• Published 21st Mar 2014
  • 2,729 Views, 196 Comments

Fallout Equestria: Longtalons - Telgin



Everyone has heard the stories of Fillydelphia, from the Stable Dweller herself down to the lowliest slaves that survived the unspeakable horrors and hardships. Many forget those who weren't slaves or slavers, but they have stories too...

Comments ( 34 )

And so ends Longtalons. It's hard to believe I've been reading this story for this many years and it's a little crazy to finally see its conclusion. It made me happy every time I saw a chapter notification in my inbox, and the little pieces of art at the bottom of chapters were a great touch. Thank you so much for writing it - it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I'm glad I was here until the end! It was nice to finally see a good ending for Kaz.

So refreshing to see a FoE fic get completed. Thank you, for the amazing story!

Nice to see this completed, it’s been a hell of a journey.

Had a damn good time readin' this fic. Definitely gonna have to read it again now that it's been completed. Thanks for the great story, mate.

And thank you all for sticking with the story over the years and reading. I wish I'd gotten it done faster, but better late than never!

10209560
Oh boy, I'm sure you'll find some inconsistencies, but if you do, let me know and I'll get it fixed!

I first started reading this a few months ago and completely blasted through all of the chapters in only a few days. It was quite the unique story that I thoroughly enjoyed and I’m glad that this story finally has its conclusion.

Will there be a sequel?

10210550
Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

10212246
Heidi grew on me a lot too, and she easily ended up in my top few favorites to write for.
And thank you for reading!

10211590
Never say never, but probably not.
For one thing, the story is more or less in the best place I can think to leave it, and a sequel would be difficult as far as the story goes. Not impossible, but difficult. I'm content to let Kaz have a happy ending I think.
But really, the more important thing is that I'm not sure I'd want to commit to another story like this that would take years to write, at least for now.

Awesome story. Really enjoyed it.

10235425
10249117
Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you both enjoyed it!

So... finally reached the end of this story, and while there are properly a lot of things to say will I just let it be short and sweet and say thanks for the ride. A lot of FoE stories, even the original now that I look back at it, can get quite too epic and big for their own good, so it was nice with a quite earthbound and low key story admist all of the epics out there.

Fun fact: Chocolate would be poisonous for griffins since theobromine is both dangerous for cats and birds... Honestly would they half and half not be able to taste it since felines can't taste chocolate. That a doctor dosn't know that and let somone close to him eat them is outragious... or just show how real life logic dosn't work on featherbrains.

Nitpicks:
"so we're running conduit for the last of cables now." Either delete of or insert a the
"We might would have stayed in longer," sounds wrong to my ears, but could be gramatically correct.
“But that does bring up the question of how you town met back up and got here.” two
"while Kaz and Amy talked about everything they'd seen and helped build and while Leigh and Lita tried not to sound too dismissive or skeptical." Delete the and

10301713
Thanks for reading! Yeah, I deliberately wanted a story that was a bit more down to earth and one that wasn't such a chore to read because each chapter was half the length of a novel on its own. Hopefully I delivered on those points.

And thanks for picking out the grammatical problems, which I've fixed.

Regarding theobromine: yeah, I was being deliberately loose with the anatomy and metabolism with the griffons at times. Ponies eat chocolate in the cartoon but it's potentially poisonous to horses too, so I'll just assume it's not real chocolate or their bodies just work differently.

Yeah! I'm so glad I finally got off my lazy butt and finished reading this wonderful fic.

Time to harp on the FOE book club members to keep up, hehe.

Thank you for sticking around and completing your fic!

10366648
Thanks for reading! I'm glad anyone gets any enjoyment out of it, and at the end of the day that's all I can hope for.

what a ride... so many good griffons.... so much happened... Wonderfully executed. Simply Wonderful.

10670420
Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I had this fic recommended to me by a couple of friends a while back and it's been on my read later list for too long. I decided to use this as my “holiday book” to read during a week away and ended up reading the whole lot from start to finish in about five days, which says a lot about how gripping the writing is. I'd often find myself “Just reading one more chapter” before going to do something else or going to sleep.

