remembering the small details (the ability tends to go with ADD or something like it), so chaos mages are really bad about remembering birth control, because chaotic spells to disrupt fertility need to be recast at the time of sex, and chaos mages both tend to have a lot of random (and often inappropriate) sex and can't remember small details at the best of times. So they mess up on remembering their birth control. A lot. Potions can be used but are also short-term, so they have the same problem.

Discord is actually really lucky that he isn't interfertile with ponies. (He could consciously choose to be, but has never so chosen. He could theoretically unconsciously choose to be -- his magic sometimes just does stuff without his conscious control -- but he'd probably need to be in a pairbond with a pony he loved and trusted and was willing to admit to loving and trusting, who he'd also think would make a good mom. Basically if he subconsciously wanted a child with a given mare, his powers might go behind his back and make it happen, but he's never been in that situation.)

However, Pinkie is much, much better at keeping track of small details than Discord gives her credit for, a thing I'm going to go into in Awkward Conversations. (Which means he already knows Pinkie's strategy for remembering the little things, but has possibly forgotten, is ignoring it, or simply doesn't think it works as well as it does.) Pinkie's strategy isn't one Discord would dare adopt, but it is a means of harnessing chaos to permit the achievement of results that require a great deal of order and focus.

As for why Pinkie isn't romantically attached to anypony... I don't think it's because she doesn't want to get pregnant, because I think her strategy for handling party logistics would work just as well on birth control. I am not sure I've settled on an answer, but my guess off the top of my head is either that Pinkie is sexually active on a very casual basis with a lot of partners, and no one cares because Equestria's a matriarchy and there's no such thing as slut shaming, or, Pinkie is the kind of mare who would be sexually active on a casual basis with a lot of partners, but she has a concern that her partners would not be as casual about it as she is and therefore a lot of relationship drama that she doesn't want. Pinkie wants to have superficial friendship and love with everyone, but she doesn't want deep serious emotions about anypony except the ones that she's decided she can trust with those emotions.

But I totally would like to write a futurefic one of these days in which Pinkie gives birth to a chaos mage, and she, the rest of the 6, and Discord argue with Celestia and Luna over crippling the foal's power. It'll make more sense once I write the story dealing with Brightest Star/Maelstrom, the former student of Celestia's who tried to summon the Elder Gods to devour Equestria. :-)

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As for why Pinkie isn't romantically attached to anypony... I don't think it's because she doesn't want to get pregnant, because I think her strategy for handling party logistics would work just as well on birth control. I am not sure I've settled on an answer, but my guess off the top of my head is either that Pinkie is sexually active on a very casual basis with a lot of partners, and no one cares because Equestria's a matriarchy and there's no such thing as slut shaming, or, Pinkie is the kind of mare who would be sexually active on a casual basis with a lot of partners, but she has a concern that her partners would not be as casual about it as she is and therefore a lot of relationship drama that she doesn't want.

Actually I think the second theory might be true, but I think that the reason she would avoid casual sex with anyone she wasn't certain would keep it casual is that she would want to avoid making anyone unhappy. Remember, Pinkie's goal in life is making other ponies happy. Making them miserable would be the antithesis.

Basically, the reason for the category of "slut" and the tendency to "shame" them has everything to do with reproductive biology. The games theory reason behind the latter point is quite nasty: it's one of the less pleasant implications of games theory, almost as upsetting in its way as the method of reproduction of many wasps is in its implications regarding simple Darwinian evolution. It's the same reason why men will make a major effort to get a woman in bed with them and then despise her if she yields.

I'll go into it if you like: it's the reason that I think that the Ponies would still have "cad/dad" and "coy/easy" psychological classification of others, and hence would slut-shame away -- though being a generally nicer species I like to think they would be a little less nasty in its application than would humans. I actually don't know if matriarchy would be the relevant difference here -- at most I think it would lead to a slight tilt toward "cad-shaming" as well. Women can be far more merciless than men, in their castigation of a fallen sister.

Not that Pinkie Pie would necessarily care. She has her own code of honor -- and it's a strong one -- which is in part utterly alien to anything to which other Ponies adhere. To her the chance of hurting other ponies would be far more significant than the possibility of being thought poorly of by them.

Pinkie wants to have superficial friendship and love with everyone, but she doesn't want deep serious emotions about anypony except the ones that she's decided she can trust with those emotions.

Very true. Though the quality of Pinkie's friendship toward her more casual friends runs deeper at least on HER side than I think you give her credit for -- I think that Pinkie simply has a far higher social intelligence in terms of being able to recognize and relate to more people as meaningful individuals than do most ponies. In fact, I'd rate her at supergenius levels in that regard -- and think that an older Pinkie might become a serious political leader. She would in my fanon, if she didn't have a higher destiny ...

