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Chris


Author, Royal Canterlot Library curator, and the reviewer at One Man's Pony Ramblings.


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Prophecy is a dangerous game; meanings which are obvious can become obscure in an instant, and fates are laid bare only in hindsight.

After the fall of Discord but before the rise of Nightmare Moon, a dragon breaks the peace between its race and ponykind, and Princess Luna flies to mete out justice.

Editing courtesy of the speedy, thorough, and unfailingly helpful Pascoite, whose assistance has proved invaluable once again.

Cover image by the astonishingly talented GenjiLim, used with permission.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 55 )

Harsh. Interesting portrait of pre-NMM Luna you've got here. You can already see how the ponies are drifting and gravitating towards her sister more and more. I liked the use of those foreign terms, it gave this whole tale a myth-like quality.

The depth here was just mindblowing. All the little details and mentions of greater things, the words in dragon tongue, it made the world feel broader. Plus, Luna's portrayal was fantastic. She was really consistent throughout and came off as a very strong character.

The ending was quite jarring at first, but after a second readthrough I think it was the right one. For spoilers' sake I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it left me with a lot to think about.

Nice. You do a great job with implication throughout, such as with the tension of the interactions with the guards. Things must have been getting bad indeed, both with Celestia's trust and with their allegiances. At that point it can't help but end badly, prophecy or no.

I am really, really a fan of the never-stated implication that Spike will one day be the Dragon King, especially since the story's actions seemingly all but guarantee the show's S1E1. Prophecy indeed.

A few typoes you might want to ninja-edit away before the competition judging starts:

The dragon rumbled. “Is weakens not what ponies desire in their rulers?

Luna intended to learn who—or what—the Wyrmandsaca was…

(The Wyrmandsaca is her sister; it's the titular Wyrmlysan she's curious about.)

It is more than that. The stone tells of that which will be, and which may be. It speaks of destinies, and of possibilities. But it is more than that.

(I would wish you luck, but, you know, fellow entrant and all that. … Eh, screw it. This is a good story and I wouldn't be ashamed to lose to it, despite you dashing my hopes of being the only entry with poetry in. So: Good luck.)

Also, are all your exotic words here Old English, or are they merely crafted to look that way? (I can't find "-lysan" in my references.) If you've got any Anglo-Saxon experience beyond random online dictionaries, I want to talk to you.

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I'm glad you both enjoyed! The use of foreignisms and hinting around things instead of being explicit was something I struggled to find the right balance with, so it's good to know you felt like I got it right.


4027275
Yeesh, don't you hate it when your editing introduces more problems? For the record, those all came from me making fixes and changes after Pasco looked at the story, so don't blame him--I'm gonna go clean those up now.

And sadly, I know a lot less Anglo-Saxon than I pretend to. The words take Old English forms, and could be roughly translated if one were so inclined (e.g. -lysan is the root of both ransom and redeem), but they aren't Old English proper; just some linguistic playing around on my part.

I haven't read your entry yet, but good luck!

Excellent work, Chris. While reading, I actually forgot you were the author, so there's no hint of bias when I say I was impressed

I had more to say, until I realized I'm a total moron. I completely forgot the description said this is pre-NMM, so there was some confusion on my part as I'd been thinking this was after her return. The difference in speech between Luna and the guards didn't exactly help with that, so there's some criticism for ya

EDIT: Who in the world disliked this? Yeah, I'm not gonna call it the greatest story ever told, but there was absolutely nothing objectionable in here. I could see disliking one of the stories I've favorited sooner than disliking this one

Just wanted to add, if you ever decide to write an epic with an execution similar to this piece, I will gladly break my "no incomplete fics" rule to read it as each chapter comes out

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

OOH THAT ENDING. Yeah, I like this one. Word of the day: condign.

And fægeorcanstan. :V

Also you should have a closing quote after the prophecy.

Nice. Very rich language throughout. The narration was appropriately verbose considering our main character, and I was fond of the foreign words too, though I can't identify the language. Google seems to think it was Swedish, but I'm pretty sure it isn't. I also liked how much of the story was told through implication rather than definite statements, though it does bring up some ambiguity with the ending. Not sure if if it's meant to be implying that Luna killed Spike or not. I think so, but the lack of an AU tag has me doubting slightly.

A lot of these big words and dragon speak flew right over my head.

But hey, what I like most about this story is Princess Luna herself. I love how she seems colder and more ruthless than the "present day" Luna, and I love how she interacts with her subjects.

This is very different - I liked that. A nice take on Luna before Nightmare Moon. The end, especially, was jarring. But in a good way :pinkiehappy:

A nice story. A prophecy where everybody see what they expect to see.
the lenity of We and our sister
Okay, I'm not a native Englsh speaker, but should not it be "of Us" instead?