I thought I'd sit down and write a review of the whole fic in its' entirety rather than go chapter by chapter.

I'll start off with the criticism first before moving onto what I thought were the real strengths here.

I felt the biggest issue with the story was in the arc of chapters six to eighteen. It piled on the misery for Kasimir with little in the way of hope. For the first arc, Kaz has the support of Ida, who provides moments of levity and support to situations that would otherwise be hopelessly bleak. This contrast I feel is really important, especially in stories where the characters will be subjected to awful things on a routine basis; the protagonists need to be able to support each other, both in a practical sense and an emotional sense, especially in something like this where Kaz's feelings and state of mind are one of the main focal points of the story.

In fact importance of interpersonal relationships probably counts doubly for the way this fic is laid out as a series of memoirs because we know Kaz is going to survive whatever horrors are thrown at him much of the tension is from worry about those around him. Getting the reader emotionally invested in them is really important.

Ida worked really, really well for all of this, providing Kaz with guidance and a shoulder to cry on and helping him through the horrors of Filly both physically and emotionally. The biggest threat in the story at this point is something bad happening to Ida. So naturally, when she's killed it's an absolute sucker punch.

The problem is, after she's gone there's no real replacement. An array of characters help Kaz through the situations he finds himself in, but there's nobody he can really lean on or to provide moments of levity to counteract the grimness of everything he finds himself in. The people helping generally render assistance so that he doesn't die, but not much beyond that. As is noted in the text later, even Kaz's relationship with Liese was strained. The other medical staff at this point get the closest but it's fairly thin on the ground, which gives the whole ordeal a real air of abject despair. Which is absolutely fine in small doses, but this runs on for a very long time. The professionalism of Kaz's comrades looking out for him out of a sense of duty (or perhaps so they can keep their flying medical chest around) keeps things from getting really abjectly bleak but it's hard going at times. His teammates don't really seem to care overmuch for him in serious FNG style (which with what he did to Ida was perhaps understandable, but lots of it doesn't make for fun reading).

Amy as a replacement partner is almost looking in a twisted mirror of Ida, with all the grim professionalism but no experience of Filly, who looks down on Kaz so their relationship is entirely professional and often extremely cold. This is a neat introduction, but they only start opening up to each other after suffering massive personal traumas after four years chronologically and fifteen chapters of the story, which is around half of the total. For me that feels far too long and it probably would've been good if they had started warming to each other sooner; possibly within a chapter or two of Kaz's return to the squad. Just to help lift the atmosphere and give a little more of a glimmer of hope that maybe it isn't all bad, providing those all important lighter moments and real sense of camaraderie and friendship. Amy only really started to approach the position Ida held in the very last chapter. Amy's character arc was very good, but could've started moving earlier.

Kaz's team didn't really provide very much from a friendship point of view. Mostly indifferent and although helping him to not die, for most of the story it feels as if he had died nobody would've really cared all that much, which is depressing.

It makes it kinda ironic in a way that Ida's death was simultaneously one of the best parts of the narrative and also the worst. It worked well because of the aforementioned limited threat to the protagonist himself and it really works on that threat to those close to him to provide the real horror and fear. But also the worst because nothing really ever replaces her (Amy does, but arguably only fills the gap left properly in the very final chapter) and her role was supremely important to stop the narrative from sliding inexorably ever deeper into a pit of despair.

By the time it hit intermission two I was basically emotionally exhausted and pretty much ready to drop. Nothing was really looking up for Kaz and almost everything he tried went spectacularly wrong. Given little in the way of moral support from his team everything seemed really dark. The squad rallying around after his injury helped a little, but there wasn't much of it and it came at the end of a long slog.

Then you hit the second intermission. It's short, but almost cavity inducingly sweet with little Ida. I thought it gave away too much for the coming arc (simultaneously revealing that Amy makes it out, eventually takes Kaz as a mate and that her sister dies), but this short moment of light really gives you hope and gave me the power to keep trucking on. It would only take a little adjustment to prevent the spoilers. More moments like these, either as flashing forwards or more lighthearted or heartfelt interactions between the squad and/or Amy would probably overall improve things in the big slog from Ida's death to here.