... and anyway, isn't being Pink-Mother to a whole new pocket Universe and the Goddess of its inhabitants also a high destiny? :raritywink:

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In the PonyPOVerse, Discord actually has a child by Fluttershy. Though I don't know if he ever has sex with her. If this proviso confuses you, remember about whom we speak.

Alex Warlorn's idea is that when Discord mind-controlled Fluttershy, unlike what he did with the rest he had to basically brute-force a created personality to take over her mind. This personality was part him, part Fluttershy, which is almost an exact analogue of biological reproduction. When she was freed from Discord's control, the Fluttercruel personality was not destroyed -- it simply went to sleep.

Yes, I fully get the horrible implications here -- he basically mind raped Fluttershy and sired a child on her. Though, in Discord's defense, she was completely unaware of this as any form of violation, the mere fact did not traumatize her, and being Fluttershy she didn't later hate him for this.

For extra squicky value, following that logic the Fluttercruel who is doing terrible things -- some of them sexual -- to Discord in your story would be his own daughter. What's even worse is that some of Warlorn's Discords (Warlorn does multiple time lines) love Fluttercruel as a daughter. In fact, the killing of Fluttercruel in the repeatedly time-looped Dark World is one of the ways Nightmare Paradox (evil super-powered Twilight) torments Discord (I sense a pattern here involving Discord being tormented!).

In my fanon, Twilight and Fluttershy are the only two of the Mane Six who Discord seriously respects (for his value of "respect"), because both of them were psychologically-strong enough to resist his power. He regards Twilight as someone to play games with and against, and Fluttershy as someone with whom he can have less confrontational fun. Which is to say that he sees them as at least "friends."

In general, though he's nastier than your Discord (though not as nasty as the Dark World's Discord) the Mane Six are on my Discord's list of ponies never to kill, because they are too much fun alive. That's actually one big thing that keeps him from being too destructive when he has the upper hand -- he knows that if he breaks his toys he can't play with them any more.

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Basically, the reason for the category of "slut" and the tendency to "shame" them has everything to do with reproductive biology. The games theory reason behind the latter point is quite nasty: it's one of the less pleasant implications of games theory, almost as upsetting in its way as the method of reproduction of many wasps is in its implications regarding simple Darwinian evolution. It's the same reason why men will make a major effort to get a woman in bed with them and then despise her if she yields.

I had a very, very long response to this but it's kind of off topic and gets into a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with ponies. Suffice it to say, this model is inaccurate because it has failed to take into account all the factors; the tendency to "shame" the slut does not exist in our closest relative, bonobos, and if it doesn't exist in our closest primate relative, it's not caused by reproductive biology. I actually majored in this and sought to get a masters (failed because I got hit with an episode of depression, but I did go to grad school for a year before dropping out), and I'm kind of appalled at the quality of the "science" in the field today. You can't say anything about human biology based on human behavior because human behavior is based on culture. (We have societies where men will kill their teenage daughters for a violation of social code. This is so outrageously counter to any reasonable reproductive strategy, you'd have thought they'd all die out. It happens because there are cultural reasons that support it.) Certainly biology lies underneath human culture and is the basic reason we do anything, but trying to identify what is in our biology is very, very difficult with all the noise created by culture, and it's necessary to study a broad swath of human behavior via anthropology and history, and combine that with primate studies, to actually understand what human behaviors might be biologically based and what are cultural. And the slut thing fails the very first test -- bonobos don't do it and chimps don't do it, therefore it's not reproductive biology causing it.

All that being said. What I see when I look at pony society is that there is a huge imbalance of mares to stallions, there are a lot of kids being raised by older sisters, and there is a tremendous emphasis on harmony, peace, and friendship, and a de-emphasis on romantic love. This suggests to me that ponies have the same impulses toward monogamy that humans have, but the lack of available stallions would cause a great deal of tension and competition among mares, so the society has put a great deal of emphasis on mare-mare homosocial bonds, close friendships, and extended kin relationships, and a lot less on romantic love and sex. Also, they plainly have good birth control and have had it for a very long time. Also, probably there are a lot of single mares who rely on older now-adult children or extended kin or friends to help them raise their children. This suggests that mares would look down on promiscuous mares, not because "she's a slut", but because she's putting dicks before chicks, so to speak; she's potentially causing tension and jealousy between mares with her sexual antics, and that's disharmonious, which is Bad.

(Assuming that the Rule 63 universe operates by either similar rules, or human rules, Eris obviously hits on everything that moves. :-))

So you're quite right, Pinkie is not likely to be having a lot of casual sex because it has the potential to make ponies unhappy.