Great story, I really liked it. There are just two things I didn't completely like.

First, I agree with Professor Oats; I believe the story would have been a little better anchored in time if the guards' speech pattern was closer to Luna's.

The second one is just a pet peeve of mine, and doesn't diminish your story in any way: it's just that I tend to enjoy the princesses more when they aren't depicted as all powerful beings.

Otherwise, I really can't find any fault in it, it was a joy to read :twilightsmile:

BTW, great job in leaving me stumped about the prophecy until, quite literally, the last line. It's rare to find a fic that properly foreshadows without giving away. Specially a fic this size that references events the reader already knows about :pinkiehappy:

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I'm adding my interpretation below. The first spoiled line is the conclusion, the rest the explanation. It made complete sense for me, which usually means that I'm either completely right or completely wrong.

Twilight has a dragon's soul


The language seems to indicate that the being prophesied will have the pony language as his/her native language.

When magery writes life or death, / When theurgy brings newfound breath,
Killed by magic, reborn by the divine. The baby dragon will reincarnate. Luna apparently didn't get this, and destroyed the egg with magic, thus triggering the prophecy herself.

The Wyrmlysan shall rise in might, / Presaging triumph for the Light
This is the one that made Luna fear. She was already in the throes of the Nightmare, and this basically prophesies her defeat by the baby.

And shall redeem the draken-line / In eyes of Pony, eyes Divine.
This had me somewhat stumped. I believe it refers to Luna herself - draken, as far as I can tell, can refer to other large winged creatures of legend. An Alicorn fallen from grace might fit, thus those lines might refer to Twilight redeeming Luna in the eyes of her sister and the other ponies.

With heart of Equus, soul of Drake, / Their strengths in he a meld shall make.
This could be interpreted as having the temperament of a pony, but can also be interpreted in a more literal way. The dragon though, apparently, that the baby should eat pony hearts, but my guess is that it means the baby will be reborn in a pony body.

When six are one, a One shall he / Make whole, and bring forth Harmony.
Very clear reference to the Elements of Harmony.

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...Could be, actually. I'm not sure if it's what Chris was going for, but I like that interpretation.

Very enjoyable! Nice bit of misdirection and a very believable characterization of Luna.

Thank you all for the wonderful comments; they mean a lot to me!

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Me? Write an epic? Sure, if you don't mind waiting until 2053 for it to be finished.


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Glad you liked it. Also, good choice for a WotD; "condign" is one I'm rather partial to, myself!

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4038022

Thank you both for the comments! Having seen your ideas, I'm now rather reluctant now to reveal my own thoughts on the prophecy, other than to remind you that, as the first line of the description says, "prophecy is a dangerous game." After all, interpretation is everything :pinkiehappy: Or, simply refer to
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(And technically, both are wrong; it should read "our sister and Us," but I wanted to show a bit of Luna's character by having her place herself ahead of Celestia, and the We vs. Us emphasizes (albeit with incorrect grammar) the prominence she's given to herself there. Probably a case of me being to clever by half, but that was the logic behind it)


4037681
Glad you liked it! Jarring was exactly what I was going for with the ending, so it's good to hear that it was "in a good way."

4037558
Thanks! It's reassuring to hear that Luna's character came through clearly for you. And don't worry about the words washing over your head; they're made-up constructs from Anglo-Saxon roots (most of which I gave rough "translations" of in the text at some point, though not always with the full implications of the roots used), so all you're missing is some philological toying around.

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Glad you liked it, especially the misdirection bit; I had a bear of a time trying to balance how far to go on that front, so it's nice to hear that you thought I was at least close to the right level!

4048665

Thank you both for the comments! Having seen your ideas, I'm now rather reluctant now to reveal my own thoughts on the prophecy, other than to remind you that, as the first line of the description says, "prophecy is a dangerous game." After all, interpretation is everything :pinkiehappy:

And now you have made me even more curious about the prophecy. After all, if I got the first two lines wrong, then the whole rest is likely wrong as well :twilightoops:

Though I do like the idea of the dragon soul :twilightsmile:

4048665
I'll wait, but I expect the first chapter much sooner than that

Now I'm thinking I must've been completely off. I thought the Wyrmlysan was Spike

By attempting to break the prophecy, Luna all but assured its fulfillment.

How often that happens in magic realms! I mean, look at the whole Harry and Voldemort thing!

Let this be a lesson to all would-be villains out there! If magical fate things tell you yer kerfuq'd, ya might as well just stab yourself and be done with it, cuz yer gonna lose!

:trollestia:

Clearly, Twilight's magical explosion merged pony and dragon souls and created Spike! :pinkiegasp:

And now Spike has all da powers. :moustache:

And immediately after this, Luna went nuts with doubt and dread (and hallucinations cuz she ate some weird berries. Don't eat weird berries and end up stumbling into something highly illegal) and went to the castle for what Twilight saw after drinking the past-view potion!