The second issue is where Liese and Valerie die basically within a chapter of one another. This is the closest the story got to falling into the easy trap of killing off a lot of characters and milking it for emotional impact. If you go for it too much you risk the audience losing any investment they've built up with the rest of the cast, possibly from emotional exhaustion or as a defence mechanism. A lot of stories and franchises do this, even very big mainstream ones.

The worst example I could give is actually another FoE fic; Project Horizons. I'm not going to go too deep here because any discussion relating to that story generally turns into a dumptser fire, but I hung with it to the bitter end. After a length of nearly eight times that of Longtalons, pretty much the entire main cast who've been the glue holding the whole thing together with their interpersonal relationships and camaraderie, gets killed off and it tries to maximise the impact of each in the last couple of chapters. After the first couple, my thoughts were “Well, everyone I'm attached to is inevitably going to die horribly so no point keeping invested any more”. So everything after I read in a very detached kind of way out of morbid curiosity rather than actually keeping engaged.

Liese and Valerie didn't take things too far, but it was dangerously close. You have Liese die and Kaz goes through the emotional wringer for the next chapter with basically no relief, then the chapter after Valerie dies, extremely traumatically for everyone involved (apart from Valerie, mercifully). Given Kaz's and Amy's relationship is still fairly tenuously building at this point, it looks like this event is going to fracture that and leave Kaz with nothing again, at which point you have to ask whether it's worth carrying on wading through the misery.

Of course, this manages to nip it in the bud and stops things from sailing off the cliff.

“Kaz?” Her voice was weak, as if she'd worn it out.

“Yeah?”

“Shut up.”

Silence fell as she commanded, broken only by the odd crackle or pop of debris in the incinerator burning. A twisting pain formed in my chest. I wasn't helping, and should have known better than to come. I'd done enough to let her down.

“Wait.”

I paused halfway through standing up. “Huh?”

“I didn't say leave.”

I liked that, a lot. Very short and simple, but very effective at conveying a lot of meaning and reassuring the reader that it isn't all a completely hopeless mess going forwards.

The story in its' entirety was also pretty long. Not a bad thing if each chapter is meant to be read individually as its' own story and it isn't supposed to be read in one sitting (much like Murky), but for a single book it probably hits the upper limits. Now, cutting stuff is really tricky. If I was looking at it from the perspective of an editor looking at a draft of something that might be physically published later, I could only think of a couple of changes.

The really big one would basically cutting out Liese entirely and replacing her “roles” with Ida and Amy. There was some neat symmetry to Liese and Valerie's deaths- Kaz used a super restoration draught on Liese but was too late, and didn't have one for Valerie when he did have time. This could easily be done with Ida instead and you'd still have the shared experience of mourning alone at the incinerator after everyone else has left.

The only major hole Liese would leave is at the crater. That could be an interesting place to introduce Amy. She'd probably need to have been coerced by the medics into doing it but it would introduce an early point on being able to slightly bend rules and used as a springboard to build their relationship on. You also then entirely steer clear of the “Cast death overload” above. Kaz already has more than enough stuff going on to make him question the point in anything.

It gets progressively more difficult after that because pretty much everything else has some sort of payoff or relevance to the story moving forwards. You'd end up with something fundamentally different. Not necessarily bad, but certainly a major departure.

Tl;dr: A bit much on the dark for a while, Kaz could use (another) dependable friend.

***

Now, onto the good stuff!
This bit's going to be slightly tricky, in that I don't really know where to begin. I suppose the first sign things are done well is that I've actually taken the time to sit down and plan out a fairly serious review; something I haven't done for a piece of fan fiction for a very long time.

I guess a logical point to start would be the pacing. As pointed out before this is a fairly long read for one sitting, but I blew through it in only a few days. I never got bored reading this, it keeps moving from event to event at a good clip and doesn't let itself get bogged down too much.

