• Member Since 19th Oct, 2011
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Idol Hooves holds a special place in Equestria. He's probably the only exiled changeling to serve in the Royal Guard, or at least, that's what he expects, as exiles don't really broadcast that fact. However, it's well known that Princess Celestia loves all of her little ponies, and her guards perhaps more so, and that makes it one of the best ways for a changeling to discreetly feed.

But how does a changeling even get there, let alone get exiled in the first place? For that matter, why would it ever go to Canterlot? Set a number of years before the series proper, before Luna’s redemption, Idol details how he was exiled, the ponies he’s met, and the series of misadventures that led him to joining the Royal Guard, and should continue a good ways into the series, as something of an alternate perspective.

Soon, he’ll have to deal with a boisterous new princess to serve and a royal wedding in the works bringing a third to power. Will his old instincts bring this new life crashing down around him? What precipitates Chrysalis’s ill-fated assault on Canterlot? Is it really so wrong for a changeling to enjoy good craftsmanship to an obsessive degree?

New cover art provided by the fantastic Carnifex

And a TVTropes page here.

And an Ask Blog of questionable canonity!
Out of Idol Curiosity

Fanart by Norad2! Major thanks! Short For a Royal Guard

Art by Egophiliac of Idol and his Daring Duckie Please don't tell him what that brush is meant for.

Rating updated to (T), it's a bit darker than (E)
Comedy Tag added as well
And changed the character tags a bit.

Chapters (73)
Comments ( 8970 )

Very nicely done! We need more good Changeling fics. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going.

I love this fic-you now have a follower. :pinkiehappy:

Ah, a changeling story Ive been waiting for. I always enjoy every author's take on Hive soceity, so much potential, and you have grab it by the gonads.:moustache:

Poor changeling. Delightfully alien.

Will this be alternate universe?

4060494 Hmmm. Well, the changelings were never given much explanation in the show. I'm going to try to stick to the main verse. Idol, for example, isn't going to be open with his nature. When he runs into the mane 6, it's going to focus more on when they're in Canterlot, and he's not going to want their attention. That said, all of them but Twilight represent a positive emotion, though I suppose you could call 'magic' an element of wonder.

Frankly, I'm not sure exactly what genres to put this under. It's partially about Idol just getting by and coping with how strange ponies are, but I'm also going to explain in the story a bit of my headcanon for what made Chrysalis decide to assault Canterlot in the first place. So.... Slice of life with some adventure? A bit of dark because changelings don't live as safe or pleasant a life as the ponies do? I really don't know.

Ooh, I'm quite enjoying this so far. Keep it up!

Good chapter! Looking forward to where this goes. :twilightsmile:

Earth Pony...... Could be worse, eh?:trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright::trixieshiftleft:

Hope you're all still enjoying this.

I know I certainly am. I find your way of changeling thinking to be much like my own. They are not completely emotionless slates, but simply lacking complexity of an individual mind. A changeling can think for himself, but why bother when the hive is less than a thought away.

Even in these few chapters I can see that our changeling here is growing more as an individual. Sure he is a bit rigid, but he is slowly fleshing himself out.

The plot of this story? Not bad.

The characters? :moustache: excellent.

Keep the chapters coming! This is so far one of the better fics I have read.

I used a name generator to come up with a temporary name that fits his changeling nature and incorporates his being found in the desert. Charming Mirage.
:fluttershysad: Y-You know... I-if you want to use it.

That IS a good name, but he's trying to avoid suspicion. I like that though. It's something Wasta might suggest. Sounds like it could be a mare's name, he'll find it hilarious. Still, I might end up incorporating it as one of Idol's suggestions. For now, he's stuck with 'Sandy', which will continue to irk him.

The plot's a little dry right now, I'm sort of slowly building the backstory. Idol's going to continue bringing up some details on Changelings. I suppose you could look at this as him trying to relate his story, which is why his explanations outside of dialog are a little more colorful, because for now it's happening after the fact. As for his emotions and rigidity, to say changelings are extremely conservative is probably an understatement. Most of his 'outbursts' so far would be shameful.

Idol's going to run into some problems with his worldview later. He's used to a very strict chain of command where everything is clearly defined.

Nice and simple, glad to see this continued. I'm unsure if you should make it longer or faster, but I'm leaning to the former.

Hmm, longer or faster... I can't decide. Whatever you think is best.

Great chapter, anyway. Not much happened, but what's here is good. :twilightsmile: I'm looking forward to getting to the point that the story name and description talks about.

Poor Changeling-getting a cramp is not nice.

Look at you, featured with only 30 upvotes. :pinkiegasp: How much you want to bet it'll last? Here, I'll even give you a thumb to help it along.

Lucky SOB. I'll be reading this later. :pinkiehappy:

I like Sandy's growth in this chapter, as he is beginning to see the world outside of the hive and how it really works

Nice chapter, as always. :twilightsmile: Act 1 complete?

>4499673 Yeah, This would probably make a good Act I. The Exile.

I really ought to get a title picture on this. I'm still toying with ideas. Sorry for the huge delay on this last chapter, folks, but I think I can keep the next few rolling.