IT MAKES SENSE!! :pinkiecrazy:

Shouldn't this have a dark tag?

Wanted to lay off commenting for a while as my head wasn't is a good place when this went up. Now I seem to be in a strange place where I'm feeling less at easy with my usual highly-opinionated self. Luckily, it's you, so I have no fear of putting my foot in it!

I can't say I was very taken with the writing style in this one, but as is so often the case I am acutely aware of how much of that is just personal preference or at least contentious. Wasn't particularly in favour of the heavy stylised language, if only because it kept ruining my immersion.

On the upside, I can totally dig this incarnation of Luna. I had no trouble placing the timeframe, despite the lack of anything explicit, and the little character details really brought a well-considered and nuanced version of the best princess to life. The best thing, though, was the ending. But then, I don't need to explain to you how much I appreciate a sharp, dark twist of an ending now, do I?

I couldn't really 'get into' it as I would have liked, but a strong finish certainly left me with a smile. Now onto Thou Goddess, which I am not looking forward to responding to...

-Scott

P.S. I'd love to know why you went with [Tragedy] rather than [Dark], though.

It seems that you and I have through unspoken accord (to borrow a phrase of yours) created two highly similar short stories. They intersect, at least. In subject matter and many details they are nearly the same.

Yours is the better written, I'd say. This story right here, Wyrmslysan, drips with research and passion. And the ending was... unexpected. I was convinced this was an origin for Spike's egg, as is the link below, but now I'm unsure as to Wyrmslysan's placement on the timeline. Unless that egg survived her wrath.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LZ_ud40K3uIpJ9bkTSOSumFL5hXAvuRxfjzrPPOMUDY/edit?usp=drive_web

Hmm. Forgot this had a tragedy tag over the course of reading ig. Predictably thought it was Spike, and then was surprised. Presuambly as intended.

One comment: Personally dshaj thought all sfdlsfdlk constant vjdldflj was hdflsfd a bit fjdllkfds.

See, this is why prophecies are useless - they can be interpreted in so many ways, and if they are truly fated to be, then even caring about them is pointless because they're going to happen no matter what you do.

I do enjoy that both the dragon and Luna misunderstood it, though. Ah, the joy of prophecy.

good short interesting story. Like how you keep the prophesy ambiguous. Greenthumbed!

Oh, I do so love your portrayal of Luna, mid-fall.
And that wonderful ending. I was happily patting myself on the back for seeing what the prophecy was of course really saying, and then Luna upended everything.

Hap

Was not expecting that. Any of that. I kept not expecting things. And then bam.

That was a good read.

CCC

...I will admit, I did not expect that last line.

Comment posted by CCC deleted Apr 24th, 2014

I was freely sifting through Bad Horse's faves when I came across this.

This is beautifully done! I love the style and tone. I also love seeing Luna written as a strong character, and your showing that - even as the sun rises at the end an no pony comes out until it does - she has some reason to feel slighted and disrespected by everyone, and how that sunrise would feed into her decision at the end.

I didn't predict the ending, but I could feel it heading the way it did so it wasn't a huge shock, but it was very well executed. And Luna's last line sounds very familiar; I want to say that it sounds like a Greek tragedy, but I can't place it yet.

Excellent story. :twilightsmile:

4027275 Well Spike would be the dragon king. . . except for the fact that Luna smashed the egg open. . .

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Remember that the egg got smashed before Celestia and Luna's falling out, a thousand years before Spike's egg was laid. :raritywink: Leaving a prophecy unfulfilled, and a thousand years for destiny to figure out how to reassert itself …

4417019
*jaw slowly opens as I read your comment and it all becomes clear*

I am thoroughly amazed. This is the kind of story that keeps me thinking about it for a while - my absolute favorite kind.

Amazing job Chris, 5 staches out of 5
:moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

The more I thought about this, the better it became.

That was not at all the ending I was expecting. Huh.

Really liked the portrayal of pre-NMM Luna, though. And the story as a whole, for that matter.


I'll echo this, though 4028672

The difference in speech between Luna and the guards didn't exactly help with that, so there's some criticism for ya

Oh my, definitely one of those stories that reaches out and slaps you, right when you weren't quite expecting it. Well, on the first read through, saw it coming on the second.

4417019
I just assumed that this dragon had nothing to do with the prophecy at all; she didn't understand it.

The funny thing about fate is that if it really is unchanging, then your attempts at manipulating it in this manner are futile; not only are you likely to cause trouble and pain, but it is likely to be useless because you misunderstood it.