The cast of characters are also very good. Kasimir himself is relatable (insomuch that a gryphon in the post apocalypse of a cartoon fantasy can be relatable) and easy to sympathise with. His way of trying to view the world with compassion that's almost entirely absent, or at least buried, is a good testament to his character and makes him easy to root for, especially since showing kindness here often leads him to be punished. The running theme being “Doing the best you can when thrust into terrible circumstances”. To that end the fact that Kaz isn't very good at fighting probably adds to things, forcing him to be reactive rather than proactive most of the time and adds to that feeling that he's out of control and trying to fight against a river trying to constantly drag him down. This makes all of his little successes feel all the more rewarding.

The rest of the squad doesn't get a huge amount of time to really get to know them properly, but what is there is very good. They each have distinct characters and feel alive. That goes for all of the cast that shows up. Even with very little time everyone feels distinct.

Lt. Heidi is great as the long suffering commander of First Platoon and absolutely no-nonsense. She makes for a very good antagonist. In fact probably the biggest issue with Heidi is that she's almost too competent as an officer. Even under intense pressure she makes use of what forces she has at her disposal and appears reluctant to throw the lives of her subordinates away (even the final, desperate attack on the Thunderhead wasn't completely suicidal for any of the elements involved).

This is a little odd when compared to Stern. Headstrong, eager to rush ill prepared into situations and having a callous disregard for the lives of those under her command. It's honestly a wonder that the contracts for Fillydelphia are so prized; one would suspect after any interactions with Stern most gryphons born and raised as Talons would resign their commission at the earliest opportunity and go back to where they came from to share the good news, before signing on to another, more sane posting. It's almost strange Stern wasn't fragged and replaced with a more competent officer.

All that being said about Stern though, she was a very powerful part of Amy's character arc and honestly, I probably wouldn't change either Stern or Heidi.

There only seemed to be two real character arcs overall (three if you include Filly itself), Kaz and Amy. I felt both were very good. Kaz's progression from incompetent and paraiah to respected member of the squad as well as his attitudes changing for the more pragmatic as he gained experience dealing with Filly was well handled. But it was also good that he never entirely lost that idealist spark, even right to the end when dealing with the fuel thieves. The final conclusion of his journey, being rescued by the slaves he had managed to help over the years was supremely satisfying.

Amy's journey from professional, indifferent soldier, seeing the cracks in her armour slowly widen to the point she's disillusioned with it all and starts warming to Kaz is very good. Behaving rashly when her sister was in danger, to her injuries and coping with them and subsequent almost total breakdown after the loss of her sister were very strong points in the narrative overall for me. It possibly could've got the ball rolling a little bit earlier though with regards to warming to Kaz, just to lighten things a little where they got really bleak in the middle. It would also help with the jump to the epilogue a bit. Kaz and Amy don't really show any romantic interest in each other at all and Amy only admits she sees him in any kind of really friendly manner the day before the battle of Fillydelphia. The little bits of development they had before were nice, but there wasn't really much there. Of course the intervening five years between the events of Exodus and Little Ida coming along is plenty of time for those feelings to coalesce, but still, it feels like a bit of a jump. I really liked the little touch of how she's referred to as Amalia and gradually gets called Amy more and more as time goes on and they slowly warm to each other.

Next good point. You really, really know how to write action very well. It's not over described or “choreographed”, there's enough information to get across what's going on and the reader can fill in the rest. It keeps things short, sharp and frantic which really helps with the tone. Also it's often extremely confusing and you can't tell what's going on, which racks up the tension and drama even more, as well as being a very realistic perspective from someone right in the thick of it. Also where Kaz doesn't have any formal military training and he's just sort of blundering around when things go sideways personally helps me to empathise with him a bit more. As someone who also has no military training I can imagine myself doing more or less the same stupid things in his shoes.

The point in the stable where he catches on a cutlery drawer and thinks he's been shot is a brilliant example of all of the above.

Another excellent thing that gets pulled off is that the fighting and action really feels uncomfortable. Me as a reader found myself getting tense whenever it looked like action was going to start and being relieved when it was all over. I actually found myself not able to sleep very well having gotten close to the end and the Battle of Fillydelphia because I was dreading what was coming so much. I suspect that's intentional given the Kaz himself doesn't want to be there and as a medic he'd be more focused on the injuries people are getting and whether he can do anything for them rather than the objective.