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The "Fluttercruel" from Elements is not the same one as from Pony POV or for that matter Discord's creation when he discorded her. As Discord says, Fluttershy under his influence just ran around insulting ponies a lot; Fluttershy under the influence of her Element inverted is much nastier, because she mimics the form of being kind while she's being cruel. In Elements, the Discord who's dead didn't act directly on the Mane 6 (well, he did, the whole Return of Harmony episode happened, but it ended differently and then he came up with a different plan); he acted on their Elements, so he didn't directly corrupt them. So Evil Fluttershy didn't become evil because of Discord directly writing a different personality onto her; he forced her connection to her fundamental nature to accept elements that were an antithesis, and this has produced really, really disturbing effects, but he didn't just up and overwrite her. (Whereas in Discord in Hell, Discord admits that that is in fact exactly what he did when he discorded Fluttershy.)

There are several layers of fucked-up-ness to Evil Fluttershy's relationship both to "her" Discord, the one that transformed her, and the guy from our universe, but being his daughter in some sense isn't one of them.

I agree that Fluttershy and Twilight, being the two ponies who aren't Celestia and have ever defeated Discord at one of his games, would get a lot of respect from him. I think he likes Pinkie, but doesn't particularly respect her, and he's really got no patience for the other three at all. Fluttershy has actually defeated Discord twice, in a sense; she made him have to use brute force rather than manipulation in the maze, and then, she used friendship on him to get control over him, and because she was sincere, it worked. I think he sees that as her defeating him, even if he's willing to accept his defeat because he got something he wanted more out of it.

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It's not simple reproductive biology, but rather highly-complex reproductive game-playing, and the reason chimps and bonobos don't do it is because they have a totally-different mating system than do any human societies, in that in neither society is there anything resembling stable monogamy or even stable polygyny. The best analogy with human mating systems among the great apes is with gorillas, who have a system vaguely similar to human polygny.

It's true that it's not purely biological, it's also culture, but the biology dictates the available cultural attractors. There are some reproductive systems that totally fail when one is a sapient high-k species.

The chimpanzee model is horrific, and Pony society can't possibly be employing it, because it would be a lot more internally-violent and a lot less sentimental if it did. Interestingly, when Jonathan Swift created the Yahoos, he probably based them on travelers tales of chimps or orangs. This is funny considering what else was obviously inspired by Book 3 of Gulliver's Travels.

The bonobo model is possible to the Ponies, and it is a matriarchal one. The problem is that it tends not to work well outside of small groups, because of the extremely subtle networks of alliances, affection, sex and other favors required. It could work within Pony families though, and I've always thought that some Pony communities might be polyamorous.

What we seem to see in Pony culture is some variant on either long-term monogamy or polygyny, which means that the models developed for birds (and humans) which is for what this particular game theory was developed, is applicable.

Basically, males shame to excuse their own choice of the "cad" option ("I should have no loyalty toward her because she's a slut: she'll have sex with anyone"); females shame to avoid competition from "easy" females for males likely to choose the "dad" option ("You might sow your wild oats with a slut like that, but you'd rather marry me.") There's much about Pony society that would make this a bit less harsh, but the sexual-economic pressures to choose the strategy still exist -- at best, they would be much more subtle about it because cutting insults would probably be seen as unseemly behavior for adults.

The reason why you can't eliminate the category of "slut" (or "easy") for women is because it is the analogue of "player" (or "cad") for men. In other words it is a strongly-valuable informational category and those who eschew its use will suffer in reproductive competition. Just as the woman who ignores the existence of "cads" will find herself repeatedly exploited by caddish men, the man who ignores the existence of "sluts" will find himself repeatedly exploited by sluttish women.

Categories that describe real behavioral extremes are important, since the extreme behavior doesn't go away just because a society agrees never to speak of it again. What actually happens if you socially ban a term is that a euphemism quickly appears to describe the forbidden term, and the information continues to be exchanged.

If you have the male-female sex imbalance ratio suggested by some writers, then it would produce a polygynous system with cultural selection for (1) some degree of same-sex affect among mares (to let the polygynous marriages work more smoothly) and (2) strong competition for the "senior wife" or "only wife" spot in such marriages. You wouldn't get the observed increase in male homosexuality that you get in humans because we don't have a strong sex skew in our births, and with human polygny lower-status males get entirely squeezed out of the marriage market. (You also, thankfully, wouldn't get the increase in male aggresiveness notable in human polygynous systems).

Oh, the really horrible thing I found out from games theory? It is to the rational interest of a would-be "dad" (in other words a male considering the long-term mating strategy with a particular individual) to first test the prospective mate to find out if she's planning on picking "coy" or "easy," since the winning match (both personally and in the whole iterated game for both players) is "dad-coy." (This is because the "coy" female is probably less likely to bear him another male's offspring).

How does he do this? He exerts just enough pressure to imply he might lose interest if she doesn't mate with him soon. That tells her either that (1) he's a "dad" bluffing, or (2) he regards her as "easy" and he's not bluffing. The "coy" female is thus logically impelled (if she's smart) to refuse the mating opportunity this round, thus signalling him that she's not "easy."