A mythical Luna slays a mythical Wyrm and all but sets in stone the up until then freely interweaving possible timelines of a mythical prophecy. An enormous amount of information and world-building condensed into a comparatively tiny story.
Others have pointed out a few technical shortcomings which I agree with but that don't lessen the impact.
I can think of no better fitting portrayal of pre-NMM Luna in the millions of words I've read.
Bravo.

I have to agree with several others I've seen in the comments: this is, by far, the best pre-Nightmare Luna I've yet seen in writing. 'Fall of the Crystal Empire' on Youtube came close, but here we see the clear (and legitimate) roots of her frustration and anger rather than having them be vaguely hinted at, but without making her into a raging lunatic (LOL) prior to the Nightmare Incident.
As for the prophecy, the first thoughts that came to mind were that it sounded reminiscent of the lore surrounding the 'Elder Scrolls' Dovahkiin in reference to Twilight. Ignoring that, though, the implications that Spike is ultimately responsible for the Nightmare's downfall through Twilight are clever, subtle, and not entirely without merit. Carrying that further, Twilight's influence on Spike could very well mean that he is able to ultimately restore his own kind to prominence the way that the dragon here wishes him to. Not immediately, and not on his own, but a Redeemer he could become.
All in all, very well done. Thanks for a good read!
- Headwind

Very nice. Love me some archeoglotia here and there. I could hear the "HA! HUA! HAI" rhythmically pumping in the background.

My guess is, the egg didn't crack, and remained until the fated Final Exam?

Fox
Fox #43 · Jan 24th, 2015 · · 8 ·

The "special" words, despite how the author may perceive them, just make the interactions annoying to read. I get the desire to give the impression of culture on their part, but no. Just no.

Further, the open disrespect from the guards was ridiculous. I could understand her not being
appreciated like her sister, but she's still royalty and the conduct of those guards was incomprehensible.. And the order for them to protect her? When she can shrug off fire hot enough to melt stone? Cheap excuse for drama.

All that said, the end was... Well, it was interesting at the very least. I can't see even full-fall NMM smashing and killing an unborn dragon, though, especially after her interaction with its parent.. But I will admit that it's better than it actually having been Spike. I'm tired of seeing characters so wrapped up in mysticism and fate that they effectively become empty puppets with no victories of their own.

So... Yeah, no. Sorry, but I didn't like this. I realise it's harsh to say, but I really can't see anything redeeming about this fic.

Hey, I wrote a review of this story. In case you are interested, it can be found here.

Quite a bit late to the party, but this is certainly some outstanding work. I specially loved how much you hid inside the characterization.

As I said elsewhere, I think my problem here is that this story is just too clever for me! Very textrous (yes, it is a word, dammit) and with heaps of interest, but my poor old brain couldn't manage all the Equuo-Saxon stuff. Still very much upvote material, though!

fægeorcanstan

The heck does that even mean?

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Late reply is late, but...

In the text, the translation "Fate-stone" is used, and that's a close enough translation for purposes of understanding the story. If you want to know more about the etymology, though: Fægeorcanstan is a portmanteau of two Old English words (note that fægeorcanstan itself isn't Old English; I'm just playing with word parts, basically). Fæge means "doomed," though "fated" is probably more accurate, as it refers to any prediction, prophesy, or the like which cannot be escaped. Eorcanstán (also written eorclanstán) literally translates as "precious stone," though in Old English writing it's often used figuratively to describe something of great value. In any case, stán is literally "stone," so a straightforward translation of fægeorcanstan might be "valuable rock of doom" or "flawless stone of fate," for example.

Incidentally, if eorcanstán looks at all familiar to you, it's probably via Tolkien, who anglicized the word and gave it to one of the most famous "precious stones" in his writing: the Arkenstone of Thrain.

Hope that answers your question! Probably in more detail than you wanted, but there you go.

Oh my! I've been reading your review blog for years, and yet somehow I've never read any of your fiction before now. I can be kinda useless like that sometimes :facehoof:

This is really something special. You manage to say so much with so little (you get an immediate sense of Luna's personality, and what a terrifying personality it is), and the writing itself is beautiful. And that's to make no mention of the superb world-building. There's just so much to love about this one.

Oh yeah, and the last line totally caught me off-guard, so there's that too.

All I can say after reading this is wow. This story did so much in such a small space. It built this whole story of resentment between the sisters without Celestia even being present, yet her shadow falls over all proceedings. Luna is fierce in this and full of mystery and secure in her own powers. It is easy to see how she might fall into the darkness soon after the events of this story, her characterization is that good. The ending though--completely chilling. With that action she undoes so much, the hopes and dreams of the mother and the potential the drake might have. It's more a sign of her jaded personality than near anything else in this story. Really, a masterpiece!

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All the better given the Dragon Lord stuff in season 6.

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