Especially in this world of shades of grey there's no honour or glory to be had and it's just a visceral, bloody, kill-or-be-killed affair. Because effort is put into emphasising that really none of them want to be there in the first instance, especially when dealing with slaves in most of the action where anybody gets hurt it feels uncomfortable. Even when Kaz killed Rusty and realised who he was it still felt hollow and meaningless. This story really leans into the whole horror element of what's going on very well.

Which leads neatly onto tension. Very, very good at building atmosphere and tension here, especially during the action sequences where the emphasis isn't on the shooting, but more the worry of being shot, which is arguably worse. Out of combat the tension building and general atmosphere is done very well, with the caveat that the general pervasive gloom could've used a little more breaking up.

The overall resolution was fantastic. Going into the battle of Filly not only was I worried because the action is generally so uncomfortable and the last couple of chapters had done an excellent job of building the tension up, but also because it was the make-or-break point of the whole story which would either see it rise or fall. The battle itself was handled exceptionally well and you didn't fall into the trap of killing everyone off, which would've been very easy to do. Instead, by keeping it to only three named characters it keeps the emotional impact while also keeping the reader emotionally invested in the others. Ike's death wasn't unexpected, I would have been surprised if they had all made it out alive, but because he was the only member of the squad Kaz couldn't save it still makes it hurt in hindsight. That goes double for Egon, who I admit after the scene where he's seen in armour and with a gun for the first time, made me worried for the kid. That worry becoming true particularly stung.

Both the senior doctors dying offscreen rounding it off helped nail in the utter sense of loss and failure without going completely overboard. Everyone in the squad admitting they hated being the bad guys before the final battle and going their separate ways after was a nice touch. Even Heidi breaking down but refusing to give Gawd the satisfaction was great. Then obviously the exodus, Amy's and Kaz's arcs finally ending with Amy's speech to him and finding help from ponies Kaz had helped earlier in the story was the perfect capstone.

The epilogue was great, to finally lift any residual tension and showing that in the end, everything ended up more or less okay, while leaving some questions unanswered and the reader able to fill in the gaps- Leigh's necklace- are those feather's Ike's having been repaired, did she end up with another orange gryphon or did she and Ike have a child?

One of the best things about this story though, is the way it made me stop and think about things. In a way the story is a lot like Das Boot, a group of comrades in mortal peril in a depressingly grim situation. Both groups of people are working for demonstrably reprehensible regimes that you absolutely don't want to be cheering on, yet at the same time they're people too who you end up not wanting to see hurt.

With the morals of the wasteland tending to vary from very dark grey to black (with much lighter tending to get you killed in rapid fashion) it's perhaps easier to see why gryphons would be attracted to the Talon's job, as bad as it is. Then being trapped there themselves by contracts they're almost slaves themselves, with the Filly contract advertised very successfully as being extremely prestigious to attract gryphons from Talon bases across Equestria, only to realise what special hell they've found themselves in after the fact.

That also makes me wonder whether the bases Talon company use while on operations are actually owned by Talon Company, or whether they're run as bases and homes for other Talon groups who lease use of the facility in return for bits and supplies from Fillydelphia. The way Amy said she was raised and competing for the Filly contract and Heidi completely dissolving Talon Company makes me err on the side of that being the case.

Do the circumstances the gryphons in Filly find themselves in make what they're doing right? No. Are they complicit in horrific crimes? Absolutely. But do they deserve to be slaughtered and punished for it? Now that I can't be so sure about. Refusing being certain death rather than imprisonment skews things a fair bit. Being made to care about a group of people who by all accounts are seen as soulless monsters from almost any other angle is a very impressive feat.

Things get even more complicated for the young gryphons brought up as Talons, especially the youngsters who grew up in Filly like Egon and Zella. They don't have any notion of anything different and will never get the chance. That made Egon's death even more poignant.

To finally round out and conclude, this was a terrific yarn. In my opinion one of the best FoE stories out there, up with the likes of Murky and Pink Eyes. The fact that I have a soft spot for gryphons about a mile wide probably doesn't hurt but even so you've got a very compelling hero, a varied and interesting supporting cast and set of antagonists and a couple of very good character arcs. Also a Happy Ending which after so much gloom is really rather cathartic.