The cruel part of this is that if the "coy" female lacks the intelligence or self-control to refuse on this round, she will mate with him -- and he will switch to "cad" and leave the game! He has expended little energy and taken little risk by mating, she on the other hand risks pregnancy. This is basically a way of avoiding supporting one's children with stupid or impulsive women.

I think you see why this is cruel -- especially given that the female involved may be neither stupid nor impulsive, merely naive.

Now in intensely patriarchal human cultures (Arab Muslims being the obvious example in the modern world) you see horrific exaggerations of slut shaming (such as "honor killings") with "sluttish" behavior being nebulous and vast in definition; coupled with absolutely no despite directed toward "cads" (on the contrary, that's just seen as "what men do naturally"). In more egalitarian human cultures (the modern West being the obvious modern example) blame is allocated more sparingly, more equally, and with only social rather than violent consequences.

We may then logically predict that in a "nice" and mildly-matriarchal society like Equestria, "cads" would be despised more than "sluts" (though neither category would be exactly honored) and the social effect would be "I wouldn't want to mate with somepony like that" rather than "burn that pony alive!"

We might also predict that, if we assume that the sex ratio is skewed toward female births, "sluttish" behavior would be more strongly attacked if heterosexual-female rather than lesbian-female. (In fact, there'd be a xeno "double standard" -- the mares would care as much if Cloud Kicker banged other mares, the more so because she couldn't get any of them pregnant, but they would care if she banged stallions, because she would be directly competing with the mares for a rare sexual resource). Caddish stallions would fare better in terms of the attitude of other males, but would find the higher-status mares unwilling to wed them; such mares would be saving themselves for more daddish stallions. They would have to settle for wedding lower-status mares, or remaining unwed (which would eventually be bad for them in the same sorts of ways as in our culture, plus the fact that since it's a matriarchy a stallion's status would in a large part derive from that of his wives -- which by the way makes Shining Armor the absolutely most successful stallion on the show, even though he has only one wife!).

I agree with most or all of what you said about mare-mare, friendly and familial social bonds being emphasized over romantic ones.

As for Pinkie Pie, her degree of abnormality is such that it's hard to tell whether or not she's sexually attracted to anyone. I like to think it's possible, but she seems to spend most of her time bouncing around, baking or eating cupcakes, and throwing parties. None of this actually says "sex" to me: she acts more like a hyperactive child than a seductive adult. Though I think that if anyone could make either polyamory or casual sex work without hurting her partners, it would be Pinkie because she has the largest social recognition capability of others of any individual I have seen outside of one of Olaf Stapledon's Last Men (they, incidentally, had 96-fold marriages. And often linked to other marital groups).

I have my own explanation for this, with which I seriously doubt the main series will agree. :pinkiecrazy:

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Oh, I wasn't trying to imply that they were. Your scenario manages to be dark enough without psychic incest.

Why do so many people assume the Tree of Harmony is an object of absolute Order?

Harmony is hardly equivalent to order. It is a balance of all things, the Middle Way. It's Zen Buddhism magic... or something like that.

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Um? Yes, true, but why post this on one of my stories? I've never made Harmony equivalent to Order.

in the static world Discord fears, there is no conflict. Everyone works together for the good of all. There are no negative emotions and no challenges that cannot be overcome easily. A world of absolute order is Camazotz from A Wrinkle In Time -- enforced absolute conformity. They are not the same thing at all, but Discord would be horrified by either of them.

Discord is opposed to both Harmony and Order because in addition to being the Spirit of Chaos he is also the Spirit of Disharmony, per Return of Harmony and also his name.

7766939 I was just observing it and couldn't help but comment with regard to Discord falling into the same trap as so many readers and writers.

Also, that second part of his nature is why I still can't accept his reform without some consequences to his powers.

I'm rather fond of those stories that consider the notion that his powers weaken as he ignores the nature of his aspect. The show writers could have used that angle to shore up his loss to Tirek and in powerlessness against Chrysalis this past season finale. It would have given the show quite a bit more narrative depth as opposed to almost none.

Tree's idea of "perfection", never changing, no room for diversity or creativity or even thought, really.

Is this universe one where Harmony is Order, contrasted to some of your other works?

Because I'd quote the best line of Hard Reset [series] to counter…A monotone can never be a Harmony. I should read the rest before commenting. :derpytongue2: And the comments already say nay.

As for rhymes…
orange: sporange; silver: chilver

"I gave her the heavily abridged edition

Makes much more sense.

I am going to have to look into all the other fics you've written at this point because your characterization and study of Discord has blown me away. You are a stellar writer and I have a far greater appreciation of Discord's internal struggle than ever before.

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