Darn. And here I was hoping for an extremely awkward conversation in the future when someone asks him about the cup he uses to prop up a picture frame or something...

Daring Do! Wait? Is she gonna be part of this story?

Right around the midway point I was starting to think that this resembled an Indiana Jones tomb a bit.

Though changelings shed their assumed forms like an exoskeleton? :rainbowhuh:

4582238 Well, Idol explained that there were multiple types of shapeshifting, depending on what you needed.

It basically amounts to illusions, like the majority of the drones were using when fighting the mane 6, an exo-skeleton-like shell, and actually fully assuming another form. The first is quick and dirty but prone to failure, the 2nd will shatter under strain, and the third basically reworks your body into another form entirely, it's exhausting but it holds up under all but the most rigorous of inspections, but also provides more limitations; you can't fly if you're a unicorn, for example. Figured it made more sense that way.

Ha! This was silly. I liked it.

I eagerly await the resolution of this cliffhangar. Good job as usual with the chapter.

Interesting concept that the form of an alicorn can have some essence of the being in question.

Oh, did he turn back into changeling form at the end there? This will be interesting...

That ending alone has earned a like and favorite.

Aside from that, very sound writing! I would like to see where this goes, but it appears I am at the author's mercy, hrmm?

I demand to see the resolution of this cliffhanger! DEMAND IT, I SAY!


Yay! New chapter!

Ooo! Interesting external forces!

Noooo! Cliffhanger!

A cliff‐hanger? Damn it, you rat bastard, stop writing stuff that’s so compelling. I’m going to be in suspense for weeks now. :facehoof:

Well, this is interesting and good-written. Upvote and fav, will eagerly wait for more.

I think that maybe later, when story will be more than the beginning, it will be good idea to send it to Equestria Daily, story's quality is pretty high.

I emphatically agree with this!

Ok, I'm not saying this story isn't interesting but the story you've given me is not the one you've advertised. This forces me to ask: what is the story you're trying to tell? Based on the description, I understood this as the story of an exiled changeling who's in the guard and is having to deal with personal issues surrounding the wedding and probably the aftermath. What you've delivered is 1/3rd the length of a novel and we're only on backstory before the character even becomes a guard or even gets to Canterlot. Heck, I'm not even sure if we'll get to Canterlot and that conflict before we reach the 40k word mark if the current rate is anything to judge by (ok I'm being hyperbolic here but the point still stands).

What I'm trying to say is that you need to change the description to match the story you tell. I luckily found this interesting but you can turn off readers or even anger them by not delivering on what's promised. Imagine the Titanic movie where the first hour of it was spent on the background of Rose without ever even getting close to the Titanic and the actual romance story sold as the central plot of the story. This dissonance isn't pleasant.

Edit: An example on this website of a story I stopped reading because the part I was interested in was taking too long to get to is The Quiet Place. The description sells the story as focused on the entity of Nightmare Moon. 6 chapters in and over 56k words and I still haven't seen Nightmare Moon. The story was focusing on characters and plots I didn't care about as they weren't the plot I was sold on. That is actually about the length of your standard novel and I was sort of resentful of the story for not giving me what I wanted. The idea he sold me on was more interesting than what he was giving me. So please, change it to say the life and times or add a prologue that teases where we end and have this be him telling the story of his life. Otherwise, I'm left partially wondering where the plot I was sold is.

I think that part of story will be, just not now. Maybe far ahead, maybe not so far, but this "backstory" is too interesting to skip.

Oh I agree it's interesting but it's not what's being advertised. He needs to fix the description so the backstory works instead of creating a disappointed reader who was expecting a focus on something else.

4773385 I deeply apologize for that. I'm working up to that point. I was questioning before if I should have started with Idol relating things from his time in Canterlot.

In truth, I see maybe two or three more chapters before he heads to Canterlot, and that won't be immediately before the assault. I've always kind of hated when a story just drops you in on an unlikely circumstance without explanation. If Idol is a changeling within the guard, how did he get there if not by infilitration? Was his exile justified?

In Idol's case, he's very much certain it was. His Queen did it, ergo it must have been the right decision. Without the history, you don't really get the full picture.

I should work on a better description, but I suppose I was thinking of it more on terms of a blurb on the back of a novel. A vague glimpse of what happens without being too spoilery. Though I did mention it starts a few years before Luna's redemption, and I figured things would go a bit faster than this, so I apologize for that, but I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for the critical review.

Just a few more chapters before Canterlot? Why? :fluttershysad: Why are you so cruel, author? :fluttercry: I want more of this precious backstory! I'm completely agree with you that

I've always kind of hated when a story just drops you in on an unlikely circumstance without explanation.

More good, plausible explanation before the guard thing! Pleeease! :raritystarry:

Well, that was unexpected. :D

Awwww. I wanted to know what the chalice did.

Topaz is adorkable and I love her dearly. More please!

Oh, crazy scientist! And so adorable one!

Oh I am enjoying Topaz.

Don't worry, he doesn't eat ponies.

Just their feelings.

Good chapter.

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