My only regret is that I should've read it sooner!

(Also sorry for the wordage, I thought it deserved it but holy smokes, nearly four thousand words! At least it's below the magic 5k after which the average adult will switch off!)

10947166
Thank you for reading! I'm honestly touched someone would take the time to write out such a thorough review of the story, and I read it in its entirety a couple of times.

For what it's worth, I totally agree with all of the criticisms, and if there's anything I learned while writing Longtalons it's that a story can really use an editing pass after it's all written. Since the story was released a chapter at a time over the course of years it put me in a bit of a tough spot at times with pacing and character arcs since I also only had a very vague outline with the high points and story beats in mind when I started. The four year time skip in the middle is a good example of that, and I absolutely agree that I should have balanced the pacing out so some interesting things happened then, like interaction between Amy and Kaz.

If I were to rewrite the story, I'd probably also take your advice to start Amy's arc a fair bit earlier and balance out some of the deaths. I'd also definitely balance out the misery a bit. It's something I regret piling on so much so early with few to no breaks, and is probably at least partially because I was knee deep in reading MN7 while writing that part of the story.

And on the subject of characters, during a rewrite it would be tempting to eliminate Liese and fill the gap with Amy, Ida or some of the other characters. As you said the story would have ended up different so it's hard to say what the consequences would be, but it's something I'd have considered. I might also eliminate Ike or maybe even Leigh since they never got the development and attention I originally planned, but that's all in hindsight.

Anyway, at the risk of writing something entirely too long in reply, I'll cap off by reiterating that I really appreciate that you stuck with the story despite its difficult parts and took the time to write such a thorough review. You really made my day, and I'm glad you found it all enjoyable in the end. :twilightsmile:

10947498
I'll admit, it wasn't until after I'd finished writing it and put it up that I noticed the first chapter was posted in 2014! For some reason I'd got it into my head that it first went up in 2019 and was finished in a year or so. That makes some of my criticism of the arc before the second intermission potentially a little bit harsh, because as you pointed out that was a prevailing trend at the time.

I thought I'd review it as I did because now it is finished and is short enough to be a chunky but normal book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has 50k more words than Longtalons, with considerably less going on in it) and that's how new readers would probably approach it.
Honestly I thought this story deserved the time to sit down and write a big review. I couldn't really keep it out of the back of my mind while I was reading it, it really managed to grab me and drag me in. With not many more than a hundred 'likes' the story looks almost criminally undervalued for just how good it is. Especially given the thousands of man hours that must've gone into it.

Removing Leise wouldn't cause much difference in the flow of the story, but could open up room for building with other characters. For example meeting Amy at the Crater instead, where Amalia could really look down on him and only be there because Yvonne had persuaded her to, keeping terse with Kaz. Possibly have her see Kaz help Rusty Rivet at some point while making her deliveries. Which then becomes ammo for stuff after gets out of the crater. Assuming their relationship develops more before the second interlude and they're firm friends after, you could use the time after Brimstone's breakout to focus on Kaz and Amy as he helps her through her injuries more; possibly show a hint of a budding romance. Then throw it all through the wringer in the next chapter when Valerie dies and Amy goes to pieces.

Ike and Leigh I'm not so sure about. If they go the squad goes down to four, which feels too small. Ike especially is already fairly well defined. He's the strong, silent type (literally, since he can't talk) who cares for Leigh a great deal. I wouldn't expect to see a lot of character from him from Kaz's perspective, since they spend the majority of their time on different shifts and with Ike's communication issues it would already be difficult. I would expect Leigh to know him very well and everyone else only so-so. I personally think for the rest of the squad there's enough there to make them all distinct characters and it's okay not to have as much focus on some of the others- Kaz doesn't have to be good friends with all of them.

The flow of major events and combat is fine, like I said I didn't think there was an issue with pacing and almost everything has some kind of payoff. the only real exceptions being the first expedition outside of the city where not much builds off of the stable raid and the caravan. Now, Kaz getting injured was an important point, because it demonstrated that the rest of his team cared about him enough to get him back, but the stable raid boiled down to "Kaz gets himself in trouble, again" and nothing really ever comes of it. Which is a real shame because the chaotic action in the stable was fantastic. I suspect that changing some elements outside of the action sequences and only changing things inside the stable a bit would be the way to do it. If Amy and Kaz had gotten some development before, Amy could berate Kaz for potentially getting himself court martialled again. Then making up after Kaz nearly gets killed- from Kaz's perspective it's a shocking example of why Amy and the others are telling him to be more careful about blindly rushing in to help others and from Amy's perspective losing her partner (and possibly friend by this point?) would maybe help her see what's really important behind everything else (I dunno, I'm not great at this kinda stuff).

I'd certainly recommend changing the wording Amy uses during her night terrors to keep her identity vague though. That'd immediately ratchet up the tension even if nothing else changes, because knowing she's going to make it takes away from the tension a bit- both after the "Want-it-need-it Grenade" and going into the final battle. Because by the grenade even with the arc remaining the same the reader should be at least a little invested in Amy, especially after she stood up to Stern defending Kaz. So playing on that worry that she might die might be good.

10948534
In the end I'm glad you gave me this review after reading it all in one stretch since you're absolutely right that it's how such a story would be read, and I was always concerned that there would be serious continuity or other errors that crept into it because of the protracted writing timeline. I'm glad that nothing obvious jumped out at least. It was definitely a long labor, but one of love. :twilightsmile:

As before I think you're spot on with the other observations and even if major revisions to Longtalons isn't a thing I could do at this point they're all things I'll keep in mind for anything I may write in the future. And I'm glad you think that while some of the characters were a bit weaker than others (like Isaac), that it was balanced well enough.

I am considering revising the second intermission to make the spoilers a bit less flagrant. I'm still a bit conflicted on it since comments on it already reflect some of the spoilers, but maybe it would be better that way regardless. It's something I'll ponder on a bit.

10949226
Me personally, I didn't read the reviews until I was done, but I guess you could put an Author's note note at the beginning of the story and possibly the intermission too that minor changes have been made to avoid spoilers and reading the comments isn't advised until you've finished the story, because the comments reveal the nature of the spoilers.

Hey Telgin,

Just wanted to say I absolutely adore Longtalons, and it's probably one of my favorite FoE side fics, and a must read as far as I'm concerned.

On a meta level, I appreciate following someone who isn't a "hero": he's just a guy in a shitty situation, trying to stay alive and do his job. There's action, but it's sparse, nerve wracking and tense, and fights are won through teamwork and discipline, not flashy heroics. The action is also grounded, but still fantastical in a way that feels right for FoE. The squad doesn't fight a whole army of Steel Rangers, they fight one, and nearly all die. I didn't keep count, but I'm pretty sure Kaz's body count never came close to cracking triple digits, like most protagonists. I also really appreciated the crossover with the original FoE, it really drives home the idea that all of those "evil" people that LittlePip, and the average "hero" shoots dead is a person, with history, and a path that got them to that point. Kaz helps a reader really appreciate all those unnamed side characters that show up for the briefest moments in most fics, and that affect makes FoE feel like a much more alive world, full of characters all just trying to get by in their lives.

I also adore Kaz as a character, and his arc. The story is a slow burn, but I personally adore slow burn character dramas. I feel like every chapter had "a point" in how it related to his arc, but we also get that slow time to really soak in the atmosphere and the world. I also like, again, that he breaks the typical FoE "hero" mold; That's not to say I dislike the typical FoE "hero", but the typical hero is usually some degree of a delusional, homicidal lunatic with a lot of mental health issues under the surface, because rational people don't usually go around on high stakes adventures with small groups of other homicidal lunatics slaughtering people by the dozen. Kaz gives us a pretty good "everyman" perspective, someone who joined a cause he didn't understand because he needed the money for his dying father's medicine, and is just trying to do his job, stay alive, and tries his best not to hurt other people. He gives us a glimpse into the eyes of the average "NPC"/"common enemy", and I love that.

I'll also give you props for pulling the trigger on Ida's death, that took balls, and it paid off, because, really, I'd say that was one of the most important moments in the entire story, since it kicks off the entire rest of Kaz's arc. It's one of those defining moments that sticks out, and I'd also say that the emotional guy punch is when the story really "grabbed me", and I suddenly spent most of my every free moment for the next few days binging it non stop to the finish. I'd even go so far as to call it the inciting incident of Kaz's arc, and permanently defined his place in his unit, as the fuckup that'll get teammates killed on accident.

My one complaint is that the rest of the squad could have been developed a bit more, and their relationships with Kaz (besides Amy, she's great). But it's a mild complaint at best.

All of these thoughts are coming off the cuff, but I just wanted to say, personally, that this was an absolute master class of a fic, and I hope you feel as proud of it as you deserve to feel. I'm very, very glad that Somber (the bird guy, not the PH one) recommended this to me.

Stay awesome, dude

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It's always great to get a review like this, and I'm happy you enjoyed the story as much as you did. I'm also glad that you liked the premise and Kaz, since portraying a relatively normal person in a bad situation as a contrast to the main story and most side stories was definitely the goal here. Some might say that it portrays the Talons as too sympathetic, and maybe it does, but I leave that mostly to the reader to decide for themselves.

Either way, yeah, Kaz only kills a handful of people and felt like it stained his soul forever. Quite a stark contrast to most protagonists in this setting.

I also agree with what you said about the other squad members not getting as much character development as they probably should have. That, along with some pacing issues, I think could have benefited from a good editing cycle, but when you release something like this chapter-by-chapter that's tough. If I were to do it again, I'd probably have gone with a smaller squad with a bit more focus on them all. Some, like Leigh and Isaac, just didn't end up being quite as important as I originally planned.

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I think it portrayed Talon Company perfectly

You can understand how it actually operates, in terms of both logistics and internal group culture, and you can understand and appreciate why otherwise normal, rational people would join, and why they would stay once they realized the reality of the situation. It also makes you appreciate how much it sucks to also be a member of the organization, and the struggles that come along with it, both as a bottom level grunt, and there's also the implication that even those at higher ranks got it pretty bad, especially those in close proximity to Stern.

Oh yeah, I also appreciated your depiction of Stern, as limited as her screen time was in the story.

I just had to edit some things in my story after reading this, especially this chapter: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/540469/12/fallout-equestria-the-storm/chapter-12-remembrance

Longtalons gave so much context into Talon's involvement in Fillydelphia that I was missing, and I really felt the need to include subtle nods to it in my tale.

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I'm flattered that the story left enough of an impression on you that you edited your own story to account for it, but I hope it wasn't too much of a change. Longtalons, after all, is only canon to itself compared to the original story.

I've been hoping to have more time and energy to devote to reading sometime soon since I'm curious how Longtalons could have influenced The Storm.

In any case, thanks for reading through to the end. I'm always glad to see when people make it past the rougher first third of the story.

I'm so glad Kaz got a happy ending and a family.

If a song was playing at the end of this, I think it'd be All My Tomorrows by Sinatra.

I 100% feel that being a deserter is why Freija won the election. If I were her, "I told Stern to fuck off" would be on all my campaign fliers.

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That's entirely possible, but it's something I didn't put a lot of thought into. On one hand, presumably not many people knew and even they couldn't prove it. But on the other, claiming to defy anything related to Fillydelphia would be good for a lot of people's opinions.

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In The Storm, a major part of Sabre Whiteclaw's election in the Fillydelphia territory is that he was a migrant from the west coast and had zero ties to anything from Filly's past. That was enough for people to trust him. He also had the funds to actually pay people to work there.

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In a similar vein, I'm sure Kaz knows how Washout feels regarding what happened to Zen and Zip.

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In a sense, yeah. The simplest accidents can have catastrophic consequences, and intentions don't matter at that point.

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I'm not really familiar with specific gun models in general, so I can't even really say for sure. If the first one is what New Vegas based their anti-materiel rifle on, that's going to be the closest since it's what I had in mind at least. The weapon would probably need some tweaks to really work with griffon anatomy or be compatible with battle saddles for ponies, but probably not too much.

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